David Bouchier

David Bouchier’s weekly essays are full of unexpected observations and whimsical opinions. Listeners will relish his entertaining, enlightening, and sometimes exasperated commentaries on the routines that carry us through the year, the surreal rituals of politics, the unsettling experience of foreign travel, and the confusions and comedies of everyday suburban life.

This year we benefit (if that's the right word) from a three-day extension of the tax deadline, apparently to allow people in Washington, D. C. to celebrate Emancipation Day on the 15th, although I am not quite sure how they did this. But now the deadline has arrived, and there is no emancipation for ordinary tax payers. If you are very rich you can ship your fortune offshore, as revealed in the so-called Panama Papers, and forget about taxes for the rest of your life. But we must face up to the tax man and his Byzantine code of regulations every April without fail.

My parents never sent me to summer camp. They believed that families should go on vacation together, no matter how painful the experience was for all concerned. But a lot of things have changed since my childhood. In particular, Dr. Benjamin Spock dreamed up the idea that children should not be repressed by arbitrary discipline, and must be allowed to express themselves. Since then, the family vacation has declined, and the summer camp industry has boomed.

Consultancy is the ultimate universal job opportunity. Anyone can set up as a consultant on just about anything, apart from the great monopolies of medicine and law.  You can buy the skills of an ex-architect, or an ex-computer programmer, an ex-banker, or even an ex-executive for a tiny fraction of what they would cost if they had real jobs.

There has been flurry of interest in robotics and automation recently. This is one of those stories that comes and goes. People have been fascinated by automatons since the time of Leonardo da Vinci, and science fiction writers have been speculating about robots and artificial intelligence since the 1920s. But now reality has caught up with imagination, and these futuristic devices are no longer in the future. A lot of people have begun to wonder how we are going to live with robots, and how they will change our lives.

Yesterday marked the official arrival of spring, the Vernal Equinox, surely one of the most welcome calendar dates in the year. Weather has nothing to do with it. We have certainly not escaped from winter on March 21. On this date in 1967, New York had nearly ten inches of snow, and a blizzard dumped almost as much on us at the beginning of April in 1986 and again, in 2014, the last spiteful gesture of winter hit us on tax day, which made it even worse. So don’t relax too soon.

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