Ziphen Central

Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

Hats Off to Respect

Looking back on my growing up years, I don’t recall any time in particular when someone told me it was disrespectful to wear a hat in the house. Maybe I just noticed it from others, or heard other people talking about it. Or maybe it was from mere utilitarian motives: In my mind, the purpose of a hat is to keep sun or rain off your head, and when you’re indoors, this protection is no longer necessary. But regardless, traditionally a man is considered disrespectful if he wears his hat indoors (ladies can keep them on, because theirs are mainly decorative).

I have had some conversations of late with people my own age who informed me that this is no longer a sign of disrespect in our society. I will continue to do it, because it is part of my nature, but is this the case? Has our culture changed in this point, to where no offense will be taken when a man wears a hat indoors?

Last week I was on a mission trip in West Virginia with 14 other Christians, and while visiting a nursing home a Christian lady remarked that she really appreciated me taking off my hat when we came in—I didn’t notice whether some of my team members may have neglected to remove their caps, but that is a possibility. She then went on to cite some male figure in her family—her father, perhaps—who had stressed the point in her past.

I think what my friends have said is becoming true: among middle-aged and younger people in the United States, no one really thinks about removing their hat when entering a building. However, it is also clear to me that there still exists a generation that holds to this way of showing respect, and out of respect for them, I believe that we men should be more conscious of that aspect of culture (even if it is passing away), and observe it when in the company of older people. As for me, I’m quite content to continue in all situations even if the idea disappears completely, since I like it. But the bottom line is this: Be thoughtful, and show respect!

Posted on 31 March 2012 by Mashkioya
Filed under: history,opinions,photography

At St. Roque’s

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander. Note from the blogger: St. Roch’s chapel still exists in New Orleans, and greatly resembles the description given by Mrs. Alexander more than a century ago. Here is more information about the cemetery and chapel, and here is a collection of photographs from the place which I found very interesting.

“No visit to New Orleans is complete without a pilgrimage to St. Roque, and you must go there. I have some wishes to make, and will go with you.”

So said my friend, whom I will call “Nell.,” for short.

“Some wishes to make?” I repeated.

“Yes,” she said. “According to an old legend, one may get any wish granted by walking to St. Roque—never stopping on the way—saying a prayer, and making a wish.”

“How easy! And who, pray, might St. Roque be?” I asked.

“O, he was just a saint,” she said, lightly, “a very holy man. I don’t know much about him, but I do know that wishes are granted at St. Roque’s Church. I’ve tried it. I wished once for money, and got it.”

Nell. was not raised a Catholic, but has drifted that way from superstition and association.

Seeing that I was still unbelieving, she appealed to Miss Cecilia, a lovely Creole girl, a native of the city, and a pure and tender lamb of the Catholic fold. (keep reading)

Posted on 3 February 2012 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Ailenroc's Book,history

Talent

I have often wondered about the word “talent.” In English it is almost equivalent to “ability,” and it seems to be derived from the similar Greek word τάλαντον. There’s a discrepancy, however: this Greek word is the name of a measurement of weight, about 59 kg or 130 lbs. As an extension of that, the word also came to mean the amount of coins that weighed that much, which understandably would be a very large sum of money. So are these words related? If so, how did this association come about? These questions were answered by a recent visit to Dictionary.com and Wikipedia.

Not surprisingly, the Greek word came first. It was borrowed by Latin as talentum, and in the Middle Ages it underwent a semantic shift. Influenced by Jesus’s “parable of the talents” in Matthew 25, people started using the word to mean abilities, which fits nicely with the parable—after all, God does want us to use our abilities for Him, and to gain more in the process. This old word with a new meaning was then passed to Old English as talente, and the rest is history.

Now that that’s cleared up, maybe you can read Matthew 25 in a new light. It seems that throughout my life I have always heard the parable taught with the abilities application, and while that is certainly legitimate (Jesus does not explicitly say what the talents represent), the application can really be much broader. What about your time, money, and other resources that God has entrusted to you? Is not each of us responsible for being good stewards of these things, to return them with interest to the One who loaned them to us?

Posted on 5 November 2011 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Christianity,English,Greek,history

Texas, Our Texas!

Today is Independence Day in Texas, and it makes me miss my homeland. It’s been 175 years since we won independence from Mexico, and in honor of this holiday I am posting the lyrics to our state song, along with a very nice video.

Texas, our Texas! all hail the mighty State!
Texas, our Texas! so wonderful, so great!
Boldest and grandest, withstanding every test
O Empire wide and glorious, you stand supremely blest.

God bless you, Texas! And keep you brave and strong,
That you may grow in power and worth, throughout the ages long.

Posted on 2 March 2011 by Mashkioya
Filed under: history,miscellany,music

The Cheapening of Music

A couple of semesters ago, we had a visitor to our campus. He was an older man, and upon seeing him one wouldn’t think much of him. But he brought with him a collection of old instruments that were displayed on campus, and one afternoon he sat before an audience of curious students and faculty to talk and show some of his instruments. He played an interesting harmonica that was equipped with a bell, as well as an instrument that I had never seen before, the Tennessee music box. Although it was played much like a mountain dulcimer, it was square and boxy in shape–but this didn’t hinder it from having a good sound.

His talk was not long, but he said some things that really made me think. He was old enough to remember the days before music could be so easily distributed, before the age of the CD and the MP3 player. There may have been records and radios when he was growing up, but music was just different back then. (keep reading)

Posted on 22 January 2011 by Mashkioya
Filed under: history,music

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