Saturday, May 11, 2013

How to ride a horse



Once, a man went to a library. There he read a book, 'How to ride a horse'. After few days, he went to a friend who had a horse. After seeing the horse, he couldn't control himself and asked for a ride from his friend. The friend agreed.

The man tried to ride the horse. But a horse always recognizes its rider. It reared up and flung the man to the ground, every time he tried to climb up.

The friend finally asked, "Where did you learn to ride?"

The man exposed his foolishness saying, "I learned it from a library book."

Moral: We cannot learn everything on our own, and sometimes we need the guidance of a teacher.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sophia & Jacob


Social Security Administration released the annual list of most popular names for 2012. As earlier, Jacob & Sophia top the list.

Jacob has been top on the list since 1999. In 2012, Liam came in top 10, and out went Daniel in boy's names. In girl's section, Elizabeth came in top 10 and replaced Chloe.

Click here to see the top 10 list for 2012.

Childhood and Poetry


One time, investigating in the backyard of our house in Temuco the tiny objects and minuscule beings of my world, I came upon a hole in one of the boards of the fence. I looked through the hole and saw a landscape like that behind our house, uncared for, and wild. I moved back a few steps, because I sensed vaguely that something was about to happen. All of a sudden a hand appeared, a tiny hand of a boy about my own age. By the time I came close again, the hand was gone, and in its place there was a marvelous white sheep.

The sheep's wool was faded. Its wheels had escaped. All of this only made it more authentic. I had never seen such a wonderful sheep. I looked back through the hole but the boy had disappeared. I went into the house and brought out a treasure of my own: a pinecone, opened, full of odor and resin, which I adored. I set it down in the same spot and went off with the sheep.

I never saw either the hand or the boy again. And I have never again seen a sheep like that either. The toy I lost finally in a fire. But even now, in 1954, almost fifty years old, whenever I pass a toy shop, I look furtively into the window, but it's no use. They don't make sheep like that anymore.

I have been a lucky man. To feel the intimacy of brothers is a marvelous thing in life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses, that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things.

That exchange brought home to me for the first time a precious idea: that all of humanity is somehow together. That experience came to me again much later; this time it stood out strikingly against a background of trouble and persecution.

It won't surprise you then that I attempted to give something resiny, earthlike, and fragrant in exchange for human brotherhood. Just as I once left the pinecone by the fence, I have since left my words on the door of so many people who were unknown to me, people in prison, or hunted, or alone.

That is the great lesson I learned in my childhood, in the backyard of a lonely house. Maybe it was nothing but a game two boys played who didn't know each other and wanted to pass to the other some good things of life. Yet maybe this small and mysterious exchange of gifts remained inside me also, deep and indestructible, giving my poetry light.

- Pablo Neruda.



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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Damon and Pythias

The story of Damon and Pythias


Damon and Pythias had been the best of friends since childhood. Each trusted the other like a brother, and each knew in his heart there was nothing he would not do for his friend. Eventually the time came for them to prove the depth of their devotion. It happened this way.

Dionysius, the ruler of Syracuse, grew annoyed when he heard about the kind of speeches Pythias was giving. The young scholar was telling that no man should have unlimited power over another, and that absolute tyrants were unjust kings. In a fit of rage, Dionysius summoned Pythias and his friend.

"Who do you think you are, spreading unrest among the people?" he demanded.

"I spread only the truth," Pythias answered. "There can be nothing wrong with that."

"And does your truth hold that kings have too much power and that their laws are not good for their subjects?"

"If the king has seized power without permission of the people, then that is what I say."

"This kind of talk is treason," Dionysius shouted. "You are conspiring to overthrow me. Retract what you've said or face the consequences."

"I will retract nothing," Pythias answered.

"Then you will die. Do you have any last requests?"

Yes, Let me go home long enough to say goodbye to my wife and children and to put household in order."

"I see you not only think I am unjust, you think I’m stupid as well,"  Dionysius laughed scornfully. "If I let you leave Syracuse, I have no doubt I will never see you again."

"I will give you a pledge," Pythias said.

"What kind of pledge could you possibly give to make me think you will ever return?" Dionysius demanded.

At that instant Damon, who had stood quietly besides his friend, stepped forward. "I will be his pledge," he said. "Keep me here in Syracuse, as your prisoner, until Pythias returns. Our friendship is well known to you.You can be sure Pythias will return so long as you hold me."

Dionysius studied the two friends silently, "Very well," he said at last. "But if you are willing to take the place of your friend, you must be willing to accept his sentence if he breaks his promise. If Pythias does not return to Syracuse, you will have to die in his place."

"He will keep his word," Damon replied. "I have no doubt of that."

Pythias was allowed to go free for a time, and Damon was thrown into prison. After several days, when Pythias failed to reappear, Dionysius’s curiosity got the better of him, and he went to the prison to see if Damon was yet sorry he had made such a bargain.

"Your time is almost up," the ruler of Syracuse sneered. "It will be useless to beg for mercy. You are a fool to rely on your friend’s promise. Did you really think he would sacrifice his life for you or anyone else?"

"He has merely been delayed,” Damon answered steadily. "The winds have kept him from sailing, or perhaps he has met with some accident on the road. But if it is humanly possible, he will be here on time. I am confident of his virtue as I am of my own existence."

Dionysius was startled at the prisoner’s confidence. "We shall soon see," he said, and left Damon in his cell.

The fatal day arrived. Damon was brought from prison and led before the executioner. Dionysius greeted him with a smug smile. "It seems you friend has not turned up," he laughed. "What do you think of him now?"

"He is my friend," Damon answered. "I trust him." Even as he spoke, the doors flew open, and Pythias staggered into the room. He was pale and bruised and half speechless from exhaustion. He rushed to the arms of his friend.

"You are safe, praise the gods," he gasped. "It seemed as though the fate was conspiring against us. My ship was wrecked in a storm, and then bandits attacked me on the road. But I refused to give up hope, and at last I’ve made it back on time. I am ready to receive my sentence of death."

Dionysius heard his word with astonishment. His eyes and his heart were opened. It was impossible for him to resist the power of such constancy.

"The sentence is revoked," he declared. "I've never believed that such faith and loyalty could exist in friendship. You have shown me how wrong I was, and it is only right that you be rewarded with your freedom. But I ask that in return you do me one great service."

"What service do you mean?" the friends asked.

"Teach me how to be part of so worthy a friendship."


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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

King Canute on the Seashore




Long ago, England was ruled by a king named Canute. Like many leaders and men of power, Canute was surrounded by people who were always praising him. Every time he walked into a room, the flattery began.

"You are the greatest man that ever lived," one would say.

"O king, there can never be another as mighty as you," another would insist.

"Your highness, there is nothing you cannot do," someone would smile.

"Great Canute, you are the monarch of all," another would sing. "Nothing in this world dares to disobey you."

The king was a man of sense, and he grew tired of hearing such foolish speeches.

One day he was walking by the seashore, and his officers and courtiers were with him, praising him as usual. Canute decided to teach them a lesson.

"So you say I am the greatest man in the world?" he asked them.

"O king," they cried, "there never has been anyone as mighty as you, and there never be anyone so great, ever again!"

"And you say all things obey me?" Canute asked.

"Absolutely!" they said. "The world bows before you, and gives you honor."

"I see," the king answered. "In that case, bring me my chair, and we will go down to the water."

"At once, your majesty!" They scrambled to carry his royal chair over the sands.

"Bring it closer to the sea," Canute called. "Put it right here, right at the water's edge." He sat down and surveyed the ocean before him. "I notice the tide is coming in. Do you think it will stop if I give the command?"

His officers were puzzled, but they did not dare say no. "Give the order, O great king, and it will obey," one of then assured him.

"Very well. Sea," cried Canute, "I command you to come no further! Waves, stop your rolling!. Surf, stop your pounding! Do not dare touch my feet!"

He waited a moment, quietly, and a tiny wave rushed up the sand and lapped at his feet.

"How dare you!" Canute shouted. "Ocean, turn back now! I have ordered you to retreat before me, and now you must obey! Go back!"

And in answer another wave swept forward and curled around the king's feet. The tide came in, just as it always did. The water rose higher and higher. It came up around the king's chair, and wet not only his feet, but also his robe. His officers stood before him, alarmed, and wondering whether he was not mad.

"Well, my friends," Canute said, "it seems I do not have quite so much power as you would have me believe. Perhaps you have learned something today. Perhaps now you will remember there is only one King who is all-powerful, and it is He who rules the sea, and holds the ocean in the hollow of His hand. I suggest you reserve your praises for Him."

The royal officers and courtiers hung their heads and looked foolish. And some say Canute took off his crown soon afterward, and never wore it again.



Credits: James Baldwin
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rebecca


Rebecca

I have a doll, Rebecca, 
She's quite a little care, 
I have to press her ribbons 
And comb her fluffy hair. 

I keep her clothes all mended, 
And wash her hands and face, 
And make her frocks and aprons, 
All trimmed in frills and lace. 

I have to cook her breakfast, 
And pet her when she's ill; 
And telephone the doctor 
When Rebecca has a chill. 

Rebecca doesn't like that, 
And says she's well and strong; 
And says she'll try--oh! very hard, 
To be good all day long. 

But when night comes, she's nodding; 
So into bed we creep 
And snuggle up together, 
And soon are fast asleep. 

I have no other dolly, 
For you can plainly see, 
In caring for Rebecca, 
I'm busy as can be!




Credits: Elenor Piatt

A Child's Prayer



God make my life a little light,
Within the world to glow;
A tiny flame that burneth bright
Wherever I may go.

God make my life a little flower,
That giveth joy to all,
Content to bloom in native bower,
Although its place be small.

God make my life a little song,
That comforteth the sad;
That helpeth others to be strong,
And makes the singer glad.

God make my life a little staff,
Whereon the weak may rest,
That so what health and strength I have
May serve my neighbors best.



Credits: M. Bentham-Edwards

Help with Homework



Here’s advice from experts about what parental input truly helps kids-and what doesn't.

DO provide your child with a space in the house that is clean, well lit, and set aside especially for doing homework.

DON’T let your your kid watch TV, take phone calls, or make pit stops at the refrigerator during homework time.

DO help your child get started on task and brainstorm ideas for projects. Ask what topics are of interest for them.

DON’T tell your child the answers. This sends the message that someone will bail them out when faced with a challenge.

DO praise your child. Educators say that effort is more important than success. Be sure to applaud small milestone.

DON’T nag or bully your child into getting homework done. Pestering most often breeds resentment, not motivation.

DO acknowledge homework that is well done. But instead of gifts, let them pick an activity, such as trip to the zoo or play at the park.

DON’T bribe your child to do homework by offering money or gifts. This teaches kids to work only for compensation.



Credits: Ladie’s HomeJournal

Hercules and the Waggoner



A Wagoner was driving his team along a muddy lane with a full load behind them, when the wheels of his wagon sank so deep in the mire that no efforts of his horses could move them.

As he stood there, looking helplessly on, and calling loudly at intervals upon Hercules for assistance, the god himself appeared, and said to him, "Put your shoulder to the wheel, man, and goad on your horses, and then you may call on Hercules to assist you. If you won't lift a finger to help yourself, you can't expect Hercules or any one else to come to your aid."

Moral: Heaven helps those who help themselves.


Source: Aesop's Fables

Monday, May 6, 2013

Magic with chocolate bars



Two boys - one Indian and one Pakistani, entered a Godiva chocolate store. As they were admiring all the candy, the Pakistani boy stole 3 chocolate bars. As they left the store, the Pakistani whispered to his Indian friend, “Man I’m the best thief, I stole 3 Godiva chocolate bars and no one saw me. You can’t beat that.”

The Indian lad replied: “You want to see something better? Let’s go back to the shop right now and I’ll show you real stealing.”

So they went to the counter and the Indian boy said to the shopkeeper, “Do you want to see a magic?”

The shopkeeper replied, “Yes.”

The Indian boy said, “Give me one Godiva chocolate bar.”

The shopkeeper gave him one, and he ate it.

He asked for a second bar, and he ate that as well. Then asked for the third, and finished that one too.

The shopkeeper asked: “But where’s the magic?”

The Indian lad replied: “Check my friend’s pocket, and you’ll find all three Godiva bars.”


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The King and his Hawk


[Illustration]

Genghis Khan (1162 - 1227 AD) was a great king and warrior.

He led his army into China and Persia, and he conquered many lands. In every country, men told about his daring deeds; and they said that since Alexander the Great there had been no king like him.

One morning when he was home from the wars, he rode out into the woods to have a day's sport. Many of his friends were with him. They rode out gayly, carrying their bows and arrows. Behind them came the servants with the hounds.

It was a merry hunting party. The woods rang with their shouts and laughter. They expected to carry much game home in the evening.

On the king's wrist sat his favorite hawk; for in those days hawks were trained to hunt. At a word from their masters they would fly high up into the air, and look around for prey. If they chanced to see a deer or a rabbit, they would swoop down upon it swift as any arrow.

All day long Genghis Khan and his huntsmen rode through the woods. But they did not find as much game as they expected.

Toward evening they started for home. The king had often ridden through the woods, and he knew all the paths. So while the rest of the party took the nearest way, he went by a longer road through a valley between two mountains.

The day had been warm, and the king was very thirsty. His pet hawk had left his wrist and flown away. It would be sure to find its way home.

The king rode slowly along. He had once seen a spring of clear water near this pathway. If he could only find it now! But the hot days of summer had dried up all the mountain brooks.

At last, to his joy, he saw some water trickling down over the edge of a rock. He knew that there was a spring farther up. In the wet season, a swift stream of water always poured down here; but now it came only one drop at a time.

The king leaped from his horse. He took a little silver cup from his hunting bag. He held it so as to catch the slowly falling drops.

It took a long time to fill the cup; and the king was so thirsty that he could hardly wait. At last it was nearly full. He put the cup to his lips, and was about to drink.

All at once there was a whirring sound in the air, and the cup was knocked from his hands. The water was all spilled upon the ground.

The king looked up to see who had done this thing. It was his pet hawk.

The hawk flew back and forth a few times, and then alighted among the rocks by the spring.

The king picked up the cup, and again held it to catch the trickling drops.

This time he did not wait so long. When the cup was half full, he lifted it toward his mouth. But before it had touched his lips, the hawk swooped down again, and knocked it from his hands.

And now the king began to grow angry. He tried again; and for the third time the hawk kept him from drinking.

The king was now very angry indeed.

"How do you dare to act so?" he cried. "If I had you in my hands, I would wring your neck!"

Then he filled the cup again. But before he tried to drink, he drew his sword.

"Now, Sir Hawk," he said, "this is the last time."

He had hardly spoken, before the hawk swooped down and knocked the cup from his hand. But the king was looking for this. With a quick sweep of the sword he struck the bird as it passed.

The next moment the poor hawk lay bleeding and dying at its master's feet.

"That is what you get for your pains," said Genghis Khan.

But when he looked for his cup he found that it had fallen between two rocks, where he could not reach it.

"At any rate, I will have a drink from that spring," he said to himself.

With that he began to climb the steep bank to the place from which the water trickled. It was hard work, and the higher he climbed, the thirstier he became.

At last he reached the place. There indeed was a pool of water; but what was that lying in the pool, and almost filling it? It was a huge, dead snake of the most poisonous kind.

The king stopped. He forgot his thirst. He thought only of the poor dead bird lying on the ground below him.

"The hawk saved my life!" he cried; "and how did I repay him? He was my best friend, and I have killed him."

He clambered down the bank. He took the bird up gently, and laid it in his hunting bag. Then he mounted his horse and rode swiftly home. He said to himself,

"I have learned a sad lesson today; and that is, never to do anything in anger."




Credits: James Baldwin

The Little Gentleman



Take your meal, my little man,
Always like a gentleman;
Wash your face and hands with care,
Change your shoes, and brush your hair.

Then so fresh and clean and neat,
Come and take your proper seats;
Do not loiter and be late,
Making other people wait.

Do not rudely point or touch;
Do not eat and drink too much,
Finish what you have, before
You even ask or send for more.

Never crumble or destroy
Food that others might enjoy;
Never spill your milk or tea,
Never rude or noisy be.

Never choose the dainties food,
Be content with what is good;
Seek in all things that you can
To be a little gentleman.


Credits: The Gentleman's Magazine

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Psalms 23 for College Students






1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not flunk;
2 He keepeth me from lying down when I should be studying.
3 He leadeth me beside the water cooler for a study break;
4 He restoreth my faith in study guides.
5 He leads me to better study habits for my grade’s sake.

6 Yea, though I walk through the valley of borderline grades,
7 I will not have a nervous breakdown; for thou art with me.
8 My prayers and my friends, they comfort me.
9 Thou givest me answers in moments of blankness;
10 Thou anointest my head with understanding.
11 My Final Exam runneth over with questions I recognize.
12 Surely passing grades and flying colors shall follow me
13 All the days of my examinations,
14 And I shall not have to dwell in this college forever.

Amen!

The Lovable Child


Frisky as a lambkin,
Busy as a bee-
That's the kind of little girl
People like to see.

Modest as a violet,
As a rosebud sweet-
That's the kind of little girl
People like to see.

Bright as a diamond,
Pure as any pearl-
Everyone rejoices in
Such a little girl.

Happy as a robin,
Gentle as a dove-
That's the kind of little girl
Everyone will love.

Fly away and seek her,
Little song of mine,
For I choose that very girl
As my Valentine.



Credits: Emilie Poulsson

Meeting Suresh Gopi


Suresh Gopi was performing a show here in Atlanta and I spared some time to go for the show. Due to some prior commitments my family did not join me and hence had to go all alone. I went to see him up close 'in real' and spend few minutes over there. It was raining heavily in the Atlanta area and I did not mind driving in the harsh weather.

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