Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Creativity

Well, I see it's been at least five years since I explained my position on Halloween, and I have *many* new readers since then, so let's go over it once more.

If you're a believer in the way of Jesus Christ, and you abhor this "holiday," that's perfectly okay with me. We have never let our kids dress up as a demon, skeleton, witch, ghost, or anything "evil" ... that's just giving the devil way too much due. If your church offers an alternative family event, I say go for it. You have my full support.

However, I also believe that just as our society has sucked much of the meaning out of Christmas, it has also sucked most all of the meaning of Halloween out of this day. So if you let your kids get dressed up and go knock on strange doors for a few free sweet treats, that's okay with me, too. Be it a nice or not so nice day, American society is the great "dumbing down" factor that creates a level playing field for everyone in that regard. But do remind yourself today is All Saints Eve, and give a nod to the Catholic church, which tried to turn it into something with a higher calling and nature.

And don't let yourself get too carried away with the candy and the costumes, okay?



Give out something other than candy. (Marbles, golf tees, kid's modeling clay)

Insist your dishwasher is making a funny noise. Get everyone who comes to the door into your kitchen to see if they can figure out what it is.

After you give them candy, hand them a bill.

Answer the door with a handful of candy and a mouthful of M & M's. Look surprised, slam the door, then open it a second later and tell them you have no candy. ("There's no candy here. No candy. We have no candy. Why do you think we have candy...?")

Insist they do push-ups or sit-ups before they get their candy.

Hand out menus and let the kids pick their own candy. Keep asking if anyone wants to see the wine list.

Give away colored eggs. Explain you had to use up everything left over from Easter.

Exclaim, "Oh, what a nice selection!" and then go through their bags, picking out one piece of candy from each.

Dress as a pilgrim. Look confused when you see their costumes. Start flipping through a calendar, shaking your head.

[From Possum Al's Homestead, with family-friendly edits and additional material by Mark Raymond]


Busy weekend. My daughter has a school concert tomorrow morning, and a friend is playing at a local coffeehouse tomorrow evening. And, of course, the weekend's big news: Daylight Savings Time comes to an end for those of us in states that observe it on Sunday morning at 2:00 a.m. Be sure to "fall back" an hour before you drop off to sleep Saturday night.

Watch for an "Odds 'n' Ends" post on the blog tomorrow with scraps and photos and a video clip. After that, I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: I've posted "microlending" sites in this space before, but I rather like the concept behind this one. It's from list member Thom N. who invites us all to join him at, where you can loan money to specific entrepeneurs in Third World countries so they can "lift themselves out of poverty." The loans begin as small as $25, and the entrepeneur pays you back as he or she earns income. You can also create or join "teams" of people who pool their money together to have a bigger impact. Tell you what, if at least three other people write to say they're interested in this (my email addy is below), we'll form a "Mark's Musings" team for the benefit of someone who could really use our help. If you don't trust giving to the Kiva website, you can give to me and I'll transfer it on for you. Promise. Let's make some "loans that change lives." Thanks, Thom!


Mark's Musings is still a Habeas-certified spam free mailer. 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. To tell me all about your *own* Halloween beliefs, click the previous link. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Keeping the credits on the post is just good, clean, fun. Try it! Original material and commentary © 2008 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of the 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 and my license plate is still John 3:30. I'll be so happy to see Wednesday.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "It's a dangerous business going out your front door." (J.R.R. Tolkein)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bean Soup

This Just In Dep't: Fellow list owner, list member, missionary, and all-around-good-guy Dave Aufrance reports an important new medical finding. Hydrogen Sulfide has been shown to reduce hypertension.

In laymen's terms, then: the stink in your farts helps keep your blood pressure low.

This is possibly the best news I've heard in years. No longer do we have to blame it on the dog. "Don't look at me like that, honey, I'm just staying healthy!"

And you thought I was kidding.


Back in the 30s, Mrs. O'Malley arrived from Ireland and settled in Boston. In no time at all, her bean soup made her the talk of New England society.

At a party celebrating the sale of her recipe to a fancy Charles Street restaurant, an old matron approached Mrs. O'Malley and said, "My dear girl, you simply *must* tell me the secret of your soup."

Mrs. O'Malley replied, "Faith and Begorrah, but 'tis a simple thing. The secret to me soup is that I use only and exactly two hundred and thirty nine beans to make it."

"But why only two hundred and thirty nine beans?"

"Because, lass, one more would make it too farty."


I was shocked when I heard the fart emanate from the sugar bowl on my breakfast table. Honestly, from now on I'm only going to buy *refined* sugar.

[JokeMaster and Ruminations]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1)


Mark's Musings is also available each weekday via email. Smell that? That's the subscription you get for free by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Did you ever go into a room and forget why you were there? No good with names or faces? Can't remember your login password(s)?

The folks at How Stuff Works have come up with ten tips to improve your memory.

If only I could remember what I did with the link.

Oh, yes. Here it is.


Two elderly people each lived alone in a Florida mobile home park. He was a widower and she was a widow. They had known each other for a number of years and got along together well. One night, at the big community meal in the activity center, they sat together and talked long into the evening. As their evening wore down, he finally got up enough courage to ask her to marry him.

After only a few seconds of careful consideration, she said, "Yes. Yes, I will." Their time together ended with a few more pleasant exchanges and promises, then each went back to their own home.

In the morning, he was troubled. Had she said "yes" or "no"? He couldn't remember. Try as he might, he just could not recall. Not even a faint memory of her answer. With trepidation, he picked up the phone and called her.

First he explained that he didn't remember everything as well as he used to, and then he went on to review what he remembered of the lovely evening they had spent together. By the time he finished, he had worked up the nerve to say, "When I asked if you would marry me, did you say 'yes' or 'no'?"

He was delighted to hear her say, "Why, I said, 'yes. Yes, I will.' And I meant it with all my heart."

The man was so overjoyed he burst out with a whoop of excitement, but then he heard her say, "And you know, I'm so glad you called, because I couldn't remember who had asked!"

[Mikey's Funnies]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: If you're never too old to learn how come you can't teach an old dog new tricks?


Mark's Musings is also available each weekday via email. Remember that you can get your very own subscription by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


My wife and I love movies. In fact, we signed up for one of those Netflix® deals to catch the movies we miss.

There is a small film festival in Indianapolis that just recently concluded. This was their 17th year in business. At the Heartland Film Festival awards are given for "Truly Moving Pictures" ... movies that capture humanity in its better light; that are truly uplifting. And the award is pretty nice. The winner receives $100,000 to go and continue to make good movies.

Here's a list of films the festival has honored, and I echo the site's suggestion that you print it out and take it with you to the video store. I'll be using it to add to my queue over at Netflix®.


A bus carrying two dozen stuntmen on their way to a film location in the mountains spun out of control on a narrow, slippery road. It crashed through the guard rail, careened down a 90-foot embankment, rolled over, and then burst into flames.

There were no injuries.

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder." (Alfred Hitchcock)


Lights! Camera! Your very own subscription for free by clicking here! Mark's Musings is also available via email.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rays' Success

(sigh) Another chunk of savings gone to making automotive repairs today. Yeesh. I think next time I'll lease.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies are just one win away from a World Series title. You have to applaud the Tampa Bay Rays, however, for being only the second team in the history of baseball to go from last place one year to the World Series the next year. The only other team was the Atlanta Braves.



You see how much good can happen when you take the "devil" out of your identity?

Finally stopped doing the opposite of what the winning teams were doing.

Their opponents could never wrap their heads around why a Florida baseball team needs a domed stadium.

They're actually *not* winning but we won't know that until another eight years have gone by and the Oliver Stone film comes out.

Had a little Hot Stove League fiddlin' contest last off-season and won their souls back.

Other team's players were too sissy to play in a hurricane warning.

Players were really just healthier, considering they play in Tropicana Field instead of, oh, say Coors Field, or Miller Park, or Busch Stadium.

Check out the ring on their new batboy, Frodo.

[Chris White's Top Five on Sports, with edits by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Many investigative reporters are "muckrakers." The term refers to a tool that shovels and/or spreads a mixture of mud and manure. It is a rake for muck. The term was first applied to humans by John Bunyan in "Pilgrim's Progress," who used it to represent man's preoccupation with earthly things. Then Teddy Roosevelt quoted Bunyan in a 1906 speech, calling journalists that focused too intently on exposing corruption "muckrakers." These days, I believe, it tends to refer to anyone who "stirs up the muck" (exposes the less noble aspects of life). Sometimes that's good, sometimes not so much.


Mark's Musings is also available at home or on the road via email. You can hit a home run by getting your own subscription for free when you click here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Random Thoughts IV

I think you're overdue for the penultimate annual installment of Random Thoughts.


Part the Fourth

I went over to a friend's house and as I stood before his front door, I looked down. There I saw the words, "Please stay on the mat. Your visit is very important to us. Your knock will be answered in the order in which it was received."

I lost five pounds but they came back. I didn't recognize them, though, because they were disguised as pizza.

Coach says I don't know the meaning of the word, "fear." And I'm flunking math, too.

The only thing worse than a flooded basement is a flooded attic.

Courtship: a game of hearts once played with clubs, but now we use diamonds.

Love may be blind, but it can sure find its way around in the dark.

With all the genetic work being done today, someone should make celery so it doesn't sound like I'm stepping on a wicker basket when I eat it.

When money talks, nobody cares about the grammar it uses.

An engagement can often be described as a short period lacking in foresight followed by a long period loaded with hindsight.

I don't know what's wrong with my TV. I was getting both C-Span and the Home Shopping Network on the same channel. I actually bought a congressman.

I'm a self-made man. But if I had to do it over again, I'd call in a professional.

Could you call coffee "break fluid"?

Give some weeds an inch and they'll take a yard.

With gas prices these days, you can tell how seriously a couple is interested in each other by how far they're willing to drive.

[with thanks, gratitude, appreciation, indebtedness, warm feelings toward and a tip o'the Mark's Musings cap to Signals, Randy Glasbergen, Hilary Price, list member Cliff R., Menards, Bruce Baum, Pastor Tim, Dave Aufrance's Monday Fodder, Charlie's Chuckles, and let's not forget the mind of Mark Raymond]


October has been "Pastor Appreciation Month" and I'm whipping up a little comedy with a friend for our church dinner this weekend honoring our Pastor. I hope you've done something this month to let your minister/priest/Right Reverend Person know how much you appreciate the long hours and low salary they willingly live with to provide your spiritual care and growth. If not, it's not too late!

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: List member Nancy Z. has suggested - and I approve her message (obligatory political joke) - that we all use when you need a temporary, disposable email address. You know, when you're interested in checking something on the Internet out, but the page you're on needs you to provide an email address only you're not sure if providing it will open the spam floodgates, use Guerilla Mail. The email address you provide will only be good for 15 minutes.


Mark's Musings continues to be a Habeas-certified spam free mailer. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, and frolic all you want at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. To get more help in a classroom, sit closer to the front. Teachers seem to give those students more attention. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Credit removal is not only dangerous, it may cause cancer. 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 and my license plate is still John 3:30. Still crazy after all these years.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "A mother should not be a person to lean on, but a person who makes leaning unnecessary." (Dorothy Fisher, paraphrased)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Broken Bone

Under the "Who Knew?" Department (also filed in the "How the Heck Would Anyone Think To Try *That*? Department), peeling off Scotch tape from its roll quickly - and in a vacuum - makes the tape emit x-rays.

The breakthrough, reported by a lab at UCLA, may herald the advent of cheap and portable x-ray machines that can be hand-cranked. The lab also advises that simply using the tape in an open air environment should cause absolutely no harm.

In a sidebar I'm adding for my readers, Scotch Tape got its name from an ethnic slur. It used to simply be called cellophane tape. It was invented by lab technician Richard Drew in the early 1920s after watching an automotive painter use gummed paper on a vehicle. Trying to invent an adhesive that wouldn't strip paint off when removed, Mr. Drew came up with a two-inch piece of tape but only put adhesive on a half-inch of either side. When this experimental tape fell off due to not enough adhesive, the car painter grabbed it and yelled, "Take this back to your stingy Scotch bosses and tell them to put more adhesive on it!"

It's been known as Scotch tape ever since. I can't make this stuff up, folks.


While I helped another technician get ready to take an x-ray of a little girl's leg, I overheard his conversation with her.

"Have you ever broken a bone?" he asked.

"Yes," the girl replied.

"Did it hurt?"


"Really? Which bone did you break?"

"My sister's arm."

[Mikey's Funnies]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)


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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Common Sense Laws

Sorry today's post is late, troops. I went to bed early last night instead of writing to work in some extra sleep so my body could try and get rid of the dregs of my bronchitis. Sadly, no such luck.

Anyway, I was thinking about common law marriage recently, though I don't remember why. After you've lived with the same person for seven straight years - and you're both adults, of course - the law considers you a married couple.

Which is really just common *sense* law marriage. And that set me to thinking about....



If you bring a baby into a theater, every other person there has the right to slap you.

If you borrow my clothes, but they look better on you, you get to keep them.

If you speed around me only to slow down and turn at the very next corner, your license is revoked and your name goes in the paper under "Today's Idiots."

If you use a cell phone while conducting a public transaction (bank, post office, grocery check-out aisle), the clerk has the right to short-change you and you give up any right to complain about customer service.

If you dump your vehicle's ash tray in a parking lot, everyone else who parks there can dump theirs in your car.

If you stay thin no matter what you eat, you will be required to wear a fat suit while dining in public if ordering anything other than a salad.

If you produce one more reality television show that involves any kind of voting, you must be publicly flogged ... during prime time.

[written by Mark Raymond and Tim Dutil; add to this list!]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why is simple common sense so darn uncommon?


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email and it only makes sense to get your very own subscription by clicking here. It is, after all, free.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Depressing Fitness

My daughter is learning about CPR at school. That's Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for the acronym-impaired.

A small study out of the University of Illinois recently reports that the Bee Gees' song, "Stayin' Alive" is not only an appropriate title, but provides the appropriate beat to keep someone's heart beating while doing CPR.

And here I always thought the Bee Gees were only good for demonstrating what dolphins would sound like if they sang.



Knowing that every time you exercise, it validates the existence of Richard Simmons.

The last 500 yards of your first wind.

It's almost impossible to keep your Twinkie intake level up while doing all those laps.

It requires getting up off the couch.

The dawning realization that maybe it was your personality, not your physique, scaring off the hotties.

You're still going to die.

[Chris White's Top Five on Health and Beauty with family friendly edits by Mark Raymond]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "My idea of exercise is a good, brisk sit." (Phyllis Diller)


And four! And three! And two! And get your very own subscription for free by clicking here!
Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email.

Monday, October 20, 2008

English Class

Well, first of all, thank you to everyone who wrote and wished me well, sent an e-card, or shipped me some other item of cheer. It was all *very* much appreciated. I'm back on my feet, returning to work today, and only occasionally hacking up chunks of my internal organs.

Now, while I was ill, perhaps I should say iller, I slept about 15 hours every day. That goes directly against one of the secrets to my success, which is "sleep is optional," but now I'm inclined to think that maybe it's not.


An English professor was reading "Canterbury Tales" to his class one day, when he noticed that one of the students had drifted off to sleep.

Without hesitation, the professor launched the book spinning through the air until it conked the sleeping student on the shoulder. He quickly awoke with a start, saying "What was that?"

"That, my friend," replied the professor with a smirk, "was a flying Chaucer."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Returning to Latin, the word "ob" meant "over" and "levis" meant "smooth." Put together as "oblivisci" it meant to forget something, or to "smooth over" the fact(s) in your mind. We use it as the word "oblivious," which literally means to have become unaware of something but in general use is accepted to mean someone who is simply unaware of what is going on or what could happen.


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. When you wake up, get your own subscription for free when you click here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Quick snapshot of the ol' life here on Sunday, October 19:

What I'm reading: "Jhegaala" by Stephen Brust. It's part of his Vlad Taltos series and the man can write a cracking good narrative, if you enjoy alternate worlds and bad theology (I do the former and tolerate the latter). Oddly enough, I honestly can't recommend his other works so much, outside of The Phoenix Guards series.

What I'm hearing: I've been listening to Bethany Dillon quite a bit lately, but I've also been listening to the varied and sundry selections of songs my band performs by other artists, which is quite an eclectic mix in and of itself. Ms. Dillon seems to be a fine songwriter, but I admit I'm having some trouble "finding the groove" in many of her tunes.

What I'm watching: Well, the fall TV season is here, so all of my favorite returning series are back into full swing. I generally record and watch Chuck, Heroes, The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, Stargate Atlantis, and Pushing Daisies. Of the new shows, the only one I've gotten hooked on is Fringe. I gave "Sanctuary" a try for a couple of episodes but it's not grabbing me, for some reason.

What I've paid money to see: Most recently we saw "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" because we went with our daughter and that was what she wanted to see. We went to a matinee, but honestly, we were the only people over the age of 20 in the theater. Truly. I think it was embarrassing for Amanda to have to sit with us. As to the movie's merits, let's stick with the "if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything" philosophy.

What I'm celebrating: The end of my bronchitis, though it still sits fairly heavily on my chest and I'm still hacking up phlegm by the hour. Still, I'm heading back to work tomorrow and that's got to count for something.

What I'm praying about: Mostly for my son to find meaningful employment. And my best friend. Both are without work and need it.

What I'm trying to get done: Somehow reprioritize how I spend my evenings so I can get more important work accomplished and less frittering away of the evening. If it takes me an extra day or few to get back with your email, that would be why. You got caught in my reprioritizing stuff. Not that you're not important to me, but I am trying to put a higher priority on sleep these days so often I'm going to bed earlier rather than stay up and do email.

What I was foolish about: Never, ever try to trim your beard when you have a tendency to burst into uncontrollable coughing fits. Now I am beardless, and that means I look EXACTLY like my father, which means it psychologically scares my wife to climb into the same bed with me. The beard is growing back even as you read this.

The smartest thing I've done lately: Take a few days off work and sleep through most of them. And make myself not feel guilty about not getting anything done while I was sick.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Military Spouses

This past Monday afternoon I got a sore throat. By Wednesday evening it was full-blown bronchitis and by Thursday it would have been pneumonia if my precious wife hadn't dragged me to a local clinic for diagnosis and meds. As it is, I'm still sleeping about seven out of every ten hours, so just the Friday post today, again.

But, gosh, I love my wife.



It was just another harried Wednesday afternoon trip to the commissary (that's a military grocery store). My husband was off teaching other young men how to fly. My daughters were going about their daily activities knowing I would return to them bearing, among other things, their favorite fruit snacks, frozen pizza, and all the little extras you never write down on a grocery list. My list, by the way, was in my 16-month old daughter's mouth, and I was lamenting the fact that the next four aisles of needed items would have to wait while I extracted the list from her mouth, and in the middle of all this I nearly ran over an old man.

This man clearly had no appreciation for the fact that I had only 45 minutes left to finish the grocery shopping, pick up my four-year old from tumbling class, and then get to school where my 12-year old and her carpool friends would be waiting.

I knew men didn't belong in a commissary, and this old guy was no exception. He stood in front of the soap selections staring blankly, as if he'd never had to choose a bar of soap in his life. I was ready to bark an order at him when I noticed a small tear on his face.

Instantly this grocery aisle roadblock transformed into a human. "Can I help you find something?" I asked. He hesitated, and then told me he was looking for soap.

"Any one in particular?" I queried.

"Well, I'm trying to find my wife's brand of soap."

I reached for my cell phone so he could call his wife and as I pulled it out he said, "She died a year ago, and I just want to smell her again."

Chills ran down my spine. I don't think the 22,000 pound mother-of-all-bombs could have had the same impact. As tears welled up in my eyes, my half-eaten grocery list didn't seem so important. Neither did fruit snacks or frozen pizza.

I spent the remainder of my time in the commissary that day listening to a man tell the story of how important his wife was to him; how she took care of their children while he served our country. A retired, decorated World War II pilot who flew missions to protect Americans still needed the protection of a woman who served him at home.

My life was forever changed that day. Every time my husband works too late or leaves before the crack of dawn, I try to remember the sense of importance I felt that day in the commissary.

Sometimes the monotony of laundry, housecleaning, grocery shopping, and family taxi driving leaves military wives feeling empty; the kind of emptiness that is rarely fulfilled when our husbands come home and then don't want to or can't talk about work. We need to be reminded at times of the important role we fill for our family and our country. Military wives aren't any better than other wives, but we are different.

Other spouses get married and look forward to building equity and putting down roots. Military spouses get married and know they'll spend years in temporary housing so the roots have to be short for frequent transplanting.

Other spouses say goodbye to their spouse for a business trip and know they won't see them for a week. Military spouses say goodbye to their deploying spouses and know they won't seem them for months, or a year, or even longer.

Other spouses get used to saying "hello" to friends they see all the time. Military spouses get used to saying "goodbye" to friends they've made in the past couple of years.

Other spouses worry about being late to Mom's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Military spouses worry about getting back from Japan in time for Dad's funeral.

I will say, without hesitation, that military spouses pay just as high a price for freedom as do their active duty husbands and wives.

[abridged from Mikey's Funnies]


To tie up another loose end: Those of you who wrote to say my car trouble was the alternator can now schedule guest host appearances on NPR's "Car Talk" show. It was SO my alternator. $321 later, the car runs like a top.

I see my three hours out of bed are just about up, so I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: List member and retired police officer Lloyd D. suggests we all take a look at for all things Sherlock Holmes. All 60 short stories can be found there, as well as photographs, games, a guide to Sherlockian Societies, and much, much more. And it's all ... elementary, my dear Watson.


Mark's Musings continues to be a Habeas-certified spam free mailer. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, and frolic all you want at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Insert silly sentence here. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Please. Please? 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 and my license plate is still John 3:30. Goodnight.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "I want to hang a map of the world in my house. Then I'm going to put pins into all the locations that I've traveled to. But first, I'm going to have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won't fall down." (Mitch Hedberg)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Just the Joke Today

My friends, I'm sorry to say that I am so far under the weather I could give you the forecast for Middle Earth (partly sunny, mid-70s, chance of hobbits leaving the Shire).

So just the joke today. I'm going back to bed.


A man went on a ski trip, fell out of the lift chair, and was knocked unconscious when hit in the head by the following chair lift after he had stood up.

He called his insurance company from the hospital, but they refused to cover his case.

"But why?" the man asked.

"Look," the insurance rep replied, "you got hit in the head by a chair. That makes you an idiot, and we consider that to be a pre-existing condition."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. Wish me a "get well soon" and then get your own subscription. Click here ... it's free!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Car Accessories

Now this is a pretty cool idea.

Plastic, hollow eyeglasses with detachable earpiece caps so you can fill them with ink to match the color of the outfit you're wearing that day. The ink is water based so it won't stain and you can just run warm water through the glasses to clean out all the old ink.

The design, by Luis Porem, won an Opus Award, which is like an Oscar for the design industry, apparently. I can't see where they're sold commercially yet, but when one of y'all find out, let me know.



If you plan on getting a speeding ticket, wear a pullover.

For a major collision, try something smashing.

If a military vehicle is going to be involved, better wear a tank top.

Planning on defrauding an insurance company? Choose fleece.

Just wanting a quick, out-of-court settlement? Select cashmere.

Car ended up in a lake ... wear fishnet stockings and/or a turtleneck.

Fire was involved? Wear hose.

If your vehicle will be broken up, choose a three piece suit.

If you think debris will be scattered everywhere, pick overalls.

If you're going to have a flat tire, wear a jacket.

[written by Frank Plott; Syman Says via Kim Quiggle's Cup O'Cheer]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: I you wore two pair of 3-D glasses could you see in 6-D?


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. See yourself getting your very own subscription by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Funding Cuts

I have a friend who recently retired but still needs to find work in order to pay the bills. My son graduated with honors this past summer and still can't find work. But neither of their stories compares to this.

Douglas Prasher was a researcher in the 1990s at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, where he discovered a jellyfish protein gene that glowed. But he wasn't able to do any further research on it because his lab's funding was cut, so he gave the glowing gene away - for free - to three other scientists who had contacted him about it.

Prasher found work at the Department of Agriculture and from there was hired by NASA's Huntsville, Alabama facility as a contractor. But NASA cut its funding and he was laid off again. He now works as a shuttle van driver for an auto dealership and his savings account is exhausted.

Meanwhile, the three scientists that he gave the gene to will be traveling to Stockholm soon to pick up nearly half a million dollars and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work with a glowing protein gene in jellyfish.

That's just a sad story.



Your job is to discover new ways of applying elbow grease.

The Bunsen burners have been replaced by matchbooks.

You requisition pure sodium ... you get table salt.

Your search for new antibiotics is handed a setback every time the refrigerator gets cleaned out.

You get a little pair of scissors, needle and thread for your gene splicing experiments.

Your microscope will only show objects at actual size.

Laboratory rats are too expensive. Told to use college students, instead.

You can maintain a vacuum only as long as you can inhale.

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


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." (Wernher Von Braun)


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. You can experiment with your very own subscription for free by clicking here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Your Monday Groaners

Columbus Day here in the U.S. The day we remember and celebrate the "discovery" of America and the man who stumbled upon it.

It's a national holiday, at least if you work for the banks, the Postal Service, or a few major corporations with strong unions.



I measured my tummy exactly one year ago today. It's two inches bigger. I'm not proud of it, and I was trying to diet so I could get a date, but in the end I'm just adopting the philosophy, "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one year width."

Lamb stew is much ado about mutton.

"No, Timmy, George Washington Carver was *not* the man who did the autopsy on our nation's first president."

My wife saw the glacier before I did. Her ice sight is better than mine.

A spoiled child would shed tears like a waterfall if she didn't get what she wanted. If that didn't work, she'd fly into a rage. Usually one or the other accomplished the trick. For her, it was out of the crying plan, into the ire.

I was at my doctor's office with laryngitis, in the waiting room. The man next to me said he was there for some cardiac testing. Even though mine was the first appointment scheduled, my doctor took the other man in first. He later explained, saying he wanted to put the heart before the hoarse.

[selected from Big Top and JokeMaster with lots of editing by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Some words are just fun to say. "Sobriquet" is one of them (so-breh-kay). It's an old French word, and while the exact meaning is lost in antiquity, it refers to a rub or a "chuck" under the chin, much the way older aunts and uncles hold your face when they want to get a good look at you. This action is often accompanied by calling you a loving nickname ... and that's what we use the word as today. It means a nickname, and usually a complimentary one. As in, "My friends sometimes call me by my website name, 'Mr. Humor,' and it's a sobriquet I have come to wear with pride."


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email and as always, your subscription is free when you click here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ig Nobel 2008

Well, the big brains from the committees in Switzerland have begun handing out Nobel Prizes to the best and brightest of our time, so that must mean it's also time for the folks who run the "Annals of Improbable Research" to hand out the Ig Nobel Prize, for scientific achievements of a more, umm, dubious nature.

These are all real, my friends, nothing is made up. Check out the source listed below.



The Ig Nobel in Nutrition goes to researchers from Italy and the United Kingdom for proving that audio cues affect our perceived taste in food. The pair played sounds of crunchy, fresh potato chips while subjects ate stale chips and the subject believed their chip was fresher and better tasting than it actually was.

The Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology as well as to all the citizens of Switzerland for adopting the legal principle that, "plants have dignity."

The field of Archeology won an Ig Nobel this year. A pair of archeologists from Brazil won for showing how the course of history - or at least our understanding of it at a dig site - can be changed by the random actions of a live armadillo.

The Ig Nobel in Biology was awarded to three French veterinarians for proving that the fleas on a dog can jump higher than the fleas on a cat.

Three U.S.A. professors and one from Singapore won the Ig Nobel in Medicine for a study that showed a high-priced placebo was more effective than a low-priced placebo. It seems that the more fake medicine costs, the better it is.

I have no idea what their credentials are, but the Ig Nobel in Economics was awarded to three men (in what had to be a biased study) for a paper showing that the tips lap dancers receive are affected by their ovulation cycles.

The Ig Nobel in Physics was awarded to a pair of American mathematicians for proving that anything that can get tangled, will.

The field of chemistry was rewarded with an Ig Nobel for two opposing studies. One was a study originating in the U.S.A. that proves Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide. The other was a study from Taiwan discovering that it is not. And as if to prove the point, the winner from Taiwan sent his daughter to the awards ceremony.

[selected from the Annals of Improbable Research]


At long last, a weekend without much to do. And for those of you following the unfolding saga of my car troubles, the first garage could not figure out what was wrong with it, nor get it to run long enough to even move it. So I had to pay a second towing fee and take it to a more qualified facility. As I write this late on Thursday night, I still haven't heard exactly what's wrong, though I am told it's definitely more than one issue ... possibly as many as three or four.

Let's just say that if my car were a horse, we would have shot it by now. I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: It's time for my annual "You Tell Me" what I should feature in this space. Send me a link to a website you find helpful, fun, interesting, or otherwise enjoy spending time at, and you just might see it here in the coming weeks. Submit those sites here.


Mark's Musings continues to be a Habeas-certified spam free mailer. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, and frolic all you want at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. To more fully explore the benefits of friendships, have your car break down. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Please don't crash my credits. It's unsafe, unsightly, and un-nice. 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" over there on the right and you can bring them all up with one click. My personal mission statement and my license plate is still John 3:30. Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures." (H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mechanic Quips

So a couple of days ago, the "low battery" trouble light on my car's dashboard starts to wink at me, which is odd as I just had the battery replaced last Spring. But I'm hoping and praying I can make it to the weekend when I can get the problem fixed without disrupting family work and commuting schedules.

No such luck. Yesterday morning on my way to work, my CD player has a conniption fit, then dies. Then one or two other unrelated trouble lights on my dash light up. Now, mind you, the vehicle starts up just fine, and seems to run just fine, but the electrical system is going to need some serious work, so I plan on dropping it off today, about the time most of you will be reading this.

Only that plan bites the dust, too.

Last night, on my way home from work well after the sun has set, I'm driving about sixty miles per hour down one of our local expressways, when my dash lights begin to dim. Followed immediately by my headlights. It's dark, my car is hurtling down the road, and I can't see, nor can I be seen, really, as my car is a deep brown color. I take the first off ramp I can find and as I reach the end of it, the car begins to chug. I stop for the red light and it stalls out completely. Won't start. All the electricals are dead. Can't even turn on my hazard flashers.

Well, to make a long story even longer, it took me almost two hours and an expensive tow truck ride to make it home. And as I write this, I have no idea how much the whole deal is going to set me back.

Now may be a good time to send in that donation you've been thinking about.



It may be time to get a new vehicle when the mechanic you most trust advises you to keep the oil and change the car.


After picking up her car, Sally confided in the friend who had given her a ride to the shop that, "I was really nervous my mechanic might try to rip me off, so I was incredibly relieved to find out my car just needed blinker fluid."


A doctor once complained to his auto mechanic, "Your bills are always several dollars more per hour than I make as a doctor, and I had to go to school for four additional years!"

"Well, Doc," the mechanic replied, "it's like this: You pretty much get to work on the same model, year in and year out ... we have to keep up with one that changes every year!"


When his auto mechanic came in for an operation, Dr. Grimsley couldn't resist having a little fun.

"Bill," began the doctor, "I just want to tell you up front that we won't know how much this will cost until we get in there and find out what's wrong. And if anything needs to be replaced, well, it could take up to three days to get the parts."

[with thanks to Net 153's Smile A Day, Joe's Clean Laffs, Andychap's The_Funnies, and Clean Hewmor]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18)


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. Clean that grease off your hands and then get your own subscription. Click here ... it's free!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Cancer Cure

For those of you who didn't know it, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

And yes, men can get breast cancer, too.

We just won't ever admit it.


A class from a nearby university was on a field trip to the labs of a major drug manufacturer.

The tour guide led the students to an observation platform. Behind her, in a glass-walled room, they could see many people in white laboratory coats, testing this and measuring that, scurrying to and fro.

The guide announced, "In this room, researchers are actively searching for a cure to a cancer."

This pronouncement was met with a loud peal of laughter.

The guide turned around and saw that there, directly behind her in the lab, three scientists were having an animated debate while flipping through the Yellow Pages Phone Book.

[Top Greetings via Wit and Wisdom]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Do workaholics have rest cancer?


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email for free.Go ahead and finish your self-exam (make sure you're alone, please) and then get your very own subscription by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

New Oldie

As a Computer Lab Instructor for the Postal Service (one of two hats I wear there), I get to share tips and tricks with my fellow employees.

David Pogue, a Tech Writer for the New York Times, has done the same for everyone else here. The article includes over 1,000 comments at the bottom that share other tips from his readers. Whether you use a PC or a Mac, you may find something you didn't know.

And that's a good thing.


It was obvious my six-year old didn't understand the concept of an "oldies" station on the radio, or perhaps he just wanted to update things.

After listening to the Dixie Cup's "...going to the chapel and we're gonna get married," I overheard him sing, "Going to the chat room and we're gonna get married..."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Treat your passwords like a toothbrush. Don't let anyone else use them and get a new one every six months." (Clifford Stoll)


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email and you can get your very own subscription for free by clicking here.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Cheap Airline

And you thought *your* airline was in bad shape.

Passengers on Shandong Airlines Flight CRJ7 flew from Guilin, China to Zhengzhou, about 500 miles north. Shortly after landing mechanical problems led to the plane stalling on the tarmac.

And then the tow truck that was sent to get the plane broke down.

So then airport workers came out to physically push the plane toward the gate. But they couldn't budge the 20-ton aircraft. So they asked the passengers to get out and help them push.

Now I've had some poor service and been bumped from my flight, and the plane has run out of peanuts, and I've even had to carry my own luggage at times, but folks, I've never had to get out and push the airplane.



In mid-flight, they hit you with an additional $200 "landing fee."

It's Day 4 of your vacation ... and you're still on the tarmac.

The aircraft has a Hyundai hood ornament.

When you arrive, Hawaii looks suspiciously like Detroit.

Your inflatable vest has been replaced by a smaller inflatable bow tie.

Plane can't take off until you lose 20 pounds.

In flight entertainment? Watching two guys wrestle for an armrest.

The flight attendants are wearing the clothes you packed.

During the pilot's pre-flight checklist, you hear them say, "Close enough."

[David Letterman's Top Ten List with family-friendly edits by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Returning to Latin, "tricae" was the word for impediments, or perplexities. Add the modifier "ex" and you have something that gets out of impediments or perplexities. We know it as the word "extricate," which is to get out of a complex situation. As in, "By declaring bankruptcy, John extricated himself from a web of financial difficulties."


Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. No need to cut costs, your subscription is free when you click here.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


List member Steve W. sent this to me back in May, but I'm just now getting around to posting it.

Laminin is one of the base components of your cellular structure. It is a protein that is chiefly responsible - according to Wikipedia, anyway - for holding together your overall body structure.

This is pretty powerful stuff from Louie Giglio. Takes about six minutes.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Wit and Wisdom of Paul Newman

Still playing catch up with the posts. Remember, you can always find what you missed at my blog.

Paul Newman passed away last week, and as I have started to do when a celebrity departs us, I'll feature some of his quotes, comments, and stories today. Thanks to list member Dianne F. for the photo.



"I don't think there's anything exceptional or noble in being philanthropic. It's the other attitude that confuses me."

"I wasn't driven to acting by any inner compulsion. I was running away from the sporting goods business."

"I don't like to discuss my marriage, but I will tell you something which may sound corny but which happens to be true. I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?"

"I like racing but food and pictures are more thrilling. I can't give them up. In racing you can be certain, to the last thousandth of a second, that someone is the best, but with a film or a recipe, there is no way of knowing how all the ingredients will work out in the end. The best can turn out to be awful and the worst can be fantastic. Cooking is like performing and performing like cooking."

"I'm like a good cheese. I'm just getting moldy enough to be interesting."

After being nominated seven times, Newman finally won an Oscar in 1986 for "The Color of Money." This quote is from his acceptance speech. "It's like chasing a beautiful woman for 80 years. Finally, she relents and you say, 'I am terribly sorry. I'm tired.' "

"Newman's Second Rule: Just when things look darkest, they go black."

"The embarrassing thing is that my salad dressing is out-grossing my films."

[selected from Wikiquotes; photo sent by list member Dianne F.]


One final weekend scooping ice cream at our local Renaissance Festival and this annual torture fundraising work will be over. Then we can get on with our autumn, which is turning into another glorious reason to go outside and look at the trees.

I'll see you on Monday. Hopefully on time. Maybe earlier here on the blog.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: List member Patty M. reminded me of, where you can find an "online store and community that focuses on selling cool stuff cheap." Each day they offer one - and only one - cool deal and in the text below the item there's usually some pretty good/goofy/funny copy to go with. The Woot community also has a tee shirt site, a wine site, and offers discounts to Woot members for other sites in the fine print up at the very top of the page. They also run a blog that occasionally features contests you can enter. This past week I picked up two 4-gigabyte flash drives for under $20. (I remember the first flash drive I bought: 1/2 a gig for over $80. Arrrgggghhh. This is why you never buy new electronics. Wait a year for it to get smaller, better, cheaper. But you know me, it was on the cutting edge at the time and I just *had* to have it.)


Mark's Musings continues to be a Habeas-certified spam free mailer. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, and frolic all you want at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. To make sure you get all the posts, stop by the blog periodically. You know, this place. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Credit detachment is just rude. Original material and commentary © 2008 by Mark Raymond. I update the 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. Give more than people expect. There's no traffic jam on the extra mile.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Autumn is a second Spring where every leaf is a flower." (Albert Camus)