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, August 27, 2016

Get Zany! - by Hénock Gugsa

 Get Zany! 
- by Hénock Gugsa -

Why be morose, and crotchety?  Old age is bad enough as it is.  So, perk up, lighten up, and get a friend ... preferably non-human ... oh heck, just get a cat.  Make an effort and befriend it!

A cat will ignore you when it thinks you need to be ignored.  But it will be affectionate and cuddly at other times.  Never persistently demanding, a cat will be playful, tolerant, and always good company.

And cats are quiet and unobtrusive most of the time. 


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ad Populum Fallacy - by TPO

mob in Trafalgar square
 Ad Populum Fallacy *
- by TPO -
The ad populum fallacy is the appeal to the popularity of a claim as a reason for accepting it.
The number of people who believe a claim is irrelevant to its truth. Fifty million people can be wrong. In fact, millions of people have been wrong about many things: that the Earth is flat and motionless, for example, and that the stars are lights shining through holes in the sky.

The ad populum fallacy is also referred to as the bandwagon fallacy, the appeal to the mob, the democratic fallacy, and the appeal to popularity.
The ad populum fallacy is seductive because it appeals to our desire to belong and to conform, to our desire for security and safety. It is a common appeal in advertising and politics. A clever manipulator of the masses will try to seduce those who blithely assume that the majority is always right. Also seduced by this appeal will be the insecure, who may be made to feel guilty if they oppose the majority or feel strong by joining forces with large numbers of other uncritical thinkers.
Examples of ad populum appeals:
    “TRY NEW, IMPROVED [fill in the blank with the name of any one of innumerable commercial products]. EVERYBODY’s USING IT!
    “Gods must exist, since every culture has some sort of belief in a higher being.”
    “The Bold and the Listless must be a great book. It’s been on the best seller list for 8 weeks.”
    “Arnold Killembetter’s movie "True Garbage" is the greatest movie of all time. No movie has made as much money as it did.”
    “The fact that the majority of our citizens support the death penalty proves that it is morally right.”
* Source: http://skepdic.com/adpopulum.html
chicken factory

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Asked and Answered - by Hénock Gugsa

A good teacher.

Asked and Answered 
- by Hénock Gugsa -
A friend on Facebook recently asked: 
Do yo want to know why teachers teach and retired teachers deeply miss teaching? 
 Someone responds:
A really good teacher takes care of his students much like a Gardner takes care of his plants, so the end result will be something everyone can enjoy and be proud of.

And here's my response:
[Similar to the previous person's response] ===> 
A good teacher is like a good farmer.  A good teacher sows seeds of knowledge, and nurtures his/her students with life lessons.  The fruits of a teacher's efforts are slow-coming, but long-lasting.  Furthermore, they are forever self-propagating.  
A good teacher, by my definition, is someone with high integrity who nonetheless is humble and respects his/her students as individual human beings regardless of their age or gender.  After-all, respect engenders respect!  

Professor Cat

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Mental Patient - by Hénock Gugsa

 The Mental Patient 
- by Hénock Gugsa -

There is a little, harmless, Ethiopian joke about what transpired between a psychiatrist and a mental patient upon his release from an sanatorium.  

So the patient had been doing extremely well, and the institute was now confident he can be released.  They went thru all the necessary protocol, the paperwork was complete, and the patient was seeing his doctor for a final, exit interview.

The doctor asked the patient a simple but tricky question: Is a man a child even if he is old?  

The patient smiled and answered, "Ah, Doc, a man can always be a child.  It is all a state of mind." 

The doctor was very impressed ... and so without any hesitation, he signed the final release paper and handed it to the patient.

The patient took the paper and the pass card, shook the doctor's hand and started walking to the door.

When he reached the door, he turned one last time to face  the doctor and said this: I still got them, huh doctor?

The doctor looked up, surprised. "What?"

As he walked out the door, the patient pointed a finger at his own head and  said, "My kidneys!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"No Little Things" - by Naftali Reich

A passerby looks at a statue depicting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the nude in San Francisco!

"No Little Things"
- by Naftali Reich * -
What is the image that comes to mind when we think of the ideal national leader? Someone who has a grasp of the issues, who can see the big picture. Someone who is strong and courageous, who can hold his own in the arena of international affairs in times of war and peace. Someone who has a vision for the future and the ability to make it happen. Someone who, through his words and actions, can inspire and galvanize his people.

[But] what is [a leader's] qualification for leadership? That he is attuned to the spirit of each and every individual [citizen].

And the overriding quality required of a leader ...
It is not enough for a leader to have grand schemes and plans. It is not enough for a leader to deliver soul-stirring addresses to the people. A leader must be able to relate to his people on every level. He must be sensitive to their needs and aspiration. He must empathize with their pain and joy. A true leader cannot stand off in the distance. He must be thoroughly attuned to the most minor requirements of his people in order to lead effectively. For a true leader, there are no little things.


* Rabbi Naftali Reich, "No little Things", www.torah.org/legacy 7/14/2008

kittens in harmony

Monday, August 15, 2016

Fate and Choices - by Hénock Gugsa

Fate and Choices
- by Hénock Gugsa -
==== ~~ ====
But acknowledging something "has been dealt to you" is the same as validating the reality of "Fate" (some superimposed external power). It follows then that you should not presume you are powerful because you have been given basically only two choices to begin with: Yes (acceptance) ... or ...  No (rejection).

It is the same idea as when we deal with problems (situations) in computer science using flow charts. The initial statement or question is made, and everything flows from there. As humans, I believe we are dealt the initial cards (Fate) and everything that follows is based on our decisions (Choices) ... and they, in turn, engender further choices. The path we take is a series of connected choices. It can be short and definitive, or it can be long, winding, and indeterminate.

In my opinion, we make a big deal about the choices we make when in reality we have only made one choice. In essence, from the start, we did not really have that much of a power over our choices. The big question then becomes: Do we have the power of knowledge to make the right choice in the beginning? As for the subsequent mini-choices, if we go wrong, it may be possible to correct them, and move on to the next levels.  However, in the long run, as John Maynard Keynes said, we will all be dead!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Purist - by Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash (1902 - 1971)
The Purist
- by Ogden Nash -

I give you now Professor Twist,
A conscientious scientist,
Trustees exclaimed, "He never bungles!"
And sent him off to distant jungles.
Camped on a tropic riverside,
One day he missed his loving bride.
She had, the guide informed him later,
Been eaten by an alligator.
Professor Twist could not but smile.
"You mean," he said, "a crocodile." 


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Ancestry - by Hénock Gugsa

My Ancestry 
(as told to me by my father, Gugsa Asta!)
- by Hénock Gugsa -
Legend has it that a tribesman traveled from Zula, an ancestral town in eastern Eritrea, to a place called Adi-Abo which was located in the southwest, in the region known as Tigray.  When he got there, he settled down, got married, and began to prosper.  Soon he became quite wealthy, and achieved a respectable status in the community.  However, he and his wife were childless, and so he was not as content with his life as could be expected.

As it happened, there lived in that town a sorcerer who was quite reputable in his wisdom and extra-sensory powers.  So, the wealthy but childless man decided to go and consult with him for a solution to his problem.

"Why can I not have any children?  Can you give me some medicine to help me and my wife be fruitful?" He begged.

The sorcerer replied, "You must understand that your destiny is unique.  The only offspring you will have is from a lioness."

"But a lioness is a mighty ferocious, and wild creature.  How is it even possible to approach a lioness, let alone procreate with her?"

"Follow my instructions to the letter, and you will succeed in this mission, fear not!"  The sorcerer commanded.

He then told the man where he would find the particular lioness that was destined to give him offspring.  The lioness had a favorite watering spot at a little clearing near a hillside from whence a stream flowed.  The man was to go to that place when the lioness wasn't there, and he was to build a dam and divert the stream in another direction.  Then at the exact spot where the lioness drank, he was to place a large vat filled with mead.  When the lioness came to the spot as usual, she would not find water there ... and because she would be mightily thirsty, she would be forced to drink the potent mead.  When sated, she would head back to her lair for her evening siesta.  The mead was bound to overcome her, and she would fall into a deep slumber.  That would be the time for the man to show his intrepid side, and give her his seed. 

Then would come a waiting period when the man would have to stalk the lioness from a distance and see how she was progressing along.  Not too long after she had given birth to a daughter and three sons as predicted by the sorcerer, the proud father was to repeat the same crafty deception with the mead and get the lioness intoxicated again.  He would then kidnap the four infants with the help of an assistant that the sorcerer had provided.  Additionally, the sorcerer emphasized that they should make sure they stayed downwind from the lioness at all times during their escape.  That way, her eventual search and pursuit of the kidnappers and her babies would be thwarted.

Following the successful daredevil deed, the man and his offspring left Adi-Abo and returned to Eritrea.  The man stopped and settled in Hatsenna in order to raise his children.  When the children were grown, he first saw to it that his daughter got married and made her home there.  When that was accomplished, the man and his three sons were off and on the road again. 

At long last, the man finally made his home in the place we now call Asmara.  One of his sons, Asmael, stayed there with his father, and they both settled down for good.  Asmael became the patriarch of all the people that lived in that region.  And in time, the town, Asmara, was named after him.

As for the other two sons, they left their father and brother behind and headed east toward Zula.  But midway, the second son whose name was Jenn-Alle decided to veer a little bit to the south toward Adi Keyh (the Red Land).  When he reached Berhenet-Arett, he stopped and this became his home.  Jenn-Alle is our ancestor, and his blood still runs in our family!

Tekle-Semaat, the third son, continued on to Zula.  He settled there and had many offspring.  We believe his descendants, our cousins,  are still there.
/// === \\\
(Please click on map to enlarge)