A Valentine For Your Pet

A Valentine for your Pet

 

This is the day to send your good wishes
Accompanied by lots of passionate kisses
Lovers worldwide awaiting the post
For that one letter they hope for the most

That’s all very well for humans to fret
But let’s not forget the love-struck pet
Your moggy might be awaiting a card
And to be left out would be quite hard

So to ensure their pets don’t feel deprived
To include their doggy they have contrived
To send a valentine to that beloved pet
In case their devotion we are inclined to forget

You may think it’s mad to act in this way
But even for pets it’s a significant day
So don’t leave them out of your celebration
They want to be sure of your adoration!

Ken Fisher

S W O T

S W O T

 

No doubt you will have heard of this type of analysis
Intended to ensure no business is caught in paralysis
Strengths and Weaknesses we need to assess
Opportunities and Threats we have to address

But all this sounds like turgid ‘management speak’
Pointless obscure words concealed in mystique
To what does it amount? I hear you ask
Why waste any effort on this pointless task?

Well let’s leave the business world to its own devices
Might the SWOT analysis be for each of us decisive
Measuring our own strengths by a little introspection
Confessing our weaknesses in earnest reflection

Strengths come in a variety of guises
To realise this might provide surprises
Dormant skills and knowledge can be drawn into service
To compensate for weaknesses doing us disservice

Opportunities are the things that help us to advance
Sometimes we discover them as if by chance
But we need not just rely on luck to bring us progress
Exploiting new ideas often the hallmark of success

Finally there are threats – these can scupper our endeavour
But to negative thoughts or consternation we should not surrender
Each danger should be faced in the cool light of day
Problems thoughtfully overcome, we advance on our way

Ken Fisher

Existential Threat

Existential Threat

It is the season of year when thoughts become reflection
The darkness of the days shrouding our hearts in gloom
Musing over life’s purposes in maudlin introspection
A frame of mind where good cheer finds little room

At this time pundits give their prognostications
Experts on the media offer up predictions
What challenges and threats will face the nations
But what is fact and what mere speculation?

This New Year the future may seem bleak indeed
Ominous forecasts of the effects of climate change
Our confidence and hope now rapidly recedes
A dark and fear-filled abyss offered in exchange

Melting ice, rising tides, infernos fiercely blazing
Islands swamped, tornados wreak destruction
Forest fires whole communities thus razing
Advancing flames defeating all obstructions

And other threats to settled life, even our existence
Skulk on the landscape whose horizon we now scan
Consciousness filled with angst at their staunch persistence
Against the life of every woman and of man

From whence comes these other threats existential?
We thought the Cold War had become past history
But nuclear war by accident or design is once more potential
Led by zealots or by fools, determined to seek victory

Cyber crime has suddenly become a feature of our life
In times past straightforward fraud was for us sufficient
But nowadays not just theft but social media strife
Executed by perpetrators highly efficient

Centuries ago Rev Thomas Malthus warned of expanding population
He claimed that too many people would lead only to starvation
In modern times, family sizes fell in industrial nations
But elsewhere in our world today we see no limit on creation

And rightfully, many people aspire to improve the quality of living
So they seek refuge in other lands to find a better way
In this endeavour they face dangers unforgiving
The desire of their heart may never see the light of day

All this presents an outlook that offers little cheer
Is there no nostrum that might this angst assuage?
Must our hearts be filled with anxiety and fear
What remedy or cure might our minds persuade?

I think the best thought I can offer is that we must not despair
Trust in the human spirit that goodness might prevail
That collectively for each-other we might truly care
As on these global problems together we assail

Ken Fisher

Black Friday 2019

Black Friday 2019

Black Friday is about to dawn
Indeed it seems never to have gone
This mad scramble for bargains
Provokes wrestling matches in shopping malls
And melt-down on computer networks
As search engines and eager bargain-hunters
Hit the town centres and the web browsers

I wonder if this whole exercise has some cathartic purpose?
Pent-up emotions being released in some orgasmic frenzy
But who stirred up the desire in the first place?
Did we harbour some deep repressed longing to buy, buy, buy
Or was it the wiles and blandishments of the advertisers
On behalf of the retailers in their constant quest for profit
Who ensured that we would not remain lethargic

Well whoever is to blame, ourselves or the market place
We are assured that Friday will produce record-breaking turnover
Shops may be crammed with customers
And the on-line trade will ensure the white-van army
Of delivery agents will shift the goods from anonymous
Warehouses up and down the land, to your door and mine
And we will react in Pavlovian style at the ring on our door bell!

And this year when traditional retailers seem under threat
Perhaps this annual rugby scrum of hungry consumers
Will bring comfort to those who our high streets would save
Remind the great shopping public that the internet offers no
Tactile experience as they wrest coveted goods from fellow buyers
Let’s hope it might renew interest in the whole shopping experience
Heralding a rebirth as we celebrate traditional Nativity

And with a General Election looming only days away
Perhaps we will embrace the schadenfreude of Black Friday
As a distraction from thoughts of frustration and foreboding
When we contemplate the battle at the polls
Where the chances of one victorious party seem obscure
But hey-ho life goes on, and so must we!

 

 

Happy Christmas
Happy shopping!

Ken Fisher

The Charms of Apple OS 10 Catalina

Unknown

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

search-7

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