Lao-Tzu #20: Must you fear what others fear?



Renounce knowledge and your problems will end.

What is the difference between yes and no?

What is the difference between good and evil?

Must you fear what others fear?

Nonsense, look how far you have missed the mark!


Other people are joyous,

as though they were at a spring festival.

I alone am unconcerned and expressionless,

like an infant before it has learned to smile.


Other people have more than they need;

I alone seem to possess nothing.

I am lost and drift about with no place to go.

I am like a fool, my mind is in chaos.


Ordinary people are bright;

I alone am dark.

Ordinary people are clever;

I alone am dull.

Ordinary people seem discriminating;

I alone am muddled and confused.

I drift on the waves on the ocean,

blown at the mercy of the wind.

Other people have their goals,

I alone am dull and uncouth.


I am different from ordinary people.

I nurse from the Great Mother’s breasts.


Tao Te Ching

By Lao-Tzu

A translation for the public domain by j.h.mcdonald, 1996

David Bruce: Names Anecdotes


In Korea, Colin Powell, then a lieutenant colonel, became known as Bro P as a result of an encounter with a black soldier who was intoxicated with either alcohol or illegal drugs. The soldier was holding a pool cue and yelling, “Somebody’s gonna die! You put my buddy in jail. Nobody’s gonna put me in jail. Somebody’s gonna die first!” Fortunately, Mr. Powell was able to talk the soldier into putting down the pool cue and surrendering before the MPs arrived, wrestled the man to the ground, and carried him away in chains. Instead of being put in a stockade for a year, the soldier was placed on restriction for several weeks, then resumed regular duty. Later, the soldier said about Mr. Powell, “That’s Bro P. Brother Powell. He’s all right.”

The first black President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was born Rolihlahla Mandela. In the language of his people, the Xhosa, “Rolihlahla” meant “pulling the branch of a tree.” Later, when he began attending school, his teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave him the name “Nelson,” possibly because Europeans found it difficult to pronounce African names. Later, when he was 16, he was given yet another name after being circumcised in a ritual that marked his coming into adulthood. His circumcision name was “Dalibunga,” which can be translated as “the founder of the rulers of the Transkei.” (The Transkei is a region in South Africa that is the Xhosa people’s traditional homeland.)

Some people are more fanatical soccer fans than others. In 1982, Trevor George of Penarth, Wales, showed his love for the game by naming his infant daughter after 20 world-class soccer players. The baby’s full name was Jennifer Edson Arentes no Nascimento Jairzinho Rivelino Carolos-Alberto Paulo Cesar Bretner Cruyff Greaves Charlton Best Moore Ball Keegan Banks Gray Francis Brooking Curtis Toshack Law George. His wife promptly responded by leaving home and having their daughter’s name legally changed to Jennifer Anne George.

One of filmmaker John Waters’ friends used to work at a movie theater, which meant that he constantly had to pick up the telephone and answer the question, “What’s playing today?” The friend reports that the most embarrassing title he ever had to say on the telephone was Eu te Amo, which is Brazilian for “I love you.” When he told them the title of the movie, some people were shocked and asked, “I beg your pardon?” Other people cursed him, and one person told him, “I hate you,” before hanging up the telephone.

The baritone Lawrence Tibbett once stopped at a record shop to buy a recording of his Prologue to Pagliacci. He asked for the record, but the sales clerk said, “There is no such recording.” Mr. Tibbett explained that he knew the record to exist, as he had made it, but the clerk insisted, “We have no such name on our list.” Mr. Tibbett then spelled his name, and at last the clerk knew it. She explained, “We call that Teebay. Do you really pronounce it Tibbett?” “Why not?” Mr. Tibbett replied. “I am an American, not a Frenchman.”

The mother of the great tap dancer Savion Glover, one of the creators of Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk, knew he was special when she was pregnant with him. In fact, his name comes from a religious vision his mother had — she saw God writing a name on a blackboard: SAVIOR. She read the name, then said, “Now, You know I can’t name him Savior.” Therefore, she substituted an “n” for the “r.” To a great extent, Mr. Glover has been the savior of modern-day tap dancing, bringing it into the era of hip-hop.

Comedian Lotus Weinstock says that her name well represents the two sides of her personality. Lotus represents her spiritual side, and Weinstock is the side that busies itself with shopping. One of the messages on her telephone answering machine says, “Lotus is here, but Weinstock is out pursuing her earthly goals. Please leave your number and we’ll call back when we are at one.”

Joseph Cardinal Martin of Rouen once mistakenly called Pope John XXIII “Your Eminence” instead of “Your Holiness,” and apologized. Pope John XXIII told him not to worry; after all, in his career he had changed his title from Don Angelo to Monsignor to Your Grace to Your Excellency to Your Eminence to Your Holiness. The Pope added, “But now I’m through with changing titles.”

James Cleveland Owens was known as J.C. as a child in Alabama, but when his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, one of his teachers couldn’t understand his Alabama accent and misunderstood “J.C.” as “Jesse.” The name stuck, and in the 1936 Olympic Games in Germany, Jesse Owens won four gold medals in track events.

Peg Bracken knows that Hawaii was originally named the Sandwich Islands by Captain Cook. She wishes that they were still named that, because instead of remembering such names as Lanai, Maui, Kauai, we could instead remember such names as Ham on Rye, Egg Salad, and Pastrami.

In 1996, Jaycie Phelps won Olympics gold as a member of the United States “Magnificent Seven” women’s gymnastics team at the Atlanta Games. Her parents are Jack and Cheryl Phelps, and Jaycie got her name from the initials of her parents’ first names.

Sadye Marks was better known to her fans as Mary Livingstone, one of the stars of the Jack Benny Show— Mr. Benny was her husband. In 1947, she legally changed her name, for the very good reason that everyone, including her husband, called her Mary.

Elite American gymnast Kristin Maloney spells her name with an “i,” but when she was a child in school first learning to write her name, a teacher mistakenly taught her to spell her name with an “e”: Kristen. Today, she says that either spelling is OK with her.

When comedian Geraldine Ann “Geri” Jewell was born prematurely, there was a mixup about her name at the hospital. She was placed in an isolette on which was a chart labelled “JEWELL, PRECIOUS.”

When acerbic pianist Oscar Levant was introduced to famed actress Greta Garbo, he said, “Sorry, I didn’t catch the name.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


Edgar Lee Masters: The Hill (Spoon River Anthology)

The Hill

Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley,
The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?
All, all are sleeping on the hill.

One passed in a fever,
One was burned in a mine,
One was killed in a brawl,
One died in a jail,
One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife—
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie and Edith,
The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one?—
All, all are sleeping on the hill.

One died in shameful child-birth,
One of a thwarted love,
One at the hands of a brute in a brothel,
One of a broken pride, in the search for heart’s desire;
One after life in far-away London and Paris
Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Mag—
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Uncle Isaac and Aunt Emily,
And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton,
And Major Walker who had talked
With venerable men of the revolution?—
All, all are sleeping on the hill.

They brought them dead sons from the war,
And daughters whom life had crushed,
And their children fatherless, crying–
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where is Old Fiddler Jones
Who played with life all his ninety years,
Braving the sleet with bared breast,
Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin,
Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven?
Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago,
Of the horse-races of long ago at Clary’s Grove,
Of what Abe Lincoln said
One time at Springfield.


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Aesop: The Frog and the Ox

‘Oh Father,’ said a little Frog to the big one sitting by the side of a pool, ‘I have seen such a terrible monster! It was as big as a mountain, with horns on its head, and a long tail, and it had hoofs divided in two.’

‘Tush, child, tush,’ said the old Frog, ‘that was only Farmer White’s Ox. It isn’t so big either; he may be a little bit taller than I, but I could easily make myself quite as broad; just you see.’ So he blew himself out, and blew himself out, and blew himself out. ‘Was he as big as that?’ asked he.

‘Oh, much bigger than that,’ said the young Frog.

Again the old one blew himself out, and asked the young one if the Ox was as big as that.

‘Bigger, father, bigger,’ was the reply.

So the Frog took a deep breath, and blew and blew and blew, and swelled and swelled and swelled. And then he said: ‘I’m sure the Ox is not as big as —”But at this moment he burst.

Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction.


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