Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Taking a lickin' at the hardware store

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I’ve always been sweet on trips to the hardware store and, quite honestly, it started with the candy. Those old-fashioned striped stick candies, if you must have details.

It never struck me as odd that places where the air is thick with lawn fertilizer and 3-in-1 oil also specialized in sugary delicacies, cellophane wrapped and flavored with root beer, cinnamon or the exotic if not vague “tropical fruit.” But I was knee-high to a sack of Kingsford briquettes then, usually stopping in on a Saturday with my dad so he could pick up a bag of concrete mix or a propane canister for his soldering torch. And those ol’ mom-and-pops had everything. "Hey, Ethel, we already sell slip joint pliers, right? Let’s stock some cavity inducers while we’re at it?"

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Mighty Have Fallen

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I contributed to global warming more than usual recently, so: World, I’m sorry. But that tree had it coming.

A 2019 study published in the journal Science concluded the Earth has enough open space to plant more than a trillion trees. This, it noted, is enough to capture some 800 billion tons of carbon dioxide, or roughly the equivalent of a cable news pundit’s daily output of hot air. Actual experts said this could bring greenhouse gas levels down to a number not seen since the days before American women were allowed to vote. 

Yet I, avowed advocate of suffrage and not suffering death by polar ice cap sweat, gave the order to take out a four-story black oak that had shaded our back porch for decades. It was not an easy decision. Initially.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

“Smart” appliances, meet the smart aleck

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DUCK, N.C. – This oven has convinced me that the Luddites were on to something.

To review that historical reference you can’t look up because your cell phone is down to 3 percent,

Calling someone a Luddite today is a put down. It means the person is opposed to technology and, in general, change and progress. That’s not me. I’ve never longed for the days of manual typewriters or using paper road maps. But while I’m not old-fashioned, I do abhor technology that makes me want to drown in Old Fashioneds because it is unnecessarily complex. Or just simply unnecessary.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Commence Reacting, Coronavirus Class of 2020

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Thank you for that warm introduction, Dr. Principalperson. And thank you for your bravery. Some would consider it pretentious of non-medical professionals such as yourself to still want to be addressed as “doctor” during these pandemic times.

What did you say, Dr. P? Huh?

Oh, seems I’ve muted everyone’s microphones for my portion of the Zoom graduation ceremony.

See that, my dearest beleaguered faculty, our hardest-working custodial staff, and most of all, you -- The Coronavirus Class of 2020. The ability to click a button and shut up your alleged superiors is just one feature of COVID-19 life that’s not too shabby.

Now let us ponder that phrase: “alleged superiors.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Pandemic Thrills in the Produce Aisle

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person passed out in grocery cart

Mere weeks before I first met my wife, she had survived a tandem skydive. That’s jumping out of an airplane with another person strapped to your back and only some polyester sheets to prevent the two of you from becoming a human short stack.

I, meanwhile, was still living with my parents. Living on the edge to me meant swigging their 1 percent straight out of the carton without first giving it a good, long sniff.

Nearly 30 years later, I am now the risk taker. The thrill seeker. The adrenaline junkie. The one who goes out for supplies during The Pandemic.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Bitcoin Bomb Scam Explodes on Homefront

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bitcoin scam email

Staying home isn’t even safe for my family anymore during the COVID-19 pandemic because apparently we have an “explosive device” in our house even more lethal than the homemade eight-bean chili in the freezer.

We learned this through an email my wife received last week. It instructed her to transfer $10,000 into a Bitcoin account lest a hidden device be detonated by a hitman “keeping the area under control.” I immediately recognized this as a hoax because, seriously — a bomb, an extortionist AND a hitman? So excessive for the suburbs.

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