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. Soyez bienvenus!

Intelligent comments are always welcome!

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Facebook Exchange - by Hénock Gugsa


What a day it was !

In response to WZ's Facebook post (thread) of 5/20/16 titled: 
"all right, losing "friends" who must be H Rotten supporters"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ // ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mr. DB :>  Real friends share the same principles as you do.   Anyone voting for that @#%&! [Hillary Clinton] obviously do not. F@*k 'em [sic]. You're better off without them anyway.
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Hénock Gugsa :> "Real friends" don't have to agree with you all of the time, but they should stand up for your right to be different from them at times. Also, true friends don't judge ... instead, they strive to understand!
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Mr. DB :> I didn't say they have to agree with you on everything. You obviously don't understand what I said. I said they have to have the same PRINCIPLES as you do. I couldn't be friends with people who don't share my BASIC PRINCIPLES, and neither could anyone else. This isn't about what kind of music someone likes or what kind of food is their favorite, it's about the very foundation of how you view cheating, corruption, lying, abuse of power, and other things that aren't (or shouldn't be) negotiable in people. That's what I said, that's what I meant. And for the record, I'm pretty sure Wynne understood.
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Mr. DB :> BTW, people "judge" all the time. If you didn't, you'd be friends with literally everyone! I don't like everyone! Neither does anyone else. That's a fact among ALL creatures. That's why some people have "poor judgement" and other have "good judgement". There's a difference between realizing that some people are bad for you, and being UNFAIRLY judgmental within your circle of friends.
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Hénock Gugsa :> It's true some people are bad for you. They could be even worse ... they could even be toxic to you. Thank you for your clarifications, I am in agreement with you on your initial post above. I was really questioning why such people were labelled "friends" to begin with. As you know, many people here on FB compile hundreds of "friends" over time. I don't think people do any serious vetting when they make "friends" here on FB. The term is used too lightly here on FB! Yes, people do "judge" people all the time, and that is unfortunate ... and I'm saying that those that judge you are not "real friends" to begin with. So, in the end you and I are on the same page, I hope.
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Mr. DB :> I agree about FB. When I first got on, I was naïve as well and let too many people on. Now, I'm in the position of having to get rid of people who I never hear from, whom I don't know and haven't talked to, who don't ever respond to my posts, or post questionable or downright horrible things to their page. I was hoping you'd understand that I meant the difference between UNFAIRLY judging someone and FAIRLY judging them based on what they've shown you to be.  And I'm glad that you do that, or else you'd be in a lot of danger, here and in the real world.
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Hénock Gugsa :> True. There is indeed real danger here [on FB] !!!
======================================================
SUMMATION ===> As you may have observed, Mr. DB appears to be a highly-strung, opinionated, and harshly judgmental type of person.  I do not see much compassion or tolerance (understanding) in his words.  I had to employ a lot of patience and diplomacy, and it was difficult getting my point across.  What's more, he was taking everything I said personally, and he was defensive to the end.  Since my efforts to sway Mr. DB from being judgmental obviously failed, I had to try to get him to understand what "true (real) friendship" means.  I don't think that I succeeded in that either.  I am now wondering how he would have reacted if I had said to him: "Judge not lest ye be judged."


Cary Grant -  "Charade"

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Reading "The Catcher in the Rye" - by Hénock Gugsa


/// Reading "The Catcher in the Rye" ///
by Hénock Gugsa
=====================
Back in high-school, in my teenage days, I never got around to reading J D Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye".  I'm sure many of my friends and acquaintances have read it and probably came away with some lasting impression of one sort or another.

I don't exactly know why I have never read it.  Probably, it was because I was more drawn to other books or activities.

Well,  now I am in my later years for sure; and I am determined to challenge myself to accomplish the things that I remember I never bothered to do from start to finish.  So, I have started and actually I'm two-thirds of the way reading this iconoclastic book.  To be sure,  many readers and critics have hailed it as the greatest literary exposition on America's youthful angst and self-torture.

Although, I haven't finished reading the book yet, my impressions and opinions of the leading character are already negative and  unsympathetic.  I must also confess that it has been well over three months since I borrowed the book from the library ....  I've already extended the loan three times!
 
The reason it is taking me so long, I suspect, is because I've found the book so depressing.  The main character, Holden Caulfield, is such a self-centered, egoistical, nihilist that it is very difficult to see any redeeming quality in him.  He is such a snot about everything and everybody (including sometimes himself) that you want to slap him, or walk away from him in disgust.  I know there is an irony here, and it is that I am beginning to think and sound like him.  And, this probably is the great lure of the character, and of course of the author himself.  I can say without reservation that Mr. Salinger's genius is that he has packed all this insight about alienation, frustration, and rebellion in the person of a lone young man who is undergoing serious growing pains.

In conclusion, I promise I will bravely finish reading this classic book.  I have to find out the meaning behind the title: "The Catcher in the Rye".  And maybe after that, I will think of tackling "Moby Dick"....  That was required reading in my English class at ERHS.  I think Mrs. Barrett expected  the class to read it completely, over one single week-end!

But what about my social life, Teacher?!!! 



Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Freedom of Speech" - by Hénock Gugsa



"Freedom of Speech" 
- by Hénock Gugsa -
Ideally, in an ideal world, what Ms. J K Rowling* says makes complete and acceptable sense. But we are not there yet, that's utopian! ....
In the real world of today, what we are seeing is the eternal struggle between right and wrong, good and evil, etc., etc. It is not possible for one side to thrive and/or to win by allowing the other side equal footing. It is not right, it seems to me, that only one side knows this fairly well and is not squeamish about squashing the other side. 
It has actually been postulated by thinkers of yore (Socrates, Plato, etc.) that too much (unrestrained) freedom will lead to the end of democracies. I sincerely believe that we reap what we sow when we let the likes of Limbaugh, Savage, O'Reilly, the rabid evangelicals, and cuckoo birds of one kind or another to loudly run their mouths with hate and dissension.
It seems to me that reason, reasonableness, and civility have been thrown out the window, all in the name of freedom. However, I don't think that answers can be formulated if firm boundaries are delineated from the start with "either for" ,  "or against"  types of positions. 
Historically, the world has seen tyrannical governments pop up on the backs of democracies using freedom of speech; and once in power, those governments have stripped away all that freedom with goose-stepping boots. Moderation, ethical behavior, or civility are not necessarily compatible with full, unrestrained freedom of speech. And before you throw the "law of the land" ( the Constitution ) at me as an argument, please remember that laws are man-made and fragile. Their strength is dependent on how astute, learned, and wise the citizenry is!
Please understand that I am not against individualism and/or citizens' freedoms ... far from it! I am only here pointing out the dangers of people not listening to each other with all the shouting and yelling in the room. Would you allow incivility, disrespect, and chaos to rule your household if you wanted contentment of any kind in your family life?

*Ms. J K Rowling speaking at PEN America gala on 5/16/16  
     
 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Apaisant l'esprit - selon Eric Satie


Eric Satie (1866-1925)
 Apaisant l'esprit 
- selon Eric Satie -

+++ Something to listen to when you feel devastated! +++
+++ Pendant des situations éprouvantes! +++
Eric Satie:===> Gymnopedie 1 *

 


* Performed by Kevin MacLeod


Friday, May 13, 2016

Very soon now! - by Hénock Gugsa -


The buddies!
Very soon now! 
- by Hénock Gugsa -
Not too far in the future, ...
but very soon now, [I predict] each and every American, child or adult, will be required to carry some sort of "passport" (national identity card) on their person at all times.
 

Such passport will normally be issued at birth, and it will be used for multiple purposes ...
1 - for travel
2 - for cashing checks
3 - for voting
4 - getting Rx prescriptions filled
5 - getting licenses to drive, to marry or to divorce, to build or to demolish, etc., etc.
6 - last but not least, for using the "correct" public bathroom!


"I'm off to bed."


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Educating Myself about War - by Hénock Gugsa

 
Ethiopian soldiers in the Korean War
Educating Myself about War 
- by Hénock Gugsa - 

Recently, someone on Facebook suggested that I educate myself on the military and the good that it does.

No, thanks, I think I'll pass on that.
I already know that the main purpose and function of the military is for engagement in wars.  They may call it "peace keeping", "defense", and getting rid of "threats". But it all boils down to ===> W A R !!

Well, war is a product of hate ... and there is hate on all sides. The question here, however, is how you conduct war ... the degree of detachment or cold-bloodedness is what is worrisome. On one side, you have snipers, drones, and maybe carpet-bombing. On the other, you have RPG's, IEDs, and self-exploding humans.  And in peace-time, there is all that "unexploded ordinance" (bombs, mines) left behind to do more damage!

War is all ugliness, and how you measure war "heroism" is an even more dubious exercise.  But that is another discussion for another day.

How much more do I need to know or to educate myself about war? Not much ... just that it is fabricated and especially cancerous when you conduct it thousands of miles away from your shores and in a foreign land that was not your equal and did not threaten you at all.

So again, no thanks, I don't need to educate myself ... I know enough about war!


Friday, May 6, 2016

Silver Linings! - by Hénock Gugsa


Attila's Hun troops
 Silver Linings!
// by Hénock Gugsa //
Think about it! This is a strange situation we are in. In Donald Trump's never-imagined rise to his current status as leading candidate of the GOP, there really have been many silver linings in the gray clouds.
1-   He has exposed all the dirty laundry of the Republicans.
2-   He has demonstrated the inanity of the media by exploiting them and showing them up as the moronic talking heads that they are.
3-   Donald Trump is not unlike Attila the Hun. He indirectly drove the Roman Empire to the ground by attacking the Goths who in turn invaded the civilized power of the world at the time.  Donald has routed the establishment’s run-of-the-mill candidates and brought the Republican Party to its knees.
4-   The theater of absurdity in which he is the leading actor is waking up a lot of Americans to realize their true natures.  We are truly seeing Americans as they are, all of them … the wise, the foolish, the insanely idiotic, and the dangerous.
5-   In Trump’s world, the rule is that there are no rules!  He has amply demonstrated that he is not here to be given power, instead he is here to outright take it.
6-   He demolished every one of his republican opponents, and he is going to do the same with Hillary Clinton.  The reason is because she is no different from the people he has already vanquished … remember Jeb Bush.
7-   The only formidable obstacle to Trump is someone with impeccable integrity, stamina, and unwavering principles and ideas about where this country should be heading.  Trump, the revolutionary of the right, meet Sanders, revolutionary of the left!
8-   America has been going down the wrong path for most of the last thirty-five years.  And now, Donald Trump is about to push us over the precipice to uncharted territories.  It is time to wake up and save the republic … let us go back to the basics, let us bring back “The Constitution of the United States of America”!
9-   Go Bernie!!
10- God save America!!!

The ever-delightful Chris Pratt


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Faux Patriotism ~ by Hénock Gugsa

 
Faux Patriots
Faux Patriotism 
~~ Hénock Gugsa ~~

When I was in 10th Grade in Ethiopia (I won't tell you what year), I had a Canadian teacher who was literally a goldmine of both useful and trivial knowledge.  I swear he would have made a great "Jeopardy" champion had that TV game been around back then.
 
Anyways, I remember him telling us about a tiny Japanese town (or island) called USA. At the time, Japan was the up-and-coming economic threat to the United States. This teacher told us that Japan was labeling  some of its exported products as "Made in USA" and selling them worldwide. This little piece of information taught me a very wise life lesson: Never put much credence on labels!
 
The commercialization of patriotism is even more widespread now; and sadly, no one questions the legitimacy or veracity of labels anymore. If you remember back 15 years ago, in the aftermath of 9/11, the Chinese unloaded on us cheap "patriotic" items like U.S. flag pins and even U.S. flags. They were the most bizarre and absurdly exploitative commercial products in anybody's memory !!!
 
Rampant and dishonest commercialism/materialism is accepted as a fact-of-life. Even the most learned and leery consumers just smirk and stop questioning what is real and what is phony. When we stop questioning the truths behind labels, we are only a step away from forgetting our values. In the end, there is no difference between a phony (deceptive) product label and the phony (unsubstantiated) claims of patriotism.

Peter Sellers and David Niven - "The Pink Panther"



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Feeling Vindicated - by Hénock Gugsa


Solar plane flying over San Francisco!
Feeling Vindicated *
- by Hénock Gugsa - 

Way back in '79, when I was in Ethiopia and working for Ethiopian Airlines, I was a member of a fleet expansion committee.  In our search for cost-effective aircraft that were good-fit for our needs, it was de rigueur to invite high-powered salesmen/engineers from internationally renowned aircraft manufacturers to come and present their products for our consideration.  The top companies in our sight-scope at the time were Boeing and the McDonnell-Douglas companies. 
I remember once, in one of the presentation sessions, asking the representatives of either Boeing or McDonnell-Douglas if they envisioned non-petrol consuming aircraft at some point in the future.  I specifically mentioned planes that would use solar power as energy source. 
My colleagues in the committee reacted with so much eye-rolling, smirking, and loud impatience.  That was bad enough, but the response I got from those salesmen was even worse.  It was non-committal, amused, and even condescendingly polite.  In essence, my question was treated as an inane exercise because it "seemed" to lack relevance to the discussion points on the table.  I must declare that it was devastatingly painful to be viewed as a foolish academic who was wasting everybody's time.
////====> But I am now remembering that push-aside dismissal, many years ago, with different eyes.   I feel vindicated now ...  I am glad I have lived long enough to see the possibility of solar aircraft becoming a practical reality.  

I have no doubt that, very soon now, such aircraft will, after some refinements, be commercialized; and they will dominate the world's skies !!! 
====================================
 
*  This article is written in response to:  "Solar plane completes dangerous 3-day flight over the Pacific Ocean" ---------->
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/solar-plane-completes-dangerous-3-day-flight-over-the-pacific-ocean/

Christopher Walken