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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 - 55

June 1, 2018


Iron Filings – 55
I find it amazing the way in which Washington (read: Trump) is sucking the air out of virtually all conversation these days. It’s hard to get into any topic without it eventually touching on politics, and then you quickly find out that you’re either with a fellow traveler or someone who hates your guts.
* * *
It doesn’t happen very often, but Gayle and I have found two really good shows to watch on regular television: “This Is Us,” and “Call The Midwife.” Give them a try. We’re kind of suckers for the weepy stuff.
* * *
Has any one of my readers ever taken a cruise on one of those monster cruise ships with a dozen or more decks and 6,000 or so passengers? Those entertainment barges just don’t look like they’d be much fun, let alone giving one a sense of being actually at sea. They also seem to function like giant Petri dishes cultivating all sorts of nasty illnesses that seem to be frequently reported. No, I am not planning on doing the Caribbean in a kayak.
* * *
There are a lot of questions bubbling up about the internet these days, about news and fake news (true fake news and not just Trumpian fake news), trolls and trolling websites, data mining, Russian (and other) hackers, security, identity theft, and much more. Maybe we just need an attitude adjustment. Maybe we just need to regard the internet the way we regard tabloid newspapers in the supermarket; you know, funny stuff with grains of truth sprinkled here and there; intriguing amusements not to be taken too seriously. Above all, though, we need to restore that critical chip in our heads that makes us regard the things we see with a mildly skeptical Really?
* * *
Sad to hear of the closing of the Carson Pirie Scott chain (a.k.a. Carson’s, including Bon Ton and the Boston Store). Carson’s was the only “classy” store in town, but its demise also brings up questions about just where retailing is going these days. We have no bookstores in town with the closing of Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Book World. If people want to enjoy the convenience of online shopping then they’re just going to have to endure the increasingly empty storefronts and malls (with malls undergoing the twofold stress of fewer customers and the fact that malls are no longer the go-to novelty they once were). I’m reminded of a recent experience where I saw an air filter for my lawn mower on Amazon for $5.95 while the price for it at my local lawn equipment store was $7.20. That local store is important so I paid the slightly higher price and bought local. That’s not heroism. It’s being smart.
* * *
As we endure yet another school shooting, this time Santa Fe High School in Texas, that horrible, horrible phrase recurs again: It’s a small price to pay for the Second Amendment. I think, in fact, that it may be a huge price to pay, one that makes the Second Amendment not at all worth it. Just ask the parents and friends of the slaughtered children. Gun rights advocates might want to counter that by citing an incident three days ago at Dixon, Illinois High School – just forty miles from here – where a school shooter was shot and stopped by the school resource officer (“All it takes to stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun,” as our friends at the NRA like to say). That, however, had nothing to do with the Second Amendment since the resource officer was a trained and experienced police officer.
* * *
What’s even more amazing is that these tragedies continue to be “sponsored” by an organization that represents just 1.5% of the population, yet manages to have a veto over virtually any state or federal regulation of firearms. Even more tragically hilarious is that they have now elected Oliver North, architect of the Iran-Contra scandal, as their new president.
* * *
Maybe it’s time for me to stop hanging up on Heather from Account Services and Todd from the Fulfillment Department. I mean, it could be that my account needs servicing, and one can always use some help in reaching fulfillment. Gotta stop being rude to those people.
* * *
Remember: Guns don’t kill people. People with guns kill 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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