Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes

The Bootstrap Boys – Poverty Line

This video was played during the collection for a charity at the Unitarian Universalist Village Church in Hot Springs Village, AR last Sunday (and a Sunday before). I love the music!

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I Need to Open a Restaurant

The painters came yesterday. Three of them. Father and two sons. One of the sons is the man in charge. Our front door is no longer bubble gum pink; it is belligerent red, an aggressive tone that cautions all visitors … Continue reading

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Over the years, I’ve managed to adjust. I’ve taught myself to laugh or shrug when my body and mind would be inclined to offer tears as the automatic response to a stimulus. The replacement of laughs or shrugs for tears … Continue reading

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Food Fetish

We enjoy food. “We” means my wife and I. We’re both food aficionados. We’re fond of food. Food feeds our “freak,” as it were. Some people think it odd that I post photos of food, both on my blog and … Continue reading

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Bristling Sardines by the Wayside

Sometimes I think I have too many stories whirling around in my head. Too many incomplete ideas seek a foothold in a brain unable or unwilling to provide a foundation. Yeah, that’s it. I’m flush with ideas, but not with … Continue reading

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Water Memories and Wishful Thinking

Wave upon wave of moisture-laden air sweeps across the mountain-top, if that’s what this is—this peak upon which my house was built. The level of humidity in the air is most obvious when I look out to the screened porch … Continue reading

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News from the Sewer

It’s becoming increasingly hard to believe anything I see or read in the “news.” Part of the problem is that I don’t know what constitutes “news: anymore. Fox News on television certainly is not news any longer; it’s a combination … Continue reading

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They Don’t Make Clothes for Men Like Me

My body shape does not correspond to the body shapes for which clothing manufacturers make clothing. It’s not just the fact that I am over-ample in the belly at the moment, though I am. Even if I lost my pot-belly … Continue reading

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Short Little Span of Attention

Finally, after an extensive hiatus, I’ll attend a writers’ critique group in downtown Hot Springs today. I’ll take for review a revised first chapter of a would-be-novel I’ve let languish for several months. Whether I continue will depend on whether … Continue reading

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Compassion in Winter

The frigid fingers of winter, long and cold and callous, can tear at the fibers of compassion when the homeless are left to fend for themselves in cardboard homes behind picket fences stitched together with razor wire and disdain. Whose … Continue reading

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I Could be a CIA Operative – Maybe

I spent considerable time this morning learning details of the country of Yemen from the CIA World Factbook. The country has a population of more than twenty-eight million people; more than thirteen million of them do not have access to … Continue reading

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It boggles the mind to realize how utterly spoiled we are in this country. We (the collective “we,” not necessarily you and me) behave as if the good fortune to which we have become accustomed is our birthright. We assume … Continue reading

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Doing Without, or Doing, Again

In August 2013, I started what I intended to be a year in which I would “do without” something I was used to for a month at a time. At the end of the year, according to my plan, I … Continue reading

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Step Four

This post is the final one in a half-hearted attempt to accomplish a goal that’s neither simple to articulate nor easy to abandon. Having not attained a foothold toward achieving the elusive goal, I’m discarding my efforts to chase it, … Continue reading

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Snake Sighting

Gwynn Slottman was deathly afraid of snakes. The mere sight of an elongated, limbless reptile sent her into a panic-stricken delirium of the highest order. She screamed, swore, and jumped on chairs and tables. Sweat poured from her brow. Perspiration … Continue reading

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Step Three

When we welcome reality into our lives, we acknowledge the challenges that confront us. By welcoming reality, though, we do not accept defeat, even if defeat appears to be the most likely outcome of an endeavor; we simply acknowledge the … Continue reading

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Nothing matters so much as the  time I learned I never mattered and never will. This is bizarre. I must have been playing with WordPress a long, long time ago and set this post to print far into the future … Continue reading

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Step Two

A goal becomes a failed wish without regular, renewed attention and effort. Every incremental movement toward its achievement merits reward and celebration. The hope for a decent democracy remains alive. The challenge is to feed it and nurture it and … Continue reading

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Step One

The mythology of the phoenix varies by culture, but I choose to see it as a symbol of the rebirth of hope arising from the ashes of despair. That having been said, it seems to me 2017 was a year … Continue reading

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Euthanizing a Sick Year

I’ve skimmed along the surface of an angry, tumultuous time until I’ve finally reached it: the last day of 2017. This year, one of monstrous upheaval, forced us to reckon with the reality that U.S. world dominance in transitory. By … Continue reading

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Self Compassion

I’ve often been accused of being harsh with people who don’t meet my expectations and demands. Those accusations are almost always correct and my harshness is almost always more severe than the “infraction” deserves. The punishment I mete out is … Continue reading

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Once Again I Will be Kolbjørn Landvik

Decent people worldwide treat the transformation of one year to the next with a sense of—what—appreciation, reverence, hopefulness, anticipation…expectation. I suspect deviant monsters, too, treat the change with the same emotions. But they are not worthy of my words, are … Continue reading

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Every One of Us

First posted on Facebook (12/26/2017). I decided to post here because it’s easier to find things here than on Facebook. Here’s evidence that I do not have a future as a poet laureate. Every One of Us If your eyes are … Continue reading

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Christmas 2017

I played with software on Christmas day this year, creating two covers for two bogus magazines I’ve written about in years past. And then I smoked and reverse seared three enormous ribeye steaks. Just another day in the Arkansas outback. … Continue reading

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Another Christmas

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Whatever your preference, I wish everyone (anyone?) who reads this a joyous winter season and a better 2018 than the year soon to end. Last night, for the second year in a row, we spent the … Continue reading

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