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Cold Iron consists of random bits of irreverence, surliness, and contumely; sometimes it's even funny. Reading it is entirely optional.

...the iron monger and rusticater himself

Cool Iron

"Never hit someone over the head with a hot iron. Wait until it cools so you don't burn them."

...the source of my ideas

Iron Filings - 45

December 1, 2016

Iron Filings - 45

Sometimes the government gets it right department: While we have long had an Illinois I-Pass for toll roads, it gets used mostly on I-90 when we go up to Rockford to see our son and his family, or Madison to see our daughter and her family. However, during a recent trip to Niagara Falls I was pleasantly surprised to see that we could zip right through toll booths on the Indiana Tollway, the Ohio Turnpike, the New York State Thruway, and even the Rainbow Bridge going from Niagara Falls into Canada. I’m sure a lot of much-maligned government functionaries in those states had to work that all out, but they did, and it made a long trip just a bit easier and less aggravating.
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Not all that long ago, if you were to go to a women’s collegiate volleyball match, you’d see a fair number of parents, a good many roommates, and some friends in attendance. Overall, though, it was a fairly subdued affair except, perhaps, for the actual competition on the court. Wow – how things have changed. I recently found myself in the Field House at the University of Wisconsin in Madison to watch two top-ranked women’s volleyball teams take each other on. This is not a small venue and it was sold out that night. Entering the main hall, we were met by a high-decibel crowd (the match not even having started yet), and the UW band stirring things up with a host of rowdy tunes. As the match started each point scored by the Badger women was met with a roof-raising cheer – the opponent’s points not so much. What impressed me most, however, was not just the attention being paid to these marvelously athletic women, but also the attention being paid to a sport that doesn’t get a whole lot of notice outside of an Olympic year. I can only imagine how those young women felt being on the receiving end of all that enthusiasm. As to the score, it took five sets but the Badgers beat the Purdue Boilermakers (that quiet bit of clapping absolutely no one heard was from me when Purdue scored a point – Purdue, of course, my graduate alma mater).
* * *
During the campaign the Trump website stated that his wife, Melania, had obtained a degree in design and architecture from the University of Ljubljana in her home country of Slovenia. That information has now been erased and replaced with a note saying she’d “paused” her studies at the university in order to pursue a career in modeling (this information verified by one of her professors). What a contrast with the Harvard-educated Michelle Obama, from whom Melania plagiarized a speech during the campaign. (from, The Russia Papers, © G.K.Wuori)
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It’s almost refreshing to see the pharmaceutical ads return to television now that the plethora of political ads has disappeared.
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Looks like the price we pay for having the Cubs win the World Series is having the Bears win hardly anything at all. Seems fair.
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It’s that time of year again when we start getting all the pitches for donations from the charitable organizations – childhood diseases, adult diseases, the homeless, abuse shelters, veterans’ problems, wildlife – all worthwhile venues that a) really do help their constituencies, and b) inspire guilt in nearly everyone if you don’t donate but decide to use the mailing labels they send you anyway. This year, though, the iron monger is considering directing his charitable dollars to the American Civil Liberties Union. I think we need to keep that outfit strong and healthy because, with the new administration and Congress, they’re going to be really busy.
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Here’s one of the great ironies of life: at a time when we’re all sick of politics and political ads and electioneering, those on the left of the political spectrum have to pay attention to the destruction of the policies and programs they hold dear, and those on the right will be eagerly watching to see all those factory jobs coming back, the Great Wall of America being built, and the placement of all those nasty Muslims into internment camps. Oddly, I find myself thinking warm and nostalgic thoughts about George W. Bush.
* * *
On a brighter note, I recently got a five-star review for HoneyLee’s Girl on Amazon. Here’s a piece of it: “This is an amazing read …. First, the prose is wonderful – poetic, authentic, surprising, smooth and startling in its wisdom and perception. The story and characters are at once unusual and familiar, extraordinary in their complexity, both psychologically and morally. Definitely an American tale, rich with the sins and errors of our history, the crimes and passions of individuals, and the unrelenting pressure of those in power to maintain that power, even if it requires the elimination of individual human beings as well as the humanity of the powers themselves. This story is an exciting wild ride to a destination stranger and more frightening than we expect.”
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Keep in mind, people, the republic survived Buchanan, Grant, Hayes, Coolidge, Hoover, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. There’s a good chance we’ll make it.
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G.K. Wuori © 2016
Photoillustration by the author

Selected Works

I think this book would appeal to anyone who likes a dark crime story set in a rural, somewhat remote part of Maine in a time when the radicalism of the nineteen-seventies was sweeping the country.
Ellen DeLay, an upstanding citizen of Quillifarkeag, Maine, suddenly and unpredictably leaves her happy, twenty-five year marriage for a lonely cabin deep in the Maine woods, where she makes a living dressing hunters' kill - bears, moose, deer. It seems an idyllic life, punctuated only now and then by rifle fire as she shoots into the air to scare off cheeky teens who come to taunt "the crazy woman."
A small-town lawyer in the middle of a gruesome murder case finds salvation in the world of a homeless woman and her daughter.
A young woman's morning walk through her small town finds her immersed in a small tragedy, an indifferent government, and the "science gone mad" of her best friend's husband. Quirky, goofy, nutty - yes, but a gentle look as well at some of the values that keep us from falling off the planet
A hint of generally true autobiography, this piece is part of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill's "How I Became A Writer" series.
Quillifarkeag is a state of mind, one marked by innocence and regret, by guile and sympathy. The people there will let you into their lives - but not very far. Go too far inside and things start to echo, people get close. Honesty becomes negotiable. Bare all and someone might still say, "Were you naked or nude?" It's an important distinction. In a small place like Quilli the naked truth is hurtful. The nude truth is not so bad.

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