Complete with Pictures

Ken Nordine. He’s the guy whose “Word Jazz” recordings I linked in my post yesterday. The more I listen to him, to more I like him. I also watched a few YouTube videos he did. I decided one of them, Credit Card Blues, is especially worth sharing. It’s less than four minutes long. Thank you, Rhonda.


My wife’s study has taken the place of the guest bedroom as my primary “office.” As I sit at her desk and look around the room, I sense that I’m in a tiny library in a small village in the west midlands of England, sometime around 1983. I think my wife may have unconsciously modeled this room after the home libraries of long-lost “business” friends we visited once when we made fairly frequent trips to England. Brian and Linda. They lived in Acton Trussell, about three quarters of the way between London and Manchester. They lived on or near a canal, where we and they took their monstrous St. Bernard out for walks. They lent us pair of high-top rubber boots for the walks, because the walking paths along the canals were muddy.  Brian explained to us that the canals were laid out by “navvies” (the nickname for navigators) a few centuries earlier. We lost touch with them. I am not even sure they had a library, actually, but something about this room, now, reminds me of those times in England in the early- to mid-eighties. These are shots of my wife’s my study.


Three unrelated thoughts came to me while I was taking a shower this morning.

First: It does not always make sense for the selection of people to fill positions, whether work-related or volunteer, to rely on picking the “most qualified” candidate. The primary criterion should be whether a person possesses the requisite qualifications, not necessarily the “best” qualifications. That is, if in addition to wanting a strong, technically capable team, one wants to build a culture of inclusion and diversity, other characteristics might well come into play. Sex, race, culture, etc. For example, if a hospital’s staff of doctors is old, male, and white, medical credentials might play only a part in the process of selecting a new staff member or a replacement: youth, gender, and racial diversity might play important and legitimate roles in the screening and decision process. Is that unfair to older white men? Not any more than the process that led to the exclusion of younger Hispanic women in the workplace. Diversity is, in my view, a legitimate objective that pairs well with technical qualifications. I do not suggest that insufficient technical qualifications should overcome other criteria, only that other criteria can have legitimacy when baseline technical qualifications have been met.

Second: I suspect one of the many aspects of reality that cause humans (and some other animals) to initiate intimate relationships is this: it’s damn near impossible to reach some itchy spots on one’s back without assistance. We have evolved (or devolved, as the case may be) to the point that we do not feel comfortable asking strangers to scratch our backs or to remove blackheads from the far reaches of our backs. We need to be with someone with whom we feel absolutely comfortable before we ask for assistance. In the absence of those relationships, wooden backscratchers—inadequate though they are—may be the only viable option.

Third: Singing in the shower is a manifestation of our attempts to use of music as salve. In some cases, it works beautifully. In others, it’s akin to taking an aspirin in the hope of retrieving an appendix long-since removed.


Sugar-free peach preserves on black rye toast. That’s on my agenda for breakfast. And I may have a couple of radishes. And possibly some tomato juice. And, of course, more coffee. Yesterday afternoon, speaking of coffee, I noticed the “notification” light was flashing on Alexa’s mid-section. I listened. Alexa notified me that had noticed that, based on my ordering history, it might be time to order more San Francisco Bay French roast coffee. Eerie. And right in line with the frightening stuff presented in The Social Dilemma.

I need to get back in the habit of eating things that are at least moderately good for me and not horrifically fattening. A six-month diet of water and medications might do the trick. Or it might kill me. I suppose I could try it and see. “He was thin right up until the time he died.”


I’m going to be short of 800 words by the time I finish this post. In fact, I’ll be roughly thirty-three words short.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Complete with Pictures

  1. Interesting perspective on the matter, David. I have favored diversity for as long as I can remember. I agree that education tends to broaden one’s horizons, but what I’ve seen in retired white folks suggests just the opposite; there’s a lot of fear of diversity by people who seem to think their elevated privilege will shrink in direct proportion to growth in the opportunities available to people of color and women. As for food stamps, I don’t see any correlation; mostly, I think, those folks just want opportunities to earn enough to support themselves with a living wage.

  2. davidlegan says:

    I note that favoring “diversity” becomes easier with age, especially if one is well educated, retired, white, and not in need of food stamps. As my friend Charlie says, “Commitment to principal is inversely proportional to one’s distance from the problem.” (;) Have a great Sunday.

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