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 ! *

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

NYPD, unclassy and rude! - FB commentary by Hénock Gugsa

click picture to enlarge

Hundreds Turn Their Back
on de Blasio at NYPD Officer's Funeral
ABC News / Facebook – December 27, 2014

[NYPD, unclassy and rude! - FB commentary by Hénock Gugsa]
Hénock Gugsa - They seem to have forgotten their primary objective is "to protect and to serve."
It has never been "to be pampered and worshiped."
    Tim Gaylord - That's the dumbest thing I've read all day.
      Hénock Gugsa - But it got 8 likes all the same ... you must be one of those disrespectful cops to get upset by my comment!
        Hénock Gugsa - People should not expect to get respect thru disrespect. The Mayor came to pay his respects, and you respond like that! How honorable is that? Surely, there are other worthier venues for protest.
          Hénock Gugsa - Bullies and idiots use the word "dumb" to describe what they do not or cannot comprehend. It is a self-reflective word in their case, and they are merely self-projecting. And what I just said here is too complex for them because they are so dense!

          Friday, December 26, 2014

          Head, Heart - by Lydia Davis

          Head, Heart *

          Heart weeps.
          Head tries to help Heart.
          Head tries to tell Heart how it is, again.

          You will lose the ones you love. They will all go. But even the
          Earth will go, someday.

          Heart feels better, then.
          But the words of Head do not remain long in the ears of Heart.
          Heart is so new to this.
          I want them back, says Heart.
          Head is all Heart has.
          Help, Head. Help Heart.

          - Lydia Davis, 2007
          * Source-  Maira Kalman: "My Favorite Things"

          Tuesday, December 23, 2014

          The Shadowy "Deep State" in America - by Mike Lofgren

          The Shadowy "Deep State" in America
          === /// === \\\ === 

          I don't know why people are so concerned for the welfare and happiness of cops or other trivial matters when there are bigger and more urgent matters that need our attention and awareness. The state of the nation and the political landscape are continually evolving and not necessarily in a good direction. 

          The following interview of Mike Lofgren on Bill Moyers' show can be titled: The Shadowy "Deep State" in America.

          Saturday, December 20, 2014

          Two Types of Thinking - by Anamika Kumari

          Two Types of Thinking
           by  Anamika Kumari (buzzle.com - 12/3/14)
          /////// ==== ///////

          Two thought processes observed in humans: 
          Concrete and Abstract

          Concrete thinking refers to a thought process where a person perceives something that is present physically around through his/her senses and interprets it as it is. Whatever can be seen, heard, smelt, or touched is analyzed at a superficial level and no further connections are established. There is an absence of chain of thoughts.

          Abstract thinking goes beyond physical referents and looks for underlying messages or interpretations. Abstract thinkers relate physical objects and sensed experiences to 'off-topical' theories and emotional concepts. They are capable of looking beyond the obvious.

          For example, a concrete thinker would look at a green tree and say that it is a green tree. Likewise, when an abstract thinker looks at the same tree, his/her thought process would be entirely different. The green tree may spark a chain of thoughts in an abstract thinker, and he may start imagining all things related to green and tree. He might relate green to peace and green tree would relate to bounty and productivity. In this manner, he might go on relating to further objects or events.

          Establishment of Relativity

          The concept of being present "here and now" is what is prevalent in concrete thinking. The thoughts do not compare what is being sensed to any other instance experienced in the past. There exists a failure to establish any relation between two concepts or systems. To a concrete thinker each instruction is to be followed word by word for any work to be done. He would take each sentence in its exact literal meaning. A concrete thinker can get away with a lie easily in a conversation by answering each of the questions quite literally, which would according to him be true.

          Then we have abstract thinkers who are a lot more aware of what surrounds them. They take a deep plunge into what they sense and make observations of how that particular object or event stimulates their feelings. They observe the pattern of a particular process and draw analogous inferences from them. A conversation with an abstract thinker gets really interesting, as there are infinite possibilities and directions in which the interaction can lead to. Great philosophers, artists, and researchers, have been observed to follow the pattern of abstract thinking.

          Let us suppose there is a situation where two people―a concrete thinker and an abstract thinker―have been allotted a set of tasks individually. If we consider the concrete thinker, the instructions will have to be provided to him at each step of every task. This shall, however, not be the case for the abstract thinker. He shall gradually follow the pattern of the work involved and start working on personal instincts. He may even add a touch of improvisation to the work that was allotted.

          Not that the concrete thinkers are slow learners or anything. They are hard to recognize in a group of people. They might be doing perfectly well in their respective fields and might even be quite successful. They are just more practical than the rest, and lack in 'development' of logic, and just follow a pattern that has been already defined.

          TBI's concrete thinking effect:
          People suffering from traumatic brain injury, or TBI, are incapable of thinking in an abstract manner due to improper functioning of the frontal lobe of the brain. Such people need to be trained through certain activities that shall encourage their recovery.

          Friday, December 19, 2014

          Wednesday, December 17, 2014

          Tuesday, December 16, 2014

          Benefits of Multilingualism - by Susan Perry

           Benefits of Multilingualism
          by Susan Perry 

          (MinnPost.com, 10/15/10)

          A second language: how the brain benefits from bilingualism

          Those Lino Lakes officials who voted last summer to make sure that all city documents are printed only in English might well rethink that action.

          In fact, they might want to enroll all the town's kids into bilingual classes tout-de-suite.

          For, as Pulitzer-prize-winning author ("Guns, Germs, and Steel") and geography professor (University of California, Los Angeles) Jared Diamond notes in an article published Thursday in Science magazine, the ability to understand and speak more than one language appears to offer some rather impressive lifelong benefits to the brain.

          "Recent studies," he writes,"show that children raised bilingually develop a specific type of cognitive benefit during infancy, and that bilingualism offers some protection against symptoms of Alzheimer's dementia in old people."

          First, the cognitive benefit for kids: Children who are multilingual undergo constant (and unconscious) practice in using their brain's executive function system (a kind of centralized set of mental skills that help us plan, make decisions, organize, pay attention and perform other "higher-level" cognitive tasks).

          "Multilingual people have a special challenge involving executive function," writes Diamond. "Monolinguals hearing a word need only compare it with their single stock of arbitrary phoneme (sound) and meaning rules, and when uttering a word they draw it from that single stock. But multilinguals must keep several stocks separate."

          The need to "switch frequently and unpredictably between their stocks of phonemes/meanings rules" may explain, says Diamond, why tests designed to assess executive function in the brain have found that bilingual people have much less difficulty than monolinguals at performing game-like tasks when the rules are changed.

          "If bilinguals' advantage over monolinguals in these games also applies to real-life situations, that could be useful for bilinguals," says Diamond, for it would mean that bilinguals are better at "negotiating our confusing world of changing rules."

          As for protecting against Alzheimer's , Diamond mentions a 2007 Canadian study that found an association between bilingualism and a delay in the onset of Alzheimer's disease symptoms - an average delay of of four to five years, in fact.

          "How might this be?" asks Diamond. "A short answer is the aphorism, 'Use it or lose it.' Exercising body systems improves their function, not exercising them lets their function deteriorate. That's why athletes and musicians practice. It's also why Alzheimer's patients are encouraged to play brain-challenging games like bridge or to solve Sudoku puzzles. But bilingualism is arguably the most constant practice possible for the brain. Whereas even a Sudoku fanatic can spend only a fraction of a day on Sudoku puzzles, bilinguals impose extra exercise on their brain every minute of their waking hours. Consciously or unconsciously, the bilingual brain constantly has to decide. Shall I think, speak, or interpret sound spoken to me in the arbitrary rules of language A, or language B?"

          Like I said, supporters of English-only policies may want to reconsider their stance on the issue - and sign up for some language classes at their local community center.

          ¡ Rapidamente !

          Audrey Hepburn - a multilingual and a beauty!

          Saturday, December 13, 2014

          L'histoire d'un hibou - de Haïti

          L'histoire d'un  hibou *
          Il était une fois, un hibou. Comme chacun sait, ou ne le sait pas, le hibou est un grand timide. Il croit qu'il est laid - si laid que personne ne peut le regarder s’il lui arrive de croiser quelqu’un. Si laid, qu'il cause des accidents de la route. Si laid, que les bébés se mettent à hurler s'ils aperçoivent son visage. Pour toutes ces raisons, le hibou ne sort jamais pendant le jour. Il attend la nuit noire, lorsque personne ne peut le voir.

          Un soir, alors qu’il est dehors, le hibou rencontre une jeune fille. Ils se mettent à parler et elle l'invite dans sa maison. Il accepte et les voilà assis sous le porche pendant plusieurs heures à discuter. Le hibou dès le premier instant tombe amoureux de la fille et, ce qui tombe bien, elle aussi. Elle l'invite à revenir la nuit suivante et il revient. Ils s’asseyent sous le porche et parlent pendant des heures, presque jusqu'à l'aube. Par moment, ils se tiennent même la main. Nuit après nuit, le hibou revient rendre visite à sa belle et nuit après nuit il s’en va avant l'aube, si bien que la jeune femme ne peut vraiment pas savoir à quoi il ressemble.

          La jeune femme a des amis qui ont entendu parler de ce prétendant de la nuit et veulent savoir à quoi il ressemble car ils aiment beaucoup leur amie et sont heureux qu'elle ait enfin rencontré quelqu'un dont elle est tombée amoureuse.

          - Pourquoi le Hibou ne te rend-t-il jamais visite pendant le jour, lui demandent-ils ?
          - Parce qu’il travaille, répond la fille et lorsqu’il rentre chez lui, il doit faire son ménage, préparer son dîner et il ne peut venir qu’à la nuit tombée.
          - Nous voulons le rencontrer, ont dit ses amis.
          - Bien sûr, il ne travaille pas le dimanche. Pourquoi n’organisez-vous pas une grande fête en son honneur ? Vous pourriez ainsi tous le rencontrer.

          La jeune fille est certaine que c’est la meilleure des idées et lorsque son amoureux vient le soir, elle l’invite pour le dimanche suivant. Une fête sera donnée en son honneur par ses amis. Le Hibou est pourtant vraiment très timide mais il accepte. Vous savez que quand on aime, on est capable de vaincre toutes ses peurs.

          Les jours passent. Le dimanche arrive. Le hibou est très nerveux. Il demande à son cousin le coq de l’accompagner car plus le temps passe, plus il a peur.

          En chemin, le hibou commence à regarder le coq et à se comparer à lui. Le coq est grand et bien habillé » pense-t-il en regardant le cheveux roux du coq, ses vêtements colorés et ses bottines jaunes. A côté de lui, je suis morne et terne, se dit-il encore en regardant ses vêtements bruns et en plus de tout, je suis laid. Plus ils se rapprochent de la maison, plus il a peur.

          Mon cousin le coq, dit soudain le Hibou, j'ai oublié quelque chose chez moi. Entrez donc sans moi et vous direz que j'ai dû rentrer à la maison mais que je serai de retour d’ici un moment. Le coq entre et fait le message du hibou.

          Un peu plus tard, dès qu’il fait très sombre, le hibou arrive à la fête. Il craint un peu que la fille et sa famille ne soient fâchés de son retard mais il se fait violence et avance d’un pas.

          Le coq qui l’attend sous le porche, le voit et semble tout à fait effrayé.

          - Hibou, demanda-t-il, qu'est ce  donc cela sur votre tête ?
          - C'est un chapeau, répond le hibou. Beaucoup de gens portent des chapeaux.
          - C’est vrai, dit le coq, mais ils les portent sur la tête, et pas comme vous, tout autour de la tête.
          - Je me suis blessé aux yeux, dit le hibou, Ils ne supportent pas la lumière. Mon chapeau les protège.
          - Oui , réplique le coq et il protège aussi le reste de votre tête.
          - Ne vous moquez pas de mon chapeau mais dites-moi plutôt ce qu’on a dit de mon retard. Sont-ils en colère ?
          - Ils le seront bien plus si vous n’entrez pas, dit le coq.
          - J'entre, j'entre, dit le hibou, mais promettez-moi d’abord une chose.
          - Quoi donc ?
          - Je dois être de retour à la maison avant le lever du soleil. Essayer donc de me prévenir à temps, plutôt que de chanter au lever du soleil, comme vous faites d'habitude ?
          Il ne faut surtout pas que la jeune femme voit son visage à la lumière du jour.
          - Bien sûr, hibou, bien sûr dit le coq et il le fait entrer à l’intérieur.

          A cet instant précis, la fête bat son plein. Les batteurs jouent et les chanteurs chantent et leur musique donne quelque chose dans le genre de « Dong-aada-dong-aada-dong-aada-dong, Dong-aada-dong-aada-aaii-ee-oooo! Dong-aada-dong-aada-dong-aada-dong, Dong-aada-dong-aada-aaii-ee-oooo! »

          C’est justement la chanson préférée du hibou et quand il l'entend, il veut danser. Il va près de sa jeune amie, lui fait des excuses pour son retard et ils partent sur la piste de danse. Vous savez que le hibou est timide mais ce que vous en savez pas c’est qu’il est un excellent danseur. Plus il danse, moins il sait où il est et moins il sait où il est et plus il danse. « Dong-aada- dong-aada-dong-aada-dong, Dong-aada-dong-aada-dong-aaii-ee-ooo! Dong-aada-dong-aada-dong-aada-dong. Dong-aada-dong-aada-aaii-eee-oooo! » ça dure ainsi toute la nuit.

          Le hibou s’amuse tellement qu'il oublie le temps et soudain, il entend son cousin le coq, qui complètement ivre, chante. Il a manqué l'aube et la lumière du jour entre dans la pièce. Le hibou affolé cherche une fenêtre. Il est certain que la fille en voyant son visage, comprendra combien il est laid. Il vole en tous sens. Son chapeau tombe sur le sol. Il vole de plus en plus vite et découvre une fenêtre ouverte par laquelle il s’enfuit. La jeune fille hurle « Hibou! revient!" Elle se précipite par la porte mais en vain. « Hibou! revient!" Le hibou ne l'a pas entendue.

          La jeune fille rentre chez elle. Elle aide à tout remettre en ordre. Personne ne sait que penser du comportement étrange du hibou. Le soir, elle s’assied sous le porche et attend. Elle espère qu'il reviendra, mais il ne revient pas. Chaque soir, elle attend et chaque soir, elle espère. Elle repense sans cesse à cette soirée, combien tout a été si agréable. Elle repense au hibou qui danse si bien et comment il l’a regardée. Elle revoit son visage presque rond, ses grands yeux et son petit nez. Elle se dit qu’il a un visage fort, un visage attirant. Elle a aimé ses yeux tout de suite mais elle ne sait pas que le hibou se croit laid.

          Elle l'attend des nuits, des jours, des semaines, des mois mais il ne revient pas. Pendant une année entière elle l'attend et puis un jour, elle rencontre quelqu'un d'autre et l'épouse. Mais chaque matin, lorsque le chant du coq la réveille aux premiers rayons du soleil, elle ne peut s’empêcher de penser au Hibou et se demande encore aujourd’hui pourquoi il s’est enfuit en courant et où il est parti.

          * Conte de Haïti

          Sunday, December 7, 2014

          Tribute to Loved Ones - by Hénock Gugsa

          Henock Gugsa
           Tribute to Loved Ones
          Hénock Gugsa
          /////// ------- ///////

          click to enlarge
          (click inside blue box to enlarge)

          Saturday, December 6, 2014

          Stuffed Pepper Soup Recipe - by "Biker Chick"

          Stuffed Pepper Soup
          from: Biker Chick's Kitchen
          ======= **** =======

                                             Serve 6 (or 3 hungry bikers)

          398 calories, 5.6g fat (1.9g saturated) (without cheese)

          1lb LEAN ground beef
          1 lg onion, diced
          1 cup uncooked or 2 cups cooked rice (I love to use wild rice)
          1 can Hunts flavored diced tomatoes (Red pepper and fennel, roasted garlic, sweet onion etc) (14.5oz can)
          1 can tomato sauce (14.5oz can)
          1 tsp dried oregano
          1 tsp basil
          ½ tsp salt
          ¼ tsp pepper
          1 box chicken stock (32oz)
          2 cups water
          2 tbsp powdered beef stock
          3 bell peppers (I use 1 big green pepper then 4-5 red and 4-5 yellow BABY bell peppers)
          Cheese for topping (optional)
          Fresh cracked black pepper for garnish (optional)

          In a large soup pot coated with cooking spray, over medium-high heat, brown the grown beef with the onions and rice. I know that sounds odd, but browning the rice gives it a nice nutty flavor – do not allow it to burn!!

          Meanwhile dice your peppers into small ½" pieces, set side

          Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, chicken stock, water, and powdered beef stock, then allow it to come to a boil.

          Reduce heat, cover and allow it to cook 20 minutes then add the peppers and allow it to cook another 20-30 minutes (some types of rice may need longer cooking times)

          Serve with cheese on top (optional)

          Wednesday, December 3, 2014

          Cautionary Message to Whites - from Chris Rock

          Chris Rock

          Cautionary Message to Whites - from Chris Rock *
          /////// ~~~~~~~ ///////

          [ Rock tells white people: Don't pat yourselves on the back just yet! ]

          Comedian Chris Rock said racism has waned somewhat because more white people have stopped being such jerks.

          “Here’s the thing,” Rock said. “When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.”

          Rock, who is promoting his upcoming film, Top Five, told New York Times magazine columnist Frank Rich that he would love to cover the Ferguson protests as a journalist – but he would use a white reporter as a stand-in to ask only white people racially charged questions.

          “Just white people,” Rock said. “We know how black people feel about Ferguson – outraged, upset, cheated by the system, all these things. Michael Moore has no problem getting (outrageous statements) because he looks like them, but the problem is the press accepts racism. It has never dug into it.”

          He cautioned white people against congratulating themselves over the election of President Barack Obama.

          “To say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president,” Rock said. “That’s not black progress — that’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years.”

          “If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would,” he continued. “But a smart person would go, ‘Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.’ It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t.”

          Rock used his own family to illustrate how much racist attitudes had changed in recent decades.

          “My mother tells stories of growing up in Andrews, South Carolina, and the black people had to go to the vet to get their teeth pulled out,” he said. “And you still had to go to the back door, because if the white people knew the vet had used his instruments on black people, they wouldn’t take their pets to the vet. This is not some person I read about — this is my mother.”

          He contrasted that to the experience of his own children, who are growing up affluent with a black president in the White House.

          “You know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children,” Rock said. “There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.”

          Rock said white people must own their own racist actions – and the actions of their racist forefathers.

          “Yeah, it’s unfair that you can get judged by something you didn’t do, but it’s also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn’t work for,” he said.

          “We treat racism in this country like it’s a style that America went through,” Rock said. “Like flared legs and lava lamps – ‘Oh, that crazy thing we did.’ We were hanging black people. We treat it like a fad instead of a disease that eradicates millions of people. You’ve got to get it at a lab, and study it, and see its origins, and see what it’s immune to and what breaks it down.”
          * Source: Travis Gettys (www.rawstory/rs/2014/12)

          Friday, November 28, 2014

          Columbus - by Ogden Nash

          click image to enlarge
          by Ogden Nash

          Once upon a time there was an Italian,
          And some people thought he was a rapscallion,
          But he wasn't offended,
          Because other people thought he was splendid,
          And he said the world was round,
          And everybody made an uncomplimentary sound,
          But he went and tried to borrow some money from Ferdinand
          But Ferdinand said America was a bird in the bush and he'd rather have a berdinand,
          But Columbus' brain was fertile, it wasn't arid,
          And he remembered that Ferdinand was married,
          And he thought, there is no wife like a misunderstood one,
          Because if her husband thinks something is a terrible idea she is bound to think it a good one,
          So he perfumed his handkerchief with bay rum and citronella,
          And he went to see Isabella,
          And he looked wonderful but he had never felt sillier,
          And she said, I can't place the face but the aroma is familiar,
          And Columbus didn't say a word,
          All he said was, I am Columbus, the fifteenth-century Admiral Byrd,
          And, just as he thought, her disposition was very malleable,
          And she said, Here are my jewels, and she wasn't penurious like Cornelia the mother of the Gracchi, she wasn't referring to her children, no, she was referring to her jewels, which were very very valuable,
          So Columbus said, Somebody show me the sunset and somebody did and he set sail for it,
          And he discovered America and they put him in jail for it,
          And the fetters gave him welts,
          And they named America after somebody else,
          So the sad fate of Columbus ought to be pointed out to every child and every voter,
          Because it has a very important moral, which is, Don't be a discoverer, be a promoter.

          Monday, November 24, 2014

          "Ought I not care ...?" - Michelle Alexander

          "Ought I not care ...?"
          - Michelle Alexander - *

          * Moyers & Company (BillMoyers.com)
          TPO's assessment :
          Michelle Alexander is Bill Moyer's guest on his show. Here she discusses the historical background, and reasons for the current festering state of America's social issues (eg. incarceration cycles, legal discrimination, etc). Why does America continue to be permeated by fear, hatred, prejudice, and ignorance?

          Ms. Alexander gets to the root of the issues in a clear and passionate manner that leaves few stones unturned. It should be noted that she is not just a problem-pointer. She also offers constructive and practical ideas for the direction to which we should head. In this day and age where the loudest voices are repeatedly found to be the wrong and the false ones, it is refreshing to find individuals such as Ms. Alexander that do good. 

          Mr. Moyers is an immensely astute and incisive truth-seeker, and Ms. Alexander is a dedicated, very intelligent, and well-spoken social activist. We should hold these two Americans in the highest esteem and be thankful for their contributions to our society.