Saturday, February 28, 2009

1040 online

Dreaded time to do my taxes again,
Keep putting it off, it looms ever larger
Now the day of reckoning can begin,
Finishing early seems ever smarter.
Online website promises ease,
I log on and delve into the morass;
Itemized deductions, if you please,
Give me bigger refunds at last.
Once I plant myself and attack the task,
Large, looming beast cut down to size;
Finish federal and state 1040s at last,
View figures displayed: My refund surprise!
Every year we are faced with this chore,
What a pleasant treat to get back more.

Sonnet on that dreaded time of year (or not, if you get a nice refund!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The 70's no more

The other day at work I was pondering and ruminating on what the 1970's were like. Having seen an article somewhere about the differences between then and now added to my thoughts. Life as a common civilian, working person. We did not have CD's. I had a secondhand black and white TV in my apartment. No cable, although cable was available at the time. No personal computer. Those were for hobbyists who could write their own programs, sometimes in assembler language using toggle switches. TRS-80's had not progressed much. I had a gas-guzzler, boxy old dodge. Power, sure. Efficient, no way. No CD player, no cassette player. AM radio only. Since I did not know any different, it was not an issue for me.

But with all of the advances we have made since then, perhaps it is time to pause our ceaseless drumbeat of gloom-and-doom panic and layoffs and cutbacks. What is wrong with us? We are the most pampered civilization on Earth in many ways. We multitask out of necessity, since we are trying to use and enjoy our multitudinous entertainment outlets, trying to get it all in. Our cell phones, PDA's I pods and Ithis and I-thats. We have so much available to us on the Internet it is staggering, especially compared to what we had before. There was no Google. We had to go find a book to look things up, or ask someone, or travel to the library. The way we used to live was almost like another epoch. Everything was an order of magnitude slower. Compared to 1979, we are really in the fast lane, on another level.

Information, entertainment and communications are at our fingertips in a way that might have been forecast, but still not entirely imagined back then. Life seemed slower back then because it was. I did not have to go through an hour of emails every day at home to keep up. I didn't have to finish up DVDs so they could be returned to friends or my online movie service. I didn't have to fumble with CD's in the car, because all I had was AM radio, and lucky to have that.

So here we are, in this speeded-up infoverse, enjoying entertainment options galore. Trouble is, many of us work in these industries, and many of us are leveraged up to the hilt. There are flaws in the information economic model, where we all work in information industries. Too much is being produced overseas. Not sure of the answer here, except that we need to bring more production back here, and workers must do their part, too, by working.

As workers and business owners and managers, all of us. Panic is not the way to go. Obviously our economy is retrenching because of the real estate debacle. But it seems to me we should take heart. We have come a long way here in the USA. Our wind energy production is soaring. We are producing ethanol. Other energy alternatives are coming online. We are not beholden to the Middle East for all of our oil, we buy a lot from Canada. Things are changing, and they are improving. The stimulus bill will help, especially as it funds things like high-speed rail lines, upgrading government buildings for energy efficiency, and more funding for solar power projects. Our mommas and daddies did not raise fools here. We are getting a clue.

We can trudge through some sludge, and then get going and get rolling. We are Americans, we have been through adversity before. We'll get through this, and be even stronger for it all. My feeling anyway, FWIW.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Public Pique

The news reports on rising public pique,
Resentment and anger over excessive salaries;
An impoverished public determined to seek
Answers to the continuing income disparities.

Laid-off workers are sick and tired of excuses,
While pampered executives party and play;
Time to demand an explanation for the abuses,
Accountability and punishment without delay.

The politicians and bosses will not get the message,
Until enough of us join our voices together;
They need to stop taking, start repairing wreckage
Of this economy, under assault seemingly forever.

Until top management lowers their reality screens,
Sees the cumulative effect of decades of excess,
We will never be able to restore our economic sheen,
Enable all the built-in inequities to be addressed.

President Obama made a good beginning,
Applying limits to executive compensation;
The poor and laid-off deserve to start winning
Justice and equality via official dispensation.

For too long now, the elite have lived apart,
Moving in circles unaffected by the economy
They have savaged. Maybe we can all start
To bring about more responsibility, even equality!

(Prompted by an article in the Des Moines Register).

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Links to my two books of poetry and short stories:

Falling Leaves, Rising Heat:

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

From my Backyard to the Edge of the Galaxy:

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Thank you for taking a look at these!