Tag Archives: miscellaneous

FIFTY-TWO

Today is my birthday and I turn fifty-two.

So what does that mean, for me or for you?

There’s not much about age that the math can provide,

Save the count of our years and its sting on our pride.

 

Here’s a little math trick on which you can chew,

‘Bout the momentous occasion of turning fifty-two.

The math is sound, and it is also quite true,

That at some point in time this math will apply to you.

 

Today is my birthday, and I turn fifty-two,

So what does that mean for me or for you?

Not much save that regardless of who you might be or what you may do,

The math at this point probably yields that I’m the older of the two.

 

In everyone’s life we arrive at a place,

Where we can no longer prevent wrinkles on our face.

We can no longer assume that with everyone we meet,

We are always the pup, the youngster on the street.

 

52 is the point where the odds shift the norm.

And they accomplish this with such curious form.

If we pay attention and listened while still being weaned,

At this point we’d savor the knowledge we’ve gleaned.

 

And if we’ve become wise and learned how to love,

We can share what we’ve learned and what comes forth thereof.

 

My twenties ran by, or rather they flew.

My thirties fit me like a comfortable shoe.

My forties made me ask if I’d learned what I thought I knew,

So, I leave you with this: good advice – served up in a tasty word brew:

 

Today is my birthday and I turned fifty-two.

So what does that mean for me or for you?

I choose to share what I’ve learned and hope that it’s true,

That you’ll do the same, when it’s your turn to be the older of the two.

 

We are all we have.

 

We can do better.

 

ctwfrank

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Political Wordplay

The systematic destruction of language and linguistics, particularly of the English language continues to progress and has recently made an appearance in the political arena.  Recently the political issues regarding gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gender (also known as GLBT) rights, in particular the legality of same-sex marriage, have taken center-stage in the political news arena in the U.S.A. after a landmark decision by the Supreme Court.

In many of the seemingly endless and redundant articles and posts on the matter of the Supreme Court’s decision and the same-sex marriage controversy, the word homophobe has been used regularly, in fact, in terms of linguistics; it’s a wonder why homophobe hasn’t been officially categorized as a neologism yet.  It’s been used as to describe a person who dislikes, hates or is otherwise biased towards the GLBT community in general and any individual member of that community in particular for a long time.

Let’s look at the term HOMOPHOBIA.  It is made up of two root morphemes:  homo-, in this case used as a common vulgar prefix referring to a homosexual (which is such a vulgar word) and the suffix –phobia which means -an extreme abnormal fear of or aversion.  If we were to apply the rules of language to this combination, the term should mean someone who is afraid of homosexuals instead of a categorical title used to identify people who dislike, disagree or are biased towards the GLBT community.  I guess nobody reads the dictionary anymore.

One more thing:  Technically, a homophobe is a person who is afraid of anyone who is gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or trans-gender. To be scared of someone who is GLBT; isn’t that kind of totally gay?

Human beings are a trip.  When will we learn that we are all we have and that we are a planet of humans and not a world made up of different kinds of people.

We can do better.

ctwfrank

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As to 2013

During these first 5 days of 2013; I have been asked a single question more than any other, so much so, that I’m posting both the question and my response.

The Question:   “Frank, so what’s your take on 2013 so far?”

The Response: “So far, 2013 has been like backing out of your driveway, with the parking brake on the whole way, and a boot on two of the four tires.”

I have yet to see an indication that 2013 has any intention of starting yet- in any way save that which increases fear, suspense, speculation and the total paralysis of commerce at most levels, despite what one may read or hear from “the news”.

It’s still a question mark as to what this means, it’s up to us.  If we take it as a strong signal of a catastrophic ending, then it shall be so, but if we take the total lack of structure affecting everyone, everywhere; it is also an opportunity to re-write the whole book; you know, the one that needs to be re-written desperately.   It’s up to us: all of us, not some of us.

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A REALITY SO HARSH IT IS CRUEL (IN VERSE)

2012 has been all about change, of that there’s no doubt,

But what are these changes really about?

A good place to start is with how everything works;

And the fact that nothing does, impales like a dirk.

Inaction and fear are the dominant forces,

That invade our hearts and the blood that it courses.

But the most impacting thing that I’ve seen – now or ever

Is so huge that nothing compares; whatsoever.

The fact is, and many of you may have already reckoned.

That it hasn’t felt like Christmas, not for even one second.

Look into your heart, and you know this is true,

So the question remains:  what are we doing to do?

Whatever we do, we should not act as a bettor,

We must simply remember that we can do better.

 ……in 2013.

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As to giving up

It appears that someone else has give “it” a name and assigned it a date.  It is being called the “Fiscal Cliff” and apparently we are supposed to topple over it on January 1, 2013.  Interesting.  At least this gives some indication that there is a speck of sanity and an atom of awareness left in the human condition.  It’s not a fiscal cliff, however, if we were to apply that metaphor to the actual world, we went over that cliff in 2008.  After filtering out all of the “required modifications” to the language used, what is being called the “fiscal cliff” may very well be the bottom of the precipice that we have already fallen from (it is still incalculable to determine how far we will fall) and January 1, 2013 may be a probabilistic calculation as when we might hit that bottom.

It is simply insane that, at this stage of the process, all that we are capable of is to acknowledge the inevitable proximity of an unthinkable catastrophe and attempt to figure out when it will occur.   All that is missing is to take bets and give odds as to the actual date for it to technically be lunacy.

It is a shame; and to think that preventing it from even occurring is so simple.  All that we have to do is to realize that there is no spoon, because there isn’t.

I can’t let myself  forget, even for an instant, that giving up is simply not allowed.

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What do we really want?- redux

This was one of my very first posts.  It seems so long ago.  It’s also more relevant today than it was then.  It seems like the right time to re-read this math.

It is about time that we finally face this question, isn’t it?   Shit and fan have already collided and the only unknown at this point is whether or not the splatter which covers everything will leave even the tiniest space to squeeze through or to make camp in.   The few who try to speak about the issue are exactly that: too few and perhaps they have lost faith in the rest of us to do anything at all, even though they can clearly see what is happening and they are trying to do the right thing by following the natural, human instinct to DO something .

Our generation stands of the brink of the next, the biggest and very possibly the most important change in the human condition, ever.  This is the first time in our collective history where all of us know where all of us are and how to communicate with any one of us.  In spite of the bitter taste in our mouths which is the by-product of what we have done to ourselves, we are also waking up to something totally new and it is good and sweet.  We all carry with us this new sense of us – the real us: all 6.8 billion of us give or take, not the very old and tired version of “us” based on political boundaries.  If a sentence, an idea or even thinking includes an “us’ and a “them”, then that isn’t the real “us” because there is no “them”.  We are all we have and we have such an incredible opportunity to restructure what we do and what we think we know into something that works, if we really want to.  It is incomprehensible to look out upon our world and see almost everyone doing NOTHING about the only thing that really matters; the tiny speck of time that we are here, alive and human.  The machinery that runs the day-to-day life of humanity fell apart completely and yet we don’t even ponder the significance of the moment.  We simply watch everything that we think we know crumble around us and do what?  Wait to see what happens?  Hope that someone will figure out a way to fix the world that we created and which shatters our very humanity but which we refuse to let go of?  There are enormous pockets of people everywhere who are angry, or terrified, or depressed or just plain lost, and not a one of us can spark a conversation which contemplates something different?  Is it because what we are angry about is that “I never got my turn to enjoy money and success?” Is the thought that we might actually become inspired to do something new which would do away with money as we know it what terrifies us? Could it be that what we are depressed about is the harsh reality that nothing we’ve ever come up with to run our world has ever worked and even though we know better we can’t help but to covet money, because it’s all we know?  Finally, are we lost because we don’t know how to let go of our addiction to the concept of money and wealth and what it allows for us to do:  purchase other people’s envy and impose our will on those around us.  Is that it?  It this the best we got? Are we going to let everything that we are and have been and might possibly be, simply fade away into nothingness?  Have we become that weak and lazy and complacent and full of ourselves and so idiotic?  Have we become a world of pussies? If that’s what we want, that’s what we’ll get, unless we choose something different.

I think that we can do better and I REALLY WANT for us to have that chance. That’s a start.

So what do you really want?

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It’s all in the details…

Ever since there have been banks, one of their principal bookkeeping functions has always been  the daily reconciliation of every customer’s  account(s) and the posting of credits (on the right hand column) and debits (on the left hand column).  From the very first day that the first modern-day bank opened, the daily reconciliation has always been performed in the same exact way, probably because it simply made sense; nonetheless, every bank in every country has always posted the credits to every account first and then the debits.   There is no citable reference found up until now that establishes the order in which the functions of the daily reconciliation are performed, it has simply been that way always.  What this translates into visually can be described as follows:

Mr. H has a checking account at a bank.  On the morning of August 5, 2012 (for example) Mr. H had a balance of $50.00 to his favor in the checking account.  During the banking day of August 5, 2012, two transactions took place:  1) Mr. H deposited $2,000.00 in cash into the checking account.  2) A check, payable to City Gas Co. for $62.00 written by Mr. H and drawn on the bank was received for payment.  At the end of the banking day, when the accounts are reconciled, this is what has always happened:

  1. The $2,000.00 cash deposit is posted as a credit to the account, leaving a running balance of $2,050.00.
  2. The check for $62.00 is posted as a debit, leaving a running balance of $1,988.00.
  3. After posting all transactions, the account’s final ledger balance is updated to $1,988.00.  This is the balance that will be reflected for the account the next morning.

Simple, isn’t it?  After some pondering on the topic, I arrived at the opinion that credits were posted first as a courtesy to the customer, probably because courtesy still existed back then, but that is just my opinion.  If there is a law, a policy or regulation mandating this particular order of events, then it’s been very well hidden for whatever the reason, the point being that the posting of credits before debits is a matter of rote rather than a matter of statute.  It is also a pretty decent custom and a courtesy, which is probably why it’s never been an issue. Well, all that is about to change.

It appears that for some reason and at some unknown point in time, more than likely in the last 3-4 weeks, the banking system modified a custom.  Customs, require no authorizations, approvals or other mechanisms in order to be modified, they just are.  It can be accomplished by a simple inter-departmental memo or even by a verbal instruction; what’s the big deal?  It’s only a custom that’s being modified; it’s not like a major, official change or anything.   The custom that was modified is the very one exemplified in the opening paragraph; banks, at least two of them, are now posting debits before credits to the accounts held by their customers.   There was no announcement made, no newspaper articles or television reports, nothing on any of the news pages on the web; why should there be?  Legally, this was no different then moving the water cooler a little to the left in the lobby.

Let’s re-visit the banking day of August 5, 2012 and Mr. H’s checking account, only this time, the daily reconciliation will be run with the new modified custom.  It goes something like this:

  1. The reconciliation opens with a ledger balance of $50.00.
  2. An incoming check for $62.00 is posted as a debit, overdrawing the account.
  3. The check is returned to the bank that presented it for payment, with a notification that the account had insufficient funds or what is commonly referred to as ‘the check bounced’.  This leaves a running balance of $50.00
  4. The bank posts a $35.00 debit as a ‘returned item fee’ leaving a running balance of $15.00.
  5. The bank posts a $5.00 debit as a ‘misc. penalty’ based on the bank’s policy of charging a $5.00 penalty if any checking account’s balance drops below $20.00.  This leaves a running balance of $10.00.
  6. The $2,000.00 cash deposit made on that day is posted as a credit, leaving a running balance of $2,010.00.

-STOP- If anyone just thought: “Hey, he didn’t make out so bad; he ended up with more money than the other way.” Go back and do the math again, please.  Let’s continue because this doesn’t end here:

  1. The check that was returned had been deposited by City Gas Co in their general account.  It was sent to City Gas Co by Mr. H in payment of his monthly gas bill.  The Gas company’s bank will now charge the Gas Company a fee for a returned check that is anywhere between $10.00 and $50.00 depending on the bank.  The gas company is notified of the returned check and the fee.
  2. The Gas Company orders Mr. H’s gas service cut off and dispatches a crew to shut off his gas the next morning.
  3. The Gas Company puts the returned check fee that they were charged by their bank on Mr. H’s account.
  4. The Gas Company charges Mr. H a $50.00 returned check fee.
  5. The Gas Company charges Mr. H a $15.00 late fee for not having paid by the due date.
  6. The Gas Company charges Mr. H a $50.00 disconnection fee and notifies Mr. H that it will cost him another $50.00 to re-connect his gas.
  7. The Gas Company charges Mr. H a $15.00 ‘convenience fee’, because it can.
  8. The Gas Company will require Mr. H to put up a deposit of $500.00 as a guarantee of payment on account.
  9. Mr. H still owes the original $62.00 from his gas bill, and has no gas.  His house has all-gas appliances and heater, Mr. H lives in Gnome, Alaska.  It is mid-August, 2012 so Mr. H is lucky; today it was more than likely in the mid- to high ‘forties’.
  10. The Gas Company reports the incidents to the credit bureaus who in turn update Mr. H’s file and flag him.
  11. All of the banks that had issued Mr. H a credit card panic and close his account, regardless of the balance.
  12. One of the banks that had issued Mr. H a credit card not only closed his account in mid-cycle, when they wrote to him to inform him of their decision, they offered to accept settlement payment of $20.00 in lieu of the $80.00 balance on Mr. H’s credit card and the account would be considered settled.
  13. Mr. H’s three major credit card issuing banks, the two department stores that had issued him credit cards and the one gas station company that had issued him a credit card all turned over whatever balance (even $0.00) was left owing when they closed his accounts to their various collection agencies, even though Mr. H had never been late with a payment in his life.
  14. The collection agencies began a relentless telephone persecution of Mr. H; calling him at 7:00 a.m., yelling and screaming at him about being a lowlife and owing money.  They call his work, his father, his mother and pretty much everyone he knows, asking for him, or if anyone has seen him because he owes money.

It is very likely that this entire situation will continue, undisturbed and to a great degree, unnoticed.  It will take us, the general public, roughly two months to assimilate this new little detail, and by Christmastime, it will be simply another normal thing…normal.

Now, in the time when everyone knows that something has gone very wrong; half the world is desperately searching for a previously unidentified event in the recent past that can account for, be blamed for and ultimately be the foundation for the restoration of what was and the other half is bracing for something unspeakably horrible to happen, something that makes now feel like the warm up.  Nobody can predict the future, but there a very good probability that whatever caused the incomparably catastrophic collapse of human civilization’s infrastructure was neither a single event or one that hasn’t happened yet but instead a range of time where many little, tiny, insignificant changes in this mechanism or that system that were nothing more than details which benefitted only a few or even none at all at the expense of everyone, all achieved normalcy.

Personal Note:

Rarely do I personally interject in any math that I’m writing; this is one of those times.  Four days ago, someone that I’ve known for over ten years called me a “conspiracy theorist”, with a straight face – as if he were mentioning the color of the sky or anything else that might be considered ‘obvious’.   A conspiracy theorist?  I laughed for about 15 minutes, hard.  No one, ever in my whole life has called me that.  None of you; my subscribers, readers of the catalogue of calculations an those who follow my work (there are six digits worth) have ever even alluded to anything like that in all of the e-mails that I’ve received, which will require a long life to read them all.  I am about the farthest thing in the world from a conspiracy theorist; I’m a scientist, we don’t understand conspiracies, only facts.  Then I realized how this person could have come to such an outlandish conclusion; they found themselves having to compare (and therefore judge) the world and me, and from that perspective, I can almost understand, but I don’t.  That conclusion is an excuse to not think, to not see clearly, to simply be one more of what we are turning ourselves into:  pussies.  I’ll leave you with this for the moment:  first, the promise that I will answer the riddle of the conspiracy theories in my next post and finally; the image below.

What you are looking at is not a joke or a story, it is an actual button that was worn by the tellers of a particular bank chain between February and April, 2012 and then by the tellers of another bank chain between May and July, 2012.  I’m sure it’s out there somewhere right now.   It’s just a little detail; a promotion that is popular this year, from a certain point of view, it can even be considered ‘cute’ . . . NOT.

A little detail

A little detail.

It’s all in the details.

We can do better.

ctwfrank

 

 

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