Notes From The Parking Lot

Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I’m writing this from the front seat of Big Red parked in the lot of a well known fast food restaurant where I just downed a breakfast biscuit. I had to get out of the house this morning because A) Kelo called and needed me to come down and record a promo, B) I  was hoping that a change of scenery might get the creative juices flowing and unclog my blog bog-down, and C) Linda is in full Spring cleaning mode and me sitting there on the couch dividing most of my attention between the TV and the laptop is an understandable source of irritation to her. So, it was either get out or get busy.

I haven’t been worth a hoot for over a week anyway. The mother of all colds decided to pay a call bringing her full arsenal of ailments beginning with a scratchy throat followed by incessant sneezing which got my snot pump flowing like the Falls of the Big Sioux.  Then came the congestion and the constant coughing; hours of hacking away in a vane attempt to loosen great gobs of mucus mired deep within my chest cavity. (Sorry to be so vivid) My reward for bravely doing battle against this green monster? Stomach and rib muscles that had become so sore the next cough or, God forbid, a sneeze, would drop me to my knees, assume the fetal position and writhe in pain. Anyway, after lots of swigs from the Robitussin bottle as well as ample amounts of Vicks Vapo Rub, I’m finally feeling better. But I’m still having trouble coming up with a topic to write about.  Oh, there are lots of possibilities; gas prices for example. It now costs me over 50 dollars to fill Big Red’s tank. FIFTY DOLLARS!  Well, Doug, there’s that Libya civil war deal that’s apparently causing some of it. NO it’s not. We only import a fraction of Libyan oil. Besides the current world oil production is MORE than current demand. It’s the &^%$# oil SPECULATORS that are causing all of this. If social media sites like Facebook can be credited with stirring up successful revolts in the Middle East..I wonder why it hasn’t been used to bring about a world wide rebellion against the ridiculously high cost of fuel. There IS NO CURRENT SHORTAGE OF OIL..yet we’re getting screwed like an old incandescent light bulb at the pump because a few folks are worried that there might be .  Now see? When I start writing in capital letters to stress a point, it’s a  sure sign that  I’ve gone too far. I’m yelling at the wind and I’m not very good at it.

blog oil

 I do recall, however, that when this happened before three years ago, Americans didn’t just sit on their hands..we fought back by CUTTING back which caused the oil barons to get nervous and prices came down.  That doesn’t seem to be the case this time around, though. Instead, I’m hearing complacent utterings like, “Well, it IS frustrating but I guess there isn’t much we can do about it.” ” Yeah, the airlines are ripping us off..but we’ve got to get to Vegas.” “I don’t like the idea of those full body scans either but you never know, grandma might be packin’ heat in her girdle.”

I also could write about Charley Sheen parading his mental illness in front of the anxiously accommodating  TV cameras every night. But, for me, this whole tragic display is like watching a bullfight and knowing it’s just a matter of time before the matador drives a machete through the bull’s brain and he’s dragged out of the arena by his heels.  

blog charlie

Or, I could write about state budget cuts. Linda and I went to Hartford Elementary School last Monday. Our granddaughter, Ella, was student of the week in her Kindergarten class meaning she could invite anybody she wanted for a tour of her classroom and to share lunch in the cafeteria. It was such fun to see Ella’s eyes light up when she came in from recess and how excited she was to show us all her projects. Her teacher is Mrs. Wallace who, for kids that age, is more than a teacher. She’s a mom, a doctor, a psychologist, a disciplinarian and a best friend. As I watched her handle all the cares and concerns of those little ones in her charge..answering all their sometimes tedious questions with patience, understanding and compassion, I thought to couldn’t pay me enough to do her job. But it has been my experience that most K-12 public school teachers aren’t all that different from Mrs. Wallace who put the education of our kids above all else..including a big fat paycheck.  Now, South Dakota has gotten itself in a budget predicament forcing major cuts to balance the exceptions..public schools too must bite the bullet. I have a hunch that even though they’re not likely to see significant salary bumps anytime soon, teachers like Mrs. Wallace will not abandon their posts or lessen their degree of commitment to children’s education. They’ll carry on without complaint. I just wish the extra dollar a gallon I’m being forced to pay for gas could go to them instead of lining the pockets of greedy gas bag oil speculators who send their kids to private schools.


  1. Jeff says:

    I think that the people don’t want to stand up at the
    pumps and be counted. I know from reading the email
    that circulates, that we have enough crude oil here in the
    USA to handle our needs for years to come. But the “environmentalists”
    don’t want us to damage the areas it is being found in and the
    others don’t want to pump it now because they won’t make the
    money that they want. As for Charlie he needs to grow up and
    be thankful for the job he has that is over paying him. Sorry to hear you
    have the crud and hope you get better soon, it’s not allergies since Linda
    is doing all the spring cleaning?

  2. Nancy says:

    I love reading your blogs. You have touched on a subject very dear to me. I live in a small town and send my kids to a small school. My question, is why do State Legislatures and the Governor dislike small schools so much. These cuts will close some schools within a year.

    I also didn’t realize how much disrespect you are showing to our teachers by approving these cuts. We have some excellent teachers that are willing to take a cut in their salary to teach in a small community.

    These students are our future leaders of South Dakota. Do you really think by cutting their education dollars that they will want to stay in our state and work? Some are even considering Education as their field of study. By making these cuts, you are sending our future teachers outside the state of SD. Our kids deserve better!

  3. Paul Farmer says:

    Watch tonight’s CBS Evening News for this story – a look at the private investors who run up the price of oil and score easy bucks at the gas pump.

  4. prairierose says:

    I agree with you about our teachers and our schools. Appears like cuts in education are always the 1st on the list anytime the state govt. gets in budget trouble.
    Google ..oil in Willston Basin..find out why the USA importing oil is an exploitation of a naiive citizenry. BTW..South Dakota is part of the Willston Basin.
    Sorry to hear you have the Mother of all Colds..would suggest you apply Vicks Vapor Rub to the soles of your feet at night to eliminate coughing. I know–laugh all you works. Put a pair of socks on after applying or Linda will be asking for my address in retaliation for her bed sheets. smile

  5. grouse says:

    My loving wife couldn’t agree with prairierose more! In fact, I’m starting to agree with her on this issue. Just like aspirin, Vicks (according to my wife) can cure anything. During four decades of marriage, she’s had me apply Vicks almost everywhere. Almost. But, I’m sure that day will come…and I’ll probably try it. When the time comes. Maybe. OK, I will.

  6. daniel Johnson says:

    You are right as to the speculators running up the price of oil. By clever use of financial instruments they protect themselves against price declines and profit on the increases while the public pays the freight. But there is total silence in washington .

  7. Crawford T. says:

    El-oh-el at “snot pump”. Way to find the silver lining, Doug.

    Also, while I generally don’t give a toss for celebrity gossip and wouldn’t under just about any circumstance make light of someone’s genuine mental/neurological disorders, I have to say that the entire Sheen affair along with all the resultant internet memes have become akin to the best surrealist novel of all time, unfolding right before our eyes free of charge.

  8. JD says:

    This is probably a little off topic, but when you mentioned $50 for a tank of gas, it reminded me that the ratio between gas prices and the price of a replacement battery has changed dramatically in recent years. Used to be a big deal to replace the battery in your car; now, it doesn’t cost much more than a tank of gas…

  9. michael says:

    Before the “Drill, baby, drill” people start shouting again it should be pointed out that oil companies that drill off the US shoreline are under no obligation to sell that oil to the US. They can take it to the open market and, more than likely, will sell it to the Chinese. Something Sarah Palin should think about before she opens her big mouth again.

  10. Hank says:

    These funding cuts are all bad news in their own right, but the cut to education hits home the hardest I think. I heard a couple of the Democrats reminding the legislature that by law, school funding is to increase at “X” % (I think 1.8%) or the percent of inflation, whichever is lower. That has been completely ignored for the last 2 years. Now, I have been reading that our legislators are patting themselves on the back because they might be able to reduce the 10% cut to a range of 6-8% depending on which bills get signed and instituted. To me this is like a bully that steals lunch from a kid and then gives him back the apple where the kid is first terrorized, then sad, then mad, we all need to be mad. I think the only answer will be at the polls when these legislators come back up for election. I don’t care who is in power (I am a registered Republican), but we need to have some checks and balances in Pierre. Right now you can haul all of the non-Republicans around in a short bus. The Republicans are completely responsible for creating this structural deficit and now they are in charge of fixing it? Wow! Republicans have control of every branch of governement, including the judicial, and until South Dakotans wake up and realize that this isn’t good for our state, we can expect more of the same.

  11. jab says:

    Ifind it interesting that people think we should drill in th US, which i beleive should be done also, but South Dakotans do not want Hyperion to come.

  12. Sweeps says:

    Jab, be careful about the blanket statement that “South Dakotans” don’t want Hyperion in our backyards. I’m a life long SD resident; I grew up in that area. I’m in favor of the Hyperion project.

  13. UC Resident says:

    If you care at all about the health and safety of the residents this area of SD, you would be against Hyperion. The air permit was so flawed with under-estimates and omissions of the air pollution that HEC itself had to request that it be corrected. The air permit does NOT account for additional emissions from startups, shut downs, and malfunctions which can be many, many times the amount of normal emission. In addition there is the issue of fugitive emissions (leaks from joints, etc.) that is also not accounted for in the permit. This disaster is proposed to be built over an aquifer that provides clean water for our residents. It is estimated that 25% of the pollution from a refinery goes into the water! It will also be built near two rivers, and over Brule Creek for more probable chances of water pollution. Southeastern SD has very productive farmland that does its share to contribute to the economy of SD without a refinery.

  14. Dennis Gene says:

    Sweeps You say you grew up in that area but not that you live in that area. If you still live in that area and are in favor of Hyperion you are probably in the minority but maybe not. I am almost 70 and never vote anything but democrat my whole life. I am really in the minority in this southern state. South of North Dakota of course.

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