Monday, February 27, 2012


This is the forest primevil. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, bearded with moss and in garments of green, indistinct in the twilight, stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic, stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.--


Friday, February 17, 2012


I really can't deal with liars.

Funny word in the English language, lie. I am referring to un-truths.
Lye is a caustic agent, burning skin on contact. Modern English slang ties lye with untruth: "Burn!"

Lie is also a description of an action of placing oneself prone upon a surface. Being told a blatant untruth has the effect of making oneself want to collapse into a prone position.

Almost every tells untruths.

Lies are told for different reasons.

To cover one's own ass.

To cover someone else's ass.

To achieve a means to an end.

The former type of lie, covering one's ass, is quickly learned in childhood. When faced with the threat, "I am going to beat you until you are red, white and blue"., one quickly learns to cover one's ass both physically and metaphorically.

The second type of lie, covering for someone else, seems the most noble, but has hidden egostical motivation. For example, your new co-worker, whom you like, has just accidentally broken some favored object belonging to your employer. You make up some story to take the blame, knowing that your employer can be somewhat volatile and not wanting to train a new co-worker.

However, your employer is paying the cost of the business and is entitled to have all information at their disposal in order to make informed decisions. You are presuming to know better than someone else.

This links the second type of lie to the third and most detestable type of lie, for manipulation. This type of lie is premeditated to achieve one's one ends at the expense of others.

Thus truth is critical to the proper functioning of society. Everyone has an inherent right to be properly informed so that they can make the best decision based on the facts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey, on revisiting the banks of the Wye during a tour. July 13, 1798

FIVE years have past; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.--Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view 10
These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see
These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms
, Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!
With some uncertain notice, as might seem
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods, 20
Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire
The Hermit sits alone.
These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration:--feelings too 30
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world, 40
Is lightened:--that serene and blessed mood
, In which the affections gently lead us on,--
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
If this
Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft-- 50
In darkness and amid the many shapes
Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart--
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee!
And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity, 60
The picture of the mind revives again:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
I came among these hills; when like a roe
I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led: more like a man 70
Flying from something that he dreads, than one
Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
And their glad animal movements all gone by)
To me was all in all.--I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love, 80
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, nor any interest
Unborrowed from the eye.--That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur, other gifts
Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompence. For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes 90
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels 100
All thinking things, all objects of all thought
, And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear,--both what they half create
, And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul 110
Of all my moral being.
Nor perchance,
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once, 120
My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all 130
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms, 140
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance--
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence--wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream 150
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service: rather say
With warmer love--oh! with far deeper zeal
Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!

1798. William Wordsworth

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Visa Debit fiasco

How many of us have debit cards we rely on? Not credit cards, where we are borrowing money, but debit cards that are linked to our personal accounts and deduct money, real money that we have earned and deposited into our trusted financial institutions?

Even as I type that I find the words "trust" and "financial institutions" used in the same sentence to be silly. Stupid, ignorant, and estupido grande.

Let me share my nightmare.

This is a true living breathing nightmare, not one imagined in the dark while in REM sleep.

I have had a Visa debit card for a few years. I never use it online. I use it in my little local circle of grocery stores and gas stations, and yes, I will admit, the Walmart. I also use it at the Redbox, a place to rent DVD's- usually found at the aforementioned grocery stores.

I found that swiping my card and pushing a few buttons was much preferred over tediously writing out a check. Redbox doesn't take checks, so there the card was indispensable.

The very beginning of December 2012 I broke my own rule and made an internet purchase on a "secure" site. The savings of purchasing the product online rather than locally was too great a temptation for this Scottish descendent. *winks*

The December bank statement showed that purchase and my regular local purchases.

The January statement was a different story.

There were two withdrawals totalling almost $200 that I had not made. I immediately called the bank.

The bank asked me a series on intricate questions to make sure I was me.
"Where did you open up your initial account?"
(that was tricky because I have had accounts with that bank off and on for 30 years)
"What were your most recent transactions?
"What is your social security number?
and then I found out that my account was wiped clean in the previous two days since the statement I had in my hand.

I had a balance of $16.

The bank immediately cancelled the card. Then the bank wanted me to call the various places where the charges had been made. I hit the roof with the bank, and agreed to at least try and call paypal (yes, someone linked my card to paypal even though I have no paypal account)

I called paypal in California. Over ten minutes on the phone repeatedly telling the people on the other line, "I have no paypal account!" "I don't have transaction records because I DID NOT MAKE THE TRANSACTION!" Another ten minutes of being put on hold that sounded like a connection in limbo land. I hung up and headed to the bank.

I had to drive a nearly 50 mile round trip to sign "disputes". Four of them. The woman "helping" me at the bank said that two of them could not be sent on to the head office until they cleared. WTH?

Apparently when an ATM transaction happens over a weekend, the bank grants a "pre-approval" and takes the money out of the account in question. But the payout bank has to submit a separate request for the money.

Translation: my bank docked my account for $400 and waited until the other bank requested the money to actually send the money. Where the money sits in the meantime, I am not sure, most likely in the bank's coffers collecting interest.

Although I was disputing the transaction, my bank was sending that money anyhow. The woman at the bank said she would send the dispute papers on to the main branch once the transaction cleared. I didn't have much confidence in her but rather than calling the bank everyday I figured she would do her job and left it alone.

I signed four dispute papers and left the bank with nothing in my hand but the bank statement I had arrived with. That felt very strange. Every other time I have ever had any dealing with the bank, I am given lots of papers that I have signed and some I have not signed. So I felt a little uncomfortable that I was leaving this on words and not hard copies of proof in my hand.

I was really mad that given our technological abilities, including those of google and every other website you visit having the ability to track your every move- likes, search queries, etc., that my Visa debit account had allowed ATM transactions in MALTA while I was merrily swiping it the same day at the local grocery store!!!

Nevermind the fact that it was the week before my birthday and the rats wiped my account clean.

Personal pit party aside, this is what happened next:

I receive a letter from cardholder services saying that "unusual activity had been detected on my account and my card had been cancelled."
I had personally alerted the bank and cancelled the card myself on a Monday. The letter from cardholder services was dated Sunday and postmarked Wednesday. Fishy business!!

Next I received a leetter from my bank saying that one of the charges was in error and they were giving me my money back on that charge. The second charge needed "further investigation", which they could take up to 45 days. In the meantime they were granting me "provisional credit" in that amount and would notify me when it was finalized or revoked.


Yes, the bank tried to tell me they gave me the money back, both of those disputes, when they really only gave me one back. Oh, the bank tried to say that provisional credit is never revoked but I don't want to be the first in that department.

What of the last two charges? I called the bank a week after signing the disputes and left a voicemail. Oh, yeah those two disputes.

The bank claimed that the other bank changed the amount of the charge so the woman watching for the transactions to come through missed it. So she never sent the other two dispute papers to the main office. The main office said they were "working on them now."

And low and behold those disputes came through "more investigation needed, provisional credit granted."

So what's up with Visa?
This fraud would be a loss for Visa, so why aren't they more proactive about stopping it? Maybe loss is a good thing when it comes to a big company writing off money to offset profits.

What's up with the bank? La-te-da, this happens all the time, we'll just give you provisional credit for 45 days.? How many times does it happen that the bank account holder misses one of these transactions? The only ones that can be claimed are the ones that are noticed, sounds like a lose-lose for the debit card holder.

The big questions:
Who is spending the money, and on what?
Why is it allowed to happen in the first place?
Where is the money in limbo land?
Who stands to profit from it?
Who are the big losers?

I can answer the last question. The big losers are the taxpayers. think about it.