Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

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

The Wind in My Hair

Despite what I said yesterday while waiting for the Toyota dealership to reattach the front undercarrriage shield on the Camry, I may decide to get rid of the beast. The reason is this: according to the service advisor and the … Continue reading

Posted in Cars | Leave a comment

Inching into this New Day

Scattered scraps of translucent grey clouds blur the hills and valleys behind my house this morning. Bright pink and orange tufts of cumulus clouds—the only evidence of sunrise except for a brightening sky—tower far above me, barely visible above the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ruminations and Conversations with a Madman

The next New Moon will occur on Wednesday this week, coinciding with the next  Black Moon at the same time, 10:11 p.m. Central time. A New Moon occurs when the Sun and Moon are aligned, with the Sun and Earth … Continue reading

Posted in Just Thinking | Leave a comment

Depressed Hordes

I’m just too depressed to write anything other than depressing thoughts this morning. I don’t know the source of this bleakness, but I know writing will only make it worse. Writing tends to draw darkness out of me, though that … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Into the Wind

We allow our histories to melt into nothing. We permit memories to dissolve and fade and disappear. I have evidence of such things. Let me explain. The Sandpipers. Do you remember them? They constituted a trio that sang popular folk … Continue reading

Posted in History, Memories, Writing | Leave a comment


My visit with my oncologist yesterday was not quite as cheery as I’d hoped, nor was it terrifying. She reviewed my latest CT scan with me, showing me on her notebook computer images that looked liked a tree’s roots or, … Continue reading

Posted in Rant | Leave a comment


I’ve sanded and scraped and painted (with at least one coat of paint) roughly one half of the deck. Yesterday, I started late. I had forgotten I had arranged for a visit by the pest control guy. About the time … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Twists and Turns

Yesterday, my wife and I went to Little Rock for lunch. We revised our intended destination, The Fold: Botanas & Bar, when we stopped for gas at a Kroger gas station. We both got out of the car and commented … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Making Life Better

Spending today complaining about yesterday won’t make tomorrow any better. That aphorism, easy to dismiss as a frivolous adage, is absolutely true. And it applies not only to complaining about yesterday but about tomorrow and about our expectations for the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When Is It Wrong to Ask Questions and Express Opinions?

A dust-up occurred earlier this year among certain people of influence in the loosely-woven halls of power of a minor religious denomination that I choose not to name. The brouhaha erupted over publication of an essay that recounted a woman’s … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | 2 Comments


Once a mind is made up, irrevocably, it becomes unbending and brittle. It becomes subject to irreversible rupture when irrefutable, contrary facts present themselves. When evidence—that an immutable decision was based on fallacy—is impossible to ignore, the mind shatters into  … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Incompatible with Life

Thinking deeply about matters thought cannot change constitutes either wasted energy or vital mental exercise or both. Yet even the assertion that thought cannot bring about change induces change. The contention that any thought is wasted spurs the mind to … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Another Birthday

If he were still alive, today would be my father’s 116th birthday. He reached only 81 of those 116 years before he died. “Only” 81 is an odd way of putting it. That’s more than a respectable age, though he … Continue reading

Posted in Family | Leave a comment

A Virtuous Exploration

I went to bed very early last night, around 9:00 p.m. I fell asleep almost immediately and slept soundly until around 1:00 a.m. Sleep came in fits and starts for the rest of the night; fifteen minutes here, ten minutes … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Happier Place

Gourmand: 1) person who is fond of good eating, often indiscriminatingly and to excess (; 2) a person who enjoys eating and drinking in large amounts (; 3) one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking ( I plead … Continue reading

Posted in Food | Leave a comment


Sesquipedalian; 1) given to using long words; 2) containing many syllables. I first encountered the word nine years ago on Facebook. Really. The word was included in a post on the Smith College Facebook page. Ah! That explains it. I … Continue reading

Posted in Emotion, Language | Leave a comment


I don’t know when I last felt so utterly hopeless. Tonight, I feel like I can do nothing to salvage the world. I can do nothing to prevent humanity’s slide into chaotic oblivion, punctuated by race wars and class wars … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Effects of Attention Deficit Bureaucracy on Linguistic Inquiry

This morning, for breakfast, we had toasted thin bagels topped with cream cheese, purple onion, capers, and smoked salmon. I had mine open-faced;  as in an open-faced sandwich. While I was eating my breakfast, I wondered aloud where the term … Continue reading

Posted in Government, Language | Leave a comment

State of Flux

You know who I was, not who I am. I am in a state of flux, a man engaged in constant mutation from one form to another. Every breath I take in leaves a different person’s mouth. The change takes … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Learning from the Canadians

The concept seems solid: “If you think about the composition of meat, it’s actually five things,” Ethan Brown says: “Amino acids, lipids, trace minerals, vitamins and water. All of that is available to us outside the animal. What animals do … Continue reading

Posted in New and Regained Knowledge | Leave a comment


We went to another World Tour of Wine dinner last night. The wines and menu were, so they said, Chilean. I can vouch for the wines, inasmuch as I saw the labels on the bottles and tasted their contents. I … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Philosophy Degenerates into Dark Madness

Reality depends on one’s perspective. Summer runs from June through August for me. But for someone in Australia, summer starts is December through February. Both are real, but my reality’s context is sharply different from an Australian’s. The physical differences … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happier Thoughts

People in Western culture, I think (and I’m not alone), don’t really believe they’re going to die one day. They comprehend it on an intellectual level, but the end of existence is not a reality with which we can engage … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Father was a Carnivorous Xylopolist: A Rambling Recollection

Yes, my father was a xylopolist. I did not know that until just a short while ago. Somehow, some way, I stumbled across the word online. I didn’t recognize it, so I looked it up. It wasn’t in the free … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Memories | Leave a comment

Traverse City and Such

Some friends are spending a couple of weeks in Michigan on a house-sitting assignment. They are taking advantage of their time their to visit Saugatuck, Traverse City, and a flock of other cities and towns on and around Lake Michigan. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments