From: Jad "/dev/null" Davis 
Subject: Tea Time--no bows, no blades, leave your weapons behind.
Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2000 10:17:02 -0400 (EDT)

Have you ever been punched in the mouth while drinking tea?  No, I didn't
imagine so.  Furthermore, I would venture a guess that you've never
punched someone else in the mouth whilst drinking tea.  Am I wrong?  
Do you think it's coincidence that so many ceremonies expressing unity or
reconciliation involve tea?  It's evolution's beverage selection for
peaceful activities.  To my knowledge, no large scale armed conflict 
has taken place while both sides were preoccupied with the making
and drinking of tea.  OK wait, we have to disqualify the British.  They're
world renown for beating insurgents with a baton in the right hand without
spilling the tea they hold in the left.  The rest of the developed world 
has learned that you get twice as much power if you leave the tea at home
and grip the bat with both hands.

But I digress.  With the possible exception of British people.  You are
reasonably unlikely to attack or be attacked while you're having tea.  
Agreed?  Good.  

I think you see where I'm going with this--what with the rash of beatings
we've been witnessing in the department lately.  I'm really tired of
watching PI's kicking prostrated grad students in the halls.  And I don't
care what kind of grade he or she gave you, you should *never* toss a
prof through their third story window.  You know tensions are high when
you can't even go to the Main office without seeing Pauline and Sharon 
tag-teaming on some hapless undergrad.  I say it's time to end the madness--
through tea.

So what do you say?  Come down to the neutral turf of the computer 
science atrium today at 4pm.  Leave the shivs by your keyboards in 
your offices.  You'll not need them for *this* meeting.  While you're 
sipping your tea, look about you for your enemies.  If your eyes meet, 
lower your gaze.  This small sign that no one need die today is 
contagious--like a smile.  

Maybe we can even achieve a lasting peace in the department.  Maybe we
can put aside our petty blood feuds and clan warfare and get along as
a larger entity.  Maybe . . .

In any case, it all begins with tea.

This week's tea is brought to you by Krithi and his Rock 'em Sock 'em
Database Systems Lab (though, in the spirit of the event, they've 
promised not to rock and/or sock anybody until tea is over).

A couple of would-be helpful people pointed out that I forgot to mention
Brian Levine as last week's tea sponsor.  I was shocked, for the entire
Koan was specifically designed to thank him.  Then a coworker mentioned 
that he liked it better when I made up my own messages rather than just
cutting and pasting Buddhist literature.  At that moment, I was enlightened.
To think that I would steal a Zen Koan for a message!  No, Never!  I reached
deep down into my own Buddha-nature to craft that message which announced tea
and thanked Brian.  Would I do less for you (OK fine, but I really did make
up the message).
Maybe you should meditate some more on last week's tea announcement . . .

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