Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Elephant Robbery

Now that I'm on the road so much with my current postal job - and much of the driving is in the early morning out in the country - I'm seeing a lot of deer. I nearly hit one earlier in the summer, but the little doe hit the skids before getting too far into the road and I swerved out of its path, so no harm was done to either of us. Another benefit of early morning driving is there's not much traffic.

I always thought that the deer population gets "twitterpated" in the Spring, but I guess Hollywood has once again steered us wrong. As we wave goodbye to September, we stand on the cusp of the annual deer mating and migration season. So pay more attention out there.

Especially if you live in West Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, or Montana.

At least according to State Farm.


Three men, who had fallen upon hard times, decided the only solution to their troubles was to rob a bank. But they wanted to do it in a way no one had done before. After much discussion, they decided they would use an elephant to rob the bank. So they went out and got an elephant.

At the heist, everyone is quite impressed with these men, who would have the moxie and the creativity to use an elephant in the commission of this crime. During the getaway, however, they had only gone two blocks when the police showed up and demanded they stop. Instead, they urged the elephant on faster.

The police, regrettably, did their duty all too well, and felled the elephant with a hail of bullets. The three thieves, remarkably unwounded, stood around the animal, in tears. "No!" one cried, "Why him?? It should have been me!"

The police were dumbfounded. As they clapped the men in handcuffs, one officer asked, "What's going on here? What's the big deal? There's eight different ways you guys could have run with the money after we shot this animal. What's so important about an ELEPHANT?"

One thief answered him, "You don't understand, officer. You couldn't possibly understand. No one could have *any* idea of the trouble we had getting the stocking over his head."

[Net 153's Smile A Day]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: If you cross a buck with some doe, will you get a lot of money or just something to fawn over?


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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bad Nutrition Label

So, you've got an incriminating document on your hands. (The empty wrapper of a candy bar you just guiltily but joyfully consumed.) The authorities are closing in (your spouse heard the rustle of the wrapper as you opened it.) You need to get rid of the evidence, but your shredder is in the other room. What do you do?

Reach for your Shredsors.



"This product contains your daily, weekly, and quite possibly annually recommended allowance of sodium."

"Purchase of this can may be considered illegal in 34 states."

The word "Soylent." In any context.

"No animals were harmed in the making of this snack food. Much."

"Official cereal of The Mafia."

Claw marks.

"Sanitized for Your Protection."

"Heart-Stoppingly Good!"

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


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Why would anyone eat a bagel? It's an unsweetened doughnut with rigor mortis." (Beatrice and Ira Freeman, paraphrased)


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Monday, September 28, 2009

William Safire

Welcome to the last week of September. Fall is fully upon us, the trees have begun to turn their leaves into a muted rainbow mosaic, the weather is beginning to swing from chilly and wet to warm and mild in the span of one day, and if you listen hard enough, and are quite still enough, you can hear and feel the moments around you becoming history, here in this season we've named Autumn.

William Safire passed away yesterday, of the same disease that killed Patrick Swayze: pancreatic cancer.

He was a presidential speechwriter-turned-columnist for the New York Times, and he won a Pulitzer Prize. Read more about his life here.



"I think we all need to know that we do not need to know."

"Knowing how things work is the basis for appreciation, and is thus a source of civilized delight."

"The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right."

"Avoid clich├ęs like the plague."

"Is sloppiness in speech caused by ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care."

"English is a stretch language; one size fits all."

"No one flower can ever symbolize this nation. America is a bouquet."

[selected from various and sundry quotation sites by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: A quick Google search reveals that "behoove" appeared to be Mr. Safire's favorite word, based on the number of times it appears in his work, apparently. The origins of this word are a bit complicated, and I won't go into all the etymological nuance, but it's an Americanized spelling of the Old English "behoof," which means "use, benefit, or advantage" with the implied meaning of taking that advantage for your own benefit. As in, "it would behoove you to reflect on this matter."


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Friday, September 25, 2009

Mitch Hedberg

I don't know how comma missed it, but yesterday was National Punctuation Day. My colon was probably going through a rough period.

I'm sorry for that first paragraph. Just couldn't help myself.

Lately I've become enamored with the standup comedy of one Mitchell Hedberg. He's a lot like Stephen Wright and a lot like my "Random Acts of Thinking." He passed away in 2005, but he lives on in comedy recordings and the Internet. Here's some of his stuff. Perhaps I'll feature more in a later post.



I hope the next time I move I get a real easy phone number, something like two two two two two two two. And then when people would say, "Mitch, how do I get a hold of you?" I'd say, "Just press two for awhile, and when I answer, you'll know you've pressed two enough."

I bought a seven-dollar pen because I kept losing them and I got sick of not caring.

My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana, I said, "No, but I want a regular banana later ... so, yeah."

When you buy a box of Ritz crackers, on the back of the box they have all these suggestions as to what to put on top of the Ritz. "Try it with turkey and cheese. Try it with peanut butter." But I like crackers, that's why I bought it. I like crackers! I don't see a suggestion to put a Ritz on top of a Ritz. I didn't buy them because they're little edible plates. They've got no faith in their own product.

I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long.

I like vending machines 'cause snacks are better when they fall. If I buy a candy bar at the store, oftentimes I will drop it, to help it achieve its full flavor potential.

By the way, you don't have to be sweaty and holding a basketball to enjoy Gatorade. You could just be a thirsty dude! Gatorade forgets about this demographic.

My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.

I don't have a microwave oven, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks stuff.

I didn't go to college, but if I did, I would have taken all my tests at restaurants, because "the customer is always right."

I've got an oscillating fan at my house. The fan goes back and forth. It looks like the fan is saying "no." So I like to ask it questions that a fan would say "no" to. "Do you keep my hair in place?" "Do you keep my documents in order?"

I just bought a two-bedroom house, but don't we get to decide how many bedrooms it has? This bedroom has an oven in it. This bedroom has lots of people sitting around watching a TV.

I had a parrot. The parrot talked, but it did not say "I am hungry," so it died.

I went to a pizzeria and ordered a slice of pizza. They gave me the smallest slice possible. If the pizza was a pie chart for what people would do if they won a million dollars, I was given the "donate it to charity" slice. "Excuse me, I would like to exchange this for the 'Keep It!' slice."

You know, I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask where they're going and hook up with them later.

[family friendly selections from WikiQuote; be aware there are many that are not]


Tomorrow is the annual "Dot's Trotters" Spaghetti Supper at our church. It's put on by a friend whose mother passed from Lou Gehrig's Disease, and Dawn does many fundraisers for ALS throughout the year. This is her big one. Not only is the food good, but she has gathered a veritable cornucopia of gifts to be raffled off after the meal. The big one this year is a 2-bedroom apartment for one year - rent free! If we win, we can save a year of storage unit fees! Woo hoo!

Ahem. I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: In November of '08, I recommended Pandora Radio to you in this space. You can find a similar version at It's not quite as customizable, but it has the benefit of playing in its own window and you don't have to interact with it every so often to keep it playing. And they've just added the Beatles catalog for those of you who enjoy their music.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday - to 570 of you (at this rate, I'll be e-mailing myself by the end of next year) - using Ezine Director and I pay a little extra every day to make sure my posts are certified by Habeas to be a safe source of e-mail. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise click your mouse 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. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Please ask friends and family to subscribe so my flagging ego will be boosted. No one likes a saggy ego. Or a soggy one, for that matter. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits, like the rest of the post, are free of charge. Original material and musings © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update my blog with a copy of this 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 Gotta run, my daughter hits the pool soon and I need to be there.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "A fly was very close to being called 'a land' because that's what they do half the time." (Mitch Hedberg)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Score

Thursday is my second day off work during the week. (I have Sundays and Thursday off. I explained that some time ago, didn't I?) Anyway, it's the one day of the week I look forward to getting more than four to six hours of sleep. And sleep I do, like a baby.

Well, a baby that snores like a chainsaw on steroids, but yeah, you get the idea.

Which brings me to today's item. Why are the snooze alarms on most alarm clocks set for a nine-minute interval?

The folks at Mental Floss have suggested the following answer: When the first snooze alarm was added to your bedside clock - circa the 1950s - the engineering of the clock mechanism was already a standardized set of gears. The gear that was added for the snooze alarm could have been sized for roughly nine minutes, or roughly ten minutes.

Physiological sleep studies of the period reported that sleeping for ten minutes was just long enough to fall back into a deep sleep, so the powers that be decided nine minutes it was. Because who wants to wake up from a sound sleep more than once a day?

When the industry converted to digital clocks, the nine-minute interval was so ingrained into the consumer psyche that it was simply carried over.

I am reminded, however, of an old Irish proverb: "A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures."


After staying up far too late one night watching football, my husband fell asleep in his chair in front of the television. He looked so comfortable I couldn't bear to wake him and just let him spend the night there.

In the morning, I shook him awake and said, "Get up, it's twenty to seven."

Without missing a beat, he said, "Which team has twenty?"

[Pastor Tim's Clean Laugh]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." (Proverbs 3:21-24)


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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cell Phone Novels

I don't know about your sons and daughters or grandkids, but my daughter is a cell phone text message fiend. In fact, she reads her email on her phone, watches videos on her phone, and oh, yes, makes the occasional call.

If you have children who are out in the big, bad, cyber-world via some type of device, then this might be a good idea.

The folks who run MobiDigger have found a way to mask your cell phone number and name with the nickname of your choice so no one ever has to see your cell phone number or text message name again.

That sigh of relief you heard was Privacy, being restored.



The Adventures of Blackberry Finn

Mobile Dick

Cellular's Travels

brb w/wind

As I Lay Dialing

Lost Verizon

Lord of the Ringtones

Valley of the Calls

The Scarlet Text

The Decline and Fall of the Roamin' Empire

The Call of the Wild

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


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why is the keypad on a telephone the opposite of the keypad on a calculator? It's the same ten numbers, isn't it?


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Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Calendar note: today is the autumnal equinox, or "Fall" in other words. So named, one presumes, for all the leaves that fall out of the trees during this season.

Hey, my wife spent much of Monday night watching "Dancing with the Stars" while whipping up some steaks for our lunch today. (Well, we were supposed to have them for Monday supper, but best-laid plans and all that.)

This might be a handy little gadget next time you need to cook something. It's a frying pan with a digital thermometer built right into the handle (removable for dishwashing).

They're currently sold out but stuff that sells that well gets restocked pretty quickly.


The other day I went to a restaurant that I hadn't been to in some time. It was quite busy but I was in no hurry.

When the waiter came to take my order, I remarked, "You know, it's been ten years since I came in here."

The waiter gave me a sympathetic look and said, "I am sorry sir, but I'm working as fast as I can."

[Top Greetings]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolor, Summer an oil painting, and Autumn a mosaic of them all." (Stanley Horowitz)


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Monday, September 21, 2009

Music Glossary 3

Several years ago, I predicted that cell phones would make pay phones obsolete. I wasn't the only one to suggest this, and certainly not the first, but nonetheless it came true.

I've already made my next two predictions: one, that wristwatches will become obsolete. Most younger folks I know don't even wear one, choosing instead to consult their cell phone provider for the correct time. My other prediction is that televisions will eventually be replaced by the Internet. You know how they began selling TVs that were "cable-ready"? Soon - if not already - you'll be able to buy a television that's "Internet-ready." I mean, you can already hook them up to your PC if you have the right hardware, but soon I believe you'll see televisions sold with the same kind of cord you find now on your computer monitor, so you can plug it directly into a port on your computer.

Having said that, you might as well get ready to watch your TV online. With today being the "official" start of the fall network television season, it's appropriate to feature 25 Places to Watch TV Online. The article includes some UK sites, as well. And beware, I'm not sure all of the clips being shown there are what we'd consider family friendly.

Speaking of predictions, I made my own guesses at last night's Emmy Awards over at the blog. As I write this, the program is just beginning so I have no idea how close I came. Check it out.



Quintet: Five people playing the same music four could play just as well.

Ragtime: The end of the orchestral piece, when the conductor takes out his handkerchief in a flourish and mops his brow.

Supertonic: Schweppes.

Tempus perfectum: A good time was had by all.

Unison: What the director chooses when the choir is not good enough to sing harmonies.

Vibrato: A method used by singers to hide the fact they are on the wrong pitch.

Wind Ensemble: Congress.

Xylophone: A Greek phrase, literally: "From wood, hello."

Zart: a melodic passing of gas.

[written by Mark Raymond with some minor aid from]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Here's a great word that you hardly ever hear: blatherskite. It's not only a compound word, it originates in compound countries. "Blathra" was an Old Norse word meaning "to chatter," and "skate" comes to us from Scotland and describes a contemptible person. Thus, a "blatherskite" is someone who indulges in babble, or nonsense, or just incoherent muttering about inane matters.


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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mark Picks the Emmy Winners

If anyone asks, there are two secrets to my success. The first is the cardinal rule that "sleep is optional." The second is the conscious choice to not watch much television. Rather, let me say not watch too much live television. I do have my favorite shows, and we record those on our DVR and watch them later, when we can filter out the commercials and get an hour program watched in just about 42 minutes. Or, I'll watch on the web and accomplish much the same thing.

That said, I have no clue who's going to win the Emmy's tonight, because I don't watch hardly any of these shows (coupled with the fact you need an expensive cable premium package to watch most of them), but I have some guesses. We'll see how right I am.

The nominees: Big Love (HBO), Breaking Bad (AMC), Damages (FX), Dexter (Showtime), House (Fox), Lost (ABC), Mad Men (AMC).

Mark picks: Mad Men, because the Emmy's love to award the same show and actor(s) for several years in a row. I hear a lot of people really enjoy Dexter, and Lost has made an artistic comeback, but if I had a vote, I'd pick House.

The nominees: Entourage (HBO), Family Guy (Fox), Flight of the Conchords (HBO), How I Met Your Mother (CBS), The Office (NBC), Weeds (Showtime), 30 Rock (NBC).

Mark picks: The one not listed: The Big Bang Theory (CBS). The show that finally gives nerds their due and is consistently funny with not so much sexual humor or nasty language. In reality, the Emmy will probably go to 30 Rock. But CBS put up the wrong show.

The nominees: Sally Field (Brothers & Sisters on ABC), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer on TNT), Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on NBC), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Holly Hunter (Saving Grace on TNT), Glenn Close (Damages).

Mark picks: Mrs. Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick. Her work on The Closer is remarkable week in and week out, and the show is on our short list of "must see TV." The industry pundits say that Glenn Close has the inside track.

The nominees: Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment on HBO), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Simon Baker (The Mentalist on CBS), Hugh Laurie (House), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad).

Mark picks: Hugh Laurie. Dr. Gregory House is consistently interesting to watch, and often quite funny. Baker is a Brit new to American TV, and Bryan Cranston won last year, so he might pull it off again this season, but I'd like to see Laurie recognized for his work.

The nominees: Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (The New Adventures of Old Christine on CBS), Christina Applegate (Samantha Who? on ABC), Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program on Comedy Central), Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds), Toni Collette (United States of Tara on Showtime), Tina Fey (30 Rock).

Mark picks: Occasionally the Emmy goes to quality shows that have been canceled, to recognize the lead(s) for their work (Taxi comes to mind). With that in mind, I'd like to pick Christina Applegate, but I think the Emmy is going to once again go to Ms. Fey because she has a much higher profile in the industry right now.

The nominees: Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), Tony Shalhoub (Monk on USA), Steve Carell (The Office), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men on CBS), Jim Parsons, (The Big Bang Theory on CBS).

Mark picks: Jim Parsons, to make up for The Big Bang Theory not being nominated for Best Comedy Show. Tony Shalhoub should win next year, after Monk goes off the air, and Alec Baldwin won last year so he could get the nod, but I get the impression he just kind of coasted on his laurels this year. And why Two and a Half Men is still on the air I don't really understand. I mean, it's funny, but it's a one-trick-pony. Everything about that show is one long sex joke. It's not on our watch list here at the house.

So there you have it. I won't go into all the categories, because that would just be dull, but there are my picks for the biggies.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Deck Work

We are still in the middle of redecorating and renovating several rooms in our home. With both Bonnie and I working several jobs, the progress is slow. Very slow.

If we had any artistic skills at all, maybe we'd just paint the whole place cream, buy $10 worth of permanent markers, and go to town, like this guy did.

Clicking on the video stops it briefly, and a clicking/dragging combination will move the picture left or right. It is perhaps the most innovative - and cheapest - decorating job I've ever seen.


I was working in the sun all day this past summer, putting the finishing touches on our new deck, when my sister pulled into the driveway. She greeted me and spent a few minutes looking over my work as I continued to paint.

From behind me I heard her gush, "Wow, you're an expert!"

I felt complimented and immensely satisfied. But, not trying to seem too full of myself, I turned to her and said, "Well, once you get going, it's pretty easy!"

She looked puzzled and I had to wonder if perhaps I had misheard her comment, so I asked, "What did you just say?"

She smiled and replied, "I said, Wow, your neck's burnt!"

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


Hey, tomorrow is "International Talk Like A Pirate Day." If you're on Facebook, scroll to the bottom of your screen and click the name of your current language, then select "English (Pirate)." It's a hoot! Gets kind of annoying after more than a day or two, but for tomorrow, it's entirely appropriate.

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Time Magazine has done it again and issued their "50 Best Websites of 2009" at,28757,1918031,00.html. It's late and I haven't got time to go through them all, so I apologize in advance if any of these are not family friendly, but in general, I trust Time. Thanks and a tip o'the Mark's Musings cap to local blogger Andy Heller.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday - to now around 580 of you (am I getting more unpopular?) - using Ezine Director and I pay a little extra every day to make sure my posts are certified by Habeas to be a safe source of e-mail. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise pleasantly click your mouse 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. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. Please notice that today's post is just CHOCK FULL of links you can click. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. It's nice if the credits stay post-bound. Original material and musings © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update my blog with a copy of this 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 If I had a nickel for every time I thought about charging money for this post, I'd have five cents.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "The future is much like the present, only longer." (Don Quisenberry)

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Today is my daughter's fifteenth birthday. She's celebrating by participating in a swim meet against a rival high school. You think maybe if we let all the other swimmers know it's her birthday, they'll swim just a wee bit slower in her heats?


Amanda buys a lunch at the cafeteria every day, just like her brother did when he was in school. Mom and I usually take our lunch to work. If you're having any problem with other people nipping off with your sandwich while it's stashed in the company fridge or your child/grandchild's lunchbox/locker ... maybe you should invest in some of these.


My son's least favorite vegetable is turnips, but we were having some one night and I put *one* on his dinner plate and told him to eat everything he was served.

He obediently cleaned his plate ... except for the turnip.

"See," I pointed out to him, "if you had eaten it earlier, it wouldn't have been the last taste left in your mouth at the end of the meal."

He sighed and thoughtfully said, "I guess I was just trying to delay the inedible."

[Good Clean Funnies List]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred." (Proverbs 15:17)


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Heavy Metal Bruce

By now most of you know that Patrick Swayze passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Of the "common" cancers, the pancreatic variety comes in fourth place in terms of mortality rates.

Your number one cancer killer is lung cancer. By far. Which makes this bit of news quite encouraging, indeed.



My doctor has informed me that I have Mercury (a planet more than 3,000 miles in diameter) in my bloodstream. No wonder I feel bloated!

Mercury is also a metal that remains liquid at room temperature, much like my mother's lasagna. I'll speculate, however, that mercury is far different from my mother's lasagna, in that the dog would probably EAT mercury. All the dog ever did with the lasagna was chew it a little before spitting it out. My dad would notice all the soggy piles of lasagna under the table and then we'd get in plenty of trouble for mistreating the dog.

The downside to having so much mercury in my bloodstream is that it can cause memory loss and, well ... other things. The upside is that I can always tell you what temperature it is.

I also seem to have a high concentration of another "heavy metal" in my bloodstream -- lead. No wonder I'm reluctant to throw away all my Deep Purple albums! People who have to pay a lot of speeding tickets are said to have a "lead foot" or a "teenage son."

Knowing that I've got all this lead in my body has changed some of my attitudes. For example, I'm no longer afraid of being exposed to things like radiation, or bullets. On the other hand, I don't dare go outside in a rainstorm for fear of rusting to a halt.

My doctor informs me that having such a toxic level of metal in my blood could mean a shortened lifespan, though the good news is that when I die my family can avoid the expense of a funeral and just dump my body in a recycling bin. He has put me on medication designed to fix the problem, in the hopes that a side effect will be increased mental capacity, so I can remember to pay his bill.

The treatment to extrude the metals from my body can take more than a year, which, to put it in perspective, is approximately the half-life of my mother's lasagna.

[copyright 2008 by W. Bruce Cameron via Mikey's Funnies; abridged by Mark Raymond; Mr. Cameron grants permission to send this to others with attribution, but not for commercial purposes]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why do doctors prescribe pain pills? Shouldn't they be giving out pain *relief* pills?


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Marryin' the Librarian

A leading sleep specialist in England says that maybe couples should consider separate beds.

When it's time to get serious about your night's shut-eye, he says that maybe instead of rolling over to your own side of the bed, you should just toddle off down the landing to a whole different bed entirely.

I suspect that there are some couples who will be outraged by this suggestion ... and I suspect there are some other couples who will quietly admit that yes, maybe there's some merit to that idea.

I'll let you find the middle ground.


I met my husband while I was working in a science library. He came in every week to read the latest journals and have a chat. Eventually he decided to start taking out the librarian instead of the books.

After 18 months of dating, he showed up at the library one day and began rummaging through my desk. I asked what he was looking for, but he refused to answer. Finally, he murmured, "Ah, here it is," and withdrew one of our rubber stamps from a bottom drawer.

Turning to me, he said, "Since I couldn't find the right engagement ring, this will have to do," and he took the stamp and firmly pressed it against the back of my hand.

There, in bright red capital letters, I saw, "NOT FOR CIRCULATION."

[Ruth Chodrow, in Reader's Digest Online]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Sleep is no mean art; for its sake, one must stay awake all day." (Friedrich Nietzsche)


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Monday, September 14, 2009

Music Glossary 2

Well, since I need to give you part two of the alphabetical musical definitions, I needed to find something that would kind of go with that.

So I came up with this.

It's ten things you probably didn't know about the Beatles, and I confess I didn't know any of them. See if you can spot the infamous Postal Service connection.

And those of you who still go to garage sales, print the cover of one of the albums in the article so you'll recognize it if you find it. It's worth more than $10,000.



Intonation: Playing an instrument with your feet.

Jazz: A form of music wherein each musician plays what they want, when they want to.

Keynote: A message left for the spouse who forgot his keys.

Lamentoso: With handkerchiefs.

Messiah: An oratorio written by Handel and performed nearly every Christmas by choirs that are almost good enough, accompanied by musicians who need the money.

Neoclassical: Music that makes you long for the classics.

Opus: A penguin in Kansas.

Passing Notes: Two oboes attempting to play the same score.

[selected from aha, with edits and additional material by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Sometimes sad music will fill us with "melancholic" feelings, or another person will be feeling melancholy, or someone may sing "My Melancholy Baby" to you. But what does that word mean? It's originally from two Greek words: "melan," meaning "black," and "chole," meaning "bile." In Ancient Greece, if you were feeling melancholic, you were coughing up black bile ... and that's certainly enough to make anyone feel sad.


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Friday, September 11, 2009

Post #600: Mindset List 2009

Patriot Day, 2009. If you fly the American flag, remember to notch it down to half-staff today.

This is also my 600th post here at the blog. Let me make visiting here worth your while. Go to the list of "labels" on the right hand side of the page and click the one that says "bonus." All the material I've posted here that you haven't seen in your Inbox will be served up for you.

Meanwhile, students returned to classes all over this great nation during the past week. And that means it's time for those clever folks at Beloit University in Wisconsin to issue their annual "mindset" list, where they help us understand the cultural experience and background of this year's freshmen (and women).


2009 Version (Class of 2013)

Dr. Seuss, Gene Roddenberry, and Freddie Mercury have always been dead.

Jack Kevorkian and Mike Tyson have always been felons.

They have never used a card catalog to find a book.

Salsa has always been more popular than ketchup.

Tattoos have always been chic and highly visible.

Rap music has always been mainstream.

The KGB has never existed.

They have never had to "shake down" an oral thermometer.

They have never understood the meaning of R.S.V.P.

The Atlanta Braves have only ever had one manager: Bobby Cox.

There has always been a Cartoon Network.

They have always watched wars, riots, and police arrest people on television as it actually happened.

There have always been flat screen televisions.

They were never Saved By the Bell.

Most communities have always had a "mega-church."

There has always been a Planet Hollywood.

They don't understand why "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up" is funny.

There has always been blue Jell-O.

[selected from Beloit University; see the entire list here.]


My daughter has another swim meet this weekend and I'm working, of course, but other than that, it looks like a quiet one. I'll see you on Monday.


WEB SITE of the WEEK: Have a little fun this week with "The Eyeballing Game" at My best score was a 7.00; I'm sure you can beat that.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday - to now less than 600 of you - using Ezine Director and I pay a little extra every day to make sure my posts are certified by Habeas to be a safe source 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. To win at tic-tac-toe, roulette, and lawsuits, just don't play. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. In the long run, it probably doesn't matter who gets the credit, but my credits tell others where to find me, and I hope that's important. 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. Look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring all that extra material up with one click. But now I believe I'm repeating myself. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. Find me on Facebook at Some people sleep and dream. I dream of sleep.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "I've been trying for some time to develop a lifestyle that doesn't require my presence." (Garry Trudeau)

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Busy day today. I'm headed back toward the west side of the state to support my Mom and Dad in court again, then back in time to catch my daughter's swim meet, and then finish the evening off with a band rehearsal. And maybe work in a post for Friday just before I drop off to sleep.

Meanwhile, for you I have this thought: It's not too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts. If you want to give a really unique one this year - and you've got a couple hundred bucks to blow on it - take a look at this idea.


When a tornado touched down in a small town near to ours, many families were left devastated. Some of the local newspapers carried many human interest stories for days afterward, often featuring one of the families who had been hit the hardest.

On the front of one issue, one particular photograph touched my attention. A young woman, about my age, stood in front of a demolished mobile home, anguish on her face. A young boy of seven or eight stood next to her, eyes downcast. Clutching her skirt on the other side was a tiny girl, eyes wide with fear and confusion.

The article that went with that picture included a list of some things they needed, along with clothing sizes of each family member. With growing interest, I noted that their sizes were very close to those of my family. I thought this might make a good opportunity to teach my twin boys and my three-year old girl something about helping those less fortunate.

I taped that picture to our refrigerator and then explained that young family's plight to Brad and Brett and my daughter, Meghan. "We have so much," I explained, "and these poor people now have nothing. We'll share some of what we have with them."

I scavenged up three large boxes and laid them on the living room floor. Meghan watched solemnly as the boys and I filled up one of the boxes with canned goods, soap, toiletries, and a few other nonperishable items. Then I began to go through my old clothes and encouraged the boys to go through their old toys, asking them to donate the ones they didn't play with or want anymore.

When we came back to the living room and began putting our things in the second and third boxes, I told Meghan, "I'll help you find something for the little girl when we're done." As we packed, Meghan quietly slipped out of the room. In a moment, she returned with Lucy, her worn, faded, frazzled, much-loved rag doll hugged tightly to her chest.

She paused in front of one of the boxes, pressed her round little face into Lucy's flat, painted-on face, gave her a final kiss, and gently laid her on top of the other toys.

"Oh, honey" I said, "you don't have to give up Lucy. You love her so much!" Meghan just nodded seriously, eyes glistening with held-back tears. "I know, Mommy. Lucy makes me happy. Maybe she'll make that other little girl happy, too."

Swallowing hard, I stared at Meghan for a long moment, wondering how I could teach the boys the lesson she had just taught me. I didn't have to wonder long. Brad rose and went to his room. He came back carrying one of his favorite action figures. He hesitated briefly, clutching the toy hard, then looked over at Meghan and placed it in the box, next to Lucy.

A slow smile spread across Brett's face, then he jumped up, and with eyes twinkling, went to grab some of his favorite Matchbox cars to donate. I pulled all three of them into my arms. And then I took the old tan jacket with the frayed cuffs out of the box, and replaced it with the new Hunter Green jacket I had found on sale and purchased for myself just last week.

I realized that anyone can give their cast-offs away. True generosity is giving that which you cherish most.

[A Mountain Wings original via Ed Peacher's Laughter for a Saturday; edited by Mark Raymond]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "But just as you excel in everything -- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us -- see that you also excel in this grace of giving." (2 Corinthians 8:7)


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Wednesday, September 09, 2009


PRAYER DEP'T: Long-time readers may remember that just over three years ago my parents were in a terrible automobile collision, where they broadsided another vehicle who pulled out directly in front of them. There were no fatalities, but my parents are still recovering and rehabilitating from the effects of that accident ... and they will be in court both today and again tomorrow, trying to force the insurance company of the other vehicle to act justly and compensate them for their medical bills and loss of mobility; as well as the emotional distress they've undergone. I will be with them today. Please pray for a good outcome.


Meanwhile, if you'd like to try finding your own hidden treasure, check out this latest Mental Floss blog post, and then grab a shovel or start going through crazy old Aunt Ruth's stuff you've kept in the attic all these years.


Showing a friend around his home, Joe started pointing out all the collectible items he and his wife had accumulated over the years ... mostly his wife, truth be told.

"How much are they all worth?" his friend asked.

"I'm not sure," Joe replied, "but the day before I die I'd like to sell every one and find out."

"But you can't possibly know when you're going to die, so that won't ever happen, will it?"

"Let me put it this way," Joe says, "if I sold any of these, my wife would kill me!"

[Pastor Tim's Cybersalt Digest]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Is the reason we call it "cold cash" because it's never in my pocket long enough to get warm?


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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Field Trip

Here in Michigan, a law was passed a couple years back that said no child shall return to public school before Labor Day. Well, that was yesterday which means that Amanda heads back to the halls of learning today.

As I write this, she and Mom are out picking up some snacks and supplies for her to take to school ... and of course, lots of water and soda pop. Amanda loves her clear sodas.

Which brings me to today's link. Did you know there are still bottlers in the world who make soda pop from rose petals? Or cucumbers? I found a 13-minute video about Galco's Soda Pop Stop in California. I couldn't find out who the gentleman was, but I tell you what, he has instant credibility, and about 500 different flavors of soda pop.

In fact, I did dig a little deeper and discovered that Galco's has an online store if you want to order some. And I did.


My daughter's history class was able to take a trip to Washington, DC last year. She didn't seem too excited, deeming it too "educational" to be any fun.

But when she returned she was bubbling over with enthusiasm and wonder and even awe as she described how they stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, staring at the Washington Monument across the reflecting pool

"Just think, Mom," she marveled, "we were standing in the exact spot where Forrest Gump stood!"

[Wit and Wisdom]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers." (Edgar W. Howe)


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Monday, September 07, 2009

Music Glossary 1

Labor Day, 2009. The unofficial end of summer, which is still, equinoxly-speaking, about two weeks away.

The National British Library used their summer to move more than 23,000 archived sound recordings online.

Classical music, world music - mostly from Africa - interviews, wildlife, even recordings made on some of the first wax cylinders are here.



Accidentals: Wrong notes.

Bar Line: A gathering of people, amongst whom you can usually find a musician or two.

Conductor: A musician who is adept at following many people at the same time.

Da capo al fine: I like your hat!

English Horn: A woodwind that got its name despite being neither English nor a horn. Not to be confused with the French Horn, which is German.

Fermata: A brand of girdle made especially for opera singers.

Glissando: The musical equivalent of slipping on a banana peel. Also used when the musician can't play a difficult run of notes.

Harmonic Minor: A good music student.

[selected from aha]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Let's do a musical term this week. Most everyone knows that a "crescendo" in music is the part of the piece where the instruments or singer(s) get louder. The original word began in Latin as "creare" and meant "to bring forth, create, or produce." One of the first uses of the word was as it applied to the visible first stage of a waxing moon - "luna crescens" - literally, moon growing. Ironically, most people mistook the word to describe the *shape* of the moon rather than the stage of its fullness. And that is why a "crescent" roll describes the shape of the pastry ... its a misuse of the original word. "Croissant" is the French word - and still a mistake - as again it applies to the shape and not the growing fullness of the original word.


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Sunday, September 06, 2009

God's Masterpiece

Went to video church this morning. This video made me tear up in spots. Loved the line about the empty wells.

May it mean as much to you.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Random Thoughts III - 2009

Normally I try doing five posts of these each year, but this year the calendar and celebrity deaths have kind of thrown me off schedule. In fact, today I should be doing a "back-to-school" post, but I'll save that for next week.


Part the Third

Do chickens think rubber humans are funny?

I wish, as a baby, my first word would have been "quote." Then, with my dying breath, I could have said, "unquote."

All those driving direction maps on the Internet really need to start their directions at about #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

My grandmother knew how to give true beauty tips. For example, she said to give yourself a morning facial, take a warm, fluffy bath towel and drape it over the mirror.

So I'm on a new diet of coconuts and bananas. I haven't lost any weight, but I can really climb a tree, now.

I always cry at the movies. And always in the same place. Right in front of the ticket window.

I'm an English major. You do the math.

If you're not part of the solution ... then we have a lot in common.

I'm pretty sure my daughter cares about cleaning up the planet ... now if I could just convince her that her bedroom is part of the planet....

Hyperbole is the best thing ever!

I've been described as a lighthouse in the middle of a swamp. Brilliant, but useless!

Shouldn't prime time TV be only at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 11 o'clock?

I drove my car late at night because I wanted to burn the midnight oil.

Someday is not on my calendar. Yours?

My wife thinks I'm too nosy. Well, at least that's what she keeps scribbling in her diary.

[stolen, selected, scraped up, sorted, and strung together from Steven Wright, Top Greetings, Hallmark's Maxine, Randy Glasbergen, Joe's Clean Laffs, Scott Adams, and the mind of Mark Raymond]


Working today and tomorrow, then enjoying the unofficial end of summer with a long Labor Day weekend. I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: List member Dianne F. put me on to a website that has all manner of interesting little articles and facts about your finances at It covers credit, loans, retirement, taxes, mortgages, and more.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday - to nearly 600 of you - using Ezine Director and I pay a little extra every day to make sure my posts are certified by Habeas to be a safe source of e-mail. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and otherwise pleasantly click your mouse (and I recommend you also hum a merry tune) 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. To contact me and sooner or later get a reply, click here. To get up on time, make sure you drink a full glass of water immediately prior to going to sleep. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. In the long run, it probably doesn't matter who gets the credit, but my credits tell others where to find me, and I hope that's important. Original material and musings © 2009 by Mark Raymond. I update my blog with a copy of this 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. Some of it is really cool, too. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. Find me on Facebook at Should auld acquaintance be forgot, they probably weren't that good a friend in the first place.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt." (Henry J. Kaiser)