Wordplay in rare form

One of my favorite books I remember being read when I was young involved wordplay as I had never seen before. The story was so much fun that I often reread the book later on and read it to my own children when they were young. I’m wanting to share that with you now over the course of the next couple weeks and hope you get as much from the story as I did. If nothing else, this is a story replete with vocabulary.

Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth, written by Norton Juster is a classic in every sense of the word. First published in 1961. Initially, Mr. Juster had been given a grant of $5,000.00 to write a book with the subject theme being cities. It seems he made only struggling progress with that concept but all the while was writing adventures of a character named Milo. Eventually, that character and pieces of those stories culminated in what is now the Phantom Tollbooth.

Phantomtollbooth

This is a story concerning education and the laziness of the mind. It is done in such a playful way as to inspire even the most entrenched ignorance to dislodge itself and climb towards rectification. Education is a choice. It is a conscious effort to acquire knowledge and pursue practical application, reviewing the results, and correcting course. It is not public school. It is not college. It is not a passing of names, dates, and other various information from one generation to the next. Oh sure, that is a piece of education, but by no means its entirety. So many currently see formalized school as education. A farce. Organized knowledge being passed from one to the next is only the beginning. What it should be teaching us is How to think, not What to think. So that we may go out and seek real education from that starting point.

Milo

Real education is dynamic, changing, constantly in motion, and is the direct result of applied knowledge. Even then, what we learn is up to each of us. How will the results of that applied knowledge be used? How will we choose to act upon what we know now that we did not know before? Real education is a lifetime process which will never be complete.

Today we will start at chapter 1. In which we are introduced to a rather bored young man.

Tim R.

 

Opportunity abounds

Some things in life spur us to action. In this case I have been behind in my posts and have the chance to focus on recording again. For the next two weeks I will be on a temporary duty assignment with my company. I’ll have little else to do with my free time. So it will be used recording stories and playing guitar.

Opportunity has a way of showing up if we can look beyond the surface and get creative. It’s almost more difficult to find extra time when we fill our days with a routine and become uncomfortably comfortable with it. The small pieces of time we once wanted to preserve in starting ourbroutine soon disappear. A little here, a little there. Taking a little longer than we need to on everyday tasks, in a word…complacency.

So this will be a good shakeup. I’m excited for it as an opportunity to produce again.

Talk to you soon

Tim R.

Forgive my rambling

Do you ever get that pull towards the unknown, to do that which some might find dangerous or impossible? That’s adventure calling. Will you answer? All of us feel at one time or another that we are meant for more than we have let ourselves become. It is what drives us to move forward to compete in the world, not with each other so much, but with ourselves. I’ve been living near the water now for almost exactly one year. When I say the water I mean the ocean. The Gulf of Mexico in specific. I thought I’d miss the mountains more than I do, and I do miss them. But there is a call to the water that makes me want to attempt the impossible. To do something that has never been done before and to do it against all odds.

In some ways, I believe that there is a story in all of us, one which if told, would be both our own, and would amaze the teller more than the listener. You see, all experience is valid and unique. The world has never looked the way it does now by anyone such as you or I, at any given point in time before. What we pull from our experiences is tempered by our previous experiences and no two people are exactly the same. Therefore all that has been done before may be redone and is completely new.

Live your life with adventure in your heart. Look at the world as the raw materials from which you will shape your story and pass it on to those you care about. Try new things, go new places, meet new people, eat new foods, dance new dances, and sing new songs. Immerse yourself in both near and far. Don’t get caught up in the grind of everyday minutiae. Routine is useful only in that it can help us accomplish our goals. It can be a driving and organizing force to help us achieve with focus and move on to the new and unexplored. Chaos is useful in so much as it forces us out of our comfort zones and requires us to think and act in new ways. Moderation in both is healthy and has a place.

There is no one answer. There is no right or wrong outside of the moral compass that guides us in civility with our neighbours. Strengthen your strengths and learn your weaknesses. Use the knowledge of both to your advantage. Work with others and serve all those around you. There is so much more to be had when you give yourself away in service.

I have a very dear friend who takes it upon herself to feed the hungry and the homeless. No one asks her to do this and she received no reward of a tangible nature. However, she is rewarded each and every time she gives of herself. I’ve been able to watch her find and amplify her character through such loving actions towards others and I love her for it. My son serves a mission where service is his life. Both spreading the gospel in his own way and being of tangible help to others where they may need it. He has grown from a drifting boy I knew to a man with a purpose. The whole of his mission is an adventure as he is provided with little of his own. But the growth in character he has gained is more valuable than the Midas touch. I love him and am very proud of him.

How can we find ourselves to be of more service How can we be of assistance to others? Do you look around you and see a need in this world? Can you think how you might fill it? It has been said that as you become of more value to others much will be given to you. I believe this wholeheartedly. I have been lacking on this blog in that way recently even though it was started with that intent. In some ways, I’m not even sure what I should do. The only thing I really know is that if I wish to grow, I need to contribute in ways that do not obviously benefit myself.

I sincerely hope and pray you find this within yourself too. How much better a place would this world be if all 6 billion people each focused more on each other than themselves?

 

Tim R.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

You’ll have to forgive the absence of my stories this week. It has been a rough week. There was a bit of redeeming light in it. I have finished a book that I wasn’t even sure I wanted to read once upon a time. I found it both encouraging and reassuring.

 

Too often we find stories and philosophy separately, even though they are almost always intertwined. This is one of those rare occasions where you find both at the same time. Realizing as you read the story that there are lessons here.  Continue reading “The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho”

The US Declaration of Independence

There is a line from Disney’s original version of Mary Poppins that I never really understood. “Sometimes a person we love, through no fault of his own, can’t see past the nose on the end of his face”.

At the time I didn’t really know what that meant. As I got older I began to see what this meant both coming from myself when I couldn’t see past mine, and from others as I Continue reading “The US Declaration of Independence”

A horse is a horse of course, of course…

Not so this horse

This part in the saga is probably the most well known. The Trojan horse has been taught since we explored Greek Mythology. In many cases, I believe it is because the horse is truly a symbol of so many things.

Trojan horse

  • Things may not always be what they appear
  • Deception
  • Cunning
  • To be wary of your adversaries offering you gifts

In fact, the phrase “beware Greeks bearing gifts” comes from this story. See if you can spot it. The words are slightly different in order but the sentiment is still there.

Laocoon

Along with that phrase is another form this story. While less known to myself than the former, it is still familiar to me: “the face that launched a thousand ships…”. To mean a beauty so rare that it would cause men to go off to war.

ships

This brings this particular saga to a close. I hope you have enjoyed the journey.

The Wooden Horse as read from

Classic Myths to Read Aloud

by William F Russell

Book cover

 

Tim R.

It is a privilege to read to the world.

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