Author Archive - Doug Lund

Remembering Gary Owens

Posted: Friday, February 20, 2015 at 10:53 am
By: Doug Lund
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Gary Owens died the other day.  He was 80. I don’t know the exact cause of death but he’d suffered from diabetes for years.  In 2011,  as a member of the board of directors for the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association, I recommended we induct Owens into the Hall of Fame in the disc jockey category which we did.  

It was then up to me to let him know and extend an invitation to come back home to South Dakota so we could honor him in person.  I managed to do that with the help of my pal, J.P. Skelly of Mitchell’s KORN Radio and long time friend of Owens.  Below is the blog I wrote at the time about my encounter with this true broadcast legend and South Dakota gentleman.

I had a rather surreal experience the other morning. One of the biggest names in Hollywood gave me a call on my cell. Nah, it wasn’t an offer to be in a movie or TV show..but to respectfully decline an invitation to come home and be present in person for his induction into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

gary owens young

The Hollywood big shot is GARY OWENS!  Okay, I’ll bet I’ve lost some of you 40 and under types; “Gary who?” you say, “Never heard of him.” Oh, yes you HAVE!  Even if the name doesn’t automatically ring a bell you’ve certainly “heard” him.  Here’s a little background: Gary Altman was born and raised in Plankinton west of Mitchell. His mom was a teacher and county auditor; his dad was the sheriff.  As a kid, he loved the idea of being on the radio and was determined to make that happen. He was just a teenager when KORN Radio in Mitchell gave him a chance.  From that humble beginning, he went on to become one of the best known radio voices in the country. At a time when AM radio deejays were superstars who could influence the careers of rock and roll singers just by playing their songs, Gary Owens (he dropped the Altman) was one of the biggest.

gary owens

With his delicious baritone pipes, clever off- the- wall commentary and crazy comedy characters, he conquered stations thoughout the Midwest and Southeast taking every one of them to number ONE in the ratings. During the fifties and sixties, he not only played the records of Elvis, Buddy Holly and all the other big names in rock and roll but he knew them personally. “I always worked off a playlist, though. I never took a penny in payola,” Owens told me. By 1961, he’d had made it to the top station in Los Angeles. From there he began breaking into television with guest appearances on the Jack Benny Program, McHale’s Navy,  and The Munsters just to name a few.  He also began doing voices for cartoon characters like Roger Ramjet, Space Ghost and hundreds more.  In 1968, because of his quirky sense of humor,  he was picked to be the straight laced, gibberish-speaking announcer on the wildly popular Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In which ran for six seasons on NBC. He was known for coining the phrase, “Beautiful Downtown Burbank.” Owens has done over 30 thousand commercials, is a member of the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame right between Walt Disney and Betty White.

gary owens today

Even though partially retired, Gary Owens is still busy. In fact, as I was writing this, I heard him on network TV voicing a movie trailer for an upcoming film.

Anyway, Owens was calling me back to express his genuine gratitude for being inducted into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and disappointment at not being able to be in Sioux Falls on the 16th because of a prior commitment in San Francisco. We did interview him live for about an hour on Grant Peterson’s radio program over KBRK  in Brookings. He is an absolute delight to visit with; humble, hilarious and the pride of Plankinton.

During the induction ceremony, family members from Plankinton were on hand to accept Gary’s plaque and to read a wonderful letter from their famous relative expressing his appreciation.  Gary Owens is survived by his wife of 57 years, Arleta, and sons Scott Owens, a producer and Chris Dane Owens, a musician and producer.

I can hear him now with a classic line from “Laugh-in”. ” “This is Borgal the friendly drelb signing off from beautiful downtown Burbank.”

R.I.P. good sir.

My Shattered Life

Posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 12:38 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Knowing my predisposed propensity for being a clumsy oaf, especially as I grow older and wider, I should not be at all surprised that a relationship which began a year and a half ago and has grown from awkward curiosity to an indispensable part of my daily life, has come to a crashing halt; shattered before my very eyes and I’m sick about it.

My smart phone has taken a three foot dive onto the pavement..leaving the glass screen looking like a tarantula’s living room.

My my broken.

My my broken.

I was a bit tardy getting to my recording session at Keloland Tuesday and, instead of safely tucking the phone in my coat or pants pocket, I slipped it into that open-ended hand warming pouch stitched to the front of all 100 hooded sweatshirts I own.  (I live under the delusion that these somehow masquerade my massive girth..hence most are dark colored which we all know further fools people into thinking what a slim fella I am.)  I have made this mistake before but always lucked out when the phone would fall out harmlessly onto the carpeted car floor. Not this time, though. It apparently got hung up on my Keloland parka and waited till I made the trip to a full stand before tumbling in slow motion to the asphalt below, landing on its back with a sickening splat. I looked down to see fingers of broken glass spreading across the screen like a June lightening storm on the South Dakota prairie.

Again, I wonder what words a minister or real Christian utters at such times as these.

I’m afraid that in spite of my promises to the Almighty to mind my mouth and my temper, the Ralphie Parker hubcap incident from “A Christmas Story” becomes reality for this old hypocrite at times like these and the “Oh Fudge” slips out because nothing else seems to express a feeling so accurately or satisfy so completely. (How could you be so stupid? Fudge. This screw-up will likely cost a week’s worth of groceries to make right. Fudge. Why were you too cheap to take out the insurance? Fudge.)

So, now I’m discovering that..based on the number of smart phone repair places I see on line, it’s apparent I’m not the only klutz in town. The thing is, none quote a price for replacing the glass screen which, as far as I can tell, is the only thing damaged to my Droid Razr.

Leave a comment if you have any recommendations.


Nearly half gone already.  I used to like February because it’s a short month and winter couldn’t end fast enough. Now, I’m not so sure. Time is on a fast track for some reason and I wouldn’t mind putting on the brakes a bit.

February also reminds me of the running friendly argument between Hemmingsen and me over the correct pronunciation of the month. He apparently had it drilled into his head at the Brown School of Broadcasting that it is pronounced as it’s spelled Feb-roo-ary. I prefer to pronounce it like most of the people in the world.. who don’t have a pretentious stick up their bum.. do. Feb-You-ary.  I would even bring out Webster’s to prove that both pronunciations were acceptable and he would counter with, “Well, Webster just caved to pressure from the ignorant masses.”   I tried to point out all the other words that don’t include the “r” sound in their spelling like surprise or governor. I reminded him that his Holiness, Walter Cronkite, pronounces it Feb-you-ary.

So, after building such a convincing case, my friend Steve Hemmingsen changed his mind right??

STEVE: “Most people say Nuke-you-ler instead of Nuke-lee-r are you gonna cave on that too? How about Eye-rack instead of about Real-ah-tor instead of Real-tor. Where do you draw the line?”

Nah, Hemmingsen will never change..nor would any of us who know and love the big lug want him to.

I think the only real reason he preferred the old English pronunciation was because it’s too difficult for the rest of us to spit out.

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C’est la vie Arizona

Posted: Friday, January 30, 2015 at 3:22 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Tiger Woods at 16. Booed by crowd. Shot worst round ever as pro.

Tiger Woods at 16. Booed by crowd. Shot worst round ever as pro.

Tiger’s in town..Tiger’s in town. And no, I won’t be seeing him in person. I did check to see if my Keloland ID was good enough to get me some sort of special credentials into the golf tournament but was quickly informed that all the media passes were long gone. (Because of Mr. Woods.)

It’s okay, I’ve been out to the Phoenix Open golf tournament a few times before; once..thanks to desert daughter Christy,  as the guest of a club member which brought lots of special privileges including both a limo ride to the course PLUS free adult beverages which, for me, was like turning Cam Lind (Facebook friend and noted cured pork connoisseur) loose at a bacon carnival. It was at that event I got a chance to meet Vikings’ Defensive End, Jared Allen, who stopped by our little member/guest tent for a beer and b.s.   I’m ashamed to say I didn’t even recognize him at first having spent way too much time accepting the host’s hospitality. In fact,  I couldn’t tell you who won the Phoenix Open that year but it was a good time and, thankfully,  I did very little walking.

Now that I think about it, though, my most unforgettable experience here in Phoenix, was the year both my brothers came out to visit.

Christy was house sitting for Sandy..a kindly gentleman attorney from Kansas City..who needed someone to take care of his place in Scottsdale. He rarely used it and trusted Christy completely for many years to keep it occupied and use  as her home which meant Linda and I..along with occasional visitors from South Dakota..were more than welcome. In 2001..a few months after my kid brother, Tom, was on the mend from his brain aneurism, he and big brother Denny came out for a few days in January to help celebrate my birthday and play a few rounds of golf. We had a wonderful time of it. Tom had to leave first so Denny and I made the most of his last two days which included a run out to the Phoenix Open golf tournament. We got there early and hooked up with Phil Mickelson’s entourage and began walking the course. By hole 15, we were both pretty tired  and sat down with our backs leaning against the Hole 16 grandstand wall watching Phil and the others putt out. Then the wall we were leaning against began to shake and the crowd at 16 erupted in noise because one of the golfers in the group had gotten an ace.

We were just on the other side and had missed it.

Oh well, the memory of the miss always made for a better story anyway.

Now, I just miss my brother.

Anyway, they won’t be playing golf today. It’s raining like coyotes and iguanas here in the desert. As I listen to it come down on the patio tile, I’m reminded of Dave Dedrick’s  famous line about “flat rock” rain. (The cow pissin’ offa is implied.)Arizona trip  rain 001

It won’t matter for the Super Bowl, of course, the University of Phoenix Stadium has a retractable roof  which should keep those folks.. paying thousands of dollars for a seat.. dry and happy. Happy as they can be having paid thousands of dollars for a seat. Earlier in the week, Linda and I took a drive out to Glendale to see where all the action was. Of course, security was on high alert..but, even though I didn’t have any Keloland TV credentials, I did manage to sweet talk the young lady guarding the parking lot to let us Midwest out- of- towers in so we could just take a couple pictures.

Arizona trip U of Phoenix stadium 005

As we’re packing up to leave, I was thinking that it’s been five years ago that, right here in this condo, when Linda and I got the news of Dave Dedrick’s  passing. Now, two of my life heroes are gone. Sure do long for their company though.

Well….in spite of my battle with the “cold of the century..”both Linda and I have had a wee of a time while here amongst the palm trees and snow birds..comforted in the knowledge that we’ve managed to, once again,  avoid January’s nastier side so that we may return home to the short month of February and then look forward with eager anticipation to another  Spring in South Dakota where we belong.


Grin And Barrett

Posted: Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 2:20 pm
By: Doug Lund
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After being nearly eaten alive by our Desert Daughter’s SUV last week, (see rear door incident previous blog) you wouldn’t think I’d have much of an appetite for wandering amongst any type of motor vehicles much less those with dangerous sounding names like Cobra, Sting Ray or Jaguar but how could I not when some of the finest cars in the world were on display at the Barrett Jackson Collector Car Show and Auction just a few miles from my sick bed in Scottsdale?

I had managed to finagle media credentials for the event on line hoping it would, in addition to free admission, allow me other special privileges not given the common masses.copy of az laynard

So I was a little disappointed when, even though I had a media tag hanging from the rear view mirror, (a tag that came with an impressive press packet picked up a couple days earlier which also included a Barrett/Jackson lanyard with a huge laminated card that had “Media” stamped on it.) the guy at the gate paid no heed and directed me to the same general parking lot as everybody else.

So, what am I to do? 24 hours earlier, I could barely walk the aisles of Safeway without collapsing from this cold-cough induced exhaustion, now I’m expected to hike a half mile to where all the action was taking place. Oh sure, they said there would be shuttles but I don’t see….wait, here comes one now. But how do I remember where the hell I’m parked there are no signs or numbers..just an ocean of vehicles and it’s not even my car that I’ll be hunting for  later..maybe in the dark!

Well, that’s me. “Worry Wart” as mom used to say.  I wonder where in the world that saying came from. Checking Google. No consensus as to origin

Anyway, the shuttle driver’s first words were “Okay folks..just remember this is “Cactus” just tell the next driver that’s where you want to go and he’ll bring you right back here.”  Well, that’s easy peasy and off we went to the front gate where the little carrying case I borrowed from Christy to hold my phone and camera was given a quick inspection and then I meandered into the gigantic exhibit hall leading to the main auction pavilion.  Now, it should be noted that I hate my camera..or to be perfectly honest, I hate myself for being too dumb to figure out how to set it properly so pictures are taken AUTOMATICALLY (as advertised)  adjusting for light and motion. My feeble attempts at figuring it out result in way too many blurred, too dark or too light images which was frustratingly evident at Barrett Jackson on this day.

Inside one of the buildings featuring the most unique new cars from around the world.

Inside one of the buildings featuring the most unique new cars from around the world.


Like the new Corvette

Like the new Corvette


And this Viper done to "Scale"

And this Viper done to “Scale”

The highlight of this year’s event was the dispersal of Ron Pratte’s collection of motor vehicles…most of them the finest in the world and most of them purchased at previous Barrett Jackson auctions. Pratte is an insanely successful contractor who has simply moved on to other interests. (Pratte’s collection of cars, trucks, motorcycles and automobilia brought in a total of 40 million dollars.)

There's just no way to describe Pratte's collection. If I was loaded with cash I would have bought it all and driven every one.

There’s just no way to describe Pratte’s collection. If I was loaded with cash I would have bought it all and driven every one.

After checking out as many cars as possible, I was in desperate need of a rest so I ambled in to watch the auction…and the people watching the auction.

Copy of Arizona 2015 week 2 008

As in life, there’s a class system at Barrett. Only bidders are allowed to sit on the main floor folding chairs and I think it costs 500 dollars to get a bid number so you’ve got to be semi serious about being there. The looky-loos may sit in the metal bleachers surrounding and cordoned off from the floor. And then there are the sky boxes where the gold chain wearin’ slick hair combed back too cool for school guys with their cocktails and female escorts take up residence. It’s all fun to watch..which I did until 4 pm. That’s when national television coverage of the event began on The Discovery Channel and Velocity. I was determined to get up as close to the stage as possible with my iffy Kodak and get a few close ups for you.

My first move was getting over to the staging area where the cars are prepped before driving onto the stage. I snapped a couple shots.Copy of Arizona 2015 week 2 010

Blurry. Damn. Reset. With flash. Without flash. Ugh.  It was getting crowded as they rolled in a wrecked Shelby Cobra with a guy in an Ironman suit lying across it. Oh, yeah this was from the Ironman movie. I thought I’d follow its sale from start to finish and bravely walked up to the security guard who was keeping watch over the aisle that crosses between the audience and stage front. Wearing my Keloland TV sweatshirt, I flashed my media badge around my neck and he waved me through. Wow!   There I was..right in the heart of the action. (If you see reruns of the auction or happened to record the Wednesday edition on TV and see the Ironman car up for auction, look for a heavy set fellow in front of the stage taking pictures with a dinky camera. That would be me.). Here are the salvageable images from that memorable, albeit short lived, experience.

Thank goodness this image featuring one of the formal Barrett Jackson stage models came out crystal clear even though I was shaking a bit being this close. Nice trophy.

Thank goodness this image featuring one of the formal Barrett Jackson stage models came out crystal clear even though I was shaking a bit being this close. Nice trophy.


And then..whoosh..right by me close enough I could smell his after shave..walks the big boss himself. Barrett Jackson, Craig Jackson up to the announcer's podium

And then..whoosh..right by me so close  I could smell his after shave..walks the big boss himself. Barrett Jackson, CEO Craig Jackson up to the announcer’s podium


And there are the two talented TV car experts working the stage, Mike Joy and Steve Magnante.

And there are the two talented TV car experts working the stage, Mike Joy and Steve Magnante.


I'm really in the thick of it now with bidding assistants screaming at the top of their lungs to the auctioneer when they have an audience bid to register. Those are the sky boxes in the back where the elite hang out to show off their fat wallets and studliness.

I’m really in the thick of it now with bidding assistants screaming at the top of their lungs to the auctioneer when they have an audience bid to register. Those are the sky boxes in the back where the elite hang out to show off their fat wallets and studliness.





Then another surprise. I kind of like that TV show, "Fast and Loud" featuring Richard Rallings from Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas. I turn around and there he is on stage with his rich pal, Dennis bidding on the Ironman Cobra.

Then another surprise. I kind of like that TV show, “Fast and Loud” featuring Richard Rawings from Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas. I turn around and there he is on stage with his rich pal, Dennis bidding on the Ironman Cobra.

I'll be darned if they didn't buy the thing for ..I think..30 thousand dollars. Rawlings also sold some vehicles and spent a record 300 grand on a Pantera. I guess he's doing okay.

I’ll be darned if they didn’t buy the thing for ..I think..30 thousand dollars. Rawlings also sold some vehicles during the auction  and spent a record 300 grand on a Pantera. I guess he’s doing okay.

I don’t know if one of the paying bidders in the front row complained because I was blocking his view or weather Craig Jackson himself looked down from his perch and wondered what the heck that big guy with the little camera was doing and sic’ed the hounds on me but by on my third attempt to get a closer picture of the next car coming up for bid, a woman with a black jacket and security badge came up to shoo me out with the admonition that media weren’t allowed. I wanted to say “but the guy at the other end let me in…” It was no use, though; my trespassing ticket had been punched. Nothing left but to call it a day and head for home.   If I can find my ride.

Turns out the shuttle showed up right away and took me straight to Cactus where..thanks to a horn honking button on Christy’s key fob..I found the car with no trouble at all and within a half hour was back at home sweet home with a shot of cough syrup in my gullet and a Vodka Gimlet in my hand.

I just found out that Tiger Woods is going to play in the Phoenix Open for the first time in 16 years next week. I wonder if I should check out the possibility of getting media credentials.

Nothing is too good for my blog readers.

Sure could use a better camera though.

Wait. The 23rd is my birthday.  Oh, Linda??

Extreme Cold Grips Phoenix

Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 at 12:36 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Heh..heh..I figured that headline might get  your attention.

No..the weather out here in the Arizona desert has been sunny and warm. I, on the other hand have been gloomy and ill almost since we arrived with a demonic cold that has nearly worn me out both physically and mentally.

I have hesitated to say anything either via the blog or Facebook; concerned, of course, about the reaction I’d get pointing out the obvious irony of my situation. No it isn’t lost on me that we flew 15 hundred miles to escape one of the coldest stretches ever to a place enjoying near record warmth only to be cooped up inside a bedroom for days on end fighting a cold war with my body.

It began innocently enough, around January 3rd with sneezing; lots and lots of sneezing..along with itchy watery eyes. I’ve never had allergies but now I had all the symptoms so we headed to the drug store for appropriate remedies. Didn’t help.

Pretty soon, I started getting a tickling sensation deep inside my lungs followed by long uncontrolled coughing jags. This was no allergy but something all too familiar; a mighty old foe who shows up every few years to put me in my place; to help me ponder mortality even more than I already do and to maybe better appreciate what I already have..

My view for the last umpteen days

My view for the last umpteen days

Sounds serious doesn’t it?

Well, I tend to get a little dramatic when I get sick with something I’ve had before and know takes a long time to run its course. Days and nights become interchangeable as I do battle with the evil Mr. Phlegm trying to get him to let go of my windpipe. The only weapons in my arsenal are Vick’s VapoRub, bottles of Robitussin, throat lozenges, liquids a sympathetic wife…oh and the ability to cough. I have coughed till I’m literally blue in the face..coming close to passing out on several occasions. Whenever some of the green phlegm army is eliminated, replacements are at the ready for immediate service at the front. Stomach muscles become sore and eventually every cough brings a sharp pain to the brain that has you searching for the surrender flag. Rest comes more from passing out than going to sleep. Exhausted, I lay there listening to the wheeze as I exhale. Sometimes it sounds like a lonesome coyote howling at the moon; so common out here in the DesertCanyon area. Sometimes it sounds like a single note from a violin..then other notes join in..then more until it becomes that annoying orchestra practice montage before a concert. Then the dreams real and so bizarre. Then a cough jolts me awake and I need to sit up and do battle with the evil Mr. Phlegm for awhile..then, exhausted, fall back on my other side and drift off to the lullaby of out of tune violins coming from my clogging chest cavity.

After a few days and nights  of this I began to look like Tim Conway as the Old Man on the Carol Burnett Show..mumbling and shuffling from room to room with hair standing straight up. I was also losing strength and had no appetite at all which is REALLY unusual for me.

Naturally, I began  thinking about how my brother Denny had similar symptoms leading up to his demise so It was time to force myself to get better and get out of the condo..either to see a doctor or go shopping. I chose Safeway.

Although still in a bit of a daze, it did feel good to get out in the sunshine, especially for Linda, who between stints caring for my sorry arse, has about worn out the screen on her NOOK reader..consuming book after book;  sometimes…but not often enough..sitting outside on the sun drenched patio.

We took a little spin around this pretty community..went down to the fountain and sat on a bench by the lake like a couple old farts watching birds and retired couples power walking.  Oh, hey you single guys…lots and lots of lonely wealthy widows down here looking for a man. Must love dogs.

The Fountain Hills Fountain only goes off 15 minutes every our timing was off on this visit.

The Fountain Hills Fountain only goes off 15 minutes every our timing was off on this visit.


Linda's just glad for a few moments out of our germ infested cough shack.

Linda’s just glad for a few moments out of our germ infested cough shack.


I'm just glad that..well, Bounty is a better picker upper.

I’m just glad that..well, Bounty is a better picker upper.

Even though neither of us had consumed that much, Linda and I still wound up with a cart-full of stuff at Safeway and by check-out, I was really ready to recline. I was also in desperate need of the rest room because one of the nasty side-effects of profound, prolonged coughing, extensive medication and selective eating is..well, diarrhea..and I felt a potentially embarrassing sneeze coming on so I sped to the Loo only to discover a WOMAN in there washing her hands!  What in the name of all that’s holy is going on? That’s what I thought to myself for a millisecond before it dawned on me that I may have entered the incorrect lavatory. Thank the good Lord the woman at the well never turned around or even looked up at the mirror to notice the fat male intruder with grey hair..beard, a red nose and wearing a Keloland TV sweatshirt. I skedaddled out of there as if Oral Roberts, himself, had laid a healing hand on me and..after carefully examining the stick figure on the next door and saw it didn’t appear to be wearing a skirt..I entered and took care of business.

Fortunately, retelling the episode to my dear Linda waiting outside with our groceries, brought a wonderful laugh that made us both feel better. That feeling lasted until we got home and I was able to make her giggle once again. We’re using our desert daughter Christy’s Ford Edge while in Arizona. I’m not familiar with all its gizmos and after we’d unloaded all the groceries, I went to re-attach that web gate thing. I had the keys in my pocket and accidentally bumped the automatic rear gate close button..narrowly escaping with my life. It was like Jaws and I was the boat captain about to be gobbled up.

Ah, well..feeling a little better each day. Even went to the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction by myself. That’s a story in itself. I’ll tell it..complete with a few pictures next time.

Ta Ta for now.

Oh no..Linda just sneezed and has been coughing a little this morning.


High Anxiety

Posted: Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 2:48 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Unlike some people who vacation in warm climates while their dear friends and family are left to endure the rigors of a particularly evil period of cold and wind-driven snow that stings the cheeks and freezes snot, I was brought up not to gloat.

So, during this month of January as Linda and I return to our Fountain Hills, Arizona rental for the first time in a couple years, there will be nothing but guilt feelings conveyed here in, what I hope will be, more frequent blogging about life among the cactuses. (Cacti?)

Okay, maybe just one shot of snowy 4 Peaks..the view from Fountain Hills the day we arrived.

four peaks with snow 006

First, a little about how we got here.

It was time to give Big Red, our 15 year old Town Car with 170 K, a rest. In spite of that, I  have no doubt the old girl was up to the challenge, but the thought of a two and a half day drive out here through weather that can be..and usually is..dubious at times, we decided to exercise the Allegiant Airlines option. The decision was finalized when our desert daughter, Christy, bought a second car and agreed to let us use it while here. Deal done.

I spent a little extra for Exit Row seats for the leg room and for an extra suit case. (pretty hard to cram a month’s worth of stuff into just two checked bags.)  In spite of Allegiant horror stories including regular delays, our flight took off about on time and was uneventful for two of the two and a half hours. That’s when a child a few seats ahead began to perpetuate the stereotype of what defines “terrible twos.”  We could not see him but everyone within the confines of that enclosed aluminum tube could hear him for the final 30 minutes. It began with some whimpering as soon as the pilot started reducing altitude. At first, you could sense the sympathy from everyone, including me, as the mother tried to sooth her toddler who seemed to be reacting unfavorably to a pain in the ears that weren’t popping properly as we got lower. Ahhhh. Poor baby, we thought.

Then, efforts to console the little fellow were being rejected more loudly..and, in our mind’s eye, more violently, as each non stop ear piercing scream was punctuated with a “NO”. But then it became clearer that his ears were fine..he was just angry…really angry.

Anyone who flies knows that it seems to take forever to land once the captain throttles back..but on this trip, a half hour felt like an eternity..especially after I lost all feelings of concern for that kid and began imagining all sorts of ways I’d like to shut him up. Shameful things that I’m not proud of but could tell others around me were fanaticizing about too. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love kids and know they get out of sorts especially when they’re strapped in against their will. I would never do or say anything. But I did find it necessary to jam my forefingers in my ears to maintain sanity until the wheels screeched on the runway and we rolled to a stop at our gate. I finally got a look at the little rascal when he and his mother got up to exit. He was banging an empty plastic pop bottle on his grandpa’s head and getting mad all over again when told to stop. Dear little angel.

There are lots of things going on out here in the Phoenix area during January..including the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction which this year will feature the Ron Pratte collection of cars which is one of the world’s finest..many purchased by Pratte at previous Barrett-Jackson sales for big big money. Even though the event has gotten huge, I decided to apply for media credentials to cover it for my blog my surprise, received them. So, I hope to get out there to take some pictures and write a few words for you.

The Phoenix Open golf tournament is at the end of the month and, of course Phoenix hosts the Superbowl. But that won’t happen until after we head home…hopefully on a flight where all the children are contented little darlings.

One of our favorite hangouts out here is the “Rusty Spur” in Old Scottsdale. They always have live music and have added some interesting bar stools that Linda was more than happy to model. The image has been quite a hit on Facebook.

Ta Ta for now.

4 peaks linda bar stool

Goodbye Mrs. Schultz

Posted: Monday, December 29, 2014 at 3:53 pm
By: Doug Lund
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One of my favorite TV programs, CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, must have spent a third of Sunday’s show acknowledging the passing of important people in the year 2014.

Bernice Schultz was not among them although to my mind she should have been.

Mrs. Schultz died at her home in Winter Park, Florida a week before Christmas. She’d made it to age 96.

I’m guessing that nearly everyone who’s enjoyed a smidgen of success in life,  had a special school teacher to thank for helping them turn a critical corner and make some key life decisions. For me, that teacher was Mrs. Schultz.

Bernice Schultz teacher extraordinaire 1962

Bernice Schultz teacher extraordinaire 1962

I had a bad case of insecurity when entering high school in 1961. First off, I was fat. Second off, my older brother, Denny, who had graduated the year before, had set quite a precedent for me to follow; not athletically or scholastically but by being one of the popular “cool” kids who not only had the greatest duck butt haircut but also the uncanny ability, with his quick wit, to charm teachers and fellow students into liking him. (He would have been a state champion debater if he’d only joined the club.) And, third off, I was convinced that nobody understood or appreciated me..except for my cousin Grouse (Lawrence Gruseth) who had his own set of challenges.

I was pretty tall and knew how to play sports but was so self conscious about the possibility that  coach Harry Prendergast would have me be part of the “skins” team during basketball practice, I never went out for the team in High School. Because of my size, he also wanted me to try out to play center on the football team. I didn’t dare tell him about my claustrophobia and the thought of how being at the bottom of a pile of guys would kill me. One day when it was raining hard, I didn’t show up for practice and was kicked off the squad. Humiliation..but no tears from me.

So, there I was with only Grouse to share my thoughts and dreams with about being a rock and roll or broadcasting star.

Grouse (Lawrence Gruseth) and me providing entertainment for the school Christmas party in the Volga High School Gym 1961.

Grouse (Lawrence Gruseth) and me providing entertainment for the school Christmas party in the Volga High School Gym 1961.

We wanted the same exact things he and I..but in that year of 1961, life really went haywire when throat cancer first took the voice and then the life of Grouse’s aunt.. Esther. Grouse, his dad and brother were absolutely lost without her and until they got a housekeeper a year or so later, needed all the help they could get. More on that in a minute.

It was clear from the first moment I stepped into Mrs. Schultz’s English class that she wasn’t like any teacher I’d had. She made it clear right off the bat that we weren’t kids anymore and she wasn’t about to treat us like it; Learn or was up to us.bea 005

This stuff is going to be important in our lives and it’s her job to get it through our thick skulls.  She knew all about the English language, including some of its more colorful words which she wasn’t afraid to use in order to emphasize  a point when the situation warranted. But if anybody needed help, she’d make time to see you got it.

Toward the end of that first year she had me stay after class one day for a chat. “Doug, I don’t know why you can’t seem to get the grammar part of the curriculum but your writing is not bad.  I want you to take journalism classes next year and I’d like you to work on the school paper..okay?”   Well, she knew I’d probably never figure out how to diagram  a sentence or know a predicate from a dangling participle but that day gave me a boatload of confidence. Over the next three years, she was my go-to source for advice on just about it English, Journalism or life in general.  I’m also quite sure she was the one who put a bug in the ear of Kenneth Joy about casting me in the one act play he was directing for which I won best actor in the regional contest. I’ve since learned she made dozens..perhaps hundreds of other students feel just as special..but at the time it felt like just me….oh, and cousin Grouse.

That's me wearing the black shirt at the typewriter with Mrs. Schultz over my shoulder. Cousin Grouse is typing at the right.

That’s me wearing the black shirt at the typewriter with Mrs. Schultz over my shoulder. Cousin Grouse is typing at the right.

I asked if he’d write a few lines about his experience at a most critical time:

After mom died, Mrs. Schultz took a lot of interest in my well being. For some reason she became worried about my shoes being worn down on the heel…She evidently thought that I had a plethora of writing talent, so she took it upon herself to get me an after school and Saturday job with Pat Leary at the Volga Tribune.  That evolved into a full time summer job with plenty of time off for rock and roll jobs.  For SDSU journalism-printing students spending a quarter term at the Shotgun was the equivalent of an internship.  This meant that I was in contact with just about every journalism student to graduate from SDSU from ’62 thru 68.  So, after I got married and decided that I’d better get a degree, journalism was the most prudent choice of majors.  Broadcast journalism was new at SDSU and sounded much more exciting than print…so that’s the direction I chose.  We ran out of money after my junior year so I applied for a job in continuity at KELO….got it and started writing commercials and booth announcing.  After a couple years, we returned to SDSU, finished the coursework and went to KSOO-TV.  In short, if Mrs. Schultz had not taken an interest in me as a person and gone out of her way to get me that little job at the Volga Tribune only the good Lord knows what would have become of me.


Because Mrs. Schultz had inspired us both in the field of journalism, Grouse and I were the natural choices to portray Chet Huntly and David Brinkley in reading the class prophecy during the Junior Senior Class banquet.

Because Mrs. Schultz had inspired us both in the field of journalism, Grouse and I were the natural choices to portray Chet Huntly and David Brinkley in reading the class prophecy during the Junior Senior Class banquet. Wh0 could have imagined it would be the first of thousands of scripts that would pass through our hands.

Mrs. Schultz and her late husband, Glenn, were instrumental in reorganizing Volga High School into the current Sioux Valley High School District;  consolidating Volga, Bruce and Sinai. She stayed on at Volga until age 70 and then embarked on a snowbird lifestyle full of travel adventures eventually settling in Florida with her daughter Patti.

A lot of times, former students don’t get a chance to tell teachers how much of a positive influence they had on their lives. That’s not the case, though, with me and Mrs. Schultz. Ooops, Mrs. Schultz and “I” wait, Mrs. Schultz and “me.” Oh, hell.

30 years ago, for some odd reason, the principal asked me to be commencement speaker at my  alma mater. Not only was my mom in the audience but so was Mrs. Schultz. I made sure to share the above stories at that time and on other occasions when our paths crossed over the years. She never failed to enjoy taking full credit with her usual gap toothed grin followed by a hearty laugh.

I was hoping to write a few words on the Funeral Home obituary web site..but it turns out..she apparently didn’t have a funeral in Winter Park..just went directly to the crematory.

That sounds like Mrs. Schultz. “Do your best work..then get the hell out without a lot of fanfare.”

Somebody is apparently planning a memorial service for her in Volga sometime.

I hope so. I know a lot of us would like to drink a toast to the old girl.

Ring Christmas Bells..Please?

Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 12:32 pm
By: Doug Lund
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(From Santa’s vault)

I was awakened early this morning by a thumping noise coming from the basement followed by a faint sound that reminded me of the bell teacher’s ring to call kids in from recess.

There has been a little criminal activity in our part of town lately and my first thought was, “there’s a burglar in the basement. My second thought was “what am I going to do about it?” My third thought was, “where’s Linda?”

That’s when I realized that the Christmas season had officially arrived at our house.

She’s the one making all the noise as she drags out boxes full of decorations that have been stored in the closet under the stairs since last January 1st.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; why aren’t you down there helping her ya lazy lug?

Well, she doesn’t want my help., at least that’s what she says.

Linda really gets focused on the task at hand and it’s best to stay out of her way until I’m called in to give final approval to what she’s done.

“The front window looks great, Honey. Yes, I like the candle sticks on either side of the red bow and tiny twinkling tree.” No, Honey, I can’t see the electrical cords that you’ve neatly camouflaged in green garland. You’ve really outdone yourself again, Honey.”

Occasionally I’ll hear an un-Christmas-like curse come from her sweet lips as she steps back to admire her handiwork and a suction cup holding one of the little wreaths lets go for lack of spit and comes crashing down.

Linda always says she’s not going to put as much stuff up this year..but, like lovin’ her man, once she gets started it’s awfully hard to stop.

I did try to help one year.

Over her objections, I bought a string of bells that played over 90 Christmas songs. My plan was to string them around  the inside patio door and fill our house with the joyful sounds of the season.

xmas bells

It seemed easy enough until I discovered that most of the little electronically-operated clappers needed to be bent a bit so they’d strike the bell properly.

But the biggest problem was trying to keep the bells from touching the curtain which prevented them from having a peal.(sorry)

“We three kings of Orient (thunk).”

After doing much holiday cursing of my own, and to Linda’s great relief, I finally took the bells out to the garage and strung them up above my work bench where they could hang free.

Well, I thought. Our Christmas Eve guests will still be impressed when they arrive to the sound of familiar carols chiming away by the back door.

But what I didn’t realize is that the bell’s computer chip was never designed to operate in the cold and before long, “Silent Night” was being played at lightening speed with a lot of the important notes missing.

I figured out what might be wrong and went in to get something out of the house to fix it.

“What have you got in your hand?” Linda asked.


“Yes you do, what is it.”

“A hair dryer.”

“A hair dryer..what in the world do you need a hair dryer in the garage for?”

“Um, to warm up the bell controller.”

“Are you going to be running in and out of here all night shooting hot air onto those damn bells while your family is in here having Christmas?”

It was a rhetorical question..and I almost blurted out, “well, as hot as you are right now, maybe you could just stand out here and that would do the trick.”  But I didn’t.

xmas bells 006

Those Christmas bells are still hanging in the garage right where I strung them up years ago.

I sometimes plug them in on a 90 degree day in August.

They work great!

My Date With Joan

Posted: Friday, December 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I probably will never require carpel tunnel surgery because of too much time spent at the keyboard writing blogs. But my digits do get a serious..perhaps syndrome-inducing work-out pushing buttons on the remote control changing TV channels or utilizing the DVR to its maximum capabilities.

It’s one of the reasons..well, okay, the MAIN reason.. Linda and I rarely watch television together; she’ll put up with commercials.  I just can’t. I pre-record just about everything.  Occasionally, though, late at night..I’ll be rolling through channels and see “Johnny Carson” in the program guide and can’t help myself. I always stop to watch..even though I realize it’s nothing more than a half hour commercial featuring  “best of” clips from “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” that have been compiled and  being offered for sale on video. I’ve watched this infomercial a dozen times and still can’t resist ogling again and again.

My gosh, it’s been 22 years since the king of late night television, Johnny Carson, retired but just hearing his Tonight Show theme song and seeing some of those highlights makes me laugh and feel young again. I, like millions of others, especially got a kick out of the shows which featured wildlife experts, Jim Flowler or Joan Embrey who would bring  exotic animals on for Johnny to play with; often with hilarious results.

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Early on during my long TV career my bosses knew I was better suited for puff pieces rather than covering politics, cops or courts. I wasn’t as interested in hard news as  Hemmingsen, Bjerke, Ertz or any one of a number of young Woodward/Bernstein wanna-be’s in our when feature stores came up..I’d get the assignment and loved it. Which brings me to my encounter with Joan Embery..the wildlife specialist from the San Diego Zoo who would eventually make 75 memorable appearances on The Tonight Show with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno.

I can’t recall exactly what year it was..but sometime in the late 70’s or early 80’s Joan was a guest at Sioux Falls’ Great Plain’s Zoo and available for interviews. A Keloland promotion photographer caught this shot of us in the act. That’s Vince Dave in the yellow KELO jacket and Bob Fischnich operating the camera. I’m not sure but I think that’s a spider monkey Joan is holding.

kelo doug and joan embry

Looking at the picture I’m trying to remember some of the things discussed and am coming up empty. I do recall that, as I suspected, she relied heavily on make-up..but then, I was probably wearing some too. I also deduced quickly that she was the real deal; genuinely nice which made me feel a bit awkward when I decided to ask a “hard news” question to impress my colleagues back at the station. “Joan. How do you justify your concern for the well being of wild animals when you work for a place that keeps them penned up..not wild and free at all?”

Embery just smiled and gave the answer she’s given a thousand times before that some zoos are bad but most have become actively involved in conservation through inter-zoo breeding programs and work with wild populations. Zoo animals are advocates for those in the wild and inspire people to care about threatened wildlife.

Embrey has been good to her word. Now in her mid 60’s she continues to work as an ambassador and advocate for animals and the environment including television appearances with exotic creatures; most recently on the Christian Broadcast Network.

But I’ll never forget those gut-busting moments with Johnny like this.

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Or this.

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Speaking of late night TV talk shows, my favorite, “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” ends its ten year run at the end of December.

I am really going to miss this quirky Scotsman and his gay robot sidekick, Geoff Peterson (Played by the brilliant Josh Robert Thompson) who never..ever..failed to make me laugh out loud even while watching alone.

late night craig and geoff

CBS is replacing Ferguson with another British actor-comedian, James Corden. He comes with some pretty impressive credentials including a Broadway Toni. He’s only 36 though and I’m afraid that instead of making me laugh out loud..his humor might make me feel out of touch.

James Corden New Late Late Show Host

James Corden New Late Late Show Host

Oh, well..there’s always YouTube and that stack of Johnny Carson and Dean Martin Celebrity Roast videos I ordered in the middle of the night.


The Only Good Reporter Is An Argus Reporter

Posted: Friday, November 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I haven’t written a blog for awhile and after this might just be my last..but here goes.

This past week, as I discovered the names of many talented journalists at the Argus Leader who were getting canned in the company’s latest strategy move to keep afloat or relevant..or whatever… I also learned that the former senior elevated to the obscure title of “content strategist” was taking pot shots at every news reporter in town except the two guys sitting next to him on his appropriately named “100 Eyes Webcast.” ( So named because I doubt if it is seen by more than 50 people a week.)

I get angry when people I know in the broadcast news business, who work every bit as hard at their craft and are as dedicated to journalistic excellence as anyone at the Argus..get blindsided by this guy who thinks he has a finger on the pulse of Sioux Falls area residents and figures they (using the obvious “bicycle” metaphor here) need to “Roll with the changes” the Argus is offering at nine bucks a month to go digital with him.

Here’s an excerpt from his webcast. I want you to note in particular the lack of any feeling whatsoever by he or his toadies after having just had so many of their long time colleagues like Joel  Brown, Janna Farley, Jon Walker, Peter Harriman, Ron Hoffman, Doreen Weinstein and others  unceremoniously “streamlined” right out the door. But, hell..that’s their business not mine. I want you to watch this video to the end where he lays into broadcast reporters..wherein lies my beef.


What Mr. Strategist knows and isn’t saying is that when his two pet reporters need more time for investigative reporting or to read Cory Heidelberger’s blog for ideas, they will have it and all the page space they need.

He also knows that stations like Keloland turn out five newscasts and one web newscast a day..while maintaining the top web site in the state. Reporters, including anchors, are expected to contribute daily packages that tell the story with facts and interviews while fitting  it into the newscast time restraints..or going live from the scene when a situation warrants.


I like getting my Argus Leader in the morning. I think it’s gotten better since adding the USA Today section.  I like a lot of the people who work there..although many of them and their paychecks..have been sent packing.

My computer says I’ve used up my limit of free time on the Argus web page without paying the nine bucks.

Think I’ll pass.