Friday, July 31, 2009

What I've Learned

The last day of July in a summer that's been very nice, indeed, so far. We've only had one week of insufferable heat and just enough rain to keep the grass growing.

One final reminder that there will be no e-mail version of Mark's Musings next week. I'm heading out of town on Tuesday for a convention and only want to worry about updating my blog. So the Great Blog Experiment begins. I'll be back in your Inbox on Monday, August 10.



Age 5: I've learned I like my teacher because she cries when we sing "Silent Night."

Age 7: I've learned that our dog doesn't want to eat my broccoli, either.

Age 9: I've learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back.

Age 12: I've learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up.

Age 14: I've learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try cheering someone else up.

Age 15: I've learned that although it's hard to admit it, I'm secretly glad my parents are strict with me.

Age 24: I've learned that silent company is more healing than words of advice.

Age 29: I've learned that wherever I go, the world's worst drivers have followed me there.

Age 30: I've learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it.

Age 44: I've learned that you can make someone's day by just sending them a little note.

Age 48: I've learned that no matter what happens or how bad it seems today, life does go on and it will be better tomorrow.

Age 50: I've learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the phone.

Age 51: I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she handles three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas lights.

Age 52: I've learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet of pills.

Age 64: I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.

Age 72: I've learned that everyone can use a prayer.

Age 82: I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

Age 90: I've learned that every day you should touch someone. People love that human touch.

Age 92: I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

[selected from Pastor Tim's Illustrations, but seen all over the 'Net]


You know, I'll bet this is a subject upon which my readers can do better. Send me what you've learned, and your age - don't worry, I won't reveal your name to anyone - and in a couple of weeks I'll publish a new batch.

And who knew the White House reads my blog? Or that they are so afraid of my staunch readership? Within one day of publishing the "Cash for Clunkers" links, the U.S. Government shut down the program because it was running out of money too fast. But hey, as I double-checked this on Friday afternoon, the House of Representatives is rushing to add another two billion so the program should be back in operation soon enough.

Goodness. I'll see you on Monday. At the blog and the blog only.


WEB SITE of the WEEK: Are you just about done with your summer reading list? Need one more book to carry you through to Labor Day? Try visiting and review their lists of 100 different books from individual genres. There's novels, nonfiction, editor-recommended, reader-recommended, and others.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday - EXCEPT FOR NEXT WEEK - 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. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise pleasantly click your mouse at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. My wife told me to stop trying to be funny and just upload the post, already, so nothing goofy in this space. Sorry. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. I don't care so much that I get credit for this work but the credits do impart some important information. 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. 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. Find me on Facebook at And the road goes ever on.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "It's all right to have butterflies in your stomach. Just get them to fly in formation." (Robert Gilbert)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What To Do

If you're interested in the "Cash for Clunkers" program part of the Federal Stimulus, you have until November 1, 2009 - or until the rest of the $1 billion runs out (there's $858 million left as I write this) - to get into it.

Here's a news release about the program from the Environmental Protection Agency, and here's the official website and full rules.

But hey, does your car meet the requirements? The EPA recently tweaked the list of eligible vehicles. Oddly, our 1997 van that gets about 18 miles per gallon is not on the list, but our 1999 passenger car that gets around 24 miles per gallon is. Weird. Anyway, here's that list.


Driving to the supermarket one day, I turned left into a parking row and accidentally struck another car that was backing out.

There was just enough damage done that the other driver would need to file a police report to get her insurance company to pay for it and she was livid.

A few weeks later my husband and I were helping a friend with her yard sale, when that same woman sauntered up the driveway, checking out the items my friend had laid out for sale.

"There's that woman from my accident," I frantically whispered to my husband. "What should I do?"

My husband had no sympathy. "Just go up to her," he advised, "and say 'Nice bumping into you again.' "

[Clean Humor Digest; retold by Mark Raymond]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25)


Mark's Musings dents an RSS Feed and also rolls into your Inbox each weekday via e-mail. Bump into your very own subscription here! Facebook users can see my whole accident-waiting-to-happen blog here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hat Budget

In a recession (which I think is a depression but everyone's afraid to say that), money is always tight.

So here's 23 things you can do for under $20. Most of them lean toward things women may enjoy more than men, but hey, the ideas did come from Woman's Day magazine.

Hey, remember that next week is the "Great Blog Experiment." I will be out of town and posting only to the blog all week long. If you haven't marked it as a favorite in IE or bookmarked it in Firefox, now might be a good time.


A certain wholesale dealer had a lot of trouble getting one of his retail agents to pay for the merchandise shipped to him. He finally lost his patience and wrote the man a letter threatening a lawsuit.

He received this reply:

"What do you mean by writing me a letter like that? Every month I place all my bills in a hat. I then figure out how much money I have to pay on my accounts. Then I have my bookkeeper draw bills out of the hat until I run out of money. If you don't like this method of doing business, I won't even put your bills into the hat!"

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Is there a shorter interval of time than the one between setting aside a little money for an emergency and the arrival of that emergency?


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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Here in America

I don't smoke, but maybe there's a lesson here for people who do.

At a New Hampshire gas station, a man purchased a pack of cigarettes using his debit card. When he checked his account online a few hours later, he saw that those nicotine-sticks had cost him over $23 quadrillion dollars.

That's right. A quadrillion. 17 digits. Bank of America said his purchase cost $23,148,855,308,184,500. That's quadrillions, trillions, billions, millions, thousands, and hundreds, if you're trying to say that number out loud.

And you thought I was kidding.



We vote against raising taxes to pay for hospitals and schools, but will pay whatever they ask for booze and cigarettes.

We ask the Government to balance our national budget, then drop our last few dollars on a down payment for a car that will take five years to pay off.

We know the line-up of nearly every major sports team, but mumble through the words to our national anthem.

We'll spend all morning looking for the vitamins we bought to live longer, then drive 90 miles per hour to make up for the time we lost.

We tie up our dogs but let our teens run wild.

We'll work hard on a farm so we can make enough money to move into the city where we'll work hard so we can retire on a farm.

In the office we talk about baseball, shopping, fishing and family. At the game, the mall, or the lake we talk about the office.

We're supposed to be the most civilized nation on Earth, but we still can't deliver payrolls without an armored car.

We have more marriage experts than any other country and still have the highest divorce rate in the world.

[selected from Pastor Tim's Illustrations]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "It is an old and ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way." (Rollo May)


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed and also e-mail each weekday. Get your own subscription here. If you're reading this on Facebook, my full blog is here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Old NASCAR Driver

Well, I can't seem to sleep so I might as well write today's post. Sleep will come when it comes. I'm thinking sometime Monday afternoon.

Hey, it's my Dad's birthday today! I won't tell you how old he is but it's a score-and-some years more than myself.

DaySpring makes a lovely and often quite melodic line of Christian e-greeting cards.

You know, for sons who get too busy to remember their father's birthday and get an actual birthday card in the mail.




His Nomex fire suit reveals the outline of his Depends.

He leaves the track at 3:30 to make the Early Bird Special down at the Stuckey's.

The champagne in Pit Row has been replaced with Metamucil.

You've heard the story over and over again about when he first started racing, the track was UPHILL all the way around and he had to be his OWN pit crew.

The cup affixed to his dashboard holds his dentures.

"Uh, Billy, this is your crew leader. Anything wrong out there?"
"Nope. I just got the ol' cruise control set to 55."

He waits for an opening in traffic before leaving the pits.

"Hey, when did they get this fancy new pavement here at Daytona?"

[selected from Chris White's Top Five on Sports]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Ancient Greek mythology gave us the halkuon - a bird that nested at sea, usually about the time of the winter solstice, and was fabled to calm the waters. Over time that gave us the word "halcyon" (hal-see-ehn), which now means calm/peaceful/happy/golden/prosperous. We see and hear it most often in the phrase, "halcyon days of yore."


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Friday, July 24, 2009

Walter Cronkite

Well, the weather was touch-and-go all the way down to the stadium yesterday, but it cleared up nicely shortly after we arrived. The popcorn, sadly, tasted like it had been popped in the early 70s and left since then on the corner of Cold and Alone, but the ballpark hot dogs were delicious, and the company was grand. The Tigers, however, lost 2-1 in yet another pitcher's duel - the fourth one in their past five games.

Meanwhile, on with this week's Friday post.

Walter Cronkite passed away one week ago at the age of 92. He was, in many respects, the "gold standard" of broadcast journalism and earned the title of "the most trusted man in America." He never wanted to be called an "anchorman," but took the title "Managing Editor" of the CBS Evening News. He loved sailing, and wrote two books about his travels. The Journalism School at Arizona State University was renamed in his honor in 1984, three years after he retired from daily broadcasts. He has also written a book about his journalistic experiences, and received five national awards recognizing his work, including an Emmy.



"America's healthcare system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system."

"Everything is being compressed into tiny tablets. You take a little pill of news every day - 23 minutes - and that's supposed to be enough."

"I can't imagine a person becoming a success who doesn't give this game of life everything he's got."

"The perils of duck hunting are great ... especially for the duck."

"We are not educated well enough to perform the necessary act of intelligently selecting our leaders."

"I asked my doctors if I'd be able to play singles tennis and they said I could. That made me very happy since I haven't played in five years."

"I regret that, in our attempt to establish some standards, we didn't make them stick. We couldn't find a way to pass them on to the next generation, really."

From his CBS Evening News Farewell: "I'll be away on assignment, and Dan Rather will be sitting in here for the next few years. Good night."

"I think somebody ought to do a survey as to how many great, important men have quit to spend time with their families and then spent any more time with their family. Probably less."

"And that's the way it is."

[selected from seven separate websites by Mark Raymond]


Another fairly quiet weekend is on tap for us. Maybe we can try and finish a couple of household projects and find out where all these wasps are coming from.

Anyway, I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Since I've been on my new job I've been able to be home at supper time and, in fact, have taken responsibility to make about half of the meals. We've got a meal rotation of about 30 different tastes and combinations, but of course we tend to make our favorites most often. Should I ever need inspiration, however, I can visit, and view some of the forum threads from 20,000 other chefs and cooks. You have to become a member to post your thoughts and recipes (it's free), but you can read what other people are cooking and doing and remarking upon to your heart's and stove's content. (A tip o'the Mark's Musings cap to Randy Cassingham.)


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday - more or less - 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. I'm spam-free, tax-free, duty-free, and fat-free. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise pleasantly click your mouse at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. I saw a moose with a cell phone. He was getting a call from the wild. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits never want to visit the corner of Cold and Lonely. 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. 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. Find me on Facebook at In accordance with the prophecy.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "What you will do matters. All you need is to do it." (Judy Grahn)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Daddy's Arms

No link today, I'm way too pumped about going to see the Detroit Tigers with my son, Matthew, in a few hours. This will be the first game I've been able to get to in a couple of seasons.

The weather forecast calls for a 40% chance of thunderstorms right about when the game is due to start, so pray it holds off, or is very brief.


A talented young athlete, the son of a former major league star ballplayer, was going through some real struggles in the minor leagues and it was rumored he was going to be released any day.

During one game, he came to bat having already struck out once and quickly rang up two more easy strikes. Just then the catcher trotted off to have a quick conference with the pitcher. The umpire glanced over at the young batter and said, "You hold the bat just the way your father held it. I can see his genes in you. You have your father's arms."

On the next pitch the young man took a mighty swing and knocked the ball out of the park. His play improved remarkably, and soon he was called up to the major leagues.

When asked what changed his game, he gave credit to the umpire's words. "After that," he explained, "whenever I swung the bat I just imagined I was using my Daddy's arms instead of my own."

[from Night Light, A Devotion for Couples, by the Dobsons, via Wit and Wisdom]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him." (Psalm 103:13)


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Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Know anyone who has macular degeneration?

Help is on the way.


The sentence in the Thanksgiving issue of our church bulletin was intended to read, "Thank you, Lord, for the many miracles we are too blind to see."

What the congregation found itself chuckling over, however, was, "Thank you, Lord, for the many miracles we are too blond to see."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: When a blind person has a near brush with death, does their life flash before their ears?


Mark's Musings is available on an RSS Feed and also via e-mail each weekday. See yourself getting your own subscription here. Facebook: if you want the whole blog, click here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Buy One Anyway

Because my wife works for our local newspaper - what's left of it, anyway, after two rounds of voluntary retirement buyouts and one of layoffs - I found this hilarious.

War Thoughts

Apparently today is National Tug-of-War Tournament Day, though the actual event this year is being held in Prior Lake, Minnesota on August 1.

Wouldn't it be nice if this was how ALL wars were decided? A length of rope, an arbitrary line in the sand, one judge from each side, and a bunch of people pulling instead of shooting.

Tug of War has been around in one form or another since Egyptian times. It's most popular use was by Captain Richard Woodget in the late 1800s on the tall ship Cutty Sark to help keep his crews fit. Shortly after that clubs were formed in England for the sport. It was even an Olympic event from 1900 through 1920, when the number of games were reduced.



"Wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. The daily work -- that goes on, it adds up." (Barbara Kingsolver)

"There never was a good war or a bad peace." (Benjamin Franklin)

"Everyone's a pacifist between wars. It's like being a vegetarian between meals." (Colman McCarthy)

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies - in the final sense - a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children." (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

"You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake." (Jeanette Rankin)

"Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount." (Omar Bradley)

"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it." (Robert E. Lee)

[selected from Wisdom Quotes]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "You can't say civilization don't advance ... for in every war, they kill you in a new way." (Will Rogers)


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Monday, July 20, 2009

Lunar Findings

It's July 20, 1969. I'm sitting in my grandfather's living room. The time is approaching 11:00 p.m. This is a very special occasion; dairy farmers are usually up at the crack of dawn and in bed shortly after sunset.

Grandpa, my cousin Kevin, and myself are intent on his small television screen. It's in black and white.

We are watching Neil Armstrong step off the Lunar Excursion Module and take mankind's first steps on the moon. Today is the 40th anniversary of that event.

As a bonus, here are ten things you probably didn't know about the first moon landing.



A Russian flag.

1,000 mile long sign pointing to Earth saying, "I'm with Stupid."

A Starbucks.

Blueprints for Earth.

Weapons of Mass Destruction.

A towel.

Several boxes of uncounted Florida ballots.

Every Missing Sock.

A football from Smallville High School.

Crop Circles.

America's Common Sense.

[Keeper of Lists; selections, edits, and some rewrites by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: One of the rocket series that NASA has used was the "Vanguard" model. That word is a shortening of the French "avant-garde," which literally means "before-guard." The vanguard of an army was the part that went before the rest of the troops. In today's language it also means anyone or anything that is on the leading edge of a movement or trend.


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Friday, July 17, 2009

Heart Thoughts

And you're overdue for another issue of serious thinking.



A well-rounded person should be able to entertain himself, entertain guests, and entertain new ideas.

Someone who lives for applause keeps all their happiness in the hands of others.

Think less about what you eat and more about with whom you eat. No food is quite so satisfying as good company.

The most common type of unskilled labor? Finding fault.

Misery loves company but can't bear competition.

Forget comfort and luxury. All you really need to be happy is something to be enthusiastic about.

Don't complain about the attention you get. It is always better to be looked over than overlooked.

Honesty is the best policy. Sadly, there are often too few policyholders.

Love is not blind. It simply often sees what is not yet there.

Silence is often misinterpreted ... but never misquoted.

It's all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again; just be sure to flush when you're done.

[with thanks to Menard's, list member Cliff R., and Kim Quiggle's Cup O'Cheer; some editing and rewrites by Mark Raymond]


I think we're going to sneak in a movie tomorrow, followed by a wedding reception for a dear friend's son on Sunday. Y'all have a good weekend, too.

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: If you're a fan of television, you may be interested in knowing the 61st Annual Emmy Awards were announced yesterday. Get the lowdown and the nominees at I'm pulling for Jim Parsons of "Big Bang Theory" to get the Best Actor in a Comedy Series statue.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday - more or less - 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. I'm spam-free, tax-free, duty-free, and fat-free. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise pleasantly click your mouse at my web site. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. I am way late for bed. Again. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits are serious business. Okay, not really. Psych! 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. 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. Find me on Facebook at G'night!


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become." (Charles DuBos)

Thursday, July 16, 2009


If you were born today, you share a birthday with Shoeless Joe Jackson, Barbara Stanwyck, Orville Redenbacher, and Ginger Rogers. If you don't know who any of those people are, pay a visit to Mr. Google.

Harry Chapin passed away on this day in 1981. He played two concerts at my college - I ran a carbon-arc spotlight for one of them - and I have always been fond of his "story songs." Harry worked tirelessly for an organization he co-founded, called World Hunger Year, and they have named a Humanitarian Award after him.

He wrote the stage musical, "Cotton Patch Gospel," and in 1986 he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award a U.S. citizen can receive.

If you're interested, a complete list of Gold Medal recipients is here.


When I was a Marine Captain stationed in Okinawa I had to accompany the Assistant Commandant on his inspection of the troops.

To break the silence, the General would periodically ask the Marine he was standing in front of which outfit he was serving with. Ramrod straight at attention, each serviceman would crisply respond, "Marine Air Group 36, sir!" or "Second Marine Division, General."

At the start of the line and the inspection one day, however, the General stopped in front of a young soldier who had recently arrived on the base. "Which outfit are you in?" he queried.

Not familiar with the General's habits, the Marine's eyes reflected a moment's confusion but he recovered quickly and loudly replied, "Dress blues, sir! With medals!"

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:8)


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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Clair de What?

So I pulled the trusty laptop down onto the top of my lap last night and I'm writing today's words while watching Major League Baseball's All Star Game. I'm not ashamed to say that yes, I choked up during the "Go Beyond" segment featuring a few of the 30 community volunteers that were honored in pregame ceremonies. There are some absolutely marvelous people out there doing things I could only dream about.

But if I were going to start a volunteer service project to benefit my neighborhood or community, I would go here to register it, seek other volunteers, and get some good advice as well as inspirational stories to keep me going.


My wife and I periodically volunteer to share our music at retirement or nursing homes. I play the cello and my wife plays the harp.

Often times my wife will announce the name of a song or tell a little something about the music we are about to play. I remember on one occasion she announced to the audience that we were going to play a piece written by Claude Debussy entitled, "Clair de Lune."

One elderly woman in the front row, obviously hard of hearing, turned to the woman next to her and said in a loud voice, "What did she say?"

The other woman replied, in an equally loud voice, "She's going to play 'Fruit of the Loom'."



WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why is it called a "strike" when the batter misses the ball?


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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


My very first "real job" was as a fry cook for an Arthur Treacher's Fish'n'Chips restaurant in Lansing, Michigan. Over the couple of years I worked there, we'd do zany things after hours, including experimenting with different blends of food and different ways of cooking things. We came up with some pretty delicious stuff by accident in those days.

The folks at How Stuff Works have just listed nine other things that were created by accident but are now household names.

Post-It Notes and microwave ovens you probably know about ... some of the others may actually surprise you.



"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza." (Dave Barry)

"Where a new invention promises to be useful, it ought to be tried." (Thomas Jefferson)

"There have been three great inventions since the beginning of time: fire, the wheel, and central banking." (Will Rogers)

"Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end." (Henry David Thoreau)

"All of the biggest technological inventions created by man - the airplane, the automobile, the computer - says little about his intelligence, but speaks volumes about his laziness." (Mark Kennedy)

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." (Alan Kay)

[collected from the Internet, with special thanks to]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Invention is the mother of necessity." (Thorstein Veblen) "Getting caught is the mother of invention." (Robert Byrne)


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Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Groaners

Well, I am late late late getting today's post done, so I'm just going to supply your Monday groaners in the interest of posting before midnight.



Ransom - Went jogging for awhile.

Detergent - When a lady says, "No!"

Topic - First selection in the draft.

Romeo - The sound some Italian cats make.

Locomotive - A crazy reason to do something.

Laboratory - A chemistry professor's speech.

Remote- The second ditch around your house.

Profound - "We discovered an expert!"

Depend - The part of the pool with a diving board.

Propaganda - The right bird to mate with your geese.

Metaphor - Your blind date wasn't that good-looking.

[JokeMaster; some rewriting by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: So we're watching a movie this past weekend and I mention that we are about to see the "obligatory movie montage." Every movie has one now. When you need to show time passing - whether it's a few hours, a day, a week, months, years ... you edit together a bunch of very short scenes illustrating this passage of time, add a song with appropriate lyrics, and you have a montage that can show up to several decades gone by in the space of a few minutes. Montage is from an old French word, "monter" meaning to go up, ascend, climb, or mount. You see, if you were to diagram a movie plot, most would look like a mountain range ... a little tension creates a small hill in Act One, and each succeeding Act makes a bigger hill until you reach the movie's climax at the apex of your chart, followed by the "denouement" (maybe I'll do that word next week) at the end of the movie where you come back down off the mountain and get your happy ending (well, usually). So a montage climbs that dramatic mountain quickly.


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Friday, July 10, 2009


Leroy Robert Paige was born this week in 1906 or 1905, depending on which record you believe. Leroy and his neighborhood friend Wilber would go down to the train station when they were boys and carry bags for the passengers for tips. That's how he earned the nickname, "Satchel."

As baseball season reaches its halfway point with the All Star Midsummer Classic coming up on Tuesday, I thought this might be appropriate for today.



"Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter."

"Ain't no man can avoid being born average, but there ain't no man got to be common."

"I don't generally like running. I believe in training by rising gently up and down from the bench."

"If a man can beat you, walk him."

"I never rush myself. See, they can't start the game without me."

"I never threw an illegal pitch. The trouble is, once in a while I toss one that ain't never been seen by this generation."

"Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don't move."

"My pitching philosophy is simple -- keep the ball away from the bat."

On Cool Papa Bell: "One time he hit a line drive right past my ear. I turned around and saw the ball hit him as he was sliding into second."

On being elected to the Hall of Fame: "The only change is that baseball has turned Paige from a second class citizen to a second class immortal."

"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching."

[with thanks to the Baseball Almanac]


Remember that tomorrow is July 11. 7-11. And that means that Seven-Eleven convenience stores all across America will be handing out free Slurpees. Everyone who's not a diabetic go grab yourself one.

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Get the "skinny" on your ZIP code - if you live in the States, anyway - at Enter your ZIP on the first screen and on the next you'll find a wealth of demographic information about your part of town, culled from the 2000 U.S. Census. For example, in my town, 14% of the men here are about my age, and 63% of us are married. You can see the info displayed in charts, you can check out demographics about the schools your kids or grandkids attend, compare your ZIP to neighboring cities and neighborhoods and even see how close you are to the center of your ZIP.


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. I'm spam-free, tax-free, duty-free, and guilt-free. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise pleasantly waste your time at my web site. If you need to change your e-mail address or you're all mused out and need to unsubscribe, use the "Change Subscription" or "Cancel Subscription" links at the very bottom of this page, but click with care, please. (The "cancel" click is final.) To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. I am way late for bed. It's almost ten o'clock! (Am I getting old, or what?) You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits have never done anything to you. 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. 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. Find me on Facebook at


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Attend to the details. Teach your children manners. Write cogent paragraphs. Drive carefully. And make good potato salad, one with some crunch, maybe accompanied by a fried drumstick with crackly skin - the humble potato and the stupid chicken, ennobled by diligent cooking - and is this not the meaning of our beautiful country, to take what is common and enable it to become beautiful?" (Garrison Keillor)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Happy Dog

A long time ago I learned the difference between happiness and joy. I'm sure I've shared this before but it's been awhile so let's refresh our memories about it. (And a tip o'the Mark's Musings cap to list member the Reverend Doctor James T. for first enlightening me on this subject.)

Happiness comes from the same root word that gave us "happenstance" and "circumstance" and originally had to do with luck. In other words, happiness depends entirely on what's going on around you. It's all exterior.

Joy, on the other hand, comes from within. It is a personal wellspring that each of us must find and nurture, with the help of the Holy Spirit, if so desired. While our happiness can be taken away by our circumstances, nothing can steal our joy.

Why this reminiscence? Because scientists now say that maybe happiness DOES come from within. They think it's a gene we carry.

Your thoughts, as always, are welcome.


There is an old fable about a puppy that was vigorously chasing its tail. An old dog saw him and asked, "Why are you chasing your tail so?"

The puppy answered, "I have mastered philosophy. I have solved the problems of our universe, which no dog before me has solved correctly. I have learned that the best thing for a dog is contentment and happiness. I have further discovered that contentment lies within my tail. Therefore, I am chasing it; and when I catch it, I shall have happiness!"

The old dog just nodded his wrinkled head, then replied, "My son, I, too, have paid attention to the problems of our universe. In my own weak way, I have formed some opinions. Like you, I have judged that contentment and happiness are fine things for a dog and that, indeed, happiness lies within my tail. But I have also noticed that when I chase it, it keeps running from me; but when I simply go about my business, it follows after me."

[abridged from These Times via Wit and Wisdom]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)


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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Movie Survey

Well, this has got to be one of the more helpful bits of Internet I've seen in awhile. It's just unfortunate they had to name it this way. Still, it makes its point.

Have you ever been in the middle of a movie at the cinema and suddenly felt the call of nature? What do you do? Do you hold it and try to enjoy the rest of the movie while you quietly feel your back teeth start floating? Or do you dash to the restroom and pray you haven't left in a really juicy spot of the flick?

Well, now you can visit RunPee, and they will tell you EXACTLY when to make that mad dash, and how much time you've got. Each white dot on the yellow timeline bar will tell you precisely when to go, and what you will miss while you're gone (they do scramble that part, though, so there's no plot spoilers unless you want them).

What I found most helpful was the very last white dot; click that and they will tell you if there's anything at the end of the movie worth staying through the credits to see. Unless you have just GOT to know the name of the head gaffer.

If you're one of those folks who own an iPhone, you can purchase an app to take with you on your phone.


My mother was walking through the mall one day when a man with a clipboard approached her.

"Excuse me," he said, "would you mind answering a question for a quick survey?"

My mother agreed and he said, "Do you think there's too much sex and violence in the movies these days?"

"I'm not sure," my mother replied. "I'm usually too wrapped up in what's happening on the screen to notice what's going on around me."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Do you think they can really turn garbage into fuel? I mean, I know they can turn it into books, movies, and TV shows, but fuel?


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Tuesday, July 07, 2009


I know I don't hug my daughter enough. I need to get better at doing it. There's nothing like a warm, physical touch to affirm your love for someone. And I mean in a good way, of course. Not overdoing it or being sarcastic with it, or heaven forfend, being creepy about it.

But these kids, I think, may be taking things too far...?

I don't know. You tell me.


My husband and I had made some huge changes in our lives.

He had been on a strict diet and exercise regimen and had recently lost 50 pounds. And after being a homemaker our entire marriage, I had just gotten a job in a local restaurant.

I returned home from work after my first morning shift and gave my husband a great big hug.

For some reason, he seemed to cling to me much longer than usual.

"Are you okay?" I asked. "Did you miss me that much?"

"No, not really," he replied, still holding me close, "but you smell so much like pancakes I just hate to let you go!"

[Clean Humor Digest]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "A hug is a smile with arms, a laugh with a stronger grip." (Terri Guillemets)


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Monday, July 06, 2009

Patriotic Twins

Well, I hope you had a happy Fourth of July celebration, filled with fun, family, and fireworks. We hit two out of three. We were with family in Indiana and the fireworks there were canceled due to an all day - and most of the night - steady rainfall.

Besides commemorating an historical milestone this past weekend, something else significant happened on July 4 this year. The crown on the Statue of Liberty was reopened to the public.

I don't remember who sent me this link, but there are some unique photographs and some juicy tidbits of information on the regal lady here.


A very patriotic couple gave birth to identical twin girls one day, and as fate would have it, they were born on the Fourth of July. The father, inspired by his love for country and the happy day of their birth, wanted to name the girls Liberty and Justice. "You know, like in the Pledge of Allegiance," he explained.

His wife would hear nothing of it.

"Are you nuts? You can't have girls going through life with names like Liberty and Justice! First off, people will think they're 'for all'! What kind of reputation would that be? No, we're going to name them regular girl names, like Mary, or Jane."

Well, the argument went back and forth for about a month, when finally they decided that each one of them would name one of the girls. The father chose the name Liberty, and his wife picked the name Elizabeth for the other girl.

Time went on and the girls grew into beautiful young women. They did have a bit of a mischievous streak in them, however, and since they were so identical in appearance, they constantly played tricks on others who couldn't tell them apart.

As it happened, a young man met one of them and they began to date, but periodically one twin would trade places with the other and the boy couldn't tell the difference. And even though he was never sure which one he was with, he fell in love with both of them and wanted to marry one.

So one day he went to the father and explained his quandary. "I love both your daughters and I want to marry one of them, but honestly, I can't tell them apart, so I will leave the decision up to you. Give me Liberty or give me Beth."

[Just for Grins via Charlie's Chuckles; slightly retold by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Remember last week's word, "pandemic"? I'll pick a similar word for this week: panacea. This is also from a Greek word: panakeios. "Pan" meaning, again, "all" and "akos" meaning "cure." So a panacea is a cure for all, or a cure for everything.


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