This morning, I am scheduled to visit my primary care doctor’s office, where his nurse practitioner will grill me about my recent experience in the hospital, after having been taken to the ER by ambulance. Frankly, I am not sure of the point of visiting my primary care doctor, after having been attended to by specialists in a hospital setting. In that setting, the medical staff has access to far more sophisticated equipment and, I suspect, a staff trained in much greater depth and detail than a physician’s office staff. But I will go, anyway, because I was advised to do so. And my doctor’s office called me to check on me and set up a follow-up appointment the day after my release from the hospital. That follow-up, alone, was enough to impress me into following their advise and counsel with regard to a follow-up visit. I may question the hospital’s advise about what I put in my body, given their diagnosis of “acute” versus “chronic” issues. We’ll see. Perhaps the doctor’s patient-measuring scales will respond to me in surprise when they discover a slightly less-dense human standing atop them. I hope that’s the case.

I detest spending time in the hospital. Even a day or two is a day or two too long. Though hospitals are necessary and I am grateful we have them, I appreciate them in the same way I appreciate scalpels; I am glad they are available when needed, but I would rather not rely on them to keep me free of bloody lacerations.


Suddenly, last night, The Sopranos came to a startling, unexpected end. No, how can I say unexpected? We were watching the last episode of the last season; how could I have been blindsided? I wasn’t blindsided. I saw it coming all along. It was not a radical departure from expectations. It did not stun me with its remarkable surprise. No. It just slapped me, hard, in the face. It forced me to imagine the final, heart-wrenching scenes, the ones not written and not filmed. So THAT’s over. I may need a respite from televised stress; just for a while. I might need to stay away for a bit from drama that stomps jack-boot heavily on the fragile morality of my delicate bones.


I have always stood in awe of the camera. I recognize it for the instrument it is, part Stradivarius, part scalpel.

~ Irving Penn ~


Anthroposophy is a spiritualist movement that expresses the perspective of the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, accessible to human experience. Until this morning, I had never (to the best of my recollection) heard of the “discipline.” And, after reading just a little about it, I dismiss most of it as pseudo-science that is only marginally more appealing than Southern Baptist philosophies. Bogus evidence of the power of magic is still bogus; the “evidence” part of that phrase gives the rest of it away. If I were less charitable, I might call the “discipline” by another name, perhaps: “intellectual idiocy” or some other complimentary term intended to reveal just how deeply valid the philosophy is and always has been. I admit to being judgmental. But I also admit to being open-minded, once the pry-bars have opened the crack in my skepticism wide enough for doubt to enter…or exit.


Last night’s final marathon of The Sopranos reminded me how attractive I find Juliana Margulies.  I remember first seeing her in ER, then later in The Good Wife, among various other sort-term roles in other dramas. I do not recall whether I have ever heard her speak as Juliana Margulies, rather than as the voice of a character she played. I have an unrealistic hope that, if I heard her being interviewed about issues of substance, I would hear thoughtful, intelligent responses that would affirm a solid intellectual foundation. Maybe it’s not unrealistic; maybe it’s just depressingly unlikely. Incidentally, I came upon the term “anthroposophy” while reading something about Juliana Margulies.


I sometimes hesitate to share with the world, here on my blog, my frame of mind. If I am not sufficiently cheery, words of concern may find their way to my ears or eyes. If I express humor, the assumption seems to be that I am the picture of pure happiness, unscathed by blunt trauma or injuries caused by invisible knives. Sometimes, I want only to document, for my own purposes, how I felt during a particularly difficult or especially gleeful time. Those brief moments, extracted from a pretty damn chaotic series of experiences, do not define who I am or how I feel. But I can understand how people might assume they do. What else do they have to measure my moods against? Just me and my head, in rage or fear or depression or hilarity, banging  against a wall of my own making.

I learned some things, maybe, while watching The Sopranos. I learned how expressions of rage or simple anger or grief or joy can emerge from mundane circumstances that we, who experience emotion, nurture into sustainers of “a certain mood.” We feed our own emotions with a diet we manufacture from raw materials we bring to the metaphorical kitchen. I knew all this, of course. We all do. But to watch it play out in such obvious fashion through the actions of such remarkably skilled actors…well, that’s instructional, informative, insightful.


Monday. Here it is. I’m off to confront it head on.

About John Swinburn

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