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!
Showing posts with label Biographical (Personal). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Biographical (Personal). Show all posts

Monday, January 22, 2018

Thoughts on Traveling - by Hénock Gugsa


Thoughts on Traveling
[and My Status as a U.S. Citizen]
by Hénock Gugsa
~~~~~~~ **** ~~~~~~~
In less than a month, I'll be traveling to Ethiopia for the second time in the last 37 years.  And if you should know, I've been a U.S. citizen for a quarter century.  However, that has not exempted me from receiving the special "treatment" coming-and-going ...  and you can safely infer that there's absolutely no way I'll turn into a Patrick Henry in front of ICE.  I have to grin and bear it all ... and say to myself, "The terrorists have indeed won!"

Indeed!  The last time when I arrived at MSP's International gate, a surly-looking ICE man (?!) made a bee-line toward me and another brown-skinned person while we were still standing in line to go to the Arrivals' processing window.  This agent asked to see our passports and inquired where we were coming from.  Meanwhile, he never even glanced at the young couple behind me who were white.  The questions this man asked were asked of me two more times on the way to retrieving my luggage.  I have to take these indignities in stride as I would many things.  What was that thing I read somewhere that said: If you shout at the devil, do you think he will shout back at you!
Happy trails! 

The ever-wonderful Lee Marvin !

Thursday, January 18, 2018

America, "the Perilous Fight" - by Hénock Gugsa


America, "the Perilous Fight"
by Hénock Gugsa
====== ~~~ ======
      A Facebook friend who lives in a tiny border community in Arizona recently sent me the following message ... with an accompanying video which I have included here ...
           <<  We see the deaths every week here, finding old remains and average about one new death per week, not to mention finding immigrants continually begging for succor sometimes a week or more without food, days without water .... [Unfortunately, they're considered] just mojados, wets.  They aren't going to elicit sympathy or interest.  Trump's outrages and that sensationalism captures the attention ....>>
      I have no words to descibe the disgust, the pain, and the total frustration I feel about America's current condition and its bleak future if things continue the way they are or grow worse.
      This beloved country has had its ups and downs, and its resiliency has of-course been exceptional.  Adversities and challenges have been met with courage, grit, and optimism.  Enemies from within and from without have continually failed to bring America to its knees.  This nation has been down as often as it's been up ... and always, there have been real heroes that have arrived just in time before the fall into a dark abyss.  To name the the three greatest ones, America was blessed with Washington, Lincoln, and FDR.  Often, America's heroes were just the people needed to mop up the disasters of previous, incompetent and unfit leaders and the parties they headed.  Recently, we had Obama pulling us out of the calamitous eight years of George W Bush's presidency.
      But alas, now, we are in the clutches of what Philip Roth describes as "[an] ominously ridiculous commedia dell’arte figure of the boastful buffoon ... a massive fraud, the evil sum of his deficiencies, devoid of everything but the hollow ideology of a megalomaniac."
     True, in the Fifties, reference and blame for the world's problems was cast on "The Ugly American" as described in the excellent 1958 political novel of the same name by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer.  America got tangled up in the Korean War in the Early Fifties.  Then in the Sixties thru the mid-Seventies, Vietnam was the quagmire of choice.  Fast-forward to 2003 and up-to the current day, the "war against terrorism" is being waged full blast in the Middle East. 
     These wars and foreign adventures naturally affected the domestic political policies and direction of where the nation has been headed.
     Presently, or more specifically since late January of 2017, our country has been steered wrong on all aspects of Government.  The three-headed monster of
Greed-Fear-Hate is in charge.  A con-man extraordinaire with no plans but those of lining his pockets as well as those of his family, and his wealthy friends is shamelessly gutting our lives, our sense of security, and our hopes.
      We are in a period not too unlike that of Germany under Hitler.  Corporate plutocrats were buttressing the regime then, and they are doing the same thing now in Trump's America.  Truth is being dismantled, and everywhere corruption and injustice grow roots and thrive.  America needs to shirk off the current inertia and stand up to tyranny and evil everywhere.  In this respect, the Women's Resistance Movement has been a godsend and it should be replicated in every walk of life.  We should all rise up as one and cast off this yoke of misery and doom, and we can do it because we are optimists!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Friday, December 8, 2017

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

NIHILISM ! ~ by Hénock Gugsa



 

NIHILISM ! 
~ by Hénock Gugsa ~

Conventional definitions of NIHILISM:
~ the belief that traditional morals, ideas, beliefs, etc., have no worth or value.
~ the belief that a society's political and social institutions are so bad that they should be destroyed.
[source: dictionary.com]




 
Click here to enlarge ! .... Cliquez ici l'image pour l'agrandir !


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving ! ~ by Hénock Gugsa


Happy Thanksgiving ! 
~ by Hénock Gugsa ~

Along with your family and friends, have a Happy Thanksgiving ! 

(Please click on image to enlarge.)

"You've been primped!"

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Kinama - by Hénock Gugsa


Kinama
[a folklore from Sidamo in Southern Ethiopia]
~ by Hénock Gugsa ~
========================
Kinama was a brave young Sidama who lived alone in the wilds with her sheep and her goats.  She lived inside a huge cave that had a big boulder right outside blocking the entrance.  Kinama was always on the lookout for her two persistent and dangerous enemies --- the mighty leopard who was lord of the jungle, and the pesky hyena who was always sneaky.  Everyday as Kinama took her charge out to the meadows to feed, she had to be extremely alert and be prepared for danger.  She had to be especially wary of the leopard because he was unpredictably dangerous.

But being human, Kinama was prone to habit ... she had gotten into a routine of sorts.  In the mornings, as she prepared to take her sheep and goats out of the cave, and she would say: My great cave, open your gate!

And when the boulder rolled back, she’d walk out with her animals.  Once outside, she would turn and say to the cave: My great cave, close your gate!

Then she’d speak up nice and loud and say, “Today, I’m going to take my goats to graze at Digarre!”  And instead of going to Digarre she’d go to Temede.  But, the next day, she’d get up and say, “Today, I’m going to Temede,” but instead she’d go to Digarre.  And although every day she’d be tricking the leopard in this fashion, she always made sure that nobody was listening to her when she was addressing the cave's entrance.

The great leopard was always lurking around not too far away, and he would be looking longingly at Kinama's goats and lambs and salivate.  He was frustrated that Kinama had been outsmarting him every-time he made a move.  He had to seriously devise a plan to outmaneuver Kinama, and so he came up with an idea.  Over the next few days, the leopard decided to learn every aspect of her routine from beginning to end. Early in the morning everyday, he would clamber to a tree just above the cave and hide.  When Kinama came out with the animals, he would make sure that she would not see him.  The leopard would then put his ears to the ground so that he would be able to hear what Kinama was whispering to the cave. 

As usual, each morning, Kinama would come out with her brood, talk to the cave in the same way that she always did.  She would also broadcast, to anybody that might listen, where she was headed, and she would go on her way.

The morning came when the leopard was totally ready and he patiently waited for his moment.  As soon as Kinama was gone, the leopard jumped down from behind the tree and ran up to the cave and said, “My great cave, open your gate.”  The boulder rolled to the side and the cave opened up for him.  The leopard went in, jumped up on a perch, and hid himself.

Later that day, Kinama and her animals returned to the cave.  She was safely home, so she says, “My great cave, close your gate,” and the boulder rolls back shut !

She sits down and starts lighting a fire. But the leopard was on the perch and he starts salivating and a drop of his saliva falls into the fire. And immediately she knows that the leopard’s in the cave. And she also smells his scent.
So she says, “I can smell the scent of my lord. He must be in this cave.”
And she continues blowing down on the fire to keep it going.  “Phoo phoo phoo ....”
Another drop of saliva falls down from above and she says, “I’m sure my lord is in the cave. I can smell his scent very strongly.”

And from his perch the leopard says, “Yes, I am in the cave. Now, what is your choice? Do you want me to jump down and kill you, or shall I jump down on your fattest kid, Warpo, and eat him whole?”

And she said, “My great lord, you know I have been rearing fat Warpo for you.  Why should you jump down and attack me?  Instead, please come and grab Warpo.”

So the leopard pounced down on poor Warpo and killed him instantly.  As the leopard slavered on the goat's blood, Kinama asked: Now, my great lord, shall I prepare the meat for you?

And he said, “Yes, do.”  So she skinned the kid, and she said, “I need some water to boil the meat in.”

The leopard sad, “Then go to the river and get it!”

So she went out, got the water and came back. But, at the river she picked up a huge white stone called chela glaka. And she brought the stone back with her, and she surreptitiously covered it completely with the white fat of Warpo the kid.   Then she put the fat-soaked rock on the fire and let it get sizzling hot.

The leopard was salivating and licking his lips.  He was indeed very hungry!  So Kinama said, “My lord, let me feed you. Please open your mouth wide.”

And he said, “Aah!” and opened his mouth very wide, and she quickly deposited the burning rock in his mouth and killed him promptly.

So now that she had gotten rid of one of her most dangerous enemies, Kinama decided to next deal with the hyena once and for all.  Kinama was ready for the challenge.  The first thing she did was to take out the bones of the kid and scatter them outside the entrance of the cave.  After that, she waited patiently.

But she didn't have to wait long; the dastardly hyena arrived on the scene as expected.

“What are all these bones?” He inquired.
"They're all for you.  Why don't you have some?  I’ve got plenty of food here for you to eat."

And of course, as you know, the hyena was a greedy lout.  “Oh, you do?”

“Yes, there are lots of yummy things for you to eat. But I’ll only feed you on one condition. That is: you must let me stitch together your tail to mine.”

The ravenous hyena was not very attentive, he was only focused on the food that was laid out on the ground in front of him.  So he said,  “OK, go ahead.”

He began eating the bones ... and, as she pierced his tail with the needle, he yelled, “Stop! That hurts!”

She said, “Then stop eating.”
He said, “No, I want to eat. I’m hungry.”
 “Well if you want to eat, I’ve got to stitch our tails together.”
He said, “OK, go ahead.”

And Kinama hurried and stitched the leopard’s tail and the hyena’s tail together while the hyena was crunching on the bones.

Then she said, “Look, hyena, what will you do if your lord, the leopard, appears?”

And he said, “No, don’t even mention his name. If he appeared, I’d dash away running for my life. I’d be so scared that I’d jump over thickets and everything, and fall into a chasm, probably.”
She said, “Are you sure?”
“Yes.”

So she waited until he ate a few more bones.  Then she yelled, “Our lord is behind you! The leopard is behind you!”

The hyena turned and saw the leopard's spots, which scared him no end.  Coward that he was, he went running.  And because he was now permanently tethered to the leopard's tail, what he was now seeing was the leopard pouncing on him.  Almost like lightening, the terrified hyena bolted through bushes and thickets until he finally reached a cliff ... and he couldn't stop ... he fell screaming and cackling to his death!

==========================================================
Moral of the story:  Brawn and cunning are no match for brains and acumen!





Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

L'espoir ~ par Bernard Lavilliers, Jeanne Cherhal


<< L'espoir >>
Bernard Lavilliers, Jeanne Cherhal

~~~~~~~ *** ~~~~~~~
     Une belle chanson! .... 



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Rational vs. Emotional - by Hénock Gugsa


Rational vs. Emotional 
- by Hénock Gugsa -

You be the judge!  Are there foreign infiltrators into American politics on Facebook?***
=================================================================
Recently on Facebook, a friend of a friend posted the following:
<< BL:> How many other people are tired of those "thoughts and prayers and we will discuss this later" comments? ... My God...Reruns... America has dealt with enough reruns.>>

 Comments and general reactions followed.  I have extracted here the ones relevant to our topic.  Of special interest are the exchanges between JH and myself (HG) ....
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JH:>  As a progressive, in favor of much better gun laws, my opinion is that this is strategically bad timing for psychological reasons on the right. You have to understand how their mind reacts to this because they are the ones we need to get to work with us. They don't see victims and want to limit guns. They see a shooter and want to arm themselves. The emotions are just as high on the right as they are on the left, it's just a different emotion with different triggers. This is the worse possible time to talk to Republicans about guns.
HG:>  No need to talk to them ever .... Just vote them out! Boot them out! 

JH:> HG, Republicans vote them in because they are wired differently. It's not simply the politicians, but the people who vote them in. They are the ones clinging to their guns and they do it because they see a threat.
DK:> JH, a threat fed by the NRA and the GOP for decades.
JH:> DK, The left sees the gun as the threat. The right sees the shooter as the threat.
HG:> JH, I agree. They don't blame the easy availability of guns to everyone not even in times of mass massacres ... they blame mental health instead! Taking this a step further, their logic crumbles because republicans are also major obstacles to improvements (or even availability) of mental healthcare in general!  But, we should not be defeatist. In time, due to attrition as a result of gun accidents (or deaths) to themselves and their loved ones, these gun nuts could potentially change their stance. Even some politicians, like G H W Bush, cancelled their NRA membership. I also have a sneaking suspicion that the number of gun lovers may not be as big as they would like us to believe. They do, however, have beaucoup money and that is where their power lies!

JH:> HG,  If we could rely on logic, this would be easy, but the high emotions just bypass rational thought. Which is part of why I think it's bad timing. We need people to be rational about this, not emotional. 

DK:> JH, the threat is neither; the real threats are the organizations and politicians who pander to fear and stoke hate. 
BL:> I understand but at what point do we have a real conversation.
HG:> JH, then why hasn't anybody ever taken up the issue when there was a lull to the emotional mood? Why haven't we seen anybody rise up to the challenge with rational wisdom?? No, everybody was sort of put into a "snooze" mode until the next big massacre! I say: strike while the iron is hot! Emotion can be used as the fuel to get the rational juices going. Remember the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". That was one heck of an emotional story. The American Revolution and the Civil War were essentially rational convictions driven by engines of emotion. Why do we disparage emotion so much even in the face of so much truth facing us?
DK:>  if you’re not outraged by horror, you’re dead to life. Those of us who have seen human flesh decimated by bullets are way beyond appalled; we are outraged because we live with those images for life. Climb down out of your intellectually remote tower and smell the carnage. It stinks, it reeks, it is gawd awful. It is the most vile and disgusting thing to have emblazoned on your heart.  If carnage does not outrage you; if the lack of integrity by politicians does not does not make you livid; if the sight of gore doesn’t revolt you, you are living in a fairy world detached from reality.  You’ve obviously never been there.
JH:> HG, Because your leadership sucks. Don't believe me? Look at the nation.
HG:> JH, that's why earlier I said boot the bums out. But now, are you abandoning your argument for the abandonment of emotion in favor of icy rationalism?! It seems you're flailing all over the place.
JH:> HG, You want to know, why hasn't anyone taken it up. Because they think that the best time to do something is when their base is energized. I think they keep failing because they don't understand the opposition or why this is strategically bad timing.
JH:> HG, I say boot them out too, but we aren't the majority that elected them.
HG:> JH,  Here's the thing. They, the majority, are showing us their hand by not doing anything. That is their move. They are also (like you) asking everybody to be rational, not emotional ... their favorite mantra being: "Now is not the time!" Our only resort is to keep being emotional, to keep the fire burning until the next election and go out and VOTE! We should not let anything or anybody dissuade us, or discourage us from our civic duty. We should not listen to foreign (Russian) agents posing as Americans to muddle the issues by pretending to be on our side. They are wolves in sheep's clothing. I will not be worried about "the majority that elected them". And by the way, that majority is not set in stone!
JH:> HG, And you're winning like crazy right?
HG:> JH, Dasvidaniya to you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*** So do you agree that JH is a sort of an agent-provocateur?  If so, you are right!  Because at the end of my exchange with him there, I went and checked his profile.  There was practically nothing there, no photos, no bio, no indication of anything but a troll, a bot !  As a result of that, I immediately blocked him in order to prevent any future contact.  A major lesson there!


Vladimir Putin

 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Friendly Ducks at Lake Nokomis- by Hénock Gugsa


The Friendly Ducks at Lake Nokomis
~ by Hénock Gugsa ~



The Friendly Ducks at Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis, MN 


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Society's Poisons ~ by Hénock Gugsa


Pandora's Box
Society's Poisons
by
Hénock Gugsa 

Obviously we are living in unreal or surreal times.  It wasn't too long ago that we, as individuals and as a nation, felt certain about our past, confident about our present, and optimistic about our future.  But of late, and specifically over the last year, there have come into our lives certain shifts of mood, and certain disenchantment with our mode-de-vie (way of life).  No doubt, there are dialectical forces behind our political existence. 
 

Decades of wars, economic crises, and political (philosophical) changes have left us unsettled and unsatisfied.  Then came 2016.  We said:  Enough already!  We need total and systemic alterations to not only the conduct but to the direction of Government!
 

We saw Bernie Sanders on the left denouncing the wealthy and the powerful for corrupting everything inside the Government.  However, he didn't get much traction from the democrats.
 

On the right rose an odd nationalist, quasi-populist  Donald Trump with an effective "promise" to drain Washington's swamp.  Strangely, his success was buoyed even further by the opportunistic republicans, and he became President.  And right away, he did not lose any time opening Pandora's box and society's poisons have been unleashed upon us.  What are they?
 

They are ... doubt, distrust, fear, and anger!  How did Mr. Trump accomplish this feat? In many ways ...
~ Misrepresentation of facts.
~ Denunciation of facts as false ( "Fake" news, "Fake" media, etc.).
~ Mastery of the confidence game (trickery, deflections, and empty promises).
~ Veiled threats.
~ Megalomania that appeals to certain segments of society.
~ Fox-News, and the predictable right-wing wacko media.
~ Spineless politicians on both sides of the aisle.
 

What do we need badly to get us out of this political morass and moral decline? ...
~ Truth speakers.
~ Courageous protests.
~ Political and civic participation at all levels of government ... volunteering, voting, etc.
~ Not losing our faith or our hope in our country.  We've been tested before ... we've come thru before ... we shall overcome again!
~ Let's stay focused!
Queen  Daenerys, Khalesi, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains!

 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

CIVICS in and of Itself ! - by Hénock Gugsa



CIVICS in and of Itself !
by Hénock Gugsa
======*======
[ Is it a big priority in American life anymore? ]

Defining and understanding the concept of "Civics" ===> Wikipedia gives a good, clear, and all-encompassing definition of the term: "Civics is the study of the theoretical, political and practical aspects of citizenship, as well as its rights and duties; the duties of citizens to each other as members of a political body and to the government. [Civics] includes the study of civil law and civil code, and the study of government with attention to the role of citizens as opposed to external factors in the operation and oversight of government."

In essence, civics consists of sociopolitical dichotomies in our sovereign existence.
~ There are Rights (privileges) and there are Duties (responsibilities).
~ There is Law and there is Order (which subsumes disorder).
But over-riding and reining in all of these fractious matters is a virtuous concept known as "Civility".

While the origins of civics are certainly ancient, its status globally today range from thriving to endangered to non-existent. Here, in the United States, Civics has been essential, and very relevant in the daily political life of citizens at least up until the mid 1970's. Post-Watergate, the country has been experiencing a serious sociological facelift. With the advancement of the information age thru technology, we have been reaping the benefits certainly of knowledge. But unfortunately, wisdom has eluded us because we have seriously neglected history and civics. And if even a case could be made to the contrary, the current political situation of America reflects unpleasant realities. We have evidence that the fundamental principles of integrity and responsibility have been abandoned by people of means and power.

Sadly, the knowledge and practice of Civics in America today have turned out to be  entirely different things. Civics has been diluted, polluted, and almost totally shorn of the essential pillars of its structure, namely civility and responsibility. Lately, bullies have been running amok everywhere. You see them in all levels and branches of Government (yes, including the Supreme Court), in the media, in church organizations, in businesses, and in the police forces.

Integrity, which is the consolidation of civility and responsibility, is a rarity these days. Furthermore, loyalty and patriotism hardly mean what they used to. We have a President who kowtows to a foreign power while disabusing the citizens of his own nation. We have politicians whose bottom line is "winning" by any and all means. The party in power wants to exclude the minority even from hearings or consulting sessions. But when things go wrong, responsibility is shirked by blaming the minority.

Everything is about negativity (opposition). Nothing is about sacrifice. Nothing is about science. Nothing is about the future. Everything is about "me, me, me!" Everything is about "now, now, now!"

We are where we are now because we have not pushed ahead with our respect for Civics, its study and practical application in all walks of life. We have forgotten that Civics is the bedrock of Freedom and that in turn is the essence of America. 



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Nefarious Somalis - by TPO




The Nefarious Somalis
by TPO
~~~~~~ /// ~~~~~~
Let me start off by putting one point out there loud and clear.  As an Ethiopian-American, I've always had misgivings, and even prejudice against Somalis for as long as I can remember.  More often than not, my position has been strengthened by the various evidences that have been revealed.  Whereas I have not been swayed away from my opinions and beliefs, I have long been impressed by the generally liberal attitude of Minnesotans, at least those in officialdom.  However, I have also felt that these officials have been a tad too naive in their understanding of certain cultures.  I might even say that Minnesota has been far too gullible and far too accommodating to these vociferous and pushy newcomers!

We all know that Minnesota is home to a rich and substantial contingency of immigrants from all corners of the world.  To cite the latest additions (over the last 42 years), we have Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Ethiopians, and Eritreans.  Somalis are actually more recent additions as they have been pouring here in great numbers and becoming dominant in the last 25 years or so.  That is all not bad in and of itself.

However, unlike all the other new citizens, Somalis have been in the news more often in bad light than in good.  Unlike the rest of us, they have never been adept at keeping a low profile while being productive members of society.  Their religion , Islam, is not a problem.  Other ethnic Muslim groups (from Africa, the Middle East, or Asia) living in the United States have certainly been good, patriotic citizens, and the country has been enriched by them.  They have adapted better and have fared generally well up until the new, hostile Washington administration came to power.

But to the specific topic at hand, ... if ever there was a time when Somalis need to be even more circumspect in their visibility and their noisome notoriety, now is it.  The recent news of a Somali policeman killing an innocent, law-abiding woman for no good reason is an example.  What caused this reckless and stupid act?  Was the policeman on drugs (qhat)?  Was he afraid for his life like the disgraceful Jeronimo Yanez?!  And on a tangential matter, will the Police unions now stand behind this Somali officer?  But that is another topic for another day.

I will conclude by saying that I wish this latest police atrocity never happened ... but even more importantly, I fervently hope that we, the quiet and law-abiding ethnic groups, are not bundled, in a willy nilly fashion, with this notorious band.  The burden is on the Somalis to improve their image and work hard, and quietly toward a peaceful coexistence with all fellow citizens.

Karma in the Stone Age


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Enough, Enough with the Drumbeat! ~ by Hénock Gugsa


Enough, Enough with the Drumbeat!
~ by Hénock ~
================================
 

Alright, alright. Give me a break
Stop all that drumbeat, I've had enough
Keep your "360", keep it "All In"
And who needs anyone's "Last Word"
Or a "Situation Room" with a breathless Wuff?

Please, no "Eleventh Hour" and nothing "For the Record"
I prefer "Last Week Tonight" or a Bee's "Full Frontal"
Don't go "Out Front", no "TRMS", and no "Hardball"
"Morning Joe" is pukey, and all of FOX to boot
Just gimme "Time", "Newsweek", "WaPo" or Wall Street Journal!


Nick Offerman





Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Ducks at Nokomis ~ by Hénock Gugsa


The Ducks at Nokomis
by
Hénock Gugsa
=== // === 
 

~ It's "Seven Brothers for One Bride" !
~ Baby, there's a whole lot of clucking & quacking going on !!!