Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lighthouse Laws

It's the final day of 2008. Big plans tonight? Whatever you do, please be smart and please be safe.

Give some thought to doing what we used to do at the end of the year ... take down the old family calendar, bring it with you to a comfortable restaurant - somewhere where they'll let you sit and chat for awhile - and then go back over the year, month-by-month. It's a gently surprising way to come to grips with what 2008 meant to you; to get a handle on the passing of time, instead of just waking up tomorrow morning wondering where the year went. It tends to spark some pretty good conversations, too.

And then share what you've learned this year over at Tips Base.

My prayer for you is that 2008 was a wonderfully memorable year ... but not as good as next year will be!


Laws of the Lighthouse**

Love God more than you fear hell.

Once a week let a child take you on a walk.

Make major decisions in a cemetery.

When no one is watching, live like someone is.

Succeed at home first.

Don't spend tomorrow's money today.

Pray twice as much as you worry.

Listen twice as much as you speak.

Only harbor a grudge when God does.

Never outgrow a love of sunsets.

Treat people like angels. You will meet some, make some, and maybe even be one.

Learn to err on the side of generosity rather than the side of scrutiny.

God has forgiven you. It would be wise for you to do the same.

When you can't trace God's hand, trust his heart.

Don't feel guilty about God's goodness.

The book of life comes in chapters. Know which page you are on.

Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.

Live your liturgy.

[written and copyright 1991 by Max Lucado; thanks to Mikey's Funnies]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: What happened to that New Year's Baby's Mom?


(** Follow these to stay away from the rocks of life that will crash your little boat of a world.)


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed and email each weekday. Make it your resolution to get your own subscription for free by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Sorry, gang, I wound up pulling a 13-hour day at work yesterday, so no link. Just the joke today.

13 hours. Yeesh!


Looking in the mall for a nightgown, I wasn't having any luck at all when I spied a sexy lingerie store. Desperate, I went in and looked and to my surprise, found just what I was looking for!

Waiting in the line to pay, I noticed a young woman behind me holding the very same nightgown. This confirmed what I had suspected all along, that despite being nearly 50 years old, I still had a very "with it" attitude and sense of style.

"I see we have the same taste," I proudly remarked to the young lady.

"I guess we do," she replied. "I'm getting this for my grandmother. You, too?"

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Unmentionables are those articles of ladies' apparel that are never mentioned in public ... except in full page, illustrated advertisements." (from Changing Times magazine)


Mark's Musings is also available via RSS Feed and is sent each weekday via email. Get your very own subscription here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Stair Tumble

It's the last week of the year. Are you starting to get your New Year's Resolutions in mind? Pick one that you've always wanted to do, and one that you absolutely *know* you can accomplish. For example, one year I resolved that everything I threw toward a wastebasket would wind up in one. That entire year, if I missed the dustbin, I picked up whatever I was throwing away and placed it into the trash. Since then I haven't been able to miss and let the waste lie there on the ground near the basket without picking it up and completing the throw-away. It really worked! Of course, my other resolution was to lose weight and that one didn't work out so well. I'm trying that one again next year.

I have only one small change to make to this post for 2009. You'll see it on Thursday.

And now that I've got you looking forward, let's look back for a moment. Remember the little red wagon you may have had as a child, made by a company called Radio Flyer? Well, they're coming out soon with Version 2.0. And you won't believe your eyes. Or the price tag. Some sites say it will start at about $1,000.


I recall a time when my son was about 18 months old. I had him strapped into one of those child carriers you wear on your back.

I was rushing out of our apartment building to catch a bus when I missed a step and fell down the entire flight of stairs; about 13 steps in all. I was bruised and bleeding and had torn my jeans but my main concern, naturally, was for my little boy bundled onto my back.

My fears were alleviated, however, when I shortly heard a gleeful giggling from behind me and a tiny voice yell, "Again!"

[Thomas Ellworth via Good Clean Funnies List]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Many, many years ago, Greek philosopher and teacher Aristotle had two groups of students. One was a more casual group, and the other were serious thinkers. He divided his teachings into two groups, as well. One was "exoteric" and the other was "esoteric." Esoteric came from the Greek word "esoterikos," which meant "belonging to an inner circle." Our understanding of the word "esoteric" has come to mean something that's difficult to understand, or not publicly disclosed, or in some cases, we still observe the original meaning of keeping the knowledge to a small field of endeavor, which not many people know. As in, "Sarah's success with software was based on an esoteric programming language."


Get your own subscription - say, "sub" means under ... you deserve better than that. So I say you can get your own *super*scription for free by clicking here. Mark's Musings, y'see, is also available via email each weekday and via RSS Feed.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

How Do You Pick Which Movie to See?

Say you and your spouse want to go to the movies. Or maybe it's you and your family. But you don't know which movie to see. There are several good choices and you're just having a hard time picking. This is where "Raymond's Rating System" will come in handy. My wife and I have used this system successfully for years.

My system does not rate how good the movie is ... rather, it rates your desire to see it. Here it is:

6 - I have got to see this movie!
5 - I would pay full price to see this movie.
4 - I'd like to see the movie, but only at matinee prices.
3 - I kind of want to see it, but only after I've seen everything else that's out.
2 - I'll wait until it comes out on DVD.

1 - No interest. The previews haven't done anything for me.
0 - You would have to pay me to see this movie. I actively dislike the whole concept.

Have everyone going to the movies (old enough to understand the system, anyway) rate how much they
want to see the movie - this works best if you rate all the movies currently out - add up the score, and the movie with the highest point total is the lucky winner.

You've selected a movie with a minimum of argument and the conclusion is obvious. Essentially, you have "elected" a movie.

It's not only a fuss-free way to pick a movie, it's a lesson in democracy!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After Christmas

I recently stumbled across this poem I'd written in 2004. It still seemed appropriate ... especially considering the timing of today's post, so I thought I'd reprint it.

I pray that Santa was good to you yesterday. I know God was.


With gratitude and apologies to Clement C. Moore

'Twas the day after Christmas, I'm tired and sore;
My living room looks like it's been through a war.
With paper and presents strewn all about,
It will take us six weeks to clean this, no doubt.

The children had run all amok from their bed,
And now there's a pounding deep inside my head.
The screaming, the tearing, the squealing of joy
As each gift revealed a shiny new toy.

I'd wanted to get Mom a gift that would melt her;
Now all I want is some warm Alka Seltzer.
The noise of the kids with their gifts clang away;
I don't think we'll see the cat until May.

The post-Christmas blues have already set in;
The things that I bought I've started regrettin'.
Several I got may make my life easy,
But my spirit is woozy, perhaps even queazy.

We mustn't forget the Babe in the manger,
Amidst all this stuff, his tale's in danger!
And how he will grow from baby to Lord,
But the kids are already chanting, "I'm bored!"

So the lesson, this day after Christmas, I learn;
Is the stuff that we buy has no power to turn
Our hearts to the path that is narrow and true;
That must come from His love, and the faith that's in you.

[written by Mark Raymond; © 2004]


Ahhh, at last a weekend with *nothing* to do! I'm sure we'll think of something. I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: One last Christmas link ... find out "almost everything you ever wanted to know about Christmas traditions" at


Mark's Musings is certified by the folks at Habeas to be spam-free. That means I'll never email you spam. Or the leftover ham we have from Christmas dinner. 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. I'm finally getting some overtime hours at work to slip a few extra bucks into the ol' wallet. They couldn't have done this *before* Christmas? You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Aren't these fun to read? Why deprive someone else of that joy? Original material and commentary © 2008 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. In accordance with the prophecy.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Patterning your life around other's opinions is nothing more than slavery." (Lawana Blackwell)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Today is the day followers of Jesus have set aside to celebrate, commemorate, and contemplate the awesomeness of what God began so many years ago. To shed the fabric of eternity, step willingly into the shackles of time, and humble himself to be born as one of us, then suffer the living and growing of more than three decades with us ... culminating in the miracle of Easter, where his mission here was completed. Incredible!

"He became what we are that he might make us what he is." (Athanasius of Alexandria)



"Christmas is a time when you get homesick ... even when you're home." (Carol Nelson)

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall." (Larry Wilde)

"Christmas is not so much about opening our presents, as opening our hearts." (Janice Maeditare)

"When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?" (G.K. Chesterton)

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow
Stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes, or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'til his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?
-- Theodore Giesel

[selected from The Quote Garden]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)


Mark's Musings is also available each weekday via email and RSS Feed. Get the gift of your own subscription - for free - by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Legal Carols

Christmas Eve, 2008.

Turns out, some of your favorite Christmas hymns and carols may have slightly erroneous lyrics or origins.

Don't let that stop you from enjoying them, however.



God Rest Ye, Jury Panelists

Away in the Slammer

What Verdict is This?

Deck the Halls (of Judge and Justice)

Did You Sue Who I Sued?

Indemnity Clause is Coming to Town

Hark! The Managing Partner Calls

Do You Hear What I -- Objection! Hearsay!

[Again from Chris White's Top Five on Law; and again with edits and additional material by Mark Raymond]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: If Good King Wenceslas ordered pizza, would it be deep pan, crisp and even?


If your church has a service tonight, please go. And tell everyone there they can get their own subscription for free by clicking here. You see, Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email, and there's an RSS Feed available to your right.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Recession Christmas TV

Sorry, troops, I need to spend some massive amount of free time working up graphics and lyrics to be projected at the Christmas Eve service for our church tomorrow night, so no link, just the joke today.

Oh, all right. Here's a list of Christmas episodes from old television classic shows you can find on video around the Web.



It's A Wonderful Unemployment Line

Tight Christmas

'Twas the Night Before My Credit Card Statement Was Due

A Christmas Carol II: Scrooge Denied A Bailout

Rudolph, the Red Ink Reindeer

[Chris White's Top Five on TV and Mark Raymond]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters." (Jean-Paul Kauffman)


Mark's Musings is also available via RSS Feed and is sent each weekday via email. It doesn't cost anything to get your very own subscription here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Slightly New Words

Ugh. What a weekend. Ten inches of snow on Friday, two more Saturday night, followed by arctic high winds on Sunday blowing drifts another foot higher and making a mockery of all the fine shoveling our children did for us, while driving wind chill temperatures to somewhere around 20 degrees below zero. Talk about bitter. And now more snow is predicted for tomorrow. Ah, well, at least we know we'll have a White Christmas.

Meanwhile, I'm going to borrow a shtick from the folks at Mental Floss and ask you to leave a comment, providing the answers to these questions:

1. What's the best food you tried for the first time in 2008?
2. What new hobby (or habit) have you picked up in 2008?
3. What movie have you seen this year that I should add to my Netflix queue?


One letter spelling changes that provide a whole new meaning

Skilljoy: The friend who's just a little bit better than you at everything.

Larger-Than-Wife: How a husband prudently describes other women.

IOUprofen: The economy's current drug of choice.

Loingerie: Underwear for men.

Igloot: Cold, hard, cash.

Limpostor: A perfectly healthy person who borrows a car with handicapped tags or plates.

Insulatte: The little cardboard sleeve around the coffee cup.

Knewledge: All the stuff you've forgotten.

[selected from the Washington Post Style Invitational]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Let's do a simple word this week. As I watched the weather maps the past few days, they were full of "ominous" forecasts. "Ominous" is from the Latin word "ominosus" - you can see where we get the word "omen," which is related - and it means "full of foreboding." Well, then I had to go chase down "foreboding," which led to the word "bode," which is from the Old English word "bodian," meaning "to proclaim." So foreboding is a proclamation of something before it happens, which can be a sign instead of a verbal warning, in which case it's an omen, and the proclamation is ominous ... and all these definitions are imbued with an emotional subtext of danger, harm, or disaster ... bad news. Gee, that really wasn't so simple, was it?


Mark's Musings is also available via RSS Feed and is sent each weekday via email. Get your own subscription - say, "sub" means under ... you deserve better than that. So I say you can get your own *super*scription for free by clicking here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Microwave Bells

I don't know who thought of this, but to quote Chuck Lorre, he or she is "one lab accident away from becoming a super-villain."

Yeah, they've got *that* much time on their hands. But the video will only take 95 seconds out of your future.

Thanks and a tip o'the Mark's Musings cap to Kim Komando.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lucas vs. Roddenberry

As a fairly devoted sci-fi/fantasy fan, I have always followed the Star Trek and Star Wars series (well, up until the Clone Wars animation, anyway) ... and, as you are probably aware, there are many videos on YouTube already from lovers of both series holding a "contest" to see which universe would win.

Here's a recent entry from a company called "DMP" that was posted only about a month ago. I found it extremely amusing. A couple of words that sour the ears, but nothing you didn't hear on the series or in the movies.

Lucas wins. Ooooh, that Darth Vader, he makes me so mad!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Random Thoughts V

As I write this early Friday morning, we are in the midst of our biggest snowstorm of the season thus far. If the meteorologists are to be believed, we'll have anywhere from eight to eighteen inches of snow on the ground by this evening. Already I can't see the road from my office window, just a vista of white landscape throughout the neighborhood. Every school in the county and parts north has announced they will be closed today and thus begin their Christmas vacations early. Bet Mom and I will still have to lug ourselves into work, though.

Anyway, as I enjoy the merry prospect of digging out the driveway in just a bit, you enjoy your final installment of random thoughts.


Part the Last

"Layering" is a good way to keep warm. I usually go shirt, sweater, jacket, house.

Bono Fatigue: It could happen to U2.

Silence isn't always golden; sometimes it's just plain yellow.

I tried to prove Murphy's Law once, but something kept going wrong.

What do sheep count when they can't get to sleep?

Why is it called an orange? Doesn't that mean we should call a banana a yellow?

When I'm nervous I get butterflies in my stomach. I guess before that I have cocoons.

If the shoe fits ... get another one just like it.

I asked my wife why there were so many dings and dents on the passenger side of her car. She said the brakes must be bad on that side.

If a hypochondriac doesn't have any symptoms, is he suffering from a lack of imagination?

The world would be so much better if we could solve two problems:
1. Making ends meet.
2. Making meetings end.

I got my dog a cell phone but when I got the first bill I was appalled at all the wasted minutes. I thought for sure I had taught him how to roll over.

When the post office only sends half your package, do they call that partial post?

If you freeze something it becomes frozen. Then why is it that when you squeeze something, it doesn't become squozen?

My church never knows what's going to happen on Sunday morning. It's for people who don't like organized religion.

[motivated, moved, measured, migrated, mixed in, and monitored from Hallmark's Maxine, Lark News, One Big Happy, Aha Jokes, Speed Bump, Pardon My Planet, and the mind of Mark Raymond]


Well, time to think about grabbing a shovel ... hmm, maybe that's what I'll do, just *think* about it.

I'll see you on Monday, after we dig out here.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: It's probably too late to get these gifts for this Christmas, but you'll find some wonderful New Year's gifts to help us all become a little more planet-friendly at Many are reasonably priced, as well!


Mark's Musings is certified by the folks at Habeas to be spam-free. That means I'll never email you spam. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, and click all you want at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Well, there's only five more shopping days before Christmas. Guess it's time to go get something for my wife. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits are like the elves to Santa's post. Original material and commentary © 2008 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily and occasionally toss in bonus material on the weekends (and this past week even on a Wednesday). 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. Anybody have a snowblower they don't need and want to give away?


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!" (Hamilton Wright Mabie)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


You know that song, "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth?"

Well, the mother of a Tampa Bay man has taken out an ad in the Tampa papers saying, "All I Want for Christmas is ... a Wife for My Son."

It reminds me of the old joke about a young woman in her 20s who goes up to sit on Santa's lap at the mall and before he allows her to do so, Santa warns that because of her age, she can only ask for a gift for someone else. She agrees, takes her place on his lap, and then asks Santa to bring her mother a son-in-law.

Only this is no joke.


Mary was wondering if her boyfriend, John, was taking their relationship seriously enough.

So one day she decided just to come out and ask him straight up about it.

John just looked hurt in an "I-can't-believe-you'd-ask-me-that" way and said, "Mary, do you know how special you are to me?"

Then he held up his cell phone. "I use my *daytime* minutes on you!"

[Clean Humor Digest]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (Psalm 23:6)


Mark's Musings is also sent via RSS Feed and email each weekday. Get your own subscription - for free - by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Night Wrap Up

Just some miscellany from my day today.

Guys, here's one I bet you've not thought of before. How do you tell a woman she's really hot? Give her smoke alarms. One of my coworkers, an attractive blonde with a winsome personality, received three of them from an admiring customer today.

This same person has also given her fire extinguishers. He must think she s-m-m-m-okin'!


List member Paul B. works for a company here in town that recycles computers, used and broken.

If you live near the Flint, Michigan area and need to get rid of an old computer in any condition, please check out Ida Service on Beecher Road.


Finally, here's a clip sent to me by list member Dianne F. ... it's a brief snippet of a Midas muffler commercial that ran in Canada about two months ago, and speaks to the importance of winterizing your car.

Recycled Wrap

Are you getting a new computer or cell phone for Christmas? What do you plan to do with the old one?

At Earth911, you can use their search engine to specifically find a recycling center for your old tech. They also have lots of other interesting articles and ideas and even a weekly newsletter to help you save money and save the planet at the same time.

Now that's a win-win.


All my relatives know that I refold the wrapping paper from my Christmas presents for use later.

"Aunt Jane," asked one of my young nieces, "why do you save all that paper?"

"I'm doing what's best for the environment," I replied. "So I'm recycling this paper."

But then my daughter pipes up, "Good thing you didn't ask that question five years ago ... then she was just plain cheap."

["Life in These United States" from Reader's Digest via Doc's Daily Chuckle]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: If I ride my bike to work and then ride it home again at night, can I call that recycling?


Mark's Musings is also sent via RSS Feed and email each weekday. Get a brand new post every weekday with your own subscription for free by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


As the end of the year approaches, those "Top 10" lists of annual news events, fashions, movies, etc. begin to pop up.

How Stuff Works is chiming in with Ten "History-Making" Moments of 2008.

Honestly, half of them I didn't even know about, which is a bit embarrassing.



10. Catered and televised food fights will become all the rage with the hit show "Gastronomical Gladiators." Chefs will be judged not only on the taste of the food, but on how much it sticks to things.

9. A universal pet interpreter will be invented, allowing man to speak for the first time to dogs and cats. Many will be shocked to discover that dogs really *aren't* man's best friend, and cats will now be able to ignore you in several different languages at the same time.

8. A huge solar storm will wipe out all cellular communication for at least two months, forcing people to actually talk with each other face-to-face again. Seminars on how to conduct these interpersonal transactions will become gigantically popular.

7. Cashing in on the growing population of older people, Disney will open "Geriatric World" featuring completely analog exhibits, and the Rolling Stones will appear nightly.

6. Tom Cruise will be recognized as an expert on everything except his own life.

5. A new world-wide flu epidemic will break out, decimating the global population of lawyers. A cure will vehemently *not* be sought.

4. The political process will be turned into a reality game show called "Running for Office" and all the challenges will have to do with honesty and integrity and no mud-slinging will be allowed. Sadly, it will be canceled before it airs for lack of contestants.

3. English will continue to change radically with the continuing evolution of the Internet, instant messaging, and text messages. By the end of the year, "Emoticonish" will become the new international language of choice.

2. Microsoft will briefly go into the car business, but back out once all its customers realize the cars crash shortly after leaving the lot.


1. Jesus will still have the answers for anyone who asks the right questions.

[recycled and updated from a 2006 list over at Grant's Graceland; additional material by Mark Raymond]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man." (Benjamin Franklin)


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email and RSS Feed. I predict you will be able to get your very own subscription for free if you click here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bad Cereal

My daughter's high school vocal music department has their big Christmas Concert this evening. It's one of four performances she has between yesterday and this coming Sunday. Meanwhile, back at the Post Office, today is the busiest mailing day of the entire year. The company will move nearly 800 million pieces today. And by this evening it will feel like every last one came across my counter.

For those of you still on the hunt for Christmas gifts, video games are - from what I read - all the rage this year. But here's an interesting twist: games that teach you how to cook stuff.

And by "stuff," I mean food. Just so we're clear.



Your sister took one taste, spit it out and ate the plastic toy at the bottom of the box.

It's manufactured by Krispy Kreme.

The cereal's nutritional information includes the dietary fiber from eating the box itself.

Your Rice Krispies go "Snap," "Crackle," and "Whatever...."

The sports figures pictured on the front of the box are all Sumo Wrestlers.

The free toy in the cereal box is a glucometer.

[Chris White's Top Five on Food with additional material by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: We've had a number of people at my company accept the "early out" retirement offered recently. In fact, about the time most of you read this, I'll be attending the retirement ceremony for another one of my coworkers. However, the economy being what it is, many of the folks who retire can't actually afford to *stay* retired, and wind up going back to work. The Word Spy has coined a word for this: "returnment."


Mark's Musings is also available via RSS Feed and email each weekday. When you've finished with breakfast (don't forget to put those dishes in the sink or dishwasher), get your own subscription for free when by clicking here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

'Tis the Season

My wife just made me sit down and watch "Scrooge" ... my favorite version of Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol."

A quick search on the Internet Movie Database reveals that there are more than 50 film and television versions of the story. Everything from a computer-animated Barbie version to a Muppet version to some very fine and classic performances from Alistair Sim, George C. Scott, and Patrick Stewart, among many others.

My favorite version, however, and the one that truly makes me feel the Christmas season has arrived, is the one titled "Scrooge," starring Albert Finney, released in 1970. We own the recording and try to watch it every year.

It's the movie version of the Broadway musical, and it is just chock full of fun and memorable music and lyrics, not to mention the fine dialogue of Dicken's original story. The film was nominated for four Oscars and won a Golden Globe for Albert Finney as Best Actor in a musical or comedy.

Here's a clip of one scene:

As you make your way through this Christmas season, may you realize how much you like life. And may you also realize that Christmas is not just a holiday ... it should be a very important birthday celebration, too.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Shoe Business

How do you tie your shoes? How many ways are there?

Ian Fieggen - "a friendly Aussie guy" - says there are probably more than two trillion ways to tie your shoes. But at his website, he shows you a slightly-more-easy-to-manage number of just three dozen, along with a ton of other information about shoes and lacing, in general.



A man walks into a shoe store and tries on a pair of shoes.

"How do they feel?" asks the salesman.

"Well, I'm afraid they're a bit tight."

The salesman bends down and looks at the shoes more closely and then says, "Ah, I think I see the problem. Try pulling the tongue out."

"Okayth, but theyth stillth feelth a bith tighth."


Did I tell you about the Shoe family? They got so depressed when Daddy Shoe got laid off ... he was the family's sole support.


If leather makes good shoes, do banana peels make good slippers?


A man was riding the subway home one night, very late in the evening, and there was only one other person in the car, way down at the other end. The man took the opportunity to quietly light up a big cigar for a quick smoke.

Moments later, he heard the woman at the other end of the car say in a loud voice, "Would you please put out that cigar? There's no smoking in here, you know."

Abashed, the man pinched off the end of the stogie and tucked the cigar back into his pocket. A few minutes later he noticed his foot was cramping up and slipped of his shoe to massage it.

Moments later, he heard the woman's voice again, "Would you please light up that cigar?"

[selected from several online sources and Laugh Letter; editing by Mark Raymond]


Sorry again today's post went out so late. I'll try to do better next week!

I've got three meetings tomorrow. I hope you'll sit back, relax and enjoy your weekend, however, and I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: My family loves to watch movies. We'd go every weekend if it weren't for meetings and work and other social engagements. And being the information junkie I am, I also like news about movies and upcoming movies ... especially when it's flavored with a Christian worldview. You can find that at Click the "Reel News" links for all kinds of interesting tidbits.


Mark's Musings is certified by the folks at Habeas to be spam-free. That means I'll never email you spam. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, and click all you want at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Three meetings. Wow. Really? Really. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Pretend the credits have leprosy and don't touch 'em. Original material and commentary © 2008 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily and occasionally toss in bonus material on the weekends. 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. I should be helping my wife clean the house right now. Shame on me.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "A signature always reveals a man's character -- and sometimes even his name." (Evan Esar)

Quick Note

ADMINISTRIVIA: Welcome to all the new subscribers who saw my ad in Mikey's Funnies! Most every day my post will be sent to you very early in the morning, and certainly before noon (well, at least noon here in the States). But long time readers know that schedule has gotten a little more unpredictable lately, due to several factors. Today is one of those days. Mark's Musings for Friday, December 12 will be officially posted later this evening.

Normally I wouldn't take the step of telling you about this, but since there are so many new readers today - advertising works! - that I wanted to give you a heads up.

Meanwhile, let me make this post worth your while by telling you about the cool way to customize Google I've recently found. Create a Google account, if you don't already have one - it's free - and then at the Google home page (, up at the top of the screen next to your email address, click the "iGoogle" link.

You can set this up however you wish. There's a gaggle of Google gadgets (which is fun to say five times fast), and you can make the focus of all those widgets fit your interests. This will then become your default Google search page. You can also add RSS feed boxes. (Rich Site Summary Feeds) I've recently added RSS functionality to this blog (see the bar to the right), and at iGoogle you can see when I update the blog. It makes for a pretty nice homepage if you're unhappy with your current one. And you can always go back to the "classic" Google search page with a simple click of the mouse.

Thanks for your patience with me today and I'll see you later this evening.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Interesting Essays

Really? Has the stress and speed of our society come to this?

Concentrate Design Company in the U.K. has developed and is selling a "pre-chewed pencil" for kids and adults who are just too busy to bother with taking the time to gnaw on the graphite stick for themselves.

And you thought I was kidding.



Type every word in a different font.

Support your thesis with quotes from your DVD manual.

Write the entire paper on Post-It® Notes.

Make your last sentence: "This paper will self-destruct in 10 seconds."

Cite issues of Spiderman and Batman in your bibliography references.

Type the paper with your fingers one row higher or lower on the keyboard.

Use no vowels. Explain that if you do, the terrorists will have won.

If it's a really long paper, include a recipe for chocolate cake in the middle and see if anyone notices.

Record yourself singing your paper. Opera-style.

Print all the pages on one sheet of paper. Explain that was all the paper you had.

Give all prominent historical figures nicknames. For example, refer to Ben Franklin as "Sparky."

[selected from with edits and additional material by Mark Raymond]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart." (Proverbs 3:3)


Mark's Musings is also available via RSS feed and email each weekday. No writing utensils required to get your own subscription - for free. Simply click here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


157 years ago today, a man named Melvil Dewey was born in Adams Center, New York. The youngest of five children, Melvil was gifted at math and amazed his family with his quick calculations. He also organized his mother's cupboards. He saved the few pennies he made by doing chores and bought his first book: Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. It remained his favorite book throughout his life, and he would one day have five copies of it scattered in various rooms throughout his house.

He went to college at Amherst where he worked part-time in the library and also taught classes on shorthand writing. He was also the business manager for the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He was firmly against the use of alcohol and tobacco, and for a short time considered the life of a religious missionary.

In his 20s, he worked with the American Metric Bureau and argued for the adoption here in the States of the metric system. He also was involved with the Spelling Reform Association, wanting to change how we spelled words so they would be more phonetic. He thought that was more efficient. He was also one of the founders of the American Library Association.

He's credited with inventing the vertical office file cabinet but his most famous invention came in 1876 when he published the Dewey Decimal System, upon which every library in America is now organized.


Or, as it will be known, B.O.O.K.

The B.O.O.K. is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use, even a child can operate it.

Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere - even sitting in an armchair by a fire - yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM.

B.O.O.K. is constructed of sequentially-numbered sheets of recyclable paper, called pages, each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are then locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence.

Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now B.O.O.K.s with more information simply use more OPT pages. Each sheet is scanned optically by the user, registering the information directly into the brain. A simple flick of the finger takes you to the next page.

B.O.O.K. may be operated at any time and is fully powered up the moment you open the cover.

B.O.O.K. never crashes or needs rebooting though, like other devices, it can be damaged if coffee is spilled on it or it is dropped too many times on a hard surface. The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any other sheet, and move backward or forward within the device as you wish. Many come with an "index" feature, which helps pinpoint the exact location of any information you may wish to find.

An optional B.O.O.K. "mark" accessory may be purchased which will allow you to open the B.O.O.K. at the exact place you left in your previous session, even if the B.O.O.K. has been closed. B.O.O.K. marks are made to universal design standards and will thus fit into any B.O.O.K. made by any manufacturer.

You can also make notes in text along the margins of your B.O.O.K. sheets using another accessory, Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Styli, or P.E.N.C.I.L.S.

Portable, durable, and affordable, the B.O.O.K. is being hailed as a precursor to a new entertainment wave. Thousands of content creators have committed to the new platform, and investors - most notably Mssrs. Barnes and Noble - are flocking to support the industry.

[Mikey's Funnies with edits and abridgement by Mark Raymond]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: How come pages in a book never become cat-eared?


If you've enjoyed what you've read today, get your own subscription for free by clicking here. Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email and is available via RSS feed.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Clean Floors

Next Spring you can shell out $1,200 and never have to buy bottled water again.

A Canadian company called Element Four has created a device that sucks in air, cools it to the point dew forms, then squeezes the moisture out of it and runs it through several filtering processes to give you crystal clear drinking water straight from your kitchen tap.

Called the WaterMill, it runs on a very little bit of electricity - about the same as you'd use to power three light bulbs - and its source for water is unlimited ... air itself.

The only drawback to the device is that it needs humidity, so if you live in the Southwest or a very arid region of the planet, probably best to keep the bottled water supply stocked.


The water line from the city pipes into our house had developed a leak and some workmen were fixing it. I busied myself with some cleaning inside.

I had just finished washing the kitchen floor when there was a knock on the door and one of the workmen asked to use the bathroom. Surveying his muddy shoes and my clean floor, I said, "Wait ... let me put down some newspapers first."

The man smiled and said, "It's alright, miss ... I'm already trained and housebroken."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man." (Henry David Thoreau)


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email and RSS feed. Wet your whistle with your very own subscription for free here.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Monday Groaners

My daughter spent most of her summer and autumn afternoons in a swimming pool as a member of her High School Swim Team. Which meant that every evening I'd come home to bathing suits, towels, and sundry other articles of clothing draped over the shower doors for drying.

Wouldn't it be nice if someone could invent clothing that didn't get wet?

Wish granted.



They don't make wooden cars, because too many of them wooden go.

My realtor found me a really cheap apartment. I asked him if that was the best he could find ... he told me it was the lease he could do.

Did the Vikings know Norse Code?

When I was a boy on my grandfather's dairy farm, we used special milking machines with large pails to milk the cows. Grandpa told me it was because one good urn deserves an udder.

If you get sick at the airport, is it a terminal illness?

I know a guy who never parks his car in the right spot. He suffers from parking zones disease.

There was once a Sea Scout Camp outside of Norfolk, Virginia, that was so close to the beach that dolphins would swim in close to shore during the evening and the scouts would enjoy tossing scraps out to them. By the end of the week the chef began announcing dinnertime by yelling, "It's meal time! For all in tents and porpoises!"

[JokeMaster, with plenty of edits by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Since I started off with wet stuff, I'll finish with it. What's a "quagmire" and where did the word come from? A quagmire is soft, swampy marsh land that is never firm and slips and slides while you walk through it. We use it to describe not only such ground conditions, but also social conditions when one has gotten him or herself into a shaky situation. As in, "Mark was drawn into a quagmire of commentary with his friends over his political beliefs." The word comes from Old English (cwacian, which gave us the word "quake") and old Norse "myrr," which was a swamp.


Mark's Musings is also sent via email each weekday and now has an RSS feed. When you've finished toweling off, get your own subscription for free when by clicking here.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Oh, COME *ON*!

You may remember me ranting a bit about our van recently. It has needed several major repairs this year. In fact, we've spent more than $3,000 on vehicle fixes in 2008. Not counting basic maintenance such as gas and oil.

Well, recently the head cracked in the van, taking one of the lifters with it. The shop we use had it for twelve days. 12 days. We got it back this past Tuesday.

Then, two days after we got it back, a valve stem cracked on the left front tire, giving us a slow leak. My son fetched it before our local tire shop closed and got it fixed. This was Thursday.

The day after that - THE DAY AFTER THAT - my wife tells me the steering wheel column won't lock, so the steering wheel moves up and down
while you're driving. This was just yesterday. She left work early and had the guys at our repair shop fix that.

Now, this morning - THE THIRD DAY IN A ROW SOMETHING HAS GONE WRONG - we discover that our windshield wipers no longer work. And it's snowing today. Gotta have wipers to drive.

My friends, this van situation has gone from the annoying to the frustrating to the ridiculous to the I've-gotta-laugh-or-I'm-going-to-hit-something-hard.

So I'm fighting back with a little thing I'm calling, "The Twelve Van Repairs of Christmas." It's sung to the tune of
The Twelve Days of Christmas and I'll spare you the each day routine and just go right to the summary. Remember to sing from this point on:


On the twelfth day in the garage,
My mechanic said I'll need:

12 days of labor
A new carburetor
Brake seals and linings
New spark plug wires
Clean fuel injectors
Radiator fluids
Air and oil filters
4 brand new tires
3 wheel bearings
2 windshield wipers
And a very large amount of money!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Christmas Poem

We haven't had a credit card in five years (long story). Needless to say, that lends itself to a certain "hand-to-mouth" way of living, at which we've been pretty successful. When it comes to Christmas, we rely on the money we sock away through our credit union's Christmas Club account.

This year, however, we've had to clean out that account just to keep our vehicles running, due to some major repair work needed. Christmas - in terms of the gifts we were planning on giving to the kids and each other - is starting to look kind of bleak.

Which, in the end, may be a good thing. Because, you see, this year I'm even more focused on the real reason for the season and less concerned than ever about the materialism and commercialism inherent in our society. So when I received this poetic parody from list member Dianne F., it kind of struck a chord. I tried to find an author, but could only find countless reprints around the Internet. I know that it's at least two years old, and many of you have probably already seen this.



'Twas the month before Christmas when all through our land
Not a Christian was praying, or taking a stand

Why the PC Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas ... no one could say

The children were told by their schools not to sing
About shepherds and wise men and angels and things

It might hurt people's feelings, their teachers would say
December 25 must be just a holiday

Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks, and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it

CDs from Madonna, an X-Box, an iPod
Something was changing ... something quite odd

Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
And hoped to sell books by Franken and Fonda

At Target's the trees were hung upside down
At Lowe's the word "Christmas" was nowhere to be found

At K-Mart and Staples and Penneys and Sears
You won't hear the word "Christmas"; it won't touch your ears

Inclusive, and sensitive, and diversity
Were the words that they used to intimidate me

Now Daschle, now Darden, now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton

At the top of the Senate there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus in all public matter

And we spoke not a word as they took away faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace

The True Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season - stopped before it started

So as you enjoy "Winter Break" and your "Dream Tree"
Sipping your Starbucks ... listen to me

Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
It's "MERRY CHRISTMAS" ... not just "Happy Holiday"

[from all over; thanks to Dianne F., poetic edits by Mark Raymond]


Unless I have to work tomorrow - which I won't find out about until this is sent out - it looks to be a quiet weekend. We're hoping to have a "movie marathon" at home with some summer blockbusters that some of us missed, and get some housecleaning done.

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: As we are in the prime Christmas shopping season, spend a few minutes at the Consumer Product Safety Commission site - - to see if that toy you just bought or are thinking about getting for the kids or grandkids is on the government's recall list. Most violations seem to be for too much lead paint or laceration risks, and the list is obnoxiously long, but as the old adage says, it's better to be safe than sorry. If you use the "CTRL-F" key combination, you can do a search on the toy name you're interested in (PC's only). Each news release contains a picture of the toy to help you identify it.


Mark's Musings is also sent out each weekday via email and I'm certified by the folks at Habeas to be spam-free. That means I'll never email you spam. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, and click all you want at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Thanks for all your reminders about my mom's birthday card last week. I got it sent out on time! You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits are the only deed I have for this intellectual property. Original material and commentary © 2008 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily and occasionally toss in bonus material on the weekends. 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. And the road goes ever on.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind." (Mary Ellen Chase)