Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I have a hunch that every single one of my readers is a good person. More than 600 of you (small in comparison to other ezines, I know).

But as good people, I have an even stronger hunch that you support some really good causes and are involved on a personal level with church and community activities. Probably on a volunteer basis.

And *that* means, if your experience has been anything like ours, that you are involved with organizations that at one time or another need to raise funds.

If you're looking for some fresh ideas in this area, try Fundraiser Insight. On the surface it appears that they have a lot of the traditional fundraisers that most of us are familiar with ... but it also looks like they will cover most every aspect of fundraising out there. I don't know if I've seen a more thorough treatment of a subject.



On family vacations, you find yourself putting together "mystery bags" for auction filled with trinkets from the shops you visit.

You cut out the box top label on the cereal before you open the bag.

You had to purchase a separate stand-alone freezer for all the cookie dough you sell.

Your family has to play "Guess What Soup Is In This Can" because you couldn't wait to remove the labels.

You volunteer to take a shift at the bake sale ... in the NEXT TOWN OVER.

Other parents walking toward you suddenly change directions when they see the clipboard in your hand.

You have the state's raffle license office on speed dial.

Your kids come down to open their gifts on Christmas, only to find a bid sheet attached to each one.

[Jim Berigan on Top School Fundraisers.com]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "When we recognize that a better word for fundraising is 'friend raising,' we open limitless doors to creativity in support of our causes." (Sue Vineyard)


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed and e-mail each weekday. Get your own subscription here with hardly any investment at all.

Monday, June 29, 2009


A while back my wife brought home a goofy-looking device she'd picked up from Avon. When I asked about it, she explained that you stick your toothbrush in it after you'd finished brushing and an ultraviolet light would kill the germs left on your brush.

I said, "riiiiight."

Then she showed me this.

Okay, Wikipedia is definitely not the be-all and end-all of a knowledge base, but after checking out several other sources ... well, she was correct once again.

Which got me to thinking I might want to buy this because Lord knows I don't actually clean my computer keyboard very often. You?


Why did the germ cross the microscope?
To get to the other slide!


My husband was at home for several days with a bad case of influenza recently. I carefully made sure to sterilize all of his dishes and utensils after what little bit he was able to eat.

One evening our four-year old daughter asked, "Why do you do that, Mommy?"

"Because, dear," I replied, "Daddy has a lot of bad germs right now and they get on the dishes he uses. I boil the dishes and that kills all of the germs so we can use the dishes later ourselves and not get sick."

Our daughter looked thoughtful for a moment, then she said, "Why not just boil Daddy and get rid of all his germs at once?"



WORD for YOUR WEEK: Well, I hear the United Nations has declared that swine flu is now a pandemic. So where did this word come from? It is from our Greek friends and was originally "pandemos." That is a compound word made up of "pan," which means "all" and "demos," which means "people." So a pandemic is something that affects all the people.


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

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sand Art

When he was younger, my father briefly studied art. I have a charcoal painting he drew hanging on our living room wall. It's gorgeous. Though he was unable to complete his studies, that artistic disposition has since informed much of his life.

He's always been good at drawing, and since then he's created art from old horseshoe nails, old telephone wire, old rocks ... you name it, he can make something beautiful out of it.

Which is probably why this YouTube clip of Ilana Yahav - a woman who's talent is only rivaled by the dearth of information on the Web about her background - moved me so much. Because it reminded me of my Dad.

Using only a lighted glass table, a modicum of sand (which is just a different kind of glass medium, I suppose), and her fingers ... she creates "sand animations" that must be seen to be believed.

So I will show them to you ... all courtesy of list member Diane S.

By the way, you can find her website with several other videos of her work here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Status Kings

So, yeah ... I'm on Facebook. Find me and friend me here.

One of the key parts of Facebook is your "status update." What are you doing? What are you thinking? What do you want your friends to know? What's on your mind about life, the universe, and everything? Some people are very literal ... "John Smith is going to bed. G'night!" Some people like to quote lyrics from songs, some their favorite quotations, some just like to be provocative and stir conversations among their friends - much like the old "bulletin boards" in the early days of the Web.

Some people - and I fall into this category, well, most of the time, I hope - like to add a dash of creativity or humor in their updates. There is even a contest and a Facebook application called "Status Kings" ... where community users can vote on the posted statuses and at the end of the week the person with the most votes gets a free tee shirt with their winning status inked on the front. I'm going to excerpt past winners for today's post.


A periodic posting

"Karen would rather check her Facebook than face her checkbook."

"Marianela remembers when shopping for cereal was a lot more fun when you cared more about the toy than the fiber."

"Greg believes that if you tell your boss what you really think of him, the truth will set you free."

"Donna is feeling blue ... maybe I should take off this Smurf costume."

"Christi thinks that if I stand high enough on my tippy tippy toes ... I might be able to see Friday."

"Rob started time traveling next year."

"Nigel says ignorance is bliss but on YouTube it's a prerequisite."

"Paul's girlfriend came home from work yesterday crying and asked me to console her. So I hit her over the head with my Playstation."

"Julienne is cle'a]ni.ng he'r ke]yb29oa;rd."

"Ian feels like getting some work done ... so he is sitting down until the feeling passes."

"Jared is wondering where he is going and why he's in this hand basket."

"Alyssa was bringing sexy back, but lost the receipt."

"Chris is the guy who let the dogs out."

"Craig says silence is golden but duct tape is silver."

"Troy is trying out for 'Home School Musical' ."

"John is 100% positive he isn't sure."

[selected from the Status Kings application on Facebook]


Not much going on this weekend, for a change. Maybe we'll pull some pennies together and go see one of those new summer movies after I get out of work tomorrow.

Anyway, I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: With my wife and I working two jobs each we don't always have time to eat at home, and/or we're often too tired to cook something up. We have been eating at home much more often these past few weeks, since Bonnie's big salary cut kicked in (long story) ... but now there's a site where, for under a dollar, we can purchase the recipes for meals found in all those restaurants we used to frequent, from fast food joints to national franchise chains. Golly, there's even a recipe for Oreo cookies at http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday - pretty reliably - using Ezine Director and I pay a little extra every day to make sure those folks are certified by Habeas to be a safe sender of e-mail. That means you can trust what I send to be free of spam, bots, cookies, or any other electronic crumbs. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise click a few hours away at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. My best friend calls Facebook "MyFace." You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. Orphaned credits are a blight on society. Original material and musings © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of my post daily and occasionally with "bonus material" whenever the mood or muse strikes. Hasn't happened for awhile. I blame the busy weekends. Anyway, look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring all that extra material up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. This post will self-destruct in five seconds. Four. Three....


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them." (George Orwell)

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Like most Comcast Internet Service Providers, I suppose, I use their launch page as my home page; the first page that comes up when I start my web browser. That gives me a brief overview in headlines and snapshots about what's going on in the world today. And yesterday, of course.

Another site that will do that and do it very well, indeed, is Google News.

Scrolling down will get you news from just about every category imaginable, all posted within the last hour.



New Housing for Elderly Not Yet Dead

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Grandmother of Eight Makes Hole in One

Dealers Will Hear Car Talk at Noon

Marijuana Issue Sent to Joint Committee

Hospitals are Sued by Seven Foot Doctors

Police Found Safe Under Blanket

Taxman Crushed in Orange Juice Case

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Groups

[Net 153s Smile A Day, but they've been floating around the web forever]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "...a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord." (Psalm 112: 6-7)


Mark's Musings comes via RSS Feed and is also published to your Inbox via e-mail each weekday. Extra! Extra! Get your very own subscription here!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bond. Baseball Bond.

By now, most of you should know that I'm a big baseball fan. I used to be a season ticket holder for the Detroit Tigers. Enjoyed their last few seasons at the old Tiger Stadium and their first few seasons at Comerica Park. Then I took a couple of years off when tickets got too pricy and I couldn't find enough takers to share the cost, but I re-upped for another couple of years when I found out they were holding the All Star Game there in 2005. I went to every single event and enjoyed myself tremendously.

This year People Magazine and Major League Baseball have teamed up to elect a different kind of All Star. For each major league community, three candidates who have had a positive impact on their community have been nominated.

Your votes will send one from each major league city to the All Star Game in Saint Louis.

The one everyone at my workplace is voting for is Kate Brooks (look for the Detroit Tigers logo - Olde English "D"). She's a postmaster in a Michigan city and has worked tirelessly to recruit bone marrow donors.


Harry was never shy about reminding people that he once played semi-pro baseball.

"My teammates used to call me James Bond," he was telling his friends one day. "Y'see, I had all sorts of tricks to confuse the opposition."

"Well, that," his wife chimed in, "plus the fact that he batted .007."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why do baseball players wear hats when they play at an indoor stadium?


Mark's Musings goes backbackback on an RSS Feed or slides into your Inbox via e-mail each weekday. Take two, then hit to right with your own subscription here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So I'm a bit of a bachelor this week as Bonnie and Amanda are staying with the church crew on the "Flint Mission" trip we discussed yesterday.

Which means I'm keeping my own house and packing my own lunches and, you know, burping right out loud and stuff.

If I still used a brown bag as a lunch box, I would want this guy to be filling them up with lunchy goodness.



"Jimmy, why did you just swallow that five-dollar bill?"
"C'mon, Mom ... you told me it was my lunch money!"


I think my wife is trying to get rid of me. She keeps wrapping my lunch in road maps.


The trouble with eating a big Italian meal for lunch is that five or six days later, you're hungry again.


I had fast food for lunch. It slowed down considerably when it hit my stomach.


[selected from all over the web]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "The scientific name for an animal that won't fight its enemies or run away is 'lunch'." (Michael Friedman)


Mark's Musings is served on an RSS Feed and is also available via e-mail each weekday. Hungry for your own subscription? Get one here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hans Grapje

For the third year, our church is embarking this week on our annual "Volunteers In Mission" trip ... right here in Flint, Michigan.

During this one week "mission trip," we repair, paint, and remodel homes for needy neighborhood residents who cannot afford to do it themselves. Last year we re-roofed, painted, replaced stairs, repaired decks, painted porches and rails, and fixed several plumbing problems ... all for free as a physical expression of our love for Christ and his commandment to "feed His sheep."

This year my wife and daughter are on the mission. Each year the number of people helping out has grown as the mission has become more popular and well-known. I believe they expect between 40 and 60 people to be working this week. Most of the team stays right at the church for the entire week - just as they would if they left town for a mission trip - and that helps build camaraderie, as well as broadening and deepening the experience for everyone.

That's my wife, modeling the tee shirt, by the way.

I love the Scripture verse the team picked for this trip: Hebrews 3:4 ... "For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything."


Hans Grapje was raised in a Catholic school in The Hague and, as a young man, aspired to become a priest, but was drafted into the Army during World War II and spent two years co-piloting aircraft until his plane was shot down in 1943 and he lost his left arm.

Captain Grapje spent the rest of the war as a chaplain, giving spiritual aid to soldiers, both Allied and enemy. After the war, he finally did become a priest, serving as a missionary in Africa, and even piloted his own plane - despite his handicap - bringing aid and spiritual succor to villages across the continent.

In 1997, Father Grapje was serving in Zimbabwe when an explosion in a silver mine caused a cave-in. Grapje went down into the mine to administer last rites to those too severely injured to move. While there, another shaft collapsed, and he was buried alive for three days, suffered multiple injuries, and lost his right eye.

While trapped, the high silver content in the air that had become exposed as the walls collapsed gave him purpura, a life-long condition characterized by purple skin blotches.

Although Father Grapje's exploits eventually were responsible for elevating him to Archbishop and then Cardinal, church leaders everywhere agreed that despite all his wonderful accomplishments and humanitarian service, he would never ascend to the Papacy.

Because no one wants a one-eyed, one-armed, flying purple Papal leader.

[with groaning thanks to Pastor Tim's Cybersalt Digest]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: We'll look at a Greek word today. "Homos" means "same." It was expanded to "homilos" which meant a crowd, or a group of similar people. From there it became "homolein," which was to be together in the company of a group of people with the same attributes. Then it turned into "homilia," which means instruction. We know it as the word "homily," which is an instructive discourse. Most contemporary meanings also seem to indicate that it's a short discourse. Shorter, say, than a sermon.


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed or e-mail each weekday. Get your own copy of these words and musings with your own subscription from here.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Spring enjoys its final hurrah today and tomorrow, finally giving way - officially - to summer on Sunday.

Which also happens to be Father's Day. The one day of the year I absolutely KNOW I'm not gonna mow the yard.



Being a Dad means you have to get off the couch.

Being a Dad means determining you will influence your child's faith, morals, integrity, and convictions before society does.

Being a Dad means being a good husband. Kids never get the best part of a divorce settlement.

Being a Dad means putting a crib where your stereo used to be.

Being a Dad means asking, "Did you poop?" right out loud in public.

Being a Dad means understanding that more than a baby was born. So was a father.

Being a Dad means wondering how a baby can grin and at the same time deliver a nuclear blast in its diaper.

Being a Dad means wondering how you can own a business with 30 employees but can't get a two-year old into the bathtub.

Being a Dad means having crayon art on your desk at work; and loving it.

Being a Dad means playing your kids' computer games late at night so you can finally beat them at one.

Being a Dad means having the dreaded sex talk and finding out your kids are not as embarrassed as you are.

Being a Dad means spending $6,000 on a trip to the Rockies, $10,000 on a Disney cruise, and having your children say their best vacation was the camping weekend trip that cost $212.

Being a Dad means learning to dread two words: Spring Break.

Being a Dad means realizing your kids have no idea what you do all day.

Being a Dad means knowing entire families have lived for a year on less than what you pay for auto insurance.

[selected from "1001 Things It Means to Be A Dad" by Harry H. Harrison, Jr.; additional material by Mark Raymond]


My daughter gave me that book.

Another Open House this weekend and some family time on Sunday. I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: List member Lisa H. posted a good link on Facebook so with her permission I'm reprinting it here. http://www.printablesigns.net/ has a ton of ready-made common signage that you can download and print right at home. More than 180 of 'em.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday - pretty reliably - using Ezine Director and I pay a little extra every day to make sure those folks are certified by Habeas to be a safe sender of e-mail. That means you can trust what I send to be free of spam, bots, cookies, or any other electronic crumbs. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise click a few hours away at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Being now summer, set your ceiling fans so they circulate counter-clockwise for maximum cooling efficiency. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits should never be removed. Not even by those "Mythbuster" guys. Original material and musings © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of my post daily and occasionally with "bonus material" whenever the mood or muse strikes. Hasn't happened for awhile. I blame the busy weekends. Anyway, look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring all that extra material up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. This post is 100% hypoallergenic.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "My hope and intention is not to get any older than strictly necessary." (Ashleigh Brilliant)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Religious Baseball

Read this inspiring story about Enrique Oliu.

Don't ever let anything stand in the way of your goals.




Lutherans would believe they can't win, but will trust the Scorekeeper.

The Calvinists already know the final score.

Quakers won't swing at anything.

The Presbyterians use a "closer-by-committee" approach.

The Amish would walk a lot.

Fundamentalists won't play because baseball's not mentioned in the Bible.

Evangelicals would make effective pitches.

The Baptists will play, but only if they can be the umpire.

Mormons would play left field.

Adventists would take the seventh inning off.

The Catholics would claim never to have committed an error.

You'd find the Methodists at the post-game buffet.

[Net 153s Smile A Day with lots of additional material by Mark Raymond]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men." (Proverbs 22:29)


Mark's Musings swings at an RSS Feed or arrives in your Inbox via e-mail each weekday. Get your very own subscription here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Well, these past couple of late Spring days here in Michigan have been ... well, they've been the kind of days that give people a reason to move to Michigan. Just gorgeous. Sunny, not too hot, very low humidity. Everything is lush and green. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

But summer will arrive by the end of the week and that means the sun will shine warmer and it's time to once again start thinking seriously about things like sunscreen and taking care of your skin.

Especially if you're like me and inherited that Irish phosphorescent skin type. I have to warn people before I take my shirt off so they can put on their sunglasses; it's that bad.

Pick up some good info about skin cancer and lots more helpful sun protection tips here.


My father was in the Navy when he was young. He had the good fortune to be stationed in Hawaii, but the bad luck to be fair-skinned.

One day, after spending far too many hours unprotected under the hot sun, he reported for duty with a terrible sunburn. Expecting sympathy, he was unpleasantly surprised with a reprimand, instead.

Things went from bad to worse the next day when he was given a written notice of discipline for "destruction of government property."

[Beliefnet's "America in Uniform" humor via Ed Peacher]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why do we go on vacations? Don't we get enough travel just orbiting the sun?


Mark's Musings sizzles on an RSS Feed and is also available via e-mail each weekday. Get some SP-40 for your Inbox with your own subscription here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


When I was a lad I spent ten summers of my youth on my grandfather's dairy farm in Lake City, Michigan. Every day Grandpa Hillman would drag us out of bed at 6:00 a.m. and we'd trudge down to the barn where we'd wrangle the cows into their stalls and help Grandpa milk his 40 head of cattle. Then we'd head out to whatever field they were pasturing in each afternoon, walk them back to the barn, and do it all again before suppertime.

In between we'd bale up hay or fill up a truck with corn from the silo and drive over to the grainery in McBain to have them grind it up into feed. About twice a week we'd muck out the stalls in the barn and load it into the manure spreader and go fertilize one of Grandpa's fields. There was always something to occupy our time and every evening he and Grandma would drive us into town for an ice cream treat and a quick swim in Lake Missaukee.

Ahhh, good times. Good times.

But now technology has come to the family farm and the cows can milk themselves.

On the one hand, I have to marvel that we've reached this point. On the other, I mourn for some grandchild who's going to miss out on the wonderful memories an honest day's work in the country air will bring.



From a forgetful cow you'd get Milk of Amnesia.

When the bull lays down in the field, we call that bull-dozin'.

You know why the cow jumped over the moon?
The farmer had cold hands.

Do Russians get their milk from Moscows?

What's the favorite key for cows to sing in?

I knew a farmer with a sick cow. The vet said it was the worst case of hay fever he'd ever seen.

Yesterday I saw a cow walking backward. It went, "Oom."

I heard about this cow who could actually drive a car. Had to quit after getting a ticket, though.
It was a moo-ving violation.

I read about a scientist who crossed a cow with a duck because he was in a mood for milk and quackers.

[selected from all over the web and rewritten for this post by Mark Raymond]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." (Joan Gussow)


Mark's Musings moos through an RSS Feed and is also available via e-mail each weekday. Mark will actually apologize in writing for how bad today's jokes are if you get your own subscription here. Just let me know you've joined.

Monday, June 15, 2009


You ever hear the saying, "You're dead to me"?

Turns out that's what the people who run the Grammy Awards said to Polka Music last week.

It has officially been eliminated as a competitive category for that hallowed music industry award.

Polka is dead.

Long live polka.



When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother's piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold

And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying

Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country

I've never understood
Why this is so

But there's an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow

For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest

And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country

We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams

And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows

Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander

[by Anne Porter from "Living Things: Collected Poems" copyright 2006 Steerforth Press; as reprinted with permission in The Writer's Almanac]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: So where does this word "polka" come from and why do we have both polka dots and polka music? Turns out the word is originally from Poland, where it was the feminine form of "polock" - literally a Polish woman instead of a man. Some sources think it may also be an alteration of the Czech word "pulka," which meant "half" and was used to describe the half-steps in a peasant dance popular in the early 1800s. The dance - and the word - migrated to England in the mid-1800s and the dance step began being called a "polka dot" due to the deliberate stamping of the foot instead of a more elegant step. The dance and the words were caught up by fashion designers who used the term to describe the dotted fabrics they were creating.


Mark's Musings vibrates on an RSS Feed and is also piped into your Inbox via e-mail each weekday. Come join me in this dance of words and musings by getting your very own subscription here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Graduation Quotations

It's the last day of school for my daughter. She'll now spend a good two months staying up later and sleeping in.

As will several teachers I know, as well.



"Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed." (Erma Bombeck)

"A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad." (Theodore Roosevelt)

"A professor is someone who talks in someone else's sleep." (W.H. Auden)

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." (Mark Twain)

"Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated." (Garry Trudeau)

"A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that 'individuality' is the key to success." (Robert Orben)

"Graduation is only a concept. In real life every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you'll make a difference." (Arie Pencovici)

"It is indeed ironic that we spend our school days yearning to graduate and our remaining days waxing nostalgic about our school days." (Isabel Waxman)

"You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it." (John Updike)

[selected with thanks from The Quote Garden]


I'm still at the Conference through Saturday night, and my daughter has a vocal recital Sunday afternoon ... so once again, probably no blog updates this weekend. I do have some material I'd like to post, though, and I'll endeavor to get it up there soon.

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: My wife is an amateur photographer and she recently helped me understand a new digital SLR my union bought for me to help with the Local's newsletter look. We love good photographs and good, high-definition photography. So I was glad to see this link passed along by Kim Komando. It's "The Big Picture" put out by The Boston Globe. See http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/. If you have dialup service, it will probably take some time to load, so be warned.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday - pretty reliably - using Ezine Director and I pay a little extra every day to make sure those folks are certified by Habeas to be a safe sender of e-mail. That means you can trust what I send to be free of spam, bots, cookies, or any other electronic crumbs. 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 get a reply faster, send compliments or money. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits should never graduate from the post and kicking them off is just unjustified. Original material and musings © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of my e-mail post daily and occasionally with "bonus material" whenever the mood or muse strikes. Hasn't happened for awhile. I blame the busy weekends. Anyway, look to the right for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring it all up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. All endorsements implied or inferred are mostly accidental.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone." (Henry David Thoreau)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Light Bulbs

By the time most of you read this, I'll be finishing my packing and on my way to a union educational conference in a city about an hour north of here. It's my first one in 15 years, but I'll bet they haven't changed much.

And I have *so* much to get done between writing this on Wednesday night and leaving on Thursday morning that I pray you'll forgive me for providing just the joke today.



How many art directors does it take to change a light bulb?
"Does it have to be a light bulb?"

How many grad students does it take to change a light bulb?
Just one, but it takes ten years.

How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
Two: One to hold the giraffe and one to put the clocks in the bathtub.

How many telemarketers does it take to change a light bulb?
Only one, but she has to do it while you're eating dinner.

How many chiropractors does it take to change a light bulb?
One, but it takes three visits.

How many communists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
None ... the bulb contains the seeds of its own revolution!

How many real estate agents does it take to change a light bulb?
Ten, but we'll accept eight.

[selected from A Prairie Home Companion's Pretty Good Joke Book]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.' " (John 8:12)


Mark's Musings is available on an RSS Feed there to the right and also via e-mail each weekday. Brighten up your day with your very own subscription here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bad Habits

You may remember that back in January I promised to lose 30 pounds by Christmas. So as the calendar nears the midway point of 2009, how am I doing? Drum roll, please....

I've gained one pound.

Now, I could point fingers at my circumstances and make all kind of excuses about my schedule and how the new job has completely thrown off my circadian rhythms ... but the bottom line is I just haven't gotten it done.

It's time to call in professional help.

And I know just the person. Stay tuned.


Waiting for our aerobics class to begin, several of us ladies were standing around having a chat about fitness and diets.

One woman said that her brother-in-law had quit smoking but had also gone on a diet so he wouldn't gain weight. Not only did he not gain weight, he lost a lot of weight in the process.

Thinking to myself that no human being could possibly do this without acquiring at least one other undesirable habit to compensate for the stress, I jokingly asked her, "So what did he start doing instead of smoking or eating?"

After a slight pause, the other woman smiled and said, "Well, my sister is pregnant now."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Can I say I'm on a low fat diet if every day my fat hangs a little lower?


Mark's Musings is pan fried on an RSS Feed and also available via e-mail each weekday. Bite into your own subscription with one quick click here.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Food TV

My wife has put another tomato plant in the ground this year. Last year she planted one or two and we had enough tomatoes to throw at four or maybe five rotten stage plays. We enjoy tomatoes, but not on an everyday basis and so many of them went bad.

The trick to keeping them fresh, according to a source provided by list member and frequent contributor Lavonne T., is to somehow seal off the stem. Here's a bit explaining it from Cook's Illustrated.

The folks who do the Cook's books - umm, so to speak - also do a television show on the Public Broadcasting System called "America's Test Kitchen."



"Slaw and Order"

"Lost in Spice"

"The Man from U.N.C.L.E. B.E.N.'s"

"Get Heart Smart"

"Everybody Loves Ramen"

"Peel or No Peel"

"Pork and Mindy"

"The Cukes of Hazzard"

"The Rice is Right"

"The Soupranos"

"Two and a Half Menus"

[Chris White's Top Five on Food; edits and additional material by Mark Raymond]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Let the stoics say what they please, we do not eat for the good of living, but because the meat is savory and the appetite is keen." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)


Mark's Musings is available to go on an RSS Feed or delivered fresh from our kitchens via e-mail each weekday. Mmmm, taste your own subscription by clicking here. It's so good you'll stay for the whole meal!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Cowboy Joe

List member Greg M. sent me a follow up link to go with my Ten Commandments post last Thursday.

It's a bit from Fast Company magazine about what the Ten Commandments would look like in cell phone text.

Now, when you only have 160 characters to spend in a message - including spaces - you tend to get *very* creative and shorthanded with the language. For instance, "See you later" becomes "C U l8r."

Those of you familiar with text and instant messaging shorthand will enjoy it. Those of you who aren't so familiar with that brand of "English" will enjoy trying to decipher the Commandments.

As always, the medium may change, but the message remains the same.


Cowboy Joe visited his first big city church yesterday and last night he was telling his pardners all about it.

"When I got there they had me park my ol' truck in the big corral."

"You mean the parking lot," interrupted Charlie, a fellow cowhand who'd been to the big city a bunch.

"Yup, I reckon," Joe replied, "and then I walked up the trail to the barn."

"The sidewalk to the front door," interprets Charlie.

"Inside the barn, I was met by this dude in his Sunday best."

"That would be the usher," chips in Charlie.

"Well," Joe says with an eye on Charlie, "that there 'usher' led me down the chute..."

"The aisle."

"Then he dropped me off at a cushy stall and told me to sit there," Joe says.


"Yup," replies Cowboy Joe. "That's what the purty lady sittin' next to me in that stall said, too."

[Doc's Daily Chuckle]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Commandment Number Nine (which I remembered was number nine from the hand signals I learned last week), is "Thou Shalt Not Prevaricate." Which is a fancy Latin word that means to lie about something. Its roots are the word "varus," which means bent and became the word "varicus" which meant to straddle something or walk crookedly (bently), and the word "prae," which means "before" (you can see where the English word "pre" comes from). Together they were "praevaricari," which meant to pass before something, or to straddle something. In modern usage, if you prevaricate, you have "passed before or over the truth." And violated the Ninth Commandment.


Mark's Musings rides in on an RSS Feed or brands your Inbox via e-mail each weekday. Wrangle your very own subscription by lassoing this link here.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Witte Words

The Washington Post - each week in their "Style" section - has some sort of contest. Generally about wordplay. Today I'm excerpting their readers' creations of words that have a W, I, two Ts, and an E in them (those were the rules of the contest). Several made me smile and a few made me laugh right out loud. Hopefully they'll have the same effect on you.



Whactivate - a method for getting your old TV to work.

Retrowitted - thought of a comeback too late for the argument.

Twitterboarded - drowned in Tweets.

Tightwed - a marriage in the Costco parking lot where the "buffet" is the free samples inside.

Tithewad - someone who skimps when the collection plate is passed.

Mittwife - a person equipped to catch a baby as it emerges from the womb.

Stwiptease - a dance performed by Gypsy Rose Fudd.

Notwinter - used only in Minnesota to describe July and occasionally August.

Wetti - the Abominable Rainman.

Acqwitted - found innocent of any sense of humor.

Theirwithal - a pile of other people's money (see: bailout).

[selected from the Washington Post Weekly Style Invitational]


Work and a wedding tomorrow, followed by a family reunion on Sunday. Busy weekend! Probably no blog posts. (Plus the wife and I will be at a hotel out of town and I'm leaving the laptop at home.)

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: My wife says I need to tell you about this site and I almost always do what Bonnie tells me. So go visit http://www.projectnightnight.org/ where $20 can provide a blanket, a book, a stuffed animal and a tote bag to a homeless child. Do a good deed.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday - usually in the wee hours of the morning (EST) - using Ezine Director and I pay a little extra every day to make sure those folks are certified by Habeas to be a safe sender of e-mail. That means you can trust what I send. 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. I've realized that the only problem with split days off is you wind up feeling like you NEVER get a day off. Harumph. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits are hardly fine literature that should stand the test of time, but they should, at least, stand. Original material and musings © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of my post daily and occasionally with "bonus material" whenever the mood or muse strikes. Hasn't happened for awhile. I blame the new job. Anyway, look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring it all up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. This e-mail is made up of 80% post-consumer recycled electrons.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, but writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it." (James M. Barrie)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Church Kids

List member Bill S. recently sent me something I'd seen a long time ago, but enjoyed the welcome refresher. It was "The Five Finger Prayer." You use each finger of your hand to remind you of how to pray your daily prayers. To wit:

  • Thumb - this is the finger closest to you, so pray for those closest to you.
  • Index - the finger you use to point, so pray for others who point us in the right direction: clergy, healthcare professionals, teachers, and police/emergency response teams.
  • Middle - your tallest finger, so pray for those tallest in our society ... our leaders.
  • Ring - your weakest finger, use it to remind you to pray for the weak, sick, poor and elderly.
  • Pinky - your last, smallest finger ... it reminds us to pray for ourselves as we are to be meek, and humble, and third in the line of "God, Others, Myself."

Thanks, Bill.

And speaking of hands, entrepreneur Darrell Rundus thinks it's a shame that Christians are to live their lives based on the Ten Commandments, but most of us can't even name them all. So he's devised some easy to remember hand signals to help ... and he's willing to give you $20,000 if you learn them, enter his contest, and can recite all 10 of them in 20 seconds if your name is called.



We were celebrating the 100th anniversary of our church, and several former pastors and even the bishop were in attendance.

During the children's talk, our pastor had all these eminent worthies line up and introduced them to the kids. When he got to the bishop, he asked, "Does anyone know what the bishop does?"

After a long moment, one little boy said, "He's the one you can move diagonally."


During a recent church service our kids were asked to stand up in front and offer a small prayer for someone. Anyone else in church but themselves.

One of those sweet, heartfelt prayers went, "Dear God, please send clothes for all those poor women in Daddy's computer. Amen."

[Pastor Tim's Clean Laughs and Da Mousetracks]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27)


Mark's Musings is chiseled onto an RSS Feed and also comes down from the mountain via e-mail each weekday. Honor the author by getting your own subscription here.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Kiddie X-Ray

Hey, this could be important.

Most every woman has either endured the pain and anxiety and occasional terror of breast cancer ... or knows a woman who has. Often a breast cancer survivor takes the drug Tamoxifen to ward off a recurrence of the cancer. However, when she reaches menopause she can't take regular hormone therapy because it increases her risk of cancer. So what does her doctor do?

He prescribes an antidepressant. Not only do drugs like Paxil, Zoloft, or Prozac help combat emotional issues, they have a beneficial side effect of easing the body through menopause.

Only a study released just this past week shows that those antidepressants *also* counteract the effect of Tamoxifen and your breast cancer is twice as likely to return as it is if you didn't take anything.

I think you should read up on this.


A young girl of four had to have an x-ray taken at the medical office where I worked. She had been in an accident with her bicycle and the doctor was afraid she may have broken her wrist.

The girl, however, was very concerned about the procedure and no matter how her mother tried to calm her, she kept putting up quite the fuss as we led her into the x-ray facility.

When she came out a few minutes later, however, she was calm and all smiles. "They just took a picture of my bones," she explained to her mother.

"Yes, dear," her mom replied. "I told you it was easy. Did everything go well?"

"Yup. It was great!" the child exclaimed. "I didn't even have to take my skin off or anything!"

[Clean Humor Digest]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: When you hear the word "hospital" and "TLC" in the same sentence, does it mean Take Lotsa Cash?


Mark's Musings is on an RSS Feed and also available via e-mail each weekday. Get your own subscription with one quick click here.