Friday, September 19, 2008

Secrets and 'Oozies'

The Rod of Aaron
"a rather odd rod"
From the Sarajevo Haggadah
(Image from Wikipedia)

When I was doing postdoctoral work in religion at Hebrew university in Jerusalem about ten years ago, I encountered an unexpected title while searching through journal articles on Moses, Aaron, and Miriam:
"The Rod of Aaron in the Garden of Miriam"
I didn't check to make sure, but I rather doubt that the article was about what it sounded like it was about.

I was reminded of this a couple of days ago as I was checking some book titles that my wife had translated from Korean. These were supposedly of 'self-help' books for girls in their early teens, but the first one raised my eyebrows a bit:
Secrets of Girls with Many Friends
I remember girls with many 'friends' from my own teenage years. They were popular, but there was no secret about it . . . not in the locker rooms, anyway. I brushed aside that memory and checked the next title:
Secrets Diary of Curious Girls
This was beginning to arouse my own curiosity. The climax came with this title:
Heart-Beating Secrets of Girls in Puberty
At this point, I looked up from my computer and asked my wife:
"Sun-Ae, what are these books really about?"


"Well," I explained, "they sound like pornography."
She looked surprised, so I read them aloud, affecting an exaggeratedly prurient tone, and she began to laugh. Apparently, these titles sound perfectly innocuous in Korean, and she hadn't even noticed their sexual connotations in English.

We left Secrets of Girls with Many Friends unchanged since a salacious reading had perhaps been the product of my own dirty mind, but the other two got rewritten. The title Secrets Diary of Curious Girls became Girls' Secrets for Better Health and Appearance, and the title
Heart-Beating Secrets of Girls in Puberty became What Girls Should Know about their Bodies and their Feelings during Puberty. That latter title change sounds rather pedestrian, I realize, but it better fits the book's content.

For some reason, though perhaps this is a non sequitor, I'm reminded of a news report that I read about twenty years ago. Some would-be robber wearing a big coat had entered a bank, approached the teller, and handed her a note, apparently with the intent of warning her that he was carrying an Uzi submachine gun. The note read:
"Give me the money. I've got an oozy under my coat."
The teller glanced at the floor, saw that nothing appeared to be leaking, inferred that this was an issue of the man's spelling rather than his spilling, and handed over the money.

But that could have been a very sticky situation, so let's take care always to use the right word, whether translating titles of books or robbing money from banks.

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At 9:37 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

HI there,
I didn't want you to think that I had abandoned your blog, but I have been out of pocket for several weeks and not able to comment. I love the spelling and robber issue!

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jeanie, good to hear from you. I was just thinking about you and feeling guilty that I hadn't replied to your emails about puppies and doctor visits. I've recently switched jobs and am still getting settled in.

I hope that you've found out something positive about your condition.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Robber Issue?"

Might you extrapolate Jeanie?

(But having some experience with your humor-that may not be necessary.)


At 5:32 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, I think that the robber had a Uzi, not an 'issue' of some kind or other, but perhaps Jeanie thinks that oozy was really meant after all.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a sexist remark...and after Jeanie going through a grueling round of tests...for shame!
I personally have a high regard for someone who will listen to two of my music tapes, as Jeanie has recently done.
Jeffery, have you read any more book titles lately?
Just asking.

At 12:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Professor,

I knew the robber's issue was his spelling, having some small degree of experience with Israeli weaponry. My thought arose only because of what I know of Jeanie's wit (and her "enjoyment" at playing little tricks on JK).

I thought there just might have been a "link" if you will, to a fellow named Onan.

But I suppose I may've been thinking too much in the manner in which you seemed to have been thinking concerning the titles of books.


At 1:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Onan got his wish in not raining up a child in his brother's name....and I won't comment further on his actions (genesis 38:8-10), except to say his crime was a violation on his duty in the Hebrew society of his day.
Most teenage boys can be thankful that that particular act doesn't automatically immediately bring such dire consequences.
Perhaps now we need to raise the topics of our blogs to a more decent level.
I'm sure Jeanie would concur.

At 2:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take it you're admonishing me to "abstinence only?"


At 2:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My conclusions were to be taken in a hypothetical sense....unless you feel the need to make a personal application.

At 4:32 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Maybe Onan was confused about what "raining up a child" might mean. I know that I'm still wondering.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try "raising" up a child, in the sense of producing a child by his brother's widow, and the child be considered belonging to his brother, and subsequently inheriting the deceased brother's property. (Genesis 38:8,9KJV).
Another instance of my age-stiffened fingers hitting the wrong key while typing, and my failing sight not noticing my mistake.
I did notice the mis-spelling after pubishing my comment.
I ask forgiveness from all on the blog for my faults, and also from the Lord for stooping to such depths herein.


At 6:23 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks for clarifying, Uncle Cran -- that might, conceivably, have been a typo for "training up a child."

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry that my unintentional mis-spelling caused such a state of abstruseness on the part of my readers.....whom I feel should have been mentally capable of correcting my typo.....or was there an element of cynical humor involved?
I do like your subsequent blog regarding the Pope's speech and reactions to it.

At 7:03 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You're right, Uncle Cran. I understood what you meant. I was merely being obtuse.

I'm glad that you liked my pope post.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...whom I feel should have been mentally capable ..." Your words Cran, (unless you had a hand in the writing of the Bible).

Well now. There we have it.

It is so very easy to look at stuff from a "Biblical Perspective."

I once asked a Preacher, "Do we live in the New Covenant or the Old Covenant?"

He very quickly replied, "New Covenant. Jesus forgives and offers Salvation."

I asked, "We live in Jesus' words, Sermon on the Mount stuff?"

"We Christians live by the Word of Jesus."

I asked, "Are the Ten Commandments" in the New Testament or the Old Testament."

(Admittedly, I didn't write down exact words, he was muttering:and I was young-only because I think he was reconciling The Sermon on the Mount with the Book of Joshua-heck maybe it was one of the many others.)

Anyway, didn't the Book of Joshua advocate genocide?

My suspicion is that Evangelicals want to read their Bibles as they see fit to read them.

So Cran, (knowing that Jeffery's gonna delete my remarks-realizing his partcular quandary-not caring much) of simple story.

You yourself Cran have used the author of the story yourself. Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln during the Lincoln/Douglas debates in 1859 stated, "When I hear these Baptist and Methodist Preachers advocatng slavery based on scriptural precepts: I'd like to see it tried on them."


You can think what you want. I have riends, we disagee, we agee, I suspect we share common friends, but if I eve find out that you have personally intfered with the friendship that I share with a friend,



At 3:05 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, about these words by Uncle Cran:

"...whom I feel should have been mentally capable ..."

I'm pretty sure that Uncle Cran was referring to my 'confusion' over "raining up a child."

It was part of our humorous banter of 'insults' -- or so I took it.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything I said in this blog was in jest, not meant to offend anyone, and any statements re the Bible are my own views, not intending them to interfere with anyone's opinions on these matters.
{incidentally, the ten commandments are repeated in the New Testament in various areas, not codified in one document, as in the Old Testament. The commandment to keep the Sabbath is the only one not specifically commanded, thus some Christians observe saturday (the sabbath), others observe sunday, the first day of the week, on which the Lord arose from the dead).
I believe that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16). Christians get their instructions for faith and practice from the New.
My comment was aimed at my nephew Jeffery, and was in jest, as most of my comments are. We are actually best of friends, even though we do see some things differently.
Sorry I offended you...I'll try to be more careful.


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