Archive for August 2012

A Hemmingsen Afternoon

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm
By: Doug Lund
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“Hey, Lund..why don’t we ever see you out and about on the weekends anymore?”

Some of my old musician pals often ask me that question. Linda does too, for that matter and it’s true, we used to go out on Friday or Saturday nights quite frequently to hear live bands but lately I just haven’t felt much like it.  I didn’t plan on becoming a recluse but, the truth is, since my retirement six years ago, it’s gotten tougher for me to live up to other people’s expectations. I’m fatter, grayer, wrinkleier and  more thin-skinned than I used to be. People..even well-meaning people..can’t  resist the urge and seem to delight in reminding me how much I’ve gone down-hill from my TV days. I’ve grown tired of smiling and reminding these clods that they probably don’t look like they did six years ago either.  I know, I know…I should  realize how lucky I am; how lots of folks in this world never had any time at all in the spotlight so just shaddap and quitchurbellyachen.

Saturday was our dear friend, Alona’s birthday. We usually take her out to dinner but this time she just wanted to mosey about downtown enjoying drinks outside and listening to music. Our first stop was at Stogies where a multi-talented old chum, Mike Hilson, was picking guitar on the patio with two other great players. The three of us were enjoying the music and the beautiful evening when a guy at the table next to us hollered, “Hey Doug..remember when we used to have sex together?” which brought loads of laughter from his table but left me furious with a burning desire to stand-up and try to punch his lights out before I ran out of breath or had a heart attack. I didn’t, of course, but I did comment on his crassness and within seconds he was in my face itchin’ for a fight. I invited him to take his best shot and then prepare to be sued for assault. Lord knows there were plenty of witnesses..many of whom probably wondered if there was any truth to his assinine comment.  He eventually apologized explaining he was drunk. The sideshow was over but so was our pleasant night on the town.

These idiots are a small minority of people who we encounter in public. Most are kind and complementary when mentioning their memories of my years on Keloland. I used to be better in dealing with the others but lately…not so much.

My old colleague and friend, Steve Hemmingsen, is pretty happy to be out of the public eye too. I decided to give him a call last week to see if he was going to be home. It was such a nice day, I thought I’d point the Camaro North for his villa at Lake Hendricks. Well, it turns out he was just pulling into Sioux Falls to have lunch with a friend and do some shopping so I invited him over to the house where we spent three hours gabbing and laughing and holding back a tear or two at the memory of his only son, Stevie, who died nearly two years ago. 

Steve Hemmingsen at his Lake Hendricks home.  Hendricks Pioneer photo

Steve Hemmingsen at his Lake Hendricks home. Hendricks Pioneer photo

Steve is doing pretty well. Like me, he fights a never-ending battle of the bulge and takes a daily regimen of drugs for everything from high blood pressure to attitude adjustment. Unlike me, he needs one of those CPAP masks at night to keep from suffocating in his sleep. Oh, yeah, Steve also has prostate cancer but it’s apparently the Don Imus variety in which surgery isn’t immediately necessary..he just needs to have regular exams and meds to keep it in check. Given a choice, I think I’d rather have my prostate removed than face the thought of dropping trou in the doc’s office every few months for a “digital” review.

Lund & Hemmingsen fully clothed

Lund & Hemmingsen fully clothed

For some reason, I mentioned that I’ve been having a recurring mysterious dream over the past few years in which we were both back at work except when it came time to go on the set, I sometimes didn’t have a jacket..or a tie..or, occasionally no shirt or (forgive the image) no pants! In my dream (nightmare really) I am always running late..or don’t have a script or can’t read the teleprompter because it’s so far away.

Steve says, “You’re kidding. I’ve been having the exact same dream.(Nightmare) Oh, my god..what do you suppose it means?  In all my years on the air I was never late for a newscast or without proper on-air attire.”  “Neither was I.. But there were times when I’d forget a necktie and actually went behind the Captain 11 time converter and pawed through the boxes of ties that had been sent in for Dave Dedrick’s “Ugly Tie” contest on the weather show. I’d find one that wasn’t too revolting and wear it on the news.”  I’ve never told that story before.

“We should write a book,” Steve said. “Yeah, I said.” But we never will.   It was a good day of reminiscing; one we promised to repeat on a regular basis…but probably won’t.

 In the meantime if there are any dream analyzers out there who can explain the puzzling parallel experiences of a couple of slumbering former anchormen we’d like to hear it. We could both use the rest.

Comfort Food For Thought

Posted: Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 11:05 am
By: Doug Lund
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Great day for a motorcycle ride. Bike starts..bike stops. Install  new set of sparkplugs..(no easy chore) Bike starts..bike stops. Now it sits taking up space in the garage like a big lifeless black lump on wheels and I’m faced with the prospect of having it hauled off to the repair shop to be fixed for god knows how much..probably more than its book value. That’s not going to sit well with Linda who hasn’t been too crazy about me riding anyway. (She may have put a curse on it..or sugar in the gas tank..kidding.)

So, I’m feeling rather glum as I go into the house to work on my blog. I fire up the desktop computer. It starts..then stalls. Good grief. I reboot; machine finally starts but incredibly slow. It has been acting like a tortoise in a blizzard for some time now so, even though I’ve not had much luck fixing things lately, I decided it was time to perform a little computer clean-up. Now, you have to understand that I know just enough about computers to get myself in trouble but figure by going to YouTube I’ll find some geeky guy or gal on there more than willing to walk me right through process at no charge. There is no shortage of these people on You Tube and all tell pretty much the same story; clean up your hard drive, defragment the system and get rid of programs that automatically startup when you turn the computer on. Then they show you how to do it. I have followed their instructions implicitly and it has helped so I’m one for one in the do-it-yourself department.  They also suggest I buy additional ram. That’s all I need; a male sheep to keep my dead Kawasaki company.

Then I go to post my blog on the internet and I’m denied access. I was reasonably certain it wasn’t my fault since I couldn’t get on to WordPress with my laptop either. That was two days ago. The “access denied” gate was finally lifted this morning but the blog was rather dated so this is a re-write.

After such a rough day, I needed some TLC and, for me, there’s nothing that soothes the soul of the inept handyman better than foods that have given me comfort since childhood. Linda’s Tater Tot casserole has this healing effect. Although, it’s a definite diet killer, it’s as delicious as it is easy to make; just a layer each of hamburger, onions, cream of mushroom soup, green beans and as many Tater Tots as possible on top. Bake for an hour and a half at 350 degrees..and, voila, before your watering mouth is the greatest mood improvement drug since Prozac.

During the recent South Carolina reunion of the Lund brother’s families, we got to talking about some of our favorite dishes from mom’s kitchen in our youth..foods that we haven’t tasted in a very long time. It should be noted that our mom went out of her way to please her boys at the table. She loved it when we gobbled up her stuff. Our idea of a balanced diet was when the homemade French fries weighed about the same as the hamburgers made from half frozen ground beef.

I was really surprised to come across this photo while going through mom's things. It's a view of our kitchen table where mom served up all those comforting meals for her family. It was also right there where she rolled out and baked throusands of pounds of lefse.

I was really surprised to come across this photo while going through mom's things. It's a view of our kitchen table where mom served up all those comforting meals for her family. It was also right there where she rolled out and baked throusands of pounds of lefse.

 She used to fix regular fried potatoes in a cast iron skillet and to make it stretch farther, would dice up chunks of day-old bread in it. They would crisp-up and become even more tasty than the spuds. All three of us boys have tried to duplicate this recipe without success. Maybe she used lard. Whatever..it’s a taste apparently lost to the ages. We always looked forward to mom’s salmon loaf. Again, I’m not quite sure of her technique. I seem to remember her combining cans of salmon, eggs, saltine crackers and baking in a round pan until it achieved that crispy crust on top. It was remarkably good and something I haven’t had in 50 years. I remember really enjoying those little round salmon bones that gave a lovely crunch. For some reason, after leaving home, I never cared for salmon..or any fish for that matter.. other than canned tuna and oyster stew. In that same syle pan, mom used to fix a recipe that involved cooked rice which she would place under the broiler for a few minutes again achieving that delicious crust on top. We’d scoop big spoonfuls of  those delicious morsels into a bowl, add milk and sugar then devour it like ravenous wolves. I’ve tried to make this too but wound up with a dry pan of tasteless disappointment. I’ve also tried to duplicate mom’s pop-overs. But rather than achieving her soaring towers of inflated eggy goodness..I get flat little hockey pucks. I’ve tried in vain to duplicate her homemade tomato soup, oyster stew and roast beef  gravy.  About the only thing my brothers and I have managed to recreate is her dumpling recipe. They must be hard as a carp..never mooshy. (Just use plenty of flour, eggs, salt and time in boiling water). Denny loved them so much he made the mistake of telling his high school buddies who..to this day..still call him “Dump.”

Gosh, all this talk about comfort food has made me hungry.

I wonder if there’s any left-over Tater Tot casserole in the fridge.

Yeah, right..like there would be left-overs.

Opening For Styx

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 at 9:32 am
By: Doug Lund
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Well, my temporary return to playing drums with Mogen’s Heroes on Wednesday came off with no glaring errors. Oh, I did snag a drum stick on the snare ring while attempting a “dramatic” paradiddle. It went flying from my fingers but for some reason I managed to grab and catch the thing in mid air before it fell to the stage floor. I’m guessing those in the Sioux Empire Fair grandstand for ag appreciation day just figured it was all part of the act and not the drummer’s rustiness after such an extended hiatus from playing.

Denny Gale, Rich Smith, Me, & John Mogen Ag Appreciation Day at the Sioux Empire Fair

Denny Gale, Rich Smith, Me, & John Mogen Ag Appreciation Day at the Sioux Empire Fair

My hair was dark brown when Mogen's Heroes first played for the farmers at the fair some 25 years ago.

My hair was dark brown when Mogen's Heroes first played for the farmers at the fair some 25 years ago.

And she can sing too.

And she can sing too.

It was an honor to open for Styx; the popular early 80’s rock band. It’s just that Styx played on the big stage 9 hours later and we were on a flatbed trailer that bounced up and down to the rhythms of “ Rollin In My Sweet Baby’s Arms” featuring Jim Woster.

It was mercifully cooler for the performers that included a few politicians and a moving unrehearsed rendition of “God Bless the U.S.A.” sung by the lovely Alexis Kosiak, Miss Sioux Empire Fair for 2012.

I’ll bet Styx didn’t do that one.

Every now and again, Jody Staples, who has sort of assumed my old role as Keloland archivist, sends me some photos he finds interesting including the ones below. Our promotion director back in the late 80’s early 90’s decided it would be a cool idea for the entire staff to pose next to the impressive fleet of Keloland news vehicles..including the company airplane. It was a fiasco trying to get everything and everyone in the shot. The weather was windy and cold, it had just poured rain and people were surly because they were missing meetings. I don’t remember if any of the full staff photos were ever used. Instead of showing off  Keloland’s power in its people and property all you could see were a bunch of unidentified shivering employees. These are the images that survive from that day.

Gary Weckwerth, Me, Steve Hemmingsen and Dave Dedrick pose in front of Keloland News Vehicles

Gary Weckwerth, Me, Steve Hemmingsen and Dave Dedrick pose in front of Keloland News Vehicles

 

Dwarfed by our new Satellite remote truck.

Dwarfed by our new Satellite remote truck.

The news staff didn’t get to use that airplane much. It was at Mr. Floyd’s disposal most of the time. The one exception was the State Fair when it was reserved to shuttle people back and forth to  Huron

 

Aboard the King Air flying to the State Fair. Jim Burt, me, Steve Hemmingsen

Aboard the King Air flying to the State Fair. Jim Burt, me, Steve Hemmingsen

Speaking of the State Fair, Cam Lind has come up with another of those Keloland visors we used to autograph and give away to fairgoers.

visor

I must have been on a corn dog break at the time because my name is not among those signatures which include Gary Weckwerth, Steve Hemmingsen and Bobbi Lower. It also bears the names of two great men of local TV..both gone now, Ken Hirsch and Dave Dedrick.

Michael motorcycle 008Our Grandson, Michael knocked on the door the other evening to show us his latest acquisition. His mother and Linda aren’t too excited about Michael owning and operating a motorcycle but he’s wanted to ride for a long time, has taken the safety course and worked hard at K-Mart all summer earning enough money to buy the thing. I’ve had a motorcycle most of my life and it was great fun to go on a ride with him..motoring side by side down the road like a couple of heck angels.

Michael, who just turned twenty,  is a stand out student at Morningside, a great baseball player in college and for the S.F. Saints.

I have his personal promise that he’s going to be a safe biker too..but don’t expect mom and grandma to ever stop worrying.

Drought Or Drouth?

Posted: Friday, August 3, 2012 at 11:36 am
By: Doug Lund
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I stopped at my favorite sweet corn stand Thursday hoping the crop had improved from my last visit before we left for South Carolina. It hasn’t. Apparently, farms around Adrian, Minnesota haven’t had any rain either to speak of meaning a short harvest and short ears. I suppose it could be God’s way of telling me sweet corn should not be on my diet anyway..but why punish all the others who wish to partake of the Lord’s greatest gift to mankind since his only son?

Lousy drought. Or is it drouth?  Either is correct.  I know because I looked it up in 1976..long before Google existed. We had a giant brown Webster’s Dictionary that sat on a window ledge in the Keloland newsroom.  It was pretty tattered from excessive use because it was our primary source for correct spelling and definitions. It was the book I held up to Hemmingsen’s face to prove that it was acceptable to say “Feb-you-ary” even though the second month of the year is spelled with a misplaced “R.” Steve never changed, though, and insisted then as he does now on saying “Feb-roo-ary”and considers the rest of us (Including the late Walter Cronkite) to be mispronouncing rubes.

1976 was the worst drought year I’ve ever personally experienced. (No, I wasn’t around in the Dirty Thirties.) Aside from the Nation’s Bicentennial, it was the biggest story out there; dominating our newscasts. Half the people we interviewed on the subject called it a drouth..so did half of our staff when they talked about it on the air. That’s when our boss, Tom Sheeley, decided enough was enough and said we can’t do anything about how the general public pronounces it..but we sure as hell better find some consistency on how WE do. So the edict went out that we shall, from this time forth, call the  prolonged dry spell a “Drought”..dump the “TH.” Violators would be invited into his office to receiveth a gnawing on the posterior. 

Now, we’re in the middle of another one which will likely put the kibosh to several years of agricultural bounty for farmers. I wonder what kind of mood they’ll be in when Mogen’s Heroes plays again for the annual Chamber of Commerce Farmer Appreciation Day next Wednesday from 11 to 1 at the Sioux Empire Fair.  Hopefully, the free barbeque pork sandwiches, music and a few familiar fun songs from Jim Woster will give them a reason to smile… for awhile anyway.

My drums have been sitting in the garage for at least five years but I’m going to dust them off and see if I can still make some racket with them for next weeks big show at the grandstand.

Mogen’s Heroes will also be playing on the Freedom Stage at the State Fair in Huron again this year but the band’s regular drummer, Bill Hoffman, will be back for that gig so all I have to do is try to follow Woster and sing a few Elvis tunes. Shows are at 2pm and 6pm Thursday August 30th.

How in the world will I fill the hours between shows?

Oh, yeah..there’s the wine tasting tent right next door and maybe former Governor, Harvey Wollman, will be there again to buy Steve Hemmingsen and me a couple of brewed beverages under the grandstand.

I only hope that between the two fairs I can find someone to sell me a golden ear of sweet corn that’s so fresh the creamy kernels, bathed in butter and salt, explode in my mouth with a burst of divine sweetness.

Or, I may have to settle for a footlong corn dog with Ketchup.