Archive for November 2009

Language Abuse

Posted: Monday, November 30, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
No Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

We received a lovely gift from our daughter on Thanksgiving this past week..a beautiful bright red poinsettia plant which Linda is convinced she’ll somehow manage to kill off before the family gets a chance to see it when they come home for Christmas. 
I don’t know about you but both Linda and I have always pronounced the name of that flower Poin-setta..three syllables.  It turns out, though, that much of the world prefers the proper (read that snooty) four syllable pronunciation; Poin-set-ee-ah.  
My co-workers at Kelo were always correcting me until I showed them a dictionary that says either pronunciation is acceptable much like Cara-BEE-un and Cah-RIB-ee-un or Feb-YOU-ary and Feb-ROO-ary. Hemmingsen always teased me about saying Feb-YOU-ary until I pointed out that if it was good enough for Walter Cronkite, it was good enough for me.
Some say that mispronouncing words is a reflection on one’s intelligence. I don’t know if that’s true especially after seeing a story on NOVA recently in which an atomic scientist repeatedly said nuke-YOU-lur energy instead of the correct nuke-LEE-ur. 
Some of my best friends and family members say Nuke-YOU-lur or Real-AH-tor instead of REAL-tor or Pros-STRATE instead of pros-TATE when referring to that little gland that only men have and is so prone to cancer.
I do cringe when hearing such language abuses as, “I Could care less,” which is opposite of what you mean. Or, Anyways..with an unnecessary “s” at the end. Calvary is where Christ was crucified. Cavalry is what Custer was leading when he ran into all those Indians.
Mispronunciations likely have more to do with where you’re from and how your parents and grandparents spoke..than how bright you are. Both Linda and her friend, Joanie, came from different Midwest towns but were taught to say WARSH instead of WASH. I don’t know where the extra “R” comes from..probably from people in Maine or Massachusetts who often don’t bother using their “R’s” at all. “The Hahvad professah sat down to dinnah with his sistah and brothah eating food from the gahden.”
Me, I grew up believing that the place where mom kept my socks and underpants was a “chester drawers” and those flowers she had growing alongside the house were Pee-YO-nees and my dad wore over-HAULS to work every day.
When I first started in TV I was assigned to do a commercial in which I said that Ben Hur Ford was having a CLARANCE sale.  The director yelled, “Whoa..did you just call it a “clarance” the cross-eyed lion?”  That’s when I first discovered that stores have a CLEARance sale because they’re CLEARing out their inventory not just offering bargains to guys named Clarance.
I spent over 30 years in a profession in which proper pronunciation is not only expected, it’s mandatory. Yet those inaccurate utterances that were planted in my head as a child continued to pop out of my mouth right up until retirement.
I was recording a promo for a Keloland special sponsored by a furniture company. I kept saying SlumberLUND until promotional director Paul Farmer’s quiet voice came over the studio loudspeaker, “Uh, Doug..I believe that’s SlumberLAND.”
One of my most notable on-air faux pas came during a newscast when, after a story I turned to Angela Kennecke and said something about it having “grammarical” errors.  She looked at me as though I had snakes crawling out of my eyes and said, “Do you mean grammatical, Doug?”
Well, I turned as red as a baboon’s butt as we went to commercial.
When we returned from the break I tried to make light of my blunder blaming everyone from my parents, aunts and uncles to the English teachers at VHS.
After the newscast I got word that the general manager would like to see me in his office. As I entered, he just shook his head and said, “Well, at least you covered yourself nicely.” And that was it.
He’s the one responsible for getting all KELO reporters and anchors to be consistent in the pronunciation of IRAQ. “It’s not EYE-RACK,”he said. (Although that’s how a majority of people, including soldiers, say it) It’s either EAR-RACK or EAR-ROCK. After consulting with Qadir Aware of Sioux Falls, a native of the country in question, we settled on EAR-ROCK.
In researching for this blog I’ve come across words and phrases that I continue to screw up such as: Card SHARKS instead of the correct card SHARPS. Tijuana has just three syllables..not four. Silicon is the valley where computers are made. Silicone is what surgeons implant in woman to create bigger valleys.
Oh, well I guess you can teach an old pundent new tricks. Wait a’s PUNDIT isn’t it?

Manna From Heaven The Real Story

Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
No Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

I found it somewhat satisfying when, a couple of weeks ago, my pal and fellow Norwegian (although he only claims about a half a pint of Norskie blood) Steve Hemmingsen, wrote a blog which included pictures of a lutefisk feed he attended in Astoria.
He actually seemed to enjoy himself and the lye-cured cod fish that is the butt of so many jokes and can send even the mightiest of men scrambling in search of sanctuary away from the sight and smell of the stuff.
Of course Steve felt compelled to note that Lutefisk, while not as vile tasting as some claim,(including me I’m afraid)  it couldn’t compare to the  lobster he gobbled up by the dozen on his recent trip to Maine.
I should have invited him along to a party I attended last Saturday which would have taken him further down the road of Nordic cuisine exploration.
It was the first annual Springdale Lutheran Church lefse party. (hummm, that’s funny. My spell checker doesn’t recognize the world lefse.) 
What is lefse some of you ask?
Well, read your Bible.
In Exodus it is called unleavened bread sent down from Heaven by God to feed the starving Israelites wandering around in the desert.
What the scriptures don’t mention is that the Lord used potatoes instead of wheat to make it.
Throughout the ages, scholars and kings have pondered the question of why the Almighty chose the lowly spud to work his miracle.
Then, a young prophet, named Anders, from the city of  Trondheim received the answer in a dream and in 860 AD was summoned to the court by King Harald Fairhair to reveal it.
“Der’s really not dat much to it your highness,” said Anders. “God vas out of flour.
Potatoes vas all He had “LEFT, SIR.”
The king thought he said lef-Se  and decreed that henceforth  this heavenly food be made and consumed by Scandinavians each holiday season until the Lord returns in a cloud of glory.
I have loved eating lefse (Norwegian tortilla if you like) since my mother baked them by the thousands in my youth. After she passed, both my brothers picked up her turning stick and carried on the tradition. I have not…until Saturday.
About 30 of us showed up at church to learn the delicate technique of lefse making from expert experienced bakers willing to share their skills.
Patties are made from chilled mashed potatoes and flour.  The real challenge is rolling those patties out paper thin and getting them wound upon the turning stick and deposited on the hot griddle.
Like me, Pastor Marlin Haugrud is a lefse eater not a lefse maker but receives high praise from parishioner, Mary Reifers for his rolling skills.
 Of course, lefse can puff up like a souffle and explode if it’s not rolled out thin enough as Anna Budahl discovered.  
Just like a steak, I like my lefse well done. If it looks like mygreat aunt Christy’s liver spotted face..that’s perfect.Steve..even agnostics are welcome at the lefse table. We’ll make a believer out of you yet.

Magical Cures Or Snake Oil?

Posted: Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
No Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

“What in the world are you laughing at?” Linda shouted from the other room.
“A commercial,” I hollered back.
“Commercial?…you haven’t watched a commercial since we got the DVR.”
“I know..but this is too hilarious to skip over. It’s an ad for a new piece of exercise equipment called a shake weight that’s supposed to reduce lady’s upper arm fat.
“There’s nothing funny about that I can tell you,” she said.
“Oh no?” “Wait till you see it,” I concluded.
That’s all I’m going to say about this product that is being marketed on the premise of innocence and effectiveness and if you find it blatantly suggestive than it’s time to get your mind out of the gutter, chum.
Even though Linda feels self conscious about..what she perceives as..a little flab below the biceps that didn’t used to be there..I’m not about to order a shake weight if for no other reason than I wouldn’t want the mailman…or mailwoman in our case.. delivering this thing to the house because she’s likely seen the commercial too and wonder how anybody could be so dumb as to  shell out 20 bucks (not including shipping and handling) for this contraption.
But, it’s not like I haven’t been suckered into all sorts of various health related gimmicks in the past. I still have a case of Tahitian Noni juice in the basement fridge. This foul tasting stuff was supposed to cure everything from high blood pressure to bowel irregularities. All it did was make me gag each of the three times a day I was supposed to drink it.
I also have boxes of specialized magnets that, when worn or rubbed on the body, are supposed to make aches and pains disappear. About all that disappeared was 150 bucks a month.
Which brings to mind a South Dakota made product that caused quite a nation-wide stir 30 years ago.
Anybody remember Willard Water? 
It was the creation of Dr. John Willard..a chemistry teacher at the School of Mines in Rapid City. He came up with a way to change the molecular structure of plain water. The resulting solution which he called catalyst altered water was aimed at promoting plant growth but before long, people were using Willard Water for everything from healing burns and sore throats to removing stubborn stains.
Word of this miraculous Willard Water reached the desk of Harry Reasoner at “60 Minutes who decided to come to Rapid City and find out for himself if this guy was selling snake oil or really had come up with a magical potion that would turn science on its ear. Well, what Reasoner discovered is that while there wasn’t any real science to support the amazing claims of Willard Water’s capabilities, nearly everyone who used it from burn victims, to farmers to nuns, believed it worked and had the evidence to prove it. To see the 60 Minutes story click here.
I’m surprised I never ordered any Willard Water in those months following the 60 Minutes broadcast because everybody was sure talking about it.
But before long Dr. Willard and his magic water slipped back into relative obscurity and out of the national limelight.
I got to wondering if it was still around and, sure enough, a couple clicks on the computer reveals that the late Dr. Willard’s family continues to run the business and distribute the product around the world.
I wonder, since I don’t seem to qualify for a vaccination, if Willard Water could keep the swine flu away from our door.

Milk It For All It’s Worth

Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
No Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

I was brought up believing that if you help out or do something nice for somebody..just do it and shut up about it.
So, I’m sort of going against my raisin’ here by mentioning that Linda and I joined with other members of our church last week serving at The Banquet in Sioux Falls.
I only bring it up because the feeding ministry has a special need..which I’ll get to later.
I’ve done lots of stories on The Banquet for KELO over the years but this was the first time I’d ever actually taken part in the process of getting up close and personal with the people who go there to eat.
They were already lining up when we arrived..nearly an hour before  the doors officially opened at 6pm.
Unlike the old facility downtown, there is room at the new one at 8th and Indiana for guests to come inside and out of the elements.
“Man, they must really be hungry or just have nothing else to do,” I said under my breath as we entered the back door to receive instructions, work assignments and a prayer.
“Please keep in mind that these people are our guests and to be treated with respect,” said Dan who, along with his wife, Lyndia are two of the unpaid Banquet staff members who regularly guide volunteers through their paces before each meal. “When it’s your turn to eat, go sit with some of the guests,” said Dan. “Don’t preach to them..just visit and “listen” to what they may have to say.”
I’d rather just work in the background..I thought. I’d be happy to do dishes. I have no idea what to say to these folks.
“Doug and Linda, we’ll have you serve beverages, okay?” Dan said. “We go through a lot of that’ll keep one of you busy.”  Linda grabbed the milk jug before I had a chance..leaving me with the task of pouring water and coffee which aren’t nearly as popular.
That left me ample time to stand there and observe the operation and appreciate the efficiency of it.
Then I saw a couple of the guests motion for me to come I did, with water and coffee in hand. But they weren’t thirsty. “Doug, how’s retirement going?” one of them said. “We watched you on the news for years and miss seeing you.”  
I almost said “What are you doing here?” before it got through my thick head that The Banquet isn’t just for the homeless and destitute or those with various physical and mental challenges. It’s also a gathering place for folks who may be down on their luck or just plain lonely.
Who among us has not been there?
I’m afraid I stink as a beverage server but really did enjoy doing the very thing I’d been dreading; sitting down and talking with the guests.
Linda, on the other hand, was hopping all evening on the milk detail..which brings me to the point of this whole thing.
Milk is one of the Banquet food services biggest expenses and it recently lost the supplier that was providing it for free.
It just seems to me that a place that provides such a wonderful service should not have to worry about paying the milk bill and there may be somebody out in blogland able to alleviate that concern.
For information on who to contact and find out more about The Banquet  CLICK HERE to check out it’s web site and give ‘em a call.
By the way, I guess we were there on a pretty slow night; just under 300 guests served including about 30 kids. But like Dan says, winter’s coming and when the temperature goes down..the guest list goes up.
I hope they don’t run out of milk.

Captain 11 Update

Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
No Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

I’m sure a lot of you can appreciate how lucky I’ve been to have had Dave Dedrick as a friend for 35 plus years.
After all, I grew up with him on television too..both as a Kelo personality and, of course, as Captain 11.
Because of that, many people, who know that Dave has been in the hospital for several weeks now, have been asking me how he’s doing and what the heck is wrong.
Well, to the best of my knowledge, he went in to deal with back pain that has been excruciating for some time. In the course of treating that, other old health issues have cropped up to the point that he has been confined to bed.
My pal, Lyle Bamsey and I decided to defy the ban on visitors because of swine flu concerns and stopped by Avera Select to see the Captain this morning.
Laying flat on his back, he noticed us come in and, with a big smile and handshake, said “Doogle and Bammer..good to see you.”
The old fart is still sharp as they come and still able to intimidate me with his intellect and wit. For example, during a lull in the conversation, I said..”So, Dave, are you in much pain?”
Here’s a guy with a spine like a dry twig laying there with instructions posted all around his bedside for staff to be especially careful in moving him..and I ask a dumb question like that.
He just looked at Bammer and rolled his eyes, then laughed.
God, I love that man and hate it that his body can’t keep up with his brain any longer.
I frankly don’t know what his prognosis is but am sure of one thing..he needs your continued prayers or positive thoughts or whatever cosmic energy you call upon to make things better.
He loves the fact that so many of you have sent greetings over the Facebook web site called “Friends of Captain 11”  He gets regular updates from his wife, Marjean..son, Dana and daughter, keep ‘em coming. There were over 5 thousand of you at last count. 
Oh, one other thing that is so typical of my friend.  He wanted to do something nice for the hospital staff so ..sick as he is..he ordered pizzas for everybody and was surprised when the appreciative crew said that’s the first time a patient had ever done anything like that.
Oh, Lord..the world needs this guy around awhile longer…a LOT longer.Please?

Hero Worship

Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
No Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

It seems only fitting that Art Wollmann’s funeral be held on Veterans Day because he was not only a gallant World War II veteran but a hero in every sense of the word.
I am one who believes that the word “hero” has been applied a bit too freely in recent years diminishing its meaning.  But with Art, it is a truly deserved recognition..even though he, himself, never considered his actions on the field of battle in the Pacific Theater as anything heroic.
I did an Eye On Keloland story 8 years ago about Arthur Wollmann’s war experiences after he called and said it was time to get some of the things he’d kept bottled up inside out in the open. This was not for any personal glory..but a need to vent about the things he saw and did during 600 days of combat..including being wounded four times and single handedly killing 21 Japanese soldiers he encountered at the base of a hill.
I recounted his story a year ago on this blog..some of which I am repeating here as a Veterans Day tribute and because Arthur’s heart finally gave out last Saturday at the V.A. Hospital.
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.
When he called wondering if I’d be interested in hearing his story, I considered it a privilege and it’s an honor to share it again with you here.
Just click play.

No Heavy Lifting

Posted: Friday, November 6, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
No Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

Well, wadda ya know..there’s going to be a bit of Indian Summer after all.
My old colleague, Gary Weckwerth recently commented on Facebook about the political correctness of using that term to describe a burst of Autumn warmth..but nobody’s ever accused me of being too politically correct anyway so I’ll take my lumps if some take offense.
I finally got the yard work done Thursday. Once again the lawn was buried in shin-deep leaves, ours and the neighbors. It’s just killer back-breaking work getting them all raked up and hauled away.
At least that’s what the guys from Peter’s Landscaping said when I was writing out their check. No sir…there may be a recession going on and the government may have frozen our social security payments..but I’m done dealing with that chore forever and will gladly cut expenses somewhere else if need be in order to pay Peter and his all-Russian crew to come over with their riding lawn vacuums and other power equipment that lets them complete the task without even breaking a sweat.
They did it in less than two hours.
Last year, it took Linda and me 2 days..not to mention enduring the embarrassment of making several trips through town to the drop-off site in my old Lincoln..crammed with up to 16 bags of leaves.
Please don’t tell me how the exercise would do me good.
It won’t do me good. In fact, such violent interruptions to my sedentary lifestyle could easily have my body reaching for the heart\off switch and the next thing you know, Linda would be picking out plots for a long dirt nap.
I’ve always had an aversion to manual labor..even before I joined the world of the fat and fluffy.
That’s not to say I haven’t done it. I have. One of my summer jobs in high school was as a block tender for Gross Construction. For those who don’t know what that is..let me enlighten.
You get up at sunrise to face a day in the hot sun hauling concrete in each hand.. carrying them over to the skilled mason who would cement them in place. As the wall got taller, the lifts became higher and my arms grew wearier.
“Getting’ a little heavy for ya, there Doug,” Clarence Mast would say with a Pall Mall in his lips and a smile on his face.
“Hard work never hurt anyone,” he’d say.
“Oh no?” “Tell that to the widows of the 112 guys who croaked building Hoover Dam.”  
I thought it but didn’t say it.
To this day I’ve never seen anybody who is jogging or lifting or stair-stepping or any other form of strenuous activity that seems remotely happy while doing it. Red faced, wincing in pain, gasping..yes.  
Of course it’s possible that I’m just lazy…okay “probable.”
But it’s something I can live with.

Geezer Crashes All-Girl Party

Posted: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
No Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

I fully intended to post this blog on Monday but had to delay because of a phone call I received.
It was from Digger calling to say some of the boys were gathering at the Brandon Golf Course for, what could be our last chance to play this season. So, at 12:30, four of us teed off into a stiff north wind that caused my eyes to water and nearly miss the ball. At least that’s the excuse I’m using. Still, it was great to be out in the sunshine sharing shivers and laughs with friends who love this goofy game as much as I.  In fact, we’re going to try it again on Friday if the weather forecast doesn’t slip into ooops, sorry, mode.
Sadly, the week-long visit by our granddaughter, Zoey, came to an end Friday as we packed up her little suitcase, together with lots of extra stuff acquired from spoiling grandparents, then drove her back home to Lincoln, Nebraska in time for her 8th birthday party on Saturday followed by Halloween trick or treating.
Just a side note here: If you are an impatient person and easily frustrated, DO NOT..REPEAT..DO NOT travel south on Interstate 29. I was pulling out great tufts of hair as we encountered one construction zone after another. It took a full half hour to get through Sioux City where work has been going on since Eisenhower was president.  Huge chunks of interstate between Sioux City and Omaha are still ripped up. Expect two lane traffic through the winter months and well beyond. I-80 between Omaha and Lincoln remains a sea of orange cones and barrels with speed limits varying between 75 and 50 a dozen times over the 46 miles.
I know, I know, these projects take time but it seems odd that a road crew guy can have a full career working along that same stretch of highway.
Eventually, though, we made it to Cornhusker City and Zoey’s parents were as excited to see her as we were sad to give her back.
Zoey was excited too because Saturday, 12 little girls were coming over to help celebrate her birthday with a dress-up party.
Her dad and grandpas were the only men allowed at this little soiree and each of us had job assignments.Zoey, the birthday girl, is lower right in the pink hat.
Upon arrival, every little girl received a colorful hat and boa then proceeded to various stations around the house where they would have make-up applied,and get their nails done.(Linda’s job)
Then it was on to the game room where I was in charge of music beginning with a rousing rendition of “Little Sally Walker” in which the kids form a circle with one girl in the middle who skips, sings and dances; “Little sally walker walking down the street, didn’t know what to do so she jumped in front of me, singing hey girl do your thing, do your thing, hey girl do your thing, now switch”.
And, switch they did until everyone had a turn.
I admit to feeling a bit silly..this big old guy dressed in a Nebraska Cornhuskers sweatshirt..singing “hey girl do your thing”..but that’s what grandpa’s with assigned tasks do. Next up I was in charge of the CD player for a game of musical chairs only instead of chairs, the girls passed a purse filled with prizes around a circle. The one holding the purse when the music stopped got to fish around inside and grab a gift.  Unfortunately, I proved to be a lousy deejay because I lost track of which girls had not received a prize; an error that was realized after receiving an icy stare from a pair of big blue eyes about to fill with tears because the mean old guy running the music had passed her by.
Well, I made up for it on the next round and everybody seemed to be happy when they left my station to the one next door where they were making bookmarks.
From there it was on to the photography station where each little girl had her picture taken with the guest of honor to take home. Then  to the bakery station where the kids decorated cupcakes that I had made the night before (Yes, I did!) and everyone sat at their assigned seats..sang Happy Birthday and dug in to the cakes and ice cream.Daughter, Suzan, makes sure every guest has a candle to blow out. That’s Zoey’s other grandpa, Paul in the background. His job was to dry the girls’ painted fingernails with a hair dryer.
 As I sat in the background watching Zoey open her birthday presents..squealing with delight at each one..I got to thinking about how blessed we are..both as a family and a country that we might experience such privilege and joy. 
It made me realize that life is too short to waste on being aggravated over things like road construction.
But, rather than run the risk of losing that warm/fuzzy feeling, I decided to skip the interstate and take old highway 77 home.
Yahoo, Nebraska is real pretty this time of year. Just a couple hours after the birthday party it was time to change into Zoey’s Halloween costume.She decided a year ago to dress up as "Puss ‘n Boots." The look was made complete thanks to some make-up expertly applied by her daddy.