Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Science

New Year's Eve, 2009.

One of the things my wife and I enjoy doing on this day, when we get the chance, is to go back over the calendar and reminisce about the year gone by. It's surprising how this simple exercise allows you to feel how much you've lived, and not so much like, "where did the year go?"

One of the things that 2009 brought us is something they're calling "augmented reality." Cell phone software, GPS technology, and data from the Internet were being combined in new ways this year. For example, you point your cell phone camera down a street, the software and GPS figure out where you're at and which direction you're pointing, then provide data about the businesses and shops on that street, or tell you where the nearest subway station is located.

The Christian Science Monitor is all over this, and if you click the link at the end of the article, you can see some videos about how this all works and what it looks like. Golly, even the U.S. Postal Service uses it these days.

Happy New Year, and party responsibly tonight!



Cat-repelling force fields for Christmas trees.

A V-chip that blocks television ads for toys in households with young children.

Biodegradable Christmas lights. Put 'em up, never take 'em down! They're still gone by mid-January!

Christmas trees built like umbrellas; room for more presents underneath.

Ejector seats in couches for guests who overstay their visit.

Battery Zapper: instantly drains the batteries of any device that emits an annoying sound.

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


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." (Colossians 2:17)


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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pilot Competition

There are, apparently, 87 countries around the globe that still have minefields in them. One statistic I read said that between 10,000-15,000 people and animals are injured every year by these buried explosives.

Science to the rescue. Researchers in Scotland have developed a bacteria which - when sprayed on a field of landmines - turns green whenever it is near explosive material.

And you thought I was kidding.



A young hotshot pilot in an F-18 Hornet was flying escort for a B-52 bomber and, being horribly bored, began flying rings around the bomber, hotdogging it and doing rolls where the other pilots were sure to see him.

The brash young pilot said, "Anything you can do, old dog, I can do better."

The veteran pilot responded, "Oh, yeah? Try this, kid."

For several minutes nothing happened. The B-52 continued to fly straight and level. Finally the grizzled bomber pilot came back on the radio, "Let's see you try that, hotshot."

"Try what?" asked the F-18 pilot. "What did you do?"

"I shut down two engines, got up, stretched, then got a cup of coffee."

[Smile A Day Clean Humor]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why do pilots tell us they're on "final approach"? Did they make other approaches they *didn't* tell us about?


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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Internet Illnesses

Though we're still installing and upgrading and haven't really started using them much yet, pretty much everyone in the house got a new computer for Christmas.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, Kim Komando passes along the "Reconnect" website, which specializes in recycling computer equipment. They have drop off centers throughout most of the country and are in partnership with such well known used goods stores as Goodwill, among others.

Please don't just toss old electronics into the trash. They do contain silicon chips and other materials that can be harmful to the environment. Be a good steward of God's planet.



Chronic :o(


Ebayla Virus


iThritis: Joint pain caused by using Apple products

The Common Code

[Chris White's Top Five on the Internet]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done." (Andy Rooney)


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Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday Groaners

And so we've begun the last week of 2009. Time to check our progress on those old New Year's resolutions and start thinking about some new ones.

And that means it's also time for just about every website, blogger, and newspaper or magazine feature writer to start summing up the Best and Worst of 2009.

Fimoculous hosts the Mother of All 2009 Lists. Click with care and good judgment, people. There are almost 700 entries here.



In an old deli, the workers were told they could have any one item out of the deli case during their lunch hour; any item at all ... except the smoked salmon. That was off limits. And that's the first time anyone heard of anti-lox breaks.

In old Africa, a tribal chieftain's daughter was offered as wife to the son of a neighboring clan for the price of two cows and four sheep. The big swap was to take place on the south shore of the river that separated the two villages. The father and bride showed up at the appointed place on time, only to see that the groom and his livestock were waiting on the north side of the river. "That fool," muttered the father, "doesn't even know which side his bride is bartered on."

Tina Gold, the famed Hollywood agent, was once so distraught at being unable to find work for one of her clients that upon reporting she had failed to the young starlet, she burst into tears. The ingénue patted her on the back and said, "Don't cry for me, Agent Tina."

"Doctor, doctor! I think I might be a burglar!"
"Have you taken anything for it?"

Did you know that Superman used to use puns to entertain his girlfriend? That's why they're called the Lois form of humor.



WORD for YOUR WEEK: Here's a word I find myself using quite often, actually. When you have a lot of something to do - say phone calls to make - you have a plethora of phone calls to make. It's lifted straight from Medieval Latin and Greek and means "fullness" in the sense of an abundance of fullness. It was used during the 1500s in the medical profession to describe an excess of bodily fluids and found its way into everyday use.


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Friday, December 25, 2009

Random Thoughts IV - 2009

You know, every year someone - whether it be a radio commentator, an actor on television, a columnist, or some other politically correct talking head with an axe to grind - makes the point that Jesus was actually born some time in the Spring or Summer and the early church fathers moved the celebration of his birthday to December to detract from, disguise, or even "sanctify" the pagan ritual of Festivus, or the secular commemoration of the Winter Solstice.

Which may well be true.

But that does *nothing* to take away from the miraculous event of God stepping out of eternity and clothing himself with the shackles of time, humbling his form to put on flesh in the person we call Jesus of Nazareth. No matter when it happened, it happened.

Merry Christmas!


Part the Last

I keep telling my wife I'm fit as a fiddle. A cello is a fiddle, isn't it?

Every morning has the potential to be the dawn of a new error.

Bubble wrap is good for wrapping just about anything ... except bubbles.

My wife and I had words. I didn't get to use mine.

Some days I think the most valuable function of the government is to serve as a topic of conversation.

I'm taking karate lessons, but only a few. I want to learn just enough to handle the office vending machines.

A new study says that dark chocolate relieves stress. Mostly the stress of me trying to diet.

I think I'm playing too many video games. The other day I saw a banana peel in the road and swerved to avoid it.

If they charge more to add items to my hamburger, shouldn't I get a discount if I ask them to leave stuff *off* my hamburger?

Ever since I stopped texting while driving, I've been really looking forward to red lights.

If you spend too much green, you'll end up in the red. I think that must be why those are the colors of Christmas.

My company dropped their health care plan. So they moved the employee parking lot ten blocks away.

I got an unrealtor's license. Now I can sell imaginary estate.

[owing a debt of thanks to, a sincere appreciation of, a fond affection for, and a great big dollop of gratitude to Net 153, Mikey's Funnies, United Comic Syndicates, The Ironic Times, Trés Sugar blog, Randy Glasbergen, and the mind of Mark Raymond]


A weekend filled with no obligations and nothing to do except enjoy the Christmas gifts. And maybe buy some groceries.

Anyway, I'll see you on Monday.


WEB SITE of the WEEK: I'll finish up my webcomics series today by pointing the way to This site is a collection of comics created by Christian artists.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday, when I get around to it but usually in the wee hours of the morning, 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. That means no ads, no spam, and no worries. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and do other things over at my web site. To contact me and one day get a reply, click here. Did you know that "merry" used to mean "mighty"? Robin Hood had mighty men, not happy men. May you have the mightiest Christmas ever! You can forward or reprint Mark's Musings freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits should never be taken off the post without a receipt. 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. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. Find me on Facebook at And the road goes ever on.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Resolve to edge in a little reading every day, if it is but a single sentence. If you gain fifteen minutes a day, it will make itself felt at the end of the year." (Horace Mann)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Unrecorded Comments

Christmas Eve, 2009.

My son was home for about 12 hours yesterday, but he brought gifts (and was well gifted, in return). In fact, he got me that Kindle e-reader I've been wanting ... thank you, son!

So, of course, the first thing I did was add my blog to the list of blogs to which you can subscribe, if you happen to own an Amazon Kindle Reader. Look for "Mark's Musings." Like all the other blogs on Amazon, it's $1.99 per month to subscribe, but I get a small portion of that, which will help offset my costs.

With one more trip to the Post Office this afternoon, I will have completed all of my current projects and can focus solely on our Christmas Eve service tonight and, of course, Christmas Day tomorrow. Yes, there will be a post. You're due for one final annual installment of Random Thoughts.



"What are the chances one of these animals has ice chips?"

"What do you mean, epidurals won't be invented for 2,000 years???"

"I don't suppose the 'Heavenly Host' know how to change a diaper...."

"No, I like the halo. It's like his own little nightlight."

"Well, with this kind of beginning, I don't suppose he'll amount to much...."

"He looks just like his father."

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


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)


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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Claus Memo

This year my daughter has been wondering why we ask people for a Christmas list. "What fun is it to give someone a gift when they know what it will be?" Which reminded me that we used to give "area gifts" ... we'd get a Christmas list from someone just to see what kind of stuff they liked, and then buy something based on an area of their interests, but not on their list.

We weren't very popular in our family for a few years. Now we stick with traditional methods. People seem to enjoy the surprise of discovering just which item(s) from their list was chosen.

Speaking of tradition, the North American Defense Grid - otherwise known as NORAD - is once again setting up a website where you can track Santa's flight as he departs the North Pole Thursday night.


From: Commander, Joint Arctic Operations Detachment
Subject: Distinguished Visitor
Date: 23 December 2009

1. An official visit by Major General Santa (NMI) Claus is expected at this headquarters 25 December 2009. The following instructions will be in effect and govern the actions of all personnel during said visit.

a. Not a creature will stir without official permission. This includes indigenous mice.

b. Personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap prior to 2200 hours, 24 December 2009.

c. Personnel will utilize standard ration sugar plums for use in visions dancing through heads.

d. Stockings, wool, cushioned sole, will be hung by chimney with care.

e. At the first sign of clatter from company lawn, all troops will spring from their beds to evaluate noise and cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open shutters and throw open window sashes.

f. Prior to 2400, 24 December 2009, all personnel will be assigned "Wondering Eye" stations. After shutters and sashes opened, these stations will be manned.

g. ODCSLOG will assign to MG Claus one each Sleigh, and eight (8) deer, rein, tiny. Rooftop parking will be authorized.

2. MG Claus will enter quarters through standard chimneys. All units without chimneys will draw Chimney Simulator, M-6, for use during these ceremonies.

3. Personnel will be rehearsed in synchronized shouting of "Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night." Uniformity of shouting will be responsibility of division chiefs.

[Mikey's Funnies, again, edited and abridged by Mark Raymond]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: (Golden Classic) If Good King Wenceslas ordered pizza, would it be deep pan, crisp and even?


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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Confusing Santa

Though empirical evidence says otherwise, yesterday was actually the *first* day of winter. And now the days begin to get longer again.

I can't remember who sent this to me (apologies if it was you), or perhaps I simply ran across it in the course of my daily Internet travels, but it is one cool little treat. I sent an experimental video to my wife and folks, it was pretty darn delightful.

If you've got a child, grandchild, teenager, or even an adult family member or friend who needs a personalized visit from Santa - whether they've been naughty or nice - try the Portable North Pole.

It's free and five easy screens of details will send a fun and lasting memory to a loved one.



Instead of milk and cookies, leave him a salad with a note filled with helpful dieting tips.

Leave a note by the phone saying Mrs. Claus called and could he pick up some egg nog and a fruitcake on the way home?

Remove everything from the home. Buy a policeman's costume. When Santa shows up, strut out with your billy club and say, "Well, well, they always return to the scene of the crime."

Decorate your tree with Easter eggs.

Leave out your Christmas list, full of last-minute subtractions and additions.

Set up your living room like a workshop and dress lots of neighborhood kids up as elves. When Santa arrives, say, "Back so soon?"

Santa doesn't leave until that bicycle is put together. Correctly.

[originally seen in Mikey's Funnies with several additions from around the Web]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph." (Shirley Temple Black)


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Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Thanks

Well, I am back to work today. Still not quite 100% and that dang flu cost me about 10 pounds in three days. Certainly nothing I can't afford to lose (hey, jump start on that diet!) but the reality is that probably most of it was water weight loss from all the up and chucking.

But enough about me. It's back to business as usual here in the corporate HQ of the Musings.

List member Susan B. sends along a very cool link and a nice Christmas gift for someone who is probably sorely in need of it. Cleaning for a Reason offers four free cleanings - one each month for four months - to women going through cancer treatment and chemotherapy. They have over 600 partner cleaning companies all across the U.S. and Canada. And they only contract with professional cleaning services that are insured and bonded, so you can feel good about using them.

Because life is hard enough when you have cancer, isn't it?


Lord, this year for Christmas I am thankful that...

...the grass doesn't grow through the snow, making winter mowing necessary, as well.

...that there are only 24 hours every day available for television programming.

...that there aren't twice as many Congressional Representatives and half as many doctors.

...that teenagers will ultimately have children who will grow up to be teenagers.

...that the space available for messages on tee shirts and bumper stickers is limited.

...that snow covers a multitude of gardening sins.

...that hugs and kisses don't make you fat or cause cancer.

...that DVD players, and radios, and TVs, and iPods, and cell phones all have an "off" button.

...that the sun and moon and stars do not.

[Mikey's Funnies; edits and additional material by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Here's one that tickled my fancy, coined by The Word Spy. When the news media trumps up a nonexistent or trivial - even false - story, that's now being called a "nontroversy." As in, "no controversy." I love it!


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Friday, December 18, 2009

Bad Christmas Plays

Sorry for the late post, my friends. I spent most of the wee hours this Friday morning regurgitating everything I'd eaten for the past week. And the rest of Friday sleeping it off. A spot of flu, I'm thinkin'.

So just a short joke and back to bed today.



A Christmas Story ... featuring Manger Cam!

There's a Star in the Sky ... No, Wait! There's a Hole in our Roof.

The Night the Animals Talked and Pretty Much Remembered Their Lines

Follow the Star and Bring a Dish to Pass

Four Calling Birds Attack Aunt Ruthie

The Three Wise Men and Their List of Grievances

[copyright 2003 by Dave Tippett; used with permission; may be forwarded if not for profit and with credits]


I imagine I'll be back to normal by tomorrow afternoon, or maybe I should say I *hope* to be back to normal by then.

Anyway, I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Randy Glasbergen offers these little slice-of-life observations, with a bit of the absurd thrown in, at His stuff is sold to quite a few magazines and newsletters, so odds are good you've seen his work before. The webcomic series continues.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday, when I get around to it, 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 click through the pages over at my web site. To contact me and one day get a reply, click here. For the statistically curious of you, I threw up *seven* times between 10:30 Thursday night and 3:00 Friday morning. The poor missus didn't get a wink of sleep! You can forward or reprint Mark's Musings freely but please keep the credits attached. Don't throw up (or out) my credits. 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 Ooosh. I gotta go lie down.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." (Roy L. Smith)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mrs. Rosenberg

Sorry I didn't get today's post done earlier. Today is "Free Shipping Day" with promises from 745 online retailers to have it to you by Christmas Eve.


Many years ago, when prejudicial ways and policies were prevalent in society, Mrs. Rosenberg found herself stranded for the night and the only hotel nearby was an upscale number known for not allowing Jews to spend the night.

Nevertheless, Mrs. Rosenberg went in, asked for a room, and after filling out her reservation card, the clerk looked deeply embarrassed but stammered, "Oh, I'm terribly sorry, but apparently I was mistaken. We have no rooms this evening."

"But your sign says you have vacancies!" Mrs. Rosenberg protested.

Stuttering in fear, the clerk replied, "Yes. But unfortunately, we have a strict policy about admitting Jews. I'm sure you could find a room in some other establishment."

Mrs. Rosenberg stiffened noticeably and said, "I'll have you know I converted to *your* religion."

The desk clerk paused, sniffed, then said, "Really. Let me give you a little test. Describe the birth of Jesus."

Mrs. Rosenberg smiled and said, "He was born to a virgin named Mary in a town called Bethlehem."

"Very good," replied the clerk. "Tell me more."

"He was born in a manger."

"Yes, that's right," says the clerk. "Can you tell me why?"

At this point, Mrs. Rosenberg raised her voice so all in the lobby could hear her cry, "Because a jerk like you in the hotel wouldn't give a nice Jewish lady a room for the night!"

[Pastor Tim's Pearly Gates List]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: " angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.' " (Matthew 1:20-21)


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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Song Quiz

The folks at Hear It First are sponsoring a 25 Days of Christmas thing where they're offering free music downloads, free celebrity recipes, free videos, and other whatnot, including a contest for a free Dell Netbook computer.

Once you click the offer goes away ... but it comes back if you refresh the page. Just another helpful tip from your Uncle Mark.


Match the "hidden" title with the actual song title

1. Bleached Yule
2. Embellish the Corridors
3. Castaneous-Colored Seed Vesicated in a Conflagration
4. A Meteorological Melody is Manifest
5. Righteous Darkness
6. Our Desire is Your Yuletide Cheer
7. Nocturnal Noiselessness
8. Aged Matriarch Plowed Under By Antlered Quadrupeds
9. Jehovah Deactivate Blithe Chevaliers
10. Are You Experiencing Similar Auditory Input?
11. Query Regarding Identity of Descendent
12. Arrival Upon the Onset of a Transparent Day
13. Singular Yearning at Yuletide for Twin Central Incisors
14. Loyal Followers Gather
15. The Slight Percussionist Lad

a. Silent Night
b. O Come, All Ye Faithful
c. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
d. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
e. The Little Drummer Boy
f. White Christmas
g. O Holy Night
h. Do You Hear What I Hear?
i. Deck the Halls
j. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
k. What Child is This?
l. There's a Song in the Air
m. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer
n. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
o. All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth

[Wit and Wisdom and; answers below]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Who brings Santa *his* Christmas gift?



1-f; 2-i; 3-c; 4-l; 5-g; 6-j; 7-a; 8-m; 9-d; 10-h; 11-k; 12-n; 13-o; 14-b; 15-e


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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Safari Seats

I start my last project before Christmas in an hour, so just the joke today, my friends.


A salesman who sold La-Z-Boy furniture went on an African safari one year. During the course of one safari tour, he wandered off to get some interesting photos and managed to get lost.

He spent weeks in the bush, and was near death when a native tribe discovered him, and nursed him back to health, and eventually he was able to return to the United States.

When he got back, he wanted some way to thank the chief of the tribe and his wife, and he remembered that the thrones they had sat upon were merely two large stones, where a flat surface for a seat had been chiseled, and they were most uncomfortable.

So the salesman purchased two top-of-the-line La-Z-Boy chairs, and paid for Express First Class shipping all the way to Africa, in appreciation for saving his life.

The Chief and his wife were delighted with the new chairs, and began using them immediately. They were wise, however, and knew the chairs wouldn't last forever, so they had the old boulders they were using put up onto the roof of the communal meeting house, where they would be safe from theft.

A short time later, during a tribal meeting, the heavy rocks fell through the roof and sadly, crushed both the chief and his bride.

The moral? People who live in grass houses shouldn't stow thrones.

[in groaning appreciation from A Prairie Home Companion]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "In what you say of another, apply the test of kindness, necessity, and truth, and let nothing pass your lips without a two-thirds majority." (Liz Armbruster)


Mark's Musings sits back on an RSS Feed, reclines on a Facebook Note, and says "ahhhh" via e-mail each weekday. Click here to get your own subscription.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Groaners

So how's the Christmas shopping going? Only 11 more days, y'know.

Well, so far what we've gotten here is what I call "sneaky snow." It will snow enough to cover the roads and your driveway, but not enough to make you feel like shoveling. So you let it sit there. Then you drive over it for a few days, mashing it down nice and solid. Then it snows a little more. Again, not enough to need shoveling. So you drive over it a few more days. Then a little more snow and a little more mashing it down with your car.

Then, one day, BAM! A mess o'snow. Now you've *got* to shovel only it's nearly impossible because there's a bedrock of hard snow and ice at the bottom!! Chews your shovels up and makes walking on your own driveway treacherous.

See? Sneaky.



Darth Vader knew what Luke was getting for Christmas. He felt his presence.

Would a fear of Kris Kringle be Claus-trophobia?

At Christmas, we always have a gift exchange at my house. She exchanges what I give her, and I usually have to exchange what she gets me.

Finally, in postal news, the U.S. Postal Service announced it will handle nearly 27 billion pieces of mail this holiday season. In preparation for the onslaught, it was announced they will be taking appropriate steps. They plan to open a second window at the counter.



WORD for YOUR WEEK: Occasionally, when I have a project to finish, I will drink *copious* amounts of coffee. This word owes its origin to the word opus, which is a large work (often musical in nature). In the form of copia, it means an abundance of, or profusion, or plenty (remember that a "cornucopia" is also called a "horn of plenty"). So copious simply means a large amount of something.


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed, Facebook Note for my Friends, and e-mail each weekday and hey, get your own subscription by clicking here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Military Rules

Consider today's post as sponsoring *dual* Web Site of the Week picks. I didn't really want to interrupt my Web Comics series (down below), but the site I'm talking about up top here is, I feel, way more important; especially with Christmas upon us in two weeks.

At one time you could send letters or care packages to military personnel serving overseas using the "Any Service Person" address. Security concerns since then have ended that and you must know and list who you are sending material to these days. This is where the Any Soldier website comes in.

This website recruits "contacts" from among active enlisted men and women, and these contacts keep track of the people in their units who receive very little mail or packages, as well as noting their needs and wants. You can click the "Where to Send" link for a complete list of contacts. You can then sort that list by contacts from your particular state, if you want to keep your gifts close to home. Clicking a contact's name will bring up specific information about him or her, including how many times their address has been requested, and a list of some specific items being requested.

If you ship using the U.S.P.S. Large Flat-Rate Priority Box, you receive a discount on the postage for anything going to an APO or FPO military address, and you have an excellent chance of your package or mail arriving before Christmas. Check it out and help support the troops - especially the loneliest ones - during this holiday giving season.



1. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
2. Decide to be aggressive enough, quickly enough.
3. Have a plan.
4. Have a backup plan, because the first one probably won't work.
5. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun whose caliber does not begin with the number "4."
6. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap, life is expensive.
7. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend.
8. Always cheat. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
9. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating your intention to shoot.

1. Look very cool in sunglasses.
2. Shoot anything moving.
3. Adjust Speedo.
4. Check hair.

1. Hike to battle zone from 50 miles away, carrying a 75-pound rucksack.
2. Locate the enemy.
3. Request permission to engage.
4. Curse bitterly when mission aborted.
5. Hike back 50 miles, carrying a 75-pound rucksack, now starving.

1. Receive orders; curse bitterly.
2. Make sure there is extra ammo and extra coffee.
3. Curse bitterly.
4. Curse bitterly.
5. Do not listen to Second Lieutenants. It can get you killed.
6. Curse bitterly.

1. Finish mixing cocktail.
2. Adjust temperature on air conditioner.
3. See what's on TV.
4. Wonder what it might be like to use a gun.
5. Work on "killer" PowerPoint presentation for next funding request.
6. Make appointments to lobby key Congresspeople for funding.
7. Receive funding, set up new command centers and deploy assets.
8. Never deploy assets anywhere near combat zones.
9. Hurry to make 13:45 tee time.

1. Go to sea.
2. Drink coffee.
3. Deploy Marines.

[selected from strategy; family-friendly edits by Mark Raymond]


Two weeks before the biggest birthday celebration of the year. I wonder why we seldom serve cake and punch at Christmas?

Anyway, I'll see you on Monday.


WEB SITE of the WEEK: Hallmark Cards struck gold when they created their grumpy, crotchety "Maxine" character. They have created a blog for her and post a new cartoon - with the occasional rerun of "classics" - at Just another webcomic I visit daily for a chuckle.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday, when I get around to it, 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 click through the pages over at my web site. To contact me and one day get a reply, click here. To live longer, stop sweating the small stuff. Can someone teach me how? You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits work best when left attached; they tend not to work at all when you snip 'em. 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 My house smells like bacon.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Even on the most exalted throne in the world we are still but sitting upon our own bottom." (Michel Eyquem de Montaigne)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

12 Days of SciFi?

Well, for some of you this move will be overdue. For some of you this decision will make a lot of sense. And for some of you, it will just be sad.

The Ministry of Defense in Great Britain has shut down its UFO Investigation Unit.

In other news, the United Kingdom has a UFO Investigation Unit.



Twelve Tribbles Purring

Eleven Warp Cores Breaching

Ten Stargates Dialing

Nine Shields A-Cloaking

Eight Wormholes Streaming

Seven Shiny Robots

Six "Star Wars" Chapters

Fiiiiiive Star Trek Shows!

Four Tardis Booths

Three Aliens

Two Twilight Zones

And a Crewman in a Red Shirt!

[Chris White's Top Five on Science Fiction; edits and new material by Mark Raymond]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands." (Psalm 119:66)


Mark's Musings warps your way on an RSS Feed, can be read on a Note if you're a Facebook friend, or you can beam up your own subscription via e-mail each weekday by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Bad Glasses

This is probably a sad thing, but I tend to spend most of my waking hours - not all, mind you, but most - in front of a computer monitor. Whether I'm at work, or at home. (The other few hours each day are spent with my family, my band, or behind the wheel of a vehicle.)

To help with all this computing, I'm going to use a tool that I've just discovered and downloaded, called Eye Defender. It's a little program that, at a time preset by you, will display one of several items to remind you, "hey, it's time to take a break and give your eyes a rest."

Now, if they had one for the Carpal Tunnel that's haunting my wrists....


So a woman walks into the optometry store to return a pair of eyeglasses she had purchased the week before.

"What seems to be the problem, ma'am?" the optometrist inquired.

"Well, I bought these glasses for my husband last week and they're just not working," the woman complained.

"Perhaps the lens grinder made an error in filling the prescription."

"I'm sure he must have," the woman confirmed. "He's still not seeing things my way."

[Clean Hewmor via Ed Peacher's Laughter for a Saturday]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: If eyelashes are supposed to help keep dirt, dust and other foreign matter out of my eyes, why is it the thing I get in my eye most often is an eyelash? Shouldn't the other eyelashes be keeping that one out?


Mark's Musings can be seen on an RSS Feed, on a Facebook Note, or right in your own Inbox each weekday by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Computer Recycling

So where does old software go when it dies?

It probably goes to Vetusware. This site collects and catalogs old versions of updated or obsoleted software. So if, for example, you've got an old computer and Windows 3.1 is corrupted and you can't find the original install disks anywhere, you can download a fresh install version here. Or you remember an old DOS-based game you used to play but can't find it anywhere ... it's probably here, too, as are older versions of productivity software such as Microsoft Office, or WordPerfect, or Corel programs.

One caveat - the site is massive and I haven't time to explore it all, so click with caution.



A pair of keyboards, hinged together, would make a serious waffle iron.

The housing to a mid-1990s hard drive would make a great carrying case for your iPod, Blackberry, ear buds, and at least a couple of flash drives.

Convert it into an ant farm so you can finally use that "there's a few bugs in the system" line you've been saving since seventh grade.

Throw it in the La Brea Tar Pits to confuse the snot out of future archeologists.

Burn them to generate power for electric cars.

Give them to intellectually- and technologically-deprived populations ... like Congress.

[Chris White's Top Five on the Internet; mild editorial massaging by Mark Raymond]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "After growing wildly for years, the field of computing appears to be reaching its infancy." (John Pierce)


Mark's Musings recycles itself on an RSS Feed and is also seen on my Facebook Feed and via e-mail each weekday. Click here to get your own subscription.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Military Translation

Michigan's governor has recommended state flags be set for half-staff today, in honor and commemoration of those who gave their lives at Pearl Harbor, 68 years ago today.

Find a wealth of historical and educational material about it here.


One reason our military services have so much trouble cooperating is they simply don't speak the same language.

For example, if you told the Navy to "secure a building," the last person out would turn off all the lights and lock the doors.

The Army would occupy the building so that no one could exit or enter.

The Marines would assault the building, capture it, and then defend it with suppressive fire and close combat techniques.

The Air Force, on the other hand, would probably take out a three-year lease with an option to buy.

[Colorado Comments]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Well, there is big news indeed, here at our house. I've asked my wife, and she tells me it's okay to let you know that she has begun her long-awaited experience with "The Change." She is curious, however, about the origins of the word, "menopause." It is one of those combination words from Ancient Greek. Menos means "month," and pausis is a pause (as you can guess), or a cessation of something. Thus, menopause is a cessation of something that happened monthly. Nothing to do with us guys at all, honey. Please stop blaming me.


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed, Facebook Note, and e-mail each weekday. Secure your own subscription by clicking here.

Friday, December 04, 2009


FRIDAY RAMBLINGS: Having finished one of the three projects on my plate due before Christmas - well, there's still some revisions and a touch of production work - I was hit by the "I don't wanna do nuthin' " bug which, I hope, explains why today's post is so late.

And, it appears that my link from yesterday to the TV Pop Crunch website set off alarms on McAfee if you have the Site Advisor feature installed. I use the McAfee that comes bundled free with Comcast Internet and Site Advisor is not a part of that. From looks of things, one of the links hosted by the TV Pop Crunch site has been declared dangerous by McAfee ... I didn't have any problems with the site, but if any of you did, I apologize profusely.

Now, what to do for today's post. Hmmmm.



Hairdresser shop in Norway: "Nice face ... shame about the hair."

Furniture store in Australia: "Our beds are factory-trained not to jump on your children. Please show the same courtesy."

On a van for a company that does window treatments in New Zealand: "This van is driven by a blind man!"

Antique furniture restoration store in Georgia: "Male stripper on duty."

Local Subway sign, somewhere in America: "Now hiring -- 6-inch tuna -- $3.59." Poor, underpaid tuna!

On a church sign advertising a fundraiser for youth group: "Archery Shoot Youth Fundraiser."

City buses in San Luis Obispo, California are all emblazoned with: "SLO Transit."

Church sign in Wisconsin: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Sun worship, 10:30 a.m."

[selected from Mikey's Funnies]


I guess Christmas must be approaching. We woke up this morning to our first snowfall here in our little corner of Michigan. Time to bust out the snow shovels in anticipation of worse.

I'll see you on Monday.


WEB SITE of the WEEK: Here's a webcomic that's definitely a little quirky, but in a very creative way. My son got me hooked on Biff, a guy who needs a serious eyebrow clipper. Find him at


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday, when I get around to it, 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 click through the pages over at my web site. To contact me and one day get a reply, click here. Won't reply tonight though as it's well past my bedtime. 2:30 in the morning comes early! You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. When taken off the post, the credits loiter loosely in the streets and eventually stir up all kinds of trouble and, frankly, I just don't have money for bail anymore. 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 I have an idea for bumping up my number of subscribers, but I need some of you to act as a sounding board. Write me (address a few lines north) and ask.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Many things are lost for want of asking." (English Proverb)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Robot Barkeep

So what's your favorite Christmas movie or television show? It's A Wonderful Life? A Christmas Carol? A Charlie Brown Christmas? How the Grinch Stole Christmas? A Christmas Story? Don't ask me why, but for me it's "Scrooge," the musical version of Dicken's classic; the one starring Albert Finney. I blogged about it last year.

While researching yesterday's post, I came across this guide to when your favorite holiday program airs on TV.


[Note: Enjoy television for what it is, and remember that this is just a joke. -- MR]

A guy walks into a fancy new bar and sees that there's a robot behind the bar, doing the work of the bartender. The robot rolls over to him, takes his drink order, then asks the man if he knows his I.Q. The man says his I.Q. is 164. The robot, while preparing the man's drink, immediately launches into a discussion about Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Hawking's Theory of Everything, and quantum physics.

The man is amazed. Intrigued, he returns to the bar the next day. This time he tells the robot his I.Q. is 104. The robot begins asking questions about gardening and conversationally discusses the Internet, and recently published books.

The next day the man says his I.Q. is 58. The robot responds with, "S-o, w-h-a-t i-s y-o-u-r f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e T-V s-h-o-w?"

[The Internet Tutor]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." (Isaiah 9:2)


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed and e-mail each weekday. Subscribe? Sure. Click here.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bad Christmas TV

I featured this site many, many moons ago - so long I've forgotten - but I recently stumbled across it again.

It's a blog that lets you know what free music iTunes is making available for download each week.

I don't see a lot of Christian stuff listed (okay, *any* Christian stuff) but they seem to be starting a run of free Christmas music by several artists you're likely to have heard of, so I'm posting it.



Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Insurance Adjuster

Extreme Makeover: North Pole Edition

It's an Average Life

A Charlie Brown Parole Hearing

Frosty 2: The Meltdown

Live from Vegas ... The Grinch is Elvis!!

Mary, Joseph, and the Donkey's Wet, Hacking Cough

[copyright 1997 by Dave Tippett; used with permission. Some additional material by Mark Raymond]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why do they call it black-and-white TV instead of color TV? Isn't it really just Two Color TV? And couldn't they charge twice as much for Two Color TV than they do for just regular Color TV?


Mark's Musings is aired on an RSS Feed and can be broadcast direct to your Inbox each weekday by clicking here.