Thursday, April 30, 2009

Doctor vs. Pastor


Earlier this week list member Diane S. sent me an e-mail about working at the Indie Spirit Film Festival which her son and two of his friends founded. She particularly enjoyed a film about "The Nature of Existence" and at their website you can see many short films about that topic.

The one that grabbed me was a short about Larry Van Pelt, who was just a regular guy until one night he had a dream in which he saw Jesus with everyday folks as they went about their business (I put the 3-minute video below). He didn't know anything about drawing, but he was inspired to learn.

What he has created can now be found here.

+++

YOUR DOCTOR VS. YOUR PASTOR

Your doctor says, "Please disrobe" and you do so without complaint.
Your pastor urges you to dress modestly and you think he's getting too personal.

Your doctor charges enormous fees but you keep going back to him.
Your pastor preaches that you should pay your tithes and you leave the church.

Your doctor inquires about your weight and you discuss the issue.
Your pastor asks how much you pray and you tell him it's none of his business.

Your doctor prescribes a nasty-tasting pill and you take it.
Your pastor feeds you the Word and you refuse to hear it.

Your doctor advises you to change your lifestyle in order to lower your blood pressure.
Your pastor urges you to change your lifestyle and it raises your blood pressure.

Your doctor says you need more tests and you schedule them.
Your pastor says we need more prayer meetings and Bible studies but you're too busy.

Your doctor says there's no help for you but you search high and low for another answer.
Your pastor says "God can help you" and you give up, saying "there's no hope for me."

To your doctor, you're just another customer.
To your pastor, you're a friend and part of the family.


[with thanks to Dave Aufrance and his Monday Fodder]

+++

WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Pray continually." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

+++


Mark's Musings comes on an RSS Feed or in your Inbox each weekday via e-mail. Get your own subscription - for free! - by clicking here.

Three minutes with Larry Van Pelt:


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fast Time


Ever wonder what the future might look like?

Though I'm not a reader of it, apparently "Wired" Magazine has published for years a fun little feature called "Found," which appears to be a whimsical Photoshop picture of things in the future. Though the anticipated arrival dates of these items are probably quite a bit off, they're still fun to look at, imagine, and even say quietly to yourself, "Yes, I can actually see that happening...."

My favorite is the "Smart Diaper."

+++

REASONS TIME GOES FASTER AS WE AGE

As you move more slowly, Time gets fed up with waiting and hurries on without you.

I'm still working on the theory, but it involves neutrinos and back hair.

As our personal agility and speed decrease, the relative speed of everything else increases. I call this The Codger Principle.

You always move faster going downhill, right?

It's not so much that Time is speeding up, you're just missing so much more of life now that you're in the bathroom so much.


[Chris White's Top Five on Science with family-friendly edits and rewrites by Mark Raymond]

+++

WONDER for YOUR WEEK: If there were no last minutes, would ANYTHING get done?

+++


Mark's Musings is available via that nifty RSS Feedy thing over there at the right. It also comes via e-mail each weekday and I see your own subscription in your future with a quick click here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sin Sick

List member Lavonne T. says you folks may want to know more about my new job within the Postal Service. It's easy to envision what I used to do, which was work the counter line at the retail window, basically selling stamps and mailing boxes (oh, so much more, but that's all behind me).

I now work for the Statistical Programs Unit as a "Data Collection Technician." My job is to take random samplings of the mailstream (what's in it, how much was paid for it, what does it look like, etc.), random samplings of what random employees are doing each day, and random samplings of how the mail is transported and how much space is being used up on that transport vehicle.

My daughter would love this job. She's totally into the word "random."

Anyway, when combined with random samplings from our other 35,000 locations across the country, it generates a big data picture of our business costs ... and ultimately leads to figuring out how much we need to charge for stamps and other mailing fees. I'll be doing a lot of driving all over the "thumb" area of Michigan, collecting data from nearly 60 post offices, once I'm fully trained. For the moment, I'm trying to climb a steep learning curve, but I'm already enjoying the challenge.

And speaking of generating big picture data, the Geography Department at Kansas State University has used what they call a "precision party trick - rigorous mapping of ridiculous data" to create a national map of where the Seven Deadly Sins lurk.

+++

My seven-year-old daughter, Jessica, is a deep thinker when it comes to theological questions. Recently we discussed why bad things happen sometimes, re-reading the story of Adam and Eve and how sin came into the world.

Later that week, Jessica was ill and had to stay home from school. Feeling miserable, she told me: "If only Adam and Eve hadn't eaten the fruit, I wouldn't be sick."

Before I could address this complaint, she added, "Of course, if they didn't eat it, we'd be sitting here naked."


["Kids of the Kingdom" in Today's Christian magazine via Your Weekly Church Laughs]

+++

WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it is hurtful." (Benjamin Franklin)

+++


Mark's Musings is available on an RSS Feed and via e-mail each weekday. Get your own guilt-free subscription by clicking here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

More Jewish Buddha

Just got back home from the first day in the new office. I am going to LOVE this job!

But I didn't have time to find a link for you, so just the joke today.

List member Gavin H. found a bit more wisdom from the Jewish Buddha, to follow up on Friday's post. Thanks, Gavin!

+++

MORE WIT AND WISDOM FROM THE JEWISH BUDDHA

Take only what is given. Own nothing but your begging bowl and the clothes on your back ... unless, of course, you have wardrobe space.

Be aware of your body. Be aware of your perceptions. Also be aware that not every little cough is a symptom of a terminal illness.

The Buddha teaches we should practice loving kindness to all sentient beings. Still, would it be a crime to find a sentient being who happens to be Jewish? I ask you.

Be patient and you'll achieve all things. Be impatient and you'll achieve some things faster.

Though only your skin and bones remain; though your blood dry up and wither away, yet shall you meditate and not stir until you have attained full enlightenment. But first, a little nosh.

Let go of pride, ego, and opinions. Admit your errors and forgive those of others. Relinquishment will lead to calm and healing in your relationships. If that doesn't work, try small claims court.


[from lifesupporters.com with edits and additional material by Mark Raymond]

+++

WORD for YOUR WEEK: The Old English word "cennan" meant "to declare, or to make known" ... the hard "c" sound made its way into Middle English as the word "kennen." We know it as the word "ken," meaning perception, understanding, or knowledge. As in, "I can only imagine what Heaven must be like. The reality is far beyond my ken."

+++


Mark's Musings is wrapped in a riddle but not an enigma on yon RSS Feed. It's also available via e-mail each weekday. Get your very own subscription by clicking here. Is that so hard?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jewish Buddha

Well, my friends, I witnessed the end of another chapter in my life last night. After four-and-a-half years of working in retail sales at the window counter for the Postal Service I closed out my cash drawer for the last time Thursday evening. You see, I recently interviewed for and was awarded a job in the Data Collection department which will start on Monday.

It will be better for me in many ways that are too boring to go into details about here, and it may also have an impact on my post publishing schedule, so I'm telling you about it. Instead of sending out the post in the wee hours of the morning, it may end up being sent out in the heat of the afternoon (Eastern Standard Time ... it may arrive late at night or even the next day for my international readers). We'll see how I adjust to the new work schedule. If I plan things right, you may not even notice a difference.

Coincidentally, the new job begins on the 24th anniversary of my employment with the USPS. Two milestones with one flip of a calendar page.

But enough about me, on with today's post. Some of you may have seen this as I suspect it's been around for awhile, and I did some research but could not find the original author. Please let me know if you do.

It was forwarded to me by list member and bandmate Kerry M., and it's a delightful answer to the question: "What happens when Oriental wisdom meets the wisdom of Old Testament people?"

Enjoy.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

THE WIT AND WISDOM OF THE JEWISH BUDDHA

If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?

Be here now. Be someplace else later. Is that so complicated?

Drink tea and nourish life. With the first sip, joy; with the second sip, satisfaction; with the third sip, peace; and with the fourth, a Danish.

Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story.

Accept misfortune as a blessing. Do not wish for perfect health, or a life without problems. What would you talk about?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single Oy.

There is no escaping karma. In a previous life you never called, you never wrote, you never visited. And whose fault was that?

Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkes.

The Tao does not speak. The Tao does not blame. The Tao does not take sides. The Tao has no expectations. The Tao demands nothing of others. The Tao is not Jewish.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this and attaining Enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

Let your mind be as a floating cloud. Let your stillness be as a wooded glen. And sit up straight. You'll never meet the Buddha with such rounded shoulders.

Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers. Each flower blossoms ten thousand times. Each blossom has ten thousand petals. You might want to see a specialist.

The Torah says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." The Buddha says, "There is no self." So ... maybe we're off the hook?


[submitted by list member Kerry M; some small edits by Mark Raymond]

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Well, it's time for the second Men's Conference in Lansing for which my band is providing the music. Plus it's time to get another union newsletter done. Plus the new job on Monday. One good thing about all this is I never have to worry about having nothing to do.

Hey, I'll see you on Monday. Probably no blog entries this weekend. We'll see.

Mark

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

WEB SITE of the WEEK: Wall Stats has published a gigantic poster of the 2009 U.S. Federal Budget, with breakouts by department and project of where all our hard-earned money is being spent. I found the easiest version to use at http://www.linkydinky.com/images/budgetgraphics.jpeg. Click anywhere on the poster you want to see enlarged. Click again to zoom out. The amazing thing - at least to me - is that every figure listed has the word "billion" next to it. Wow.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Mark's Musings is sent using Ezine Director and I pay a little extra every day to make sure those folks are certified by Habeas to be a safe sender of e-mail. That means you can trust what I send. And I promise never to send spam or give your address to anyone who will. Cross my heart. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise click your day away at my web site. (There are years of archival jokes and links, for instance, and at least three years of "Web Sites of the Week" to browse. More to come, one day.) If you need to change your e-mail address or you're all mused out and need to unsubscribe, use the "Change Subscription" or "Cancel Subscription" links at the very bottom of this page, but click with care, please. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Mark Raymond is 100% biodegradable. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. And not just emotionally. Original material and musings © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of my e-mail post daily and occasionally with "bonus material" whenever the mood or muse strikes. Look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring it all up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. No electrons were harmed during the production of this post, though a few were severely inconvenienced.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "I would like to start from scratch. Where is scratch?" (Elias Cannetti)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Seat Sacrifice

G. Armour Van Horn in his "Quotes of the Day" post reminds us that it is National Volunteer Week.

And that brings me to The Giraffe Heroes Project.

The website features people who are "sticking their neck out" (get it?) to improve their community and the world.

+++

[Okay, it's not really a story about volunteerism in a "Giraffe Hero" kind of way, and it's slightly dated, but it does speak about volunteering of a different sort. -- MR]

My flight, and many others, due to the LAX airport closing, was canceled and I wound up spending the night in Baltimore. When I went to check in at the United counter the next morning, I saw a lot of soldiers home on leave from Iraq. Most were very young and all had their camouflage uniforms on.

Many people were stopping the troops to talk to them, asking them questions while they were waiting in the Starbucks line, or just saying, "Welcome home." In addition to all the other flights that had been canceled, the weather in Baltimore that morning was terrible and many more flights were getting backed up. So there were a lot of unhappy people in the terminal that day, but no one I saw gave the soldiers a hard time.

By the afternoon, our plane to Denver had been delayed for hours. United personnel kept asking for volunteers to give up their seat and grab a later flight. They weren't getting many takers. Finally, a United spokesperson got on the intercom and said, "Folks, as you can see, there are a lot of soldiers in the waiting area. They only have 14 days of leave and we are trying to get them where they need to go without spending any more time in an airport than they have to. We sold them all tickets, knowing we would oversell the flight, but if we can, we want to get them all on this flight. We want all the soldiers here to know that we respect what you are doing, we are here for you, and we love you."

At that, the entire gate area filled with cranky, tired, travel-weary people and all those nearby - a cross section of America - broke into sustained and heartfelt applause. The soldiers looked surprised and very modest. Most of them just looked at their boots. Many of us were wiping away tears.

And yes, people lined up to give up their seat and all the soldiers went to Denver on that flight.


[testimony from Will Ross, Administrative Law Judge via Wit and Wisdom; abridged by Mark Raymond. Story verified by Department of Defense here.]

+++

WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (Hebrews 13:16)

+++


Mark's Musings is flown in on an RSS Feed or via e-mail each weekday. Why not stick your neck out and get your own subscription - for free! - by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Photo Touchup

For Earth Day, how about some pictures of places and things on Planet Earth?

The people who publish National Geographic have created what they call an "Infinite Photograph."

It's a whole series - seemingly never-ending - of photo mosaics. Those are pictures made up of other pictures. Click on an area of the first photograph to reveal a series of photo "tiles." Click again to see the whole "wall" of photos that make up those tiles. Clicking a third time brings those photos into high-definition clarity so you can choose which one you want to look at. Double-clicking on a photo at that point will bring up its details.

Single-clicking on the photo will bring it up larger ... and create the *next* photo mosaic. I clicked and clicked and clicked the other day and couldn't reach the end. Let me know how you fare.

+++

People don't like to look bad in their own photographs, which is why my husband - a professional photographer - gets a lot of requests asking him to retouch photos.

People want him to erase the crows-feet around their eyes, or lop off the love handles about their waist. That sort of thing.

I wasn't surprised when one customer, while looking at a proof of a family portrait my husband had recently shot asked him, "Can you take 30 pounds off of me?"

But then she added, "...and put it on my sister?"


[Reader's Digest All In A Day's Work via Ed Peacher's Laughter]

+++

WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Does the film in a camera weigh more after a picture is taken?

+++


Mark's Musings snaps into an RSS Feed and is also available via e-mail each weekday. Flash into your own subscription with a quick click here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trees


Tomorrow is Earth Day.

So many clicks at that site, so little time, I know....

+++

WITH APOLOGIES TO JOYCE KILMER

I think that I shall never see
An e-mail lovely as a tree

A tree whose roots are full and deep
That seek for nurture while I sleep

A tree that looks at God all day
While I and keyboard slave away

A tree that may in summer bloom
Right outside my PC's room

Upon whose branches snow will set
While I still browse the Internet

These posts are written by fools like me
But only God can make a tree


[written mostly by Mark Raymond, based on the 1914 poem, "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer]

+++

WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew." (Marshall McLuhan)

+++


Mark's Musings can be seeded into an RSS Feed over there on the right of your screen or come right to your Inbox via e-mail. Grow your own subscription by clicking here. It's free.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Well, Spring weather finally appears to have arrived here in Michigan.

And that means that Spring Cleaning can't be far behind.

+++

HOW TO TELL YOUR HOME NEEDS A DOSE OF SPRING CLEANING

Your front door has more fingerprints than the FBI.

The dust mites have banded together and formed a union.

The kids can't find their toys ... or the toy box.

The garbage disposal is coughing.

You can't find the cordless phone unless it rings.

You can make concrete blocks from the kitty litter.

The pile of magazines on the coffee table goes back to the Nixon administration.

You wonder if hosing down the carpets would make them look better.

You seriously consider just moving instead of trying to clean the house.


[written by Sheila Moss with edits and additional material by Mark Raymond]

+++

WORD for YOUR WEEK: Let's get to today's word in three steps. Step One: Ancient Greek words "ou" (not) and "topos" (place - root for the word topography), were the foundation for the word utopia. Step Two: Utopia was the name of Sir Thomas More's novel, written in 1516, about an imaginary island enjoying a perfect system of democracy, law, etc. Step Three: Add the Greek modifier "dys" (bad - think of dysentery or dyslexia) and you get today's word: dystopia. It means the opposite of utopia. As in, "Mark's office was a dystopian quagmire of unfiled papers, unfinished projects, unopened mail, and leftover food." (Hmmm, maybe that was too much information....)

+++


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed and e-mail each weekday. Get your very own subscription by clicking here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Robot Dog


How about a story that relies on the kindness of strangers?

To little robots, that is.

Kacie Kinzer is a student pursuing a graduate thesis at New York University. She built a small fleet of simple little disposable robots she calls "tweenbots." Because their sole purpose is to go *between* one place and another.

The catch is they can only move in straight lines and depend upon passing pedestrians to help them along the way. It's a cute little story. Almost makes me wish I lived in New York so I could observe.

Almost.

Okay, not at all. But still, it's cute.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Those of you who recall my declarations that I'd never use a cell phone know my word means nothing. But this time I want you to hold me to it when I say that I will never, under any circumstances, get a robot dog. (Also, keep me away from an iPod Nano; I'm afraid I could accidentally swallow it.)

Sure, I could see why someone might want a robot dog - you could leave it alone for days on end, they don't chew toys, furniture or each other, and they don't emit anything that might lead you to need the services of someone with "The Ruginator" printed on the side of his van.

Also, they would never need a retainer, unlike my family's black Labrador, Lily, whose teeth were growing in wrong and needed a specially-molded piece of plastic grafted to them, at a price that would indicate it was made via a process involving cold fusion. It's developments such as these that leave thoughtful pet owners wondering, "Do vets *ever* stop laughing at us?"

Vet: Mr. Jones, I'm afraid we're going to have to encase Buster in solid gold.

Pet Owner: Where do I sign?

I never once wished Lily was a robot, and not just because of the chance she could turn out to be the advance scout for an unstoppable robot army. No, I don't want a robot dog because a robot, while no doubt lovable in that way a particularly reliable coffee pot might be lovable, never tends to do any of the following endearing activities done by real dogs:

- They will never stare at you with a cocked head, as if to say, "I'm curious as to why you're not rubbing me anywhere."

- They will never come up to you while you're sleeping on the couch and lick the Cheetos crumbs off your face with a tongue the size of a yam.

- They will never defend you against bears. (I've heard of this happening, though I think my dogs would only be effective if the bear happened to trip over them.)

And finally, a robot dog would never win a "Beautiful Pet Contest" like the one in which we just entered Lily, along with our golden retriever, Annie. Sure, a robot dog might come in handy when it comes to fetching the robot newspaper and scaring off robot intruders ... but will it ever be a "beautiful pet"?

Also, will it ever be able to play over 1,000 digital songs? I'm just asking.


[copyright 2005 by Peter Chianca, via Mikey's Funnies. Permission is granted to forward to others, but only with attribution and never for commercial use]

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Two meetings tomorrow morning, of which only one will get my full attention, I'm afraid. And then my band - well, the vocal part, anyway, which includes me - plays at a coffeehouse in Farmington Hills. So another busy Saturday, but good busy, y'know?

I'll see you on Monday.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

WEB SITE of the WEEK: Next weekend my band is playing another regional "Iron Sharpens Iron" Conference for Men in Lansing, Michigan ... during this time, we play several hymns. Which leads me to this week's site. At http://www.cyberhymnal.org/, you can find "author bios, composer biographies, hymn histories and gospel songs from many denominations" plus a cheesy MIDI file to give you an idea of what the hymn melody sounds like. They have more than 10,000 hymns and versions of hymns.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Mark's Musings is automatically transcribed to an RSS Feed and is also shipped out each day via e-mail using Ezine Director and I pay a little extra every day to make sure those folks are certified by Habeas to be a safe sender of e-mail. That means you can trust what I send. And I promise never to send spam or give your address to anyone who will. Cross my heart. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise click your day away at my web site. (There are years of archival jokes and links, for instance, and at least three years of "Web Sites of the Week" to browse. More to come, one day.) To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Remove the credits under penalty of becoming a big meanie and stepping all over my feelings. Original material and musings © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily and occasionally with "bonus material" whenever the mood or muse strikes. Look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring it all up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. Void where prohibited.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people." (Virginia Woolf)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Air Wine

Just a little abbreviated today ... spent most of last night getting my taxes finished and filed. Made it with all of 34 minutes to spare!

And hey, to give you something to look at today, I put a couple of nice video posts up here. Scroll down over the past couple of days, or just click the "bonus" label for all the extra stuff; the most recent - with the videos - should come up first.

All this work on taxes has me thinking about money and the perspective it brings to one's life. Witness today's joke....

+++

During a lengthy flight recently, I was sitting in coach but right up near the front of the section, just a row or two behind the first-class part of the cabin.

As the flight crew was preparing to start offering us snacks and beverages, I heard one of the attendants ask several first-class passengers, "Would you care for Chardonnay, or Burgundy?"

A minute or two later, the curtain between the sections opened, and the attendant wheeled her cart into the coach section, where she stopped at the first row and said, "Would you care for some wine today? We have white, and red."


[with thanks to Reader's Digest]

+++

WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law." (Romans 13:8)

+++


Mark's Musings comes in an RSS Feed and via e-mail each weekday. Get your own subscription - for free! - by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dream Big, Susan


By now I hope you know that much of what you see on the telly in America originated across the pond, in England.

Well, the producers of the show, "Britain's Got Talent" won't let me embed this video here on the blog, so I've given you a link to it below. This clip is all the rage on Facebook at the moment, but in everything I've seen there, the audio and video is a little hinky. Follow the link below to see a much more quality YouTube version.

Susan Boyle (pictured above) is a plain, middle-aged, "everywoman." One might even say frumpy. But she has dreams of being a singer. And turns out, she's not half-bad.

She gives all of us "old farts" a reason to keep plugging, keep dreaming, and keep being yourself.

View the video here.

Bike vs. Cow


Taxes done? Today's the deadline, kids.

If you do the bulk of your driving within 1-5 miles of your home, you may want to consider putting your return down on a Segway Personal Transporter. One site I read featured a man who got rid of one of their family cars in favor of one - and figures that alone will save him about $16,000 a year in payments, insurance, gas, and maintenance on the vehicle. The Segway costs about a third of that.

Or you could take a look at the next generation of the Segway - called the P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility) - which is, essentially, a Segway built for two.

But I doubt they'll write any songs about it.

+++

A rural salesman was trying desperately to talk a local farmer into purchasing a fancy, expensive bicycle.

"Shucks," says the farmer, "if I'm going to spend that much, I'd rather get me a cow."

"Oh, but think about how funny you'd look riding into town on a cow!" exclaims the salesman.

"Humph!" replies the farmer. "Not near as silly as I'd look trying to milk a bicycle!"


[Funny File via Ed Peacher's Laughter]

+++

WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Shouldn't a trailer be pulled by a preceder?

+++


Mark's Musings pedals up an RSS Feed over to the right or glides into your Inbox via e-mail each weekday. Ride into your own subscription with a quick click here.

Improv Everywhere in Belgium

You know those public improvisation groups? This one in Belgium took the central train station folks in Antwerp by surprise. I just love it when real life becomes - for a few moments - just like something out of a big movie musical.

Plus it's just a fun song to help you through the middle of the week.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Error Messages

Let's call today Technology Tuesday.

Find a host of useful and unusual USB gadgets at Brando.

And remember the pet rock? Now there's one you can plug into your USB port. And it still does nothing.

+++

PSYCHOLOGICALLY CORRECT COMPUTER ERROR MESSAGES

"A suboptimal event has occurred. Windows will now display the Indigo Presentation of Ceased Autonomic Functions."

"That password is not the one I wanted. Kudos, however, for a valiant effort."

"One of us made a typo and it wasn't me."

"This system has performed an act of civil disobedience and will now receive a non-judgmental time out."

"Please don't think of this crash as 'User Error,' but rather as an 'Input Exploration Experience.' "

"Division by zero would sure be nifty, but the oppressive mathematical elite won't let me do it. I have to stop, now."

"This application is unhappy and it is making all your other applications unhappy. Turn your computer off and back on to make us all happy again."


[selected from Chris White's Top Five on the Internet; some small edits by Mark Raymond]

+++

WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done." (Andy Rooney)

+++


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed and e-mail each weekday. Get your own subscription by clicking here. It's free.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Recycling

Since Mondays are the day I introduce you to the origins of a word or phrase, today would be a good day to tell you about a new word.

You've heard of recycling, I'm sure.

Well, now there's "upcycling," or giving new life to old stuff *before* you recycle it.

+++

RECYCLING HUMOR

To promote recycling in my military unit, five large dumpsters were placed beside the mess tent with large signs in front of each stating what type of garbage was to be placed inside.

It took several days and many reminders, but eventually the soldiers began complying. One day, just as the troops were lining up for the noon meal, a civilian garbage truck arrived.

In full view of everyone, the contents of all five containers were dumped into the one truck.

===

Donations to our local convent were down and the nuns did not have enough funds in their coffers to continue in their usual manner. But rather than shut down and close their doors, Mother Superior ordered a strict austerity program be implemented. This included the recycling of old clothing. As the sisters' gowns had faded over the years, they were all gathered up and sent to the original manufacturer for restoration rather than purchase new ones.

Unfortunately, when they came back from the company - though improved somewhat - they were still a faded black, nearly a gray ... which just goes to prove that old habits dye hard.


[Wit and Wisdom; Pastor Tim's Cybersalt Digest]

+++

WORD for YOUR WEEK: Almost all words come from what etymologists call "root" words, which come from very few languages originally ... Sanskrit, Hindi, Hebrew, and some Germanic languages (the basic language of the first people to live on each continent, essentially). The root words "kai" and "kevala" meant alone, or only. The Latins merged this with the Germanic word "leben" to create the word "caelebs," meaning unmarried, and caelibatus is one who lives alone. We know it as the word "celibate," which is an unmarried person, and more specifically, someone who refrains from sexual activity, usually for religious reasons, but not always.

+++


Mark's Musings is packaged in an eco-friendly RSS Feed and also comes in 100% recycled electrons via e-mail each weekday. But when it comes to my post, why recycle? Get your very own subscription by clicking here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Is Risen!

And you say, "He is risen, indeed!"

Jesus rocks.



Friday, April 10, 2009

One Moment

Imagine you're on a bus riding down from the top of the mountains out west on a very narrow barely-big-enough-for-your-vehicle winding road. You're in the back with all of your friends ... reading, laughing, making calls, texting, talking, having a great time.

Suddenly you see - from seemingly out of nowhere - a small boy start to dart across the road, directly in the path of the bus.

The bus driver has three choices. He can veer to the right, careening into the side of the mountain, killing you and all of your fellow passengers, but saving the life of the child. Or he can swerve sharply to the left and plunge off the edge of the road, bringing instant death for everyone on the bus but again, saving the boy. Or he can do the unthinkable and run the child down, but save the life of everyone on the bus.

As the bus driver slams on the brakes, you can feel the small body crumpled by the weight of the massive bus. As the dust clears and the smell of scorched rubber fills the air, the bus driver sits in tears. You approach him and try to offer some small comfort. "Don't cry," you say. "You're a hero. I have a wife and two kids. We all have families. You've saved us all!"

The bus driver turns to you and whispers, "You don't understand. That boy was my son."

God is the bus driver. And that's the choice He made. The one we commemorate this day, Good Friday.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

There was a small girl whose father was a pastor.

One day, after one of her daddy's sermons, the little girl asked him, "Daddy, can a person go their whole life without sinning?"

"No, honey," the father replied, "I'm sorry, but that's just not possible. Jesus was the only one who could."

"What about a year, Daddy?" the little girl continued. "Can a person go a whole year without sinning?"

"No, I don't think that's possible, either," Daddy said.

"What about a day, Daddy? Can a person go a day without sinning? Maybe just once?"

"Unless they're in the hospital and very, very sick and not even awake, I don't think that's possible, either, honey."

"What about one moment, Daddy? Can a person go one moment without sinning?"

"Yes, dear, I think that is possible."

"Then, Daddy, I want to live my life moment by moment."

[Author Unknown, selected from Daily Food for Thought.org with edits by Mark Raymond]

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

But Sunday's coming. (See below)

I'll see you on Monday.

Mark

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

WEB SITE of the WEEK: My wife bought pistachios last week as a snack for me at my fantasy baseball drafts. Since I was using my laptop this year, I couldn't really enjoy them because I didn't want to get "shell dust" all over the computer ... so I took them back to the store for a less messy snack. When I did, the clerk at customer service informed me it was a good thing because those pistachios had been recalled. Find out what other foodstuffs might be on a recall list at the Department of Health and Human Services website at http://www.hhs.gov/. And, of course, there's lots of other good stuff there, too.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Mark's Musings is sent using Ezine Director and I pay extra to make sure those folks are certified by Habeas to be a safe sender of e-mail. That means you can trust what I send. And I promise never to send spam or give your address to anyone who will. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise click your day away at my web site. (There are years of archival jokes and links, for instance, and at least three years of "Web Sites of the Week" to browse.) To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Make sure you go to a good church this Sunday. Garrison Keillor once said that without faith, life is just one long committee meeting. I couldn't agree more. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits go with the post like music goes with a good movie. They both enhance each other. Original material and musings © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily and occasionally with "bonus material" whenever the mood or muse strikes. Look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring it all up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there." (Clarence W. Hall)


+++


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Trained Congregation

Maundy Thursday, 2009.

And if you read this before 8:45 a.m. EST, have a kind thought or good prayer for my daughter, who is having a gastroscopy done this morning to try and pinpoint the source of her frequent and crippling stomach pains. Mom and I have taken the day off work to help her through this. It's kind of scary for a 14-year old.

It's even more scary to think that she might have worried herself into an ulcer at her tender age. Way too much stress on kids these days.

Find out more about Holy Week at Beliefnet here.

+++

At the start of every Mass, our priest always did the same thing. He would make the sign of the Cross, and then we'd sing a hymn, followed by the priest offering a blessing along the lines of, "May the Lord be with you this day," after which the congregation would respond, "And also with you."

One Sunday, after making the sign of the cross, the priest seemed to be having some trouble getting his lapel microphone to stay in place. After the song concluded, instead of the blessing, we heard him say, "There seems to be something wrong with my microphone."

The congregation, being too well-trained, automatically responded, "And also with you...."


[Joe's Clean Laffs]

+++

WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Philippians 2:3-4)

+++


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed and e-mail each weekday. Get your own subscription - for free - by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Peggy's Answer

Everybody likes to get the most "bang" for their buck.

And pretty much everyone I know trusts Consumer Reports, a magazine and website dedicated to fair reporting and evaluation of, well, pretty much everything. They receive absolutely no ad revenue from anyone, so they can remain completely fair and impartial.

Check out this report to get the skinny on eleven common, everyday products you see on your grocer's shelves that Consumer Reports thinks are just "great."

+++

Christian author and speaker Tony Campolo tells a story from the days when his wife, Peggy, was at home full-time with their children.

When someone would ask, "And what is it that you do, dear?" Peggy would reply, "I am socializing two homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation."

Then Peggy would ask the other person, "And what do you do?"


[from the book, "An Ordinary Day with Jesus" with thanks to the Church Laughs Newsletter]

+++

WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why will a child eat everything the sample lady at the store passes out but not touch it on their plate at home? Is it the toothpicks?

+++


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed or via e-mail each weekday. You can get your own subscription, I mean, you know, if you don't already have one, by clicking here.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Chocolate


Okay, Monday was not a very good day for Michigan.

The Spartans - as I'm writing this, anyway - are having their collective green helmets handed to them by UNC.

The Tigers lost in Toronto on baseball's Opening Day.

And our annual Spring snowstorm - and there's three words you hate to see in the same sentence - invaded our fair state early Monday morning, dropping from 2-5 inches of snow. At least during this time of year nobody worries too much about shoveling it.

For many of us, there's only one thing that can redeem yesterday: chocolate.

Here's nine things you may not have known about Cadbury's Creme Eggs.

+++

A good piece of chocolate - emphasis on good - has about 200 calories.

As I enjoy two servings per night and a couple more on the weekends, let's round it up to munching down about 3,500 calories of chocolate per week.

Now, a pound of weight is about 3,500 calories.

So...

...in the last three-and-a-half years I've eaten enough chocolate to gain 180 pounds of weight. I only weigh 155 pounds.

So without chocolate, I would have wasted away to nothing three months ago!


[with thanks to list member Molly Rhea's Quotes of the Day via Wit and Wisdom]

+++

WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process. It may not be true ... but dare I take the chance?" (Author Unknown)

+++


Mark's Musings is mixed in with an RSS Feed over there at the right and also comes wrapped in your morning Inbox each weekday. Munch on your own subscription by clicking here. It's free.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Basketball Cell


I'll tell you what, I'm not really much of any kind of sports fan other than baseball. I give baseball my complete attention and am certainly what you would consider a devoted fan. At least of the American League and the finer points of the game itself.

Basketball? Not so much.

But I'll also tell you that I grew up a 10-minute bike ride from East Lansing and Michigan State University. I never attended the school, but having so much of my formative years spent near it, I am taking a special interest and pride in what their basketball team has done, here on the cusp of the NCAA Championship game this evening.

And, thanks to the Internet, if you can't get to a TV you can still watch for free here.

Go Green and White!

(And would my readers near North Carolina please allow me this moment of indulgence.)

+++

After a recent college basketball game, the coach spotted a cell phone lying on the floor. He picked it up and handed it to one of the referees, saying "Here's your phone."

"What makes you think it's mine?" the ref asked.

"Easy," the coach replied. "It says you missed 13 calls."


[selected from Top Greetings]

+++

WORD for YOUR WEEK: "Vincere" is Latin, meaning "to overcome." A more recognizable version is "vincible," which refers to something that is able to be overcome, or is defeatable. We use it more with the negative modifier "in" on the front to give us the word "invincible," which is something that is not able to be defeated. I thought it an appropriate word for today.

+++


Mark's Musings does a layup on an RSS Feed and via e-mail each weekday. Take a jump shot at your very own subscription by clicking here.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

88 and Still Going Strong!

And her city is debt-free.

When I grow up, I want to be like Hazel.

(Which, coincidentally, is also my StepMom's name!)

Friday, April 03, 2009

IRS Calls

Have you done your taxes yet? I confess I haven't, but only because I've been so freakishly busy so far this year with family events and their associated work taking priority in my life. I'll get it done by Tax Freedom Day.

Tax Freedom Day? What is that?

The Tax Foundation keeps track of our national taxes. You know that a certain percentage of your paycheck goes to the government, yes? Well, if you took what you paid each week in taxes and added it all up, then assumed that instead of keeping your paycheck, you just gave that money to the government starting in January ... you would discover that this year you are working for free until April 13.

But the good news is that's eight days less than last year.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

STRANGE, BUT TRUE, CALLS TO THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE

Caller: I want to know if I should file as married or single?
IRS: Are you married?
Caller: Well, sort of.
IRS: What?
Caller: Well, we did get married, but we're not counting on things working out.

Caller: I got a letter from you guys and I want to know what you want.
IRS: What did the letter say?
Caller: Just a minute, I'll open it.

Caller: I'm a bookkeeper and I need to know if ten $100 bills make a thousand dollars, or only ten hundred dollars?
IRS: Both. It's the same amount of money.
Caller: Then why do I get a different answer every time I move the decimal point?

Caller: What does the law say about people who are renting to relatives and taking a loss on the property?
IRS: You are required to charge them a fair market value.
Caller: Oh, it's very fair. If we rented to someone else, we could get a lot more.

Caller: Could you please send me some of those WD-40s?


[from IRS agent Donna Wilson via the Good, Clean Funnies List]

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

For us fantasy baseball enthusiasts, this is one of the best weekends of the year ... it's Draft Day time! I still think Baseball's Opening Day should be a national holiday.

This weekend also holds Palm Sunday. So get thyself to a good church.

I'll see you on Monday.


Mark

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

WEB SITE of the WEEK: My wife, as I think I've mentioned, is something of an amateur photographer, so when I see some pretty cool pictures, my interest is piqued. Because I love words and philosophy and thinking, when I see some pretty cool words, my interest is also piqued. You can see some pretty cool pictures with cool words added as a dash of inspiration in a creative mix at http://cooppics.wordpress.com/.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Mark's Musings continues to be sent on an RSS Feed and also via e-mail using Ezine Director and I pay extra to make sure those folks are certified by Habeas to be a safe sender of e-mail. That means you can trust what I send. And I promise never to send spam or give your address to anyone who will. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise click your day away at my web site. (There are years of archival jokes and links, for instance, or at least three years of "Web Sites of the Week" to browse.) To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. How far east can you go before you're heading west? Yes, you can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits don't take up much room and sit quietly here at the bottom of the post so they won't disturb anyone. Original material and musings © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of the post daily and occasionally with "bonus material" whenever the mood or muse strikes. Look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring it all up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. Time to go make the coffee and then ride the bike.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "We used to think that if we knew one, we knew two, because one and one are two. We are finding that we must learn a great deal more about 'and'." (Sir Arthur Eddington)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Children's Sermon


Lots on my plate, troops, and a messy, messy house while we are still moving things and people around and trying to organize the piles of paperwork from my office which, unless I miss my guess, have begun to develop into their own crude life form.

So just the joke today.

+++

One Sunday as Easter approached, during the children's sermon, our minister pulled a large plastic egg out of a big bag.

He pointed to it and asked the kids if they knew what was inside of it.

"I know!" one boy exclaimed. "Pantyhose!"


[Pulpit Supply via Wit and Wisdom]

+++

WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." (Psalm 40:1-2)

+++


Mark's Musings comes on an RSS Feed or via email each weekday. Get your own subscription - for free - by clicking here.