The Ballad of Two Shoplifters, or Crime Doesn’t Pay But the Hours are Good.


The wind chill, it was bitter; the snow had drifted down,

When the Bad Girls drove in to the prosp’rous little town.

They ate a meal at Denny’s, and paid the check with cash;

Then at Kohl’s Department Store they collected their first stash.


Oh, they were very clever; these daring racketeers;

They boosted dresses left and right, and swiped five chandeliers.

Their vehicle was parked away from prying spying eyes.

They had no trouble packing up their predatory prize.


Next they struck a Walmart, and stole fine jewelry;

The clerks were careless, on a break, or some tomfoolery.

Their luck held with Cabela’s; they looted it in style,

Secluding tons of spinner baits as they walked down the aisle.


At Target it was cell phones; at Lowe’s a sack of nails.

At Barnes & Noble they made off with books about Versailles.

Their crime spree wasn’t over; they couldn’t stop themselves –

They had to visit Walgreens and swipe Bag Balm off the shelves.


Their car was near to bursting, but one more heist they gaily planned;

They’d sneak into Schmitt’s Music to kidnap a baby grand.

Although it was fantastic, they did turn the trick by golly –

And even got a salesman to transport it with a dolly!


Their wiles were subjugating the whole retail industry;

Was there no way to prevent their sad skullduggery?

The big box stores laid traps amain, but it was all in vain;

These female kleptomaniacs had good fortune as their swain.


But at last the fates decreed these women bandits must

Be thrown down from their pedestal and eat a peck of dust.

(For ev’ry epic ballad must detail the rise AND fall

Of the bad and prideful, of the tyrant or gun moll.)


And so it came to pass that our two scofflaws one day went

Into a nearby dollar store to buy some Pepsodent.

But force of habit made them hide two tins of plain sardines

In the pockets of their stolen, stone-washed Levi jeans.


Alarums sounded ev’rywhere and cops showed up in haste.

They put the two offenders in a dim cell, cold and chaste.

They’re locked up until sunshine comes in many hues of green,

Until the big box stores decay . . . and Congress grows serene.

Rich or Poor; it’s hard to tell anymore. Poem.

Dives and Lazarus.
Dives and Lazarus.

Who is rich and who is poor is hard to figure out.

Do cell phones and a laptop mean you have financial clout?

And if you eat out once a week at KFC or Wendy’s

Are you still a pauper or belong to the effendis?


Walmart clothes the beggar and the tycoon both in style;

You can’t tell a tailored suit from bargains on the aisle.

Bristles on the chin or tattered jeans don’t make a bum;

In the Dale of Silicon such persons sip on Mumm.


It isn’t what you HAVE that makes you rich or makes you poor.

A couple bucks, and you’re a king down at the dollar store.

But should you need a doctor for a certain diagnosis,

You’d better have the wealth of Carnegie or that of Croesus.



You may work out at the gym and look like svelte Jane Fonda,

While you’re living in the backseat of your rusted Honda.

Or if you plan on college without loans that are defaultin’,

I hope to god you do not work for Mr. Samuel Walton.


Ready of Not, Here Comes Online Voting!



Those of you old enough to remember a time before ATM machines and debit cards may recall how the media dithered over the prospect of “taking money out of machines” and “never having to carry cash again!”  Some talking heads said it would never work out, and others said get ready for the Future, cuz it’s coming.  Then eBay happened.  We are shopping and paying our bills more and more online, and greenbacks and coins are nearly becoming collector’s items.  The Internet can only expand in our lives – it can never shrink.  Just think about Bitcoin a moment . . .

So it’s time to address the issue of online voting in elections.  The country of Estonia has had online voting since 2007, with few problems.  Of course, a country where every noun is spelled without consonants is probably not the best role model for the United States.  Estonia is also pretty small and homogenous.  Still . . .

If they can do it, why can’t we?  The pundits say that it would open the doors to massive election fraud.  Really?  You mean we haven’t ALREADY had massive election fraud in the last 20 years?  Over 90% of the nation’s polling, with such respected companies as Gallup, is now done online – not in person or over the phone or by mail.  It seems to work okay; Gallup is still in business.  As are Walmart and Amazon and numerous other enterprises that are conducting business online.  Yes, there have been some major glitches and leaks, and yes, black hats could certainly screw up the election results if they set their minds to it right now.

But at some point, and we’re guessing it will be in the next ten to twenty years, security on the Internet will fully mature, despite Chinese-sponsored interference.  It will then be relatively safe to beam your grandmother via the Internet from Duluth, Minnesota, to Homasassa Springs, Florida, instead of flying her in a plane (if the Star Trek technology advances as much as we hope it will!)

In ten more years America should be fully integrated into the Internet, with free wifi almost everywhere and pc prices down to less than fifty dollars.  Even the homeless will have tablets with them in their cardboard boxes.

We contend that this is the future and it’s no use fighting it.  Let’s prepare for online voting by becoming better citizens ourselves and teaching our children the responsibilities of a vibrant democracy and the possibilities of online voting.

Let us put it to you this way . . . if there had been online voting in 1993, with every single citizen over the age of 18 able to vote with the click of a mouse, do you seriously think Bill Clinton could have gotten into the White House?