Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bob Dunning: Jumpers make a Specktacle of themselves


From page A2 | May 03, 2013 |

SPECKTACULAR MID-AIR EVENT … Cathy Speck’s Skydiving Specktacular crew is planning an ALS awareness event Sunday (11:45 a.m.) at Skydance, west of Davis … according to Speck, who was diagnosed with the genetic form of ALS in 2009, “The focus in on party and picnic at the gathering, celebrating the love in our community,” along with information about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis …

Adds Speck: “Skydiving is an incredible way to gain attention and use that time to discuss why we’re jumping out of planes for ALS. All skydivers for ALS will be flying tandem.” … to reserve a spot, call Skydance at 753-2651 or go online at … free beverages and munchies will be provided by Speck and her crew to those Davis community members who wish to remain firmly anchored to planet earth as they watch others skydive …

“Skydiving is exciting, awe-inspiring and it attracts a lot of attention,” notes Speck, who skydived herself in 2010 and says she may go airborne again on Sunday … “This is why we’re using it as an ALS awareness opportunity. I’ve heard so many people say they don’t like heights, and the thought of jumping out of a plane terrifies them. I don’t like heights either, but this is different. It never feels like falling. It feels like flying. It’s almost a spiritual experience.”

WELL SAID … I loved Bob Summer’s piece in Sunday’s Forum section, explaining that whenever someone’s hometown comes up in conversation, saying “I’m from Davis” brings the inevitable response “Are you connected with the university?” … so true …

Long ago, when I’d tell people where I’m from, the response would always be “Are you a student there?” … later it became “Do you teach there?” and more recently “What department were you in before you retired?” … instead of telling them that I type for a living, I just humbly proclaim that I’m dean of the medical school and brag about how many of my students have gone on to a win a Nobel Prize … pretty much stops the conversation dead in its tracks …

THE READERS ALWAYS WRITE … John at writes to say he is “confused” about a recent column about bells on bicycles … “I walk a lot on Davis’ bike/ped paths and except at an intersection, never have had a conflict with a bicyclist; never the ‘ding ding’ of a bell nor a ‘on your left’ or ‘on your right.’ “ … you’re one of the lucky ones John … or maybe you’re just invisible …

“I’ve seen other pedestrians nearly run over, but not me.” … film at 11 … “I do have a little trick than I learned from my mom when I was six: she said to always walk facing traffic, so I walk on the left edge on the bike paths. Problem solved.” … unless you’re on one of those paths so narrow you can’t tell your right from your left …

INITIAL THIS … I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received an invitation to the AAAAA Jazz and Wine Social May 18 at UC Davis … I didn’t know if this was some version of the esteemed American Automobile Association or some other group I wasn’t aware of … any way you slice it, with that many “A”s in its title, the group will be listed first in the phone book …

Turns out it’s the local chapter of the African and African American Alumni Association … now if they’d just add “Aggie” in front of all that, the AAAAAA would no doubt be eligible for inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records … (5 to 7 p.m., May 18, Student Community Center at UC Davis) …

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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