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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
(archive)

"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 - 46

January 1, 2017

Cold Iron 171


At this time of year theres always a temptation whether youre a writer, a diarist, or simply someone blabbing with a friend over some beers to look back in time to summarize the year. Quite honestly, I think it has been an annoying year. As individuals weve been subjected to an almost constant immersion in politics of a most rancid sort; weve had terrorist attacks both here and around the world; we had Zika and Brexit and The Pulse Nightclub; there were blacks being shot by police and police being shot at random; all manner of celebrity deaths from Prince to Gwen Ifill to Debbie Reynolds; we endured Kim Kardashian and Caitlyn Jenner and Rodrigo Duterte and Kim Jong Un; the horrors of Aleppo and Venezuela really, it just goes on and on. Ill conclude here by using a favorite quote from my son: Whats wrong with you people?

* * *

On the other hand, this could well be the most interesting year coming up that weve seen in a long time. Of course right now everything is suffused with politics. Democrats are predicting the end of life as we know it and, concomitantly, Republicans are seeing the beginnings of a perfect Republican world as the new president brings peace to the Middle East, men back into the factories, women back into the kitchen, and children speaking only when spoken to. Ive often wondered about that perfect Republican world. As conservatives, of course, they cant be expected to offer up new programs, policies, or even visions. The point, you see, is to conserve, to hold onto something, or to bring back a something that has been discarded over the years. But Ive walked around this block for a few decades now and have always been puzzled over what that something might be that has supposedly been lost. Equally puzzling is that they just dont seem to like anything about contemporary America. I guess, during the next four years, well be seeing what they do like. I wonder if well like it.

* * *

On the third hand, for those of you living on stock market retirement accounts, or who will be sometime in the future, quite respected economists are forecasting pretty much of a bull market, with the Dow projected to hit anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000. Of course the Trumpet will take credit for it, but all of this has been in the works for a long time. Still, the stock market being what it is, its always good to keep a stash under the mattress.

* * *

I wish, during these winter months, that the weather people would quit telling me to dress warm when its cold outside. Im hoping that most of us learned that long ago. Similarly, I dont need to be told to allow some extra distance for stopping my car when the streets are snowy. And, yes, bring your dogs inside when the temp is below freezing.

* * *

Im sure there is a real tragedy here but, as I have done in the past, I simply prefer to cherish the headline (from NBC News): Evanston Man Found Dead Inside Washing Machine.

* * *
Things that never make the newspapers Almost every morning when I go out to get the newspaper in the driveway very early, very dark, very cold Im greeted by a large owl. I cant see it, but it must be very big because its repeated who-hoos are loud and strong. I dont know that owls are necessarily wise, but I like the way they sit up there and stare and give that haunting call, the way they seem to be judging us without mockery. We need that.
* * *
Fringe Binge Report Over the Christmas holiday the Republican National Committee through the Chair, Reince Preibus, and Co-Chair, Sharon Day, released a Christmas message that included the usual homilies along with this true howler: Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King. The Twitterati were all over this, of course, both the explainers and the scandalized, but my favorite comment was from one Josh Barro: Guys, calm down. The RNC statement isn't about Donald Trump. It's about Vladimir Putin.
* * *
G.K. Wuori 2017
Photoillustration by the author

Selected Works

Novel
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."
Novella
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
Essay
A hint of generally true autobiography, this piece is part of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill's "How I Became A Writer" series.
Stories
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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