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Iron Filings - 60

 

I recently saw a news clip of a woman talking about sarcoidosis, an odd illness that can affect various systems.  When asked why she was exposing her ailment to the world she said people just needed to be aware of it. I'm not sure why I needed to be more aware of it but I suppose I felt more knowledgeable when she was done.  It occurred to me then that I have recently been encouraged to be aware of a lot of things, of human trafficking, for instance, of micro plastics in the milk I drink, of the wretched conditions we offer our South American refugees, of salary disparities between men and women professional soccer players, of the possible dangers in using sunscreen, of the huge gap between technical jobs and the availability of skilled people to fill them, and so on. It all reminds me of that line in "The Hunger Games" where Elizabeth Banks says, "Attention must be paid." I get it. I'm trying, but I may be suffering from Awareness Fatigue.

 

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We've had a bundle of new taxes imposed on us here in Illinois and people are grumpy about it. I don't like taxes any more than anyone else, but rather than being grumpy about the taxes we should be grumpy about ourselves for voting all those politicians into office over the course of many years, politicians who literally kicked the can of financial obligations (largely pension, education, infrastructure, health care, etc.) down the road. Illinois is a big and wealthy state, and what the complainers need to realize is that we are not going to see an increase in taxes.  We're simply going to be paying current taxes plus all those other can-kicked taxes we should have been paying over the years.

 

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Now that Sarah Huckabee Sanders has left the White House Trump will be hard-pressed to find a replacement as duplicitous, odious, and disrespectful as she. I'm sure he will, however.*  He's good at that, probably the best ever in the history of this country.

 

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It's very strange driving out into the Illinois farm lands these days and seeing all the empty fields. While those of us in town are complaining about how all the rain has made the grass grow so rapidly we're mowing every three or four days, that rain has prevented the farmers from planting their corn and beans; thus, the bare fields. For those farmers who were able to plant, many, many are seeing acre after acre of seeds rotting.

 

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For those who are able to harvest a crop, there's more woe on the horizon. China has the largest hog herd in the world and regularly imports almost seventy percent of the world's soybean crop to feed those piggies. However, a nasty swine flu variant (not communicable to humans) is decimating the herd, resulting in a major drop in demand for soybeans, including those that would have been exported from American farmers.

 

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Following that incident of the U.S. drone being shot down near Iran, a number of commentators kept referring to "unmanned drone."  Isn't that redundant? 

 

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When I saw that now famous photo of the long line of people waiting to complete their ascent up Mount Everest, I began to wonder why anyone would do that anymore. I mean, there you are having pizza with friends and you say, "I just got back from climbing Everest," and someone says, "Seems like everyone's doing that these days." The risk is real, of course, the effort arduous, but it has all the cachet of waiting in line at Wal-Mart to buy a sale-priced big screen TV.

 

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It's being projected that the population of the earth will exceed nine billion by 2050. I think that's too many, particularly if they all want to climb Mount Everest.

 

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Almost every night it's the same: the gathering of ominous clouds, the trees whipping in the wind, the rumble of distant thunder, storm warnings popping off of cellphones and then the TV weatherman with his ominous maps showing apocalypse and devastation swooping down from the north or across the Great Plains. It used to be you'd just look up at the sky and say, "It looks like rain."

 

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* He did.

 

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G.K. Wuori © 2019

Photoillustration by the author