Friday, January 30, 2009

More Bad Music Jokes

Once upon a time there was a little three-piece band in Europe, known as "Johnny and the Moondogs." Soon they added a bass player and changed their name to "The Silver Beetles." Eventually it was shortened and slightly modified to just "The Beatles."

Pete Best joined the band as their drummer in 1960, replacing a gent named Tommy Moore. The old bass player left in 1961 and the band returned to Liverpool. A year later, Richard Starkey - who went by the name Ringo Starr - replaced Pete Best and the quartet recorded "Love Me Do," which became their first Top 20 hit in the U.K.

Two years later, The Beatles appeared in America on The Ed Sullivan show and the rest, as they say, is history.

So why am I bringing this up today? Because it was on this day - January 30, back in 1969 - that The Beatles appeared in public together, as a band, for the last time. They held an impromptu concert on the roof of their recording studio. When neighbors finally complained about the "noise," the police came by and shut things down. It was then that John Lennon uttered his famous last words, "I'd like to say thank you very much on behalf of the group and myself and I hope we passed the audition." Fifteen months later, The Beatles officially broke up.

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MORE BAD MUSIC JOKES

I once heard a trombone described as a slide whistle with delusions of grandeur.

The definition of a gentleman? A man who, while he CAN play the trombone, chooses not to.

A female vocalist asks her keyboard player, "Can we jazz up 'My Funny Valentine' a little for tonight's gig?" Keyboard guys says, "Sure. We'll start in G-minor then modulate up to G#-minor in 5/4 time for the second chorus. Then we'll jump to A-minor in 3/4 time for the bridge and finish by cutting off the last eight bars." The singer says, "Gee, that might be too complicated to do without a rehearsal." Keyboard player responds, "I don't know why. That's how you did it last night."

What is a burning basson good for? Setting fire to an oboe!

What's the difference between a violinist and a terrorist?
Terrorists have sympathizers!

How many drummers does it take to change a light bulb?
None. They have machines that do that, now.

Why are orchestra intermissions only 20 minutes long?
So you don't have to retrain the cellists.

What's the difference between a saxophone and a trampoline?
You take your shoes off to jump on the trampoline.

How many bluegrass musicians does it take to change a light bulb?
Five. One to change the bulb and four to complain about the fact it's ELECTRIC.

What's a more specific, scientific name for the trombone?
A wind-driven, manually-operated pitch approximator.

Kenny G. walks into an elevator and says, "This rocks!"

Is half a tuba a one-ba?

What is perfect pitch?
When you throw a banjo into the dumpster and it lands EXACTLY on top of the bagpipes!

[selected from Preston Beechwood's website]

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My wife, Bonnie, has been going through some tough physical trials lately that have left her unable to work and forbidden to drive - at least until the tests are completed, which will take almost three more weeks. So we'll take all the kind thoughts and good prayers you may have on her behalf.

And I'll see you on Monday which, if my calendar is correct, should be Groundhog Day. Already. Mmmm, mmm, mmm. How time flies when you're having fun.

Mark

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WEB SITE of the WEEK: I don't know why I haven't picked this one before, but http://www.craigslist.org/ has become the Gold Standard of Internet Classified Ads. And don't be fooled by the list of U.S. Cities on the home page ... odds are good there's a local Craigslist for you to peruse. Click your state (or your country) and you'll see a more indepth list of cities available to choose from. The list encompasses pretty much *everything* which means click carefully. 'Nuff said.

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Mark's Musings is certified by the folks at Habeas to be spam-free. That means I'll never email you spam. Ever. Not even once. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, and click to your heart's content at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. It's snowing again as I type this. Grrrrr. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits have spoken nothing but nice things about you. Please return the favor. Original material and commentary © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily and occasionally toss in bonus material on the weekends (or whenever the mood strikes). Look for the label that says "Weekend" and you can bring them all up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. "He must increase, I must decrease."

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WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of both the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these." (George Washington Carver)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Groaner Day

A WEB PAGE JUST FOR YOU: If your Flash or Shockwave Player is not updated - or installed at all - it has come to my attention that you would not have been able to view the movie schedule at the Turner Classic Movies site I recommended yesterday. So I created a page on my website for you to download the file here. I'm not providing any other links to that page from anywhere else on my site (at least until I need to), so don't delete this post until you've grabbed that schedule.

Lots going on at this end of the swamp and it's already past midnight, so that means another....

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GROANER DAY

Nothing can replace a bikini ... and often does!

How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?
As many as you can afford.

I was studying chemistry in college but after about six weeks I was out of my element.

If we looted our local pharmacy, would they call it pillaging?

How does a bee get to school?
School buzz.

Down at the railroad yard, they can always hear when the locomotive has a problem. They have engine ears.

What did the alien say to the garden?
Take me to your weeder!

Of all the fruits he could have eaten, do you think Noah enjoyed pears the most?

So a woman walks into a pet store and says, "I'd like a kitten but I haven't got much money. I'm wondering if you have any kittens you'll let go cheap?" Pet store owner replies, "I'd let them, ma'am, but they prefer to meow."

I heard of a young lady at my office who accidentally spilled her birth control pills into the copier while changing the toner ... now we can't get it to reproduce anything.

[with thanks to JokeMaster; edits and arrangements by Mark Raymond]

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WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Jesus called the Twelve and said, 'If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.' " (Mark 9:35)

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hollywood Proverbs


I find that in recent years I'm not a real big fan of the Oscars. Because most of the films nominated for Best Picture can usually not be seen by the whole family. That's not to say there's not some mighty fine cinema there, it's more to say since when did the industry have to nominate such "serious" work with usually such unhappy endings for a movie to be considered Oscar-worthy?

Still, a good movie is a good movie, and if you like good movies, the Turner Classic Movie channel is all set to show a month of them, from February 1 through March 3. Every movie an Oscar winner. Every movie shown uncut, and commercial-free.

There's even a PDF file you can print that lists the entire schedule for the month.

Be sure you stock in plenty of popcorn before Sunday.

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IF HOLLYWOOD WROTE PROVERBS...

Cleanliness - and a "G" rating - are next to Godliness.

Karo Syrup with food coloring is thicker than water.

To err is human, to be forgiven is good PR.

A gross point negotiated is a gross point earned.

You can get more of what you want with a kind word and $20 million than you can with just a kind word.

A rehab stint in time saves nine (days in the slammer).

'Tis better to have been filmed and panned than never to have filmed at all.

If at first you don't succeed, do a sequel anyway.

[selected from Chris White's Top Five on the Movies]

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WONDER for YOUR WEEK: If a museum created an exhibit of nothing but two red tombstones upon which were written the name of every movie John Wayne ever made, would it be called "The Amber Graves of Wayne"?

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More Too Much Time Online

Thanks for all your responses, comments, and words of encouragements about my weight loss/walking issues. I'll try to get back with you all over the next few days.

Now, if there was only some way I could walk and use my laptop at the same time.

What's that? There is, you say? And for only $40? And it uses recycled plastic?

Gosh, now even when I'm *outdoors* I can be on the computer. My wife will be thrilled!

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MORE SIGNS YOU'RE SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME ONLINE

When you smile at someone, you have to tilt your head sideways.

You give your kids allowance via PayPal.

Just before your car crashes everything goes blue and you see "YOU.EXE caused a General Protection Fault in module YOURLIFE.EXE at 0011:00000a0."

Your spouse has lost his car keys and you tell him to "Google them."

You get your own domain name for Christmas.

Someone asks you about the names of your children at a party and all you can remember are their instant message IDs.

A clerk at the department stores asks if you need help and you reply, "No, I'm just surfing."

Who goes to department stores? You do all your shopping online.

You have friends in London, British Columbia, and Brazil, but you don't know anyone in your neighborhood.

[with thanks to the folks at BB Spot's Top 11 and Pilot Fish]

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WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Watches are so named as a reminder -- if you don't watch carefully what you do with your time, it will slip away from you." (Drew Sirtos)

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Marathon Loser

I've promised my doctor, my family, and my friends that I would lose 30 pounds this year. So far I've gained six. Arrrghh.

I'd like to work walking back into my daily routine, but the weather so far has been discouraging, and I'm not one of those folks who can get out and walk no matter what's going on outside. At least not yet. I'm hoping to get my treadmill dusted off and repaired - the belt has a tendency to go off center and fray itself - but so far that's still just on my "to do" list.

Which brings me to the story of Cliff Young. Australia has a grueling endurance marathon each year from Sydney to Melbourne - about 875 kilometres (544 miles) - and in 1983 Mr. Young entered the race. Now get this, he was 61 years old and he wore boots and work overalls. To make a long story short, and I'd encourage you to visit the link, he won the race because he never stopped to sleep. He just kept shuffling along and today the "Young Shuffle" is known among distance runners to be the most energy-efficient way to run a long race.

Would that I could be as determined....

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SIGNS YOU MAY NOT WIN THAT MARATHON

Breakfast? McDonalds. Lunch? McDonalds. Dinner? McDonalds.

Training program: one mile each day this week. Two miles starting the second Tuesday of next week.

You realize you misplaced a decimal and the race is actually 26.2 miles, not 2.62 miles.

The book you read to help you train was, "Run, Spot, Run."

At every aid station you take a Gatorade, a water, and a nap.



[selected from Elite Feet for Runners with edits by Mark Raymond]

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WORD for YOUR WEEK: In Old Latin, "perdere" meant to lose which became "perditus," which was loss. The word was used mostly in religious circles and "perdition" came to mean the loss of your soul. A more contemporary definition would be "utter ruin." Adds new weight to the phrase, "...the road to perdition..." doesn't it?

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Retiree Q & A

For one reason or another, I've had three days off work this week but I'm headed back as most of you read these words this morning. It's always tough to establish a rhythm and routine when you work infrequently like that.

But don't get me wrong, I've mostly enjoyed the time off. Except for the one day I was sick. Didn't enjoy that. But it does make me look forward to retirement.

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RETIREMENT Q and A

Q. When you're retired, how do you know which day of the week it is?
A. That's easy. Six Saturdays, one Sunday.

Q. When does a retiree go to bed?
A. Three hours after falling asleep on the couch.

Q. How many retirees does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Only one, but it might take all day to do it.

Q. What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
A. Not enough time to get everything done.

Q. Why don't retirees mind being called seniors?
A. Because at this stage of life that word carries a 10% discount.

Q. Among retirees, what is considered formal attire?
A. Shoes you have to tie.

Q. Why do retirees count pennies?
A. They're the only ones who have the time to do it.

Q. Why are retirees so slow to clean out the attic/basement/garage?
A. Because they know as soon as they do, one of their children or grandchildren will want to live there or store their own stuff there.

Q. What do retirees call a long lunch?
A. Normal.

Q. What's the biggest advantage of going back to school when you retire?
A. If you cut class, no one can call your parents.

Q. Why does a retiree say he or she doesn't miss the work, but misses the people he or she used to work with?
A. The retiree is just too polite to tell the whole truth.

===

A brief conversation with a retired person:

Me: "So what are you doing today?"
Retiree: "Nothing."
Me: "I thought you did that yesterday."
Retiree: "Yeah, but I wasn't finished."



[with thanks to Dave and Barbara at Clean Hewmor; additional material and edits by Mark Raymond]

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I'm facilitating another meeting tomorrow, but the rest of the weekend should be quiet and enjoyable. May your way be as peaceful. I'll see you on Monday.

Mark

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WEB SITE of the WEEK: With a tip o'the Mark's Musings cap to Mark Hurst and his "Good Experience" blog (hmm, must be something special about those guys named Mark), this week I'm recommending http://popling.net/. It's a free teaching program you download to your desktop. If you spend more than just a few minutes at a time on your computer, the program - through the periodic display of "flash cards" - can help you learn a new language, some basic math, chemistry, software languages, cooking, history ... and a whole array of other subjects is just waiting to be programmed. I'd get it while it's all still free.

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Mark's Musings is certified by the folks at Habeas to be spam-free. That means I'll never email you spam. Ever. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, and click to your heart's content at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Write your own non-sequitir here. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Breaking the seal on the post constitutes your agreement to leave the credits on. Original material and commentary © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily and occasionally toss in bonus material on the weekends (or whenever the mood strikes). Look for the label that says "Weekend" and you can bring them all up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. Wow. Dreams are weird.

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WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "An economist is a man who states the obvious in terms of the incomprehensible." (Alfred A. Knopf)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Shack


At the behest of list member Susan B., I have been reading - and just finished yesterday - "The Shack" by William Paul Young.

I won't give away any of the plot points here, and aside from a couple minor theological quibbles that may have briefly smeared my enjoyment of the writing - emphasis on briefly - I will say that I often had to put the book down to breathe deeply and wipe away a tear or two.

Yeah, it's that good. At least it was for me. I thought that today I'd share with you just a few lines from the story that captured my mind and heart.

I think it would be safe to say that this short little book could revolutionize the way you view the Holy Trinity, as well as challenge (or confirm) some of your assumptions about God's nature. And if you're just not that into God, read it anyway. You may come to realize that God is especially fond of you.

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FROM "THE SHACK"
by William Paul Young

"Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship."

"You don't play a game or color a picture with a child to show your superiority. Rather, you choose to limit yourself so as to facilitate and honor that relationship." [On why God became human.]

"Faith does not grow in the house of certainty."

"If anything matters, then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will ever be the same again."

[In closing, Young quotes from an Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem, "Aurora Leigh", Book VII]

"Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries."


[selected from "The Shack," written by William Paul Young]

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WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." (Psalm 86:15)

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Mark's Musings is available on your RSS Feed Reader and can also be obtained via email each weekday. Get your own subscription - for free - by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Car

The weather here in southeast Michigan has been lousy this winter. Well, not if you like to ski or snowboard or snowmobile, I suppose. The problem is I don't enjoy any of those activities. Don't have time or the money to maintain such hobbies. Those of you who do, go at it!

It's snowed here. A lot. Seems like someone in our family has been out shoveling almost every other day for the past six weeks. There's so much snow stacked up at the end of our driveway that it looks like you're entering a low valley between two majestic mountains when you pull in. And when it's not snowing, it's only because it's too cold to snow.

All of this whining is leading up to a website from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in El Paso, Texas. Called "The Weather Calculator," it will provide you with conversion calculations for heat index, wind chill, Fahrenheit to Celsius, moisture conversions, pressure conversions, and some miscellaneous calculations to boot. And for you math geeks, all of the formulas for these figures are included as well.

For instance, using the converter for wind chill, I can tell you that this past Friday the wind chill here was a balmy -23 degrees Fahrenheit. (That's -31 degrees Celsius for my global readers).

Brrrrr.

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Snow was falling heavily the day I decided to visit a car dealership. I was confident I'd get a great deal, figuring the salesmen would be desperate for customers on such a lousy day.

Sure enough, when I entered the showroom, I was the only client.

My hopes for getting a good deal quickly faded, however, when I heard the approaching salesman's very first words:

"Boy," he said, jovially, "you must really want a new car badly to come out on a day like this!"

[readersdigest.com]

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WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Is it obvious by now why the last four months of the year end in "ber"?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Late Night and Inauguration

Today Barack Hussein Obama will be sworn in as our nation's 44th President. It is certainly an historic occasion. If your computer will stream video, here's a list of web channels to watch it all if you haven't got access to a television today.

Let's check in with what the late night pundits and their writers have had to say about today.

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"Barack Obama will be the new President of the United States. I'm telling you, things are really starting to look bad for Hillary." (David Letterman)

"President-elect Barack Obama is starting to get an idea of just how hard his new job is going to be. Today he said he wanted to bring a sense of accountability to Washington. A *sense* of accountability. I think he realized that actual accountability, never going to happen." (Jay Leno)

"People, I think, are excited about Barack Obama's inauguration. Some people are worried, though, because three million people are expected for the inauguration but there will only be 5,000 port-a-potties. That's true. Officials say they would have paid a lot more attention to bladder issues if John McCain had been elected." (Conan O'Brien)

"Here's good news: President-elect Barack Obama and his family have actually now moved into Washington, D.C. Their stuff arrived via U-Haul One." (David Letterman)

"Cheney was kind of fun about it. He said that, you know, he only has a couple of days left as the Vice-President, but he's planning to squeeze in one last heart attack." (Letterman)

"On Inauguration Day, Barack Obama will be riding in a brand new presidential limousine made by General Motors. Yeah, the parade route is five miles long, so GM says Obama should only have to stop for gas twice." (Conan O'Brien)

"But here's good news for Obama. The new tank-like limousine is shoe proof." (David Letterman)

[selected from about.com]

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WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of clich├ęs the first prize." (Saul Bellow)

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Mark's Musings is also on an RSS Feed and available via email each weekday. I solemnly swear or affirm that you can get your very own subscription here. It's still free.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The TV

Although his birthday was last Thursday, today is the day we have chosen to nationally celebrate Martin Luther King, Junior's birthday. Government employees, bank workers, and what's left of our auto industry probably have today off.

It's also the 200th birthday of Edgar Allan Poe (Postal Service releases stamp honoring him). He was a minor writer and social critic until his poem, "The Raven" was published in the New York Evening Mirror in 1845. Then he became an "overnight" celebrity and children would follow him down the street shouting, "Nevermore! Nevermore!"

So I decided to take my own swipe at this classic, skewed for a slightly different subject, and abridged so as not to bore you too much.

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THE TV
"Paid Programming"

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I sat there weak and weary,
Watching many a quaint and tired episode of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly dreaming, suddenly there came a screaming,
As if of someone yelling, selling items from a store.
" 'Tis some sad commercial, and the salesman's a bore"
Was what I muttered, sore.

Presently my ire grew stronger, hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your sales pitch I deplore;
But the fact is I was dreaming, and so loudly you came screaming,
And with your scheming you disturbed my slumber's gladsome snore,"
I spoke right at the TV - here I looked upon the floor -
The remote to find, and end his store.

But the TV, sitting lonely, in the dusty corner only
Kept on slamming, slamming me with paid programming.
A respite I did yearn, but to each new channel that I turned,
Was yet another salesman, scamming,
Selling, screaming, dancing, shamming,
To my ears my fists flew, damming.

And the TV, unrelenting, hawks its wares of new inventing,
No matter how much I sit venting words of lowly scoff.
To my bed I think of going, if I can't find one channel showing,
Something else; I'll watch e'en a rerun of pig at trough.
But finally I stand, shake my head and give a cough.
Touch the remote, and turn it off.

[written by Mark Raymond w/apologies to Edgar Allan Poe; copyright 2009]

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WORD for YOUR WEEK: With a tip o'the Mark's Musings cap to Rob Kyff, "The Word Guy," let's look at how the adverb "only" can change the meaning of a sentence depending upon where it's placed:

Only I poked him in his eye with my stick.
I only poked him in his eye with my stick.
I poked only him in his eye with my stick.
I poked him only in his eye with my stick.
I poked him in his only eye with my stick.
I poked him in his eye only with my stick.
I poked him in his eye with my only stick.
I poked him in his eye with my stick only.

So use your "only" choices carefully, pilgrims.

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While you ponder weak and weary, get your own subscription for free by clicking here. Mark's Musings is available on an RSS Feed and by email each weekday.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Presidential Morphology

So I'm just enjoying my weekend, doing pretty much nothing - which I hardly ever get to do, so it's a nice change of pace - and I remember I promised to put something up on the blog this weekend.

Along comes an email from list member Nancy M. with a clever little video showcasing portraits of all 44 of our Presidents. Enjoy.



What I want to know is what happened to society when our 28th President - Woodrow Wilson - was elected. Because ever since, not a single President has worn facial hair, whereas before him, nearly every President save one or two had some sartorial fuzziness on his face. Especially Rutherford B. Hayes. Whew!

Now you have to go back and watch it again, don't you...?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Banned Words, 2009

It's once again time to visit with the folks at Lake Superior State University who have issued their annual list of words and phrases that should be banned from the English language.

The link to the complete list is below.

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WORDS and PHRASES THAT SHOULD BE BANNED
Heard during 2008

GREEN - in all its ecological variations. Goodness, people were even using it as a verb, as in, "We need to think about greening our office." [I even heard one television show where employment in an environmental industry was referred to as "green collar jobs." I kid you not. -- MR]

MAVERICK - Totally overused in the last election. A five-year ban is suggested so it cannot be used in the next presidential campaign.

BAILOUT - Use of emergency funds to purchase toxic assets from the banks is not a bailout. When your cousin calls you in the middle of the night from his local jail, *that's* a bailout.

ICON or ICONIC - It has become the new "awesome." Can't we use legendary or "famous for..."? It seems that everyone and everything in the entertainment industry is now "iconic" in one way or another. Too much!

STAYCATION - Coined for those who choose to stay home during their summer vacation instead of paying the high price of gas for travel. It's a word whose appearance in our lexicon should be brief, indeed.

WINNER OF __ NOMINATIONS - Saying someone or something has been *nominated* for an award is not the same thing as saying he/she/it has won. Stop promoting him/her/it like it has.

DESPERATE SEARCH - Every time someone or something is lost, we don't go on a "relentless" search, or a "determined" search, or even just a routine search, but a "desperate" search, as if our very lives depended upon it.

[selected from the annual awards given out by Lake Superior State University w/additional commentary by Mark Raymond; see the complete list here]

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My grandmother-in-law had knee replacement surgery early in December and finally came home from the rehab/recovery center in late December. For about two weeks now, my wife and her aunt have been alternating spending the night with her to aid in housekeeping, therapy, and general make-sure-Grandma-is-okayness and will do so until she's once again able to walk freely on her own and take care of things. All while also working full time and trying to keep our own household here going strong. So I guess I'm saying that if you could toss a few good prayers and kind thoughts her way, I'd appreciate it.

Me? I'll see you on Monday and perhaps once or twice this weekend over at the blog.

Mark

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WEB SITE of the WEEK: "Didja ever wonder..." Yesterday was Andy Rooney's 90th birthday. The quirky curmudgeon with a sharp eye on society's foibles has been with the 60-Minutes show since 1978. You can catch many of Andy's latest two-and-a-half minute segments on the CBS 60-Minutes site at http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/rooney/main3419.shtml. There's also a larger archive there. The segments are in both text and video. I tried reading a couple, but they just weren't the same without Andy's trademark vocal inflections and phrasing, so I wound up watching the video. Thank goodness for broadband!

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Mark's Musings is a Habeas-certified spam free mailer. That means you'll never get any spam from me. No way, no how. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, or help defray publishing costs at Mark's web site. To contact Mark, click here. To lose weight, I may need professional help. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits are calorie-free and yet full of zesty flavor. Original material and commentary © 2009 by Mark Raymond. This includes the stuff you're reading right now. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily, and extra thoughts, videos, and the occasional other bit of fluffery at other times, but mostly on the weekends. My personal mission statement is John 3:30. We are in the grip of an arctic cold front here. How cold is it? I opened my freezer this morning and saw that the ice cubes had put on a sweater.

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WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else." (Laurence J. Peter)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

ML King


TYING UP A FEW LOOSE ENDS: Hey, I found that Shakespeare video game. It's actually been set up so you can play it online, now. Enjoy, and pick up a few Shakespearian tidbits while you're there.

Also, a tip o'the Mark's Musings cap to list member Steve W., who found that quote on science and theology I had struggled to remember (and, it turns out, gotten quite painfully wrong). It's by Robert Jastrow in his book, "God and the Astronomers." Here's the actual quote:

"For the scientist who has lived by faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

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On this day in 1929, Martin Luther King, Junior was born in Atlanta, Georgia.

The son of a Baptist minister, he became ordained himself at the tender age of 18. Seven years later, while he was pastoring a church in Montgomery, Alabama, one of his parishioners refused to give up her seat to a white man on the local bus. The ensuing events led to Dr. King's church leading the Montgomery bus boycott and from there, he went on to national prominence as a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement.

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THE WISDOM OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

"War is a poor chisel for carving out a peaceful tomorrow."

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance."

"In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

"Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see."

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

"Science investigates, religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control."

"We have guided missiles and misguided men."

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

[selected from the collection at brainyquote.com]

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WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." (1 John 4:20-21)

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shakespeare Game


And now something from the "Too Much Time On Their Hands" Dep't: Students in the Computing Center at the University of Fraser Valley have built a rather unique piece of wall art. It's a mural depicting a screen from Nintendo's classic "Mario" game.

What makes it unique? It was created entirely out of map pushpins.

More than 17,000 of them.

It took almost three months.

I hope these kids apply as much diligence in their search for a job.

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IF SHAKESPEARE CREATED VIDEO GAMES

"Hit the B Key, or not the B Key; that is the question."

It might be called "Grand Theft Othello: Stratford-on-Avon"

Each time you defeat a villain, he takes 20 minutes to die due to the character's death soliloquy.

The "King Richard" version comes with service packs II and III.

"Thou hast perished. Wouldst thine game begin again anon?"

[selected from Chris White's Top Five on the Internet, but believe it or not, a Canadian professor actually created a video game based on Shakespeare; though I can no longer find it in circulation - MR]

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WONDER for YOUR WEEK: If the game is called "Final Fantasy," why are there, like, twelve of them?

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

War Makes History

Here's a school - Watercliffe Meadows - that is a primary (we'd say "elementary") school in Sheffield, England. However, they say that most of the parents have bad memories about the word "school." They say the word carries negative connotations and so they are not going to use it. Watercliffe Meadows is going to call itself "a place of learning."

I don't know, what do you think? "Watercliffe Meadows Learning Place" ... sounds kind of dumbed down to me.

It has the people over at the UK's "Plain English Campaign" up in arms.

In other news, the United Kingdom has a Campaign for Plain English. Since 1979, apparently.

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The Social Studies teacher had just finished a unit on World War II and had spent some time on the differences between war and peace.

"How many of you," she asked her class, "would say that you are against war?"

Not surprisingly, every hand in the room went up.

The teacher then asked, "Who can give us a reason for being against war?"

A rather large, bored-looking boy toward the back of the class raised his hand.

"Sammy?" the teacher called upon him.

"I'm against war," he said, "because wars make history. And I HATE history!"

[Pastor Tim's Sermon Illustrations]

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WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout the rest of their lives." (Robert Maynard Hutchins)

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Farm Loan

Hey, everybody, turns out God is smarter than we thought!

Okay, that's a tongue-in-cheek comment. But science is discovering that maybe, just maybe this whole "global warming" thing is a natural cycle of the earth. As the ice melts, it releases more iron into the ocean. The additional iron promotes the growth of green algae. The green algae suck up the carbon dioxide in the air, grow heavy, and then sink to the bottom of the ocean, taking the deadly CO2 with it. And with balance restored, the ice caps begin to freeze up again.

At least that's what I read last week.

Reminds me of a quote I heard once, though I can't remember the author and I'm sure I'm paraphrasing, but here goes: "When all the scientists have climbed that great hill of knowledge and reach the top, having discovered all that there is to discover, they will find God, waiting for them on the other side."

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A farmer in a drought-stricken part of the country went to see his hometown banker about getting a loan.

"I think we might be able to do it," said the banker, "but first we'd have to drive out to your property and appraise it."

Just then a strong gust of wind kicked up a large dust cloud outside the bank.

"No need to go see the property," replied the farmer, looking out the window, "here it comes now."

[Net 153s Smile A Day]

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WORD for YOUR WEEK: When we say someone is "debonair," what does that mean and where did the word come from? Originally it was used with a narrow definition: carefree. But now it's come to mean polished, suave, urbane, or someone with a lot of charm. And it's usually applied to men. It originates from three French words: "de bon aire." Literally, "of good nature."

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Remember ... Patty Duke?


Yesterday I was gazing at the 2009 Stamp Preview we have at work ... part of my job, y'know. One of the stamps coming out - on August 11, I believe - is that "Classic TV Show" piece of postage you see there to the left.

And speaking of classic TV, whatever happened to Patty Duke? Well, the actress that portrayed her has taken up the character once again ... this time for the benefit of Social Security. Turns out they're trying to shorten their lines by getting folks to conduct their business online.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Victor Borge


So my wife and I were recently watching PBS during one of their fundraising weeks, and they were showing some clips from a Victor Borge DVD package. He's one of my favorite musical comedians.

Born Borge Rosenbaum, he became the "Clown Prince of Denmark" by mixing in a few jokes in between selections at his piano recitals when he was in his early 20s. He moved to America in 1940, became a U.S. citizen in 1948, and eventually had his own stage show called "Comedy In Music," which was also the name of one of his recordings.

In 1993 he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Victor Borge passed away in December of 2000.

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THE WIT and WISDOM OF VICTOR BORGE

"I only know two pieces; one is 'Clair de Lune' and the other one isn't."

"I wish to thank my parents for making it all possible ... and I wish to thank my children for making it necessary."

"If I have caused just one person to wipe away a tear of laughter, that's my reward. The rest goes to the government."

"When an opera star sings her head off ... she usually improves her appearance."

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."

"Ah, Mozart! He was happily married, but his wife wasn't."

"I don't mind growing old. I'm just not used to it."

"I don't mind Daylight Saving Time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I've saved all year."

"Santa Claus has the right idea ... visit people only once a year."

"Humor is something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations. Because, you see, humor is truth."

[taken from web sites all over the 'Net by Mark Raymond]

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It's that time of month: three meetings all in a row tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to at least one of them. But probably no blog posts this weekend. Still, I'll see you on Monday.

Mark

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WEB SITE of the WEEK: Last year I pointed you to the Fimoculous website. A Fimoculous is, apparently, a microorganism that consumes its own waste for sustenance. The site's tagline is "Feeding On Itself". Draw your own metaphors. Whatever, it is the best site for an "all-in-one-place" collection of 2008's "Best of Everything." http://www.fimoculous.com/year-review-2008.cfm. But be careful, you could lose much of your day here before you know it and I can't guarantee every click is family-friendly. I do know last night just up and disappeared on me.

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Mark's Musings is certified by the folks at Habeas to be spam-free. That means I'll never email you spam. Ever. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, and click to your heart's content at my web site.To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Find a good website for you guys and then, pfft! It's dang near midnight. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Every time you leave the credits on an angel gets his wings. Original material and commentary © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily and occasionally toss in bonus material on the weekends (or whenever the mood strikes). Look for the label that says "Weekend" and you can bring them all up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. Since I've started putting up extra blog posts on days other than the weekend, somebody remind me to change that tag to "Bonus!"

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WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "To find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him a blessing." (Baltasar Gracian)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Where God Ain't

If I asked you to become a missionary, what would be your first thought? Exotic locations? Uprooting your family for several years? Investing years of your life in a remote corner of the Third World? Perhaps you'd just whisper "no way" to yourself and move on to the joke.

But not so fast, dear friends. An initiative called Global Media Outreach has created more than 70 websites to share the gospel with people all over our planet. And they need your help to respond to emails and answer questions. They say that in 2007 more than one million people indicated a decision for Christ ... and that there are still more than three billion people with Internet access, and for most of them the Gospel does not exist in their life.

So, yeah, make a difference. Reach the other side of the world for Jesus right from the comfort of your own chair at home.

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He was just a little boy, on a brand new week's first day
He was wandering home from Sunday School, and dawdling on the way

He scuffed his shoes into the grass and found a caterpillar
He picked a fluffy milkweed pod, and blew out all the "filler"

A bird's nest in a great big tree, so wisely placed on high
Was just another wonder that caught his eager eye

A neighbor watched his zig-zag course, and hailed him from his lawn
He asked him where he'd been that day and what was going on

"I've been to Bible School" he spoke, and turned a piece of sod
He picked a wiggly worm and said, "I've learned a lot 'bout God"

The neighbor said, "A right fine way for a boy to spend his time"
"If you can tell me where God is, I'll give ya this brand new dime"

Quick as a flash his answer came, nor was his small voice faint
"I'll give YOU a *dollar*, Mister, if you can tell me where God ain't!"

[Pastor Tim's Illustrations; poetic edits by Mark Raymond]

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WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:1-2)

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Post #400: A Pair O'Videos

First off, a "thank you" from the folks at Pitney Bowes and the American Red Cross. You may recall that last November I ran one of my daily posts about their "Holiday Mail for Heroes" campaign. They sent me a little video appreciation that I wanted to share with you. Because, really, you're the ones who made it all happen.



Secondly, this next video comes from list member Dianne F., who runs her own list, by the way, and maybe the slight oddness of it all just caught me off guard, but I laughed right out loud.



"Maybe if more people had a duck in their life..."

Hmmmm.

Still More New Books

PERSONAL NOTE: I don't know why I didn't ask you guys to pray sooner. My son was accepted into an entry-level training program after his interview on Monday. Basically, he'll be paid for a month-long intense immersion into two computer programming systems, and at the end of that period be put to work for the company, somewhere in the tri-state area, provided the company has need for new programmers around Valentine's Day. It's not a guarantee of employment, but it is the next best thing. Don't let anyone tell you prayer doesn't work!

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So yesterday I ran a post on spending too much time online.

Let's balance it out and talk about real life, hold-in-your-hand, turn them one-page-at-a-time books.

Reader's Digest has an article on ways to work more books into your life this year.

Maybe soon they can write an article that tells you how to find time to actually read them.

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MORE NEW BOOKS

"Come On In!" by Doris Ohpen.

"The German Bank Robbery" by Hans Zupp.

"I Hate the Sun" by Gladys Knight.

"Prison Security" by Barb Dwyer.

"My Career as a Clown" by Abe Ozo.

"Why I No Longer Eat Fast Food" by Tommy Ayk.

"Take This Job and Shove It" by Ike Witt.

"The Secret of Rapunzel" by Harris Long.

"Split Personalities" by Jacqueline Hyde.

"How I Won the Marathon" by Randy Holeway.

"Waging Nuclear War" by Adam Baum.

"So You're Engaged" by Bess Twishes

"How to Survive a Riot" by Donny Brooke.

[Mikey's Funnies and Bad Pets.net; some rewrites by Mark Raymond]

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WONDER for YOUR WEEK: When someone finally wrote the first book about watch-making, did everyone think it was about time?

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Online Too Much

Last November - the 12th, to be exact - I told you about a couple of new ways to use the "411" information option from your cell phone that wouldn't cost you anything.

List member Steve J. has sent me another: this one is by Google. Here's what you do, in a nutshell:

1. Call 1-800-GOOG-411 (800-4664-411).
2. Say what city you're in.
3. Say what business or person you need.
- The service will give you a numbered list of results. -
4. Say what number off the list you want.
5. The service connects you.

This will work with any phone, of course. If using a cell phone, you can also have results sent to your phone via text message. And if your phone has Internet connectivity, you can also say "Map It" and have a map to the business sent to your phone.



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MORE WAYS TO TELL YOU SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ONLINE

Your driver's license also has your email address.

You have four separate phone lines, yet you live alone.

America Online solved all of its access problems by kicking you off the service.

Even your waterbed is hooked up to a modem.

Instead of asking someone where they live, you say, "What's the URL?"

You really *do* have a mouse in your pocket.

You give your kids online time as their weekly allowance.

You have a low-grade year-round tan from the monitor's glow.

To speed up your downloads, you're running your modem through your microwave.

When your spouse is scratching your back, you say, "Scroll down."

You bump into an old friend on the street, and run home so you can use a live chat room with him.

When you say, "my better half," you mean your computer.

[Clean Humor Digest; edits and some additional material by Mark Raymond]

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WORDS for YOUR WEEK (classic): "A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history ... with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila." (Mitch Ratcliffe)

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Campfire


My son has a big job interview at 1:00 est today. If you think of it, have a good thought for him this afternoon.

Now, he's pretty motivated and works hard but not, I think, perhaps quite as hard as this guy.

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HOW TO BUILD A CAMP FIRE

1. Split dead limbs into fragments. Shave one fragment into slivers.

2. Bandage left thumb.

3. Take small hatchet and chop rest of fragments into smaller fragments.

4. Bandage left foot.

5. Build tiny tepee on top of fragments from slivers (include ones embedded in left hand).

6. Light match.

7. Light match.

8. Repeat "A Scout is cheerful" and light match.

9. Apply match to slivers. Add smaller fragments while gently blowing across base of fire.

10. Apply burn ointment to nose.

11. While fire is burning, collect more wood.

12. After discovering fire has nearly gone out while you were away, give up natural method and douse wood from can labeled "kerosene."

13. Treat face and arms for second-degree burns.

14. Re-label can, "Gasoline."

15. Once fire is well underway, add remaining wood.

16. Once thunderstorm has passed, repeat from Step One.

[Net 153s Smile A Day]

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WORD for YOUR WEEK: While we're kind of on a work theme today, let's look at an opposite of work in the word, "lollygag." Currently we use it to mean spending time idly, aimlessly, or even foolishly. At one time it was spelled "lallygag" and the first part of the word used to refer to your tongue. In the mid-1800s, the word carried a sexual connotation, referring to licentious people with their tongues hanging out, pandering after pleasures of the flesh, and doing naught else. We've long since lost that meaning in this country, though the "doing naught else" - or "doing nothing" - part still applies to the definition.

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