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, May 23, 2012

The Sniffle - by Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash

The Sniffle 
by Ogden Nash
 In spite of her sniffle 
Isabel's chiffle. 
Some girls with a sniffle
 Would be weepy and tiffle; 
They would look awful, 
Like a rained-on waffle, 
But Isabel's chiffle 
In spite of her sniffle.
 Her nose is more red 
With a cold in her head, 
But then, to be sure, 
Her eyes are bluer. 
Some girls with a snuffle,
 Their tempers are uffle. 
But when Isabel's snivelly 
She's snivelly civilly, 
And when she's snuffly 
She's perfectly luffly. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Troublesome Friends - by Kathie Jenkins


Women Are More Trouble at Dinner than Men,

and Other Tales


By Kathie Jenkins*
 I'm never short of dining partners. Much as I'd like to believe the lure is my charming personality, the cruel truth is most eat with me because I pick up the tab.

Being able to treat people to a nice meal on the company credit card is one of the best things about my job. But because I eat out so often, I've learned that diners have a lot of prejudices and peccadilloes. 

I have what I call "my regulars," those who love eating at all types of restaurants and don't care if I tell them what to order or if I eat off their plates. They get that I'm working and don't expect things to be the same as if they were dining out for pleasure. But not everyone is as understanding. Over the years, I've learned that Dr. Jekylls can easily turn into Ms. Hydes. I hate to say it, but I've found that women are much more work than men. Meet a few of them: 


A good friend but a dining nightmare, C.F. always asks to move to a different table, takes forever to make up her mind on what to order and asks to try every red on the wine list before she decides on a glass. Inevitably, she sends something back and then turns to me and says, "You know, I'm doing this for you, so you can see how they handle these situations." I usually want to kill her. 


After a few meals together, I began to notice that this woman was only interested in eating at nice places and always homed in on the most expensive entree on the menu. She was always careful to leave with a doggie bag. The final straw came when she called a few hours before we were to meet at a restaurant and said she was bringing along her husband, whom I didn't know, "because he likes to eat at nice restaurants, too." 


P.E. not only has food issues but also is completely self-absorbed. She doesn't eat meat, cheese, bread or anything with eyes and needs to know the provenance of every ingredient. She'll reject a dish based on texture or just because it sounds "icky." Listening to her pepper the server with questions sets me on edge. "Is the soup made with vegetable stock?" "Can I have soy cheese instead of goat cheese?" "Can I have more salsa and avocado on my tostada instead of the sour cream and chicken?" And she's still never satisfied. What a surprise. 


We weren't at the table more than a minute when this one started snapping her fingers for a double brandy. And then another. Soon, she was raising her voice and discussing my reviews in front of the server. When her food arrived, she barely touched it, preferring an after-dinner brandy instead. Needless to say, I never invited her to eat with me again. 


Miss S.G.C. is a perennial dieter and always ordered the salmon and goat cheese salad when it was on every menu in town. If she couldn't have it, she pouted. She always ordered dressing on the side and never liked the idea of anyone tasting "her" food. I finally cut her off my list. 


Unfortunately, I can't do the same with Mr. Meat & Potatoes, who is only  interested in steak. I happen to be married to this guy. He eats out with me only if he knows he can score a good steak, and he really isn't interested in sharing. So, I'm always sure to ask for a nice big taste and perhaps another -- just to torture him.

*  Kathie Jenkins, Restaurant Critic 
Pioneer Press (posted 5/16/2012) 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Romney's Car Problem - by Los Angeles Times


Romney's car problem
Los Angeles Times Editorial 
March 19, 2012

 [By insisting that the auto industry bailout was a mistake, he hands Obama a clear line of attack.] 

Mitt Romney has car trouble. No, we're not referring to the notorious 1983 incident in which he forced the family dog to ride in a crate strapped to the top of his station wagon, but a matter likely to hurt him far more with blue-collar voters: his contention that the bailouts of the U.S. automotive industry by both Presidents George W. Bush and Obama were a bad idea. 

If a speech last week by Vice President Joe Biden is any indicator, the Obama campaign is going to use the auto bailouts as a sledgehammer against Romney, should the latter emerge as the GOP nominee. Rallying a union crowd in Ohio, Biden slammed Romney for claiming that bailing out the Detroit automakers would turn them into the "living dead." 

 "Gov. Romney's predictions of a living dead? We have now living proof: a million jobs saved, 200,000 new jobs created," Biden said, to cheers. With Romney trying to sell himself as a better steward of the economy than Obama, his demonstrably wrong conclusions about the bailouts are grist for the Obama attack mill (the other GOP presidential contenders also opposed the bailouts, but the Obama campaign is focusing its criticisms on Romney). In 2008, Romney wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that began, "If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye." Not only has the industry failed to vanish, but GM has reported record profits and regained its crown as the world's biggest automaker. 

Romney compounds his problem by continuing to insist the bailouts were a mistake. His argument is twofold: The companies should have been allowed to go through a "managed bankruptcy" without government intervention, which would have reduced taxpayer risk. And, because the restructuring that followed the bailouts ended up handing large ownership stakes in GM and Chrysler to the United Auto Workers, "the president gave the companies to the UAW." Both propositions are disingenuous. A bailout-free bankruptcy would indeed have been a preferable option in 2008, but it wasn't a realistic one. The automakers needed a big infusion of cash to stay afloat during bankruptcy proceedings, and no bank was willing to provide it, making Washington the lender of last resort. Had the government failed to act, not only would the two companies likely have been liquidated but they would have taken much of the U.S. auto sector — parts makers and other suppliers — with them, causing devastating job losses. Meanwhile, the UAW ended up with big shares in the automakers because the companies were so deeply indebted to the union. That would have been the outcome even if Romney's bailout-free bankruptcy had taken place. 

If ever there were an issue begging for a Romney flip-flop, the auto bailouts would be it. By uncharacteristically sticking with a losing position, Romney could be handing the keys to manufacturing states to Obama. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Preach Hope not Fear!" - E J Dionne jr.

I’m not quitting the church
  By E.J. Dionne Jr.,
Opinion Writer, Washington Post
Published: May 13, 2012

Recently, a group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) ran a full-page ad in The Washington Post cast as an “open letter to ‘liberal’ and ‘nominal’ Catholics.” Its headline commanded: “It’s Time to Quit the Catholic Church.”

The ad included the usual criticism of Catholicism, but I was most struck by this paragraph: “If you think you can change the church from within — get it to lighten up on birth control, gay rights, marriage equality, embryonic stem-cell research — you’re deluding yourself. By remaining a ‘good Catholic,’ you are doing ‘bad’ to women’s rights. You are an enabler. And it’s got to stop.”

My, my. Putting aside the group’s love for unnecessary quotation marks, it was shocking to learn that I’m an “enabler” doing “bad” to women’s rights. But Catholic liberals get used to these kinds of things. Secularists, who never liked Catholicism in the first place, want us to leave the church, but so do Catholic conservatives who want the church all to themselves.

I’m sorry to inform the FFRF that I am declining its invitation to quit. It may not see the Gospel as a liberating document, but I do, and I can’t ignore the good done in the name of Christ by the sisters, priests, brothers and lay people who have devoted their lives to the poor and the marginalized.

And on women’s rights, I take as my guide that early feminist Pope John XXIII. In Pacem in Terris, his encyclical issued in 1963, the same year Betty Friedan published “The Feminine Mystique,” Pope John spoke of women’s “natural dignity.”

“Far from being content with a purely passive role or allowing themselves to be regarded as a kind of instrument,” he wrote, “they are demanding both in domestic and in public life the rights and duties which belong to them as human persons.”

I’d like the FFRF to learn more about the good Pope John, but I wish our current bishops would think more about him, too. I wonder if the bishops realize how some in their ranks have strengthened the hands of the church’s adversaries (and disheartened many of the faithful) with public statements — including that odious comparison of President Obama to Hitler by a Peoria prelate last month — that threaten to shrink the church into a narrow, conservative sect.

Do the bishops notice how often those of us who regularly defend the church turn to the work of nuns on behalf of charity and justice to prove Catholicism’s detractors wrong? Why in the world would the Vatican, apparently pushed by right-wing American bishops, think it was a good idea to condemn the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the main organization of nuns in the United States?

The Vatican’s statement, issued last month, seemed to be the revenge of conservative bishops against the many nuns who broke with the hierarchy and supported health-care reform in 2010. The nuns insisted, correctly, that the health-care law did not fund abortion. This didn’t sit well with men unaccustomed to being contradicted, and the Vatican took the LCWR to task for statements that “disagree with or challenge positions taken by the bishops.”

Oh yes, and the nuns are also scolded for talking a great deal about social justice and not enough about abortion (as if the church doesn’t talk enough about abortion already). But has it occurred to the bishops that less stridency might change more hearts and minds on this very difficult question?

A thoughtful friend recently noted that carrying a child to term is an act of overwhelming generosity. For nine months, a woman gives her body to another life, not to mention the rest of her years. Might the bishops consider that their preaching on abortion would have more credibility if they treated women in the church, including nuns, with the kind of generosity they are asking of potential mothers? They might usefully embrace a similar attitude toward gay men and lesbians.

Too many bishops seem in the grip of dark suspicions that our culture is moving at breakneck speed toward a demonic end. Pope John XXIII, by contrast, was more optimistic about the signs of the times.

“Distrustful souls see only darkness burdening the face of the earth,” he once said. “We prefer instead to reaffirm all our confidence in our Savior who has not abandoned the world which he redeemed.” The church best answers its critics when it remembers that its mission is to preach hope, not fear.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Posterior Breezes" - by WBG

 "Posterior Breezes!"
Wisconsin Boonies Grandma*
"I went to the store to purchase a birthday card for my sister. 

"I couldn't decide whether to pick a card to remind her of her OTD status or something sentimental. As I approached the card section, I decided to go around the end to the Comic section. 

"I stopped when I heard a really loud rumbling noise coming from around the corner. I realized it was a long posterior wind, giving someone a big degree of comfort. I hesitated just a second and stepped around the corner to see a little old lady innocently perusing the cards. 

"The second card I picked up contained this touching verse: 'Somebody [expelled a posterior breeze] in the card shop and I could only hold my breath long enough to grab this one: HAPPY BIRTHDAY. And many more!' 

"I grabbed the envelope and the card and dashed back around the corner, in fear of breaking out in uncontrollable laughter." 
*Source: Pioneer Press Bulletin Board 


Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Do, I Will, I Have - by Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash

I Do, I Will, I Have
by Ogden Nash (1902 - 1971)

How wise I am to have instructed the butler
to instruct the first footman to instruct the second
footman to instruct the doorman to order my carriage;
I am about to volunteer a definition of marriage.

Just as I know that there are two Hagens, Walter and Copen,
I know that marriage is a legal and religious alliance entered
into by a man who can't sleep with the window shut and a
woman who can't sleep with the window open.

Moreover, just as I am unsure of the difference between
flora and fauna and flotsam and jetsam,
I am quite sure that marriage is the alliance of two people
one of whom never remembers birthdays and the other
never forgetsam,
And he refuses to believe there is a leak in the water pipe or
the gas pipe and she is convinced she is about to asphyxiate
or drown,
And she says Quick get up and get my hairbrushes off the
windowsill, it's raining in, and he replies Oh they're all right,
it's only raining straight down.

That is why marriage is so much more interesting than divorce,
Because it's the only known example of the happy meeting of
the immovable object and the irresistible force.
So I hope husbands and wives will continue to debate and
combat over everything debatable and combatable,
Because I believe a little incompatibility is the spice of life,
particularly if he has income and she is pattable.