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July 31, 2004

Dealing with a Bad Back

I travelled to my parents' farm with a bad back and four children. The combination slows everything down immensely, but I've learned some things:

1. Children aged 2 to 5 are immensely useful for picking up things for people who can't bend over.

2. For my back, at least, heat works better than cold, despite what some experts say. I suspect that heat causes muscles to relax, and their tensing up is what causes my particular problem. For other people, inflammation would be the main problem, and for that, cold might well be better.

3. Canes are useful. My father has two canes, in particular, that I liked. One is an ordinary crooked cane, probably made of ash, which doubles as a yardstick. That one, he said, was too precious to lend-- you can only get them at Farm Progress shows. The other is a folding cane, made of metal, with a glossy wood handle and a rubber tip. It has what I think are called "shock cords" inside-- the elastic cords that are inside modern tent poles.

I note that the Day of the Jackal scheme would probably work very well for terrorism--- construct a multi=part gun from cane parts, to be assembled past the check point. Of course, there a million other ways to get edged weapons, good enough for hijacking purposes, onto an airplane (or the easy, if expensive, way to get anything at all on board-- bribe a guard with a million dollars or by threatening to kill his children). What the stupid security precautions stop is just thinks like penknives that solid citizens might use to thwart a hijacking. I wonder, by the way, if that successful downing of the hijacked plane on 9-11 would perhaps have been prevented if security had been tighter? Did they use such things as penknives and metal forks to fight the terrorists? I don't think there's evidence either way.

And yet I've heard very little criticism of the much-hated President Bush for his airline security policies, except perhaps for having *enough* useless precautions! (And, I should add for accuracy, from the Right, for not allowing *pilots* to carry weapons.) That is no doubt because useless, silly, policies make the Old Women of Both Sexes who comprise a majority of our voters feel safe if the policies are onerous, regardless of whether they are effective. If, however, the Libertarians want to go from 1% to 3% of the vote, they should make this their big issue.

4. A solid baby stroller makes a good walker, better than a cane. For someone like myself, it is no problem for the stroller to be heavy, either.

Posted by erasmuse at July 31, 2004 10:50 AM

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