T P O

T   P   O
The Patient Ox (aka Hénock Gugsa)

G r e e t i n g s !

** TPO **
an irreligious blog
with egalitarian and individualist tendencies!


On the menu ... politics, music, poetry, and other good stuff.
There is humor, but there is blunt seriousness here as well!


Parfois, on parle français ici aussi. Tous sont les bienvenus!

Intelligent comments are always welcome!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

In a Pig's Eye! - by Hénock Gugsa



Hénock Gugsa

In a Pig's Eye! 
- by Hénock Gugsa -

A couple of days ago, a big fat guy was driving an SUV in front of me ... and I noticed he had a bumper sticker that said: "Cop Lives Matter too!"

** I was so outraged and I did not know what to make of such stupidity!  The only way I can respond is by designing a meme of my own that encapsulates the totality of my reaction! **


Click inside the image to enlarge.




Saturday, November 21, 2015

America's Humanity at Risk! - by TPO



America's Humanity at Risk! 
- by TPO -
~~~~~~~ **** ~~~~~~~
Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert: Syrian Refugees & the Republicans' Panic





Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Talking to God! - from Bulletin Board of St. Paul Pioneer Press



Talking to God!

St. Paul Pioneer Press, Bulletin Board
November 14,2015
===============

Good Little Girl reports:

<< Last night I talked to God.

I asked Him what was so great about free will. Wouldn't it be easier to tell us what to do, then see that we joyfully did it? There'd be no policemen and bad guys shooting each other. There wouldn't even be any policemen or bad guys! There'd be no more wars, hunger, homelessness, abuse. No more unhappy homes or kids bringing guns to school. There wouldn't even be any guns or house keys or jails or drug and alcohol abuse.

I admitted to Him that we would probably have too many people pretty soon, but by that time we'd have developed ways to open new horizons on other planets. We'd have so much time for study that we could accomplish almost anything.

It might have been the best conversation I ever had, except that He didn't answer me. As soon as He does, I'll let you know what He says.

(Although, from my meager studies of philosophy, ethics and theology, I think I know what He'll say.)  >>
=======================================================


Sunday, November 15, 2015

"J'aime Paris ... j'aime la France! " - Hénock Gugsa


Hénock Gugsa
J'aime Paris ... j'aime la France!

V I V E    L A    F R A N C E   !!!!!

"La Marseillaise" -- chanteuse: Mireille Mathieu



video


Friday, November 13, 2015

Help Me Understand, Please! - by Hénock Gugsa



click inside image to enlarge

Help me understand ... please!
by 
Hénock Gugsa
~~~~~~~~ ////// ~~~~~~~~

Why do some racists show their racism in the most stupid and cowardly way?!

-- The racists at the University of Missouri who painted (?!) black students' dorm room doors with feces ... what was the message being delivered?
a) ... that swastikas are shitty symbols?!
b) ... that the racists play with their crap, like doing finger painting and stuff?!
c) ... that the racists have never heard of toilet paper or toilets?!
d) ... that these racists are just sewer rats on a rampage?!

-- The racists who fly confederate flags, wear symbols and trinkets of the confederacy or of Nazi Germany ...
a) ... are they just saying they love a losing side no matter what?!
b) ... do they even know  that hate is like a self-inflicted wound and it can boomerang and come back at you?!
c) ... isn't there enough hot air out there without the extra heat and discomfort from racists' hate?!

*** I have more respect and fear for the intelligent racist who is subtle and uses (manipulates) society's institutions to get his way and do his evil deeds. ***


Montgomery Clift - "I Confess" (1953)



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

When I die - by Tim Torkildson


When I die 

- by Tim Torkildson * -

Subject: "New York Times headline: 'A Lonely End for South Koreans Who Cannot Afford to Live, or Die.' "

I want a real big funeral, the biggest you can buy,
With mourners paid good money just to sit around and cry.
I want my casket to appear made out of gold and gems.
The whole shebang should happen on a yacht upon the Thames.
The food and drink will be superb, and flowers will abound.
Please spend a modest fortune as you put me in the ground.
Scatter coins and candy as the hearse moves on its way.
It should be done like a parade, as on a holiday.

And when the bill comes due, I hope you'll like my little joke,
Because, you see, I'm gonna die just absolutely broke!
==============================================
*[Bulletin Board, St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 11, 2015]

 

 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Every crab for himself! - by Jim Toomey (Sherman's Lagoon)



Every crab for himself!
by Jim Toomey
("Sherman’s Lagoon") *
===================
November 10,2015

Click on image to magnify


* Sherman’s Lagoon is a comic strip set in an imaginary lagoon inhabited by a cast of sea creatures whose lives are curiously similar to our own.
 







Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Bengali Tiger and a Little Girl - by Dyrk Daniels




A Bengali Tiger and a Little Girl
 - by Dyrk Daniels -

A 370lb Golden Bengal Tiger bowed its head and placed a paw up to the hand of a small girl. 

Photographer Dyrk Daniels says: "I noticed this little girl was leaning against the glass with both hands out-stretched staring at the 'big kitties'. I could not believe my eyes when Taj approached the girl, bowed his head and then placed his huge right paw exactly in front of where the little girl's left hand was. It was incredible to watch. Taj let down his right paw, rubbed his cheek against the glass where the little girl's face was and moved off." Far from being scared, the little girl was so excited that she started clapping as she walked back towards her mother. 
 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

"Nothing Is Too Small ..." - by Mary Oliver

 
Mary Oliver

Nothing Is Too Small Not To Be Wondered About
- by Mary Oliver - *
Nothing Is Too Small Not To Be Wondered About
The cricket doesn't wonder
     if there's a heaven
or, if there is, if there's room for him.
It's fall. Romance is over. Still, he sings.
If we can, he enters a house
     through the tiniest crack under the door.
Then the house grows colder.
He sings slower and slower.
     Then, nothing.
This must mean something, I don't know what.
     But certainly it doesn't mean
he hasn't been an excellent cricket
     all his life.
 -------------------------------------------------
   *[ Mary Oliver, from her collection Felicity ]



Friday, October 30, 2015

Bernie bitch-slaps Wall Street's thugs! - by TPO


Senator Bernie Sanders
 Bernie bitch-slaps Wall Street's thugs !
 - by TPO -
Recently, Wall Street's shakers and movers had the premeditated gall to  lecture Americans to “act on the deficit and reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”   The following is Senator Bernie Sanders' response =======>

<<  There really is no shame. The Wall Street leaders whose recklessness and illegal behavior caused this terrible recession are now lecturing the American people on the need for courage to deal with the nation’s finances and deficit crisis. Before telling us why we should cut Social Security, Medicare and other vitally important programs, these CEOs might want to take a hard look at their responsibility for causing the deficit and this terrible recession.

Our Wall Street friends might also want to show some courage of their own by suggesting that the wealthiest people in this country, like them, start paying their fair share of taxes. They might work to end the outrageous corporate loopholes, tax havens and outsourcing provisions that their lobbyists have littered throughout the tax code – contributing greatly to our deficit.

Many of the CEO’s who signed the deficit-reduction letter run corporations that evaded at least $34.5 billion in taxes by setting up more than 600 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens since 2008. As a result, at least a dozen of the companies avoided paying any federal income taxes in recent years, and even received more than $6.4 billion in tax refunds from the IRS since 2008.

Several of the companies received a total taxpayer bailout of more than $2.5 trillion from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department.

Many of the companies also have outsourced hundreds of thousands of American jobs to China and other low wage countries, forcing their workers to receive unemployment insurance and other federal benefits. In other words, these are some of the same people who have significantly caused the deficit to  explode over the last four years. >>

William Holden bitch-slaps the enemy - Stalag 17
 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Lesson" - by Forrest Hamer

 
Forrest Hamer
"Lesson" *
by Forrest Hamer
==== /// ====
It was 1963 or 4, summer,
and my father was driving our family
from Ft. Hood to North Carolina in our 56 Buick.
We'd been hearing about Klan attacks, and we knew

Mississippi to be more dangerous than usual.

Dark lay hanging from the trees the way moss did,
and when it moaned light against the windows 
that night, my father pulled off the road to sleep.

Noises

that usually woke me from rest afraid of monsters 
kept my father awake that night, too, 
and I lay in the quiet noticing him listen, learning
that he might not be able always to protect us

from everything and the creatures besides;

perhaps not even from the fury suddenly loud
through my body about his trip from Texas
to settle us home before he would go away

to a place no place in the world

he named Viet Nam. A boy needs a father
with him, I kept thinking, fixed against noise
from the dark.
________________________________________
* Copyright 1995 by Forrest Hamer
 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Coexistence - by TPO


Coexistence
- by TPO -

In a time of difficulties back in the 1930s, an Italian photographer saw something which he had never seen anywhere else but in Ethiopia and was very much surprised: Muslims and Christians praying together.
 
After a little conversation with the locals he documented his unique experience in pictures. 

The picture was later published by Richard Pankhurst and Denis Gerard.
 
The photo caption read: “At St George’s Cathedral, Addis Ababa, Christians and Muslim’s praying together for peace.”
-----------------------------------------------------------
Coexistence: (noun) a policy of living peacefully with other nations, religions, etc., despite fundamental disagreements.
source: Dictionary.com


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cursed or Blessed?! - by Hénock Gugsa


Cursed or Blessed  ?! 
- by Hénock Gugsa - 

One afternoon, earlier this month, I was coming out of a Social Security Administration branch office ... and in the parking lot, I was accosted rather aggressively by a young African-American man wearing an expensive-looking sport jersey shirt.  He shouted at me and asked what my first (favorite) language was. 

I gave him a puzzled look and inquired why he was asking me that.  


He said because he needed to know if I spoke "Hindi or moslem or whatever."  


I replied that I spoke English alright.  


Then he got huffy, reached into the seat of his pickup truck, picked up a small (3.5"x5") flyer, brought it over and handed it to me.  As he was walking away, he yelled at me: "Jesus Christ is your savior. Read that, or you'll perish!"


I responded, "Oh, really?!" I got into my car, and making sure that he was looking at me, I shredded that piece of paper into bits. 


Then I drove away, grinning.  A little while later, I dumped the little bits of the unread flyer into a public trash bin elsewhere.


Humphrey Bogart - "The Maltese Falcon"
  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

"Oromo Street" in Minneapolis, MN - by Hénock Gugsa


"Oromo Street"- You may have to magnify the picture to read the new street name.

"Oromo Street" in Minneapolis, MN
 - by Hénock Gugsa  -
[አገር የሌላቸው ሰዎች በሰው አገር መጥተው አስፋልት መንገድ ይሰጠን አሉ !]  

-------------------------------------------------
There is a saying in Ethiopia: 
"Without food and starving, yet she covets the fancy dress!"
" የምትበላው የሌላት የምትከናነበው አማራት !! " 

-------------------------------------------------- 

The street in this picture is found in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis (near the U of M campus), which is now locally known as "Little Mogadishu".  The black building in the background is a madrasas (Islamic school) that belongs to the dominant Somalis in the area.  Up-to almost fifteen years ago, this same building used to be a bar/club called "the 400 Bar".  I have some great memories of some good times at that bar back in the late 80'sBut back then, there were few Oromos and even fewer Somalis here in the Twin Cities.

Regarding this street ... thankfully, I don't believe the city of Minneapolis completely recognizes this new, strange name.  It is still "S 4th Street" as far as everybody (including this writer) is concerned ! 

To be sure, the money wasted on this stupid street name (the sign itself and the license or permit fees, etc.) could have been put to better use in Ethiopia.  That money could have bought school books and materials for poor Ethiopian children, it could have bought hospital beds, and it could have been used as startup funds for building community wells, etc. 

One last point of note:  Has anybody seen streets named for Laos, for Vietnam, for Liberia, for Kenya, etc. here in America?  The expats from those countries living here are to be commended for having sense enough to keep low profiles and making noteworthy contributions to America, their new home.   So, Oromos and Somalis: ===> If you want to be recognized, please be good citizens here first, and then go and do something substantial, something meaningful and respectable for your former (native) lands ... and do it quietly!
 
frustrated Nick Offerman


Friday, September 4, 2015

Wealth and Happiness - by Yaakov Menken


Wealth and Happiness *
- by Yaakov Menken -
     "Who is wealthy? He who is happy with his lot."
Imagine a farmer who owns a modest few acres of land. He works through the year, harvests his crop, and knows that he'll be able to feed his family. He's content, because he has all that he needs.

But before he can take advantage of that crop, he knows he has to bring his first fruits. So he saddles his donkey, fills a small bag with loaves of bread and a few clusters of grapes, and heads off for [the city]. After traveling for a while, he reaches the main highway.

[And then things change...] He isn't happy anymore!

He gets to the main road, but needs to wait -- a huge caravan is passing. There is a huge carriage with extraordinarily large and beautiful grapes. The next is piled high with loaves of bread. And in the third sits the owner of the horses, carriages, farmland and crop.The farmer looks at his small bag of first fruits. 

Has anything changed? Only his perception. His satisfaction is replaced by jealousy, because someone else has all that wealth.
______________________________________________________ 

* Source: Yaakov Menken (News from Project Genesis and Torah.org)


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Learning about "Back to School!" - by Tidbits


Learning about "Back to School!" *
~~~~~~~ ///// ~~~~~~~
   Learn about the other Great Minnesota Get together:
                              Not the State Fair!

Founded in 1635, Boston's Latin School is the oldest public school in the U.S.  Five of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence graduated from this school: Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Samuel Adams and William Hopper.

Even though Thomas Jefferson was all for free public education, and tried to promote it, only America's wealthy were able to get an elementary school education [until the 1840's].  Then, Horace Mann, Henry Barnard and other reformers tried to get tax-funded schools. These gentlemen thought that if schools were paid for by taxes, more people would attend ... and this would spread education.  It [in turn] would help produce better citizens, unite the society, and prevent much crime and poverty.  It turns out that in large part [these reformers] were right!

Brooklyn Technical High School - Brooklyn, NY - with a total of 8,076 students is the undisputed heavyweight champ as the largest high school in America!  [However,] the world's biggest school is in India, and it has 47,000 pupils, 1,000 classrooms, and 3,800 staff.  Dr. Jagdish Gandhi started the school in 1959 with only five pupils.  He believed every child has the right to an education.  The school receives no government funding; parents are charged a small fee for their children to attend.

In Minnesota, the largest school is Wayzata High in Plymouth with a mere 3,181  students.

Interestingly, high school was not really a part of the school system in the U.S. until the 1930's.  Before that, most Americans only completed eight years of school.  Why was that and what changed it?  Well, during the Great Depression, there  were many communities with little work to offer.  They figured that keeping teenagers in the classrooms would keep them off the work force, thus reducing the competition for many adults who required higher pay than a teen would.  Hence, a little more schooling for the kids!

Didaskaleinophobia is the fear of going to school.  Yes, it actually exists, and 2.4% of school-aged children are considered to have it, on an international level.  Once you get them there, only 67% of kids like school ... wouldn't it be nice to get that number up a bit!

______________________________
* Source: "Tidbits" [a local trade paper for Champlin, Osseo, Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park, and Crystal ] - Issue 748

 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Capitalism, Plutocracy, Oligarchy - by Hénock Gugsa


 Capitalism, Plutocracy, Oligarchy 
(My Take)
- by Hénock Gugsa -

Well, let me start with "Capitalism". It is a set of economic beliefs that holds fast to the notion that a free and untethered market place for goods and services will produce the utmost benefit to both consumers and producers. The guiding principle here is "laissez-faire," which translates as Hands-Off, meaning Government(s) should basically have little or no influence in the production or sale of commodities. The role of Government should be to facilitate and accommodate the marketplace to flourish (by providing defense, protective laws and lax regulations, low taxes, and favorable international trade positions). 

Plutocracy and Oligarchy are almost synonymous, in my view. They vary from each other only in size and scope. They are similar in the fact that neither one is an adherent of democracy. A truly representative government that advocates and looks out for the people is considered almost an anathema by both groups!


A plutocracy consists of a small group of economic heavy-weights that have strong influence in the economic and political direction of a nation. These plutocrats can be CEOs of large multinationals, banks, conglomerates, etc. They are shakers and movers ... think of Fortune 500. However, these guys don't necessarily have to be the same folk or corporations for ever. From decade to decade, you may have different guys ruling the roost.

On the other hand, oligarchy is a narrower set of players. It is indeed a very few number of individuals who wield enormous sway on a nation's economy and its political path. They are very powerful because of their enormous and bottomless source of wealth. Two supreme examples are the multi-billionaires of today : The Koch Brothers, and The Walton family. These oligarchs have more staying power than plutocrats. In fact, plutocrats may be working for them.

The above is totally my view and assessment of these matters. 


Spencer Tracy, of-course!

 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Love Test - by Naftali Reich


 The Love Test
by Naftali Reich
*
///// === /////
You shall not listen to the words of [a false] prophet or dreamer of dreams. You must turn a deaf ear to him. It is not enough to ignore, reject or disdain his words. That only shows good intellectual judgment, not passionate [feeling]. You must place your hands over your ears and blot out those terrible words from your earshot, from your very consciousness. You must show that the love burning in your heart makes you wince and cringe at each blasphemous syllable, that you cannot bear to listen.
 
“I am having serious problems with my wife,” a man told a great sage. “We bicker. That wonderful feeling we had when we first married is gone.”

“Indeed?” said the sage. “I’m not surprised. You see, I’ve heard she was unfaithful to you.”

“What!” screamed the man. “That cannot be! She is a fine, loyal woman. My wife would never do such a thing. Take those words back right now! How can you say such a terrible thing about my wife? I can’t even begin to tell you what a wonderful person she is.”

“Fine, I take them back,” said the sage. “But if she is such a wonderful person, perhaps your problems are not serious after all. Eh?”
-------------------------------

* Rabbi Naftali Reich
http://torah.org/learning/legacy/5766/reeh.html





Friday, August 14, 2015

Black Lives Do Matter! - by Hénock Gugsa


 Black Lives Do Matter! 
- by Hénock Gugsa -

I have not understood why some people have taken offense (or exception) to the recent (year-old) slogan: "Black Lives Matter."

I think the context of its origin is lost on many. The intent or implied message is: "Black lives matter just as much as white lives."

It is clearly evident that the abuse and atrocities are more plentiful for the black community as opposed to the white.

If there were a need to say "All lives matter", it should have been done loudly way before these abuses came to light. This latter slogan somehow seems to me like a Johnny-come-lately attempt to water down or trivialize a serious social trauma. 


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Life and Death of Eddie the Donator - by R.F. Fuddy Daddy


 The Life and Death of Eddie the Donator
 by R.F. Fuddy Daddy
Bulletin Board
St. Paul Pioneer Press (7/22/2015) 
////////// ~~~~~ //////////
I grew up in a small town in western Wisconsin in the 1940s and 1950s. For our baseball games, we needed almost every kid in town.

One of them was Eddie. Eddie was tall, very thin and had poor eyesight. He couldn't run or jump because he had what seemed to be a frozen spine. Nothing went his way. The song lyrics 'If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all' fit Eddie to a T.

In his teens, he got into a lot of fights. We nicknamed him The Donator because he lost blood as well as fights.

Even when he bought a car, things went wrong. To celebrate his purchase, he bought a 16-gallon keg of beer and put it in the back seat. He and a couple of his friends then drove around the area all afternoon and part of the evening. After dark, they decided to tap the keg, which was still in the back seat. The result was about 14 gallons of foam, which filled the car. After they 'defoamed' the car, they drove around again, got into an accident and totaled the vehicle. He had forgotten to insure the car, so he ended the day with no beer and no car.

About this time, the Vietnam war was heating up, and Eddie was drafted. We could never figure out how he passed the physical. He was 6-foot-3, 125 pounds, no muscle, couldn't run or jump and was half-blind.

I still remember the day my brother called me and said Eddie was being sent to Vietnam. I also remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

My brother and I went to D.C. to see him some years ago.

He's on the wall at the Vietnam Memorial, along with about 58,000 other young men killed in another useless war.

=======================
///////////////////////////////////////////////



  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Watch the Grass Grow - by Raymond Beyda


Watch the Grass Grow
 by Raymond Beyda *

A New York City bond broker, trying to take advantage of the downturn in stock prices, is running a series of commercials on the radio.

The owner of the firm tells a story about people who were enthusiastic about skyrocketing stock prices that refused to listen to any discussion about investing in conservative, slow moving bonds. They said buying bonds was about as exciting as "watching the grass grow".

"Watching the grass grow is better than watching the house burn down", was the quick-witted reply the broker gave to his prospective clients.

In today's world everyone is speed-oriented. Snail mail, the traditional written word delivered by the postal service to one recipient at a time has dropped drastically in volume because so many people prefer e-mail, which is 24/7, multi-address capable. Production schedules for new products have been trimmed to the bone to meet the demands of impatient customers. Hospitals have reduced the allowable time for a stay to a day or less in most cases. Even our educational institutions offer accelerated programs to complete degree requirements in less time than what could have been imagined just a few years ago.

When G-d created the World, most things were created in a mature fully grown state. Then the reproductive process began with each creation producing an immature offspring that took years to develop. Trees grew from seeds, elephants from infants, giant eagles from small eggs etc. Each creation grew from inception to maturity. The growth was a slow, day-by-day progression imperceptible to the human eye. Even if one watched the grass one could not see it grow.

People have to learn that there are things that need time in order to develop properly. There must be a process to ferment grape juices into wine rapidly but even so It will not produce wine as fine as the old fashioned technique. Some things just have to develop slowly.

Many people are robbing our youth of the time they need to grow into mature adults. Exposure to media, pushy parents and educators and social contacts push our children into the fast lane and prevent growth in the natural imperceptible way. G-d could have made it so that newborns were fully developed but He did not.

Today, when rushing at the speed of light in your business, in your personal growth or in your training of your offspring -- stop. It only takes a minute to put on the brakes -- ever so lightly -- to give your charge the proper amount of time to develop.

Sit back and watch the grass grow. 
=======================
 
* Rabbi Raymond Beyda - www.torah.org/learning



Monday, August 3, 2015

My Dad's Views - by Hénock Gugsa


My dad: Gügsa Asta
 My Dad's Views
- by -
Hénock Gugsa
~~~~ *** ~~~~

My dear departed father had an unequivocal theory about people.

He said they "
are" predetermined by the manner they came out of their mothers' wombs. 

The greedy persons appeared with a hand  stretched out in a grasping manner ....

The lazy people showed their buttocks to the world first ....

Restless people shot their feet out first ....

The talkers came out with their mouths open ....

Last, but not least, the thinkers presented the top of their heads slowly ...  and they began using their brains immediately!

.... There you have it all explained the Ethiopian way!

  

William Holden - Stalag 17