Archive for May 2011

The Right To Not Vote

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 at 10:34 am
By: Doug Lund
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I didn’t vote in the Sioux Falls school board election on Tuesday.

electionballot_colorNow before you begin wagging your finger at me and making tsk tsk sounds questioning my citizenship qualifications, hear me out.  I chose not to make a trip down to the polls because I didn’t give a rip about which of the two school board candidates got elected. Nothing personal, but both Doug Morrison, who defeated incumbent, Debbie Hoffman, have plenty of school board experience and seem equally qualified to me so it made absolutely no sense to stand over a ballot, go eeny-meeny-miney-mo, and make an X in a box negating the vote of someone who actually gave a hoot.

I feel the same way about all elections and wish everyone else did too. If you don’t have a clue about a candidate or an issue, leave that part of the ballot blank. It is no sin. Of course the best way to approach the polls is to have done your homework first and know exactly who or what you’re going to vote for so you don’t skew the results with guesses. Plus the people standing in line behind you will appreciate your patriotic promptness.

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For several years now, I’ve been going to write a blog about all the changes that have transpired on the east side of Sioux Falls since I first moved here in 1969. Most all of the fun places I remember are long gone. Places like Ricky’s Drive-In, East Park Drive-in Theater, Gene Grace’s little gas station at East 10th and Sycamore which was pretty much the last east side outpost before Rowena and the source of a hundred varieties of candy for sale to kids in the fast growing neighborhood. There was Taco Villa, Frosty Treat, The Hot Fish Shop, Pizza Inn (one of the few to still survive and thrive) and, of course Lollypop Park. It was a tiny amusement park located where 10th and 12th streets come together.  Cherry Tree Apartments and Shop ‘N Cart are located there now. My two little girls absolutely loved going there..not only for the six kiddie rides but to see the sweet old couple that ran the place, Burdette and Orpha Melloon. They were like substitute grandparents for hundreds..perhaps thousands of little ones. Orpha tried to run Lollypop Park for a time after Burdette died but our personal little version of Disneyland eventually disappeared.  

Jerry Paar at the controls of Joyland Park little train

Jerry Paar at the controls of Joyland Park little train

Lollypop Park actually had it’s beginnings as “Joyland Park” in the 1950’s located at 33rd and Duluth and owned by Gene and Sylvia Scribner.

I discover all this because of a young man who I’ve mentioned here before; Eric Renshaw. Although not a native of Sioux Falls, Eric has become one of its most dedicated historians. His website, www.greetingsfromsiouxfalls.com  is filled with images from the city’s past; including movie theaters and hotels, famous buildings, landmarks and cityscapes .His latest addition is the section on Joyland.  He’s also made it possible to enlarge most of the photos with a couple clicks of your mouse allowing amazing close-ups in exquisite detail. It’s just a wonderful website that I know you’ll find fascinating.  A perfect way to spend a few memorable Memorial Day moments between the rain showers.

A Grand (child) Weekend

Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 at 1:11 pm
By: Doug Lund
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A “Flabbergasted” Judgement Day prognosticator, Harold Camping, finally popped his head out the door of his Alameda, California house Monday morning to say he wouldn’t be giving any interviews until he’s had a chance to contemplate what went wrong with his calculations that there was going to be a heavenly house cleaning on Saturday.

False prophet Camping

False prophet Camping

No dead ancestors raised up from their graves and there were no devastating earthquakes or other wrath of God stuff to mark the end of the world.  The tragedy of this whole doom’s day business is that it has given more fodder for those who already consider Christianity to be pure folly.

It certainly must have seemed like the Apocalypse had come to Joplin, Missouri Sunday as a huge tornado descended from the dark clouds and ripped much of the town to shreds.

graduation tornado

The last death toll I heard was 90 and counting.  I just ache for those on our planet who have lost so much due to natural disasters recently.

On the brighter side of the weekend, Linda and I spent most of it on the graduation trail. It began Saturday as we checked in to say hi and wish congratulations to Washington High grad, Beau Hanish, grandson of our good friends, the Graves. From there we headed over to 93rd street and popped in on the baby shower for my cousin’s daughter, Carrie Hawkins, who looks great after undergoing successful cancer surgery earlier this spring. Her baby made it okay too and is due to make a world debut in July.  From there, it was off to Hartford where our Grandson, Tucker Smith, along with his West Central classmates, proudly marched toward the front of the new high school gym to the familiar refrain of Pomp and Circumstance where they received their high school diplomas.

Tucker and Grandma Linda

Tucker and Grandma Linda

 I caught myself swallowing hard several times remembering Tucker’s fight for survival last winter when blood clots were discovered in his system and had to be removed in a series of operations that were successful but meant he’d be on a lifelong regimen of drugs and he could never play football again.  From Hartford, it was  back to Sioux Falls for his reception.

Sunday, grandson, Michael Hout was on center stage. We joined lots of family and friends for his reception which was followed that evening by Washington High’s graduation ceremony at the Arena.  I think Washington more than any other Sioux Falls high school represents the real cultural diversity our town has experienced over the last decade. I was mighty impressed by the two school administrators who read every graduate’s name perfectly and without hesitation. We’re not just Johnsons, Petersens, Hoffmans and O’Flannerys these days. 

graduations tucker michael 018

 One of the best graduation gifts Michael received was on Friday when, in his final at bat for the Warriors baseball team, he blasted a 3 run homer. Michael absolutely loves the game and is eying a couple of colleges that have excellent baseball programs. Those schools have also been eying  HIM. Can’t wait to see who wins.

With graduations now over, Linda and I have time to concentrate on other grandchild milestones..like Ella losing her first tooth.

graduations tucker michael 008

 

Also, Granddaghter Allison’s solo journey to Trondheim, Norway where she was able to see the land of her ancestors and be warmly welcomed by the family of her great great grandfather.

Allison Hout  feeling right at home in Norway

Allison Hout feeling right at home in Norway

 

We also learned that grandson, Taylor has already had a taste of battle in Afghanistan. I pray that God (The one who doesn’t share time schedules with old California radio prophets) will watch over him and his fellow Marines as they fight to rid the world of those who would have us live in terror.

What Are You Doin’ Saturday Night?

Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm
By: Doug Lund
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It’s been such a nice day that I thought I’d leave the TV off and get a few things done. Number one was to give those pretty yellow flowers in the yard a second baptism of weed killer because the first one didn’t take. They must not be Lutheran dandelions. I have opened the back door to let some fresh air in and hopefully bring with it a few wisps of inspiration as I now assume my familiar position at the computer keyboard. Unfortunately all I hear is the gentle whirr of the overhead fan and a chorus of neighborhood dogs yelping their lungs out. Talk about inspiration, one starts to bark and all the others within earshot feel compelled to join in. I wonder if it’s just an instinctive reaction or if they’re actually communicating with one another. “Ruff, Ruff…Hey, Sadie what the heck are your masters cookin’ for supper over there..it smells delicious like dead carp or Buster’s butt.” “Yelp, Yelp..It’s Mediterranean. That’s the curry your perceptive snout is picking up. They used to toss me a few scraps and it was real tasty but hot as that German Shepard down the street. They stopped sharing with me, though, because they didn’t get to the back door fast enough to let me out and I left them a little steamy souvenir on the carpet.” Man, that stuff was as hot goin’ out as it was goin’ in. Did you hear about Spike..the neighborhood stud hound?” He hasn’t been the same since his master brought him back from the repair shop. He must have broken something because he was going to get fixed.  Something happened there, though,  because now he just sits around with his sad-eyed head on his paws as if there’s nothing left to live for.  Poor fella. Maybe I should strut by there and give him a little whiff..see if that perks him up a bit.”    

This might be my final blog, folks. No, Keloland is not pulling the plug; God is.  Haven’t you heard? The world as we know it is coming to an end at Six PM central time on Saturday.

Pioneer Press Photo

Pioneer Press Photo

Yup, according to 89 year old engineer turned biblical scholar, Harold Camping of California, the ground will start shaking, graveyards will give up their dead and the faithful will be lifted heavenward while the condemned sinners will taste the fires of Hell with lots of wailing, teeth gnashing and clothes ripping.  Repent-Now billboards have sprung up all over the country warning of the impending doom and offering last minute deals on salvation.   I been kicking myself since hearing the news because I just filled up Big Red this morning. $3.69 a gallon at the Freedom station on South Minnesota. That’s still insanely high but the cheapest I’ve seen anywhere else in town. It still cost 57 bucks to top off the tank and now I won’t have time to burn it up. Shoot, I thought we had until 2012 before the world ends according to that Mayan calendar thingy.  Well, we’ll just have to wait and see but if the truth be known, these predictions tend to unnerve me; a reminder that even though it probably won’t happen Saturday or a year from Saturday, we’re all going to have to be ready for the trip someday. I just hope and pray that I’m heading up and not down. 

The dogs have started yapping away again. They’re really going at it. Perhaps they’ve just heard the news that it could get very VERY hot Saturday evening and are passing the word . I can see Spike still laying in a heap out on the back deck. He looks as though his world already came to an end after that trip to the repair shop.

Computer Withdrawal

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm
By: Doug Lund
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(Cue music from The Godfather)

 Thursday’s congressional hearing on the insane increases of fuel prices, in which the heads of the five major oil companies were summoned to justify their record high profits while continuing to receive taxpayer subsidies, reminded me of those federal hearings in the Godfather II movie in which a congressional committee was looking into the activities of New York’s five Mafia crime families.

oil michael

 And, just like in the film when they couldn’t make charges against Michael Corleone stick, this effort to call the oil execs on the carpet, was, as Senator Orin Hatch predicted: (with a visual aid) A Dog and Pony Show.

Senate Finance Committee members yuk it up at Oil Executive hearing.

Senate Finance Committee members yuk it up at Oil Executives hearing.

The oil big wigs say the high pump prices aren’t their fault and the Congressmen say the execs are out of touch with an angry American people..blah, blah blah.

oil execs

There was a lot of blame passing and name calling..but analysts say a bill aimed at cutting subsidies to big oil has little or no chance of passing. So here we are having to shell out money most of us can’t spare, not only to pay through the nose at the pump but for all commodities that are shipped by trucks or planes or trains or burros (Animal feed costs have gone up too, ya know) and it’s nobody’s fault and  nobody can do a dadblame thing about it. I wish whomever is getting filthy rich off of our misery would get a visit from Vito Corleone’s top persuader, Luca Brasi. Oh, wait. He, like Osama bin Laden, sleeps with the fishes.

On another matter: “My name is Doug and I’m a computerholic.” 

Up until Thursday, I had convinced myself that time spent at the computer was not wasted but important toward the betterment of personal knowledge, good clean fun socializing and vital to researching information for these blogs. Then when I went to boot up yesterday I got booted in the gut..no internet.  Okay, I thought, this has happened before. Midco must be doing some junk that’s taken me off line. Just wait a few minutes and it’ll come back. But time passed and it DIDN’T return. Now what? Panic began to set in. I felt like the old days when I’d reach for a cigarette and discover I was out and the stores were closed. So, I got on the phone to Midco Cable and, after dancing to the electronic lady’s voice prompts, I pushed the correct button to speak to a real live person. The robo woman put me on hold until the next real live person was available. In the meantime, the piped-in music was not only awful but sounded like someone had set the tuner between two radio stations so I’d hear a staticky version of Muskrat Love mixed with a little “Do You Know The Way to San Jose.” Every now and then, that phoney female voice returned to remind me how busy all the real people were, pleaded with me to stay on the line and then suggested  I consider making a couple Midco purchases while waiting.  I became stressed and hung up.

I got to thinking about it and wondered if my modem somehow got bumped and unplugged so I went to investigate. I’m sure glad Linda didn’t take a picture of me wallowing under the computer desk trying to sort through the big nest of wires in my vane attempt to find a simple solution. Nothing worked. Back to the phone. More fake voices, more static music, more reminders how important my call was and then….Voila…Tim came on the line. “You’re the real person I’ve been waiting for,” I said. “How can I help,” replied Tim..just as Linda pointed out that our Midco phone line was dead too. After explaining my plight and doing a bit of sweet talking, Tim agreed to move us up on the priority repair list and within a couple hours, the Midco panel truck pulled up out front with a guy named David at the wheel. When he got out of the vehicle..he just kept getting out of the vehicle. David easily stands six foot 8 or 9 and makes ME look like one of the Seven Dwarfs. (Grumpy or Dopey) I quickly deduced that Tim only sends David out on calls that could potentially involve a problem customer because he looked pretty intimidating.  Well, it turns out, the big guy was a big Teddy Bear who really knows his stuff. He spent a lot of time dealing with the maze of cables and splitters in our house eventually finding and fixing a problem with the line and replacing a faulty modem. He even volunteered to return Saturday to upgrade our cable wires and install a couple digital TV boxes.

The main thing is I quickly came out of my computer withdrawal to find that I really hadn’t missed all that much and it was actually rather nice catching up on a couple of South Dakota Magazine back issues.

I have a feeling, though, that Linda might now sneak in and unplug the computer so I’ll get off my butt and mow the yard.

Allergies And Ecstasies

Posted: Monday, May 9, 2011 at 9:49 am
By: Doug Lund
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Maybe my brother was right when he warned that after the age of 65, your health has a tendency to go haywire in a hurry. Oh, I’m fine except for the first time in my life I have developed allergies…or a single allergy..I don’t know. Something is making my eyes water and setting me off on a SERIES of roof lifting sneezes. This is completely foreign to me. I’ve always been a single sneeze guy even when filling the pepper shaker. I’m not quite sure of the cause because we don’t have any pets and it doesn’t appear to be pollen or weeds. “Maybe it’s me,” Linda said the other day sort of jokingly. “Don’t be silly,” I said but drew her close for a few friendly sniffs just to be sure. “Nope, you’re off the hook.” So I suppose it’s time for a trip to the allergy aisle of the drug store in search of relief.

The only other health concern is this bloody diet I’ve been on. No milk, bread, pasta, sugar or ice cream for two months..yet no noticeable weight loss. Oh, some concerned friends and family members, who are keenly aware of my struggles, have made a few encouraging comments but we live in an age when everybody is armed with a digital camera and not afraid to use it. When I’m in those images it is painfully clear that my appearance hasn’t changed since this battle began. I’m not conceding defeat, mind you, just venting some frustrations over how puzzling it can be to unlock the mysteries of things like fat reduction and allergy eruption.

A pretty good weekend which included a trip to the Center for Active Generations where they were throwing a 90th birthday party for Sylvia Henkin; the first lady of Sioux Falls.

hof easter and sylvia 019 

Sylvia still looks fantastic and as soon as she entered the room began entertaining the audience of well-wishers with her good humor and a little song. I’ve written here before about this grand lady whose influence on and tireless contributions toward the betterment of this community can’t be measured. She’s just a doll and I’m only one on a long list of people who adore her. 

From there, Linda and I headed out to the diamond to watch grandson Michael take to the  mound for Washington High School’s baseball team. He did great job of pitching; helping the Warriors chalk up a victory against O’Gorman.

pattyIt was an extra special win for Michael’s mom, our daughter, Patty, who was celebrating her birthday right there at her usual spot in the grandstand. She never misses a game or opportunity to cheer Michael and the team on.

Speaking of terrific moms, Linda and I are so fortunate to have her mother, Mary Trudeau, still with us.

swede renee 002

Like Sylvia Henkin, no grass grows under Mother Mary’s feet. At 87, she managed to slow down enough from all her activities, to host Mother’s Day dinner for a bunch of us “kids” at her house in Alcester on Sunday.  We came so close to losing her a few years back that the family feels these times together are God’s Bonus Days.

Mother Mary was one of those who said to me that she could see I’d lost weight.

What a sweet little old liar.

Thank You Again, Mr. Pitts

Posted: Monday, May 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Like many of you, I didn’t get a lot of sleep Sunday night after hearing news that the world’s most wanted criminal, Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of 9-11 and dozens of other terrorist acts across the world,  had been shot dead in a raid of his million dollar hide-out in Pakistan. The last thing binLaden saw in this life was an American Navy Seal pointing a gun at his head inviting him to surrender and when he refused, received a bullet in his eye.

As I watched news coverage of the spontaneous gatherings of grateful Americans cheering and waving U.S.flags celebrating binLaden’s demise, I was taken back nearly ten years to September 12th, 2001; one day after the attacks on America. My boss, Mark Antonitis called me into his office to show me a copy of a column brilliantly written by Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald.

Leonard Pitts Jr.

Leonard Pitts Jr.

It perfectly described the feelings of Americans in the wake of that horrific day; sadness, anger, fear, and an incredible determination that the perpetrators of such madness and pain,will get theirs eventually, no matter how long it takes.

“I’d like you to record these words, Mark said, we’ll add some video and run it on all the newscasts.” “It’s pretty long,” I said.”  “We’ll make the time,” was Mark’s reply.  Viewer response to me reading Mr. Pitt’s inspired narrative was immediate and overwhelming. I looked up his column again last night. It is still amazingly inspirational..especially now.

If you’d care to read it yourself,  here’s the link: http://www.miamiherald.com/2008/09/11/681912/leonard-pitts-jr-well-go-forward.html

I also see that Keloland.com has posted the video we did in 2001.  Here’s the link: http://www.keloland.com/videoarchive/index.cfm?VideoFile=091101lund

Suddenly I feel like fixing the broken bracket on our house so I can hang up a brand new American Flag.