T   P   O
The Patient Ox (aka Hénock Gugsa)

G r e e t i n g s !

** TPO **
A personal blog with diverse topicality and multiple interests!

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. Je suis un francophile .... Bienvenue à tous!

* Your comments and evaluations are appreciated ! *

Monday, February 28, 2011

"A Sheepish Reply" - by Laurence Overmire

A Sheepish Reply
Laurence Overmire


They told him he was a happy man
And happy so he was
He wore the clothes they told him to
He brushed his teeth, he combed his hair
He said the things they said he would
He married and had kids.

He went to work to work to work
And after work he went to work
To work on something more.

He died a happy happy man
Quite happy so they said
For living such a happy life
What was it to be dead?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Content of Character - by Hénock Gugsa

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968)

Content of Character
by Hénock Gugsa
["I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Martin Luther King, Jr. 8/28/'63]

I am writing this piece not because it is now February, a month that some person(s) somewhere for some reason designated as Black History Month. What were they thinking? Isn’t history about character?.... How was it shaped? .... What was its content? .... Is character evolutionary or fixed? .... Is it singular and insulated or is it complex and boundless? We are dealing with one common history here ... the history of America and not just blacks ... and the study of history is (and should be) an on-going, dynamic project with no constraints. Further, the study of American history becomes the study of a nation's character. In the case of Dr. King, I am very confident that he was talking not only of individuals, but also of groups, and classes singularly and collectively. In the final analysis, it seems to me that his dream and fervent desire was for the Nation to have a uniform character of equality, decency, fairness, and brotherly love among all human beings.

It is not enough for anybody (even Dr. King) to just say that “All men are created equal” because that could remain that way as lip service for eternity. After-all for centuries, nations, kings, queens, tyrants, and politicians of all sorts have had to hear that concept at some points in their lives ... it might have been in church, or during rebellions, uprisings and or periods of other threats to the communal well-being such as plagues, fires, etc. What is needed is character ... good, decent character. However, character as a national trait finds its roots and essence in the makeup, upbringing, and conduct of the individuals that make up the populace. Thus if a nation is rife with thieves and cutthroats, its "character" naturally needs a lot of work. Such a nation will not be long for this world, as you may easily deduce [hint: Somalia].

Undoubtedly, the content of character that Dr. King was speaking about manifests to society and all its members (not just blacks, and not just whites) certain duties, responsibilities, and obligations. These can all be encapsulated in one word: RESPECT.

First ... is respect of yourself as an individual and members of your family and group as fellow human beings and citizens. Even a child must be respected by a parent if for no other reason but to set an example.

Second ... is respect of everybody outside your group and family. Respect should be the norm for all situations. Respect everybody. Respect even animals, it is a good habit!

Last but not least, respect all fair and just laws and institutions. Start by assuming that they are fair and just, and if you find that they are not ... work peacefully and diligently to change them. Start at the bottom of the heap if you have to, but do not relent. Work to bring about justice, fairness, and equality. In my humble opinion, that is what character is all about. And, by inference, that is also what is meant by content of character!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"I Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls" - Elīna Garanča

Elina Garanca

Elīna Garanča (1976 - )
"I Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls"

(From The Bohemian Girl ... The Gypsy Girl's Dream)
// Opera composed by Michael William Balfe //
## Words by Alfred Bunn ## 

I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls,
With vassals and serfs at my side,
And of all who assembled within those walls,
That I was the hope and the pride.

I had riches too great to count, could boast
Of a high ancestral name;
But I also dreamt, which pleased me most,
That you lov'd me still the same...

That you lov'd me, you lov'd me still the same,
That you lov'd me, you lov'd me still the same.

I dreamt that suitors sought my hand;
That knights upon bended knee,
And with vows no maiden heart could withstand,
They pledg'd their faith to me;

And I dreamt that one of that noble host
Came forth my hand to claim.
But I also dreamt, which charmed me most,
That you lov'd me still the same...

That you lov'd me, you lov'd me still the same,
That you lov'd me, you lov'd me still the same.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Is Africa Selling the Farm?" - by TPO

Today, the Christian Science Monitor has on its front page a lengthy but very interesting article by Scott Baldauf titled: "Hunger and food security: Is Africa selling the farm?"

Although the article is detailed and somewhat thorough, I have not quite found the whole of it satisfying and/or helpful in getting to the core issues (national sovereignty and security, imperialism and international exploitation, etc.) Furthermore, I think readers may mistakenly be led to believe that with due care and diligence, Africans may actually benefit from leasing or renting pieces of their land to foreigners for agricultural, mining, and other ventures. It would be very easy to conclude that if Africans go about it smartly, there may be a win-win situation here for everybody involved.

Here is my take on the whole matter ....

It does not matter how much wealthy countries or giant conglomerates offer the poor African countries for a piece of their land. It will still be a steal! And there is no guarantee that in the future these leases or rents won't be turned to outright purchases. There is something sinister about all of this. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Forbearance - by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Gently I took that which ungently came,
And without scorn forgave:--Do thou the same.
A wrong done to thee think a cat's-eye spark
Thou wouldst not see, were not thine own heart dark.
Thine own keen sense of wrong that thirsts for sin,
Fear that--the spark self-kindled from within,
Which blown upon will blind thee with its glare,
Or smother'd stifle thee with noisome air.
Clap on the extinguisher, pull up the blinds,
And soon the ventilated spirit finds
Its natural daylight. If a foe have kenn'd,
Or worse than foe, an alienated friend,
A rib of dry rot in thy ship's stout side,
Think it God's message, and in humble pride
With heart of oak replace it;--thine the gains--
Give him the rotten timber for his pains!
** Painting: "Portrait of Patience Escalier" by Vincent Van Gogh