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

Crystal Clear

Crystal Clear

 

Crystal clear is a term sometimes used by politicians
When they are justifying some proposition they have made
Claiming that there never was any doubt or confusion
About their intentions. In reality it was totally opaque

Crystal clear means completely transparent and unclouded
And so we are not sure if the politicians are implying
That we suffer from blindness or at least myopia
Or we lack the understanding to catch their vision of reality

Yet one wonders how this can be if crystal clear means
Unambiguous, easily understood, unequivocal?
Perhaps it is a different perception of clarity
Which is said to be the quality of being definite or certain

Mind you I don’t think politicians enjoy a monopoly
Of claiming clarity while promoting obfuscation
Perhaps also academic writers, social commentators
And critics of the arts, music, literature and dance

And of course don’t forget  the scientists who lambast us almost daily with
The latest ‘research findings’ intended to clarify our thinking
Many of these new pronouncements are anything but clear
To the laity. Confusion made worse by opposing findings soon to follow!

So what to do about the so-called Crystal Clear concept?

Simply we may be prepared to give the pundits a hearing
But we should not turn our living into a knee-jerk reaction
To each and every pronouncement thrust before us
The reality is that only a crystal is that clear – and even
They can sometimes be flawed with a range of defects

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

 

Moon Landing 50 Years Ago

Moon

[In celebration of 50 years since the Moon Landing in 1969]

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Moon
mysterious sphere
whose face remains inscrutable
your phases measuring each month
whose light a pale reflection of the sun
shines on us like a slowly turning beacon
on frosty nights your face is bright and clear
but cloud and rain obscure your steady glow
your gnarled face mottled like an ageing man
craters and dry seas form your rugged features
no wonder, your age near that of ancient parent
child formed by debris of your mother earth
but distance has not dimmed your power
to influence our life here on the earth
the tides from time immemorial
by gravity’s mighty force
mover of oceans
Moon

After 50 years I wonder when your visitors might return once more?

 

Ken Fisher

On-Line Angst

On-Line Angst

This week it is reported that most of us
check our smart phones within 10 minutes of waking
and thereafter about every 12 minutes

Indeed, one of the last things we do at night
is tweak our devices before attempting to slip into unconsciousness

It occurs to me that we have perhaps allowed ourselves to
fall into an unhealthy relationship the cyber world

I am calling this On-Line Angst

In days gone by the phone would ring
As tidings it was wont to bring
Messages from friends and colleagues
Inducing cheer or melancholy

Our phone line linked to the exchange
Communications thus arranged
Connected to the world outside
Poles and cables far and wide

But only sound was then conveyed
No images could be portrayed
Nonetheless the network served us well
Exclusive GPO clientele

But in due time came privatization
Welcome thrusting competition
As technical change then coincided
The former framework just exploded

Fibre optics were invented
Old assumptions thus fragmented
Suddenly ‘on-line’ world-wide
No sanctuary, no place to hide

Eventually our phones turned smart
Displaying menus a la carte
Voice and text and pictures too
My selfie winging straight to you

When once the phone lived just at home
Nowadays GPS tracks us as we roam
The office too transformed by change
As smart devices widely range

So now we find phones everywhere
Just like our clothes, our phone we wear
Its beeps, and throbs gives low vibrations
Indicative of our close relation

So throughout the day from morn till eve
The smart phone we refuse to leave
Constant companion, demanding friend
Like a romance we dare not end

Because if of our phone we are deprived
We see no way we could survive
On-line angst now dominates
Our contract we must n’er forsake

Ken Fisher

The Swiss Army Knife – Even More Useful

The Swiss Army Knife – Even More Useful

[This is a sequel to my previous poem – The Swiss Army Knife-
Published Jan 24, 2017]

The Swiss Army Knife is quite cutting edge
No limit to the uses to which it can stretch
This latest model has pen and shining flashlight
Features which surely will bring much delight

I crossed the boundaries of this innovative nation
Whose mechanical products deserve admiration
Their fame is well known for watches and clocks
But my joy is the penknives of Victorinox

Imagine my delight when I discovered a store
Whose shelves were laden with penknives galore
Some were enormous with unlimited functions
To deal with every problem or tricky malfunction

But my preference is for the smaller device
Not only because of its more reasonable price
So the one that I chose to add to my collection
A multi-tool, a pen, and a light, all which act with perfection

Ken Fisher

Cactus

Cactus

I don’t know what you think of these prickly plants
Their spines or spikes are seen at first glance
Their stems have chambers to help them conserve
The water they need, their life to preserve

Originally most cacti grew in dry habitats
Where all other plant life would simply collapse
And their thorny exterior would soon scare away
Any desert snake that might chance come their way

Cactus plants come in every shape and size
The number of species is quite a surprise
They don’t have conventional leaves as such
But some do have flowers, but you better not touch

Some cacti are tall, pointing up to the sky
Others quite low and shaped like a pie
Some are multi-coloured, some monochrome
Some, like a temple complete with a dome

There are tiny cactus plants ever so small
And others whose height is really quite tall
Some seem to have large internal tanks
Holding water like our saved money in banks

Anyway whatever you think of these succulents
Many  aficionados appraise their excellence
As decorations arranged in a classic display
Which can easily compete with a floral bouquet

Ken Fisher

Camera Complications

Camera Complications

I don’t know about you but I certainly find
The digital camera can blow your mind
There are so many features to complicate life
That taking a picture produces great strife

The problem is there is too much choice
Something in which we should really rejoice
But no longer can we simply point and snap
As the wrong settings might cause some mishap

You would think the modern camera knows it all
But that’s only if you follow the protocol
To set the aperture, the white balance and shutter speed
Then the correct focal length before you proceed

This is all very well if you have lots of time
But no doubt your subject will begin to whine
And the picture that you thought would bring them delight
Results in an image that gives them a fright

Mind you these marvels of science and technology
Have lenses that stretch the limits of ophthalmology
By offering in-built features to encompass all scenes
From panorama to close-ups magnified on our screens

No longer the ritual of developing and printing
While in dark rooms at our dim images squinting
All those old processes the DSLR can demystify
Transmitting fresh pictures direct by WiFi

But despite the marvels of these cunning devices
If you want to avoid a technological crisis
Why not revert to the snapper we used to think of as heaven?
That black bakelite body of the Brownie 127!

Ken Fisher

Atoms Who Think About Atoms

Atoms Who Think About Atoms

How do humans differ from all else there is?
A rather tricky question if presented in a quiz
For in so many ways this two-legged animal
Is to all created things really quite compatible

Apparently everything there is is made of tiny particles
Things like rocks and trees and every kind of article
Metals and gases, fluids, cloth and chocolate bars
Packed tight with minute atoms no matter what they are

Everything in the world that we can recognize
Things in the depth of oceans or high up in the skies
Are neatly ordered atoms that we call molecules
That interact together following set rules

So objects inanimate like plastic and also things that live
Are all comprised of atoms extremely dominutive
But despite their throbbing nucleus they do not seem to think
And you won’t find a bright idea in cold custard or in zink

If we are looking for atoms which are capable of thought
It has to be homo sapiens who has risen to the top
Embedded in their cranium pulsates their wondrous brain
Inside this organ we find the realm of thought’s domain

And what do these human creatures think on most of all?
They wrestle with life’s mysteries in issues great and small
An endless quest to understand what other atoms do
Standing on giants’ shoulders to discover something new

Ken Fisher

At Last the Sun

At Last the Sun

Can it be true?
Those shafts of radiated light
Beaming their way through the loft window
Renegade sun returns after long defection
Eyes blink in gratitude and wonder

Had we lost faith?
Surely winter would doff its cap
The gentle kiss felt on our cheek once more
Tiny shoots stretch ever upwards
Penetrating the slowly thawing soil

Do we have hope?
Our planet’s steady turning
The tilt of our northern hemisphere
Angling us to catch those solar rays
Brings longer hours of light and warmth

Why do we fear?
This magical dance twixt sun and earth
Might cease its endless paired gyration
Not in billions of years has the globe ceased spinning
Nor halted our planet’s orbital progression
Thus the succession of each season in its time

Ken Fisher

 

SKIN

SKIN

That delicate membrane between ourself and the world
This outer coating formed in our Mother’s womb
Smooth when a baby, in old age quite gnarled
Its has to serve us well from cradle to tomb

Skin is the subject of much speculation
Its colour from others can rarely be hidden
A primary indicator of our race or nation
So often prompting some pointless division

And yet under our skin we are all kith and kin
Our bones, muscles, organs, those obscure glands
Our blood vessels, tendons, and all else within
The same brain controlling our limbs and hands

Perhaps our most visible skin is the face we display
Here the world notices our outward expression
It’s what others encounter of us each new day
Registering moods ranging from joy to depression

Of course the skin sometimes has the power to excite
Especially when we decide to give greater exposure
On a shimmering beach or by soft candle light
Between consenting adults who lose their composure!

Adults are often concerned about their complexion
And spend collective millions to enhance their appearance
Others resort to surgery or weird cosmetic injections
For major reconstruction or minor ‘slum clearance’

Of course we all must remain sensibly vigilant
On the well-known dangers of the sun’s pervasive rays
Avoiding the temptation of the tanning lamp
Being unashamed of pale skin on our holidays

An aspect of skin treatment is the modern tattoo
Of which many men and even women seem proud
Words of endearment and designs like voodoo
A personal statement shouted out loud

Of course the cosmetic industry relies on our vanity
A business which seeks to enhance the world’s face
Some even claim it promotes health and sanity
Perhaps the skin we might all wish to embrace

Ken Fisher

 

 

 

Algorithm

Algorithm

 

An algorithm is a concept of which we should take heed
A kind of diagram which shows us how to proceed
To solve a problem by breaking it down to small steps
Making decisions unambiguous is the main object

Primarily used to solve conundrums mathematical
It can be employed to cope with tasks quite practical
By considering the flow of information in a process
And the choices at each stage throughout its progress

Algorithms are the heart of most computer programs
Compiled as binary choices shown as in a diagram
A question is asked for which the answer is yes or no
And the response determines just how to go

Algorithms can be defined as a set of rules
Within a sequence of operations they form the tools
Whereby a computer can make ‘decisions’
According to a defined set of conditions

Thus by the use of algorithms joined together
Decisions are made on ‘greater or lesser’
Or the scale of a value or magnitude
And the measures such as latitude

The whole approach assumes that there is nothing
That cannot be defined as zero or one thing
Thus the binary system employed in its glory
The very heart of every algorithmic story

All these processes are performed at the speed of light
On huge chunks of data held by the megabyte
And computers do their work with such composure
The inner workings never revealed to external exposure

There is no doubt that the algorithm deserves our praise
As the performance of machines it continues to raise
But prophets of doom fear for our future employment
As robots will doubtless enforce our replacement

Because algorithms bring artificial intelligence
Clever machines designed with great elegance
To take over from humans the work that we do
An advance that in time we may well  rue

We can only hope that the mighty algorithm
Will nonetheless improve the human condition
And perhaps at some glorious future date
From drudgery it might all of us liberate

Ken Fisher