Starchy Shirts and Such

The commencement of the Anthropocene epoch, the third epoch of Quaternary Period, coincided roughly with my birth, though I take no credit for starting this new era. That having been said, I join eight billion other humans in taking responsibility for this new geological period, which marks the end of the Holocene epoch. The location of the Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point that is proposed to mark the new epoch with a golden spike is in sediment cored from the bed of Crawford Lake—in Ontario, Canada—that reveals the geochemical traces of nuclear bomb tests, specifically plutonium—the radioactive element detected worldwide in coral reefs, ice cores, peat bogs, etc. The Anthropocene epoch is, for now, a proposal; I have no clear sense of how an “official” decision comes about as to the termination of the Holocene and the commencement of the Anthropocene. Regardless, though, I feel responsible in part for an epoch that quite possibly marks the end of the natural purity of our planet. We all can take credit, if that’s the right word, for the decay of natural evolution and its replacement by something yet to be named.


According to an article in the Helsinki Times, a survey conducted by the Finnish Breweries Association and the Beverage Industry Association concluded that beer is considered the best summertime brewery beverage in Finland, with light lager being the top choice for a summer beer. Mineral water takes second place as the best summer drink, with the popularity of the third place choice, hard seltzers, rapidly growing. Yesterday, I drank most of a glass of a draft beer, Bubba Brew’s Brewing Company Skull Crusher IPA, which I ordered to accompany my hamburger at the Copper Penny Pub. I was surprised that the beer, which I once regularly enjoyed when it was available, seemed too strong and bitter for my taste. The strength and bitterness, coupled with its distinct flavor, were the main attractions of the beer; but not last night. And maybe not now and not tomorrow. Perhaps I have joined the throngs of beer-drinking Finns who prefer a light lager, especially in the heat of summer. I realized, as I was drinking the beer (which I did not finish because it was not especially to my liking) that I have not had beer in quite a long time; many, many months, at least, and possibly a year or two or even more. Even at this advanced age, my taste may be changing. Perhaps I am beginning my second early-twenties period, when I drank copious amounts of light lagers. But I doubt it. I am not sure I want to drink much light lager, either. My tastes have matured. Give me gin & tonic or a martini or let me sip a shot of single malt Scotch or a nice bit of whisky. Or various other flavorful adult beverages.


The price of tomatoes in India has gotten out of hand. They are so expensive that many cooks and chefs are modifying dishes that require tomatoes. But while various ingredients often can be substituted for one another, nothing can replace tomatoes. The problem in India, as I understand it, is that weather extremes (primarily flooding) has decimated the tomato crops, dramatically reducing the supply of the culinary staple. I do not know whether climate change due to global warming can legitimately be blamed for the weather, but I’m willing to bet it plays a large part in the situation. Damn it. I can only imagine what life might be like without tomatoes; I hope I never find out whether my imagination is actually attuned to that ugly reality.


I almost bought an ironing board yesterday. Fortunately, mi novia showed me that we do, indeed, have an ironing board, so I did not need to buy one. I do not really want an ironing board. Instead, I’d rather have shirts that are wrinkle-free; no need to iron them. And shorts, too, made of fabrics created to shed wrinkles like trees shed leaves in autumn. I have a few shirts that do not require ironing. They do not look quite as crisp and sharp as freshly-starched and ironed shirts, but their softness appeals to me more than the rigidity of 100% cotton made perfectly flat by Faultless brand spray starch. I wish I did not mind wearing shirts that look like they just came out of five days wadded in the clothes dryer. But I do. It’s just a matter of vanity. We are taught to be vain. We are coached to believe that shirts should look freshly-pressed. Our minds are guided to join in the group-think that lauds the absence of wrinkles and condemns their abundance. Society. We are part of it, no matter how much we might wish we were not.


I hear the howling meows of a cat. Phaedra has been fed and watered. She has been given free access to most areas of the house (excluding certain closets). Why is she not happy? But maybe she is. Perhaps the meows are saying something unrelated to feline happiness. I am not a cat whisperer. Not in the least. If I could be fluent in the feline language, I would be. But I cannot. So I have to continue attempting to understand the perpetually misunderstood.  And, now, I need more coffee. And I must get dressed to attend the men’s group breakfast.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Starchy Shirts and Such

  1. John Swinburn says:

    I will bear your observations in mind as I go about my life, sir! Thank you!

  2. The Perpetual Wanderer says:

    Just a few comments based on your musings…

    I was listening to a story on NPR about the Anthropocene Era… It’s a bit saddening that that’s our mark on the world.

    Light lagers are great summertime beers; especially if they’re made by a craft brewery.

    I hadn’t heard that about the Indian tomatoes. I have a nice crop of cherry tomatoes in my garden right now. Too bad we’ll be leaving them behind… 🙁

    Wrinkle-free shirts ARE the way to go. I’m a big fan of UNTUCKIT. Check them out.

    Be very careful… Those mewling could mean ANYTHING!!!

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