Archive for January 2008

Enter the Wild Kingdom

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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We South Dakotans may have to put up with pesky disease carrying mosquitoes and those annoyingly noisy cicadas that screech from the treetops each summer. We may have to live in constant fear that a deer or raccoon will decide to end it all by scampering out onto the road directly front of our car.But that’s nothing compared to the potential hazards of desert life.
Within the last year our daughter, Christy, who lives in a very nice condo, has had to deal with a fishhook-tailed scorpion that had somehow gotten into the house. She also had to shoo-away a fist-size tarantula spider that was catching a few rays on her patio.
In an earlier blog I showed you pictures of a couple bobcats sunning themselves on a neighbor’s back porch.
There are also lots of coyotes that roam the streets day and night. (If you say “Ky-Yotes” down here it’s like having a big “S.D. tattooed on your forehead.  Get used to saying “Ky-oat-ees” or get the heck out.)
I haven’t heard of anybody ever being attacked by one but they do trot along the golf courses too.
I don’t know if it’s true or not but I heard that there were three or four coyotes spotted feasting on the body of a guy in green pants and a yellow sweater who had taken his own life after four-putting a par three.
Okay, maybe that’s fiction but before teeing off the other day at Gold Canyon golf club near Superstition Mountain, the starter warned us to be wary of wandering off the course  because of rattle snakes and other creepy poisonous things that live there..not to mention a certain variety of cactus that will actually jump up to two feet to stick you with it’s sharp, painful barbs.
The elder lady who gave the warning appeared deadly serious about the jumping cactus but I wonder if she saw the S.D. tattoo and was taking advantage of our built-in gullibility.
I was a nervous wreck all day in fear of being bitten by snakes and cacti while searching for golf balls that missed the fairway.
On Monday, Christy hollered out..guys come look at this.
There, prancing along just out her back door was, what looked like, a wild boar. I’ve come to find out that javelinas (hov-ah-leen-ahs) are quite common here and don’t seem to mind tromping through neighborhoods looking for a snack before returning up to the surrounding hills.
They usually leave people alone but if cornered or threatened, they’ve been known to attack you with their little tusks and have you for supper. (An old lady at the golf course told me that.)
The main reason you don’t want to get too close to a javelina is because of the stench that comes off their hairy body from a musk gland on the back. I don’t think anyone will be making any musk cologne for men out of the aroma, though. It smells a lot like skunk. (Come to think of it, that might be appealing to some guys I know.)
 
They also have crows the size of twin-engine Cessnas down here. (Some call them grackles)
As we were sitting outside the other morning, one swooped down from the sky and with a loud “caaaw, caaaw” appeared as if it was going to pick Linda up and carry her away.
That’s when I..who have already dealt with bobcats, coyotes, deadly bugs, stinking pigs and jumping cacti on this trip..stood up and defiantly shouted, “be gone raven and return never more..never more.”

Ken Hirsch..Rest Easy

Posted: Monday, January 28, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Alzheimers  has claimed another victim..an old friend and fellow broadcaster, Ken Hirsch.
This awful disease started attacking Ken’s brain several years ago stealing away the Ken we all knew..little by little until he no longer knew us.
 
My first exposure to Ken Hirsch was watching him doing sports and weather on the brand new KSOO TV in the sixties.
My first thought was how did this round-faced, bald guy ever get hired for TV. But as soon as you heard his smooth voice and saw how he did the sports and weather with such professionalism and ease, you knew right away why.
 
Little did I know that when I got my first break into television at KSOO in 1973, it would be Ken who helped guide me through my first on-air experiences when I was asked to anchor the High Noon show..which also meant reporting the weather.
He patiently taught me how to read and interpret the information from the weather wire and set up the map with all the frontal systems, symbols and numbers.
But mostly he taught me how to relax and be myself..on the air..confident and friendly.
It was a lesson I would never forget.
 
I was glad when he came to work at Keloland in the 80’s. He’d already found success outside of television with his travel agency and real estate investments..but Ken belonged on TV too and we were lucky to have him.
 
As enthusiastic as Ken was for television and business I believe everything, except wife Lorraine and his daughters, took second place to his love of aviation.
He was a skilled pilot and an expert on all types of flying machines from balloons to experimental jets and a great ambassador of flight.  
Because of his uncanny knowledge of aviation history..and his experience as a pilot and broadcaster, Ken was called to be one of the main announcers at the world’s largest air show in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin every summer.
 
Ken also had a passion for cars. He knew I did too and after showing me his recently purchased beautifully restored baby blue 1956 Ford Thunderbird, he said, “Hey Doogle (his nickname for me)..why don’t you take her for a spin?”.
What a thrill!
 
Ken Hirsch was one of the good guys. I’ll never forget his easy smile, his silky smooth voice and his zest for life. A life cut way too short by a nasty personality-robbing disease that needs to be stopped.
 
 

Flat Rock Rain

Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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When he was the popular Keloland weatherman,  Dave Dedrick could get by with saying a lot of things on the air that no one else could… then or now.
I loved it when he would say stuff like, “It’s going to get cold tonight.”  Then Hemmingsen, Burt and me would all respond off camera in unison, “how cold is it?”
Dave would come up with something like, “It’s so cold that all the witches are wearing insulated brassieres.”
Dave Dedrick..forecasts with flareOr my personal favorite is when it was so cold he’d issue a brass monkey alert.
Don’t get me wrong, Dave was serious about reporting the weather accurately but was never above having a little fun at the same time and I think the viewers always appreciated it.
 
I got to thinking about Dave’s forecasts while sitting out on Christy’s patio here in Fountain Hills, Arizona this morning as the rain poured down and noisily splashed to the cement a few inches beyond the protection of her overhanging tile roof.
I started to laugh out loud when I heard that sound and remembered that Dave would sometimes describe a similar downpour on TV as a “flat rock” rain.  (picture a cow relieving itself on a horizontal stone)
 
Most of time, TV meteorologists here in Arizona are bored out of their shoes. (Winter) “Sunny with highs in the mid to upper sixties.” (Summer)  Sunny with highs in the low 100’s.”
But this week…they’re as excited as a Captain 11 crew member winning the toy chest.
There’s clouds and rain and floods..oh, my.
It’s pretty much on the same level as how our weather guys get on a stormy night in June.
 
I suppose I should be mad since we’re unable to golf or sight-see or other warm-weather stuff we came out to Arizona to enjoy, but just like at home, I find there’s something relaxing about simply sitting and watching and listening to the rain..especially the flat rock variety so rare here in the desert.
And there’s not a cow in site.
 

Strange Desert Sightings

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Hillary stopped by the other day.
She showed up fashionably late for a rally at a Phoenix high school talking about health care and the need for America to start setting goals again.
That disappointed many in the crowd of 10 thousand who wanted some answers on the mortgage crisis which is blamed for about 10 thousand home foreclosures in the Phoenix area last year. 
It didn’t matter, though, democrats here love Hillary.
In fact, the local newscasters refer to her as “Hillary.”
Maybe I’m old fashioned but I always cringe when I hear an anchor or reporter get on a first-name basis with the subject of a story..whether it’s a politician or a criminal..it sounds too chummy and it’s wrong.
I did notice that in her TV ads, Hillary, herself, has dropped the “Rodham” from her name.
I wonder whose idea that was.
Anyway, I’m starting to believe that Mrs. Clinton just might be heading back to the White House with Mr. Clinton in tow.
I just have a feeling that the country has had its fill of a Republican in the Oval office and will elect the Democratic nominee no matter who it is and it’s sure looking like Hillary.
Isn’t it amazing that in a country of 250 million or so people, we keep going back to the same two families for our presidents?
Hang in there Jeb, you’re next.
 
I’m a little out of sorts today. Our daughter took us to the Legion club last evening for the weekly trivia contest. (we tied for first)
“So you’re Christy’s step-dad eh, ..lemme buy you a drink.”
I am now suffering from what they jokingly refer to as Legionnaires disease.
 
One of those Legionnaires had a couple of stray cats show up on his back patio the other day.
Rather than calling animal control or opening fire on them with a rifle, he just watched the two wild bobcats relaxing in the sun grooming each other before moving on.
No harm done….a great story to tell and pictures to prove it.

Global Warming My Eye

Posted: Monday, January 21, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Wednesday:
Lincoln, Nebraska to Kearny, Nebraska..our first day out.  13 degrees, snow, 40 mile an hour wind..near blizzard conditions at times but we press on.
Thursday:
Sterling, Colorado. Six below zero.
It’s coldest weather I’ve experienced in years. Car groans to a reluctant start in motel parking lot.
(Thought I’d write something for the blog but the free wireless internet..one of the reasons we chose this motel..isn’t working.)
Friday:
Gallup, New Mexico. Minus 2 degrees. Our second night out and I’m wondering how much closer to the equator do we have to get before it starts to warm up. (Tried to write on blog but, in spite of assurances at check in, wireless service goes down  before I get a chance. I won’t mention the motel chain but it’s the one that one that claims you’ll be comfortable "INN."  It’s a good thing they have free waffles in the morning or I’d really have been ticked off.
The car slowly fires to life and I’m thinking about that guy at the quick lube place last week who suggested a new battery.
Battery? I don’t need no steenking battery..I’m going to the desert where no extra cranking power is needed.
Payson, Arizona..90 miles from our destination and it’s still only in the 30’s with snow on the ground.
Fountain Hills, Arizona.  We’ve made it. It’s sunny and 48..headin’ toward the upper 50’s. Maybe even the low 60’s this week.
I know, I know.. stop complaining. Look at the weather back home.
But people down here are superstitious. (They even have a mountain range called the Superstitions.) It was near record cold when we were in Arizona last year and much the same on this trip. These folks are starting to believe that Linda and I are somehow responsible.
We’re getting dirty looks..especially from fellow Midwesterners who, like us,  have saved long and hard in order to buy a few weeks of freedom from winter’s icy grip.
 
Linda and daugher Christy (still able to smile after the bed incident) enjoying a few moments on her patio. Just to the right(out of view) is the eight foot tall outdoor propane heater that eases the evening chill.Speaking of icy things. You should have seen the cold look on our daughter’s face when  I plopped down on the bed in her guest-room.
There was a loud crack and the next thing I knew my head was about 9 inches lower than my feet.
Sunday morning was spent shopping for a proper metal mattress frame (which we found) and looking for a doctor who will perform a gastric by-pass for me on an out-patient basis.

Arizona, A Cure for the Common Cold

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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CAN’T WAIT TO TRY OUT MY NEW "TREE" WOOD ON VACATION.  YEAH, THAT’S ME WITH A BUTT FULL OF PINE NEEDLES.Just in the nick of time, the Lund’s (without a new dog) are scootin’ Southwest for our own little exodus to the Arizona desert.
 
Linda has been packing and repacking for several days now and it will be a relief to finally get on the road so she can relax.
I’ve been doing all the “manly” things like getting the car ready.
It turned over 100 thousand miles last summer which makes me a little nervous but I’ve been reassured by the guy at the quick lube place, who gets a ride to work with his parole officer, that I should be just fine..provided I put in this special synthetic oil for high mileage cars,  change the transmission fluid, replace the serpentine belt which shows signs of cracking and also replace the battery, which registers low on their battery meter.
I decided to live life dangerously and skip all that and just go with an oil change and filter. Now I worry that because I didn’t agree to all the extras, the quick lube guy was ticked-off and intentionally left the nut loose on the oil pan.
 
Earlier, I went to one of the 78 or more different auto parts stores in Sioux Falls to replace my wiper blades. I decided to go all out this time and buy a really good pair.
“$23.95,”the guy said.  
“Well, that’s a little steep, I said, but Okay.”
“That’s $23.95 APIECE,” he said.
“Ugh….will you install them?”
“You bet, Doug..can do!”
That’s when I noticed a crack in the bottom of my acre-and-a-half size windshield.
It’s already snaked up the glass and hung a left into what I hope will be a half-moon shape ending back at the bottom..but who knows what direction it will take? All I know is that I don’t have time to replace it now..I don’t have glass coverage on my insurance and face a big bill when we get home.
 
We’re both hoping that this escape to Arizona will help ease the pain of each of us turning another year older this month. A nice win for her at one of the casinos..and a bunch of low scores for me on the  golf courses would certainly help do the trick.
 
Anyway, I’m taking my laptop along as well as a newly-acquired digital camera so I’ll try to keep the old Lund at Large blog going from the shadow of Camelback Mountain and the mist of the great fountain in Fountain Hills.
 
Wait..did they check the air conditioner? We’ll need it when we get to the desert where it can really get warm this time of year….heh, heh, heh.

I Want a Dog, Doggonnit

Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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“Honey, what would you say about us getting a dog?”
 “I’d say you need to open the garage door if you’re going to run the motorcycle in the wintertime.The fumes seem to have affected your thinking.""No, come on, I’m serious.  Now that we’re retired and home a lot, wouldn’t it be kind of fun to have a friendly, furry animal around for company..to snuggle up to.. and fetch things.”
 “Don’t be ridiculous, you don’t need a dog for that. You’ve already got me.”
“Can’t we at least discuss it?”
“What’s to discuss? I know you. You want all the fun of owning a dog but none of the responsibility. Are you going feed and take care of him? Are you going to take him on walks and pick up his steaming piles of poop? Besides, we’ve decided we want to travel more. Who’s going to dog-sit if we’re gone for a week or a month?”
“How about a cat then?”
“Doug, just be quiet and watch your TV.”
 
And here endith the lesson and another conversation on the subject.  I suppose she’s right but DOGgonnit I still can’t shake the idea of having a frisbee fetcher around the house.
The argument was cut short this time without me even getting a chance to pull out the big guns..like we’ll get one from the shelter and save it from a date with the gas chamber.Or, don’t you know that research has proven that people who have pets live longer and more stress-free lives?
 
I have one more ace in the hole and its right here on this very web site: just scroll down the center column to the line that has political blogs, Kelo Blogs and Photos. Click on the photos then click Your Pets.
I’m going to show her some of the great pet pictures sent in by Keloland viewers. There are over 500 of them and the awwwwww factor may be enough to convince Linda to do a re-think.
Here are few of the images that just might do the trick.This could be meA companion and guardianFor all agesPlease, Linda, Puuuulleeeeze?

A Band of Brothers

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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My brother, Denny, and I look an awful lot alike. But that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. He’s always looked for the opportunities and challenges of life.
I’ve always been reluctant to take risks.
When I started being recognized from television, people would often mistake him for me..which, I would imagine, became rather annoying.
He’s four years older but usually tells anyone who gets the two of us confused, that I’m not only older than HIM but that I was a bed wetter to the age of 16. (an exaggeration of 3 years..it was actually age13)
 Denny and Doug..all GROWN up.
I don’t know if he was ticked-off because mom had to put a plastic sheet on the bed we shared  but growing up, Denny used to tease and torment me over and above what big brothers are usually prone to do.
My upper arms were always black and blue from his punches.
He fancied himself quite a baseball pitcher and would literally drag me over to the neighbor’s yard to endure the pain of catching his fast ball with my paper-thin glove.
He used to make me ride on the back of my own motorcycle just to scare the snot out of me by leaning the bike from side to side as we weaved down the street at thirty miles an hour.
The louder I screamed for him to stop, the faster he would go.
 
His quick wit and self-confident attitude made him a big hit with everyone in high school except the teachers, of course. But even they had to admire his gift of gab at selling an idea or getting out of a jam.
 
I hated my brother and yet admired and idolized him at the same time.
On more than one occasion, he actually came to my rescue fending off anyone he spotted giving me a hard time. (After all, giving me a hard time was HIS job)
Whether it was  playing golf, shooting pool or shooting the breeze, I wanted to be just as good as him but never came close.
 
He used to push our parents’ patience pretty hard too yet the only time I ever saw my tough old man cry was the day Denny left for the Air Force right out of high school.
Those four years mellowed him a lot and although he still liked to tease and make me feel like a klutz, we grew closer as brothers. He even got me out of my dirty job at the local grain elevator and hired on with his company where I could wear a suit and tie instead of dusty blue jeans.
 
Tragedy often brings families closer together. That was certainly true when our parents died… dad in 1977, mom 18 years later.
It was Denny and especially his extraordinarily kind-hearted wife, Judy who took mom into their home when she needed full-time care.
We grew even tighter eight years ago, when our younger brother, Tom, nearly died from a brain aneurism.
Then last night, Denny, who has been taking medication for an irregular heart rhythm,  found himself down on the kitchen floor..experiencing a numbness on his right side.
Judy called the ambulance and a short while later, called us.
On the way to the emergency room both Linda and I were once again offering up prayers for a miracle.
It worked for Tom who made a 100 percent recovery.
Would it be too much to ask for Denny too?
Apparently not.
When we arrived, Denny was wide awake, alert and joking around.
There was no paralysis on his right side and a scan showed no signs of bleeding in the brain.
The doctor says it was a mild stroke and after a battery of tests, he hopes to know the precise cause and how to best treat it.
I want them to find it fast and fix it.
 
I’d even be willing to play hardball catch or ride with him on the back of a motorcycle again if it would help.

Till Death Do Us Part

Posted: Friday, January 4, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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"I, Angelique,Take you, Michael,To be my husbandTo have and to hold,From this day forward,For better, for worse,For richer, for poorer,In sickness and in health,To love and to cherish,’Till death do us part."
 
 
Linda and I were among those sitting in church that day, in 1994, when her niece, Angie, said those words as she held hands with and looked into the eyes of her big strapping new husband, Mike, at the altar.
 
I first met Angie when Linda and I were dating about 25 years ago.
Her folks (Linda’s sister, Renee and husband, Swede) lived in the Omaha suburb of Millard.
Angie stood out from her brother and three sisters because she suffered from curvature of the spine. She had to have a rod surgically implanted in her back and wear a body cast from the waist to her neck throughout much of her adolescence.
I felt so sorry for this beautiful young girl having to endure such pain and confinement. But to my surprise, Angie didn’t feel sorry for herself..or at least never showed it when we were around.
After she finally stopped growing, Angie’s cast was removed to reveal a stunningly statuesque young woman standing straight and tall.
 
While attending hair styling school, Angie was picked to be a hair “model”..a job that took her to Paris for several months.
I always thought that was a just reward for this strong young girl who had been through so much.
 
Eventually, Angelique met, fell in love with, and married Mike Jespersen. They had two children, Son Collin and daughter Chandra. 
Things for them were going along great until about a year and a half ago when Mike’s mother died suddenly.
Within weeks, he was let go from his job as an IT placement representative.
Devastated but undaunted, Mike was in the process of sending out resumes confident he would find something else to enable his family to continue their comfortable lifestyle when he noticed a lump on his neck.
Before long there were other health issues and then on Good Friday, doctors called Mike and Angie in to give them the news that, at the age of just 45,  he had cancer and it was bad.
Angie took a leave of absence from her job working with special needs kids to be at Mike’s side throughout the long months of chemotherapy, radiation and treatments for his ever increasing pain that followed.
 Angelique and Mike mustering a smile through the pain
At the urging of friends, Angie, reluctantly at first, started giving a daily account of Mike’s progress and setbacks on the Caringbridge website. It proved to be good therapy for her and Mike too as they began getting responses from friends, family and total strangers concerned about their ordeal and sending prayers and good wishes for healing.
 
But healing wasn’t  to be.
Mike did get his wish to see the family open their Christmas presents around the tree that had been set up in his bedroom.
He then reluctantly accepted his fate.One last picture with the kids at Christmas
Here’s Angie’s last entry on Caringbridge from December 28th.
 
“Dear family and friends, Collin and I were at Mike’s side this morning when he took his final breath at 9 a.m.We’re so happy his suffering has ended.He was a true warrior!
May God bless and keep you forever at His side.
As Angie shared personal memories of Mike at his funeral this week,  I thought about the vows they made at their wedding so many years ago.
I couldn’t help but wonder how many of us, who’ve stood at the alter making the same promises to each other; realize the degree of that commitment.
Angie certainly did… and in the eyes of all who know her, will forever stand straight and tall in more ways than one.

Hooray for Harriet

Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I was always amazed at which stories would get the greatest response from Keloland viewers.
I once did a Lund at Large about the little things in life that drive me crazy.
One of those frustrations was trying to separate a single filter from the stack of filters so I could brew up my  morning pot of coffee.
Well, as soon as the story aired, e-mails started coming in and the phones began to ring..all from people who had the answer to my coffee filter dilemma.
You’d be surprised at how many different solutions there are:
1)      Blow on the stack of filters, they’ll separate.
2)      Get those soft rubber finger tips that bank tellers use for counting stacks of money.
3)      Wrap a piece of duct tape (sticky side out) around a popsicle stick
     
Then people started showing up at the TV station to bring me their Harriet Carter catalogues in which I could find my choice of several coffee filter separators. Most popular is the plastic foam tip tweezers.
 
Until then, I hadn’t heard of Harriet Carter but soon came to realize that she is without a doubt the world’s greatest purveyor of cheap crap that is so clever and inventive you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.This is supposed to be a picture of Harriet Carter. Looks pretty good for a woman who began her catalog in 1958, huh?
Linda started ordering stuff right away, cordless lights, a mini blind brush, miracle wall hooks, plastic patio table covers..and on and on.
We both can’t wait for the next issue to arrive in the mail.
 
"Oh, come on, I can hear you saying, what’s so unique about Harriet Carter?"
Well, look and learn, my friends, look and learn.
 Where else ya gonna find toe flexers to exercise all your little piggies? Or get one of these dispensers and never again have to sit there and yell, "Honey, are we outta toilet paper?"
A cap light for zeroing in on those twilight putts.  A book shade. Why squint reading in the sun?I am definately going to order both the tater mitts and the remote light switch. They’ve been shown on TV so they have to work just as promised in real life, right? There’s something about the rough side of the tater mitts, though, that kind of creeps me out.Hurry..supplies are running low on the lawn aerator sandals. Just strap ‘em on and walk your way to a healthier yard this spring. The head rest that looks like a huge spider is about to devour you is just 18 bucks.Stupid ties for dogs I don’t need. A hot dog toaster..now that’s something I do..and it’s just 20 dollars!Imagine the laughs you’ll get when you demonstrate your finger shaped power nose hair trimmer to the gang. Or how you’ll wow the neighbors when you’re the first on your block to have a real tree frog. And, finally, a way to wash your D cups and keep them in A-1 shape. By the way, the coffee filter separator I’ve settled on looks like a pen only instead of a ball point it has a sharp point on the end. Just give it a little stick on the filter stack and lift up.
It works great..most of the time..helping me get off to a stress-free morning..most of the time.Thanks Harriet!