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 ! *

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Me and My Triplets - by Hénock Gugsa

Me and My Triplets 
by Hénock Gugsa
~~~~~~ // ~~~~~~
This morning, my eyes had opened and I was looking at nothing in particular. It was still dark, and the house was quiet except for the comforting buzz of the warm air coming out of the heat vents. Then, it happened. The little red LED digital time clock quietly announced the time, and I saw it at the exact nano-second of its unfolding. Whoosh ... it had gone from 5:54 to 5:55! Christopher Columbus! It was exactly 5:55!!

I whispered quietly, "Holy cow, it's 5:55!"

That woke Jean up. She sounded startled as she asked, "What? What's wrong? What's happened?"

I sheepishly replied, "It's the clock. It just turned 5:55."

Jean sighed with mock exasperation. "Sheesh, you and your triplets."

It is true, me and my triplets. There are quite a few of them ... 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44, and 5:55 ... then you skip the 6th, 7th, 8th,and 9th hours ... and you're back with the rest of the triplets on the face of a clock ... 10:10, 11:11, and lastly 12:12.

So there you are. I've got myself 8 triplets, but it is never a sure thing when I will catch them. It is all an accidental experience. When I do catch any one of them, however, it is like living life in the moment. Buddha would be so proud of me!

Okay, now. Please don't go technical or scientific on me. Let me just enjoy this moment in peace.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Comment le ciel est devenu grand - Conte Apache

les enfants persévérants
Comment le ciel est devenu grand
- Conte Apache  -

C’était il y a longtemps… lorsque les hommes avaient un gros problème ;  le ciel était trop bas.

Il était si bas qu'il n'y avait pas de place pour les nuages. Il était si bas que les arbres ne pouvaient pas pousser. Il était si bas que les oiseaux ne pouvaient pas voler. S’ils essayaient, ils se heurtaient aux arbres et aux nuages.

Mais ce qui était plus pénible encore, c’était que le hommes adultes ne pouvaient pas se tenir debout, bien droits comme leur corps le leur demandait. Ils devaient marcher tout penché, en regardant leurs pieds et ne voyaient pas où ils allaient.

Les enfants ne connaissaient pas ce problème. Ils étaient petits, Ils pouvaient se lever aussi droits qu’ils le souhaitaient. Ils ne marchaient pas en regardant leurs pieds et pouvaient voir où ils allaient.

Ils savaient par contre qu’un jour, ils deviendraient des adultes et qu'ils devraient marcher tout penchés en regardant leurs pieds à moins que quelque chose ne se passe.

Un soir, tous les enfants se sont réunis et ils ont décidé de relever le ciel. Les quelques adultes qui les écoutaient riaient sous cape mais soudain, ils ont vu les enfants lever de longs poteaux vers le ciel. Un, deux, trois, quatre…un cri énorme retentit - unnn-uhhhhhh.

Mais rien ne se passe. Le ciel reste comme il a toujours été. Les arbres ne peuvent toujours pas grandir. Les oiseaux ne peuvent toujours pas voler. Il n’y a toujours pas de place pour les nuages et les adultes marchent toujours courbés en regardant leurs pieds sans voir où ils vont.

Le lendemain, les enfants recommencent avec des poteaux plus longs. Un, deux, trois, quatre…un cri énorme retentit - unnn-uhhhhhh. Mais rien ne se passe.

Le soir suivant, les enfants qui sont persévérants essayent encore. Ils prennent des poteaux encore plus longs. Un, deux, trois, quatre…un cri énorme retentit - unnn-uhhhhhh. Mais rien ne se passe.

Le quatrième soir, ils ont trouvé de très très très longs poteaux, les plus longs qu'ils pouvaient trouver et ils se sont mis à compter :  un, deux, trois, quatre…un cri énorme a retentit - unnn-uhhhhhh et le ciel s’est soulevé.

Depuis ce jour, le ciel est à sa place. Les arbres peuvent pousser, les oiseaux peuvent voler sans se heurter aux troncs et aux branches. Les nuages ont de la place pour aller et venir et les hommes peuvent se tenir droit en regardant le ciel.

Mais le plus extraordinaire c’est que lorsque le soleil s’est couché la nuit suivante et qu’il a commencé à faire sombre, le ciel troué par les poteaux des enfants s’est mis à scintiller. Dans chaque trou, il y avait une étoile.
La prochaine fois que vous regarderez le ciel, vous saurez que c’est grâce aux enfants que vous pouvez admirer un tel spectacle. Vous repenserez de cette histoire et vous saurez que c'était vrai. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Remembering ETHIOPIAN fondly - by Hénock Gugsa

click picture to enlarge
 Remembering ETHIOPIAN Fondly
- by Hénock Gugsa  -

Ethiopian Airlines - I still love that company despite some evil people's attempt to get rid of me by volunteering me to the People's Militia. I could have been killed in the Ogaden back in 1977-78. A kind and loving God thwarted that when He heard my dad's fervent prayers. Instead, He laid a path to safety, freedom and peace for me. It is wonderful and proper that l now have  no bitterness ... in fact, I am delighted that Ethiopian is doing so well!

With reference to the Ogaden ... that is a big swath of land in eastern Ethiopia that is mostly desert. The neighboring country, Somalia, had crossed the border and invaded Ethiopian territory. The Somalis could have easily been stopped early on, but the government of Ethiopia at the time (a communist dictatorship) wanted to use the invasion as a political tool. Ethiopia's communists thrived on fear, economic depravity (drought, famines), and continuous wars. Glad that nightmare is long gone now!

Best wishes, ETHIOPIAN !  

The surfing cat eludes the enemy!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Once There Was a Man - by Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

Once there was a man 
Stephen Crane
**** ~~~~~~~ ****

Once there was a man --
Oh, so wise!
In all drink
He detected the bitter,
And in all touch
He found the sting.
At last he cried thus:
"There is nothing --
No life,
No joy,
No pain --
There is nothing save opinion,
And opinion be damned." 

Christopher Walken (in the movie, "Seven Psycopaths")

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What is love of country? - by Hénock Gugsa

What is love of country? 
- by Hénock Gugsa  -

[ In Response to "Rudy-Giuliani: Obama-Does-Not-Love-America", 
Atlantic Monthly (02/2015) ]*

Is it something that is only displayed through words or rhetoric ...
or is it something more substantive but indescribable ...
something that comes from the heart ...
something that is selfless, that is altruistic, that is non-judgmental?

Can you prove your love for something by disproving others' love for that same thing?
Aren't you fostering and inflaming your own hate by questioning others' love?!
Are you really that selfless, are you more patriotic than somebody else just because you say so?

Have you looked in the mirror of late? Have you observed the log in your own eyes?


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Powers of Love, Reason, and Logic - Albert Camus

Albert Camus (1913-1960)

//// ******* ////
by Albert Camus

Yes, we must raise our voices. Up to this point, I have refrained from appealing to emotion. We are being torn apart by a logic of history which we have elaborated in every detail--a net which threatens to strangle us. It is not emotion which can cut through the web of a logic which has gone to irrational lengths, but only reason which can meet logic on its own ground. But I should not want to leave the impression... that any program for the future can get along without our powers of love and indignation. I am well aware that it takes a powerful prime mover to get men into motion and that it is hard to throw one's self into a struggle whose objectives are so modest and where hope has only a rational basis--and hardly even that. But the problem is not how to carry men away; it is essential, on the contrary, that they not be carried away but rather that they be made to understand clearly what they are doing.

To save what can be saved so as to open up some kind of future--that is the prime mover, the passion and the sacrifice that is required. It demands only that we reflect and then decide, clearly, whether humanity's lot must be made still more miserable in order to achieve far-off and shadowy ends, whether we should accept a world bristling with arms where brother kills brother; or whether, on the contrary, we should avoid bloodshed and misery as much as possible so that we give a chance for survival to later generations better equipped than we are.

For my part, I am fairly sure that I have made the choice. And, having chosen, I think that I must speak out, that I must state that I will never again be one of those, whoever they be, who compromise with murder, and that I must take the consequences of such a decision. The thing is done, and that is as far as I can go at present.... However, I want to make clear the spirit in which this article is written.

We are asked to love or to hate such and such a country and such and such a people. But some of us feel too strongly our common humanity to make such a choice. Those who really love the Russian people, in gratitude for what they have never ceased to be--that world leaven which Tolstoy and Gorky speak of--do not wish for them success in power politics, but rather want to spare them, after the ordeals of the past, a new and even more terrible bloodletting. So, too, with the American people, and with the peoples of unhappy Europe. This is the kind of elementary truth we are likely to forget amidst the furious passions of our time.

Yes, it is fear and silence and the spiritual isolation they cause that must be fought today. And it is sociability and the universal inter-communication of men that must be defended. Slavery, injustice, and lies destroy this intercourse and forbid this sociability; and so we must reject them. But these evils are today the very stuff of history, so that many consider them necessary evils. It is true that we cannot "escape history," since we are in it up to our necks. But one may propose to fight within history to preserve from history that part of man which is not its proper province. That is all I have to say here. The "point" of this article may be summed up as follows:

Modern nations are driven by powerful forces along the roads of power and domination. I will not say that these forces should be furthered or that they should be obstructed. They hardly need our help and, for the moment, they laugh at attempts to hinder them. They will, then, continue. But I will ask only this simple question: What if these forces wind up in a dead end, what if that logic of history on which so many now rely turns out to be a will o' the wisp? What if, despite two or three world wars, despite the sacrifice of several generations and a whole system of values, our grandchildren--supposing they survive--find themselves no closer to a world society? It may well be that the survivors of such an experience will be too weak to understand their own sufferings. Since these forces are working themselves out and since it is inevitable that they continue to do so,there is no reason why some of us should not take on the job of keeping alive, through the apocalyptic historical vista that stretches before us, a modest thoughtfulness which, without pretending to solve everything, will constantly be prepared to give some human meaning to everyday life. The essential thing is that people should carefully weight the price they must pay....

All I ask is that, in the midst of a murderous world, we agree to reflect on murder and to make a choice. After that, we can distinguish those who accept the consequences of being murderers themselves or the accomplices of murderers, and those who refuse to do so with all their force and being. Since this terrible dividing line does actually exist, it will be a gain if it be clearly marked. Over the expanse of five continents throughout the coming years an endless strugle is going to be pursued between violence and friendly persuasion, a struggle in which, granted, the former has a thousand times the chances of success than that of the latter. But I have always held that, if he who bases his hopes on human nature is a fool, he who gives up in the face of circum-stances is a coward. And henceforth, the only honorable course will be to stake everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful than munitions.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lest I Forget - by Hénock Gugsa

Hénock Gügsa
 Lest I Forget 
- by Hénock Gugsa  -

Something somber and serious this time ...

One morning, a long, long time ago in Ethiopia, a little boy five or six-years of age was outside playing in front of his house. In the center of the compound with five households, there was an old water well that served everybody including the little boy and his family. 

As the little kid was scampering around, he came upon a little kitten. He picked it up, and for some unknown reason he sauntered over to the well.

He looked down into the abyss of the well, maybe three-hundred feet down, where he could see the black glistening water. He also noticed that the wall of the well was dank and dotted with some smooth pebbles and jutting rocks. The boy was curious if any living thing could successfully clamber up the wall of the well ... up from the water level all the way to the top.

There must have been some devil or evil spirit in the vicinity of the boy because suddenly and impulsively, he threw the kitten down into the well. The little animal's scream as it fell was spine-chilling, and when the kitten hit the water it immediately began to wail as it swam to the sides of the well. Panic and guilt started to overcome the little boy as he realized the horrible and thoughtless thing he had done. Nothing to do but go, run and hide somewhere.

It was not even three minutes before the neighbors heard the animal's scream for help. Very fast and very efficiently, they threw down into the well a wooden bucket tied to a sturdy rope. The little kitten was still alive and fighting for dear life. Somehow, it got on or attached itself to the bucket. And in no time, the poor animal was triumphantly rescued by those good people. 

But what about the culprit? Nothing! Everybody was so busy helping the kitten, they had no time to stop and investigate the crime.

The little boy was inside his house, hiding under a bed.

Well, that brat is now an old man.  When he remembers the terrible thing he did back when he was a little kid, he is filled with regret and shame, and his eyes well up with tears. But he is thankful that the kitten was saved. He has since become an unabashed lover of cats, and he erupts in fury whenever he hears about cruel things people do to animals.

Guess who that little boy is now.

Moral of the story:   Be kind to animals ... especially to cats!

Henock & Curie - A Man and His Cat

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Inspired - by Hénock Gugsa

- by Hénock Gugsa -

I woke up this morning and found myself inspired enough to think up some jokes of my own. 

Immediately, I cranked out two, and I stopped right there .... I didn't want to lose my enthusiasm, as it were!

I've worked on these jokes a little bit, polished them up some ... and here they are for your (maybe) enjoyment ....


Sam walks over to his neighbor's farm. He finds his friend pacing back and forth in his front yard like a proud rooster.

          Sam says, "Say Chester. Do you know you got no manure whatsoever? You expect to do well this year, do you?"

          Chester replies, "'That ain't my fault. Bessie there is doing her business elsewhere now."


          Again today, Alice is not on time for her shift at the diner.

          Her boss, Mel, shouts out at her, "Alice, you're late every morning, why?"

          Alice's new friend is an elderly lady with a slight hearing loss.  She speaks up for Alice.

          "Cause she's born lucky, that's why!" 

Whoa ... WTF ... WTF !!!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Après l'hiver - de Victor Hugo

Après l'hiver

N'attendez pas de moi que je vais vous donner
Des raisons contre Dieu que je vois rayonner ;
La nuit meurt, l'hiver fuit ; maintenant la lumière,
Dans les champs, dans les bois, est partout la première.
Je suis par le printemps vaguement attendri.
Avril est un enfant, frêle, charmant, fleuri ;
Je sens devant l'enfance et devant le zéphyre
Je ne sais quel besoin de pleurer et de rire ;
Mai complète ma joie et s'ajoute à mes pleurs.
Jeanne, George, accourez, puisque voilà des fleurs.
Accourez, la forêt chante, l'azur se dore,
Vous n'avez pas le droit d'être absents de l'aurore.
Je suis un vieux songeur et j'ai besoin de vous,
Venez, je veux aimer, être juste, être doux,
Croire, remercier confusément les choses,
Vivre sans reprocher les épines aux roses,
Être enfin un bonhomme acceptant le bon Dieu.

Ô printemps ! bois sacrés ! ciel profondément bleu !
On sent un souffle d'air vivant qui vous pénètre,
Et l'ouverture au loin d'une blanche fenêtre ;
On mêle sa pensée au clairobscur des eaux ;
On a le doux bonheur d'être avec les oiseaux
Et de voir, sous l'abri des branches printanières,
Ces messieurs faire avec ces dames des manières.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dowager Moments - acted by Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith

Dowager Moments *
- Maggie Smith - 

* from the PBS (Masterpiece) series, Downton Abbey.

Monday, March 9, 2015

That's All - by Phil Collins and Genesis

"That's All" 
- Phil Collins and GENESIS -

Just as I thought it was going alright
I find out I'm wrong, when I thought I was right
s'always the same, it's just a shame, that's all

I could say day, and you'd say night
tell me it's black when I know that it's white
always the same, it's just a shame, that's all

I could leave but I won't go
though my heart might tell me so
I can't feel a thing from my head down to my toes

So why does it always seem to be
me looking at you, you looking at me
s'always the same, it's just a shame, that's all

Turning me on, turning me off,
making me feel like I want too much
living with you's just putting me through it all of the time

running around, staying out all night
taking it all instead of taking one bite
living with you's just putting me through it all of the time

I could leave but I won't go
it'd be easier I know
I can't feel a thing from my head down to my toes

but why does it always seem to be
me looking at you, you looking at me
s'always the same, it's just a shame, that's all

Truth is I love you
more than I wanted to
there's no point in trying to pretend

there's been no-one who
makes me feel like you do
say we'll be together till the end

[ Instrumental! ]

I could leave but I won't go
it'd be easier I know
I can't feel a thing from my head down to my toes

so why does it always seem to be
me looking at you, you looking at me
s'always the same, it's just a shame, that's all

But I love you
More than I wanted to
There's no point in
trying to pretend

there's been no-one who
makes me feel like you do
say we'll be together till the end

just as I thought it was going alright
I find out I'm wrong when I thought I was right
s'always the same, it's just a shame, that's all

I could say day, you'd say night
tell me it's black when I know that it's white
s'always the same, it's just a shame, that's all

That's all !!