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Sheathing the Scissorhands

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In 1990, director Tim Burton released Edward Scissorhands, a fantasy film he co-wrote with Caroline  Thompson, adapted from a story he'd penned based on his own lonely and disconnected childhood. Filmed with Burton's marvelously whimsical touch, the story relates the life of Edward, a nearly-human creation of an inventor who has died before he can endow his creation with hands. The gentle Edward is left, instead, with sharp blades protruding from his wrists, dooming him to the hapless fate of destroying all that he touches, all that he loves. I'd watched the film at the time with a heartache that spilled into tears, and it came back to me as I read a recent article in the Los Angeles Times— Lithium in Electric Cars Takes Climate Change Toll —  about what mining companies are doing to address the dearth of minerals available for the batteries needed to power what most of us had assumed were our environmentally-friendly electric cars. It turns out that mining and extraction c

My Post-Traumatic Chicken Disorder

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One day this past January, chuffed about having received my first Moderna vaccine the previous morning, and undoubtedly a little woozier than I realized, I had a shocking encounter with a flock of chickens. (Cue Jaws / Land Shark theme music from Saturday Night Live , circa 1975.)  It was a sunny day, and I decided to take a walk in my peaceful neighborhood. I definitely had a spring in my step, feeling a little more protected from COVID-19. But as I rounded a corner, I saw that my neighbor's small flock of beloved chickens was loose in his front yard, having escaped their coop in the back, and they were pecking their way awfully close to the street. I called out to my neighbor, with no response, and like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky II , I ran over, waving my arms like a maniac, with the goal of herding them back through the gate to safety.  In my haste I failed to see the tip of a sprinkler head peeking up from the grass, but my clever toe managed to find it, sending me diving dow