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The iron monger on the Gatlinburg, Tennessee tram.

 

Iron Filings - 61

 

From Cold Iron's Random Observation Desk:

 

As the media gave us numerous pictures recently of kids going back to school, I was struck by the ubiquity of the backpack. When I was a kid we basically just carried our books in our hands or arms, although, by the time I got to college the cloth/canvas book bag was in. That was nice. What's so striking about these pictures, though, is the "stoop," those little bodies bending forward to counter the hefty weight on their backs. I'm getting an image of a whole generation of twenty-somethings walking with a pronounced forward lean. As a sidebar, I'm also wondering how much pressure the parents are feeling now to invest some hundreds of dollars in a child's backpack containing a Kevlar shield.

 

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Domestic agriculture report:

 

Although our wet spring kept us from planting much of anything until the first of June, our tomato crop this year has been excellent, if a little late on the scene. Planted four Better Boy plants and now we're awash in salads and BLT's and even giving some to our neighbors. Years ago our gardens were far more ambitious, a plot usually around twenty by forty feet, often with raised beds, and producing tomatoes, beans, peppers, Swiss chard, zucchini, and often something so weird we didn't know whether to cook it or put it into daycare.

 

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While I was out doing the grocery shopping the other day I decided to stop by the pharmacy in the supermarket to see about getting a tetanus shot. I do a lot of work around the house and especially out in our gardens and I'm always getting scratches and the occasional cut so it seemed like a good idea. My last tetanus booster was in 2000 following my stepping on a nail. Turns out the shot they give now is a TDaP – a vaccination that covers tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). So now I'm feeling both virtuous and protected and hoping I don't develop autism.

 

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I feel compelled to repeat a point that's been made in several news media just in case you missed it: Fifteen deaths from vaping and we're ready to ban the devices. Thousands of deaths from firearms and we do nothing.

 

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You supply the news story, I'll supply the cliché:

 

1) "… giving back to the community ..." 2) "… spend more time with his family ..." 3) "… according to an informed source ..." 4) "… did not respond to our requests for comment ..." 5) "… our thoughts and prayers go out to …" 6) … will vigorously defend against these charges ..."

 

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A woman in her late thirties, a cancer survivor, recently swam the English channel four times in one long session. While you have to admire the obvious – courage, tenacity, endurance, fitness – it still makes me wonder, What's the point? It reminds me of a nearby restaurant that will give you a seventy-two ounce Porterhouse steak for free if you can eat it in one hour. As humans, we love our quests, our accomplishments, but shouldn't they at least have some semblance of meaning?

 

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Nearly everyone is worried about climate change right now – except our politicians. As individuals we turn down the thermostat (heat) or turn up the thermostat (A/C), recycle, drive less, eat less meat, but aren't really convinced it will do any good. Mostly, this is because our politicians cling to this mantra of "Jobs":  that cutting coal-fired power plants will cost jobs, that increasing our use of solar and wind power will cost jobs, that producing more fuel efficient cars will cost jobs, that reducing the numbers of farting cows will cost jobs, and so on. What they fail to realize is that providing special programs for people who have actually lost jobs due to climate change initiatives would be hugely less expensive than the cost of managing the chaos and catastrophes caused by a deteriorating climate.

 

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G.K. Wuori©2019

Photoillustration by the author from a Claire Carlson photo