Archive for November 2011

Coffee or Te(bow)?

Posted: Monday, November 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop, Dunn Bros. on East 10th..oops, excuse me, I guess it’s Arrowhead Parkway now. There’s nobody here named Dunn..but there is a nice lady (Doris) and her daughter (Emily) who own and operate the place.

That's Emily and Doris in this blurry shot courtesy of my inexperience with a new camera.

That's Emily and Doris in this blurry shot courtesy of my inexperience with a new camera.

If you order the coffee of the day for a buck 65, and in a 12 ounce glass cup, you get one free refill which provides me with a healthy jolt of caffeine; usually enough to free me from a mind numbing weekend of food, football and couch dwelling. Doris roasts the beans on the premises which not only makes for a delicious fresh brew but stimulates the nerve endings and helps inspire me to do something besides program the DVR or sit around pondering eternity.

Sorry purists, but I like my coffee with a dash of half and half..or Coffee Mate if I’m home. It’s a habit that began after years of trying to drink break-room coffee at Keloland. Creamer was the only thing available to mellow-out the awful taste of coffee that had been festering on the burner for a couple hours because nobody but me would ever take the time to make a fresh pot. Anyway, I’m hooked on a bit of creamer in my cup which I’m convinced enhances rather than detracts from the flavor. (Argue amongst yourselves)

 I’m not really a coffee house person…that is, I don’t come here all that often and I don’t show up to get into deep conversations with the regulars about art, politics or current events. It’s just a nice place to enjoy a tasty hot beverage and spend time in one of the designated computer-use areas surfing and writing; something I do all the time at home but, even though she’d never say anything, I know  Linda needs me out of the house and out of her hair once in a while.

Today wasn’t all that quiet at Dunn Bros. so I searched through my computer bag..found my headphones and an FM radio station in Cleveland that streams big band jazz music on the computer and I’m content.

tebow_111127_vs_video_rhr_280_210As expected, radio sports pundits..especially the annoyingly opinionated Colin Cowherd, spent lots of time this morning reminding listeners that Denver Bronco’s quarterback, Tim Tebow, may be a real likable faith-filled guy but his recent victories are based on luck not skill and it won’t be long before the bubble bursts. Let’s be honest, here. Tim Tebow isn’t doing this all on his own, but his never-say-die attitude, I believe, has totally rubbed off on his teammates. The defense, the offensive line and running game led by Willis McGahee, have been playing inspired and entertaining football. 

I hope it’s not the kiss of death for Denver but since the Vikings are a lost cause, I’m rooting for the Broncos the rest of the way.

Since I was watching several games at once on the NFL Redzone channel, I didn’t see the shot of San Diego’s kicker, Nick Novak, relieving himself on the sideline.

peeing charger

 Hey…take if from someone with a bladder the size of a salted peanut, it’s pretty difficult to concentrate on the task at hand  when you’re full of liquid yearning to be free and pressing the point. Sometimes it’s just too long between halves. Maybe the NFL should put up port-a-pottys on both ends of the field..or cut back on the Gatorade.

Let’s see..what else?

Linda brought a few Christmas decorations up from the basement over the weekend and placed them strategically around the house. Nothing like the old days when our tree would be set up in a corner of downstairs, loaded with lights and ornaments then left to stand guard over a big pile of presents for our growing combined family. But, like I’ve said before, all but two of our grandkids, are grown up now so it was agreed at the end of Christmas last year that, from now on, with the exception of the two little ones, our present to each other would be our presence WITH each other. I suppose that sounds a little “Scrooge-like” to some of you but, I think it was a relief to the rest of our immediate family not to feel obliged to spend money we really don’t have shopping for stuff we really don’t need.

I’ll let you know how our little experiment at replacing materialism with merriment works out.

For now, that second cup of Doris’ coffee is kicking in. Thank goodness I’m not like the Chargers’ kicker and have a private repository just a few steps away.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Posted: Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 10:48 am
By: Doug Lund
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“Doug?” came Linda’s voice from just outside the front door.

“Yes, my dear, what can I do for you on this lovely Thanksgiving morning?”

“Get out here and help me haul in the paper.”

 Oh, I might have made a little bit of that conversation up but only to dramatize the size of today’s Argus filled with Black Friday ads. The poor delivery kid’s weighted-down car made sparks in the pre-dawn darkness as it scraped the drive-way backing out. Leave it to retailers and ad men to turn what used to be a joyous time of Thanksgiving with family, food and football, into a mere prelude to the more important event in which people, wild for Christmas gift bargains, will go without sleep to plan and carry out a shopping strategy that will put them toward the front of the frenzied pack bursting through store’s front doors in the wee hours of Friday.

thanksgiving_turkey

It wasn’t our turn to host Thanksgiving this year but I really don’t mind when it is. I love the challenge of putting the menu together then trying to coordinate everything so it’s ready when our 25 guests (mostly Linda’s family) arrive. As our huge bird was browning in the oven last year, I was on the internet watching videos of how to properly carve a turkey. It worked out great; much better than the hack jobs from years past. I love the way our little house smells when the loaded-down oven is filled with food cooking away; the oak table that came from my folks, is pulled out to the max so three leaves will fit in; the windows steam over because of all  the moisture escaping  from the big pot of potatoes bubbling awayon the stove. Time to get ready.. I love the way Linda looks when she emerges from the bedroom in her holiday attire and basking in the aroma of Red Door..my favorite perfume. I love the popping sound a cork makes when it’s freed from a bottle of pinot noir and the clink of our glasses as we drink a toast to the holiday and each other. I love it when people start showing up bearing even more food for the occasion. I love hearing the “Happy Thanksgivings” and experiencing the hugs..especially from grandkids most of whom graduated from the kid’s table years ago.

No, we’re heading across town for Thanksgiving this year to a much bigger house filled with the same folks we care so much about and are so thankful for. Linda is bringing a blueberry salad and I’m making “Doug’s corn”..which is nothing more than canned corn mixed with eggs,Jiffy corn muffin mix, canned onion rings on top and baked in the oven. I made it for a Trudeau gathering when Linda and I were first married and I think her family was so shocked at a Norwegian man in the kitchen they keep asking for it so I won’t feel bad. Oh, they say they like it but they’re nice people. So, with stomachs growling we’ll stand together and offer up prayers of gratitude and then dig in.

Linda and I send to you our best wishes for a most happy holiday and be sure to yell out a “hello” when you see us in the early Friday  morning black madness that is the mall.

NOT.

Tat’s All Folks

Posted: Monday, November 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I just got back from doing the “voice of  Keloland” thingy and ran into longtime news photographer and colleague, Mike Simundson who is, perhaps, the most fervent Minnesota Vikings fan I know. He’s the one who gave me the foam brick to throw at the TV screen when they play. That poor brick is falling apart from over use this year. Anyway, we always talk about  how difficult it is to maintain any kind of  Vikings’ loyalty when they play like this and how it’s even hard for us to believe the familiar fan mantra: “Wait until next year.”  My friend and KELO radio talk show host, Greg Belfrage, finally got fed up with the constant disappointment of being a Viking loyalist about mid season last year and jumped on the Green Bay Packers bandwagon.  To we Purple People, this is tantamount to treason but Greg has never looked back and has been rewarded with gloriously happy Sunday afternoons, another Super Bowl trophy for the mantle at Lambeau Field and a machine-like group of winners that have gone undefeated this season. I  envy his joy but don’t know if I’m ready to go over to the dark side to find it.  And, I suppose the same can be said for my colleague, Mike. Poor guy; even if he wanted to give up on the Vikes by taking down all the purple paraphernalia from his front yard and throughout the house..not to mention burning most of his casual clothing,  he’s stuck with a big ol’ Viking tattoo on his upper arm as a permanent reminder of our team’s mediocrity.  I remember when he got it. The Vikings under new head coach, Mike Tice, had just begun the new season with six straight victories. Unfortunately, they went on to lose a bunch of games and stink up another promising season. I don’t know if Mike regrets getting that tattoo but I wouldn’t be surprised if he started wearing long sleeve shirts even on the hottest days next summer.

I’ve never really wanted a tattoo; never felt strongly enough about anything or anyone to endure the pain of a few thousand flu shots in order to have some inky image stuck on my body forever.  Besides, the only place you used to be able to get a tattoo was in some dingy back-ally shop run by a bearded guy named Snake and frequented mostly by liquored-up tough guys doing it on a dare .

Okay, this picture is a joke and made me laugh but it might be a good idea to make sure your "artist" is qualified.

Okay, this picture is a joke and made me laugh but it might be a good idea to make sure your "artist" is qualified.

Somewhere along the line the stigma of getting a tattoo, either men or women, has changed..so have the places that provide them. Many now have nice waiting rooms like a barber shop or doctor’s office and even though the artists still often only go by their first names, it’s all part of the devilish mystique. The equipment is safe and sanitary and their skills are top shelf.

 I still don’t understand why some choose to have images of satan , skulls, snakes or fire-belching dragons permanently etched on their skin..sometimes in odd and unmentionable locations of the body.  And, I admit that the sight of a big butterfly tattooed on the bride’s back at her wedding is a bit disconcerting to me. But I come from the old school which taught that people with tattoos probably got them while drunk and more as a demonstration of personal bravado or rebellion..rather than for pretty skin art.

My older brother, Denny, was just such a rebel. While in high school, he used a needle and ink and gave himself two tattoos; one on his forearm where he spelled out his name ..the other on the top of his hand which was a semi-circle design that looked like lady’s fan. After many years and much regret, Denny finally had those homemade homages to youthful stupidity removed at considerable expense leaving a couple tell-tail scars behind as a lasting reminder.  

But today, men and women from all walks of life and income levels are getting tattoos for no other reason than they want one and are willing to spend up to 175 dollars an hour to have an artist at one of at least 7 tattoo parlors in Sioux Falls work their magic with needle and ink. That includes one of our daughters and a couple grown grandchildren. Taylor, for example, got a huge Marine Corps tattoo, that covered most of his back, just before being deployed to Afghanistan. Upon his safe return a few weeks ago, he went and had this one put on…ouch!

tattoo taylor

Taylor’s older sister, Tara, who has at least one piercing and one tattoo, just laughs, gives me a hug and says sorry grandpa when I remind her of the pledge she made to me at age 10 to never have either.

Ah, well..maybe it’s time for Linda and I to get with it. I think she’d look pretty hot with a tramp stamp on her lower back. Heck, I might even get one. Let’s see, what would it be? Oh, I know..how about tattooing the nose of the Hindenburg on my stomach?  It would be in 3-D and everything.

It even has the German font lettering; a favorite with the tattoo crowd

It even has the German font lettering; a favorite with the tattoo crowd

Oh, Deer!

Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 10:24 am
By: Doug Lund
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deer on roadIt’s rutting season; that time of year when male white tail deer go absolutely nuts with desire and the need to propagate. In order to impress the coy females, they’ll display all sorts of bizarre behavior like locking horns with other bucks, rolling around in the dirt or throwing caution to the wind by playing a game of sex-crazed chicken with motor vehicles on the roadways.  I’ve driven a lot of miles over the years and have been extremely lucky to have never collided with one of these  animals. Oh, wait..there was that one incident along I-90 on our way to Mitchell in 1985.

Linda and I hadn’t been married for very long and there were still some things about me she hadn’t quite figured out yet..like my sense of humor. The evening didn’t start out to be funny as somewhere around Alexandria, I caught a glimpse of a deer running across the median right at us. The next thing we heard was a clunk toward the rear of our 1983 Lincoln. (Yup, our Lincoln legacy goes way back.) After I pulled over to see the results of this confrontation, I told Linda not to look until we got to Mitchell but the deer’s severed head was hanging from the bumper. She reacted just as I’d imagined; with a shriek..then concern about the poor animal..then about damage to the car. When we got to town and stopped I held her hand as we nervously stepped around back to survey the disaster. What she saw was…nothing.. no damage…no carcass..just me trying to hold back a giggle.  So it was with a combination of relief and anger that she turned and gave me one of those sharp knuckle slugs to my upper arm that doesn’t seem like much more than a love tap at the time but hurts like hell and pops up as a purple circle on the skin next morning. I guess I had it coming.  I don’t know what really happened. It sounded like the deer hit the car’s side pretty hard but there wasn’t any evidence other than a smudge by the back door where he’d rubbed a little dirt off with his furry pelt.

Our friends, Denny and Joanie weren’t so lucky over the weekend. They were headed home from the golf course in Brandon just after dark when they came upon a big horny (in more ways than one) stag standing in the middle of the road. The next thing they heard was a  crash and the noise of an erupting air bag. They hit so hard that the animal went flying across their lane and into the windshield of an oncoming pick-up truck… finally coming to rest in the passenger’s laps.

Joan and Denny survey damage to their car from the daredevil deer

Joan and Denny survey damage to their car from the daredevil deer

Antler punctures on the fender.

Antler punctures on the fender.

Luckily, our friends weren’t hurt other than the pain of losing their car and causing the demise of that love-starved buck whose attempts to impress a finicky doe caused him to make a foolish and fatal decision.

I guess, though, when you think about it, men aren’t all that different from rutting animals. We may not stand in traffic to get a woman’s attention but we’re not above doing other stupid things in the hopes of being invited into their boudoir..like playing practical jokes.

I’m feeling a little pain in my bicep just thinking about it.

My Football Follies

Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I haven’t always been in the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s corner when it comes to some of the decisions it’s made… but okaying the playoff system for football 30 years ago with the divisional champions crowned during one wild November weekend at the DakotaDome was a great idea from the get-go.

dome outside

And it was a great deal for Keloland  which won the right to cover the games because we had the deepest pockets and the strongest statewide TV signal.

What Keloland didn’t have, though, was a clue on how to go about making the production look professional. Basketball was one thing but football required lots more preparation and technical know-how. How many cameras do you need..where should they be positioned..what about instant replay and audio?  With so many questions, our directors, engineers and announcer staff got permission from CBS to observe the network’s coverage of a Minnesota Vikings game in Bloomington a couple weeks before the South Dakota championships. They were going to fly to Minneapolis early Sunday morning and I was to go along and do a story on our guys looking over the CBS crew’s shoulders both in the remote truck and in the stands learning all their tricks. I think our plane was set to leave at 6:45 a.m. I’d had a long Saturday night playing music and when I opened my eyes..panic set in. I turned to my bedside clock and stared in disbelief. It was 6:30! I knew my chances were slim but I threw on some clothes and flew out the door and onto my motorcycle hoping against hope that the plane would somehow still be there..but I’d have to hurry. My little Kawasaki 150 wasn’t big on power and it was only by God’s grace that I made it to the airport at all. But it was too late. I could hear the moaning of Republic Airlines propellers churning through the sky toward the Twin Cities and there were no other flights scheduled.  So, there I sat dejected on the seat of my little bike that had given its all to get me there. I suddenly became aware of my rumpled clothing, my dirty hair standing straight up from the wind and the inside of my mouth which tasted like the walls of a sleazy bar stinking of cigarette smoke and spilled booze.  Well, that’s it, I thought, I’m fired. But, wait a minute I’m right next to Business Aviation, certainly somebody from Sioux Falls will be flying  a private plane to the Vikings game. So I kick started the bike and headed toward their hangers. I caught my reflection in the glass door and tried as best as possible to comb down my fly away hair then went in to see if a local pilot might be able to save my bacon.  “Nope, nobody here planning to fly out today, the guy behind the counter said, sorry.”   I didn’t speed on my way home..no hurry now. The rest of the morning I spent trying to get in touch with one of our guys from Kelo to explain my absence.(No cell phones back then.)  I finally just left a message and waited for Monday morning and that dreaded long walk into Tom Sheeley’s office for my official reaming out and possible dismissal. But there was no butt chewing; no getting canned and I owe it all to our director, Scott Burri. He figured something must have happened to me when I didn’t show up for the game so he had one of the production photographers shoot video of everything I would need for my story which, by the way, didn’t turn out half bad..just not as good as if I’d been there in person. 

The Kelo crew learned a lot about how to shoot football that day and provided terrific coverage for many years until South Dakota Public Broadcasting got the broadcasting rights.

dome inside

One thing even the CBS guys couldn’t help with, though, and that’s how to deal with the cramped quarters of the DakotaDome  floor. A lot of camera operators should have gotten battle pay for all the hits they took from the sidelines.

Well, it’s just about time for the games to begin and “I don’t want to be late”…again.

Reflections On A Watchdog

Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011 at 7:52 am
By: Doug Lund
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I know of some writers who, when they get stumped for something to say, just start banging away on the keyboard until something worthwhile eventually pops up on the screen. I have been facing that dilemma all week; a self-imposed deadline has come and gone without a subject or topic to share with you good folks. Oh, I could put in my two cents worth on the Events Center vote next Tuesday but I’ve already done that in past posts and don’t want to run the risk of becoming Sioux Falls’ next Al Brown.

Al who? You say.

15_1216Well, Al was an outspoken community watchdog who kept very close tabs on the city’s purse strings and when he figured those in charge were squandering our tax money on unnecessary projects, he’d make his feelings known to them in person or through the media..especially the Argus Leader where his letters to the editor became legendary. Sadly, his public tirades against excessive spending became so familiar that after a while, few…  other than really hard core conservatives.. paid much attention or took him seriously. Eventually, we heard less and less from Al Brown and he slipped into obscurity perhaps passing the torch of frugality to former city council member, Kermit Staggers, who was dubbed by many as “Dr. No” because he regularly stood in solo opposition to what he considered to be extravagant spending on frills.

I got curious about what happened to Al Brown so I Googled him and discovered that he passed away five years ago at the age of 85. I also learned that he was a World War II veteran who served aboard a submarine in the Pacific Theater which must have been incredibly challenging and confining to a Sioux Falls kid who loved the wide open spaces and whose achievements in Washington High School track and field as well as on the softball diamonds are well documented. After his discharge from the Navy, Al returned home to complete a 40 career with John Morrell..back when employees of that company were the envy of most working stiffs in town.

I first got to know Al Brown through a community watchdog group he and radio station owner and Norwegian humorist extraordinaire, Red Stangland, formed called TACCO.  For the life of me I can’t recall what the letters stand for but I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with Mexican food.

Some will say Al was an anti progressive nut job who did everything within his power to hold the city back.

 I’m not so sure.

Perhaps we need people like Al Brown and Kermit Staggers if for no other reason than to keep reminding community leaders that it’s OUR money they’re playing with and maybe..just maybe..we should think twice about blowing so much of it on things we really don’t need and can’t afford.

But I don’t want to be that guy; don’t have the stomach for it.

All I’ll say here is that Linda and I will be at the polls to vote on Tuesday and hope you’ll do the same.

Oh, and thanks to the veterans like Al Brown who fought to preserve our right to do so.