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 ! *

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Long Gone (from Bowlin' Green) - by Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt (1927-2008)
Long Gone (from Bowlin' Green)
 - by -
 Eartha Kitt
/// ---- ///
Did you ever hear the story of Long John Dean?
A bold bank robber from Bowlin' Green
Was sent to the jailhouse yesterday
But late last night he made his getaway
[Refrain with Chorus]
[He's long gone]
From Kentucky
[Long gone]
Ain't he lucky?
Long gone and what I mean
He's  long gone John from Bowlin' Green.
Long John stood on the railroad tie
A-waitin' for a freight train to come by
Freight train came just puffin' and flyin'
You oughta seen long John grabbin' that blind
[Refrain with Chorus]
Now they caught him in 'Frisco and to seal his fate
At San Quentin they jailed him one evening late
Out on the ocean John did escape
'Cause the guards forgot to close the Golden Gate
[Refrain with Chorus]
Now they offered a reward to bring him back
Even put bloodhounds on his track
Those doggone bloodhounds lost his scent
Now nobody knows where Long John went.
[Refrain with Chorus]
A gang of men tried to capture Dean
So they chased him with a submarine
Dean jumped overboard,  grabbed the submarine
And made that gang catch a flyin' machine
He was  long gone
From San Quentin
[long gone]
He's still a sprinting
Long gone, I'm telling you
Go shut your mouth
And shut mine too
[Long gone]
From Kentucky
[Long gone]
Oh man he's lucky
[Long gone]
Grab that blind
[Long gone]
Oh, that man is fine
[Long gone]
They tell me he's still a-sprinting
[Long gone]
This cat is gone!
[Long gone]
I hope he finds a pad [long gone]
because it's kind of tough [long gone]
stomping out in the open like that [long gone]
(fading out...) Oh yeaah ,,, [long gone]

" Le pont Mirabeau " - Guillaume Apollinaire

Guillaume Apollinaire

Le pont Mirabeau
Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

Le pont Mirabeau, Paris
(Cliquez l'image pour agrandir)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Punishment and Crime" - reflections by Hénock Gugsa

"Punishment and Crime"
- reflections by -
Hénock Gugsa

No, no misalignment of thought there, no dyslexia of mind processes. I am indeed thinking of punishment as something that should precede crime at least in the philosophical investigation aspect of certain human situations (or predicaments). This certainly is a twist or rather a reversal on the way we view matters. We begin with the destination, the present state of affairs, and work our way back to the beginning. I am hoping that we may shed a different light on matters that in turn could point the way to different outlooks. We could profit with some wisdom on how to handle future situations. Let us think of punishments first, then let us consider what crimes could precipitate them.

Recently, in Iran, authorities executed a billionaire businessman who was “at the heart of a $2.6 billion state bank scam”. The indicted man, one Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, received the maximum punishment of death by hanging for the crime he committed during the previous regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Alas, in Iran, some of the worst cases of corruption and economic ineptitude happened between 2005 and 2013. Ahmadinejad was too busy back then focusing his attack on foreign "satanic" powers while his country was being domestically ransacked and ravaged by homegrown demons. And this brings us to the question of the role of punishment as a pre-deterrent to crime. Let us examine what punishment is, what it means, and how we should really perceive it.

To begin, punishment is a price, a penance delivered by a person or a government body for wrongful deed or thought. Depending on the situation or circumstance, punishment is either self-administered or exacted by an authority. Of-course, we know that self-punishment is a result of guilt or remorse, and it may also be due to some questionable state of mental acuity. The type of punishment that society calls for, on the other hand, is based on a legal or institutional framework. But, here we are in an area of philosophical and political landmines too complex to fathom in a short essay. Suffice it to say that punishment is what the law demands for a crime. Our concern is twofold: How weighty is punishment and how does it affect a person before the crime is even committed?

As we have come to know, the United States and Iran faced, almost simultaneously, similar types of crimes by despicable, and unremorseful individuals. How did each country handle their respective cases?

In the U.S., the whole story could be summed up as a shameful farce. The wrong doers got off practically scot-free … not even a slap on the hand. There were massive bailouts and assessment of miscreant financial bodies as “too-big-to-fail”. Instead of stricter regulations or enforcement of existing rules, there were cries for more 'freedom' for the capitalist economy.

Iran, however, has more rigid standards and is stricter because it  cannot afford to be otherwise. Being a theocratic state means that the conduct of individuals as it affects the nation is not taken lightly. Crime is seen for what it is, and punishment is not necessarily an outcome, but the mirror image. So when one thinks of committing a crime, there is already a built-in counter-perspective that brings a person to his senses. To go ahead with a crime in spite of everything denotes madness, garden-variety sociopathy, or plain stupidity.

Back in the old days, before modernity crept in, the United States used to aspire to uphold the law unbendingly and even to spread an individualistic sense of right and wrong as a social mantra. Punishment was swift and severe as many horse thieves, poachers, and cattle rustlers would attest. After all, the wrongful dispossession of people’s property could literally mean the endangerment of their lives. When people committed crimes, they knew very well how it would end if they got caught, and so they were always on the run. They were outlaws, and they knew their days were numbered.

In recent years, however, criminals don’t even seem to be aware of the concept of punishment. It has sadly become an after-the-fact realization. Why should law offenders be concerned with punishment? They see a lot of crime go unpunished, they see men of power or wealth almost always beating the system. There is mob crime, and Wall Street crime. What is the difference? What the heck?

Then there are the politicians … what piece of work they are? We last had a presidential candidate who:

- vociferously claimed corporations were human beings

-didn’t think 47% of the populace were with him, and   that was okay [he didn’t need them, they were moochers and losers anyways.]

- didn’t want to make public his off-shore holdings as it was nobody’s business, and

- thought he could lie with a straight face about his accomplishments [and people wouldn’t see straight through him].

Well, to be sure, things are not perfectly rosy right now, but they sure would have been a hell of a lot worse if that man had become President. Think of the message that would have sent across the country: no more need for responsiveness and what was that ‘responsibility’ thing you were talking about?

So, in conclusion, there is one undeniably urgent task for America to undertake. We need to put the horse before the cart: let us emphasize and enforce punishment ahead of any discussion of a severe antisocial behavior (i.e. a crime). Punishment of a crime is not a crime. And indeed, the lack of punishment for a crime is far worse than the crime itself.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Classic Sinatra - by TPO

Frank Sinatra (1915-1998)
Classic Sinatra
[] [] [] [] [] /// [] [] [] [] []

Music    - by -    George Gershwin
Lyrics    - by -    Ira Gershwin
Arranged    - by -    Nelson Riddle

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Letter to the Editor - by Hénock Gugsa

To: letters@pioneerpress.com 
click image to enlarge

                                                                                        May 16, 2014

Dear Editor:

I was fascinated by the small, special, social interest item that was in your paper on May 11,2014.  The little article was in the left top column of a reproduction of the St. Paul Sunday Pioneer Press , May 10, 1914.  Although, most of the headings in the microfiche (?) copy were quite legible, the main body was quite blurry and hard to make out at times.  However, because I was so intrigued by the title of the article, I went to work to try and remove the obstacles.  I am happy to report that I have been successful in my endeavor!

Please find herein the results of my efforts.  The picture is in jpg format and can be magnified.

Thank you for your wonderful paper, and best wishes for continued success!


Hénock Gugsa ----------------------------------------------------------------------
St Paul Sunday Pioneer Press, May 10, 1914
Boy is Whipped After Rescuing Drowning Youth
//// ====== //////
Special to the Pioneer Press

     Duluth, May 9 - The fact that Theodore Trudel, 8 years old, saved the life of his companion, Harry Nyborg, 4 years old, did not save him a whipping today when he went home with wet clothing.  The Nyborg boy fell into St. Louis bay while playing near the Northern Pacific railroad bridge on Rice's Point.  Theodore jumped and dragged his playmate ashore.

*** The Saint Paul Pioneer Press published the above letter in the OPINION
section of their May 20,2014 issue. My many thanks to them.  ***

Let Love Go, If Go She Will - by Robert Louis Stevenson

R. L. Stevenson (1850-1894)

Let Love Go, If Go She Will
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Let love go, if go she will.
Seek not, O fool, her wanton flight to stay.
Of all she gives and takes away
The best remains behind her still.

The best remains behind; in vain
Joy she may give and take again,
Joy she may take and leave us pain,
If yet she leave behind
The constant mind
To meet all fortunes nobly, to endure
All things with a good heart, and still be pure,
Still to be foremost in the foremost cause,
And still be worthy of the love that was.
Love coming is omnipotent indeed,
But not Love going. Let her go. The seed
Springs in the favouring Summer air, and grows,
And waxes strong; and when the Summer goes,
Remains, a perfect tree.

Joy she may give and take again,
Joy she may take and leave us pain.
O Love, and what care we?
For one thing thou hast given, O Love, one thing
Is ours that nothing can remove;
And as the King discrowned is still a King.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

For the Love of Chekhov - by TPO

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904) 
For the Love of Chekhov
by TPO

===== /// =====
Observations by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov -

[on individualism, integrity, freedom, and dignity:]
I have no faith in our hypocritical, false, hysterical, uneducated and lazy intelligentsia when they suffer and complain: their oppression comes from within. I believe in individual people. I see salvation in discrete individuals, intellectuals and peasants, strewn hither and yon throughout Russia. They have the strength, although there are few of them.

If you really think about it, everything is wonderful in this world, everything except for our thoughts and deeds when we forget about the loftier goals of existence, about our human dignity.

There are no small number of people in this world who, solitary by nature, always try to go back into their shell like a hermit crab or a snail.

Pharisaism, obtuseness and tyranny reign not only in the homes of merchants and in jails; I see it in science, in literature, and among youth. I consider any emblem or label a prejudice .... My holy of holies is the human body, health, intellect, talent, inspiration, love and the most absolute of freedoms, the freedom from force and falsity in whatever forms they might appear. 

[on leaders:]
He who doesn't know how to be a servant should never be allowed to be a master; the interests of public life are alien to anyone who is unable to enjoy others' successes, and such a person should never be entrusted with public affairs.

Despicable means used to achieve laudable goals render the goals themselves despicable.

Hypocrisy is a revolting, psychopathic state.

[on conscience and sensibilities or the lack of them:]
A good person will feel guilty even before a dog.

When a person doesn't understand something, he feels internal discord: however he doesn't search for that discord in himself, as he should, but searches outside of himself. Thence a war develops with that which he doesn't understand.

A man who doesn't drink is not, in my opinion, fully a man.

Do you remember you shot a seagull? A man came by chance, saw it and destroyed it, just to pass the time.

A good upbringing means not that you won't spill sauce on the tablecloth, but that you won't notice it when someone else does.

[on legacy and wisdom:]
For the salvation of his soul the Muslim digs a well. It would be a fine thing if each of us were to leave behind a school, or a well, or something of the sort, so that life would not pass by and retreat into eternity without a trace.

Humankind has understood history as a series of battles because, to this day, it regards conflict as the central facet of life. 

I would love to meet a philosopher like Nietzsche on a train or boat and to talk with him all night. Incidentally, I don't consider his philosophy long-lived. It is not so much persuasive as full of bravura.

[on wealth and happiness:]
Nothing lulls and inebriates like money; when you have a lot, the world seems a better place than it actually is.

Comfort and convenience possess a magical power; little by little they suck in even people with strong wills.

The wealthy man is not he who has money, but he who has the means to live in the luxurious state of early spring. 

The unhappy are egotistical, base, unjust, cruel, and even less capable of understanding one another than are idiots. Unhappiness does not unite people, but separates them.

[on simplicity:]
There should be more sincerity and heart in human relations, more silence and simplicity in our interactions. Be rude when you're angry, laugh when something is funny, and answer when you're asked.

The problem is that we attempt to solve the simplest questions cleverly, thereby rendering them unusually complex. One should seek the simple solution.

[on greed and limitations:]
The bourgeoisie loves so-called "positive" types and novels with happy endings since they lull one into thinking that it is fine to simultaneously acquire capital and maintain one's innocence, to be a beast and still be happy.

When you live on cash, you understand the limits of the world around which you navigate each day. Credit leads into a desert with invisible boundaries.

[on death:]
Death is terrifying, but it would be even more terrifying to find out that you are going to live forever and never die. 

Death can only be profitable: there's no need to eat, drink, pay taxes, offend people, and since a person lies in a grave for hundreds or thousands of years, if you count it up the profit turns out to be enormous.

When in a serious mood, it seems to me that those people are illogical who feel an aversion toward death. As far as I can see, life consists exclusively of horrors, unpleasantnesses and banalities, now merging, now alternating.

[on the worst dangers to man:]
The world perishes not from bandits and fires, but from hatred, hostility, and all these petty squabbles.

There is nothing more vapid than a philistine petty bourgeois existence with its farthings, victuals, vacuous conversations, and useless conventional virtue.

There is nothing more awful, insulting, and depressing than banality.