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 ! *

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sense of Entitlement - by Chesley Maldonado

Our Society: The Sense of Entitlement
by Chesley Maldonado

Do you have a sense of entitlement?

Before you say no, read this article.

It many not be true of every single person in the country, but in general, Americans have a sense of entitlement. It basically means that people feel that the world owes them something, they take the things they have for granted, and they expect to get things without giving first. Do you think that maybe you have a sense of entitlement? Keep thinking about it as you read on.

Some children grow up with a sense of entitlement. We all know that little ones want what they want, exactly when they want it. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there. Teenagers often run themselves and their parents into deep debt because they have to have the latest in fashion and technology. Many do poorly in school because they expect every grade to come easily, and even worse they pass their classes with a social promotion doing little more than going to class.

Complaints about any delay, inconvenience or restriction fill the thoughts and conversation of those who have this sense of entitlement. Learning, money, material goods, promotion and reward are expected, even though they do nothing more than the bare minimum. After a life of having things handed to them, they enter the world and wait for good things to happen.

Do you find yourself complaining about how things are not fair, how others should make things easier for you, or that if you do what you are supposed to do you should be rewarded, congratulated or thanked? That sounds like the sense of entitlement to me.

How can we overcome the sense of entitlement?

I have to confess that I am guilty. I know that I have taken certain things in my life for granted, and I have been blessed not to have the struggles that many other people around me have. At the same time, I also know that the attitude that the world owes me something is weak and foolish, and won't help me succeed in life. With that said, let us try to change this attitude, in ourselves, and in our children.

We have to realize and accept the following truths to rid ourselves of the hindrance that the sense of entitlement creates.

* Life is not fair. Sometimes people have more, but only because they earned it. At the same time, there are other people who work harder and have less than you. Try not to focus on the people who have more but seem to do less.

* No one owes us anything. Everything you have is a gift, right down to the air you breathe.

* Goals and dreams can only be attained through hard work and a willingness to never quit. Success is not going to chase you down, you have to make it come to you.

* There will always be inconvenience. You are special, and I am sure you have wonderful qualities, but you will have to wait sometimes, just like everyone else.

Hopefully, we can all absorb this reality and be thankful for what we have. Hard work needs to be a part of our lives in order to reach our goals. We can't just barely meet requirements and expect exceptional rewards.

If we strive to better ourselves with gratitude and ambition, our personal achievements will replace our sense of entitlement with a sense of accomplishment.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Hilarity from Geico - by TPO

English: our official language - by Petula Dvorak

English: our official language
By Petula Dvorak,
Published: February 23, 2012
The Washington Post

You’re in America. Speak English.

That’s what my parents say. And it’s exactly what they did when they came to this country from Czechoslovakia more than four decades ago, knowing nothing more than the lyrics to the Beach Boys’ “Sloop John B.”

My parents would be all over the legislation passed this week by the Frederick County board of commissioners making English the official language of a fast-growing and increasingly diverse place.

And why not? No driver’s test or school registration form or ballot was printed for them in Czech. If they wanted to live in the United States and prosper, they had to learn English.

In fact, all the immigrants I talked to in Frederick this week — people who came here from India, Nigeria, Vietnam and Pakistan — took the same position as my parents: They had to learn to function in English as soon as they hit American soil.

Hearing all of their stories, and knowing my own, I agree.

But touting universal English gives me pause because it puts me in the uncomfortable position of making common cause with xenophobes. The folks who pushed for this legislation in Frederick aren’t doing it because they want to commune with their new neighbors. They aren’t offering English immersion classes or anything else constructive.

Declaring English the official language is a backhanded slap at immigration and immigrants, usually aimed at Hispanics. It’s straight-up code for Get Out from people freaking out because their town is starting to look less and less like them.

And it’s kind of funny that this is the tactic they choose, because the ability to speak fluent English is hugely empowering for immigrants.

Imagine Trung Huynh’s kitchen at the Lucky Corner restaurant in downtown Frederick if everybody spoke his native language.

Cooking and serving the carmelized pork pots, pho bowls and lotus salad orders would be nothing but a mess of confusion.

“I’ve got Pakistani, Indian, Vietnamese, Spanish. Nobody could do their jobs if we didn’t all speak English,” said Huynh, who came to America when he was 11.

He learned English in school and also studied Spanish. His parents took intense English courses for their first year here.

His father, Pha Huynh, worked his way up to become an executive chef, then opened his own restaurant, where his son is now a manager.

“He could never do that if all he spoke was Vietnamese,” the son said. He sees that problem in other members of the Vietnamese community who are held back by their fear of English.

But his favorite example of that trap is a Latina employee who started as a dishwasher. She spoke almost no English, and for a while, Huynh spoke Spanish to her, until he began noticing she wouldn’t communicate with any other employees and was languishing in her job.

“I stopped it with the Spanish and began teaching her English, making her speak it,” he said. “Now, she’s at the front of the house, talking to people, out there and making better money.”

This story rang my bell because it’s similar to how it happened with my parents, who also landed jobs washing dishes and busing tables.

They struggled to rent an apartment, buy a car and wade through the mountains of paperwork I brought home from school every day, written in English and Spanish.

I was born here, but we spoke Czech at home. When I arrived at the local public school, they put me in an English as a Second Language class. It was in Spanish, and it didn’t last long.

Soon enough, our English got better because it had to. My parents advanced to the front-of-the-house as servers, quickly making enough money to buy a house of their own.

And my teachers soon complained that I wouldn’t shut up in class. (Hard to believe, right?)

My parents weren’t lucky enough to have a boss like Huynh. Same goes for many other Latinos who live and work in downtown Frederick.

Go into any of the cute restaurants along downtown’s main drag, and you’ll probably see white folks as the servers making the big tips and Latinos working in the back, doing the low-paying work.

Besides preventing advancement, shunning English helps create factions in a county that is becoming more and more diverse.

“Language is the main thing in a culture and a society that brings people together,” said Syed W. Haque, a Frederick County doctor who came here from Pakistan in 1992.

He sees patients of many nationalities. And he loves the sound of Spanish, the complexity of an Urdu poem and the quiet rhythm of the new English spoken by Burmese immigrants. But when it comes to aches and pains and illness, English is the only way to communicate clearly.

“In Pakistan, the multilinguistic tussles divided the country,” Haque said. “Language became one of the reasons for so many controversies. And it already divided us here in Frederick.”

It was a wicked fight in Frederick, leading up to the 4 to 1 vote this week by county commissioners to make English the official language. The tone of it was ugly and mean-spirited. But the point is right.

Dvorak's columns can be found at Washingtonpost.com/dvorak.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yer jus' cain't win! - by TPO

Yer jus' cain't win!
by TPO (*)

1. Law of Mechanical Repair: After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.

2. Law of Gravity: Any tool, nut, bolt, or screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

3. Law of Probability: The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

4. Law of Random Numbers: If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.

[Huh?? Where is 5? ... where did it go? Darn it? Did Kathy S. mess up here thus proving her point!!]

6. [Bulletin Board propounds a new Law of Only a ________ Would Notice: In any numbered list, some number will be missing!] Variation Law: If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now.

7. Law of the Bath: When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

8. Law of Close Encounters: The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

9. Law of the Result: When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

10. Law of Biomechanics: The severity of the itch is directly proportional to the reach.

11. Law of the Theater & Hockey Arena: At any event, the people whose seats are farthest from the aisle always arrive last. They are the ones who will leave their seats several times to go for food, beer, or the toilet and who leave early, before the performance or the game is over. The folks in the
aisle seats come early, never move once, have long gangly legs or big bellies and stay to the bitter end of the performance. The aisle people also are very surly folk.

12. The Coffee Law: As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

13. Murphy's Law of Lockers: If there are only two people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.

14. Law of Physical Surfaces: The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet or rug.

15. Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

16. Brown's Law of Physical Appearance: If the clothes fit, they're ugly.

17. Oliver's Law of Public Speaking: A closed mouth gathers no feet.

18. Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy: As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.

19. Doctors' Law: If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor. By the time you get there, you'll feel better. But don't make an appointment, and you'll stay sick.
(*) Source: FWD'd by Kathy S. of St. Paul to St.Paul Pioneer Press
Posted by SPPP: 02/17/2012 12:01:00 AM CST

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Humor, the Wry and Sardonic Kind - by Anonymous

Humor, the Wry and Sardonic Kind
by Anonymous

A doctor says to his patient, "I have bad news and worse news".
"Oh dear, what's the bad news?" asks the patient.
The doctor replies, "You only have 24 hours to live."
"That's terrible," says the patient. "How can the news possibly be worse?"
The doctor replies, "I've been trying to contact you since yesterday."

Employer: "We need someone responsible for this job."
"Sir your search ends here! In my previous job whenever something went wrong,everybody said I was responsible."

Joe and Dave are hunting when Dave keels over. Frantic, Joe dials 911 on his cell phone and blurts, "My friend just dropped dead! What should I do?" A soothing voice at the other end says, "Don't worry, I can help. First, let's make sure he's really dead." After a brief silence, the operator hears a shot. Then Joe comes back to the phone. "Okay," he says nervously to the operator. "What do I do next?"

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun wrote a note, and posted it on the apple tray: "Take only ONE. God is watching."
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. A child had written a note, "Take all you want. God is watching the apples."

One man to another ~ Are you a psychologist?
Other man ~ Why do you ask?
1st man ~ You are a psychologist.

A rude tourist was looking at paintings in a museum. He didn't find anything interesting and turned to the attendant while pointing to a large frame.
Tourist ~ (making an ugly face) Is this what you call art?
Attendant ~ No sir, this is what we call a mirror.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Slip Away" - by Clarence Carter

"Slip Away"
by Clarence Carter (1936 -)

Slip Away
What would I give
For just a few moments
What would I give
Just to have you near

Tell me you will try
To slip away somehow
Oh, I need you, darling
I want to see you right now

an you slip away

Slip away
Slip away
Oh, I need you so
Love, oh, love
How sweet it is
When you steal it, darling
Let me tell you somethin' now how sweet it is
Now I know it's wrong
The things I ask you to do
But please believe me, darling
I don't mean to hurt you
But could you just slip away
Without him knowing you're gone
Then we could meet somewhere
Somewhere where we're both are not known
And just can just you slip away
Slip away
Slip away
I need you so
Oh, can you slip away, baby
I'd like to see you right now, darling
Can you slip away now, baby
'Cause I got to, I got to see you
I feel a deep burning inside ...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dagu Communication - by G. Menbere & T S Skjerdal

"The Potential of Dagu Communication in North-eastern Ethiopia"
By Gulilat Menbere and Terje S. Skjerdal *

The Afar people of north-eastern Ethiopia possess a traditional communication system that in several ways resembles modern news media. Properly used ‘dagu’ could be a vital instrument in for instance health education.

The Afar region in Ethiopia is not a place Western travelers normally visit. Situated in north-eastern Ethiopia and extending into Eritrea, it stretches across the Danakil Depression which has been named ‘one of the hottest, most inhospitable places on earth’ (Lonely Planet) and the ‘cruelest place on earth’ (National Geographic). This is home to the Afar people, who are not, however, known for being inhospitable.

Numbering 1.4 million, the Afars are a pastoral and semi-pastoral people. The two major clans are Asahimara (‘white Afar’) and Adohimara (‘red Afar’). Both could possibly be defined as ‘rural poor’ by official standards – but then there is hardly a modern cash economy to talk about in Afar and we feel uneasy using a potentially degrading term such as ‘rural poor’. The Afars are mobile pastoralists and typically live by herding goats, sheep, camels and cattle. Less than 9% live in urban (semi-urban) areas.

Modern mass media are not widespread in Afar. Electricity is a rare commodity and television is not an issue. Newspapers are to a small extent distributed outside the big cities in Ethiopia, and there are no big cities in this part of the country. Radio sets, on the other hand, do exist in the Afar region, but not even close to the average distribution of radios in rural Africa. Also, the expense and poor availability of batteries as well as limited broadcasts in Afari make radio a less attractive medium in this region.

Despite all this, the Afars possess a sophisticated system for news exchange. It is called dagu, which could be translated to mean ‘news’, but it is more than a package of hard or soft news. It is a social institution with particular purposes in the daily life of the Afars.

‘What have your ears heard?’

Dagu functions within a defined set of regulations and expectations, though the rules are not necessarily written. The law of dagu means that whenever you meet someone on the road who has traveled reasonably far, say from a nearby village, you are required to pause and engage in a news exchange session. The two persons will usually sit down – not over a cup of coffee, but right there and then without interruption – and the session typically begins with the phrases ‘Iytii maha tobie?’ and ‘Intii maha tubilie?’ (‘What have your ears heard?’; ‘What have your eyes witnessed?’). The dagu can be any item of public relevance, such as weddings, funerals, battles, new alliances, missing cattle or the conditions of the trail ahead.

Failure to pass on relevant information is not only an offense to the conversation partner, but a harm to the community. To this end, misuse of dagu is subject to punishment within customary law (Mada’a), which has a prominent place in the Afar culture. Anyone who passes on unchecked information, for instance, is punished according to the Mada’a. Disseminating false or fabricated information is unforgivable.

Dagu resembles modern news communication in several ways. Even if the information doesn’t reach a large mass simultaneously, it is meant to reach a considerable portion of the population within a short period of time. The swiftness of dagu is indeed remarkable. It can spread to a high number of people within few days. One informant claimed a piece of information can reach from the desert town of Semera to the port cities of Djibouti and Massawa (Eritrea) within two or three days – a road distance of 300 to 700 km.

When four Britons and a Frenchwoman were taken hostage by separatists in the Afar region in March 2007, it was dagu which brought the news of their fate to the international public. They were deported to Eritrea by the kidnappers, but were unharmed and safe according to the report which eventually reached Addis Ababa. The report turned out to be trustworthy (Naughton, 2007).

The Internet of the Afar

Many Afars describe dagu as ‘our telephone’. One informant, who is educated, compared it with the Internet: ‘Dagu is the Internet of the Afar. Information is transmitted in the form of relay where an Afar must quickly share anything new to another Afar on his way to daily practice. It is as dynamic as an interesting e-mail message which someone forwards knowing that the recipient will surely forward it to others soon’ (Awel Wogris Mohammed, head of the Afar Regional Health Bureau).

The analogy of the Internet makes sense. Dagu is not only fast and appealing; it is also an active, participant-oriented medium. Although the receiver is not supposed to alter the message, he or she is expected to engage with the news and take proper action. Also, the conveyer must check the information, similar to what a journalist would do before publishing a news item.

In a feature for National Geographic Virginia Morell (2005: 41) observes that dagu is ‘a poetic litany that can be almost Homeric in its detail and precision.’ At the same time, some informants admit that the information may be slightly distorted en route, as in cases of exaggeration. Straight-up false information, however, is strictly reprimanded, not only for the individual, but for the community. In the words of one informant: ‘False claims defame the clan, not only an individual member. So people take care of sifting the right information.’ (Ali Yayu, Degagegie village).

Elderly people, especially men, have a particular responsibility to check and affirm the information passed on. A common journalistic tool, namely crosschecking with multiple sources, is one of the techniques used in this exercise. This is reflected in an Afar proverb: ‘Numma sidihaawai yabienii’ (‘News is heard thrice’). Especially if the information might have disastrous consequences, it is extraordinarily important that the news is double- and triple-checked before it is passed on. The quality of the source will then be one of the testing points. In other words it is not arbitrary who the information came from. This is pinpointed in another traditional proverb: ‘Kok iyiiyie kok iyie numuk iyiiyie?’ (‘Who told you; who told the person who told you?’).

Gender differences

Social structure and hierarchy are manifested in dagu. As noted above, elderly men are particularly trusted to verify the information passed on. They are also observed to have the most passionate relationship with dagu and perform it with utmost patience. To underline the earnestness they often close the session with prayer (du’aa).

The practice of dagu does show some gender differences. In his MA thesis research on dagu, Gulilat Menbere found that it is more frequently used by men than by women. Men are more often seen exchanging dagu, and this is confirmed by the informants. There is an expectation for Afar men of some age to employ and master dagu. As one informant said, ‘It is unmanly to avoid dagu for an Afar man. He would never be considered a responsible member of the pastoral community if he avoids dagu.’

It is however doubtful that the gender differences in using dagu are solely caused by gender prejudice. The fact that men use dagu more than women is largely a result of men’s higher mobility in daily life. They travel more when they look after the cattle and thus meet more outsiders. Still, one informant – an elderly woman from Wasero village – contended that it is because of males’ suspicions and prejudices that women engage somewhat less in dagu. She maintained that ‘our husbands feel that we would be more easily sexually abused if we encountered someone from outside of the family.’ Nevertheless, dagu is used by both men and women and there is no principal restriction for women to use it less than men.

There is some concern that urbanization and modern culture will negatively affect dagu. Some locals express the view that hectic town life is not concordant with proper use of dagu. The claim is that respect for dagu requires time and this is not something modern communication cares for. One informant referred to an Afari saying to express this: ‘Yardiee dagu kee defia daguu inkii gidee hinaa’ (‘Settled dagu and brisk dagu do not bring the same return’). This again shows that dagu has a status on its own and stands in contrast to a typical hasty conversation about the latest news as we know it in the North.

Using dagu in education

How does dagu fit in with new forms of communication? There seems to be partly
contradictory opinions about this among the Afars, and the dividing line appears to be between the young and the mature. Some of the elderly people are skeptical to including information from national mass media in the dagu. Nura Mohammed, an elderly pastoralist from Dohoo, expresses his skepticism to radio broadcasts: ‘If I tune to radio, I am afraid that I miss some important dagu.’ His trust lies much more with dagu than with a distant medium where he can’t see the communication partner face-to-face. In contrast to the radio he calls dagu ‘a reliable source of information’.

Some younger people, on the other hand, say that they sometimes incorporate information from the radio in dagu conversations. Even so, it appears that modern media messages are only to a limited extent incorporated and merged with dagu. This poses a challenge to communication agents who rely on traditional mass communication, including posters, to convey messages in the Afar region.

It would appear that one of the keys to successful mass communication in this region lies in the value of oratory. Oral, face-to-face communication encourages instantaneous feedback and makes use of non-verbal cues. This is dagu in practice. Most importantly, dagu is liked by the rural majority and is the most trusted means to convey public information. Properly used it could be a vital instrument in for instance HIV/AIDS communication.

It is also a means of communication where equality and mutual care is at the heart. As one Afari proverb rightly affirms, ‘Numuktienak daguu abanah numuktenak ogiel defianah’ (‘Inquiring information from someone makes you his contemporary’).
* Gulilat Menbere is a lecturer in journalism and communication studies at Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia. He spent much time in the Afar region in 2006 doing field research on dagu.

* Terje S. Skjerdal (terje.skjerdal@mediehogskolen.no) is an assistant professor at Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communication, Kristiansand, Norway, and also teaches at the Faculty of Journalism and Communication, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Source: Media Development 1/2008, pp. 19–21. ISSN 0143-5558
http://www.waccglobal.org/lang-en/publications/media-development/44-2008- 1.html?layout=simple

Saturday, February 4, 2012

An Open Letter to Romney and His Ilk - by TPO

To: Mitt Romney, Aspiring Presidential Hopeful
From: The Patient Ox, a Middle Class Nobody
Date: February 4, 2012

Subject: Safety Nets and Soaring Balloons

Dear Mr. Romney:

I have been following your quadrennial political campaigns for quite some time now. They are indeed something of an insolvable puzzle to me. Why, sir, why are you running? Obviously, it is not for the money or the glamor. You definitely don't need the former, and you will still be the same awkward guy with the latter. Leaving these matters aside, however, my main concern is what you say, your utterances, and the vacuousness of your whole persona. In particular, I would like to examine, analyze, and question your stance on America's poor, America's wealthy, and America's middle class.

In your latest mindless statement you said, "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich, they're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling."

First of all, I'm not even sure you know the exact number or population percentage of either the poor or the middle class. You don't even know if you have a tight enough safety net to catch the poor or the middle class who are fast approaching poverty.

Secondly, you say the very rich are doing fine. Then why are you and the rest of your greedy ilk clamoring and calling for more and permanent tax breaks for the One Percent? And, incidentally, I suspect that your number may be even less than what we keep getting told. I wouldn't be surprised if you comprise 0.5% of the population. You are, however, right not to worry about the very rich. They are being swept higher and higher by a sturdy and soaring balloon. I sure would love to fly in their beautiful, their beautiful balloon! [Is that envy or just good old American greed, à la Gordon Gekko?]

Thirdly, just to be Newt-like (i.e. nihilistic), if you believe that you have an accurate picture of the State of Americans, then you should realize that there is hardly any remedy for our ills from your side of the camp. You only believe in making the rich richer. The poor have "safety nets" that you had no part in building. And the unlucky middle class will have to wait for crumbs from you (i.e the trickle-down baloney!)

Fourthly, and lastly, aren't you the guy who loves to "be able to fire" those who don't give you the goods or services you want. That is typical of what we expect a CEO of a corporation to say. Incidentally, Cargill corporation recently laid off 2000 employees because of two consecutive declines in quarterly profits after more than a year of steady earnings increases. Not enough bonus for the CEO, maybe? You probably will empathize with the corporation now, won't you? Not the 2000 middle class people that got laid off.

I am not amazed that the greedy old people [GOP] party has picked you for a standard bearer. They deserve you, not Ron Paul who is infinitely more disciplined, principled, thoughtful, caring and altogether worthy candidate.

But, Mr. Romney, I still wish you best of luck because at least you are a better [more decent?!] person than the Gingrich monster.


The Patient Ox

Friday, February 3, 2012

"The Stonecutter" - by R' Abraham Tewerski, MD

The Stonecutter (*)
by R' Abraham Twerski, MD

There was a stonecutter who earned his livelihood by hewing rocks from the mountain. This was back-breaking as well as spirit-breaking work, and he would often curse his fate. "Why was I destined to be so lowly and humble? Why are other people so wealthy and mighty while I break my bones every day from dawn to dusk to put food on my table?"

One day, as he was engaged in this reverie, he heard a loud tumult in the distance. He climbed to the top of the mountain and could see a parade far off. The king was passing by, and on either side of the road there were throngs of people shouting, "Bravo," and throwing flowers at the royal coach.

"How wonderful it is to be great and powerful," the stonecutter thought. "I wish that I could be king."

As he spoke, he did not know that this happened to be his moment of grace, during which his wishes would be granted, and he suddenly found himself transformed. He was no longer a stonecutter. He was the king, clad in ermine, sitting in the royal coach drawn by white horses and receiving the acclaim of the crowd. "How wonderful it is to be the mightiest in all the land!"

After a while, however, he began to feel uncomfortable. The bright sun was shining down on him, making him sweat and squirm in his royal robes. "What is this?" he thought. "If I am the mightiest in the land then nothing should be able to affect me. If the sun can humble me, then the sun is mightier than I. But I wish to be the mightiest of all! I wish to be the sun."

Immediately he was transformed into the sun. He felt its mighty, unparalleled force. He could give light and warmth to everything in the world. It was his energy that made vegetation grow. He could provide warmth when he so wished, or devastating fires when he was angry. "I am indeed the mightiest of all," he said to himself.

But suddenly he found himself very frustrated. He wished to direct his rays at a given point, but was unable to do so. A great cloud had moved beneath him and obstructed his rays. "Here, here!" he said. "If I am the mightiest, then nothing should be able to hinder me. If a cloud can frustrate the sun, then the cloud is mightier, yet I wish to be the mightiest. I wish to be a cloud!"

As a great, heavy cloud, he felt very powerful, dumping torrents of rain wherever he wished, and blocking the mighty sun. But his joy was short-lived, for suddenly he was swept away by a sharp gust of wind against which he felt himself helpless.

"Aha!" he cried. "The wind is even mightier than a cloud! Then I shall be the wind."

Transformed into the wind, he roared over oceans, churning immense waves. He blew over forests, toppling tall trees as if they were toothpicks. "Now I am truly the mightiest," he said.

But suddenly he felt himself stymied. He had come up against a tall mountain, and blow as he might, he could not get past. "So," he said, "a mountain is mightier than the wind! Then I wish to be a mountain."

As a tall mountain, he stood majestically, his peak reaching above the clouds. He was indeed formidable. Neither wind nor sun could affect him. Now he was indeed the mightiest.

All at once he felt a sharp pain. What was this? A stonecutter with a sharp pickax was tearing pieces out of him. "How can this be?" he asked. "If someone can dismember me then he must be even mightier than I. I wish to be that man." His wish was granted, and he was transformed into the mightiest of all: a stonecutter.

A while back a young man consulted me, seeking advice regarding a choice of medical specialties. He was a radiology resident, but was dissatisfied with that specialty. He was considering either psychiatry or anesthesiology. Prior to radiology he had served a year's residence in internal medicine, but did not like that specialty. Prior to medical school he had gone to engineering college, but had left there after one year. Now he wished to know what I recommended he do.

I told him a story. About a stonecutter.


* Source: http://www.torah.org/features/secondlook/thestonecutter.html

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Associated Press News Release / January 26, 2012

Even before the debate started a rowdy, Paul-supporting, crowd at the University of North Florida debate site shouted jeers toward the Transportation Security Administration. The anti-TSA chants came days after Paul's son, GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, was stopped by security at the Nashville airport when a scanner set off an alarm and Paul declined to allow a security officer to pat him down.

Police escorted Paul away, but allowed him to board a later flight.

Ron Paul has already used his son's experience to promote his "Plan to Restore America," which would cut $1 trillion of federal spending in a year and eliminate the TSA. He has said the incident reflects that the "police state in this country is growing out of control."

* For the record: TPO is in full support of Ron Paul on this matter. In point of fact, TPO has already previously written about his displeasure with TSA. [refer:Land of the Profiled]