Monday, April 18, 2016

A poem I've always liked

Spring and Fall, by Gerard Manley Hopkins



To a young child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Rejected by TurboTax


I'm just a mediocre person, incomewise, so I couldn't suppose the government has much interest in my taxes, as opposed to those of Al Sharpton, the presidential advisor, tax-evader and murderer.

But I digress.  My income consists of a pension, Social Security, and not much more.  It's generally pretty cut and dried.  So I've usually done it myself.  But this time I had a royalty check for a book I and some others wrote in 2002.  

When I entered the figure--about 50 dollars--TurboTax got all high and mighty, refusing to do my taxes for the regular sum of about $40.  I had turned out to be a very special taxpayer, one which would strain the algorithm and probably crash the entire system.  So complex was  my income that TurboTax stopped in its tracks.  It shied like a horse who was asked to jump a deep ditch.  I was informed that my royalty check made me an unusual taxpayer and I needed an extra $50 for them to continue my return.

I would now be paying a hundred dollars in fees for earning an extra $50.  For a couple of hundred I could hire a live accountant.

I pondered the problem for a couple of days and then decided to file for a six month  extension, thus evading the problem until the leaves turned color and started to fall from the trees.

I have so many diseases and they are so complex that I have enough doctors to make a basketball team, although some of them are too short.  I figured that the chances were good that one of them would kill me before October, if I was lucky.

 

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Another poem

Another poem for poetry month:

Robert Burns. 1759–1796
  
John Anderson, my Jo
  
JOHN ANDERSON, my jo, John,
  When we were first acquent,
Your locks were like the raven,
  Your bonnie brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,         5
  Your locks are like the snow;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
  John Anderson, my jo!
John Anderson, my jo, John,
  We clamb the hill thegither;  10
And monie a canty day, John,
  We've had wi' ane anither:
Now we maun totter down, John,
  But hand in hand we'll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,  15
  John Anderson, my jo.
Anyone who has been married for a long time will get this one:

Psychologizing Trump

Since everyone else in the country is psycho-analyzing Donald Trump, I figure now it's my turn.  Fair is fair, no?  I know as little or as much as  anyone who has not been locked up in an abandoned coal mine for the last six months, so I'm going to have at it.

(That rumbling noise you hear is The Donald shaking in his shoes.)

He reminds me of my Uncle Doc, who would say anything that came into his head without pausing for thought.  He yelled at everybody who ever upset him.  You should have heard him opine on my father after he divorced my mother.  Or his son-in-law.  Or the government, Republican or Democrat; he had no use for any of them.  And he could change his mind at the tip of a hat.  Many times, he didn't know what he was opining about, but that didn't stop him for a minute.

It was all a sham.  Deep down inside, he was a generous and loving man, but no-one was allowed to know  this, it would ruin his reputation as a hard man.  But his parents knew, and so did his brother and sister.  He never let any of them down, although his siblings got plenty of verbal abuse.

I'm not saying Trump is a good man; but his statements about everything strike me as so much bluster. I'm sure he never gave abortion a moment's thought, for instance.  But on the basics he's got a few things right, and isn't afraid to say so.  That's what makes him attractive to voters, who are tired of the mealymouthed politicians of both parties, and their thinly veiled contempt for average Americans.

Monday, April 04, 2016

A poem for poetry month

“It was a lover and his lass”

By William Shakespeare
(from As You Like It)
It was a lover and his lass,
   With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o’er the green cornfield did pass,
   In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;

Sweet lovers love the spring.

Between the acres of the rye,
   With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
Those pretty country folks would lie,
   In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;

Sweet lovers love the spring.

This carol they began that hour,
   With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that a life was but a flower
   In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;

Sweet lovers love the spring.

And therefore take the present time,
   With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crownèd with the prime
   In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;

Sweet lovers love the spring.
I do like a good hey nonino from time to time.And hey ding a ding ding is very cheery too.
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Credit card fraud

I got a call from my  credit card provider.  They were questioning certain transactions  made in California last month: to wit,  a charge for gas at a Shell station, and a purchase from In n Out Burger.  The two together were less than $50, but the bank was right.  I was not in California at the time.
Neither was my credit card.  It was secure in my wallet.

So  somebody  committed a felony to get some gas and a burger. I'm struck by the modesty of their desires.  Why not buy an expensive camera or  a set of tires?  (These are the items a thief bought on my credit card last time I was robbed.)  Why would anyone risk getting a criminal record for a hamburger?  If I were going to steal something, or defraud someone, it would have to be for a much larger sum than that.

Update:  I am reliably informed that the modest first purchases are just a trial to see if anyone notices their card is missing.  If these go through, they know you or your bank are not paying attention and then they can really let themselves go.


Saturday, April 02, 2016

My vote

If the Republican Party chooses Donald Trump as their candidate for President, I will vote for him.  Unless he is convicted of a major felony between now and November.  And no, he would not be my first choice.

I'm so sick of people on the right, and on the left, maligning him.  You cannot pick up a conservative magazine without encountering some learned dissertation predicting the end of at least the nation, if not the world, if he should be elected.   In my opinion, the Republic will survive. 

Mine is purely a protest vote.  I don't want Trump, but I want Hillary less.   The Democrats have had eight years to screw the country.  I want them out.  It's the Republicans' turn.  If this means Trump will be president, bring it on.