Saturday, February 9, 2013

Slang and Cussing

I'm a professing conservative(ish) Christian and have been my whole life, so believe me when I say this is a complicated subject for me. The Bible is (sort of) clear about this, Ephesians 4:29 (KJV) "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Of course that's not really a law per se. But there's other verses, Matthew 15:18 (KJV) "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man."  That's my opinion as a Christian, one shouldn't curse or say bad words.  Though those passages aren't specific about what not to say, they're clearly broad instructions to watch what one says.  Also, in James 3 it talks about not being able to tame one's tongue, which doesn't give one license to say whatever they want.  My point is that I should be working on not using corrupt or bad language, but the question is, what does that mean?

I know it's not the best source, but there's a funny TV show on Showtime network called, appropriately, Penn & Teller: Bullshit!  The pretense of the show is this comedic duo tears apart various beliefs.  Generally, they tend to interview the extreme oposite ends of the spectrum and they (intentionally, I'm sure) generally interview the worst possible representatives on the side that they're trying to put down.  They have an episode devoted to "Profanity" in which they discuss and show, through various arguments/interviews, that the concept of bad words or profanity is a simple social convention that is outmoded or outdated.  I don't buy into this wholeheartedly, but people need to watch what they say; I don't mean walk on eggshells and avoid saying "bad words" completely.  I'm saying there's a time and a place for everything, and "bad words" are appropriate in the appropriate situation. I like the line from the TV show Firefly, "I swear when it's appropriate." Though the other character replies, "Simon, the whole point of swearing is that it ain't appropriate."  Well, I feel the way Simon feels.  Swearing is appropriate.  Just like exclamation points, they exclaim an emotion.  When you're in a meeting at work with your bosses, you probably shouldn't swear.  But, it's not that big of a deal to swear when you smash your thumb with a hammer.

What brings this up you ask...  Well, I've been reading a couple blog entries about slang.  This first one about the slang surrounding the Prohibition in the 20s and 30s, then this one about trying to teach IBM's supercomputer "Watson" slang from, last but not least this entry about the different uses of the word snow.  All this reading about slang and the difficulties behind it's proper use made me think about profanity.  They're intricately related, profanity and slang are difficult intricacies in  language, especially a second language.  As a second (and someday third) language learner I can say from personal experience, this is one of the hardest parts of learning a new language.  It's funny, because that seems like one of the first things many of my friends sought out right away when learning a new language.

It reminds me of a story I often tell about my time learning Korean.  We were in class one day and one of the teachers was leaving the school; we were having a going away party later that day for her.  Well, the word for "going away party" is somewhat similar sounding to "sex party/orgy."  One of the guys in our small, four-person class accidentally asked (in Korean), "What time is the sex party for our teacher?"  Of course, this innocent kid had no idea that's what he said!  He was clueless and so was the girl in our class, but the Marine, who fit the stereotype and knew all the "bad words" in Korean, was cracking up laughing at our poor classmate's misfortune at saying something so embarrassing.  I made a point NOT to learn all the bad words in Korean, but I was a good student and I knew his mistake immediately just by knowing related vocabulary, so I was laughing hysterically as well.  It's easy, even for good students, to make similar mistakes and using actual profanity/slang in a new language, and I still have problems using such language in Korean, I've learned some Korean profanity so that I understand it when I hear it.

This is extra complicated for me, because I'm hypocritical on this subject; I tame my tongue in the presence of my family, but at work or in deployed situations, I don't have a problem using an occasional swear word.  That's the way I feel profanity should be used, when it's appropriate, when you're angry or something bad happens.  Then, when you're around certain people in certain situations you need to control your speech.  I feel like the verses I referenced in the first paragraph are more about meanness and bad words directed at other people.  How do you talk?  Do you curse?  EVER?  Never?  Well, hardly ever?  More importantly, how do you feel about it?  Should cursing be abhorred?

I wanted to update this entry with a funny video from Messy Mondays.  These funny videos often cover a variety of topics and they had a good lesson about bad words.

Even though I'm going to redo this formatting, hopefully on the same slide, I wanted to share these photos I took as I was going down a slide at a park near Naha.  I need to set it up with the same settings on each photo and make it so the pictures are taken more evenly spaced.  Also, need to maintain spacing or have no one in front of me as I go down the slide.

To 'slide' down the slide with me, click the photo and use left/right arrows to scroll through the pictures.  I can't wait to make a better version of this, now that I've practiced, but here's my first and only attempt (so far).

Friday, February 8, 2013

Faith and Philosophy Blog Carnival, Feb 2013, 1st Edition

Meredith at  snow & mist presents: "nakkaq | to fall headlong, dive, plunge" a blog about faith and falling on one's face as an appropriate reaction to God's Goodness.  View the blog at this link,

Rick Schiano presents "The Victory is Mine" about overcoming negativity.  View the blog at this link,

Jana Moreno offers insight into "Self-mastery: Dictating Your Vibration From Within," view the blog at this link,

Raquel presents "We Are the Church," about not playing at church.  View blog at this link,

Justin Allison presents "Roundup 2/12 Christian Writing," about the digital age and the need for discourse, contemplation, and critical inspection of the great variety of available writings about biblical topics.  View the entry at this link,

Joshua Tilghman presents "Jesus’ Simple Parable on Raising Awareness" on the parable of the virgins and being prepared.  View the entry at this link,

Shelby Martin presents "What Parents Need to Know to Raise a Polite Child" about parents and raising polite children.  View the entry at

ThorNews presents "Pastor: The Sami Flag is Ugly and Full of Occult Symbols" about one pastor's very opinionated view of the Sami people's flag.  View the entry at

John presents "Fearless. Am I?" about understanding fear.  View the entry at

Jana Moreno presents "Finding Peace In Our Day-To-Day Lives" about quieting one's mind and looking for peace within.  View the entry at

Terence Stone presents "Simplicity of Meditation" about some ways to focus and meditate.  View the entry at

These are the entries so far for this month's edition of the Faith and Philosophy Blog Carnival.  Any further entries will be added to next month's edition.  Thank you all for your submissions!

Final caveat, these entries don't always reflect my views.  As the author of the host blog, Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness, I'm not filtering entries by my opinion, rather if they are in the topic set forth in the blog carnival page.  There was only one entry that wasn't on the topic, it was an advertisement for something.  Many of the entries in this month's edition are not of the same faith that I hold.  That doesn't mean that I (and you as my readers) can't learn from them or be challenged by them.  I hope you enjoy this and future Faith and Philosophy Blog Carnival entries.

--Samuel Ronicker

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Notes from Afghanistan COMPLETED!

I've mentioned before and even posted an excerpt from the book here, but it's finally done.  I've been working on it for the last few months and it's good to be complete.  I ended up being much more involved in the process than I originally thought I would be.  When Steven first contacted me about this project I was just one of several people he asked to read and comment on his book.  Then, out of my love for good grammar and copyediting, I began copyediting each chapter of the book.  Aften one draft was edited and compiled I reread and edited again a little more critically but it was much easier.  Then, after that draft, with a few minor changes thrown in from the author, I worked on formatting for eBook/iTunes release.  I use Mac and there's a program specifically built for that called iBooks Author, which I used to format the text and pictures into an eReader format.  I'm excited about the book's release on the 9th.  Here's the link to the iTunes book.  However, this link is to the special kickstarter, through which you can support the release of the book and the Wounded Warrior Project.

I hope you are able to support and enjoy this text as much as I enjoyed helping make it possible.

Small sampling of pictures from the book:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Best Wife Ever

I don't commonly talk about my wife, but I'd like to brag.

Do you have money?  Do you ever have trouble managing that money?  My wife doesn't!  She can take the little that I make in the military and save and manage it so well that we pretty much get anything we want or need any time we want.  We regularly give to church and another ministry, and have more than enough to do fun stuff like the mini-vacation that we just finished.  Before we left, seemly on a whim, my wife bought me a Nikon D600.  If you don't know cameras, just know it's a very expensive camera, to the tune of $2,000 just for the body.  Also I got a new lens about $600.  I know I said "seemingly on a whim," but in reality I've been checking out this camera for months.  This actually presents a (slight) problem.  What kind of gifts do you give a woman that has everything she needs, and since we get pretty much whatever we want whenever we want.

I know it's tough, but my wife does very well even without me.  I have to spend months abroad with my job in the military, even so, my wife takes such good care of our two boys even homeschooling them.  She cooks, cleans, teaches, manages money, and takes good care of our family in general.  I love her so much.  I need to do more to help her, and I'm glad to be home because it gives me the chance to do so.  I want to give back to her.

Today I was able to give back to her by giving her a girls' day out.  I need more ideas of ways to give back to her.  We've been talking about doing an anniversary getaway at the resort where we recently spent a couple days.  There's a gorgeous little cabin with a private beach, hopefully we can reserve it for a couple days to celebrate our anniversary in a couple weeks.

So what do I get for the woman who has everything?

Just one of the views from the resort