Fundamental philosophical differences separate me from the thinking of virtually every world leader, I think. And, perhaps, everyone else. For example, I do not agree with Joe Biden that America should be “back,” aggressively assuming the mantle of “world leader.” I do not buy into China’s fierce pursuit of leadership in the world of artificial intelligence. I disagree vehemently, of course, with Trump’s childish psychopathic attempts to bully every country and everyone into submitting to his delusions of American exceptionalism. In every case, control is the objective, in which a nation can flex its superior muscle in specific endeavors, thereby exerting influence beyond the immediate realm of superiority. What a waste of energy and talent!

Leadership should emerge naturally and should ebb and flow depending on context and circumstance. Maybe the most distinctive difference between my philosophies and those I see on global display revolve around my desire to see collaborative solutions to world problems, with each nation’s (and their citizens’) most valuable attributes being put to best use. Synergies, in which collective efforts produce effects that outweigh the sum of individual parts, should be sought. I think international efforts to develop vaccines for COVID-19, as collaborative as they might be, should be even more cooperative, with no single company nor any one nation attempting to be “first” to come up with a solution, thereby securing influence and control over solutions to a global pandemic.

The same is true of local issues. Political factions waste enormous amounts of time and resources fighting for superiority, rather than for solutions. It’s easier said than done, of course, but conceptually it seems so absolutely obvious! Fierce arguments involving name-calling, spending money on political favors (and bribes and worse), etc. are remarkably counterproductive.

If, instead of focusing on fighting over our differences of opinion and our philosophical stalemates, we focused on how we might collaborate on matters about which different “sides” can agree, we might find that reasonable solutions emerge to the larger issues. For example, let right and left step away from abortion for a time and, instead, focus on solving the problems associated with unwanted pregnancies (without addressing abortion), adoption, and related matters. Yeah, it’s a pipe dream.

I realize my philosophies are utopian fantasies. They need not be, though. Charismatic leadership that arises naturally can change cultures. Then, again, maybe today’s cultures are too deeply steeped in thirst for power to change. Change might take many generations. And I’m afraid we don’t have many generations left if humanity continues to sully the planet, engage in genocide, and starve entire continents.  With that cheery thought, I embrace Wednesday morning. It’s appropriate, I suppose, that today is trash day.


Yesterday was better than the day before. Despite starting out in much the same way the visit a day earlier began, yesterday’s short visit with my wife was more pleasant. It might have been because her sister was present. Whatever the reason, it was better.

I asked my wife whether she wants me to take to her some tapas from the non-traditional Thanksgiving meal we will have on Thursday; she said she would like that. So, if all goes according to plan, tomorrow I will take to her a plate with a small sample of at least some of the following items I plan to prepare (it sounds like more food than it will actually be):

  • Chimichurri meatballs (pork & beef, with a cilantro based chimichurri sauce)
  • Shrimp and chorizo bites (assuming I can find Spanish chorizo today)
  • An assortment of olives (kalamata, black, garlic-stuffed green, etc.)
  • An assortment of Spanish cheeses (iberico, manchego, and cabra al vino)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Tilapia ceviche “cooked” in vinegar
  • Assorted almonds
  • Garlicky shrimp with crusty ciabatta bread
  • Classic olive tapenade
  • Spanish chorizo poached in red wine (again, assuming I find Spanish chorizo)
  • Celery sticks
  • Skirt steak with goat cheese, roasted red peppers, and fig preserves
  • Prosciutto with peach preserves

I wish I could take her some Tio Pepe dry sherry and some dry red Spanish wine, but that may be stretching it a bit. I will plan to enjoy a bit of both, though.

This morning, between 8 and 9, I will pick up my grocery order from Walmart. With luck, all the items on my list will be delivered to me; otherwise, I’ll have to add the missing items to the Kroger shopping list. All I have left to buy (unless Walmart doesn’t come through) is Spanish chorizo. I was planning to try to find quince jelly, but I’ve decided to forego that and use something else, instead. And, of course, I forgot to buy Spanish wine yesterday, when I could have bought it at the Tuesday 15% discount at Cork & Bottle; so I’ll have to stop and buy something at full price. Maybe I’ll pick up a bottle of garnacha or  tempranillo or a generic dry Spanish table wine blend. I’m not picky, nor am I able to tell one from the other; but I can differentiate sweet from dry.


Last night found me in bed extremely early, probably around 8:00. I had no interest in watching television and I’d read what I wanted to read, so I decided to turn in. I wanted to erase things on my mind at the time, too, and it seemed that sleep might be the best way to do it. I woke around 12:30 to brilliant flashes of lightning, crashes of thunder, and pounding rain. I had not closed the blinds on the doors that lead from the bedroom to the deck, so I was treated to the full lightning show. By 2:30, I had slipped back into a middling sleep and back out again, awakened by my aching back and shoulders. I MUST get that mattress replaced! I drifted in and out of semi-consciousness until 4, when I called it a night.  I actually spent more time in bed than usual; it was just that some of that time was during hours I would normally be awake.

This morning, at least half an hour after I awoke, I remembered pieces of a dream I had last night. I was inside the headquarters building of the first association I ever worked for. The carpet, which had been deep green when I worked there, had been changed to a muted brown and other earth tones, imprinted with architectural abstract images. The walls were no longer white; I can describe them only as modern wood panels. All the door hardware remained as it was in the late 1970s and early 1980s; polished chrome door hinges and handles. The executive director at the time I left, a man who has since died, walked with me down a hallway and talked to me about changes to the building. Another guy who also has since died—he ran the print shop which produced books and magazines—gave me a tour of the offices. The middle of the building, in the section where my secretary had her office, had been removed and opened up to the outdoors. It had been replaced with a tall-grass prairie, which now separated the two long wings of the building. I asked whether an empty lot across the street had always been empty. There was some disagreement about that. Finally, the people with me agreed that a multi-story office building had once stood there, but had been removed.  And that’s all I remember. That was bizarre.


Shemomechama. It’s an untranslatable Georgian word that means you did not intend to eat so much but you accidentally did. I came across the word while reading an interesting article on this morning. It’s an interesting read. I recommend it as a diversion. I have had the experience of shemomechama; not in Georgia, but in several other places. I suspect many people will experience it with their traditional Thanksgiving Day meals tomorrow. Even though my tapas meal should not be terribly filling, it might produce shemomechama.

About John Swinburn

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