Archive for November 2008

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Posted: Friday, November 28, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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It was six a.m. when Linda and I staggered groggily into the kitchen to get things going for the Thanksgiving meal which we and 25 others would be sitting down to in 6 and a half hours.
First things first; get a strong pot of coffee started while the oven is heating up to 350.
It took a bit of coaxing with a few cold water baths the night before but our big old tom turkey finally thawed out so we could get him seasoned and stuffed (with apples cut in quarters) and ready to roast. The big worry was if five hours would be enough cooking time. I joked about liking my turkey a little on the pink side anyway but Linda wasn’t  seeing the humor it..especially before sunrise. Just in case, we sliced up a ham, put it in our big crock pot with two cups of white wine and set ‘er on low. As long as the wine was out anyway, we looked at each other and even though it was early morning we figured, what the heck, and poured ourselves a glass to toast the holiday. I decided to make a double batch of the scalloped corn everybody seems to like and Linda’s delicious long grain and wild rice stuffing was already made up and ready for baking. Our guests were bringing the rest of the food including potatoes and pies so were were set.
Around 9 O’clock, my brother, Tom, called with greetings from South Carolina. We talked about how great it was to see and hear the Lincoln High Marching Band on national TV in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. It certainly was! That wonderful band has always given me chills ever since two of my daughters were part of it back in the mid eighties. Tom then mentioned that, while their turkey was cooking, he and his family, including three little granddaughters, were heading out for a 2 mile hike along a trail in the nearby woods. “That sounds great,” I said sitting there curled up on the couch sipping my second glass of morning wine.
Because they were in Nebraska, we had to be content with a phone conversation from two of our granddaughters. But they both made us laugh when Allison, who’s 18, said her aunt Suzan had her peeling potatoes for the first time in her life and then, with great animation,  7 year old Zoey performed the gobble/gobble song she’d learned in school.
Well, it turns out that five hours is more than enough time to cook a 25 pound turkey and as I was about to start carving into the big bird there was a fear he was going to be dry as Geneses 13. (The chapter with all the begats in it.) But it wasn’t too bad. In fact, thanks in part to an open wine bar, everybody thought everything was delicious.The highlight of this Thanksgiving, though, was when Linda’s mother, Mary, who turns 85 on Friday, led the prayer..giving thanks for lots of things..especially the love of her family..a family that in July of  2007 stood around her hospital death bed praying for a miracle…and received it.
Amen!

Let’s Talk Turkey

Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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About 42 million turkeys, which, let’s face it, aren’t the most beautiful bird in the world with a head like a vulture and body of a peacock, will be elevated to the rank of superstardom this week as they are sacrificed, stripped clean, brined, baked, broasted or deep fried and proudly presented before family and friends to be feasted upon at the Thanksgiving table.
I’m not a big turkey fan myself..at least not anymore. I like it fine but it stopped liking me a few years ago when eating..even a little amount of turkey..brought on such severe acid reflux that I’d spend the entire afternoon praying for a big belch to relieve the pressure on my esophagus.  I can’t figure it out. Acid reflux is usually brought on by spicy foods. Even with a gallon of gravy on top, turkey is anything but spicy. Maybe it’s just a negative reaction to all steroids, oils or seasonings that are injected into the bird at the factory.
Anyway it’ll just mean more for everybody else whose only side effect from gorging down copious amounts of turkey is trying to stay awake through the Detroit Lions football game..which is hard enough to do this season even without the sleep-inducing tryptophan found in turkey meat.
It’s our turn to have Thanksgiving this year which is always interesting. At last count, 25 people will be showing up..all wondering where in the world will they be able to stake out a spot in our little house for the afternoon. 
I usually do the grocery shopping and, because I read somewhere that you needed a pound of meat for every person on the guest list, I bought a 25 pounder.It’s the biggest roaster we have."Oh, my god, Linda said. That’s the biggest turkey I’ve ever seen.  I hope it fits into the oven.”
It will..but just barely. And, lets see, aren’t you supposed to cook it 20 minutes for every pound? Five hourss?? Can that be right? Where’s that Butterball hotline number?
We transferred this humungous bird from the freezer to the refrigerator 36 hours ago to begin the thawing process but it’s still hard as 8th grade algebra.  I’m buying a ham as back-up just in case it’s still frozen Thursday morning.
I’ve always loved the Norman Rockwell painting “Freedom from Want” in which grandma..who must be strong as an ox..effortlessly carries the big beautifully browned bird and sets it before grandpa to carve at the Thanksgiving table. Many years ago, I thought I’d try recreate that scene at our house.  As I stood at the head of the table, with the whole turkey on a platter before me, I insisted that our four hungry daughters first stand and tell something they were thankful for.  Well, they weren’t as caught up in this Rockwell moment as me but after a good bit of whining, each managed to come with something. Then, after saying the fervent prayer I’d rehearsed, I grabbed the carving knife and fork and began to slice into the family fowl…or tried to. The knife,  a wedding gift I think, had never been out of the box and obviously never sharpened because it only made a glancing blow when it was applied to the turkey’s crusty skin. Immediately, I could hear little snorts from around the table as the girls tried desperately to hold back giggles. It was when I began a sawing motion trying to make the dull blade function, that they could no longer restrain themselves and erupted into laughter…and I did too.
So it turned out to be a memorable joyful Thanksgiving after all..just not the kind that wind up in famous paintings.
It’s tough to find a lot to be thankful for this year but I urge you to seek out the laughter of children. It’s more than enough.Oh, and also remember to sharpen the carving knife.

She’s BAAAAACK!

Posted: Friday, November 21, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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change

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verb, changed, chang⋅ing, noun
–verb (used with object)

1.

to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone: to change one’s name; to change one’s opinion; to change the course of history.

 I took a lot of mostly good-natured heat from a lot of people this past year when they found out I was supporting Barak Obama for president. I caught a little more flak from my pal, Bob Miller, this week when I stopped by his place to collect the 100 dollar bet we had on the election. 
What Bob and the others didn’t know is..if Obama had selected Hillary Clinton to be his Vice President..as was rumored for awhile..I’d have switched my allegiance immediately.  I don’t trust her or her husband any farther than I can spit. Whether it’s her history of dubious financial finagling or her dodging imaginary bullets in Bosnia this woman has serious problems with the truth. Her entire presentation is phony and forced. At least that’s my opinion.
Obama, I figured, was smart enough to figure that out. But now, the Associated Press reports that he is about to nominate her to be his secretary of state..this nation’s top diplomat!  Does he really..truly believe she’s the best qualified person for this demanding job..or was it politics as usual and they cut a deal before she dropped out of the race?
If this is typical of decisions he’s going to make..then…well, I don’t know.   It’s not change, that’s for sure. Haven’t we had enough of the Bush’s and the Clinton’s over the last two decades? Is the well of qualified people that shallow?
What I do know is..at a time when this country is in the midst of  economic chaos like we’ve not known since the great depression, a never-ending war on two fronts and a world-wide reputation that’s in the dumper, we have a current president that appears to have already checked out. Nobody’s in charge..and the guy who’s going to be in charge has decided to parade these old familiar faces..with their old familiar baggage before the Senate confirmation committee for approval to his cabinet.
So..get ready, folks, it’s all going to happen again; nightly newscasts..not about war or the economy..but Hillary on the hot seat dodging all those old questions about Whitewater, her brother and the crack cocaine dealer who was pardoned by Bill..her uncanny ability to play the futures market turning 1  thousand dollars into 100 thousand almost overnight and on..and on..and on.  Then, get ready for the same ol’ queries about Linda Daschle’s lobbyist job when Tom is grilled.
Oh, well..at least justice was served in the Hell’s Angels case. I’m sure none of the jurors were the least bit intimidated in the courtroom or concerned about their own necks had they convicted these two nice young “club” members in their  suits and ties.Ugh!

White Lightnin’

Posted: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Linda and I did something yesterday we haven’t done in a long, long time.  (Oh, please, clean it up!)
We went for an afternoon ride in the car. Not just any car..but our old white Lincoln..the same one I used to haul leaves in a couple weeks ago.   
I’m sure this will sound strange to a lot of you but we tend to keep our cars so long that they become like pets;  members of the family with their own unique personalities. We even give them names. Linda and I used to have identical 1984 Lincolns that we called Abe and Mary Todd.  Our 1994 Camaro is “Flash” and the leaf hauler is “White Lightnin.”  
But we’re not the only ones; our daughter in Arizona has a banana yellow Mazda called “Chiquita Cheetah” and our son in California dubbed his Mini Cooper, “Mouse.”   Christy’s chiquita cheeta and James’ mini mousssMy quirky cousin has names for his cars too. He calls his Sonata “Frank.”
Anyway,   after 18 years, “White Lightnin” seemed to be saying she’d gone long enough and started developing all kinds of problems: rust, of course, the radio quit, then the headliner started falling so Linda glued it back up.
Driving to work one day, as I was crossing the viaduct downtown, the throttle stuck wide open. As my life flashed before my eyes, I managed to get the thing shut off and stopped before slamming into the Sea Dream sculpture on 2nd Avenue. You know, the one that looks like a ripped up golf ball.
After spending money to get that problem fixed, the power steering started to leak..leaving big spots on the driveway and then, last winter, the heater stopped working and the battery went dead.
I took her back to Tom at Airway Service who, after a thorough examination, came to me looking like a doctor about tell a patient that the tumor is cancerous. He said it was going to cost more to fix than it was worth.  “Doug, she’s got 170 thousand miles. It’s time to just let her go.”
I sadly nodded and on the cold ride home decided to unload “Ol’ Whitey’ in the spring. She sat there like a big snow-covered lump in the driveway all winter long. In April, it was time to say goodbye so I put the battery charger on high for several hours..filled the power steering unit with a fluid that’s supposed to stop leaks..turned the key and, I’ll be darned if she didn’t fire right up. She’d bravely decided to face the end with her motor running.
That’s when the miracles of the Lincoln began. It turns out the battery wasn’t dead..just low. The new fluid must have worked because it stopped dripping. The heater was still on the fritz but the air conditioning  functioned..sort of. It was if Ol’ Whitey was saying..”let me get you through one more summer, pal.” So, I felt kind of bad when, with another winter coming on,  her last official duty was to haul bags of leaves from our yard to the drop-off site knowing when we were through, she, herself, was going to be hauled away… to the junkyard. That’s when the greatest miracle of all occurred. The heater began to blast hot air once again all by itself! I’m not kidding!
I don’t care what anybody says; this car has taken on a life of its own; able to heal itself.  I figure that’s nothing to mess with so before we went for our drive yesterday, I took her in for the first wash she’s had in two years, filled the gas tank full and checked the oil..adding a quart.  She performed flawlessly and kept us toasty warm on our 125 mile journey around Southwest Minnesota. On the interstate home from Luverne, just for the heck of it, I decided to try the radio. Do I have to say it?It came right on!
I’ve now decided to change her name from White Lightnin’ to Christine. The miracle car..say hallelujah!
Any favorite car stories? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Running Around In Circles

Posted: Monday, November 17, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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One of the great luxuries in my life is the DVR (digital video recorder) that’s part of my cable TV package. Because of it, I’m able to record programs like NASCAR racing in high definition and zip through all the boring parts of a four hour race in about an hour. Believe me, there are plenty of boring parts..and boring drivers these days including Jimmy Johnson who Sunday became the series champion for the third straight year. Jimmy Johnson wins his 3rd consecutive NASCAR championship.
I’ve been a fan of stock car racing ever since Cale Yarborough and Donny Allison, battling to win the 1979 Daytona 500, slammed and banged into each other at 200 miles an hour on the last lap. Both spun out giving the victory to Richard Petty. Then, with CBS cameras pointed at the two heavily damaged cars, out popped Yarborough and Allison and began throwing punches at each other. Oh, it was great live TV that everybody was talking about the next day.
Before long, ESPN was providing flag to flag coverage of NASCAR races and creating lots of excitement by using more in-car cameras for a new fan perspective. Crowds, both at home and at the track, loved it and before long, NASCAR had grown to become the largest spectator sport (some have a problem calling it a “sport”) in the country.
But now, I’m afraid, NASCAR is in trouble..on several fronts.  First, the races may be more competitive today (nobody wins by several laps anymore) but it’s the big teams with the big money(it costs about 30 million dollars to field a competitive car) that do all the winning. An independent team doesn’t stand a chance. The cars, other than being rolling billboards for corporate sponsors, all look the same. With the possible exception of  hot-head Tony Stewart,  drivers are also pretty much interchangeable.  No real characters among them.
But the biggest threat to NASCAR now seems to be the very real possibility that its sources for American race cars, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, are on the brink of bankruptcy unless congress comes riding in to the rescue with another bail-out plan.
President-elect, Obama doesn’t want to see the auto industry go belly up but doesn’t want to just give the big three automakers a blank check either; there would have to be conditions. Some leading Republicans say shelling out 25 billion dollars, as requested, wouldn’t be enough to save them anyway and just postpone the inevitable.  
I have a hunch that if you were to poll the American people most would say “to hell with them, if I fail in business or get stomped in the stock market, who’s going come in and bail me out?”
Maybe Ford, GM and Chrysler do deserve to go bust if for no other reason than being too stupid to recognize foreign competition for what it was and what the American public wanted in terms of style, quality and fuel efficiency.  People will buy what they like and “Made in the USA” doesn’t stir the loyalty juices it once did.
What do you think? Feel free to comment below.
It’ll sure seem weird, though,  to have 43 Toyotas on the starting grid for Daytona’s “Great American Race” next February.

Uncle Art

Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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As most anyone who knows me is well aware, I’m a charter member of the procrastinator’s club. So writing a story about a veteran on the day AFTER Veterans’ Day would be totally in character for me..Lund’s late again. But the truth is, this time I waited on purpose in hopes of giving this particular vet some singular attention I think he deserves. Paying tribute to those who have served this country should not be limited to a single day anyway.
Art was my first wife’s uncle and totally different from any of my Norwegian relatives. He grew up, tough as nails, on a farm near Freeman where the whole family spoke German. He was never able to shake that thick accent which, to me, made Art sort of mysterious because he sounded just like those German soldiers depicted in movies and on television.
Anyway, Art never talked about what he did in World War II. All we knew is that injures he suffered prevented him from working on the farm and led to his long career at the V.A. Hospital lab.
I didn’t see Art much after his niece and I divorced. He and his wife enjoyed the Mogen’s Heroes band and would often show up to listen whenever we played at the Sioux Empire Fair and we’d usually have a chat during breaks.
Then one day, about seven years ago, Art gave me a call at KELO. He said, “Duck (Doug) I’m getting old already. I’m 80 now and have kept some things bottled-up about the war that I’m ready to get off my chest.
The next day a Keloland cameraman and I were in the basement of Art’s  modest Westside Sioux Falls home hearing stories of combat that were so incredible we might not have believed them had it not been for the table full of medals and ribbons and the battle scars he showed us.Uncle Art in 2007. Photo courtesy SDPBWhen Arthur Wollmann left Freeman High School to join the U.S.Army in 1942, he hoped he wouldn’t be sent to Europe because he still had lots of relatives in Germany. He got his wish when he and the other members of the elite Red Arrow division boarded ship for the Pacific theater where he’d spend the next three years battling  the Japanese in New Guinea and the Philippines. The division soon established quite a fighting reputation. “Maybe too good, Art told me, because Macarthur used us quite a bit."  In fact, Wollmann’s Red Arrows spent over 600 days in combat..more than any division in any war.  Wollmann quickly moved up the ranks and became a platoon sergeant. Fighting in the Philippine province of Layte was brutal. A full company of 250 went in..75 were lost in about 15 minutes.“They just cut us to pieces with machine guns.” By the time his company was pulled out of  Layte there were only 15 men left. It was while trying to take out a machine gun nest that Wollmann was wounded the first time. He and five others were advancing up a hill when he heard the popping of grenade pins. Sgt. Wollman hollered “grenades” to the men below and hit the ground. “One grenade rolled underneath my buddy."  Wollmann’s friend was killed. He escaped with shrapnel in the arm and pretty shaken up but returned to the front lines after a couple weeks.
"You know if you’re a platoon leader, he told me, you can’t show your scared..even though you are."  The fighting was relentless. He and his men managed to take and hold an important road..killing many of the enemy. That operation led to a Bronze Star for heroic action.  Wollmann won the Silver Star for gallantry after he single handedly took out 21 Japanese soldiers.  Alone, he stumbled upon 40 to 50 Japanese down a hill. He got behind a rock and opened fire. After his ammo was gone, he only had one weapon left; an incendiary grenade. “ I thought well, here goes and I threw that. When I did, the grass started burning. They must have thought I had a secret weapon and they took off.  When I got back to my outfit, I just shook. I never smoked, but I smoked 3 cigarettes in about a half hour.”
Wollmann’s war came to an end in April of 1945. He was hit 4 times by machine gun fire. A damaged kidney was removed in a field hospital but, by some miracle, he survived and spent months in hospitals recuperating.
A few years ago, when the state of South Dakota passed a law allowing veterans, who left high school for the war, to graduate. Art decided to take advantage and, wearing a cap and gown, sat among the young graduating students at Freeman High.
During the ceremonies, the audience sat in stunned silence as Sgt. Wollman’s war record was read aloud..then jumped to their feet with thunderous applause as he stepped forward to receive his diploma.
It was a moment that meant more to him than all his medals.
 "There were a few tears, Art told me later.  I just stood up there thinking to myself how lucky I am. I knew I must be appreciated as a veteran."  Use the video player below to watch:

Doug’s History Of Television

Posted: Monday, November 10, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I was back on television over the weekend!
No, KELO didn’t call and ask me to fill-in on the news or anything like that. In fact, I never had to leave the house.
Our son, James, as promised, sent us one of those little high definition cameras to hook up to our computer. After a frustrating hour on the phone helping me figure out how to set the darn thing up, bang he was looking at Linda and me here while we were suddenly able to watch him, big as life,  live from his house in Oakland!
Daughter, Christy in Phoenix also has a computer camera. It’s hooked up to her laptop and, while Linda and I sat here in amazement, she walked around showing us the latest additions to her place including two recently acquired black kittens. We even had a video chat with her next door neighbors as they sat on their patio.
I know this technology has been around for several years but it’s new to us and great fun. In fact, it was so much like actually being there that it won’t be necessary to make the long trip to Arizona or California anymore. We’ll just give ‘em a call and turn on the camera. I’m kidding..I’m kidding! 
I’ve always been fascinated by television. The first one I ever saw was in the front window of Leite Hardware in 1952. It was shortly before KELO TV in Sioux Falls went on the air, so Art Leite had hooked up a huge antenna on his store and was able to pull in a weak television signal from somewhere down South. It was mostly electronic snow but I, and a lot of other people in town, stood there for long stretches at a time mesmerized at the sight of faint images moving across the 21 inch black and white TV screen.
We didn’t get our first set until 1955: a Capehart Overture II. It wasn’t the most expensive model but at 299 dollars, it was a major purchase for my dad who was only making about two bucks an hour at the time doing carpenter work.   Our first TV was a Capehart just like this one. The ad used some pretty flowery wording to describe what was, in fact, a pretty bare bones model; "Trim modern cabinet in fashion-right ebony Floratone. Diamond brilliant 21 inch picture. Capehart’s exclusive wrought iron legs and universal all-channel tuner."
A decade later, in 1965, I was a young married father and, like my old man, probably couldn’t afford the 499 dollars they were asking for a color TV set. But I bought one anyway. As I recall, it spent more time in the repair shop than our home.In 1995, I convinced Linda that we needed to spend 17 hundred dollars on a big screen projection TV for our new family room. Ten years later we replaced it with a 23 hundred dollar  flat screen hi def set.
Now, I’m sitting here in my little computer room which has been transformed into a television studio, literally overnight. Thanks to this one tiny camera, I’m suddenly able to point it in any direction and send the image over the internet to anywhere in the world!  It’s almost too much to compre…..hold on, gotta call coming in.
“Honey, it’s James..he wants to talk to you on the computer cam.”
“Uh, Jim..can Linda call you back later? She says her hair isn’t fixed.”

Love Me Or Leaf Me

Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Oh my God, Linda…I have a Charlie horse in my thumb!
That’s what woke me up this morning; the painful sight of  watching my left thumb curling up like a rattle snake about to strike. Then, as I was rubbing the inside of my left hand I noticed I could hardly open and close EITHER hand.  
When I tried to stand up to go for some Advil, I nearly fell to the floor from the pain in my back, heels and knees. What is happening to me?  Then I remembered…oh, yeah, six straight hours of doing yard work the day before.
It was my bright idea to save the 150 dollars we usually shell out for a professional lawn cleaning service each fall by doing the work ourselves.
“We’re not in very good shape yah know, are you sure we wanna do this?” Linda said.
“Well, we’ll just take our time, there aren’t as many leaves this year since the neighbors cut down their big cottonwood and we had our maple trimmed back considerably.” 
While she went to the store to buy paper bags, I got the leaf blower out. That’s when I noticed a lot of strange leaves piled up in two foot high drifts in our landscaping.  They were gifts from trees all over the neighborhood that sailed in during those hurricane force winds in late October.
 This was not going to be an easy job.
“I got 30 leaf bags. With the five we already have, that should be enough..right?” Linda said when she got back.  Then we started raking..and bagging..and raking and bagging until the sacks were all gone and we weren’t even half done.And piles to go before we sleep.
“We’re both gonna have heart attacks if we don’t stop for today,” Linda said. I agreed even though I knew the remaining leaf piles might end up being soaked with rain or covered in snow if we didn’t finish. We sort of stumbled inside, had a beer, a bite to eat and a handful of Ibuprofen. By eight o’clock we were both asleep in front of the TV.
But it was a restless sleep. Neither of us could get the thought of the unfinished job out of our heads. So, when we awoke this morning to partial sunshine and temps in the mid 40’s we decided to shrug off the pain and desire to just let the dang leaves sit there and rot until spring and get back to work.When we bought this two year old Lincoln in 1992, it was the most beautiful car we’d ever owned. Now with 170 thousand miles and cancerous rust eating away at the wheel wells, she has been reduced to the humiliation of service as a pick-up truck. I feel bad about it but I wowed the old guys at the leaf-drop off when, on my fourth and final trip there, I had managed to cram 16 bags inside..a personal record for the Town Car.
When the last leaf was finally in the bag around noon, Linda asked, “How much money did we save again by doing this miserable job ourselves?”  “Well, let’s see. 30 dollars worth of leaf bags plus four trips to the leaf drop-off site cost ten dollars including the gas.”
“So we saved 110 dollars..not counting our labor and Advil expense,” Linda said as she leaned backward with her hands on her hips trying to stretch away the pain in her lower back. “I love you, she said, but let’s start saving up the money now because I’m not doin’ this ever again.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve already got the yard guy’s number on speed dial.”Free at last..free at last, thank God Almighty, we’re free of leaves at last.

Monday Morning Quarterback

Posted: Monday, November 3, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Forget the headline..today’s entry really has nothing to do with comments on Sunday’s football games..well, nothing other than the Vikings managed to make me yell at the TV again  as they tried their very best to  give away a 14 point lead. But they didn’t and the Colts beat New England last night so all is well in my little NFL world.
I check the news entries on Keloland.com every day. There were a few this morning that caught my eye which I thought warranted a few additional observations.
“South Dakota Senator John Thune says he’s hopeful VeraSun energy will emerge a stronger company after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I think the future of ethanol is very bright, I think we’re experiencing a speed bump in the road that will correct itself over time.”
Now, I like John Thune but to say that the bankruptcy of Sioux Falls-based VeraSun, the nation’s second largest ethanol producer which is 2 Billion dollars in debt, might be a good thing in the long run..seems like a bit of a stretch. This “speed bump” sounds more like a brick wall. But what do I know? I’m stuck having to buy into my financial planner’s advice to hang-on..stay the course..in hopes that our meager investments will one-day rebound and thrive again. Like Thune’s “speed bump” he’s also fond of using euphemisms like a “hiccup” in the stock market instead of a crash; “course correction” instead of recession.
“Holy severed bat heads” Batman, the prince of &^%$#@’n darkness was in Yankton last week!  Heavy metal rock legend, Ozzy Osbourne..who once bit off a bat’s head on stage was right there in river city with his wife and kids shooting footage for their new variety show, which has a working title of "The Osbournes: Loud and Dangerous."  I must admit that I was a fan of the MTV reality show called “The Osbournes” which featured the controversial lead singer for Black Sabbath as the bumbling, mumbling husband and father he really is. It was hilarious.
After reading Shawn Neisteadt’s story on calculating our carbon footprint, I decided to find out how bad of polluters Linda and I are. I knew I was in trouble when one of the first questions asked was what kind of car we drive.  Even though our big old Lincoln gets pretty good mileage it, along with the amount of driving we do, was apparently bad enough to give us a final reading of 7.5…or about the national average.   
Now that gasoline prices are down around two bucks a gallon again (which many predicted would never..ever..happen) I wonder how it might affect people’s enthusiasm for going green or firing up their SUV’s that have been parked all summer.  
I see that a federal prosecutor will be on duty Tuesday in South Dakota to take any reports of election fraud or voting rights abuses. Gee, I don’t think anything like that has been an issue in my precinct. About the only violation I’ve ever noticed are people accidentally driving into the parking lot of our polling place on the road marked Exit instead of Entrance.
Once inside, I always look forward to the friendly hellos from the nice old folks..all volunteers..sitting there checking off names, passing out ballots…and asking if we’d like a piece of candy from a dish on the table.
As I emerge from those few moments in the voting booth, there’s always a feeling that rushes over me about how lucky I am..how lucky we ALL are..to take part in this process and what a privilege it is to be an American.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience that feeling for yourself Tuesday.