Thursday, July 31, 2008

Like A Child

I'm sorry my friends, but it's been a work week chock full of 12-hour shifts plus added responsibilities at the old Post Office, so just the joke today.


Two senior citizens, Morris and Sylvester, are having a chat over coffee one morning, and Morris is complaining about his wife.

"Every time we go to the grocery store together, she treats me like a child!" Morris says.

"And how's that?" Sylvester asks.

"Honestly, if I reach for something on the shelf that looks good, she slaps my hand and says, 'Too much cholesterol!' If I just point to something I want, she shakes her head no and says, 'It will upset your tummy.' "

"So," Sylvester wonders, "what do you do about it?"

Morris sips his coffee and replies, "Well, finally I get tired of her doing that, jump out of the cart, and get it myself."

[Sorry, I can't recall the source. Must be age....]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God -- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." (John 1:12-13)


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email, and after you finish your meal and wash your hands, you can get your own subscription by clicking here ... it's free!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Parachute Problem

Let's stick with those creative folks at Google.

You know you can find a map for driving your vehicle to just about anyplace, from anyplace, from one of several websites on the 'Net. Everyone has their favorite.

Well, Google - in light of our gasoline prices that are now catching up to the rest of the world in their exorbitantness - is testing maps and directions for walking from Point A to Point B.


Late one Sunday afternoon, a man from a very small village went out for a stroll through the meadows.

As he passed a particularly tall tree, he was stunned to hear a voice call down to him. It seemed that a parachutist had gotten trapped in the tall branches of the tree.

"What are you doing up there?" the man called up.

"I was parachuting," came the answer, "and my parachute didn't open."

The man just shook his head. "Well, of course it didn't," he yelled, "if you had bothered to ask, anyone could have told you that NOTHING around here opens on Sunday!"

[Colorado Comments]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why do we call it skydiving? Isn't it really grounddiving?


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. Pull your ripcord, then get your own subscription for free by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Soap Operas

Ever wonder what the rest of the world is searching for? Think you might be alone in your Googling?

Well, the folks at Google track what the rest of us type into their search engine, and then list the Top 100 searches every so often, though they do tend to generalize.

Still, it's like taking the pulse of the world every half hour.



General Protection Fault Hospital

As the Hard Drive Turns

The Bold and the Rebootable

Search for Your Data Tomorrow

Guiding Fiber Optic Light

USB Port Charles

Desperate Nerdboys

One Second Life to Live

All My Websites

[Chris White's Top Five on the Internet with lots of additional material by Mark Raymond]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Television is a menace that everyone loves to hate but can't seem to live without." (Paddy Chayevsky)


Mark's Musings is also sent every weekday via email. Get your very own subscription for free by clicking here.

Monday, July 28, 2008


You can find "the ultimate" list of unique family-friendly DVDs here, thanks to Salon Magazine blogger Andrew O'Hehir.


Nothing rattles my father-in-law, especially when he' s in front of the TV and a good movie is on.

One day we were watching a classic, when my mother-in-law shrieked from the kitchen, "JIM! There's a horsefly in here!"

Not even taking his eyes off the screen, my father-in-law barked back, "Give it some cough syrup!"

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Did you ever give someone the "third degree"? No one knows for sure where this term originated, but the best guess is it comes to us from the Freemasons. The "Third Degree" in this society was (and may still be) extremely difficult to achieve. One aspiring to that rank had to go through an intense period of questioning and "grilling" to get there.


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. Put the fly swatter down and get your own subscription for free by clicking here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cardboard Testimony

The audio is terrible - I cranked my speakers to max and still couldn't really hear the music or the few spoken words well - but, thankfully, this video is such a simple concept that you don't really need the sound, and you're still nearly moved to tears.

Thank you, Hillside Church.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Random Thoughts III

Our GKR of '08 is pretty much right on schedule. All the old stuff was torn out down to the frame, new insulation and drywall is up, new electric has been run with new breakers and everything up to code, and the new cabinets and appliances arrive today. All we have left is some plumbing work, a little furnace ductwork, paint, install everything, hook it all up and trim it all out. Piece of cake.

Umm, yeah. Keep praying for us (and our contractor!).


Part the Third

Dyslexics have more nuf.

"Veni, Vidi, Velcro" - I came, I saw, I stuck around.

If you are what you eat, I'm dead meat.

What do you say to a hitchhiker with one leg?
Hop in!

Did you hear about the Norwegian husband who loved his wife so much he almost told her?

Why are builders afraid to have a 13th floor, but publishers aren't afraid to have a Chapter 11?

Did Humpty Dumpty have a great fall to make up for a lousy summer?

Did I tell you about the Amish couple who got divorced. Apparently he was driving her buggy.

Does satisfaction come from a satisfactory?

Birth control pills are tax-deductible. But only if they don't work.

Right now there are 15 million Americans who have things that are old, funny-looking, don't work anymore and are only kept around for sentimental value. Some of these are called antiques. The rest are called husbands.

Due to a slight mix-up with our pills at the kitchen counter, my wife will be heartworm-free for the next 30 days.

So I tried one of those fad diets. All I got was fadder and fadder.

[identified, ignited, illuminated, imagined, impressed, incubated, and increased from A Prairie Home Companion's Pretty Good Jokes, Andychap's The_Funnies, Wit and Wisdom, Shoe, and the mind of Mark Raymond]


For the half dozen of you wondering about the results of my sleep apnea test, I should tell you that my doctor and I disagreed over why I had been so tired lately. I thought my thyroid was conking out, he thought I was suffering from sleep apnea. Turns out the good Lord blessed me with both. So now I get to go back for the follow-up "Continuous Positive Airway Pressure" (CPAP) test and start taking yet another in a long list of chemicals to right the body parts that have foundered off course over the years.

None of this, however, will slow me down. I am determined. Hear me roar.

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE(S) of the WEEK: Here's a couple of ways to take all that goodness I know is in all of my "Musingites" and put it to work, making the planet a happier and safer place. First up is, where you'll find inspirational stories and ideas for "small acts of kindness." Then when you're ready to move on to something that has the potential to be a bit bigger, go to At that site you have the opportunity to post "wishes" (needs) or fulfill the wishes of others. Their slogan is "No wish is too large, no hero is too small." Thanks to Kimberly Quiggles Cup O'Cheer.


Mark's Musings is a Habeas-certified spam free mailer. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, look at a few photos (which I will update with before/after shots of our GKR when it's done) and help defray publishing costs at my web site. To contact Mark, click here. To do anything else, get up and do it. Don't just sit there! You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits let everyone know some important information about the guy who put the post together. Original material and commentary © 2008 by Mark Raymond. I update my blog with a copy of this post daily, and extra thoughts, the occasional video, and other things that go bump in the night on the weekends. Look for the label that says "Weekend" and you can bring them all up with one click. My personal mission statement is John 3:30. I have no clue what your personal mission statement is.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Tomorrow is the busiest day of the year." (Spanish Proverb)

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Matt Harding quit his job in Australia in 2003 and traveled through Asia until his money ran out. While on the trip, he started shooting video of himself dancing in exotic locations. A couple of years after he posted it on the Internet, someone discovered it, passed it on, and it achieved "viral video" status, making Matt somewhat famous.

In 2006 he made a second video with the same concept, traveling through 39 countries on all seven continents. He finally came to the attention of the people who make Stride® gum. They funded yet another worldwide journey in 2007 and the result is the "Happy People Dancing" video.

I dare you to watch it without smiling or laughing right out loud.



You have a dream that you and the Lord are walking together down the shore of life. His footprints are steady, consistent, rarely varying the pace. Yours are all over the place; starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures, returns. It goes on like this for a long while, but gradually your footprints come to parallel the Lord's steps. You and He are walking as true friends.

Then you notice that your footprints gradually no longer walk next to His, but begin to walk *inside* His steps, your smaller footprints fitting easily into His larger ones. But as your way travels, you notice that your footprints gradually begin to grow larger until finally, there is only the one set of footprints.

But then something unexpected occurs. The second set of footprints is back. This time worse than the beginning! There are zig-zags, gashes in the sand, swoops and lines and partial prints. You're amazed and shocked and then your dream ends. Your prayer begins.

"Lord, I understand the first scene, where my footprints were all over. I was a new Christian, just learning and I didn't always follow You well. But you kept guiding me through the storms of life."

The Lord replies, "That is correct."

"And when the smaller footprints were inside of Yours, I was actually learning to walk in Your steps; following You very closely."

"Very good, my child. You have understood everything so far."

"And, Lord, when the smaller footprints grew, I suppose I was becoming like You in every way."


"So, Lord, what happened at the end? Did I fall away from You? Our footprints separated, and it was worse than at first!"

You could almost hear the smile in the Lord's voice, "You truly don't know? It was then that we danced!"

[by Pastor John L. Bechtel, via Wit and Wisdom]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven ... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance ..." (Ecclesiastes 3: 1,4)


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. Dance your way into your own subscription by clicking here ... it's free!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Paper Bank

If you reply to the post today, you have William Burt to thank.

Burt - who, by the way, moved to Michigan in 1822 - introduced his desk-sized "typographer" on this day in 1829. It was a forerunner of the typewriter and that, of course, was the forerunner of the computer keyboard.

It was a quite heavy wooden device, but it was small enough to sit on a desktop. You turned a crank until the wheel of letters got to the one you wanted, then you pulled a lever and it was struck against the paper. I put the only decent picture I could find above.


The story is told of a university in New England where several enterprising students kept a "bank" of research and term papers, which they sold to other students who needed them.

However, to avoid being caught, the papers were ranked by grade so that an undistinguished student would not be able to hand in a brilliant term paper.

One student who had spent his weekend in pleasurable pursuits went to the bank and purchased a standard "C" grade paper, since his work in the class had been less than outstanding, and all he wanted to do was pass the course.

In due time, he received the paper back from his professor with these comments:

"Your work seemed strikingly familiar to me until I realized that this paper was, in fact, one that I, myself, had written twenty years ago!"

The student's heart sank, but he kept reading.

"I always thought that paper should have received an "A" instead of a "C." I am now happy to give it one!"

[Pastor Tim's Pearly Gates with heavy editing by Mark Raymond]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why is tuition the one thing on which you can't get a student discount?


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. Get your own subscription for free, very little typing required, by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Since the Cubs Won

One hundred years ago, Jack Norworth was riding a subway train in New York and saw a sign that said, "Baseball Today - Polo Grounds." He was inspired to write a poem about going to the ballpark. Later that year, Albert Von Tilzer set the words to music and thus the song, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was created, even though neither of the two men had ever been to a game!

Now it is the third most-sung song in this country, behind "Happy Birthday to You" and "The Star Spangled Banner." And to commemorate the occasion, the U.S. Postal Service has issued a stamp for the song, but has also teamed up with an organization called "Pitch In For Baseball" to send gently used equipment - bats, gloves, instructional aids - to them so that underprivileged kids might be able to have a catch and play in a league.

I love their slogan: "Let Your Equipment Play Extra Innings."



-- Radio was invented. Fans got to hear the Cubs lose.

-- Television was invented. Fans got to see the Cubs lose.

-- Baseball added fourteen new teams. Fans got to see the Cubs lose to more teams.

-- Halley's Comet passed Earth ... twice.

-- The NBA, NHL, and NFL were formed, and Chicago won the championship at least once in each of those sports.

-- Man landed on the moon. No truth to the rumor they found several home run balls given up by Cubs pitchers.

-- Sixteen U.S. Presidents were elected, some of them more than once. None were Cubs fans.

-- There were eleven amendments added to the U.S. Constitution. None of them helped the Cubs.

-- Thirteen baseball players have won the Triple Crown. Several thanked Cubs pitchers.

-- Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and New Mexico were added to the United States, giving Cubs fans more places to watch their team lose.

-- The Titanic was built, sailed, sunk, found, and turned into a smashingly successful motion picture. This gave Cubs fans the hope that something that finishes on the bottom can come out on top.

[thanks to Net 153s Smile A Day, and Go Cubbies!]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "I've come to the conclusion that the two most important things in life are good friends and a good bullpen." (Bob Lemon)


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. Take two, hit to right and get your very own subscription for free by clicking here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Plane Rain

Say you're at the Air Show in Dayton, Ohio yesterday. Here's your schedule:

11:00 - US Air Force C-17 Demonstration

11:30 - F-104 Starfighters Demonstration Team

12:00 - Northwest Airlines jet with 182 passengers makes an emergency single-engine landing

12:30 - Hercules Parachute Team Demonstration

Wait. Go back one. What?


On an international "red-eye" flight, a water leak developed in the galley and eventually soaked the carpet throughout the cabin of the 747 jet.

A very sleepy passenger who had become mildly aware of the dampness drowsily asked the flight attendant, "Has it been raining?"

Thinking fast, the attendant replied, "Yes, but we put the top up."

With a sigh of relief, the passenger went back to sleep.

[Clean Humor Digest]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: The Latin word "melior" meant "better." From there it is a short step to the word still used today, "ameliorate" which generally means "to make better." As in, "Susan's condition was ameliorated by the warm surroundings of her own room at home and the loving care of her family."


Mark's Musings is also sent via email each weekday. When the captain turns off the seat belt sign, you can get your own subscription for free by clicking here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

So I've just gotten home from the Sleep Specialist Clinic. Lately I've noticed that I've been fatigued all the time and I need to find out the reason for this. My doctor is checking my thyroid and he also suggested I have an "Obstructive Sleep Apnea" test. Apparently I have several of the symptoms (snoring, morning headaches, the fatigue, swelling of the legs, my wife says there are periodic episodes of not breathing, etc.).

So that's what I did last night.

Now, for those of you who've never had this test, here's what they do: the clinic wires you into a computer in almost every way imaginable. There are electrodes placed on the top of your head to monitor EEG brain wave activity. An electrode is also placed near your eye to monitor REM (Rapid Eye Movement), which helps to determine how deeply you're sleeping. Two more electrodes attach to your chin to monitor a variety of things, one of which includes teeth grinding. Your chest is wired to monitor your heart. Two flexible bands are placed across your chest and abdomen to monitor your respiration, and several more electrodes go on both legs to monitor neural pulses and muscle movements in your lower extremities. An oxygen sensor is taped to your finger and another is placed just inside your nose. There's also a webcam that helps them keep an eye on you.

But here's the kicker: after they wire you up nine ways from Sunday, they say: "now go to sleep." And, oh, yes, "If any of these electrodes come off during the night or stop sending a signal, I'll be in to fix them."

It was, quite possibly, the worst night of sleep I've ever had.

30 million Americans suffer from Sleep Apnea. Here's hoping I'm not one of them.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Okay, kids, I'm on deadline for about four different projects here at the end of the week, so just the main body of the post today. It's from an old speech given by Mike Yaconelli, who was one of the co-founders of a company called Youth Specialties and was one of the founders of the Christian satire magazine, The Door. It's something I need to hear right now.



At first, I saw God as my Observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited Heaven or Hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn't know Him.

But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don't know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.

When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, and predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead, well, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on!

Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!" I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are You taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure, and when I'd say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand. I gained love, peace, acceptance and joy; gifts to take on my journey, My Lord's and mine. And then we were off again.

He said, "Give the gifts away. They're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it, but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.

And when I'm sure I just can't do it anymore, He just smiles and says ... "Pedal."

[with thanks to Mikey's Funnies]


Mike Yaconelli was killed in an automobile accident in the fall of 2003. A sad day for us on earth, but a happy day in Heaven.

Meanwhile, as most of you read this, my kitchen demolishment should be underway. And that's not even one of the projects I mentioned at the top of the post. Anyway, I'll be hard at work the next two days, which include a goofy medical test (read the blog on Sunday for details), so take a little extra relaxing for me this weekend, and I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Well, I'm not sure what sets it apart from "secular computing," but you can get a free digital subscription to Christian Computing Magazine at The ezine's catchphrase is "Applying Tomorrow's Technology to Today's Ministry." You'll need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the articles. You can find that at


Mark's Musings is a Habeas-certified spam free mailer. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, look at a few photos (which I will update one day soon, I promise) and help defray publishing costs at my web site. To contact Mark, click here. To get some sleep, go to bed. G'night. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits help the post pedal. Original material and commentary © 2008 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of my post daily, and extra thoughts, the occasional video, and other things that go bump in the night on the weekends. Look for the label that says "Weekend" and you can bring them all up with one click. My personal mission statement is John 3:30. My employer is offering an early out retirement. Hmmmm.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it." (Yogi Berra)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Credit Card Apps

So how's your credit score? The three national credit scoring bureaus lump a combination of your payment history, your debt, how long you've had an account, new credit accounts, and the type of credit accounts you carry into one rating called your FICO score. "FICO" is an acronym for "Fair Isaac and COmpany," the very first credit-scoring business.

The scores start at a rock-bottom 500 and top out at 850. You need a minimum score of 620 to get the decent interest rates, but higher is always better.

You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three bureaus once each year. You can get yours here, but the credit report itself may not tell you where your FICO score is at.

For that, you need to go to My FICO, and pay about $13 per credit bureau to get the actual score from each one.

You can, however, also find a wealth of other free information there on how to improve your credit, which drives everything from the mortgage interest rate you'll pay to your credit card offers to even what you'll pay for home and auto insurance.



When it says: "You have demonstrated financial responsibility."
It means: "You're breathing!"

When it says: "Our membership is difficult to obtain..."
It means: "For death row inmates, in most states."

When it says: "We have shortened the application process."
It means: "We need lots of new members, FAST, or we'll go out of business."

When it says: "Exceptional Customer Service."
It means: "Except when you need it."

When it says: "Fill out this short form..."
It means: "You'll get the really long form later."

When it says: "You may direct us not to share this information with anyone else."
It means: "Try and stop us!"

When it says: "You've been preapproved..."
It means: "We've already approved your letter of denial."

[selected from; edited together by Mark Raymond]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God." (1 Peter 2:20)


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. Get your own subscription with no money down by clicking here ... it's free!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

History Test

Well. I watched the All Star Game. All ended-in-the-wee-hours-of-the-morning-15-innings of it. So if this post is lame, blame baseball.

Meanwhile, the clever folks at How Stuff Works have come up with a bunch of fun and informative quizzes to test your knowledge - and educate you at the same time - on a large variety of subjects, from Alligators to the Space Shuttle.


My son, Graham, is a typical teenager. He's smart but not always motivated when it comes to school. With a big history test on Vietnam looming, he had hardly cracked a book in preparation.

"I just know he's going to blow off this test," I remarked one day to my husband.

"Oh, he's more mature than that," Mike reassured me. And to prove his point, he called into the next room, "Hey, Graham, who's Henry Kissinger?"

"Why?" Graham called back. "Is he on our Caller ID?"

[Linda Tenbrink in Reader's Digest Life in These United States]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Are there ever any trick answers?


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. Get your own subscription for free, no diploma required, by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Tonight Major League Baseball will play its "Midsummer Classic," also known as the All-Star Game.



For Umpires:
(Hold up cell phone) "Is this your phone? Because it's MISSED THREE CALLS!"
"Flip over the plate and read the directions!"
"You couldn't call a cab!"

For Pitchers:
"Yoko Ono's got better pitch control than you!"
"I've seen better windups on a toy!"
"I've seen better arms on a snake!"

For Batters:
"I've seen better cuts at a deli!"
"Betty Crocker has better batters!"
"You've got fewer hits than an Amish website!"

[courtesy of the Heckle Depot]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can't get you off." (Bill Veeck)


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. If you haven't already got one, grab your mitt and get your very own subscription for free by clicking here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Internet Diseases

The folks at PC Magazine have come up with a list of 20 Tips and Tricks for using Google's awesome search engines. Some of them are pretty cool, indeed.



Chronic :o(

Blogged Arteries


Irritable Google Syndrome

Ebayla Virus

Sore Eye As Is: Brought on by viewing too many poorly-built web pages

The Common Code

Yahooping Cough

You Tuberculosis

iThritis: Joint pain caused by using too many Apple products.

[Chris White's Top Five on the Internet; with family friendly edits and additional material by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Did you know the word "dumbbell" began with the church? The earliest meaning of the word "dumb" was "incapable of speech; mute." (You can see this use of it in the words "dumbstruck" and "dumbfounded," which is a compound word of "dumb" and "confounded.") You see, in medieval Europe, the ringing of church bells was an important task and required much practice before a beginner was allowed to ring. And because no one wanted to listen to a novice practice on real bells, a set of bells with no clapper inside - a "dumb bell" - was invented so the beginner could practice the motions silently. During a fitness fad in the 1700s, people began using smaller versions of these dumbbells for exercise. At some point shortly thereafter, someone came up with the idea to suspend a rod between two dumbbells, thus creating a "barbell" ... and instantly tripling the number of hernias in men trying to impress their women. (With thanks to Rob Kryff for the insights.)


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

Friday, July 11, 2008


Hey, here's one reason to avoid facial jewelry, especially in the summer.

Jessica Lafreniere and her mother were outside filling up water balloons when a summer thunderstorm moved into their New Hampshire neighborhood. They took cover inside the house. When it looked like the storm was breaking, they ventured back outside to turn off the hose. Just as they opened the garage door, Jessica was struck by lightning that entered through her feet and then exited ... through her nose ring.

Yes, Jessica is fine.

Meteorologists say your chances of being struck by lightning over the course of your lifetime are one in 5,000.

Anybody out there been struck and have a tale to share? Click on "Comments" at the bottom of this post and start a comment thread.



The tale is told about a small town that had been historically "dry" but then a local businessman decided to build a saloon.

Church elders in the city were very concerned and took to rallying the populace against the establishment. On the night before it opened, they held an all-night prayer vigil, asking God to intervene.

As dawn approached, a storm front moved in, lightning struck the bar, and in short order it had burned to the ground. The saloon owner sued every church in the city, claiming that the prayers of the congregations were responsible for his bar's destruction. The church elders were forced to hire their own lawyer to defend them and argue that they were certainly *not* responsible for the event.

The presiding judge, upon his initial review of the case, stated that "one thing is obvious. The saloon owner believes in the power of prayer while the Christians do not!"


Despite the fact that she had henpecked her husband for decades, driven her kids to years of therapy, fought with the neighbors over the slightest provocation, and even made the family pets neurotic, a very fine funeral was held for her when she passed away.

As the casket was gently lowered into the gravesite and the pastor concluded his benediction, a violent storm suddenly broke out. Lightning flashed, striking a nearby tree, and a horrendous peal of thunder boomed.

As the rain began to fall, her husband could be heard to mumble, "Well, it sounds like she got to where she was going."


Every day the young boy walked to his elementary school. One morning, the clouds were gathering and the forecast wasn't good, but as it wasn't raining yet, he still made his daily trek to the classroom.

On the way home, however, the winds whipped up, the thunder began to roll, and lightning began streaking and arcing across the sky. The boy's mother, worried that her son might be afraid, jumped into the family car and drove along the route to her son's school.

When she found her son, he was just fine, but every few feet he would stop, look up at the sky, and put on a great big smile.

Puzzled, his mother pulled up next to him, rolled down the window, and called out, "What are you doing?"

The boy answered, "I'm trying to look nice for God. He keeps taking my picture!"

[with thanks to Pastor Tim's Illustrations, JokeMaster, and the Good Clean Funnies List. Everything edited by yours truly.]


Well, this was the weekend we were going to finish prepping the kitchen for our GKR of '08, but the company building our cabinets has delayed the shipping for a week, so I guess we'll be doing some yard work and maybe taking in a movie. May your weekend be as relaxed. I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Kim Komando turned me on to this site, which I like and my wife - the amateur photographer - just loves. Check out Upload a picture and in 10 seconds you get a photo with a beautiful reflection, as if a crystal clear lake was suddenly added to the bottom of your photo. Then you can save the new creation and create your own incredible artwork suitable for framing.


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email and is a Habeas-certified spam free mailer. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, look at a few photos or help defray publishing costs at my web site. To contact Mark, click here. To waste your time, click there. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. In fact, don't even think about removing the credits; just forward the whole blamed post. Original material and commentary © 2008 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of the post daily, and extra thoughts, the occasional video, and other things that go bump in the night on the weekends. Look for the label that says "Weekend" and you can bring them all up with one click. My personal mission statement is John 3:30. Do not read post if seal is broken.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Man is the only animal that laughs and has a state legislature." (Samuel Butler)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Man and Weddings

I have some good friends who have raised three daughters and one son. The girls have all grown into beautiful women and now my friends find themselves on the double-barreled end of a financial shotgun with two of the girls getting married within the next 365 days.

But at least neither of them want to get married while orbiting the earth.

A Japanese firm is teaming up with Rocketplane Global, a U.S. private space flight firm to offer suborbital weddings for just about 240 million yen.

That's 2.3 million dollars.

So, Tim and Karen, count your blessings.



Blue jeans would be perfectly acceptable wedding attire.

Tuxedoes would have team logos emblazoned on the back.

All weddings would be scheduled around sports playoffs.

Wedding invitations would probably mention something about a "ball and chain."

Only feeble old men and children would be allowed to dance with the bride.

Big, slobbery dogs would be eligible for the role of Best Man. Especially if they could fetch.

The phrase, "Tailgate Reception" would be commonplace.

Weddings would have an admission price for all the guests to cover ceremony expenses.

The wedding ceremony would last no longer than half-time.

"You may now fist bump the bride."

[From with edits and additional material by Mark Raymond]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)


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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Short Prayer

Okay, that big sigh of relief you heard yesterday was my wife, finding her wallet. The prodigal billfold had somehow found its way into one of the boxes we're using to pack up our kitchen gear in anticipation of the GKR of '08. Everybody can breathe easier, now.


For those of you who live in or around the Orlando, Florida area, you may want to keep your heads down. Turns out a pretty big chunk of real estate was once used as a bombing range during the mid-1940s. And it also turns out there's quite a bit of unexploded munitions still lying around.

Normally, that wouldn't be such a big deal, except that now the land is occupied ... by neighborhood homes and the Odyssey Middle School.

In fact, yesterday WKMG "Local 6" TV reported that an air-to-ground missile and nine other unexploded bombs were found on school grounds.

Good thing school was out. Talk about a bomb threat.


During World War II, when the children were being evacuated from London, one little girl's prayer was overheard: "Dear God, please protect Mommy and Daddy from those terrible bombs. And dear God, do take care of yourself. God, if anything happened to you, we are all sunk."

["Sign of the Times" via Wit and Wisdom]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why do we call them missiles? Wouldn't a more accurate name be hitiles?


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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Peat Moss

Well, this can't be good. My wife has lost her wallet.

Fortunately, there was hardly any cash money in it.

Unfortunately, there was a credit card.

Fortunately, she didn't keep anything in it with her Social Security number on it.

Unfortunately, she had a note with one of our bank account numbers written down. (And she can't remember which account. Eeep!)

Fortunately, she still has a Passport to provide bonafide personal identification.

Unfortunately, she has to recreate with various and sundry state and local agencies every single thing that was in that wallet.

Fortunately, no one seems to have done anything goofy or illegal with her identity.


This reminds me to remind you, if you haven't done it recently, make an inventory of everything in your wallet or billfold - keeping it somewhere besides in your wallet, o'course - so that you have a ready list of what needs to be replaced or canceled should something like this happen to you. And update it every so often.


A woman went into a hardware store to purchase a bale of peat moss. As she finished writing a personal check for the purchase, she said to the clerk, "I suppose you will want some identification with this."

The clerk replied without hesitation, "No, ma'am, that won't be necessary."

"How come? asked the woman.

"We haven't met a crook yet who needed to buy a bag of peat moss."

[Pastor Tim's Cybersalt Digest]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "There is much in the world to make us afraid. There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid." (Frederick W. Cropp)


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Monday, July 07, 2008

Your Monday Groaners

My wife's a very visual person. Doesn't do so well with abstracts, but if she can see it, ahh, she's golden.

So she'll probably enjoy Viewzi, a new search engine that gives you some very visual results instead of all that text.



The guy who invented Venetian blinds is a hero. If it wasn't for him, it'd be curtains for all of us!

Mother: "Eat your spinach. It's good for growing kids."
Child: "Who wants to grow kids?"

Fred was explaining to his friend how his uncle tried to make a new car for himself: " he took the wheels from a Cadillac, a radiator from a Ford, some fenders from a Plymouth..." His friend interrupts at this point, "Holy Smokes, what did he end up with?" Fred replies, "About four years with time off for good behavior...."

An Englishman was visiting a restaurant in New York when the waitress brought him the soup du jour. Distressed at its appearance, the Englishman says, "Good heavens! What is this?" The waitress answers, "It's bean soup." "Oh, I don't care what it's been," replies the Englishman, "What is it now?"

If life was fair, linguistics would be the study of linguini.

Is a lamb stew much ado about mutton?



WORD for YOUR WEEK: So where does the word "trampoline" come from? It originally was used in Italy as the word "trampolino," which came from the word "trampoli," which meant "stilts." It refers to any type of performance that is higher than the people around you. (The word "trampoli," by the way, came from the German word for stomping or trampling on something.)


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Friday, July 04, 2008

Spangled Banner

Independence Day, 2008.

Take a minute to get a look at and a little more info on the document that started it all.


A Brief History

The United States went to war with Great Britain in 1812 over freedom of the seas. Two years later, the English sent a three-pronged attack at the States, with the central thrust aimed at taking over the port at Baltimore, which would have split the country in two, since we were still mostly clustered on the East Coast. When they reached Baltimore, they found 1,000 men inside Fort McHenry, with guns trained on the harbor. To control the town, the British had to control the fort. Thus, a pitched battle began.

On one of the British ships was William Beane, an aged physician, who had been taken prisoner from an earlier skirmish. His friend, Francis Scott Key, had come to negotiate his release - which the ship's captain was amenable to - but the discussions would have to wait until after the battle. Thus it was that Key and Beane had front row seats to the British attack on Fort McHenry.

As dawn approached, the cannon fire grew eerily silent and both men assumed the battle was over. They strained to see which flag was flying above the fort. After it was all over, Key wrote a four stanza poem, describing the events of that night, and called it "The Defence of Fort M'Henry." Later someone realized you could put the words to a tune called "To Anacreon in Heaven." The song had a difficult melody with an uncomfortably large vocal range, but it became popular as the song we now call "The Star Spangled Banner."

In 1931 Congress declared it the official anthem of the United States. But while we frequently sing the first stanza, most people are blissfully unaware that there are, in fact, four verses that tell the complete story of that turning point military action.

Presumably, the song begins with the old doctor speaking to Kay:

Oh say, can you see, by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
Oh! Say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Ramparts are the protective walls and other elevations that surround a fort. This first stanza asks a question. The second supplies the answer.

On the shore, dimly seen thro' the mist of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses.

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream
'Tis the star-spangled banner, oh! Long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The "towering steep" is, again, the ramparts. The bombardment has failed, and all the British can do is sail away. In the third verse, Key allows himself to gloat a little and during World War II, when the British were our staunchest allies, this third verse was never sung.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footstep's pollution

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave

The fourth stanza, a pious hope for the future, should be sung slightly slower and with deeper feeling.

Oh! Thus be it e'er, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation

Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,
And this be our motto - "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave

[from an old Purewater Gazette article; abridged and edited by Mark Raymond]


Thanks for all the helpful, fun, and informative replies to our GKR of '08. We'll be dismantling part of what's there this weekend, in anticipation of the project start-up on July 14. Have a safe and fun weekend full of fireworks, family, friends, and frolic. I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Time Magazine has listed their "50 Best Websites" for 2008 at,28757,1809858,00.html. Looking at the URL, I'm a little late in posting this one, but better late than never, as the old proverb goes.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday via email and is a Habeas-certified spam free mailer. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, look at a few photos or help defray publishing costs at my web site. To contact Mark, click here. To make your wife happy, remodel the kitchen. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Please. Pretty please? Don't make me beg. Original material and commentary © 2008 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily, and extra thoughts, the occasional video, and other things that go bump in the night on the weekends. Look for the label that says "Weekend" and you can bring them all up with one click. My personal mission statement is John 3:30. Frankly, I could be doing better at fulfilling that mission.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism." (Erma Bombeck)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Saving Gas

Like everyone else, I'm in sticker shock over the price of gasoline, even though we're still quite a bit lower than our European friends in cost-per-gallon. And yet, a 300% increase in just over two years is enough to make anyone's blood pressure rise.

Still, Time Magazine says there is some good news to be found in the midst of all this. Ten pieces of good news, to be precise.

Things like bringing more jobs home, slowing urban sprawl, cutting some greenhouse gases, and Americans getting in better shape from walking more often, to name a few.



Remove excess weight from your vehicle. Tools, heavy coolers, and children.

Choose a vacation destination that's downhill from you. In both directions.

Technically, a tent in the backyard is still a camping trip.

Consider riding a Greyhound, provided the SPCA doesn't catch you.

"Draft" behind the big tractor-trailer rigs. But that can be tricky, so pack the grappling hooks.

Don't go anywhere. Just give the rooms in your home different country names, speak slowly and loudly, and complain about the prices as you move around the house.

[with thanks to Chris White's Top Five on Travel]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way." (Proverbs 4:14-15)


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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mom and Dad

So my wife and I are deep into the final decision-making process on The Great Kitchen Remodel of 2008 (hereafter referred to as the "GKR"), although our budget is, quite frankly, not so great. Which often makes the decisions that much harder.

The cabinets and countertops and a couple of new appliances will be ordered this week, but we're still stuck on backsplash issues and overall color themes and design for walls and accents. We're working with an Interior Design consultant recommended by good friends, but the basic issue here is that we've spent more than two decades living with hardly any design concepts at all, unless you count furnishing our kitchen in early American "It Was On Sale This Week."

Bonnie - my wife/better half/voice of common sense in my life - wants to feel like she's somewhere else when she walks into the kitchen. Like she's on a vacation. She wants to feel that if, at any moment, she glances out the window she's going to see a stretch of sand and water. Since she's the one who spends the most time in that room, we're striving to achieve that effect.

Your suggestions and ideas are, as always, welcomed. Once the GKR project begins and completes - should be by the end of the month - I'll post some "before" and "after" pics on my website.


My mother finally admitted that she was never a very good housekeeper.

She told me the story of one night when my father got home from work, frustrated from a bad day and just looking for something to carp about and he walked into the kitchen and told Mom, "You know, dear, I can write my name in the dust on the mantel."

Mom turned to him, and instead of a harsh retort, she gave him a sweet, quick smile and a pat on the cheek, and said, "Well, darling, that's why I married a college graduate."

[Net 153s Smile A Day]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: [Classic] What do people in China call their good dishes?


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