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Brian Fleck

Off to Australia

Walkin'

Of the 10 deadliest snakes in the world, five make their home in Australia.
The Death Adder, despite its most ominous of names, comes in at only number nine. Able to strike and strike again in a little over a 10th of a second, its bite can cause death in as little as six hours if not treated. Then there’s the tiger snake at number six, which can kill in just 30 minutes. At number four is the Taipan, injecting venom capable of killing 12,000 guinea pigs (my source doesn’t list how many tourists).

Traveling whirlwind

Sabra and I have been on a whirlwind driving tour visiting family this holiday season.
I can’t help but feel a little guilty driving long distances.
The burning of fossil fuels is causing all sorts of problems from political instability; to global warming; to making Texans, who otherwise might not be able to handle a job at McDonald’s, insanely rich. I’m all for taxing gasoline heavily and using the proceeds to build sustainable renewable energy for our country and world. In the meantime, we like to travel like everyone else, especially when gas is selling for $2 a gallon.

Merry Christmas

Walkin'

One of my earliest Christmas time memories is melting crayons with my cousin Suzzie on an exposed heating duct outside our apartment at the Glenview Naval Air Base. Originally designed to be living quarters for pilots, the buildings were turned into low-income housing through the Chicago Housing Authority.

String Theory part II

Walkin'

In the last couple columns, I’ve explained how our household always had a large supply of string: yellow from Marshall Field’s and white from the News Agency.

String Theory

Walkin'

Besides the yellow string Dad brought home from Marshall Fields there were also skeins of generic white string fetched from the News Agency.
It was just one of his several part-time jobs.

Yellow string, green stamps

One of the benefits of Dad working at Marshall Field’s, the upscale department store based in Chicago, was the string.
It was used by the package delivery drivers, my father’s job for 50 years, to secure items returned by customers. Field’s had a very liberal, no-questions-asked return policy, and would even send a deliveryman out to pick up the package, tie it with string if needed, and return it to the store.

Blame it on the dogs

Walkin'

I’ve been putting off replacing the plastic mat underneath my chair in the upstairs bedroom that doubles as my office. A man’s home may be his castle but in my case the only estate I am sovereign over is the office and the garage.

Key to a Hawkeye move

Walkin'

Nov. 20th marks the 10-year anniversary of the final move into our current home.

Asked and answered

Walkin'

Five things the far left, the far right and almost everyone in between seems to agree on but nothing ever gets done:
Campaign finance reform. Have you noticed that the more money that is spent on elections the dumber the political discourse gets? Here in Iowa we just finished a heated race for an open senate seat with spending near $40 million, 85 percent of which came from outside groups unaffiliated with either campaign.

Indiana state of mind

Walkin'l

Last week I traveled to Indianapolis to babysit my grandson while my daughter traveled on business.
He’s 11 and quite mature, so who babysat who is a bit of a question.

Home front update

Walkin'

The old linoleum floor in my parent’s Chicago home was the big topic of conversation during a recent family gathering to celebrate Dad’s 90th birthday.

New car, no sodas allowed

Walkin'

At 224,000 miles, my old green Honda and I have driven the equivalent of nine times around planet earth.
It was brand new in 1998. Bill Clinton was president and clinging to his office after an affair with an intern became big news. The Unabomber was in jail and the federal budget balanced for the first and only time since WWII.
Like the responsible budget, the new car smell didn’t last for long.