Monday, April 25, 2005

From The Ethics Of Elfland

"WHEN the business man rebukes the idealism of his office-boy, it is commonly in some such speech as this: "Ah, yes, when one is young, one has these ideals in the abstract and these castles in the air; but in middle age they all break up like clouds, and one comes down to a belief in practical politics, to using the machinery one has and getting on with the world as it is." Thus, at least, venerable and philanthropic old men now in their honoured graves used to talk to me when I was a boy. But since then I have grown up and have discovered that these philanthropic old men were telling lies. What has really happened is exactly the opposite of what they said would happen. They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my old childlike faith in practical politics. I am still as much concerned as ever about the Battle of Armageddon; but I am not so much concerned about the General Election. As a babe I leapt up on my mother's knee at the mere mention of it. No; the vision is always solid and reliable. The vision is always a fact. It is the reality that is often a fraud. As much as I ever did, more than I ever did, I believe in Liberalism. But there was a rosy time of innocence when I believed in Liberals."

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Monday, April 18, 2005

Death and...

I was looking through the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia's website today, and I found this under 'Types Of Income Chargeable To Tax':

(i) Gains or profits from a business for whatever period of time carried on.

(ii) Gains or profits from an employment.

(iii) Dividends, Interests or Discounts.

(iv) Rents, Royalties or Premiums.

(v) Pensions, annuities or other periodical payments not falling under any of the foregoing paragraphs.

(vi) Gains or profits not falling under any of the foregoing paragraphs.

(vii) Special classes of income.

Upon reading vi and vii, I just had to wonder...

Why did they bother listing i, ii, iii, iv, and v at all?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
Harry McClintock

One evening as the sun went down
And the jungle fires were burning,
Down the track came a hobo hiking,
And he said, "Boys, I'm not turning
I'm headed for a land that's far away
Besides the crystal fountains
So come with me, we'll go and see
The Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
There's a land that's fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.
Where the boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
And the birds and the bees
And the cigarette trees
The lemonade springs
Where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
All the cops have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs
The farmers' trees are full of fruit
And the barns are full of hay
Oh I'm bound to go
Where there ain't no snow
Where the rain don't fall
The winds don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
You never change your socks
And the little streams of alcohol
Come trickling down the rocks
The brakemen have to tip their hats
And the railway bulls are blind
There's a lake of stew
And of whiskey too
You can paddle all around it
In a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
The jails are made of tin.
And you can walk right out again,
As soon as you are in.
There ain't no short-handled shovels,
No axes, saws nor picks,
I'm bound to stay
Where you sleep all day,
Where they hung the jerk
That invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.
I'll see you all this coming fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

Monday, April 11, 2005

It Can't Rain All The Time
Jane Siberry

We walk the narrow path
Beneath the smoking skies
Sometimes you can barely tell the difference
Between darkness and light
Do we have faith in what we believe?
The truest test is when we cannot see

I hear pounding feet in the streets below
And the women crying and the children know
That there's something wrong
It's hard to believe that love will prevail

It won't rain all the time
The sky won't fall forever
And though the night seems long
Your tears won't fall forever

When I'm lonely I lie awake at night
And I wish you were here, I miss you
Can you tell me
Is there something more to believe in?
Or is this all there is?

And the pounding feet in the streets below
And a window breaks and a woman falls
There's something wrong
It's hard to believe that love will prevail

It won't rain all the time...

Last night I had a dream
You came into my room
You took me into your arms
Whispering and kissing me
And telling me to still believe
(Within the emptiness of
The burning cities against which
We set our darkest of selves)
Until finally I felt safe and warm
I fell asleep in your arms
And when I awoke I cried again
For you were gone
Can you hear me?

It won't rain all the time...

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Thoughts While Driving Home

Was I clever enough?
Was I charming?
Did I make at least one good pun?
Was I disconcerting? Disarming?
Was I wise? Was I wan? Was I fun?
Did I answer that girl with white shoulders
Correctly, or should I have said
(Engagingly), "Kierkegaard smolders,
But Eliot's ashes are dead"?
And did I, while being a smarty,
Yet some wry reserve slyly keep,
So they murmured, when I'd left the party,
"He's deep. He's deep. He's deep"?

"Telephone Poles and Other Poems."
John Updike