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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Old Guys Can Still Do (awesome) Stuff

Monday, September 12, 2011

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, saying he doesn't want to be "coddled" by Congress, says that wealthier Americans should pay higher taxes, and that higher taxes do not dampen job growth. Mr. B is right; he and other billionaires of a like mind should just mail it in. Why wait to be asked?

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I rarely use the word awesome. About the only time I use "awesome" is when I am complaining about the misuse of the word awesome, however I had an awesome experience in August.

Acting on impulse several months ago, I bought a half price Groupon that would allow me to jump out of a little airplane a mile and a half above the city of Brooklyn.

I had grown up with the Brooklyn Dodgers (dem bums!) as one of my favorite teams. Gil Hodges, Peewee Reese, Duke Snider, Pete Reiser, Carl Furillo, Preacher Roe, Mickey Owen, Eddie Stanky, Jackie Robinson, Joe Hatten (Iowan), and Leo Durocher were always interesting, and they won. Now I like the Cubs. The Cubs are, Uh, interesting. Frustrating.

Chuck Connors, who would later star as The Rifleman, played only one game for the Dodgers. With my parents I later saw him play first base for the Cubs when they finished dead last in 1951. A light hitter, he was wise to trade his bat for the sawed off rifle that made him famous.

I lost interest in the Dodgers when they moved to San Francisco, but I do have a bit of a connection to Brooklyn. I was a freshman at Westmar College six years after high school, and a fellow Industrial Arts student was Larry Keck from Moville. He became the first Westmar student to work on my construction crew and we later visited him, and his wife Lavonne, when he was teaching in Brooklyn, Iowa.

Larry also sold West Bend cookware. Owners of small businesses have a hard time turning down employees, or customers, who also have a product for sale. Encyclopedias, West Bends, IRA's, you name it, we bought it.

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"Bucket list?" The term is a bit too close to "kicking the bucket" for my liking. One possible origin of the term describes when a person stood on a bucket, and then kicked it away while he was stretching the rope around his neck.

I don't have such a list, although I often think of things I would like to do when the occasion is right. Like maybe I would like to vote a straight Democrat ticket someday, but since another wish is not to completely lose my mind, I doubt that's gonna happen. I'd like to watch a crossword puzzle being made, too.

Former President George HW Bush celebrated his 75th birthday by making a tandem parachute jump, landing near his Presidential library in southeast Texas. "Old guys can still do stuff," he said, "and you might as well go for it." I've met this brave president and decided to follow in his footsteps. I planned to do it on my 78th birthday, but late October can be chilly so I opted for August.

SkyDive Iowa is located a couple miles east of Brooklyn, Iowa and that is where I had my first tandem skydive, exiting the plane a mile and a half above Brooklyn. My instructor was a very competent 30 year old Army vet with four Afghanistan tours under his belt. I figure jumping with SkyDive is safer than crossing a street in a community where texting while driving is allowed.

The view and the peaceful calm I felt as that patchwork quilt called earth, with its shades of green, rushed up to meet me was awesome. So is the video.

Some thoughts that might run through your mind as you are about to make your first jump -- If you become un-tethered from your instructor should you aim for a corn field, or a hog lot? If the chute doesn't open will the next sound be "splat," "kerplunk," or "#^%@&!?" Did you remember to add skydiving to your life policy?

I really didn't have any of those thoughts, for I had complete faith in my new best buddy. One thing I really did think about as soon as we were drifting in the air was blowback. I had overheard some of the instructors talking about a guy who upchucked, and I wondered if that occurred while they were in the air. Blowback would be messy.

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News Flash: Standard and Poor's has further downgraded Iowa's intelligence, based on the Republican Straw Poll results.

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Remembering Vernon Anderson from Kingsley. We joined the Navy together after first considering the Paratroopers. Don Paulin, 2carpenterdon@gmail.com, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236

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By Don Paulin
Been There, Done That


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