Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wool Socks

Vinegar. What do you think of when you read that word?

I'll bet some of you are making a face. Stop it.

Vinegar - besides being tasty on your salad when mixed with the right herbs and flavors - is one of those "amazing wonders" in your everyday household products.

In fact, Reader's Digest is offering up 175 uses for the stuff.


The psychiatrist was interviewing his new patient.

"You say you've come to me," he inquired as he consulted his notes, "because your family is worried about your taste in socks?"

"Yeah, they are," muttered the patient. "I like wool socks."

"Wool socks? Why, that's perfectly normal," replied the doctor.

"That's what I told 'em," the new patient mumbled.

"Yes, many people prefer wool socks to those made from cotton or acrylic. In fact, I like wool socks, myself."

The patient grew excited, "You DO?" he asked. "With oil and vinegar ... or just a squeeze of lemon?"

[Pastor Tim's Pearly Gates]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "If you could give yourself one new present in the new year, I would say buy a new set of dishes and make the salad plates your main plates. Dinner plates are so large and we just fill them up. We simply eat too much of everything." (John Hastings)


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Monday, March 30, 2009

Tee Shirts

Well, when it comes to khaki, turns out the answer was not A, nor B, nor even C ... but D: "All of the above - and more!"

If you recall from this past Friday's post, I'd asked you if khaki was a color or a style. Many of you responded - thank you - and I now know that not only is it BOTH a color and a style ... it's also a type of fabric.

The word itself began as the Indian word for either dust, or excrement. A few of you cited sources showing both. (You might see where we get the vernacular phrase, "ka-ka" for the latter definition.) But let's stick with dust. It's safer. The British military wore dust-colored uniforms and they were so useful with their multiple pockets that they continued to wear them even after they left the service.

This inspired civilian fashion designers and thus "khaki" also became a style of clothing, as well as a description of the rough-hewn but comfortable fabric. We know this style today as "business casual" but you can also see remnants of the original design in what we call "cargo pants."

And, in the interest of full disclosure, "Khaki" is also the name of list members Rob and Heather M.'s dog from just down the street.



I'm on Debt Row.

My Search Engine ran out of gas.

Figment of my own imagination.

Denial is a good thing if used correctly.

I do all of my own stunts.

This body best viewed with Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher.

Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.

We got rid of the kids - the cat was allergic.

[selected from websites all over]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: List member Pamela A. wants to know the origin of "goody two-shoes." Fair enough. The Word Detective points out that long ago "Goody Two-Shoes" was a little girl in a children's story published in 1766. The author was believed to be Irish playwright Oliver Goldsmith. Goody was a poor child who only had one shoe, but through her kind behavior, was awarded two shoes by a rich man in town. Her original name in the story was Margery Meanwell. After being given the new shoes, she ran through the town, stopping all the passers-by and shouting, "Two Shoes! Two Shoes!" Thus earning the nickname of "Little Goody Two-Shoes." She went on in the story to become a teacher and married a rich widower, upholding the value of virtuous conduct in children. It wasn't until the 1930s that the phrase "Goody Two-Shoes" began to have negative connotations, as in someone who was only being good or nice to get something, not because they actually WERE good or nice.


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed or through email each weekday. Dress up your very own subscription by clicking here.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Your Sunday Sermon

So my band played for the "Iron Sharpens Iron" Conference in Flint yesterday. There were some *excellent* keynote speakers and workshops. I'd highly recommend attending - if you're a man - when one comes to your area.

Especially if my band is providing the music. (Shameless Promotion Dep't)

But I also heard some inspiring and motivating speakers.

One of them spoke from Galatians 6. Specifically this part:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Verses 7-9)

Now, sowing and reaping are kind of old school farming terms. Let me put it into plain English: what you plant, you will harvest. If you plant tomato seeds, you won't grow apple trees.

But let's put it a different way. One a little more appropriate to the title of today's post.

If you sow selfishness, you will reap loneliness.
If you sow envy, you will reap bitterness.
If you sow laziness, you will reap waste.
If you sow anger, you will reap pain.
If you sow lust, you will reap alienation.
If you sow greed, you will reap gluttony.
If you sow foolishness, you will reap chaos.

But that passage of Scripture also assures us that we can plant good things, and harvest even better things.

If you sow wisdom, you will reap humor.
If you sow patience, you will reap affection.
If you sow kindness, you will reap generosity.
If you sow self-control, you will reap long life.
If you sow charity, you will reap friendship.
If you sow tenderness, you will reap trust.
If you sow love, you will reap respect.

One final word ... the passage above also reminds us that planting and harvesting takes time. So do not grow weary in doing good, these things will come to you in the proper time. I like the way the New King James Version says it ... "in due season."

What are you sowing?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Movie Quiz

When I was in college, one of the things I studied was cinema ... not so much how to make it, but what to watch for and how to appreciate it (think "critic"). As a result, I'm now all too aware of how costuming, editing, music, and directing contribute to a film's success or failure.

One of the more obscure things I learned was how - in most cases - a film's title is designed to give you a hint as to the filmmaker's message, or motivation, and how it is usually more than simply a descriptive title.

One of my favorite recent titles was "Stranger Than Fiction," an offbeat Will Ferrell/Emma Thompson/Dustin Hoffman movie that grew on me until I'd seen it at least four times and my son bought me the DVD. The movie was about, in the end, the truth that all the little things in life wind up being so very important in what happens to us. And truth, as we know, is what is "stranger than fiction."

For today's post, I'm going to list eight movies and their original working titles. You try to match them up. Make a guess before you read the answers.


1. Pretty Woman
2. Back to the Future
3. Tootsie
4. Boys Don't Cry
5. Help!
6. The Grapes of Wrath
7. Annie Hall
8. Blazing Saddles

a. Spaceman from Pluto
b. Route 66
c. Take It Like A Man
d. Would I Lie to You?
e. Eight Arms to Hold You
f. Tex X
g. Anhedonia
h. 3000


1 = h. $3,000 was the amount it took to "rent" an escort for a week when Pretty Woman was made.

2 = a. The head man at Universal Studios said no movie with the word "future" in the title ever made money, so he changed it. Steven Spielberg stepped in and changed it back. To the future. (Heh, heh, heh.)

3 = d. "Tootsie" was actually suggested by star Dustin Hoffman. It was the name of his mother's dog.

4 = c. The producers decided the song "Boys Don't Cry" by The Cure was dark enough to express what they were doing in the movie and named the film after the song.

5 = e. The Beatles' second film was titled "Help" but there was already a film named "Help" registered with the movie people, so director Richard Lester renamed the film to avoid copyright law ... but then he found out that all he needed to do was add an exclamation point and bam! Original title restored.

6 = b. Director John Ford pretty much was always going to name this film "The Grapes of Wrath," but Steinbeck's novel didn't sit too well with the people of Oklahoma, as you might imagine, where Ford was shooting many scenes, so he gave it the working title of "Route 66" and told the people of that great Midwest state it was a documentary about the "Mother Road."

7 = g. Anhedonia is the scientific term for the inability to experience pleasure and was actually Woody Allen's first choice. The executives at United Artists talked him out of it when they convinced him the movie would be unmarketable with that name.

8 = f. The writer of "Blazing Saddles" had originally named his script "Tex X" as a sly Hollywood tribute to Malcolm X, considering the lead character in the film was an African-American fighting prejudice. But director Mel Brooks never liked the name and chose the new name when it popped into his head during a shower one day.

[taken pretty much in whole from the Mental Floss blog]


Well, my band is playing for the "Iron Sharpens Iron" National Men's Conference here in town tomorrow. It's an all day gig, so I'll be up and about early with the first song starting at 8:25 tomorrow morning. Should be fun.

But hey, somebody tell me this: Are khaki pants a style, or a color? If the answer is "yes," please define.

Meanwhile, I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Vote for Planet Earth by turning off your lights for 60 minutes tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. local time, wherever you live on the globe. Find all the details at http://www.earthhour.org/ and join more than 2,000 communities in over 80 countries reduce our energy usage and let our friends and neighbors know we're voting FOR the planet on which we live.


Mark's Musings continues to be sent using Ezine Director and those folks are certified by Habeas to be a safe sender of e-mail. That means you can trust what I send. And I promise never to send spam or give your address to anyone who will. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise click your day away at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. When the other person says "yes," stop talking. As always, you can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Credit thieves are dirty, rotten scoundrels. Original material and commentary © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily and occasionally toss in bonus material whenever the mood strikes. Look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring all the bonus stuff up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. Once again, too many fires, too many irons, not enough cows to brand.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Just because you call all the shots doesn't mean you're at the right end of the barrel." (Phil Simborg)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hospital Typos

Arcane postal information: the USPS color-codes arriving mail for its appropriate dispatch day. Monday mail is blue, Wednesday mail is green, etc. This way when you're looking at a veritable sea of mail containers, you can readily pick out which ones need to be worked on first.

Well, list member Pamela A. used to supervise for us at the post office, and every Thursday she always wore purple, to remind us that the color code for Thursday was purple. (I think it may also have been her favorite color.)

Today, she has an extra-special reason to wear purple. Today is National Purple Day, in support of Epilepsy Awareness around the world.



"The lab test indicated abnormal lover function."

"The baby was delivered, the cord clamped and cut, and handed to the pediatrician, who breathed and cried immediately...."

"Patient stated she had been constipated for most of her life until 1989 when she got a divorce."

"I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy."

"She is numb from her toes down."

"While in the emergency room she was examined, x-rated, and sent home."

"The patient suffers from occasional, constant, infrequent headaches."

"Patient was alert and unresponsive."

"When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room."

[selected from medi-smart.com]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." (Ephesians 6:10-11)


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Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Yvonne Froud is my new hero.

Yvonne is a shopkeeper in Gloucestershire, England. She grew tired of all the litter in the vacant lots and curbs and streets of her village ... litter left mostly by the children who lived there.

So every time one of them would purchase a drink or some sweets or a snack at her shop, she had them write their name on the bottle or wrapper with a permanent marker. When she went out and picked up the litter, she knew who was responsible for it. The offender would then be either banned from buying anything in the shop or asked to spend some time picking up the village.

The idea worked and Joys Green in the Forest of Dean is much cleaner.

I love it when a plan comes together.


Uncle Joey asked his nephew, Ronald, what he wanted to be when he grew up.

"I want to be a garbage man," Ronald replies.

The answer stuns Uncle Joey so he says, "A garbage man! Why?"

"They only work on Tuesdays."

[East Valley Living website; retold by Mark Raymond]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Our garbage pickup guys dress like pirates. Could that be because one man's trash is another man's treasure?


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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Good Vacation?

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative looks like it's finally going live on June 1 of this year. No more delays.

What that means is that if you want to leave or enter the United States after that day, you'll need to have a passport of some kind. Even if it's just a day trip by car to Canada or Mexico.

The process is currently taking four-to-six weeks and may get longer as the deadline draws closer, so head down to your local acceptance agency soon.

All the details are here.



Don't just listen to the stories and look at the photos ... watch your coworkers for a few days after they return from a vacation and determine which of the following statements comes closest to describing them. The lower the number, the more you can be certain they didn't have *that* good of a time.

1) They remember everything about how to do their job and are really looking forward to getting back to work.

2) They remember everything about how to do their job but aren't really in a rush to get back to their desk. They loiter around the water cooler and have frequent conversations with coworkers about the vacation ... away from their desk.

3) They have forgotten some of what they were doing before they went on vacation and are caught re-reading old e-mails or flipping through day planners looking for hints.

4) They have completely forgotten what they were doing before they left and need to have their work reassigned to someone else in the company.

5) They have forgotten their passwords, keys, or some other vital piece of information critical to their job.

6) They have completely forgotten how to do their job and need some retraining.

7) They have forgotten where their desk or office is and are sometimes seen wandering the hallways, looking lost.

8) They have forgotten where they work or how to get there. They often show up late and are sometimes missing for hours after lunch.

9) When they do return to the office they have to be reminded who you are and what they were doing.

10) They just don't come back.

Find out where they went for vacation and book your next trip there ASAP.

[copyright 2008 by Ben Keene; used with permission from Mikey's Funnies]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "And that's the wonderful thing about family travel: It provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind." (Dave Barry)


Mark's Musings is on your RSS Feed Reader and can arrive in your Inbox each weekday. Book your own subscription with my e-mail travel agent by clicking here. It's free.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Science Fiction for Children?

If you're over 50 and have dabbled in writing science fiction, fantasy or folk stories, an organization called the "Speculative Literature Foundation" wants to give you a $750 grant.

The organization's goal is to keep good, quality literature of the "fantastic" available to the public and the non-profit also helps small press companies and magazines.

I can't say I've read every excerpt available on the site, so beware of things that may not be family friendly, but I wanted to let you know about the opportunity.



Soylent Green Eggs and Ham

Horton Hears Dr. Who

How the Cylons Stole Christmas

Fahrenheit 451 (or How I Learned Not to Touch the Stove When It's Red)

Where the Wild Klingons Are

Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Light Saber

[selected from Chris White's Top Five on Science Fiction]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: My wife wants to know from where we get the phrase, "play it by ear." All of my etymology resources cannot pinpoint the first use of this phrase, but its original meaning described a person who could hear a melody or a song and reproduce it on a musical instrument without the benefit of having the sheet music in front of him or her. I am able to do this on a somewhat limited basis myself. Music, like so many things, is related to math. There are only so many combinations of chord changes and once you've played most of them long enough, you know what they sound like and can play along with a melody without needing the sheet music, as long as you have a good memory. A more contemporary usage of the phrase now refers to being spontaneous and improvising actions on the spot. As in, "I don't know what we'll do once we catch them in the act ... we'll have to play it by ear." Sorry I couldn't find anything more definitive, honey.


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Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Matter of Loaf and Death

Many years ago I stumbled upon the goofy creative joy known as "Wallace and Gromit." This Claymation series created by Nick Park was pure joy and one of the funniest things I'd seen in some time.

W & G started out with three animated shorts:
A Grand Day Out, A Close Shave, and my personal favorite, The Wrong Trousers. The duo grew in popularity until they released their feature film a couple of summers ago. Remember "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit?"

Well, guess what? They're back with a new animated short.

Here it is. Enjoy.

Wallace And Gromit - A Matter Of Loaf And Death

Friday, March 20, 2009

Office Illnesses

W. Neil Berrett works - or worked - at a Naval Shipyard. When he needed to quit recently, he did it in style.

He put his resignation letter on a giant sheet cake so his coworkers could party at his expense. Maybe the next time the boss will be more specific when he says, "Give me something in writing."

And you thought I was kidding.



The Macy's One Day Sale Flu.

The Day Game at the Ol' Ballpark Cold.

The Friday Afternoon Start the Weekend Early Suddenly Unbearable Stomach Pains.

The I'm Looking for a New Job and I Don't Know How Long It's Going to Take but I Want to Stay on the Payroll Until Then Mysterious Infection.

The I Just Broke Up with a Co-Worker Bleeding Ulcer.

The My Boyfriend's Got a Long Weekend So Suddenly I'm Too Contagious to Come Into the Office Disease.

The I Need A Haircut and My Stylist Doesn't Work Evenings Bout of Influenza.

The I Have Something I Need to Do Today But You Wouldn't Let Me Have It Off 24 Hour Bug.

The There's No Federal Holidays for Two Months and I Want A Day Off Sickness.

The First Week of Spring General Ailment.

The My Cat Has to Go to the Vet So I'll Tell You My Child is Sick Family Leave Day.

The I've Screwed Up Royally and I Won't Come In to Face the Music Terminal Illness.

The I Need a Mental Health Day and It's Sunny Outside Migraine.

[Kitty's Daily Mews via Wit and Wisdom; additional material written and gathered by Mark Raymond]


I bet you have some office "illnesses" you could add. Let me know, maybe we'll get a sequel out of this one. Meanwhile, we're still moving stuff from one room to another here. Will probably be doing that for a long time.

And hey! It's the first day of Spring! Go outside!

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Want to turn your photos and favorite music into a professional video presentation? Check out http://www.animoto.com. It's pretty easy to use. You simply upload the batch of photos you want to use, upload some digital music you like (the site will even let you use some of theirs if you prefer), and a minute or two later, you've got a video that looks like professional film producers put it together. And they did. Animoto was built by "techies and film/tv producers who decided to lock themselves in a room together and nerd out." If you want a video longer than 30 seconds however, you'll have to purchase a "full length video credit." But the price is only $3.00 per video.


Mark's Musings continues to be available via e-mail each weekday and is sent using Ezine Director and those folks are certified by Habeas to be a safe sender of e-mail. That means you can trust what I send. And I promise never to send spam or give your address to anyone who will. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise click your day away at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. To effectively replace a bad habit, you must replace it with a good one. Yes, you can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Besides, they're fun to read so why remove 'em? Original material and commentary © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily and occasionally toss in bonus material whenever the mood strikes. Look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring all the bonus stuff up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. I *really* need to clean my office this weekend.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "The first day of Spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month." (Henry Van Dyke, thanks to Kim Quiggle's Cup O'Cheer for the reminder)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

High Tech Watch

Happy birthday, Bonnie! You may send all your well wishes and e-cards to me, and I'll dutifully forward them.

Since she's celebrating forty-something spins around the sun, this is a good day to talk about time.

Specifically, 20 things you may not have known about it.

Like Daylight Savings Time began as a Benjamin Franklin joke, or that it actually works, or the more you fly, the faster you age, or how they determine how fast-paced a city is.

Time for your joke.



John is at Grand Central Station waiting for his 6:00 p.m. train, but he's forgotten his watch and he's not at all sure the large clock in the station is accurate. So he looks for someone with a watch and spies a fellow traveler carrying two suitcases and wearing a fancy watch. So John asks him for the time.

"Sure," the man replies. "Which state?"

John tells him, notes after the man's answer that he still has 20 minutes before his train leaves, and then comments, "That's a pretty nice watch."

"It sure is," the man responds. "It has all the time zones for each state in the U.S. and every country in the world!"

"Wow," says John.

"But that's nothing!" the man exclaims. "This watch is also GPS-enabled, can do faxes, e-mail, and even pick up satellite television signals and display them on a miniaturized LCD color-pixilated screen!"

"Boy, that's incredible," remarks John. "I wish I had a watch like that. You wouldn't consider selling it, would you?"

The man mulls over this offer for only a moment and then says, "Well, the novelty *has* kind of worn off for me, so tell you what, if you've got $500, I'll let you have it."

John can hardly whip his checkbook out fast enough. In a moment, he's handing the man the money.

"Congratulations," says the man, taking off the watch and handing it over to John. "Here is the fanciest, most technologically-advanced watch known to man."

Then he hands John the two suitcases he was carrying. "And here are the batteries...."

[Basic Jokes.com, again; retold by Mark Raymond]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." (Psalm 62:8)


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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So Broke

I need to pay my daughter her allowance. She wants to get paid before her Mom's birthday tomorrow, but my paycheck doesn't arrive until Friday. I guess I'll have to do some deficit-spending.

Which brings me to an issue of economics.

The government's economic bailout of several industries combined with the presidential stimulus plan are driving our national debt into the trillions of dollars.

That figure is too large to get your head around, isn't it?

This may help.



...I go to KFC and lick *other* people's fingers.

...my girlfriend and I got married for the rice.

...if I want a small fry with my meal I have to put it on layaway.

...if I wanted to rub two nickels together, I'd have to borrow one.

...at Christmas, all my wife and I exchanged were glances.

...the bank asked for their calendar back.

...someone saw me kicking a can down the street and when they asked me what I was doing, I said, "moving."

[selected from basic jokes.com]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: How did it come to pass that "making a living" means you're just doing okay, but "making a killing" means you're doing great?


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed or via email each weekday. You can't go broke with your own subscription by clicking here. Because it's free.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Faith and Begorrah, but it's Saint Patty's Day, don't ya know!

Saint Patrick is, of course, the Patron Saint of Ireland. Well, at least the one most of us have heard of. There appear to be two others: Brigid of Kildare and Columba. (According to Wikipedia)

Get yourself a shamrock-full of St. Patrick's Day news here.

But what I really want to highlight, since talking about Saint Patrick leads smoothly into talk of religious things, is a link sent to me by list member Zach Y., where scientists have now recorded actual differences in the brains of religious and non-religious people. Your belief in God can, it turns out, help block anxiety and reduce stress in your life.

We knew that all along, of course, so once again we see science catching up with theology.


Recently while we were eating lunch after church one Sunday, my youngest son asked me what the highest number I had ever counted up to was.

I said I didn't know. Then I asked him how high he has counted.

"5,372," came the prompt reply.

"Oh," I said. "Why did you stop there?"

"The sermon was over."

[Weekly Church Laughs Newsletter from Christianity Today]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy." (William Butler Yeats)


Mark's Musings comes on an RSS Feed or via email each weekday, and on me sainted mother's grave, I promise ye can get your own subscription every day by clicking here. 'Tis free.

Monday, March 16, 2009

More Proof Laughter Is Contagious

Okay, it's stupid, and you've probably seen it a half dozen times already, but I dare you not to laugh as you watch it again.

With thanks to the Comedy Barn.

Survival Kit

First off, thanks for all your prayers for my friend's son, Chris. He is home and doing better, though with seizures you can never quite tell when you're out of the woods. The doctors think it was due to an abrupt change in medications and with the worst out of the way, he should be fine.

This week is shaping up to be something memorable. According to our local long range weather forecast, winter seems to be going out with a whimper and that's always nice. Spring starts this weekend, and my wife celebrates another circuit around the sun on Thursday. Our basement refinishing is nearly done, and Bonnie's health seems to be slowly improving, so it's all good here.

Meanwhile, let's start off this week talking about Agelio Batle, a San Francisco artist who, among other things, makes small sculptures from graphite. I've pictured his latest collection.

It's a special blend of graphite that allows you to use the sculpture as a pencil - and one that lasts for about eight years, at that - and leaves no residue on your hands.

The latest collection is called "Weapons" - pictured above - and you can get one for under $60 here. The artist's intention was for you to use these sculptures and thus change these weapons of war into words of kindness and poetry.



Put the following items into a small box or bag and keep with you each day:

1) Toothpick
2) Rubber Band
3) Band Aid
4) Pencil
5) Eraser
6) Chewing Gum
7) Mint
8) Candy Kiss
9) Tea Bag

1) The toothpick is to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others.

2) The rubber band reminds you to be flexible. Things seldom go as you want them to go.

3) The band aid is a reminder to heal wounds. Physical or emotional. Yours or someone else's.

4) The pencil is so you can list your blessings each day.

5) The eraser is there to remind you that everyone makes mistakes. And that's okay. It's part of life.

6) The chewing gum is a reminder to stick with it. You can accomplish almost anything with perseverance.

7) The mint ... that's how much you are worth.

8) The candy kiss is a reminder that everyone needs some affection each and every day.

9) The tea bag is to remind you to relax. Take a moment to reflect on the positive things in life.

[Pastor Tim's Sermon Illustrations; edited by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Today's word is one that is changed very little from the original Latin. "Mutare" meant "to change" - you can see where we get the word "mutant" from - and when you add the word "trans," which means "across" you get the word transmutare, which is a complete and utter change. We use it and know it as the word "transmute." As in, "The sculptures pictured above can transmute into works of art." Ironic, I suppose, that the word hasn't changed much from the original Latin.


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Friday, March 13, 2009

Heart Thoughts

And, of course, your Serious Acts of Thinking always follow the goofier ones.



Act the way you want to be and before you know it you'll be the way you act.

The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all the world needs dreamers who do.

You only need to know one thing about planning a vacation. Take half as much luggage and twice as much money.

The fragrance remains on the hand of the one who gives the rose.

Experience is a good school but you never get a summer vacation.

A person who spends half their life talking about what they are going to do will probably spend the other half talking about why they didn't do it.

If you leave home to set the world on fire, make sure you take enough matches.

One of the hardest things to give away is kindness ... it's usually returned.

If you blame someone else for your failures you'd better be ready to credit someone else for your successes.

Writing a letter is the only way to combine solitude with good company.

You should never say anything with a full mouth or an empty head.

The less we know the more we suspect.

Isn't it ironic that in a society of extremely sophisticated communication we suffer from a lack of good listeners.

[with thanks to Menards and list member Cliff R.]


Calling all prayer warriors ... my best friend's son began having inexplicable seizures Thursday afternoon and evening and as I write this, no medical explanation has been found. Please pray for medical wisdom, insight, and healing for this young man. Thanks, troops.

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: I told you yesterday my son moved out. He knows how to cook a few simple things and isn't afraid to try new stuff, so I directed him to http://www.5dollardinners.com/ to learn how to make some delicious-looking dishes on a budget. Struck me that you could use that site, too. So there ya go.


Mark's Musings is still sent using Ezine Director and those folks are certified by Habeas to be a safe sender of e-mail. That means you can trust what I send. And I promise never to send spam or give your address to anyone who will. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise click your day away at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. After more than ten years of sending posts - which I figure is about 2,192 separate jokes and stories - it's hard for you to send me anything I haven't already seen, but please keep trying! Hey, you can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits hate being taken off the post and will just scratch your furniture and leave a mess on your bed. So just let 'em be. Original material and commentary © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of this post daily and occasionally toss in bonus material whenever the mood strikes. Look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring all the bonus stuff up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. My first Union Executive Board Meeting since being reappointed Editor is tomorrow. I don't know if I'm excited about that or not.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." (Carl Sagan)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Photo Favor

Since my son moved out a couple of weeks ago, we have been spending nearly every spare minute working on one room or another, as a domino-effect is taking place here. We gave him our bed so we had to get a new bed, which gave us the opportunity to clean, update and rearrange our bedroom. We gave him our couch which gives us a good excuse to clean, update, and rearrange the living room. We're painting and fixing up his old bedroom in the basement for my daughter to occupy, and completing the remodel of the basement bathroom we started nearly three years ago. Then we'll be updating and painting my daughter's old bedroom into which I'll move my office. And finally we'll upgrade my office to a utility room with an eye on eventually making it a guest bedroom.

Whew! Probably too much information, but trust me when I say things here at our household are in a deep, DEEP state of transition. Don't expect cleanliness if you stop by for a visit. In fact, we'd probably have to move something just so you could sit down.

All of this is to say that one of the things we found - perhaps I should say excavated - while cleaning/moving/rearranging was a bag of old photographs. Things from early family vacations as well as a whole host of photos my parents had given me some time ago. In today's digital age, what to do with these?

Well, at Scan My Photos you can have up to 1,000 photographs turned into digital images for computer or television viewing and/or long time storage and preservation for $49.95 plus your shipping costs to California and back. Now, I have a scanner and I could do this for free ... but frankly, it's worth half a hundred to me not to have to take the time to do it.

Honey, bookmark that site!


Dining out one evening I noticed a group of folks celebrating at a nearby table.

When one young lady pulled out her camera to get a group shot, I jumped up and offered to take the photo so that she could be in the picture.

After snapping the shutter, I said, "Let's do one more in case that one doesn't come out."

The young lady responded, "No, that's okay. I always get double prints."

[Reader's Digest via Joe's Clean Laffs]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." (Colossians 3:9-10)


Mark's Musings is also sent via email each weekday. Picture yourself getting your own subscription - for free - by clicking here. You could also use an RSS Feed Reader (look to the right).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


How would you like a room lit by ... concrete?

A company called Litracon is now pouring concrete blocks with fiber optic cables threaded from one end through to the other to create concrete walls that light up enough to see what's on the other side of them.

Check out a few designs on the Dornob website here. And while you're there, check out some of the other cutting edge design technology at the bottom of the page. Interesting stuff.


Two brothers, Hank and Joe, fond of playing practical jokes upon one another, had gone several weeks without incident.

While wondering what his brother might be planning one day, the doorbell rang at Joe's house. It was a messenger with an urgent telegram sent collect upon delivery. Joe paid the charges, then opened the telegram to read, "Just wanted you to know that I am perfectly well. Hank."

A week later, Hank received a heavy parcel sent C.O.D. He paid the considerable charges and opened the box only to find a concrete block.

On it, Joe had written, "This is the weight your telegram lifted from my mind."

[Net 153s Smile A Day; retold by Mark Raymond]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why is it whenever there are identical twins in the movies, one of them was born evil?


Mark's Musings is available each weekday via email for free. Cement your own subscription by clicking here. I also come on an RSS Feed Reader there to the right.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Books and School

Turns out we're in the middle of "Read An E-Book Week."

You can download an e-Book onto your computer, your laptop, your web-enabled cell phone, or any one of the half dozen or so electronic reading devices, such as Amazon's Kindle.

It can't beat the pleasure of holding the book in your hands or the feel of the paper, but it will reduce your carbon footprint and that's at least one positive.



Teacher: Who is your favorite author?
Student: George Washington.
Teacher: But George Washington never wrote any books.
Student: Exactly.

Teacher: Tell the class what book you read.
Student: Black Beauty.
Teacher: Now tell the class what it was about.
Student: It was about 120 pages.

Teacher: Why are you drawing a picture in your American Revolution textbook?
Student: I'm making my mark on history.

Mother: How come you never bring any books home?
Son: Mom, they're called "school" books, not "home" books.

Student: You know the only thing worse than having to take school books home?
Teacher: What?
Student: Having to open them once I get there.

Son: Dad, my teacher says I need to get an encyclopedia.
Father: Nonsense. You can walk to school just like I did.

[selected from schooljokes.com]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read at all." (attributed to Mark Twain, paraphrased)


Mark's Musings can be seen with your RSS Feed Reader or from your Inbox. Read your own subscription every day by clicking here.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Nerves of Steel

It's not yet quite Spring, but yesterday evening we had our first thunderstorm of 2009 here in southeast Michigan. (Daily link: Very cool images of lightning thanks to Google's Image Search.)

My wife made the comment that "the lightning will turn our grass green." I had never heard that before and frankly, it sounded like just about the goofiest thing ever.

So I did some checking and yes, she appears to be correct, though scientists think it needs further research. Apparently, lightning releases nitrogen into the air with such intensity that it combines with the oxygen to create nitrates and then the rain filters it to the ground and fertilizes the grass, turning it green. Or at least helping the process along.

God's design for the world remains simple yet elegant. And maybe a little goofy.

Or that could just be me.



My friend George, an ex-Marine aviator, wanted to show off his new twin-engine plane, so we took off one cloudy Sunday afternoon for a ride.

George was putting the plane through its paces when I noticed that a storm front had moved directly between us and the airport. We had no choice but to go through it.

Shortly we were caught in a violent thunderstorm, with lightning flashing all around us and thunder booming. After one particularly close lightning strike, we lost the radio and most of the instrumentation.

As we're being buffeted about and I'm hanging on for dear life, I hear George say, "Uh-oh."

Fearing the worst, I asked, "What's wrong now?"

"I've got the hiccups," George replies. "Do something to scare me."

[Pastor Tim's Cybersalt Digest; retelling by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: With technology making the world seem smaller and smaller, families are becoming more and more separated from each other geographically. This has the effect of making our friendships just as emotionally important to us as our family relationships. The Word Spy says the word for this happenstance is "framily." When your close friends are just as important to you as your brothers or sisters, you have framily ties.


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Friday, March 06, 2009

Random Thoughts I - 2009

You are well due for your first installment of 2009.


Part the First

My wife is hoping someone steals my identity ... but only the annoying bits.

Yesterday I landed that big Johnson account. Too bad it was just on my Nintendo Wii.

I've stopped dusting. Eventually I'll be able to use my coffee table as a message board.

If the economy is getting slower, why is my money disappearing faster?

A dog in our neighborhood gave birth to puppies by the side of the road. The homeowner was cited for littering.

A lady standing outside the grocery story stopped me the other day and asked, "Can you spare a few minutes for cancer research?" I said, "Okay, but we're not going to get much done."

I watched a TV Show called "50 Things To Do Before You Die" but not one of them was "Shout for help."

My employers said they would match my 401K contributions. I didn't realize they would use *real* matches!

I'd like to be a firm believer in something but nothing on me is firm.

The easiest time to add insult to injury is when you're signing somebody's cast.

The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades.

I used to play sports. Then I realized you could buy trophies. Now I'm good at everything.

I like rice. Rice is the perfect food if you're in the mood for 2,000 of something.

[nicked, nabbed, nuanced, noted, netted, and nurtured from Randy Glasbergen, Reader's Digest, Hallmark's Maxine, Mikey's Funnies, Bob Thaves, Shoe, Demetri Martin, and the mind of Mark Raymond]


If you live in a state that observes Daylight Saving Time, set those clocks, microwaves, alarms, VCRs, wristwatches, car radios, and stoves to "spring ahead" one hour at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: There are a few things I'm just no good at. Home repair, for one. Home repair and plumbing. Home repair, plumbing, and car repair. Home repair, plumbing, car repair, and carpentry. Home repair, plumbing, car repair, carpentry, and--okay, there are a *lot* of things I'm not good at doing. But some of them I just haven't taken the time to learn and have filed them away in my "someday when I'm retired" box. Like drawing. If you'd like to learn how to draw more elegantly, try http://www.drawspace.com. Registration is required, but it's all free and there are a TON of free tutorials and lessons on how to draw things.


Mark's Musings is sent using Ezine Director and those folks are certified by Habeas to be a safe sender of e-mail. That means you can trust what I send. And I promise never to send spam or give your address to anyone who will. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise click your day away at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Still changing my credits each week, after all these years (Paul Simon has nothing on me). Hey, you can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits can be machine-washed, warm (tumble dry), but never take them off the post under penalty of being called names. Original material and commentary © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of the e-mail post daily and occasionally toss in bonus material whenever the mood strikes. Look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring all the bonus stuff up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. My daughter has no school today. Lucky stiff.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "By perseverance the snail reached the ark." (Charles H. Spurgeon)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Trek Kindergarten

Okay, I know some of you out there are Trekkies like myself and my son, so I'm sure you'll appreciate this bit of news. With an eye to renewed interest in Star Trek thanks to the J.J. Abrams "requel" version coming out this May, a company known as Genki Wear is coming out with three colognes/perfumes in April based on the original Star Trek series.

One is called "Tiberius" with a tag phrase of Boldly Go. (Pictured.) A second - and my favorite, I think - is called "Red Shirt," Because Tomorrow May Never Come. The third is called "Pon Farr," named after the Vulcan mating ritual.

They recommend you only use that one every seven years.

Trekkies got that punch line. Trust me.



The needs of the many outweigh the needs of th---No! It's mine, mine, MINE!

When crossing the street and holding hands, whatever you do, stay away from the kid in the red shirt.

The transporter is NOT a toy.

Don't make fun of the other kids' unusual appendages.

There's no use crying over spilled antimatter.

Don't eat the paste! It might be a sentient life form.

Be nice to the other kids. Their parents might take over your planet one day.

[selected from Chris White's Top Five on Science Fiction]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)


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