The Subaru, a 2016 model, is seven years old, having been purchased around the last quarter of 2015. Its odometer reads something like 104,000 miles. Its tires are showing signs of wear, sufficient to warrant consideration of replacing them. The car’s second battery just died; the first one lasted three years, the second one a year longer. Tiny pockmarks on its windshield offer evidence of its many miles on roads laden with sand and gravel and other enemies of smooth, clear glass.

Paragraphs like the one above emerge from desire, not from need. They flow from a thirst that can only be quenched by forcing rationality to overcome unreasonable greed. That’s what “new car fever” is all about; greed. And desire stoked by clever marketers who know how to plant the seeds of want deep inside one’s psyche. The cure for this unhealthy lust for something new and exciting and decidedly different is forced rational thought. The potential impact of surrendering to this unbridled hunger is enormous. It is fraught with danger, including the risk of financial disruption. So, the thing to do is this: publicly announce one’s commitment to keep the Subaru until the cost of maintaining it equals or exceeds the cost of replacing it. But circumstances that run the gamut from soup to sirloin could derail such a commitment; so, it’s better to leave that pledge chained in the proverbial basement until absolutely necessary. And, in the interim, exercise restraint.


Partisans tend to be blind to the dangers presented by their ideological brethren. While clear-eyed with respect to the menace posed by their opponents, their senses are dulled with respect to their allies. People whose political mindsets mirror mine tend to readily acknowledge the dangerous lunacy of the reactionary right; but they dismiss the potential for violence instigated by their progressive supporters. And, of course, the opposite is true; conservatives tend to reject the possibility that people on their “side” could do irrevocable harm to human decency. The unpleasant reality of today’s political climate is that the majority of people in the two largest political camps turn a blind eye to the damage done by their peers. For those of us who recognize this reality, the best response is to insist that both sides tone down the rhetoric that stoke violent and/or dangerous behaviors. But I am not optimistic that anything will come of it; except more indefensible violence.


Rain. This time, I hope, more than a brief and utterly inadequate shower. I would be delighted to see, when dawn finally breaks, that the pine needles covering the street in front of the house have washed away. And I want to see the grass, now parched and thirsty, soften and bend as roots soak up moisture and deliver it where it is needed most. I hear the rain on the roof and the sound of water flowing through the gutters and downspouts. I understand rain worship. I appreciate the dozens of rain deities, though I am especially intrigued by Zeus, the Greek god of sky and thunder and the ruler of the gods of Mount Olympus.  I would like to deliver a speech, which I would open with these words: “I have a personal relationship with Zeus, the god of thunder and the ruler of Mount Olympus…” I do not know why the idea intrigues me so; it just does. Living a fantasy is so much more appealing than reading someone else’s ideas about fantasies.


Last night, we sought out and finally found Trapped, the Icelandic-language series which represents the first two seasons that morphed into Entrapped, the title given to the third season’s episodes. Entrapped is available on Netflix; Trapped is available on Amazon Prime. I suspect collusion between Amazon Prime and Netflix; watching the first three seasons of the series requires subscribing to both services. Though I already subscribe to both, the requirement that I do so in order to watch three consecutive seasons is an affront to human decency. Well, it may not be quite that bad, but it’s fundamentally wrong. At any rate, we’re well into watching Trapped. I managed to stay awake last night. Thus far, my review of the two series (based on what I have seen) is quite positive. I recommend both, based on my limited exposure to them.


The climate is punishing us. It is forcing us to confront a reality we desperately want to avoid. Its public face, weather, is changing so fast we cannot keep track of it. I suspect we will either wither in perpetual drought or drown in unceasing rain. Or we will roast in the sun’s heat or freeze as glaciers reclaim continents they long ago lost.  In the meantime, we will pretend nothing untoward is happening. Until denial is no longer an option.

There is no forgiveness in nature.

~ Ugo Betti ~

About John Swinburn

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