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July 10, 2013     Sentinel Tribune
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July 10, 2013

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE Wednesday, July 10, 2013 Page 4 '.i BETWEEN THE LINES By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Tribune i tmemhant@ Looking back ... sneaky. At Christmas time I just have The other day I was reading to have some chocolate covered an op-ed piece in the Star cherries. But recently I have Tribune. The writer was talking noticed there is only about five of about big business ripping off the them in each of the layers. I think consumers in some sneaky ways. at one time there were at least Well I have a clue for the writer eight in a layer. Same box, price -- this is nothing new, big busi- about the same, less candy. ness and manufacturer's have But then there are some been doing this since the inven- products that have become so tion of marketing, cheap to produce, (electric drills Don't get me wrong I under- and other consumer electric stand that for one reason or products) they are cheaper to another, prices of everything have replace than repair. But why is it to go up at some point. But these you can buy an electric drill for guys aren't fooling anybody fifteen bucks, but a set of hand when they make the product wrenches costs anywhere from 20 smaller and charge the same to 50 bucks? The only moving price, or worse make the product part of a hand wrench is you! smaller and charge more. Do you It seems one thing that tends remember nickel candy bars? I do to go down in price is electronic and they increased over the years devices. Smart phones if you buy to as much as a dollar today. I them outright can cost upwards think they are approximately the of $400 but if you purchase a same size though, plan with them you can get them Of course some things for $50 or free. increase in price because of limit- I always felt when Polaroid ed supply as in gasoline, and cameras were popular they sometimes not. However, in gas should give the cameras away, it is not always supply and because the film was so expen- demand that controls the price. I sive they had to be making all will never be convinced that is their money just on the film. what controls the price. But I A half gallon of ice cream is think that is one thing that affects no longer a half gallon. There almost everything else we buy have not been any 2x4's for a and use. That is why I think we long time. Thank goodness 4'x8' should nationalize our energy sheets of plywood are still 4'x8', providers. I know that is not what man that would really be a mess most capitalists would like espe- for remodelers, or just about any- cially those that speculate on the one building anything. oil futures. Of course processed foods The thing is, when some- tend to be a lot higher when you thing increases in price it has a figure out what it costs by the domino affect on other things, pound. Potato chips can cost as There are a lot of ways pro- high as $16 a pound! Wow talk ducers and manufacturers can rip about a rip offl. I guess that is offthe public. Take a look at a lot why I have never been a big of products that come in plastic potato chip fan. bottles, notice how there is a Well I guess that's capital- great big inward hump in the bot- ism! Like it or not. tom? Yep, it looks the same but contains less. That is a little Have a great week and do good! Diabetes, or high blood sugar, is Ask your doctor or nurse: a major cause of blindness, kidney If you are at risk for diabetes, disease, high blood pressure, stroke, have high blood pressure, or have heart disease, and amputation of high cholesterol: the lower legs and feet. Almost *Should I be tested for diabetes? all adults who have diabetes have If you learn that you have diabe- type 2 diabetes. This type usually tes: appears in middle age. The number *When and how often do I need: of people in the United States who *Eye and dental exams? have type 2 diabetes is growing. *Blood pressure and cholesterol Exercise, a healthy diet, and checks? watching your weight can lower *Blood sugar checks? your chances of getting type 2 dia- *Flu shots? betes. If you already have diabe- Should I take medicines for my tes, those health habits and quitting diabetes? If so, how much should I smoking can help you prevent or take and when? control many of the problems of *What is the right weight for me? diabetes. *What kinds and amounts of Your risk for type 2 diabetes food are right for me? increases as you get older. In the *How should I take care of my United States, almost one in five feet? people between the ages of 65 and If you smoke: 74 have diabetes. *What can I do that will help me Your risk for type 2 diabetes also stop smoking? is higher than average if." If you would like more informa- *You are American Indian, tion about"Diabetes" callthe Senior Alaska Native, Hispanic or African- LinkAge Line at 1-800-333-2433. American. The Senior LinkAge Line: A One *You have a family member with Stop Shop for Minnesota Seniors diabetes, is a free statewide service of the *You are overweight. Minnesota Board on Aging and Area *You had diabetes during preg- Agencies on Aging. Specialists nancy, provide one-to-one assistance with You may want to be tested for helping older adults age well and diabetes if you have high blood live well. Call 1-800-333-2433 for pressure or high cholesterol. If you assistance Monday through Friday have diabetes, you may need to from 8:00am to 4:30pro or chat maintain lower blood pressure and with a specialist online during these cholesterol levels than you would if hours at www.MinnesotaHelp. you did not have diabetes, into. "Stories from the BaH Cave" Fireworks foreman fired It was as if one of those magic lamp genies had appeared from his lunchbox and granted his wish. He'd stuffed the mail into his lunchbox along with the baloney sandwiches. Baloney covered in ketchup on white bread. He hated those sandwiches. They were in his lunchbox every day. Why did he keep making them? He ate them with celery chopped into small pieces by an ancient Veg-O-Matic that his uncle Stan had left him in his will. The guys he worked construc- tion with carried lunch pails. He carried a lunchbox. It made him feel young and he liked Bonanza. It was comforting to see the faces of Ben, Adam, Hess, and Little Joe on his lunchbox each day. He still watched Bonanza on that channel that he could never remember the name of after its name was changed from another channel whose name he couldn't remember. He'd tried using The Incredible Hulk lunch- box, but just as the Hulk couldn't control his anger, his lunchbox couldn't control its contents. The guys teased him about his lunchbox, but it was good-natured ribbing. But to be on the safe side, he kept his Brady Bunch lunchbox at home. Back to the mail in the lunch- box, some of it tinted by ketchup that the wax paper couldn't corral. Someday, he'd get some of those sandwich bags he'd seen others use. An advertisement in the mail had come from a discount fireworks company. "Why pay more?" it said. He wondered if it were reputable. He had a good number of fingers, but he hated to lose even one. The outfit was located in a city not far away. This was good news. He was the Commissioner of Pyrotechnics for the city of Two Bits, "The city that never sleeps unless you count naps." He was in charge of the 4th of July fireworks. He got the job because he knew which end of the fuse to light. It wasn't an easy job after the city council cut his budget. They mumbled something about minimizing the carbon footprint. Apparently, it takes 99 percent of a village to raise the other 1 percent. He didn't know what they expected him to do--hold a sparkler between his teeth? At the prices shown in the flyer, he reckoned he could give the citizens of Two Bits a fireworks display they'd never forget. He'd loved fireworks since that day he smuggled a jar filled with lightning bugs into the movie theater and released them right after the lights went down. The delightful discovery in his mail made him feel like a president of a small country. One of those statesmen who wear odd hats of epic proportions. After work, he went to the dis- count fireworks place and nearly bought out the joint. He'd amaze everyone. One problem. He had nowhere to put the stuffand still make it a surprise. The fireworks were launched from the county fairgrounds. That location gave him an idea. He slapped together a storage build- ing of hay bales. He made do. It's the Two Bits way. The project had been doable, if not elegant. The hay shed was not unlike the forts he'd built of bales in the haymow of the barn of his boyhood. Everything was set for the great- est 4th of July fireworks ever. He'd show those stuffed shirts on the city council. This would be his Sgt. Pepper's. No one knows where the spark came from. It might have been a boy playing with his father's Zippo lighter and firecrackers. Maybe it was Gnarly. His wife had just had a baby and Gnarly handed out countless "It's a boy" cigars. Someone suggested that it was punishment for the city's approval of Sunday liquor. One doesn't have to know the reason to know that it happened. lie wanted to surprise people. He did. It was quite a show. The rock- ets created new directions to fly. Burning hay bales flew like pigs will one day. Some folks got religion. Others swore off strong drink. Deacon Smith's funeral had an unexpected and deafening accompaniment. It was frighten- ing enough that Squeaky Slaughter paid widow Smith the $1100 plus interest that he'd owed her husband for years. People even hid behind people they liked. It was something to see and hear, but there were no tears of joy and admiration. There's a crater in the ground where the storage shed built of hay bales once stood. It's a reminder of the greatest July 2nd fireworks display in the history of the city of Two Bits. AI Batt 2013 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 k (ISSN 8750-3905) Thomas Merchant Managing Editor Junette Merchant Office & Production Joan Spielman Ad Representative & Office Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE FOR THE SENTINEL TRIBUNE WILL BE: In the following counties: Cottonwood, Redwood, and Murray $42.00 per year. Elsewhere in Minnesota $46.00 per year. Out of the state $52.00 per year. 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