Though the “official” Memorial Day “holiday” is still two days away, I am thinking about it now. A post I wrote eight years ago still represents my thinking about Memorial Day:

Memorial Day is dedicated to the men and women who lost their lives in defense of the USA, it is not a celebratory welcoming of summer.

It doesn’t matter your politics, we owe a debt of gratitude to those people who did as they were asked. They may not have agreed with the politics of the wars they fought, but most did. Regardless, they followed orders and did their duty. Well over one million men and women have died while fighting, or supporting, wars in which the USA has been engaged. I offer my respect and admiration for them; I only hope their sacrifices lead, eventually, to peace and to an environment in which war is recognized as the ultimate insanity.

An experience eight years ago prompted me to write that little diatribe. I had read an article by a veteran who said he cringed when he heard people say “Happy Memorial Day!” “Happy” is not a word we should associate with the day, or the three-day-holiday linked with the day intended to recognize and mourn the ultimate sacrifices made by people “in uniform.” I think a specific day—or week or month or eternity—should be formally recognized as a moment during which people responsible for starting or prolonging wars are shamed for their roles in attempting to destroy civility and civilization.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?

~ Mahatma Gandhi ~


This morning, as I read about Ken Paxton’s potential impeachment as Texas’ attorney general, I wondered just how corrupt a person has to be to suffer the rancor of Texas’ Republican legislators. I have nothing but contempt for Ken Paxton, however I cannot bring myself to express admiration to the politicians leading the charge to impeach him. While they may not be as corrupt as Paxton, their political philosophies are brutal, dangerous, and should be rebuffed at every opportunity. “If only” the populace of Texas would rally ’round human decency, compassion, and democratic ideals, the cesspool that is the Texas legislature would be emptied and turned into an institution that actually serves the people of the state. But reality suggests the decay has not even reached its peak. Ach!


Ten lighthouses are available from the General Services Administration. Several of them will be offered first, free of charge, to Federal, state, and local governments and non-profit entities. If they are taken, they will be offered at auction. I would love to own a lighthouse. Perhaps I should form a nonprofit, the sole objective of which would be to acquire and restore lighthouses—some of which would be intended for residential use. The prospect of buying, restoring, and living in a lighthouse has always been appealing to me. An incredibly powerful emotion draws me to those lights, like a moth to a flame. [WARNING: There are more clichés where that came from.]  Lighthouses have always represented a satisfyingly lonely isolation from the rest of the world. Living in one, while probably hard on my knees as I ascend and descend the stairs to the top, would make me feel like I am not just close to, but part of, the natural environment. Lighthouses belong to Nature just as much as—or more than—they belong to humans. They serve as the anthropomorphic intermediary between rough seas and rocky shorelines. Obviously, I have a romantic perspective on lighthouses. I realize, of course, they can be cold, dirty, spider-infested, money-consuming, and more; plus, they can be dangerous during severe weather. Nonetheless, lighthouses occupy space in some of my many, many fantasies.


Niksen is a Dutch wellness trend that means “doing nothing.” I learned about niksen by reading a current article on and an April 2019 article in the New York Times. Practicing niksen is said to relieve stress. Despite the fact that I am retired, modestly solvent, and generally unafraid for my safety, I feel considerably more stress than I would like. Perhaps I need more frequent and focused niksen as a safety-valve to relieve pressure and its attendant stresses. The Dutch are fortunate in that their government and their social structures facilitate the practice of niksen, in that the Dutch population largely has substantial free time, away from work. (So do I, but I haven’t practiced enough niksen thus far, I suppose.) Worth thinking about, methinks.


I took a bit of a break from writing. During that break, my thoughts wandered into places I wish they would not go. My flippant mood transformed during my pause in blogging; melancholy took the place of glibness. Well, that’s life. My writing now ends.


Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain.

~ Isaiah 10:4 ~

About John Swinburn

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