Overcast skies, icy roads, and an empty Friday morning join forces. They cause me to imagine what life might be like in a frigid, desolate outpost one hundred kilometers west of Bodmin, Saskatchewan, a place where RE/MAX has no listings. Tonight’s low temperature in Bodmin is forecast to reach -33F; I do not know what the low will be one hundred kilometers west of Bodmin, but odds are it will be brutally cold. I suspect the frigid little outpost is lacking in high speed internet. Whether it’s possible to get radio or television signals is an unknown for me, as well, but as I have no urgent need for them in my fantasy, it matters not. I’ve discovered, outside my fantasy, that it is not easy to uncover much information about Bodmin, even with high speed internet. However I was able to learn that Marcel and Betty Lamothe once operated a store—as well as a post office and a hand gas pump with a choice of red or amber gasoline—in Bodmin. When that was, I do not know, but based on the context of how I learned about Marcel and Betty, I would say it was sometime in the very early 1950s. My knowledge of Bodmin, weak and unreliable at best, slips into virtual nothingness after that time. It’s entirely possible I could learn more about it by reading more about the Lamothes and their neighbors, but reading about them would serve no particularly useful purpose; I doubt that endeavor would give me much more of an understanding of Bodmin as it is today. Anyway, my interest is in the outpost one hundred kilometers to the west. My imagination tells me the place has a wood-burning stove that serves both for cooking and heat. I can feel the ancestors of the people who built the place. They came from Scotland and Norway and who knows where else. At least that’s what my imagination tells me. But cracks are appearing around the edges of my imagination, so I’ll shove it into a corner of my brain where it can either regenerate itself or shrivel and depart this dimension.


I thawed a piece of skin-on salmon in the refrigerator last night. If I am sufficiently motivated late today, I will broil miso salmon for dinner. Even though miso salmon requires virtually no effort, recent experience has taught me even effortless meals sometimes require more motivation than I possess when it’s time to make dinner. For that reason, I’ve tended to either munch on whatever is readily available in the refrigerator or I’ve “cooked” pre-fab frozen dinners in the microwave. Usually, I enjoy cooking, but for some reason that enjoyment has taken a respite of late.  I really need to cook the salmon tonight, though, and I need to save a piece of raw salmon for breakfast tomorrow morning. Tomorrow’s breakfast is to be a little piece of broiled salmon with a lime, vinegar, and sugar sauce. I’ll serve it with some radishes, a small scoop of white rice, and a cup of miso soup. I bought tofu and mushrooms and green onions the other day specifically for miso soup. When I make miso soup, I always make enough for at least two meals. Whether any of these plans come to fruition remains to be seen. It would be easier to get motivated if I were making these meals for more than just myself.


According to a survey conducted by ABC News in 2004, sixty-two percent of American men, split evenly in two, reported wearing either nothing or underwear to bed. Only thirteen percent of American men reported wearing pajamas. I’ve never understood the appeal of pajamas. On those rare occasions that I’ve worn them, they’ve tended to get bound up with sheets or otherwise cause restrictive discomfort.

The origins of pajamas (pyjamas in other parts of the world) can be traced to places like Iran, India, and Turkey, where they were/are worn for the day-to-day comfort they afford the wearer in hot climates. Pyjamas have evolved, in some places at least, into loungewear that replace formal business or work wear after going home at the end of the day. Loose-fitting loungewear with either elastic or fabric ties at the waist and a separate pull-over top should be perfectly acceptable clothing, regardless of whether it is worn at home or doing errands. It’s not uncommon to hear people mocking “Walmart shoppers” who wear pajamas to the grocery store; that’s unnecessary mockery, in my book. I admire people who reject unwritten rules of fashion in favor of comfort. While I’d personally rather not see PJs with comic-book duck patterns on them, if that’s what a person wants to wear, more power to them. I’d prefer something a little more muted; perhaps a pair of loose-fitting, soft, grey trousers and a loose-fitting, soft colorful pull-over tunic in a herringbone pattern. Flip flops would go nicely with the outfit; if a little more formality were desirable, then a pair of woven leather huaraches might be just the ticket.

Somehow, I drifted away from sleepwear. I’m in favor of small, soft, white, and simple. But that’s just me. I remember, as a kid, having button-fronted pajama tops that I only wore when I wasn’t feeling well. I have no idea if that memory is real or not, but it’s the only one I have at the moment that involves pajamas. Buttons! I might as well sleep in a dress shirt.


Not too long ago, I wrote about black objects absorbing light. Recently, I’ve seen some videos on Facebook promoting the almost magical qualities of a blacker-than-black paint that absorbs light better than any other black paint. If I painted a sponge with that black paint that absorbs light, I should be able to retrieve the light by wringing out the sponge. I wonder what happens to light that’s absorbed by black material. It only sounds like a stupid question. It’s not.


Rye toast with peach jam and a few strips of bacon. Followed an hour or two later with a tomato juice chaser. That’s breakfast today. It’s not yet 10 a.m. and I’m already hungry.


Absent a better title, I’ll label this post Starfish.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to Starfish.

  1. Meg Koziar says:

    light absorbed by something black becomes heat. Black pants in strong sunlight quickly radiate lots of heat. Many Scandinavians settled in Saskatchewan.

  2. SS, I fully expect my new lines of loungewear, SwinburnChic and Might as Well be Naked, will be in stores for the upcoming Deep Casual Dress shopping season. I wish I could convince a skilled tailor to take my ideas and fashion them (pun intended) into actual items of apparel. I feel certain I would have an enthusiastic following. 😉

  3. Sartorially Sarcastic says:

    I see a line of Swinburn-Inspired loungewear in the near future!

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