Sunday, 28 February 2021

It’s All Greek To Me

There is a Turkish proverb that says, “One who speaks only one language is one person, but one who speaks two languages is two people.” Likewise a Czech proverb say, “Learn a new language and get a new soul.”

I consider myself fortunate for my upbringing that resulted in an interest in linguistics. By the time I was seven years old I was well on my way to learning my third language. By fourteen a fourth language was introduced. While half a century has come and gone since those formative years, I find that I can still understand a significant amount of those childhood tongues. Even some reading and speaking skills remain for which I am grateful.

Years later, when already in my early thirties, a career change led to some more education which included some Koine Greek. “Koine” simply means common, and was the common everyday marketplace dialect of Greek spoken two thousand years ago during the time of Jesus. The New Testament itself was penned in Koine Greek. The text above, however, is not from the New Testament. It comes from the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh (also commonly called the Old Testament). It is the well-known 23rd Psalm.

Fast-forward another thirty years and the linguistic bug seems to have been stimulated again with the dusting off of old Greek textbooks and vocabulary cards, as well as the purchase of a couple newer Greek language aids. This time, however, I have the joy of working through refreshing these Greek skills with my son; a third generation Greek student. How cool is that?! While we study independently, we also try to meet weekly via Zoom with the intent of making Greek the primary focus.

Have I perfected my Greek skills? No, not even close! While I can read and understand some, I would still have to consider myself a beginner. But that is OK; I’m enjoying the challenge and just maybe even keeping a few cobwebs from getting too comfortable in this old man’s brain. Are there still other languages that I’d like to learn? Most definitely, Yes! Perhaps one day I’ll tackle one that has been on my bucket list for a very long time ... Arabic.

ειρήνη (peace).

“It is astonishing how much enjoyment one can get
out of a language that one understands imperfectly.”

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Why Is the Rum Gone?

You’re not drinking alone 
if the dog is home.

I love the line in the film series Pirates of the Caribbean where Captain Jack Sparrow says, “Why is the rum gone?” I’ve used that line myself a time or ten over the past year. Why is the rum gone? Well, unlike Captain Jack Sparrow, for me the rum was gone because I quit drinking ... one year ago today.

Why? Good question.

I did so mostly because for me it was simply time. Yes, I enjoyed my rum and scotch whiskey (no, not in the same glass). A good Cuban cigar also often complimented the libation. The cigars have long since been dropped from the menu, but the rum, well, I was starting to enjoy it a little too much; it was starting to become a problem. I did not wish to be an alcoholic, even a functional one. Solution? Drastic as it may seem, quit and quit cold turkey! Gradually cutting back may work for some, but not for me. In my vocabulary there is no such thing as “moderation.” It’s all or it’s nothing. Period!

First you consume the bottle,
then the bottle consumes you.
Source: Unknown
I found an app called Sober Time. It helped to monitor my progress through a series of goals. You can even see how much money you’re saving along the way. It has a stats feature that works based on what you enter as an average daily alcohol expense, and then multiplies it based upon the number of sober days achieved. It’s quite the eye opener! I guess you could even say that it is “sobering” (Ha, pun fully intended). There is even little motivational blurbs to help encourage you along the way.

I do recommend the Sober Time app.

Great as all that is, I do not believe I would have been successful without the power of prayer. Yes, it was interesting to watch the days and months of sobriety count off on the app, but I realize that the real victory came about by the hand of God. He heard my prayer and gave me the strength I needed to achieve the victory. Why is the rum gone? It is gone because of answered prayer, plain and simple, and for that I praise God.

Peace and blessings, friend. God is good. 😊

Habit overcomes habit.”

Friday, 5 February 2021

Positively Puzzling, Vol. 4

This next edition of Positively Puzzling begins with the largest puzzle we’ve attempted thus far; 2000 pieces. Needless to say, we were at this one for a while. Unlike previous featured puzzles, we decided to preserve and mount this one. It is currently proudly featured in our games room.


Cartoon puzzles remain some of my favourites. Perhaps another reason that we enjoyed this puzzle so much was that some of the antics took us back to a time in yesteryear when my wife and I held memberships in a local gym. If we didn’t know better, I’m sure we’ve seen some of those people before. LOL.
Our magnificent solar system and man’s primitive (?) attempt to infiltrate it. When I think on scenes like this, I am reminded of what the psalmist said: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8: 3-4; ESV)

Puppies, puppies, and more puppies. This beautiful puzzle was a surprise gift from a dear friend. As dog lovers, my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. Orhan Pamuk, author of My Name is Red, said, “Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” I like that! An additional surprise was discovering a couple cats posing with the dogs. Can you find them?

This last puzzle we discovered at a games store. Being bookworms ourselves, with a substantial home library, we loved the image immediately. To this day, one of my favourite kinds of stores are used bookstores. I have spent countless hours browsing their plethora of offerings and discovering all sorts of treasures. This puzzle has also been preserved and mounted in our home library.