Archive for February 2012

Soft Kitty

Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I went down to the Keloland TV studios Monday morning to record promos for the latest Holiday Vacations tour Linda and I will be hosting to Ireland in September. It was my first experience being on High Definition, and not a pretty sight.

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Cameras with such scrutinizing eyes were not meant for such aging faces as mine. Aside from shamelessly highlighting the fact that I have more chins than a Chinese phonebook, there isn’t enough make-up (including the air-brush variety) in the world to disguise the canyon-deep lines that have eroded into my mug over the years since retirement.

I go to the TV station quite often to record audio but hadn’t been in the actual studio since the switch to HD. It really is classy. The sets are beautifully efficient reflecting the “less is more”world of today’s technology.

On my way home, a silly little tune started running through my mind and wouldn’t leave; still hasn’t. I’d like to tell you that it’s a melody from Mozart or even Lawrence Welk but the truth is it’s from a favorite TV show, The Big Bang Theory. It’s a little lullaby sung by Penny to neighbor Sheldon when he’s sick or sad.  I don’t know how it became embedded in my brain but it’s getting to be annoying.  Don’t know how it goes? Well, here ya are; “Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur..”

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You’re welcome.

The Daytona 500 NASCAR race..delayed because of rain Sunday, got moved to prime time Monday evening. It was a perfect opportunity for millions of new viewers to check out what the sport is all about; especially to see the lovely and talented lady driver, Danica Patrick, make her debut in the 500.

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The excitement lasted for about two minutes when one driver up front must have figured it was the last lap instead of the first and pushed five time series champion, Jimmy Johnson, into the wall causing a chain reaction accident that also took out Patrick and several others..including series bad boy, Kurt Busch. You could almost hear the collective groan from NASCAR officials and FOX sports executives as their chances to gain a new audience were wrecked just as sure as the cars on the track. To make matters worse, during a caution flag with 100 laps to go, a driver slammed into an emergency vehicle causing it to explode in flames. Nobody hurt but it took two hours to repair the racing surface.  By then, even the most ardent fans really didn’t give a rat’s patoot who would win and went to bed. Thank goodness for DVR. I’m glad I set it to record for six hours. That was just barely enough time to see Matt Kenseth, a good Wisconsin Norwegian, cross the finish line first and bring this year’s fiasco to a conclusion. I don’t mean to be overly critical..just disappointed.

I know some of you hate NASCAR or just don’t see the sense of watching a bunch of souped-up cars that look like billboards goin’ fast and turnin’ left for four hours. There’s more to it than that, of course, but the sport could use a boost which is why I’m rooting for Danica Patrick to succeed. But if she and most of my other favorite drivers keep getting knocked out in the early going, I might switch to watching the NBA on Sunday afternoons where players race up and down the court for two hours only to have most games decided in the final two minutes. Come to think of it, it’s not that much different from NASCAR except there are ten players instead of 43 and no chance of rain delays.

Highway Robbery

Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm
By: Doug Lund
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gas-pricesI ran into reporter, Shawn Neisteadt in the Keloland newsroom this morning and had to congratulate him on his story this week about the latest surge in gasoline prices. Most reports I’ve seen lately on the subject feature folks filling up at the pump who are South Dakota nice..meaning when asked how they feel about the high cost of fuel, they’ll say with a smile, “Well, there’s not much we can do about it, I guess.” Or, “I suppose we’re lucky. I hear gas prices are much higher in other parts of the world.” I hear stuff like that and want to scream. So that’s why it was so refreshing for Shawn to find people to interview who more accurately reflect the feelings of nearly all of us. We’re P.O.’d. I’m not totally jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon just yet but I do think that a rebellion of some sort is in order. Remember 4 years ago when gas prices got this high? A few lawmakers started pushing for a windfall tax on oil companies or economically punishing oil producing countries taking advantage of the situation. But what finally worked was when Americans just said screw this and stopped all unnecessary driving. Not only did big oil start feeling the pinch but so did those who rely on the traveling public for their livelihood and, before too long, it didn’t matter how much new demand there was from India and China (The popular oil expert excuse for increased demand)..OUR prices came down because we were using less. So, after filling up this morning at $3.56 a gallon for ethanol blend..and hearing all the warnings about five dollar gas by summer..I’m going to start my own rebellion by cutting way back on consumption. I’m not going to spend 25 thousand dollars or more on an underpowered, unattractive, undersized and unsafe hybrid vehicle no matter how many tax incentives are offered. I’m keeping what I have and, like the guy in Shawn’s report said, “If that means I’ve got to get a damn moped, I’ll get a moped. They ain’t going to put me down.” I’ve got a Kawasaki motorcycle in the garage that is going to get a lot more use when the weather gets nice this year. I might even convince Linda to be my “Chicky Baby” like the old days and ride along with me even though she’d much rather experience the wind through her hair from the comfortable confines of our old Camaro convertible. Just wait, before too long someone is going to go on the airwaves, like they always do, pointing out the cost of fuel in today’s dollars isn’t proportionately much higher than what we’ve been paying for decades. Well, that guy has never seen my retirement portfolio or looked closely at the average income of those who actually work for a living; people who not only have to deal with exorbitant prices at the pump but for every other commodity and service that has gone up because of them. I’m hearing a lot about health care, unemployment, immigration and even same sex marriage in the current political campaigns. I guarantee that whichever candidate vows to do whatever is necessary to stop Americans from being robbed at the gas station will get my vote.

Oh, that’s right. My motorcycle needs a new battery. Good thing Sturdevents is within walking distance.

Lund’s Canine Hotel

Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 10:21 am
By: Doug Lund
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Good Lord.

Kermit Staggers and De Knudson want back on the Sioux Falls City Council??

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I’m beggin’ you (and you know who you are) get in this race before it’s too late. If you have a lick of intelligence, an unselfish desire to serve this community and share your ideas on how to help it deal with problems and plan for the future….run, for god’s sake..RUN. Sure you’ll take some heat from the naysayers but your honesty and determination to simply do what’s right will sustain you.  

If these two career politicians are the best Sioux Falls can come up with..well..we might just as well shove the city bus in reverse. 

And no..I’m not interested or remotely qualified but there are plenty of you out there who are.

Here endeth the rant.

 

Linda and I have had a special house guest this past week…say hello to Maggie.

 maggie

Maggie lives with my brother, Denny and his wife, Judy. They were talking the other night about kenneling the dog for five days while they’re in Chicago. Much to my surprise, Linda blurted out that we’d love to watch her. We’ve doggie-sat in the past for both our daughter and niece; finding it to be an enjoyable experience but not enough to convince Linda that we should have a dog of our own. Now, it would seem, through this gesture, she might be on the verge of reconsidering. And why not? Maggie, a mild mannered 8 year old Cocker Spaniel, is a perfect house dog whose only flaw might be her breath that, at times, would drive a buzzard off a fresh kill. We only notice because she loves to sit quietly snuggled next to us on the couch or bed and really appreciates our efforts at affection. Scratching her chin or one of those floppy ears instinctively sets her left paw to peddling the air like she’s trying to start an imaginary Harley Davidson. Oh, she snores too but then so do we.

Linda is perfectly correct, of course, when she reminds me that we’re often gone for long stretches at a time throughout the year and if we were to have a our own dog, it wouldn’t be fair to be leaving it at a kennel or with friends or family all the time. So, maybe we’ll just have to be content with these occasional stints as proprietors of the Lund Canine Hotel.

Maggie checks out Sunday. Bye bye you wonderful mutt..don’t forget to brush and floss.

Be My Valentine

Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm
By: Doug Lund
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“Happy Valentine’s Day, Honey.” I said to Linda when we awoke from our slumber this morning. “Happy Valentine’s Day to you too,” she replied. This was followed by a shared, “I love you” and that was it.

We decided long ago not to be slaves to this manufactured holiday created by florists, greeting card companies and candy makers hell bent on making us (mostly men) feel guilty about ourselves if we don’t express affection with a gift they are only too happy to provide..for an exorbitant fee..

This wasn’t just me being cheap. It was a well thought out and mutually agreed upon decision based on sound reasoning; flowers quickly wilt, candy is too fattening and cards are tossed into the trash after a day or so: a waste of good money.

Our mutual adoration is eternal. We certainly don’t need any commercially construed reminders to do what comes naturally. It is a policy we’ve followed for years and are perfectly content with. Or so I thought. As I was pouring my second cup of coffee, Linda came into the kitchen carrying a musical Valentine’s Day card that was playing “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain and Tenille.  “Remember you got me this last year?” she said smiling. Uh Oh. I must have forgotten and violated the pact. I could still hear that song ringing in my ears as I left for HyVee to pick up a few groceries. Standing in the check out line I noticed another line. This one made up exclusively of blue collar guys with  empty looks on their faces mulling around  the floral department trying to come up with something to make up  for their lameness at having forgotten what day it was and hoping they can spend their way back into their significant others’ good graces with a big bunch of well picked over roses.

Geeze..she saved that card for a whole year, I thought to myself as the cashier was ringing up my total. Maybe I better walk over and see if there are any decent flowers left…but no, that would look contrived wouldn’t it?  Aren’t supermarket roses an act of desperation?

Here’s wishing you all a very nice Valentine’s Day.

Let’s All Go To The Drive-In

Posted: Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm
By: Doug Lund
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This is a historic day.

For the first time in nearly 40 years of trying, I hit EVERY green light on East 10th from Sycamore Avenue to the West side of the viaduct and set a personal record of 6 minutes from my house to the TV station. And that’s without speeding. Well, not too much.

So this is what it’s come down to then? Blogging about driving to work?  Well, nothing much has happened to write about in the week since we’ve been home from Arizona. Oh, I did bump in to Bernie Hunhoff in the Keloland lobby on the same day the legislature nixed his bill to change the design of our state flag. If you recall, I expressed my feelings about the proposed change here on my blog (I and thousands of others didn’t care for it) and while  Bernie could have made our encounter an uncomfortable experience, he was as cordial and cheerful as ever. Being a democratic leader in a republican state..you learn to roll with the political punches.

I see Wild Water West plans to bring back Drive-In movies. I hope it works but, sorry, I have my doubts.

DriveIn

 

I have nothing but fond memories of the Sioux Drive-In Theater from when I was a lad but trying to relive those memories at the Verne Drive-In outside Luverne a couple years ago, proved disappointing. Back in the Drive-In’s hayday, there was no such thing as daylight saving time meaning dusk doesn’t occur until nearly 10 PM in the summer months. If there’s a double feature that means it’s two in the morning before the show’s over. Too late for most working stiffs and those of us retired folks whose eyelids start to sag at the stroke of 9.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s, people who went to the Drive-In did so in a CAR. There were rows of gravel humps at varying degrees of slopeiness from front to back on which you’d pull the front wheels for a clear view of the screen then grab the speaker and hook it onto the window.  But most people now drive high profile pick-ups, vans and SUVs. Theater managers try to get them to park toward the rear to keep from blocking other’s view but if you’re in a Prius you could get lost in a canyon of Caravans, Suburbans and Ford F250’s. Also, the few remaining Drive-In theaters have long since abandoned the idea of providing speakers on poles. In part, I suppose, because they became collector’s items for thieves or got destroyed by cars snagging the cord with their bumper..back when cars still had bumpers. Instead, audio is transmitted over an FM frequency you can pick up on your radio. Just make sure your battery is capable of dealing with the 4 hour drain.
The nice thing about speaker poles is they used to keep vehicles properly spaced apart. Now, it’s sort of like festival seating at a rock concert with ugly stares or a verbal rebuke coming from the guy next to you if you park too close.

But, if the Wild Water West deal works out, I’ll give it a try. Might even attempt a little front seat necking with Linda for old time’s sake. Won’t be the same, though. There’s no way she can slide over next to me with that dadgum center console in the way. No more bench seats equals no more close cuddling..no more Aqua Net aroma in your nostrils or soft angora sweater fuzz on the shoulder. It might also be fun to see if outdoor theater patrons still explore their rebellious side by joining in a chorus of horn honking in an attempt to humiliate the projectionist into starting the darned movie already.  That reminds me,  I need to get the Camaro’s horn fixed before summer.

We’re Home! Bring On The Snow

Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012 at 9:03 am
By: Doug Lund
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I was never so glad to wake up as this morning; awful dreams..nightmares really. I can usually figure out what event or little observation during the day became implanted in the deep recesses of my brain waiting to jump into the forefront of my unconscious state but I’m at a loss as to what triggered this overnight experience in terror. There were loads of senseless details but the main theme of NUCLEAR WAR was crystal clear. I’d somehow survived the first wave of explosions only to mosey about the countryside bumping into other zombie-like survivors stumbling around in the dust of nuclear winter waiting  for the next bomb to drop. When it does, the Western sky lights up; at first beautiful..then terrifying and we all wait for the fireball to turn us back to carbon. But then, wait a minute, why do I hear little talking trains? That’s a weird twist even for this twisted dream. But I was actually awake now. I’d fallen asleep with the TV on watching something on the public broadcasting channel which turns into the kid’s show “Curious George” by morning.

Linda and I arrived back home from Arizona on Thursday afternoon..just ahead of a big snowstorm that’s supposed to hit Colorado and Nebraska. We encountered no travel problems at all this time except for the guy from Texas who, somewhere in New Mexico, took exception to my staying in the left lane to pass three vehicles in succession while he wanted around me NOW. After he was free to pass..he showed his displeasure by slowing down in front of me..then speeding up and blocking me from passing him back. Every ounce of my being wanted to bang into his rear end and make hand gestures..maybe even force us both to a stop..get out and have fisticuffs right there along side the interstate. But then, I remembered promising everybody that..yes, I’ll drive safely and carefully. Plus Linda was gripping the door strap so hard her knuckles were white. I backed off, let the belligerent Texan find someone else to bully and pulled into a gas station to fill up and cool off. The only other incident worth noting was when the driver of an 18 wheeler decided to take a nap at 70 miles an hour. He started drifting to the left just as I was in the process of passing. I took evasive action by veering to the shoulder and over those jarring rumble strips. The noise must have awakened the trucker because he jerked his wheel to the right before I was forced into taking Big Red on a journey from the pavement to the grassy median likely achieving flight status along the way.

Just a couple more reasons to fly instead of drive next year..especially with gas prices and motel rates all over the map. Fuel costs varied from $3.56 in Phoenix to $2.87 at one place in Colorado. I ended up paying 83 BUCKS for a one night stay in Trinidad, CO . at a SUPER 8..for cryin’ out loud. And that was with the bogus AARP discount. I would have walked out and sought something less expensive but we’d spent over 10 hours in the car and just wanted out.

It’s good to be back in our cozy little house even though the cupboards are bare and there’s a stack of bills awaiting my immediate attention.

Now if we could only have some snow since we haven’t seen any yet this winter. (Kidding)