The Duct Tape, Please

more duct tape
I’m incapable of keeping a car pristine. My Chevy Cobalt now sports a drooping passenger side mirror and scrapes on the door after the concrete post defining my narrow garage parking space claimed its latest victim. Not only did the Duct Tape Express succumb to that post on several occasions, but family members’ cars have followed suit. I suppose it’s my fate in life: always having something duct taped to my current car’s exterior. Can I stomach going back to the dealership after my recent spate of visits? Not while I still have a roll of tape in my possession.

Debating the Merits of “Her” and Him

AI
I’m declaring this “the summer of quirky, confusing movies and equally befuddling TV.” At the moment, I’m trying to decide whether I liked the film “Her” and/or want to keep watching the AMC series “Halt and Catch Fire.” Both require me to sort out the impact of technology on the mental health of insecure humans. Critics compare Halt star Lee Pace to Jon Hamm. Seriously? The only thing they have in common are one-syllable names. Netflix counts on my opinion to shape future recommendations, but I can’t begin to decide how I feel about either. Maybe it’s an age thing.

Finally Nailed It

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The third time I visited the car dealership with my “tire low; add air” light lit, I was in no mood to be placated. Torture is sitting in a waiting room while other customers carry on cell phone conversations at 10,000 decibels to compensate for “30 Rock” episodes blaring from a giant TV. I don’t like sitcoms when I’m in a good mood so when told of the nail in my tire, I had a melt-down. Three visits to spot a nail? I’m reminded of why I prefer independent mechanics to dealerships. They usually spot nails the first time around.

Mama Mia, Comrade

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First, Russians beat us to outer space with the 1957 Sputnik launch. Now, pizza deliveries by drone are being undertaken in the town of Syktyvkar, making Putin’s people the first to commercially launch pies into Russian air space. From order to delivery, the process takes about 30 minutes and prices start at around 500 rubles ($15 USD). It’s summer. Nobody minds scouring the skies for drones. But when Siberia-like temps hit the country, only Edward Snowden may be willing to brave the outdoors for a taste of home that could be cold by the time it lands in his mouth.

Tuna Makes a Personal Appearance!

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The only reason people believe I have a cat named Tuna is because I write about him and include photos of his antics. But nobody ever saw him in person; it wasn’t his thing. To make sure he didn’t risk a human meet-up, he clawed open the fabric on the underside of my bed’s box springs. When folks arrive for visits, he scampers to the hole, climbs in and waits for their departure in his “hammock.” Yesterday, Tuna actually stuck around to meet Jenny. This was a first. Guess my little boy is secure (knowing his hammock awaits, if necessary).

IRS (I’m Really Stoked!)

IRS
Nothing’s as entertaining on TV this week as the crabby IRS dude in the hot seat who’s currently being grilled by Senators during Internal Revenue Service hearings. The commissioner behind the microphone comes across as one smug snot: Thousands of critical e-mails concerning fishy activities have disappeared. The computer that generated them was “accidentally destroyed.” Right. Can you imagine the rest of us trying to pass off these lame excuses? If you’ve been audited or challenged by the IRS, this is one enjoyable show. The ending? I’m betting the last episode depicts the IRS train pulling into the karma station.

My Latest Fishing Expedition

fly fishing
Whoops–I did it again; accepted a freelance job that came with a formidable 24-hour turnaround, killer 3,000-word count and I happen to know zip about the topic of fly casting. That said, I’m still ready to be reeled in. Why the self-imposed kamikaze mission? The research if fun and the money’s good—but the mental workout that keeps my brain fine-tuned (though others may dispute that claim) is the draw. I could fail–the piece could be rejected in its entirety–but so what? I’m hopelessly hooked on challenges. Money’s good. Making sense of a new topic? That’s priceless.

The Woman [Literally] behind the Badge

kevlar
The next time you read about police officers surviving dangerous encounters with gun-wielding criminals you can thank a woman. DuPont chemist Stephanie Kwolek conceived the idea of creating a lightweight fiber with a weave so tight it stops bullets. This alternative to heavy metal vests wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms at DuPont 50 years ago where just a handful of women populated the corporation’s R&D division. Her invention wasn’t fast tracked, but she persevered and Kevlar was introduced. Kwolek died this week at 90. I’m bummed they didn’t honor her discovery by calling the material Kwolek rather than Kevlar.

From Virginia Ham to Corned Beef

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I loved reading about Kevin McCarthy, the dude who replaced Eric Cantor as the House of Representative’s new majority leader. McCarthy seems ambitious and clever. He once won a lottery, used his winnings to buy a delicatessen, then paid his college tuition with revenues generated from corned beef and potato salad sales. As the owner of his deli, I bet McCarthy became a master at separating the ham from the salami. He’ll need those skills once he starts trying to work with some of the meatheads serving in Congress. Besides, as a Republican, he already knows a lot about baloney.

My Computer Needs an Exorcism

Norton
I’m being stalked by Norton Utilities. No matter what I try, it won’t go away. The icon pops on my screen like a poltergeist, warning I’ll go to hell if I don’t renew my subscription. Norton came bundled with my PC. Once the trial period ended, I chose another program. Besides, I’m not a big believer than any software program deters hackers after writing a white paper for some tech company on computer vulnerability. I’ve been hacked and assume it won’t be the first time. Gotta get Norton to understand that. Maybe I need a priest to stage an exorcism.