It's Just a Comma, Momma!

Sometimes we can add commas just to break up a sentence.  Other times we use a comma to change the meaning significantly.  Consider the following:

Sweet Midgets.
Sweet, Midgets!

Just in case the whole comma thing doesn't mean anything to you I still think that the picture is loaded with opportunities for laughs.  Enjoy.

Rules For Comma Usage
Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab): Commas


Yut Nori--윷놀이, A Korean Classic

Yut Nori box

Any of you familiar with Sorry!, or slightly less so with Trouble, popular American games, will recognize the similarities with this classic Korean game.  Interestingly enough, this game, or variations of it are popular the world over, and can also be known as Pachisi, or Cross and Circle Game.  

Played all over the globe, we recognize its appeal to pass time and quell boredom and teach life lessons... Which life lessons it teaches I cannot tell you, but let's move on.

The game is very simple and can have many variations, but the condensed description is this: you throw the sticks which serve as dice and count the number facing up.  If all are showing the flat side up then the value is 4.  If all 4 are facing down then the value is 5.  One stick generally has Xs and if it is the only one rolled then it is a -1.  

If you roll 4 or 5 then you can roll again and if 2 is rolled you can go 4 with one piece and 2 with another, or vice-versa, that is, you can split up your rolls with different pieces.  If you land on an opponent's piece you send him home and get to roll again.  If you land on your own piece you can piggy back and move together from that point forward.  The first player to get all his pieces home wins the game.

Very simple.  It is very much like Sorry! but the sticks make it a fresh variation, and it only costs approximately 2$ US.  A great price if you ask me.  

Wikipedia.org entry: Yut.

Yut Nori 'dice'

Yut Nori game board
Image taken from this Nate.com forum.
A variation of the Yut Nori board.


Tense Times

The Cunning Linguist, by Dr. Lederer.
We could talk about the economy or the budget, or even the Middle East and it would all safely fall under "Tense Times".  However, none of those things is the subject of this post.

I was reading through a Steven Pinker book entitled Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language, and came across a gem of a poem.  It talks about some things none of us quite understands, irregular verbs.  Richard Lederer, the author of the poem: A Tense Time with Verbs, manages to explain what we cannot grasp and even put it to rhyme.

This guy is the master of puns, also, consider the book title to your right and you will see. 

The verbs in English are a fright.
How can we learn to read and write?
Today we speak, but first we spoke;
Some faucets leak, but never loke.
Today we write, but first we wrote;
We bite our tongues, but never bote.
Each day I teach, for years I taught,
And preachers preach, but never praught.
This tale I tell; this tale I told;
I smell the flowers, but never smold.
If knights still slay, as once they slew,
Then do we play, as once we plew?
If I still do as once I did,
Then do cows moo, as they once mid?
I love to win, and games I've won;
I seldom sin, and never son.
I hate to lose, and games I lost;
I didn't choose, and never chost.

I love to sing, and songs I sang;
I fling a ball, but never flang.
I strike that ball, that ball I struck;
This poem I like, but never luck.
I take a break, a break I took;
I bake a cake, but never book.
I eat that cake, that cake I ate;
I beat an egg, but never bate.
I often swim, as I once swam;
I skim some milk, but never skam.
I fly a kite that I once flew;
I tie a knot, but never tew.
I see the truth, the truth I saw;
I flee from falsehood, never flaw.
I stand for truth, as I once stood;
I land a fish, but never lood.
About these verbs I sit and think.
These verbs don't fit. They seem to wink
At me, who sat for years and thought
Of verbs that never fat or wrought.

This is all fine work by Dr. Lederer and if you own it or if you're Dr. Lederer and don't want it up here I'll gladly take it down, simply send me a message here: Contact Us.  Thank you.


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Magical Asian Cereal: Good Friends

Asian Friendly Cereal?

In all honesty I think Kashi is on to something with this new cereal entitled 'Good Friends'.  Simply put, I was walking down my local grocery store's cereal aisle and was stopped in my tracks by this delightful box cover.  You know, it could say a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but to me it said: 'Hey, we're Asian and we LOVE IT, you should too!'

Hopefully it doesn't promote racial profiling or stereotypes in any way...but if it contributes to our regularity and reduces colon cancer I think we should all try to become just like these Asian girls.  Wow, they're Asian and they're not fat like us... Oh, wait, I've already started... See that?  I really need to be more careful.

Here's to good friends and grainy cereals!


Chock Full Of Innuendo

Chicken, rooster,
male, or COCK?
While traveling to visit some dear friends we visited a restaurant (KFC) and encountered this sign.  Realizing its great value I immediately snapped a photo for future use.

On more than one occasion I have flipped through the pages of a book in Barnes & Noble that talks about Semiotics, which Dictionary.com defines as:

the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior; the analysis of systems of communication, as language, gestures, or clothing.
a general theory of signs and symbolism, usually divided into the branches of pragmatics, semantics, and syntactics.

  In short, it talks about signs, such as these, and their meanings.  Signs, or words even, can be broken down into two parts, according to Ferdinand de Saussure, that is the signifier and the signified.  This means that we have the sign (signifier) and the idea in our mind (signified).  In a case such as that above we find that the image could possibly produce more than one idea in our minds, however silly the second may be.

The Wikipedia article on Connotation sums it up marvelously:
If a signifier has only a single denotational meaning, the use of the sign will always be unambiguously decoded by the audience. But connotative meanings are context-dependent, i.e. the addressee must learn how to match the meaning intended by the addresser to one of the various possible meanings held in memory.
 So, we walk into the store and see the sign and the first word that comes to mind is "COCK", which could mean more than one thing (no pun intended).  Was the original intent of the designer to cause us to associate the gender of the animal with the word "Gentlemen" or the word "COCK" with "Gentlemen"?  I suppose the answer is simple, really, and we should simply consult the adjacent sign, which is a picture of a hen.  But where would we be if the first thing that came to your mind was "EGGS"?  Then we would be in a real mess, wouldn't we?

Considering the way things are going and the ease in which one can change his natural gender it could be more accurate to associate "COCK" and "GENTLEMEN" as opposed to being born a man and therefore being a gentleman.  But then again, according to the definition of gentleman I do not believe half the men should be allowed to enter the restrooms, let alone sit on the toilet.  I'm at a loss for words...

Image from the Flickr KFC page.

Now that I think about it, a good title for this post would have been: "Cock, full of innuendo."  It would have been so much more ironic.

Thanks for reading.

If you're interested in some of the places that gave me inspiration for this post please read below, or if something I've posted is yours simply Contact Us and I will gladly remove it:


Friendly Outing: Downtown Wilmington, NC

Instead of talking your ear off in this post I've decided on something a bit less wordy.  Our great friends, Steve and Jenny came to visit us from Pittsburgh, or somewhere in Philadelphia, on their visit to the USA from Korea.  We got to hang out with them and get some excellent photos of Historic Downtown Wilmington.  These are a few of those shots, enjoy!

Sweet church, 3rd and Market St.

Heading South on Market St. at 3rd St.

3rd St. and Market, facing Courthouse.
In front of random lawyer's office, Market St.  Olivia, Steve and Jenny.
2nd St. in front of parking lot and Village Market store (almost).
Market St., in front of Slice of Life Pizza, random guy in back is unknown.
Olivia and I walking on the boardwalk in front of the Henrietta (boat).
Do Not Enter.
Trendy band shot, squinting because of sun.  I look so trendy.
Front and Dock Streets, in front of Dock St. Printing, beside the Reel Cafe.
Me, Casey, and Steve at Port City Java.
Jenny and Olivia.
The Whole Gang at Casey's sweet place.

I hope you have enjoyed them.  Until next time!


What's in a Name? Part II

Image source: Kai Chen Blog.
In the last post I showed you my Korean name and the Chinese characters that it was based on.  This post will show you the background of my wife's name.  Her name in Korean is Eun Jung Kim, but they always give their last names first so we'll call her Kim Eun Jung. This is what it looks like in Chinese:

Kim, meaning 'gold' (metal).  In Korean: 금.

Eun, meaning 'hill'.  In Korean: 은.

Jung, meaning 'government'.  In Korean: 정.

Chinese name: 金垠廷.
Korean name: 김은정.
Romanized Korean: Kim Eun Jung.

In Part I it was promised that I would explain our compatibility based upon our Chinese characters.  Please note the first character is identical in both of our names.  The second character contains the radical of the character for 'water'.  The third character, on the bottom half contains the Chinese character for 'tree'.  See the previous post for a refresher on these symbols.  
If you have Asian characters enabled: 金溫柔.

'Water' radical, found in my name, (see previous post).
'Tree' character, found in my name, (see previous post).

My wife's second Chinese character, Eun, or 'hill' contains the character for 'soil' or 'earth'.  This goes well with the two characters from my name (tree, and water), therefore we can be considered compatible.  If, for example, my wife's name contained the character for fire...

What do you think would happen with a fire and tree?  Or how about fire and water?  These, as you could have guessed, are antagonistic to one another, and it would not be a good mix, perhaps causing problems in our marriage.

This is part of the process before arriving at marriage in Asia, or specifically in Korea.  One might visit a Jak Myeong So (작명소), a fortune teller of sorts, to determine the compatibility of a partner's name.  

'Soil, earth' character, found in wife's name.  See second character,  Eun.

Please keep in mind that these are the opinions of the East and not necessarily representative of our own.  We are of a different mindset here in the West.  When these names were given to us they were not given due to superstition but based upon the meanings of the words, and their Biblical heritage.  I hope you have enjoyed this.

*Please note, if you do not have Asian Character Support enabled then you will have in place of Korean letters small boxes.


    What's in a Name? Part I

    Thanks to: un-herd music.
    You might not think a name could mean as much as it does; in Korea it could mean the difference between marriage and ... getting dumped.  While living in Korea my father in law gave me a Korean name, On Yoo Kim (김온유) which comes from the book of Matthew in the New Testament.  It means 'meek', as in:

    Blessed are the meek,
    For they shall inherit the earth.
    --Matthew 5:5 (NKJV)

    Korean names almost always have Chinese counterparts since much of Korean is Chinese.  A lot goes into choosing a name because a good name means good luck and could determine compatibility with a future partner.

    Kim, meaning 'gold' (metal): family name.  In Korean: 김.

    On, meaning 'warm'.  In Korean: 온.

        Yoo, meaning 'soft'.  In Korean: 유.

    Chinese name: 金溫柔.
    Korean name: 김온유.
    Romanized Korean: Kim On Yoo.

    I guess it's a pretty good name, as far as names go.  You'll see in my next post how my wife's name relates to mine and that we're compatible in the Asian sense.  Of course, it is a made up name, so we had better be compatible :) 



    Sinking the Navy to Go Army

    Image Source: Wikipedia.
     "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another's speech."
    --Genesis 11:7 NASB

    **For those who have been following the process of joining the military, I have an update.

    After two months of waiting to contract with the Navy as a CTI (Cryptologic Technician Interpretive) we have begun to grow impatient and reevaluate our plans.  We called the Army and have begun the process to enlist as a Cryptologic Linguist, basically the same job with an Army uniform. 

    I have to admit that it was not my first choice but I will be very glad to get this job in any branch, and I am willing to sacrifice a bit of comfort for the experience that this job will offer. 

    Through college I tired of Computer Science and grew more interested in Spanish and other foreign languages, however the connection was not complete until after graduation.  Now I am pursuing a career as a Linguist and would like to earn a Masters Degree in time, but this is a great intermediary step in my opinion.  South Korea served a similar purpose--an opportunity to travel, learn a new language, immerse myself in a foreign culture, all while paying the bills!  I even met my wife while living there!  This position seems the same.  It really covers all my interests well and despite a few small drawbacks (boot camp won't be easy, for instance) I am ready to embrace it.

    While there is nothing official and there are no promises I am confident that we will become Army property very soon.  After all this waiting it will be a huge sigh of relief, also, we can tell my wife's family that we're going to marry--even though we're already married.  Hehe.  Here we go!



    Woo Skittish--To Boldly Go Where English Has Never Gone Before

    I can only say: "WOW!" as I read this column.  I normally scan through for English grammar woes, misspellings and otherwise awkward texts and I have to admit, even I was surprised by this gem.  

    Woo skittish.

    I initially thought that this one term but after going over it a couple of times I realized that it wasn't.  To be fair 'skittish' is an old word, so at least it has history on its side--dating back to Middle English, probably originating from Old Norse (Merriam Webster Entry: Skittish).  'Woo', on the other hand is an even older word, predating Middle English having Old English roots (Dictionary.com Entry: Woo).  

    Side by side, these two excellent words, loaded with potential really sound strange.  I wondered if they should have been hyphenated?  Should I look up hyphenation rules on Wikipedia?... Woo-skittish.  Ahh...Now that feels better.  But 'woo' is a verb, no doubt about it, all hyphens aside.

    Full text: 
    "To jump start the sewer project in the Hampstead area and possibly woo skittish developers, the Pender County Board of Commissioners last week agreed to look into using an existing facility as a stop-gap."  (Pender Chronicle, Volume 116, Number 17.  Wednesday, April 27th 2011).
    My advice to the reader?  Avoid using these two words together at all cost.

    Articles where this language is used: 

    Interesting Articles involving hyphens:

    See related articles on grammar and newspaper commentary: