Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

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

Freedom to Interpret

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Those words from Leonard Cohen’s Anthem, in the context of the rest of the lyrics, are subject to a thousand interpretations. In my view, the tune is a … Continue reading

Posted in Lyrics, Music, Poetry, Writing | Leave a comment

Con-Fusion Foods and Cultures

I can’t stop myself. My mind keeps returning to an idea I expressed on this blog on Christmas day almost six years ago. It was December 25, 2013 that I proposed creating fusion dishes that would marry the flavors and … Continue reading

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Sense of Wonder

Recent storms ripped leaves and some rotted branches from trees, littering the streets with natural debris. The rotted branches, smashed beneath the wheels of cars, become orange and brown detritus, leaving the roadways splotched with abstract designs. The early morning … Continue reading

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Religion Has No Place in Government and Politics

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to … Continue reading

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Critical Thinking at Odd Hours

During recent internet meanderings, an old YouTube video surfaced, recalling something I found insightful a few years ago. The subject of the video is is bitchy resting face. That is, a woman’s normal facial appearance, at rest, that looks sour … Continue reading

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A Little Reminiscence and Pandering

This morning’s installation ceremony for our newly-settled minister, who’s been with our church for more than a year, was more interesting and moving than I expected. Though I’m still biased against churches, as a class of institutions, in many ways, … Continue reading

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Today’s Thoughtballs

Church demands my time twice this weekend. Today, our minister will be officially installed as the settled minister. While the concept hold little meaning for me, it apparently means a great deal to others, including the minister, so I will … Continue reading

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Fixation

Time is malleable. Time is not malleable. Both statements are true. Which one is true for a given set of circumstances depends on context. For example, an hour has meaning on planet Earth, but that measurement is either meaningless or … Continue reading

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Worry Does No Good

Most of the time, I succeed at keeping my health off my mind. But sometimes the topic surfaces and swings a machete, as if it has been waiting just beneath the surface of my consciousness for the the ideal time … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Depression, Emotion, Health | 2 Comments

2900 and Then Some

I’m typing post number 2,900 and you’re reading the very same one. Just 100 more and I’ll have published 3000 posts here. Add 2,100 more posts and I’ll have reached 5,000. You can do the math. Keep adding large round … Continue reading

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Grace, Youth, and the Pain of Wisdom (and Raccoons)

Last night, I watched part of a 60 Minutes segment that profiled a Wisconsin program called The Restorative Justice Project and some of the people who have participated in it. I haven’t watched 60 Minutes in years. I used to … Continue reading

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Risks

We are afraid of risks, the ones we sense are akin to falling into an abyss whose bottom is too far below us to be seen. We fear that deep chasm, that crevasse with no visible floor. Our imaginations conjure … Continue reading

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Skipping Rocks

Spargelzeit My wife and her sister and I had dinner last night at Steinhaus Keller, Hot Springs’ only German restaurant. We chose to go there because we’re in the midst of Spargelfest, the culinary celebration of Spargelzeit. Spargelfest is the … Continue reading

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An Early-Season Inland Hurricane and African Food

In spite of flash flood warnings, torrential rains, high winds, and flooded roadways, we drove to Little Rock for dinner last night. We had arranged to have dinner with two other couples, one of whom we had offered to chauffeur … Continue reading

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Nomadic Home Improvement with a BBC Flavor

It’s approaching 9:20 a.m. I’ve been up for close to five hours. My time hasn’t been spent productively. Instead, I’ve fiddled with my new smart phone (a Samsung Galaxy S10) and allowed my mind to wander. I’m no longer particularly … Continue reading

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Things on My Mind

I learned yesterday that one of my brothers, from whom I unfortunately have been estranged for more than two years, is in the hospital. He is to undergo a heart catheterization and placement of a pacemaker as a prelude to … Continue reading

Posted in Anger, Family, Frustration, Government, Politics, Rant, Regret, Stream of Consciousness, Writing | Leave a comment

A Little Horse Music

I watched the Kentucky Derby on television yesterday, a rarity for me. Not just the Kentucky Derby; almost any such event. But yesterday, I just happened to turn on the television about the time the horses were parading in preparation … Continue reading

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Explosive Night

After going to bed rather early last night, sometime before 11, I heard and felt what sounded like a violent clap of thunder, followed by a roar like a freight train. That first loud noise shook the house. The roar … Continue reading

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Shavist Story

I don’t remember when I started shaving. I suppose I was in high school, but the possibility exists that it was earlier, perhaps the last year of junior high, AKA middle school. Not that it matters. But the transition to … Continue reading

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The Problem with Lawns

According to the Food Revolution Network (FRN), lush, green lawns cover about 32 million acres of land in the USA, twice the amount of land used to cultivate the fruits and vegetables we eat. The average lawn, again according to … Continue reading

Posted in Food, Water | 1 Comment

Monstrously Misshapen

A grotesquely gnarled tree limb, torn from its trunk years ago during a fierce windstorm. A distorted, dried, weather-worn dead branch so monstrously misshapen as to be profoundly beautiful. How is it that something so obviously distorted and, in the … Continue reading

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Sim Struggles

The allure of video games is beyond my comprehension. That may be because I’ve never had an interest in playing them. I’ll admit that I might get hooked if I permitted myself to spend time on a game console. But … Continue reading

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Pretension

We often judge others by the machinery they own. I submit that it’s true of the cars they drive. For instance, I am quite certain that two people who are otherwise virtually identical would be viewed quite differently if one … Continue reading

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Kindness and Mortality

A couple of days ago, I wrote that my contractor failed to show up. I tried to remain “chill” about the situation, but my temper got the best of me. I sent the guy two texts, the second one after … Continue reading

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Paying for One’s Sins

I would have shared this on Facebook, but I suspect it would be offensive to some people who don’t share my sacrilegious sense of humor. I almost sprayed coffee through my nose while I watched this video. I may actually … Continue reading

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