Duct Tape & Mission Salvation

As they polish up those Oscar statues and we get ready to do the same for our Knights of the Round Table, we think about priceless tools, better days and red carpets …

We watched Apollo 13 (AGAIN) this weekend. Do Tom Hanks or Ron Howard movies ever get old? The movie is packed with drama and splashed down on the Hollywood red carpet with a wonderfully deserved nine Oscars, including Best Picture.

Maybe it’s my engineering heritage, but my favorite sequence comes with about three days left in their return voyage when Mission Control discovers that the cabin is becoming progressively poisonous as carbon dioxide levels are climbing in the lunar module. In a real life MacGyver moment, a team of engineers in Houston scramble and put together an air scrubber using a pile of junk including packing materials and a variety of … well, garbage. But the star of the moment is duct tape. “Aquarius, you need about three feet, Jim.” “Just tear off a strip about as long as your arm.”

As Kevin Bacon fights to avoid passing out, the duct tape kicks in and the air purification is underway.

Sometimes our portfolios need a little duct tape. As roman candles flame out and cruise missiles reach their destination, there are times when plain old ordinary (in some cases, non-growth) companies can be provide a significant booster stage for our portfolios. Our Tin Cup model portfolio owes a great deal to Wolverine Worldwide and AutoZone back in 2000-2002 while the booster rocket debris was landing all around us.

“Houston, we don’t have a problem so long as we have enough duct tape.”

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