The Charms of Apple OS 10 Catalina

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I have downloaded Catalina which at first gave me quite a shock
I thought I had ruined my computer as it appeared to be in deadlock
Perhaps it was unfamiliar with the internal working of my old machine
But its initial response to my promptings was if anything not at all keen

But I persevered with my efforts and gradually it seemed to respond
But I did at the start suspect that all my saved data might quickly abscond
The problem I find with Catalina is that she prefers her own special ways
So that it looks as if mastery of the machine will take me many long days

But there is no doubt this new software will reveal her manifold charms
And if I just learn to tread softly I might avoid the need for alarms
I had soon to discover how my data now flies up to the cloud
With a will of its own it does this and doesn’t ask it that’s allowed

Anyway  thank-you to the Apple inventors who design this super software
I am sure they mean to be helpful and never our progress impair
In the meantime I will keep up the practice and gain some more expertise
And instead of being scared of the system I might learn to use it with ease

Ken Fisher

Honour Bound

Honour Bound

“The louder he talked of his honour, the faster I counted my spoons”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Why sir, when he leaves our house , the faster I count my spoons”
Dr Samuel Johnson

 

 

Have you ever felt that protestations of honour
and integrity may sometimes smack of hypocrisy?
There is a long list of suspects whom we might accuse
From the “ Trusted Trader” to the Priest in the confessional

Indeed many of us have become case-hardened
To the blandishments of car salesmen and estate agents
Borne out of our discovery that descriptions
Were a distant echo of reality

Some people we may be more willing to trust
Nurses and judges – even if they are sometimes fallible
But journalists and, above all, politicians
Often deemed to be low on the reputational pile

But modern capitalist society relies on trust
At the very heart of its enterprise
Trust in the making and executing of contracts
Trust in the banking and credit systems

And although we may rile against
The pettifogging of Health and Safety rules
We nonetheless trust that our house will not collapse
Or our tumble drier ignite

Being honour bound is more than chivalry
To a damsel in distress
It is more than protecting our household
From the theft of spoons!

They say there is honour among thieves
This may be so,  but we do not have to
Commit larceny to gain honour
Just try honesty

Honour must be at the very heart
Of all our dealings with one another
Whether in commerce, in employment
Even in the intimate relationships of our family circle

So let’s not abandon honour
As expressed in our determination
to be trustworthy
In all our words and deeds and dealings

Ken Fisher

[This poem is based on ideas taken from an article
by Anthony Hilton in the Governance and Compliance Magazine
October 2019]

Modern Money

Modern Money

 

No longer wads of notes, folded in wallets
Or stuffed into purses
No longer neatly written figures
Recorded in dusty ledgers
Coinage almost irrelevant
Unless in a slot machine at the funfair

Modern money is all digitized
Binary ones and zeros captured
In magnetic storage devices
More likely throbs pulsing through
Minute chips inside a high speed processor
All data coded or encased in plastic

So who keeps this money? How do we move it?
Financial institutions hold the monopoly
As curators of our money
All of this mere blips in their mega records
Except for the store of gold
Still there for the unbelievers in electronics

No longer a need for a mask and crowbar
To rob the bank.
Modern criminals get their hands on the loot
By clever frauds and cunning scams
No broken glass, no blasting of the safe
Just silent larceny, our nest egg evaporating

Thus money flows around the globe
Lenders and borrowers caught up in the dance
As they whirl ever faster by quantative easing
Until balance loses all control
Then the crash, denials, and recrimination
Governments – save us from our folly!

PS – Crypto Currency perhaps best avoided

Ken Fisher

Bathroom Fittings

Bathroom Fittings

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The world of bathrooms and toilets has been truly transformed
The endless array of fittings would boggle your mind
From the old outside ‘privy’ completely reformed
To a shiny new palace of the ablutionary kind

When you enter the showroom you are quickly confronted
By gleaming examples of baths of all shapes and sizes
Toilet pans and bidets of any design you wanted
With slow-closing lids avoiding noisy surprises

The modern shower units encased in bright glass
With their temperature control and powerful jets
Incorporate features not seen in the past
A hydraulic solution to wash away stress

Then of course the showroom displays all sorts of taps
And wall heaters and mirrors in which you reflect
While luxuriating in steam you will surely relax
As if you are being subjected to the greenhouse effect

Without being too philosophical I have always believed
The yardstick of civilization is the gurgling water closet
If in hygienic surroundings you can be duly relieved
And even better still if you can find two shiny faucets

The Romans showed how this may be achieved
The bathhouse not just for cleanliness but for contemplation
Thus the rigours of life they could there relieve
The basilica the pride of that noble nation

So the message is this, buy some new bathroom fittings
The smallest room in the house deserves some attention
So don’t delay any longer, just make the decision
And now flush away all prevarication

Ken Fisher

 

ShrinkFlation

ShrinkFlation

You may not have noticed a quite subtle change
Which at first sight you reckon to be somewhat strange
Supermarket items have been subject to shrink
Which somehow prompts me into doublethink

Because as well as this hidden shrinkage in size
At the same time I witness prices that rise
This certainly causes some consternation
A phenomenon now wellknown as shrinkflation

Of course the sellers hope that we will not notice
Otherwise it would surely result in a protest
But because the changes are not easily perceived
By this sleight of hand we are duped and deceived

By the twin tactics of giving less in the packet
While upping the price, a duplicitous racket
The makers extract even more from our purse
Without any intention us to reimburse

Despite this assault on the public at large
Less goods provided, yet increasing the  charge
For our money ‘great value is still guaranteed’
And from too heavy packages we are relieved!

Well I suppose in the end we have little choice
A boycott best way to have a clear voice
Thus express our response to the trick of shrinkflation
Which by stealth has encroached on the whole British nation

Ken Fisher

The Redoubtable Ms Clarke

The Redoubtable Ms Clarke

 

They said at the start “It’s a position of trust”
And accuracy is an absolute ‘must’
Ms Clarke was aware of the need for discretion
They would not tolerate any transgression

Despite these quite rigorous stipulations
Perhaps even because she liked tight regulations
Ms Clarke was happy to work for that firm
And her acceptance of all she would gladly affirm

Her duties covered a significant range
Receipts and payments, often foreign exchange
Processing documents, checking the prices
Extensive use of computer devices

Payroll and wages presented no problems
Her awareness of tax was really quite awesome
Marginal costing, credit control, even VAT
To Ms Clarke a cinch, unlike you or me

Trial balance, profit and loss, bank reconciliation
All processed without the slightest vexation
The final accounts from these easily prepared
Her bosses, amazed, just stood there and stared!

Thus Ms Clarke was well on the way to a godlike status
As master of the whole admin apparatus
But then it became something of a surprise
To find in the ointment there was a small fly

For actual money handling there was little call
But in this obscure corner began Ms Clarke’s fall
Most firms still have need of some petty cash
And with that fund employees sometimes get rash

The amounts of money are merely a trickle
But nonetheless one might get into a pickle
The total fund is called an imprest
But these small amounts can herald distress

Ms Clarke somehow succumbed to temptation
Perhaps she thought she deserved compensation
Anyway by a relentless process of syphoning off
From her worthy employer she performed a rip-off

Gradually over many months and years
A large sum of money would disappear
But because the account was still called ‘petty’
Not large paper, more like confetti

But one day when Ms Clarke went off on vacation
The auditors expressed a little vexation
About lack of clarity in Ms Clarke’s account
Which spawned in their mind some significant doubt

So while Ms Clarke basked in the sunshine of foreign climes
It became clear she had perpetrated exorbitant crimes
Her petty fraud had resulted in a vast accumulation
Exposed by this somewhat belated examination

On return Ms Clarke became the subject of an inquisition
The result of which, an unwilling admission
That she had helped herself to what she believed she was due
To label her as a thief was not really true

But I am afraid the majesty of the law extended its arm
Claiming that to condone fraud would result in great harm
Ms Clarke was reminded of her position of trust
Where not only accuracy but integrity was clearly a must

Poor Ms Clarke found her freedom somewhat restricted
As of fraud our hero was duly convicted
The law was thus applied in appropriate measure
Detained for some years at Her Majesty’s pleasure

Ken Fisher

What gain have the workers from their toil?

What gain have the workers from their toil?

What gain have the workers from their toil?
I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race
[Ecclesiastes Ch 3 v 9 & 10 Bible NIV]

Perhaps the life of faith and trust
Is for most of us simply too much
Submission to God’s sovereignty
Great strictures denying  humanity

Sufficient that we do our best
Without accepting His request
To live life by our God obsessed
Each moment by the Lord possessed

Those who labour in God’s garden
Shouldering a mighty burden
Toiling  for some heavenly gain
What earthly joy for all their pain?

And yet a life of dedication
Can provide true compensation
Extending love to one another
God’s face discovered in our brother

Ken Fisher

Purpose and Profit

Purpose and Profit

 

Traditionally it has been the view that profit
Should be the only aim of a business enterprise
Of course in the interest of shareholders
And fund managers, a surplus is surely wise

Others would claim that firms should have a purpose
That stretches beyond mere shareholder satisfaction
Wider stakeholders must be in contemplation
Else against raw capitalism there will be a reaction

Industry should take account of many disparate factors
And maximizing returns cannot be their only intent
The welfare of employees and the public at large
How will the products affect the environment?

Technological advance has wrought many changes
New gizmos developed never heard of before
Novel methods of dealing with complex situations
Ingenious methods of selling new products galore

When basic needs are met and standards are rising
The citizens pursue greater aspirations
Their eyes are cast on a wider horizon
Other goals now arise to become their new passion

Many factors determine strategic objectives
Political turmoil, economics, even advanced automation
So how to achieve profit amidst such a maelstrom
What is the purpose?  What consummation

Is this the dilemma for entrepreneurship?
The purpose that all this effort achieves
To survive and prosper amidst constant change
An outcome in which all might justly believe

Ken Fisher

Proximity Without Community

Proximity Without Community

Could it be that surrounded as we are
By thousands of our fellow human beings
Yet our heart cries out for companionship?
We have proximity but lack community

While sitting on a crowded tube train
Hundreds of heads clamped by earphones
Fingers tapping on smart phone screens
Perhaps community is in the ether?

Even while jostled in the rising lift
Our personal space acutely threatened
Proximity enforced upon us
A community manifestly silent

In the age of individualism, solo performance
highly valued, the allure of the selfie over all
Of course nominally we admire ‘team spirit’
But community consists of elite teams

In the pursuit of comfort and privacy
More than ever live as single occupants
So we become a community of persons
Living in proximity but in a soul-less community

In work we may be surrounded by others
But our freedom is regulated, our productivity calibrated
Together we are enslaved in the joint endeavour
But that common bond is very tenuous

And so we bob along like corks floating in a tank
Proximity demands that we impinge on each other
But in no way are we united in community
Perpetual drifting along together in independent flow

Ken Fisher

A New Version of Yourself

A New Version of Yourself

Perhaps what we need to do is something really radical
Reject past history, forget all that’s done and dusted
Boldly initiate change, don’t say that it’s impractical
With firm resolve our life can surely be adjusted

Why the need for planning such a revolution
With our daily lot are we really discontent?
What is the problem seeking a solution
Urging us to consider the need to re-invent

The style gurus and life coaches have written their prescription
The old self has got to go, its habits and obsessions
A need for a new version of yourself is their firm conviction
A rebirth, a new start,  new image, absolutely no concessions

Thus if we really want to follow that advice so ‘wise’
A complete make-over of all we are, appears to be imperative
Like that ugly ducking or caterpillar we then will metamorphasise
But can we ensure contentment after all this change restorative?

Ken Fisher

Silent Sentinels

Silent Sentinels

 

Silent sentinels strewn across a barren moor
Giant windmills, blades turned towards the flow
Of air which thus provides the driving force
Breath converted into mechanical energy

Human intervention made redundant
In this inanimate workshop in the hills
Unattended machinery, autonomous devices
Whispering their subservience to mankind

Some protest against the presence of these sails
Scarring the skyline by their whitewashed towers
Others claim they are the enemy of birds in flight
Their mighty flails threshing them to early death

Advocates of green energy laud their contribution
To saving the life of our fragile threatened sphere
Renewable resources much more environmentally friendly
Sustainability is the watchword of these zealots

And as arguments rage and debate seethes below
These tall structures quietly spin their magic spell
As long as they have breath their duty to perform
We can live and work and play as they gyrate

Ken Fisher

 

Plan B

Plan B

Sometimes it is wise to prepare a Plan B
If plan A should fail I am sure you’ll agree
Common sense demands we give consideration
If what we intended might end in frustration

In commerce and trade Plan B is worthwhile
If bold risk-taking is not the appropriate style
Caution is needed if firms want to stay liquid
Ensuring their losses are tightly restricted

It is all very well to boldly go forth
Believing Plan A has infinite worth
But when in time expectations flounder
Having no Plan B is surely a blunder

In politics too Plan B is essential
Although MPs believe in the life providential
Declaring success whatever arises
Denying changed plans cause them surprises

And so in life when things diverge from our plan
An alternative course we should take if we can
Plan A,  no doubt in its day a sensible course
But if needed, use plan B, and have no remorse

Ken Fisher