Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Penny Saved Makes Good Cents

By Bill Kirk

“A penny for your thoughts”
Is what they used to say.
I think a thought’s
Now worth much more
Than what they used to pay.

“I’ll give you my two cents worth”
Is what they used to say.
Although two cents
Are more than one,
They’re not worth much today.

“Don’t take a wooden nickel”
Is what they used to say.
Were nickels made
Of plain old wood,
Way back in Grandpa’s day?

I guess that’s why my Grandpa,
Saves pennies all the time.
When he has ten,
He trades them in,
So he’ll have one “thin dime.”

A dime times ten’s a dollar,
And each day he adds more.
“If you will save,”
He said to me,
“One day you’ll have a score.”

Then Grandpa made a riddle.
“Imagine if you can,
A single cent,
When multiplied,
Will make a wealthy man.”

“For one month, put your pennies
Inside this treasure chest.
Then you can keep
A million bucks,
If I can have the rest.”

He said that if I doubled
My pennies every day.
Then after just
A single month
Is when he’ll gladly pay.

At first that deal seemed perfect
And something I should pick.
But, then again,
A riddle might
Be just a little trick?
I’d better use a table
To test his penny game—
So we will know
Our daily counts
Are multiplied the same.

1 = $.01
2 = $.02
3 = $.04
4 = $.08
5 = $.16
6 = $.32
7 = $.64
8 = $1.28
9 = $2.56
10 = $5.12
11 = $10.24
12 = $20.48
13 = $40.96
14 = $81.92
15 = $163.84
16 = $327.86
17 = $655.36
18 = $1,310.72
19 = $2,621.44
20 = $5,242.88
21 = $10,485.76
22 = $20,971.52
23 = $41,943.04
24 = $83,886.08
25 = $167,772.16
26 = $335,544.32
27 = $671,088.64
28 = $1,342,177.28
29 = $2,684,354.56
30 = $5,368,709.12

$5,368,709.12 - $1,000,000 = $4,368,709.12

I guess my million dollars
Is really quite a heap.
But look how much
In thirty days
My Grandpa gets to keep.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

From The “Burning Question” Department, What Is Tapioca Anyway?

Admit it. Some of you have been waiting, maybe even decades, for someone—anyone—to ask. I know. It’s almost embarrassing to be the first, like being the new kid in school when the teacher calls on you explain boogers.

Why me, you may be asking. Do we really want to talk about this publicly? I mean, doesn’t everyone know what tapioca is? After all, our moms have been feeding it to us since we were old enough to squeegee a little bolus of the stuff down our gullet. So, how could we not know? Well, as it turns out there’s an awful lot an awful lot of us may not know about tapioca—until now. So, sit back and relax. It might be a lumpy ride. You can thank me later for smoothing things out for you.

You might not have noticed it but there are all sorts of brand names now marketing tapioca products. The best known form is, of course, tapioca pudding—you know, the stuff that resembles vanilla pudding with little bumpy things that look a little like frog eggs minus the black dots. In fact, it’s the little lumps that give tapioca its distinctive character—at least in pudding. Otherwise, it would just be, well, pudding.

So, what is it that makes tapioca what it is? Let’s start with the obvious. And what better way to research the contents of tapioca than reading the ingredients on a product label. The main stuff seems fairly non-descript and plain, what with the non-fat milk, water and corn starch. Pretty much half our food supply has those ingredients. Adding a little coconut oil, cream and several complex chemical compounds still doesn’t make it distinctively different from any other thick, smooth, sweet, puddingy substance currently on the market.

But now for the big reveal. What makes tapioca tapioca is, believe it or not, tapioca. That is, tapioca is what it is, I suppose in the same way vanilla is vanilla. Most sources agree it comes from a starch-rich plant found in South America, Asia, India and several other places. It is most commonly known as cassava. And if you saw the young plants growing as you zip by on the highway, you might even think the leaves bear a uncanny resemblance to another well-known, although illegal plant—AKA weed.

Yes, strange but true. But I digress. With or without a clear description of its genetic make up, I’m convinced the miracle of tapioca is a discovery still waiting to happen—or more specifically, I have made the discovery. Drum roll, please. Tapioca combined one-to-one with none other than yogurt is pure ambrosia. That’s right. To all the pudding and yogurt peddlers out there, remember. You read it here first—call it “tapiogurt” or “yogioca” in all its fruit-on-the-bottom flavors. Either way, I’ve got dibs on the product concept and I’m ready to deal. In the meantime, pass the pudding.

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Heart Of Gold"

In honor of Mother's Day on Sunday, I'm getting a bit of a jump on things by posting this rhyme today, with best wishes to all you moms out there. Boys, it's about time to go shopping for a card or that certain something for your moms....

Heart of Gold
By Bill Kirk

"Dad, I need to do some shopping,
Now, before it gets too late.
Time’s a wastin’; let’s get hopping!
Hurry, Dad! I just can’t wait!"

Clipped the picture of the locket,
From the paper yesterday.
Better keep it in my pocket
For our shopping trip today.

Where’s that ten from Uncle Freddy,
I’ve been saving since last June?
"Got my money. Are you ready?
Let’s go, Dad! It’s almost noon!"

At the store, I knew I’d find it,
Next to lotions, soaps and stuff.
Those things smell, but I don’t mind it.
"Will ten dollars be enough?"

“Just enough,” the store clerk told us,
“For the gift you want to buy.”
In the bag, with what she sold us,
She put ribbons I could tie.

Back at home, I wrapped it neatly,
Taping every corner fold.
Inside, filled with love so sweetly,
Mom will find my heart of gold.