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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 - 54

April 1, 2018


Iron Filings 54
A Few Short Takes –
If you want to truly understand this new notion of artificial intelligence you need only pay close attention to the White House.
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I’m not a big fan of statistics, either, but last year something like 85% of the wealth that was created in the world went to roughly 1% of the population. Could be a problem with that.
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The philosophers need to get to work right away to clarify the difference between flirting and harassment.
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We need to be concerned that Cape Town, South Africa is running out of water. Without water there is no coffee, and without coffee almost everything grinds to a halt. We also need to understand that this is what happens when your politicians get out of control.
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With all of the personal identity information stolen recently from Equifax we need to rethink the notion of identity. Perhaps it’s time for us all to become just one person. No one knows what that means, but it would work. That may sound silly, but it’s not as silly as millions of people having tons of important stuff about them compromised. Just for today, I’m going to be you. I hope that’s okay.
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I’d like to suggest that we rename Iowa. We’ll call it China so that we can get in on some of those good trade deals the Chinese are making and we’re not.
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Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency ( I recommend that anytime a writer references a cabinet member the phrase “for now” be added), is saying that climate change may actually be good for humanity. Apparently drought, wildfires, inundations from rising sea levels, mass migrations, and hurricanes have benefits we’ve yet to ponder.
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Scientists have apparently found a way to recycle human waste into edible food – for use, for example, on a lengthy trip to Mars. I think there’s a whole career in comedy in this discovery just waiting for the right person. Fortunately, it’s not me.
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Speaking of food, the 2019 federal budget begins a drastic cut in the food stamp program. But there’s a fiendish twist in the mix. To offset the monetary losses to recipients boxes of canned food will be delivered to them. How this will save money is unclear since a huge distribution program will have to be developed: food from manufacturers to distribution centers, people to box up the food, delivery personnel. Plus, as Annie Lowery, economics reporter for the Atlantic.com says: 1. What if you don't receive your box one month? 2. What if you're homeless? 3. What if you don't have a place to receive mail? 4. What if you move frequently? 5. What if you have allergies? 6. What if the box gets wet, or animals get into it?
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Sad to hear of the recent death of Stephen Hawking. While his life was an inspiration to anyone with a disability (he was diagnosed at twenty-one with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and given two years to live – he died at age seventy-six), his work in theoretical physics was astonishing. I once read his A Brief History of Time and was bowled over by his insights and bowled over how they revealed the monstrous holes in what I thought was my pretty well-filled brain. I loved the movie, “The Theory of Everything,” based on his life (for which Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar), but I’ve loved even more the goofy but respectful tributes given to him on “The Big Bang Theory.”
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I got a kick out of the recent firing of former F.B.I. Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Although there has been something of a cloud over McCabe over alleged wrongdoings (unauthorized leaks to the press, lack of “candor” in addressing a congressional committee), it was so typical of the Trump administration that he was fired two days before he would be eligible for retirement benefits. Just mean, simply mean.
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I’ve noticed recently in both print, broadcast, and online media a curious expression becoming more common. It has to do with “bad choices.” People will say, “I’ve made bad choices in my life,” instead of “I’ve done terrible things, nasty things, evil things.” Or, an accused criminal will often say something like, “I made a bad choice in shooting my wife’s boyfriend.” Euphemistic, indeed, but also unclear. Is it an expression of remorse, or does he really mean, “I should have stabbed him, choked him, clocked him with my wife’s Swiffer?”
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For those of you who might have missed it, Illinoisans, as part of our bicentennial celebration, recently voted on the ten best movies either about or set in Illinois. Here they are in order of preference: 1. The Blues Brothers 2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 3. A League of their Own 4. The Fugitive 5. The Untouchables 6. The Sting 7. Chicago 8. Eight Men Out 9. Hoop Dreams 10. Ordinary People.
G.K. Wuori © 2018
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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