Sunday, February 28, 2010

An Olympic Meditation

As the 2010 Winter Olympics shut down in Vancouver today, I thought I would share these words from list member Paul C., who is the pastor of a Baptist Church in Pennsylvania.

He writes:

I have enjoyed watching the Olympics. You too? I’ve been drawn in by all those behind-the-scenes stories. Competitors become more human; victories, more personal; the events, more compelling. When one person wins, their whole country wins as well.

In this season of Lent, Jesus Christ is our humble hero. God comes into the world wearing our uniform. A win for Jesus will be for more than mere gold or bragging rights. A win for Him is a win for us as well. For He wears the flag of TEAM HUMANITY.

Jesus takes on the competition — Satan, who has held onto the gold all these years. Jesus gives himself completely to the struggle. It is life or death. Early on, the crowds cheer to His amazing performance. Later, the tide seems to be turning — and the competition lunges ahead. Now it looks as if there is no hope. It looks as if Jesus has lost. He cries, “It is finished.” Satan raises his arms in gleeful victory.

But wait. Something is happening! It’s not over. What looked like dismal defeat has been overturned! Jesus’ death was only a prelude to a miraculous finish! This victory for Jesus is a victory for all of Humanity! Satan has been defeated now and forever! Death and sin will no longer reign.

This description from Philippians 2 seems to describe the most amazing medal ceremony ever:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Thank you, Jesus.


And thank you, Paul.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

22 More Things About Me That Are Obscure, Trivial and Utterly Useless

Why 22? Dunno. It was just the number in my head. Probably a remnant from a Facebook fad. At any rate...

1. I have chronic sinusitis. Generally something has to have a really strong aroma for me to notice it. This is both good *and* bad news. I've had surgery, and I've tried a litany of different prescription drugs. It's just something I inherited from my father and have learned to live with.

2. I wear my watch on alternating wrists. Left wrist on even days, right wrist on odd days. My epidermis gets all rashy if I wear it on the same wrist for more than three days in a row.

3. I have an irrational fear that I will be dead by May 10, 2011. Long story.

4. I tend to fall asleep during sermons. Sometimes even the interesting ones.

5. I have Superman's ego and Clark Kent's body. If Clark Kent were bald and overweight.

6. I am a moral Republican and an economic Democrat. This makes it difficult to find a candidate to vote for.

7. I own and have read every book in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Good stuff.

8. I am not generally fond of fancy food. Give me a stew and a salad any day.

9. I love Tim Horton's coffee and will go out of my way to get some.

10. The only thing I really enjoy exercising is my pillow.

11. I have never owned a car built in the same year that I've purchased it.

12. There are three types of store I cannot leave without purchasing something. Computer stores, office supply stores, and bookstores.

13. My home office is a mess because I refuse to take the time to file the paperwork. I'm usually too busy working on the next thing: the next blog post, the next band concert, the next whatever.

14. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from William Jewell College in the field of Communication Arts.

15. My e-mail Inbox has more than 5,000 messages in it. I have read every single one sent from a real person.
Just haven't gotten around to filing them. (See #13)

16. I am an only child. My parents tried to have five other children. Another long story.

17. I despise shoveling snow and would move to a warmer climate in a heartbeat if my wife and friends would go with me.

18. I'm allergic to penicillin.

19. I am slowly reading my way through every Star Trek novel ever written.

20. I weep rather more easily than the average man and often find myself getting choked up when trying to relate a tender story.

21. I know more about baseball than the average fan, but I know just enough about the other sports to keep my Man Card.

22. My bowling average is 167.

Friday, February 26, 2010

February Quotes

The past couple of years February has been pretty mild, actually. You might even say almost pleasant, at least as far as winter months go.

But these past couple of days February has seemed determined to re-establish its reputation as the month I hate the most. Near-constant snow, a plummeting thermometer, and a wind that has grown a set of teeth that will bite right through you and not even leave enough for leftovers. That's the view from my office window to the left.

I hate February.



"February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March." (Dr. J.R. Stockton)

"Keep your faith in beautiful things; in the sun when it is hidden, in the Spring when it is gone." (Roy R. Gibson)

"The flowers of late winter and early Spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size." (Gertrude S. Wister)

"Winter is nature's way of saying, 'Up yours.' " (Robert Byrne)

"If we had no Winter, the Spring would not be so pleasant." (Anne Bradstreet)

"Every mile is two in winter." (George Herbert)

"February, when the days of Winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of Summer." (Shirley Jackson)

"Why, what's the matter, that you have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?" (William Shakespeare)

"The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February." (Joseph Wood Krutch)

"There seems to be so much more winter than we need this year." (Kathleen Norris)

[selected from]


Here in our little town the high school celebrates a big home game in two sports: both the traditional one in football and another during basketball season. The first culminates in the "Homecoming Dance." The second - held tomorrow night - we call the "Coming Home Dance." My daughter is going. She has a date, the dress, an appointment to do the hair (thanks, Quincie), and her and Mom are out shopping for shoes and other ladylike accessories as I write this. My little girl is growing up.

I'll wipe away a tear and see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Charles Colson was, historically, one of the principal bad guys in the whole Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration. A funny thing happened on his way to finishing out his jail term ... he met Jesus in a real, personal way. That led to his founding an organization called "Prison Fellowship," and from there, he began writing about how our Christian worldview should inform and affect every decision we make. He's turned that place where faith's "rubber meets the road" into and several other ministry avenues, but at Break Point you will find yourself challenged to "Defend the Truth. Live the Faith. Advance the Kingdom." It's a mission statement I fully support.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday using Ezine Director and I pay a little more 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 someday get a reply, click here. Well, I did better on getting my posts out more timely this week. Until I bumped into today. You can forward or reprint Mark's Musings freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits want February done, too. Original material and musings © 2010 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of my e-mail post daily (plus I often add graphics) and very 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: "A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water." (Carl Reiner)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bug Inspection

Maybe it's because I tend to look for this kind of thing on Thursday.

Or maybe it's because I admire strong family relationships.

Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for a story that tugs on your heartstrings.

Or maybe it's just because I love my own father and my own son so much, that this story had me in tears.

Click near the bottom of each photo to go to the next one. There are just over 40 in all.

My thanks to Kim Komando and Phillip Toledano.


A pest extermination company was giving free termite inspections, and my Dad called for an appointment.

After the inspector checked over our house thoroughly, he handed Dad the estimate and said, "You don't have any termites right now, but there's a bunch of 'em in that firewood you've got stacked out back. When they've eaten their way through that, I guarantee they'll head for your house."

Dad thanked the man for his time and his estimate, then led him out of the house.

A week later the company called back, wondering if we were interested in using their termite extermination services.

In his slow drawl, I heard my father reply, "Well, from the prices you quoted, I'm thinking it'll be cheaper to just buy the termites another cord of wood every now and again."

[Bertha Morgan in Reader's Digest "All in a Day's Work" via Doc's Daily Chuckle]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12)


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Helping Out

Well, apparently yesterday was National Pancake Day. I missed it. Whimsical blog writers from all over the country are demanding I turn in my credentials. I may have to retire in disgrace. They're saying I should be battered, then syruped and feathered, and then run out of town on a stick of butter.

Which, actually, sounds pretty good. Hmmm. I need to stop writing these things when I'm hungry.

So today, you need to go out of your way to do something nice for someone else.

Because it's Inconvenience Yourself Day.

And you thought I was kidding.


The time came for our annual immunizations at our Air Force base overseas. To get us all vaccinated as quickly as possible, the base veterinary surgeon was pressed into duty to lend a helping hand. I received my injection from him, as a matter of fact.

"Wow," I said, when he was done. "You did that so gently, I hardly felt it."

"I have to be gentle," he replied. "My patients can bite."

[Humor in Uniform via Ed Peacher's Laughter for a Saturday]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: If an ambulance is dashing someone to the hospital and accidentally hits a pedestrian, does it stop to help?


Mark's Musings is available on an RSS Feed, Facebook Note, Amazon Kindle, or via e-mail by clicking here. No inconvenience at all.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Nap Time

Well, if this is true, every cat should be named Einstein.


My children have never been thrilled about taking naps, but one day they were putting up more of a fuss than usual.

In the middle of all the tantrums, a friend called.

"What's all the commotion over there?" she asked.

"Oh, nothing," I replied. "Just the siesta resistance."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled." (Edward Lucas)


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Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympic Surprises

My wife has been watching a lot of the Winter Olympic Games these past days. I'm learning new terms such as "Super-G," "Skeleton," and "Moguls." This on top of my ongoing puzzlement over the difference between a Salchow, a triple lutz, and a double axel.

Keep tabs on what's going on in Vancouver here.



Due to rainy, warm weather, the medal for downhill skiing was won by Michael Phelps.

The Curling event was won by a team of janitors from Swiffer.

Someone discovered the extra helium tanks that keep Scott Hamilton's voice in shape.

The Zamboni's have been sequined-proofed.

NBC is using holographic projections to make the events appear sold out.

There is no snow. It's all in my backyard.

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


WORD for YOUR WEEK: "Super-G" is the Super Giant Slalom in downhill skiing; "Skeleton" is a luge run on your stomach instead of your back; "Moguls" is another downhill ski race, characterized by a pattern of small mounds, or bumps in the snow. For the figure skating stuff, you're on your own. Knowing the moves and spotting them on the ice is, I think, a talent beyond my ken.


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Friday, February 19, 2010

Random Thoughts I - 2010

Let's see if I can scrape up a baker's dozen of my random thoughts. First batch of the year.


Part the First

Video games have ruined my life. It's a good thing I built up a stash of eight extra ones.

The problem with foreign cookbooks is that we can't always get the parts we need for the meals.

God heals. Doctors bill.

How come, when you open a can of evaporated milk, it's still there?

A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.

Don't judge a book by its movie.

Overheard at the airport: "Mr. Maniac, Mr. Klepto Maniac. Please return the white courtesy phone."

Facebook is getting ridiculous. It's now suggesting I "friend" people who sat three stalls down from me in my high school restroom.

Some people have a way with words. Others not have way.

People who say that onions are the only food that makes you cry have clearly never been hit with a watermelon.

Why do the signs that say "Slow Children" have a picture of a running child?

Boy, if I had a dollar for every time I spent a dollar....

I will *not* trust my money to those people at Fifth Third Bank. If they knew anything about math, they'd be One-and-Two-Thirds Bank.

[Syman Says, Facebook's Status King Application, Mikey's Funnies, and the mind of Mark Raymond]


Some folk from my band are singing at our church this weekend for an event we call "Beat the Winter Blahs," which is a catered dinner and silent auction to raise money for our local missions team. Pray for good results all around.

And I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Find out just about everything you'd like to know about Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, at Not only can you access his writing, you can read more than 2,000 letters he sent, and biographies of the people mentioned in his books.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday using Ezine Director and I pay a little more 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 someday get a reply, click here. Sorry about the late posts this week. I'll try to get back on my regular morning schedule next week. You can forward or reprint Mark's Musings freely but please keep the credits attached. The credits want you to get off their lawn. Original material and musings © 2010 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of my e-mail post daily (plus I often add graphics) and very 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 Well, the "Adventures of Michael Mitty" are over; what shall I write about now?


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "It is good to obey all the rules when you're young, so you'll have the strength to break them when you're old." (Mark Twain)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tower Conversations

I've mentioned that my wife goes to Florida periodically to help her mother travel to and fro with her stroke-impaired stepfather.

InsideTrip is an airline booking service we may start using. It not only finds the cheapest fares (I compared it to our old service, which was the cheapest I could find previously, and the fares match) ... but it rates the airlines on all sorts of factors which can be summed up as "speed, comfort, and ease."

There are a dozen travel factors you can customize. Everything from number of stops, to security check wait time, to legroom on the aircraft, to the age of the aircraft, to the airline's lost bag record, and several others. Once you get a list of flights, click the "Details" link to see the data that rated that flight.



Tower: Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124.7
Pilot (Eastern 702): Tower, Eastern 702, switching to Departure. By the way, as we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway.
Tower: Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy the report from Eastern 702?
Pilot (Continental 635): Continental 635, roger, cleared for takeoff; and yes, we copied Eastern, and have already notified our caterers.


Tower (to pilot after landing): Just to let you know, on the approach you were a little bit left of the centerline.
Pilot: That is correct, Sir. And my first officer was slightly to the right.


Lost Student Pilot: Unknown airport with Cessna 150 circling overhead, please identify yourself!


Pilot: Tower -- Cessna N2349 -- student pilot -- out of fuel!
Tower: Roger Cessna N2349'er, reduce airspeed to best glide! Do you have the airfield in sight?
Pilot: Uh, Tower ... I am on the south ramp. I just want to know where the fuel truck is.

[selected from]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle." (Proverbs 23:4-5)


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Boring Service

Today marks the beginning of Lent. I've always thought of it as a kind of "spiritual detox" to prepare the soul for the miracle and joy of Easter.

This year I am going traditional and giving up something for Lent. It's a favorite foodstuff, and each time I'm tempted to eat it, I will remember that I gave it up, and that will help me remember what Christ gave up for me. With hope, when Easter arrives, I'll be a healthier person and, more importantly, a better Christian.

Once again I'm posting the Ship of Fools creative ideas for Lent. The list is from 2008, but just follow along as best you can.



Pass a note to the organist, asking if he or she takes requests.

See if a yawn really is contagious.

Listen for the preacher to use a word that begins with the letter "A," then "B," then "C," and so on.

Sit near the front, then during prayer times, turn and visibly count the number of people who do not have heads bowed and eyes closed.

Using the chosen melody, sing the lyrics to the hymn on the opposite page of the one selected. Loudly.

Make up a Bingo card using the pastor's favorite phrases.

[selected from Mikey's Funnies]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: If Sunday is a day of rest, why do we go to church so early in the morning?


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed, Facebook Note, Amazon Kindle, or e-mail by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February de-Monthed

Today is Mardi Gras.

Officially it's Shrove Tuesday, but more commonly known as "Fat Tuesday."

As we make our preparations to begin the season of Lent, it might do us good to remember our place in the universe. Get a sense of that - well, a little bit, anyway - by visiting Experience the Planets.

It's a website that hosts artistic renditions of the eight planets in our solar system, backed by some awesome ambient music. It reminded me of being in a planetarium, really.

And as a bonus, you can download these artistic vistas as wallpaper for your computer desktop.



Emboldened by their success in declaring that Pluto was not a planet, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) determined this week by a close vote that February is too short to be considered a true month. It has, however, been granted the newly-created status of "dwarf month."

It shares this dubious distinction with several other calendar time spans, including Labor Day Weekend, Christmas Vacation, and The Time Between When You Were Supposed to Get Your Oil Changed and When You Actually Did.

"It only seems fair," said IAU President Ron Eckers. "February reaches a peak size of 29 days, averaging only 28 days for 75% of the time. Recent research has shown that other periods, such as The Time Between When You Were Supposed to Get Your Oil Changed and When You Actually Did, often exceed this meager time frame.

"In fact, this erratic behavior only strengthens our case that February does not belong in the same classification as the eleven 'true' months."

Eckers also warned that the crop of 30-day "so-called" months should be careful to maintain their number of days. "They're already cutting it close in my book," said Eckers.

[written by Michael Haber via Good Clean Funnies List]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "With every passing hour our solar system comes 43 thousand miles closer to globular cluster 13 in the constellation Hercules, and still there are some misfits who continue to insist that there is no such thing as progress." (Ransom K. Ferm)


It takes off on an RSS Feed, fires retro-rockets on a Facebook Note, goes on a spacewalk with an Amazon Kindle, and reports back to Houston via e-mail each weekday. Let Mark's Musings increase the ambience of your Inbox. Click here to subscribe.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Groaners

President's Day, 2010.

Apparently I'm the only one who had the day off.

I'm okay with that.



My husband is always harping on us to stay within our budget, and complaining about our household costs, in general. This situation has only gotten worse since our twin boys were born. Everything is double: food, clothes, pediatrician bills, and lately he has even been griping about the amount of baby powder I've been buying. At least until I reminded him that ... talc is cheap.

Phil and Bill built a skating rink on a pond in the middle of their pasture. One day a shepherd leading his flock across the field decided to take a shortcut and led the sheep directly across their pond. The sheep, however, were afraid of the ice and wouldn't walk on it. The shepherd began desperately tugging on them to get them to cross the ice. "Would you look at that?" Phil says to Bill. "That guy is trying to pull the wool across our ice!"

Many mothers of toddlers have terribly difficult jobs. They work from son-up to son-down.

My doctor told me he'd have me on my feet within two weeks. He was right. I had to sell my car to pay his bill.

[Joe's Clean Laffs, Top Greetings, JokeMaster]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Did you ever hear of a company or any kind of organization having a "hierarchy"? Pronounce it "hire-arky." It was originally the church that gave us this word, made up of two Old Greek words: hieros and arkhes. The first means "sacred" and the second means "ruling." The word originally described the levels of decision-making in the early church. It now refers to the levels of decision-making or power in any type of organization.


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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday Novel 7

Scene 7

Michael and Miranda were finally seated at a corner table in Olive Garden, perused the menus, the wine list, and placed their orders. The waitstaff were, as always, charming and efficient.

"So, Michael," said Miranda as she speared a black olive out of her salad, "tell me about the other women in your life."

"Oh, I don't think you really want to hear about my mother," Michael replied, munching on a soft breadstick.

"Really. No ex-girlfriends? No summer flings?"

"Well, certainly none I'm comfortable talking about. How about you?"

Miranda took a sip of Chardonnay and said, "Oh, there was one significant guy ... a couple years ago ... but that turned into a train wreck."

"There's going to be a train wreck! The Pacific Flyer is westbound on Track 29 and the Sunrise Limited is eastbound on the same track! GET ME MITTY! NOWWWW!"

Michael ran from his office in the terminal, donning his flight gear as he went. He was in the control room moments later.

"Mitty," cried the chief, "the situation is grave. We've got two trains barreling down the same track for one another and none of the remote controls are responding. The switch to shunt one of these trains off onto a siding track has to be thrown manually. You're the only one who can get there in time. Lives are counting on you, Mitty! Go! Go! Go!"

Michael took another look at the monitor to fix the location in his mind, then raced for the helipad on top of the terminal. Disregarding his preflight checklist, he thumbed the 'copter into a cold start and took off as soon as the rotors had reached speed.

Overtaking the Sunrise Limited, he flew ahead of the massive locomotive, dropping in altitude as he went. He had only seconds to prepare before reaching the siding switch. Thinking quickly, he kept one eye on the terrain, one hand on the throttle, then looked back with his other eye and reached his other hand back for the grappling hook controls. Throwing the safety off, he let the grappling hook free fall until he felt it hit the ground, then angling the helicopter parallel to the track, he dragged the hook until it caught the arm of the siding switch and winched the hook up until the switch opened.

Exactly one point eight seconds later, the Sunrise Limited careened onto the siding track, narrowly missing her fated collision with the Pacific Flyer. Michael wiped the sweat from his brow.

"That was a close one."

Michael blinked. "I beg your pardon?"

"I said," Miranda replied, "that was a close one. That guy and I almost got married!"

"Oh. Oh, I see," said Michael, taking a sip of wine to recover his thoughts.

"Do you do that often?" Miranda asked.

"Do what?"

"Go away. You know ... in your mind. It's like you take a little trip away from the conversation."

"Do I?"

"Michael," warned Miranda, "don't you play coy with me. I actually find it kind of endearing."


"Thank you for a lovely Valentine's dinner, Michael. You're a sweet man, and a good conversationalist when you stick around, you know, mentally."

"I'm sorry about that, Miranda," Michael apologized.

"Oh, it's fine. I had a really good time." She moved closer. "Thanks again."

And then she kissed him full on the lips.

And then she said goodnight, and closed her door.

And on the way home, Miranda helped Michael save the world.





You can read this story from the beginning by clicking "Saturday Novel" from the label list at the lower right of this page.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Corey Vidal Sings John Williams

Well, this is unique and very entertaining.

At least for us nerdy types.

It's an a capella tribute to the movie theme music of John Williams, using quotes from the Star Wars movies.

Facebookians ... click "View Original Post" to see this video.

Saturday Novel 6

Scene Six


"You didn't call," the voice on the other end sounded melodically disappointed.

"Oh, hi, Miranda."

"You didn't call," she sweetly insisted.

"I, umm, I didn't need any help with the copier."

"Well, I did say to call me, anyway."

"Oh," said Michael. "I ... I guess I thought you were just kidding."

Miranda chuckled softly. "I do enjoy a good laugh, Michael, but no, I wasn't kidding. What are you doing tomorrow night?"

Michael's mind raced down the list of possible answers, as well as down another list - the one with all the ways he normally spent his Saturday nights. Nowhere on that second list was anything about having dinner with a woman.

"Nothing that would interest you, I think, Miranda."

"You might be surprised," came the response. "But listen, it's Valentine's Day this weekend, and I'd like to go out with a nice man. Someone I like. What do you say?"

"Well, I guess that sounds better than defragging my computer's hard drive."

"Michael, that may be the sexiest thing anyone's said to me all week. Pick me up at 7:00. See you then," and Miranda hung up.

Michael breathed out, realizing he'd been holding his breath for almost the entire phone call. In a sudden moment of clarity, he realized he had no idea where Miranda lived. Racing to his computer, he logged on to the company mainframe and accessed his Outlook e-mail program. "Yes!" he exclaimed to himself when he found Miranda's contact card and, thankfully, her cell phone number was listed in the information. He dialed the number nervously.

"See how easy it is to pick up the phone and call?" Miranda said by way of greeting.

"All right. You did that on purpose. Where do you live?"

A moment later Michael hung up, and suddenly had a vision of Miranda Wheatley as Mata Hari, and himself as Crown Prince Wilhelm. He spoke in a German dialect the rest of the night.


To be continued on Sunday. Valentine's Day.


Click the "Saturday Novel" label at the lower right to read this story from the beginning.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Men and Women

My parents celebrate 39 years of marriage today. Wow. That's a lot. And I know some of you have been enjoying the ol' wedded bliss even longer. Bully for you!

This being Valentine's Day weekend, today's post will cover a bit of the he and she rivalry o' love.


My husband had reluctantly agreed to come shopping with me. He wound up regretting his decision when he found himself stuck in a lingerie shop while I tried on one garment after another. Impatient and bored with waiting, he finally asked a sales clerk, "Isn't there anything in this store for men?"

The sales clerk looked around and then said, "Sir, *everything* in this store is for men."


A husband loved golf, his wife loved going to auctions. They both talked in their sleep.

One night the husband shouted out, "Fore!"

His wife shouted, "Four-fifty!"


A young man was sitting next to me in one of the two chairs provided for men outside the ladies fitting room in our local department store.

After 30 minutes and 6 changes of outfits, the fellow's wife came out of the changing room one more time.

He looked at her and immediately said, "That looks great on you! Get that one."

"Honey," she replied, "this is what I was wearing when we came in."

[in order, then, Reader's Digest via Joe's Clean Laffs, Doc's Daily Chuckle, Clean Humor Digest via Laughter for a Saturday]


WEB SITE of the WEEK: In my Palm SmartPhone, I have regular reminders set up to do things like change the oil in our vehicles, change the furnace filter, check the batteries in our smoke alarms, defrag the computer drives, etc. But if you haven't got a "life's little reminders" system set up already, you can get regular reminders via e-mail for free at Registration is free, but if you don't want to sign up, you can still get the most popular reminders by clicking the "hot reminders" link at the top of the screen without having to set up an account. My thanks to Kim Komando.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday using Ezine Director and I pay a little more 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 someday get a reply, click here. Less than a week before Spring Training starts. I can almost hear the sounds of Spring beginning! You can forward or reprint Mark's Musings freely but please keep the credits attached. This means you. Original material and musings © 2010 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of my e-mail post daily (plus I often add graphics) and very 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 reached my saturation point with snow. No more snow. I forbid it.


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Do not consider painful what is good for you." (Euripides)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snail Tales

You've heard the term "snail mail"?

Someone in England decided to take it seriously.

And you thought I was kidding.



What does a snail say when it rides on the back of a turtle?


What's spiral in shape and very crowded?
A snail with a houseguest.


Two postal carriers had just finished their routes for the day when one of them watched as the other turned and stepped on a snail.

"Why did you step on that snail, Tom?" asked the perplexed coworker.

"Well, I'm just sick of it. That darn snail's been following me around all day!"

[Ed Peacher's Laughter for a Saturday, Charlie's Chuckles, Clean Humor Digest]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion." (Numbers 14:18a)


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed, Facebook Note, Amazon Kindle, or find me in your Inbox via e-mail each morning - eventually - by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Teething Solution

My daughter enjoys spending some time with her friends watching videos on YouTube. She has a pretty good sense of what's inappropriate and she's old enough that we trust her decisions.


But if you want something that you *know* is safe for kids. Try Kideos. The site has fun videos - many of them are the "viral" kind you may have already seen - but they're broken down by age bracket and prescreened to be sure they are age-appropriate. They're mostly still from YouTube, but the good ones ... though I will confess I did not have time to preview every video.



I overheard a conversation during lunch today. It was between a young woman and an older woman who, I assumed, was her mother.

"I haven't slept in three days," said the younger woman. "The baby is teething and he's up all night, crying."

"Why don't you just rub a thimble full of brandy on his gums?" asked the older woman. "That will numb those teeth up and put him right to sleep," she went on to explain.

"I can't give the baby alcohol! Lord knows what that will do to him!" protested the daughter.

"Well, it never hurt you any."

The look on the daughter's face was priceless.

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: My wife wants us to give homemade gifts to people this year, so I'm thinking of giving away a child. Would that count?


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed, Facebook Note, Amazon Kindle, and e-mail each weekday by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Football Celebrity?

I know I overlooked the Super Bowl results yesterday, but I wanted to post about the Boy Scouts on the day of their anniversary.

I actually watched the entire game, and ALL of the commercials. I remember laughing out loud a few times, chuckling once or twice, and smiling a bunch ... but nothing blew me away this year.

Oh, wait, the Snickers® commercial featuring two classic TV stars did. I laughed until I stopped.

See them all - or see them again - at Hulu's Adzone.


The night before we were to attend a celebrity golf tournament, my friend Irene went to a party in honor of the event. Several of the famous athletes who were playing in the tournament were at the door, greeting guests. Among them was Joe Montana, the pro football Hall of Fame quarterback and Super Bowl winner.

Shaking Irene's hand, he said, "Hi! Joe Montana."

Well, Irene didn't know Joe Montana from Joe Six-Pack, so in all sincerity she extended her hand and said, "Irene. Minnesota."

[Roger Lee via Reader's Digest Online]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Most football players are temperamental. That's 90 percent temper and 10 percent mental." (Doug Plank)


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Monday, February 08, 2010

Scout Identity

What do Steven Spielberg, Gerald Ford, James Stewart, Walter Cronkite, Ross Perot, Hank Aaron, Mark Spitz, and Neil Armstrong all have in common?

They were all Boy Scouts.

Today marks the formation of the Boy Scouts, 100 years ago. It's an organization that still claims nearly three million members.



A friend of mine spent two weeks at a Boy Scout Camp out west. Halfway through their stay, the boys received "care" packages from home and many of them contained checks for spending money. A group of them went into town to cash these checks at the local bank.

One Scout was having some trouble because he'd lost his wallet. He insisted that he had identification on him, but didn't want to show it. The young woman who was serving as a teller that day, however, insisted upon seeing it. So the young man climbed up onto the counter and whispered into her ear.

She motioned for him to come around behind the counter where they could have a little more privacy. My friend, who was tall enough to see over the counter and keep an eye on things, reported that the blushing boy pulled out his shirt, folded down his belt, and then pulled up the label on his underwear.

The teller could see his name neatly written there with an indelible marker.

She cashed his check.

[originally seen in Andychap's The_Funnies]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Occasionally you hear that a child is precocious. What does this mean? It is usually applied to children but really describes anything that shows advanced levels of maturity, or development. The original Latin word was praecox, from "prae" (meaning before - we use it as the word "pre"), and the word "coquere" (originally meant "to cook" but it was also applied to something that ripened). The word was originally applied to flowers that bloomed early or fruit that ripened before others that were planted at the same time.


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Friday, February 05, 2010

More "It Made My Day"

Well, today is my wife's 25th anniversary at our local newspaper.

It's also her very last day there. Caught between brutal economic realities and a changing industry paradigm, she's being laid off.

But no need for the rest of you to indulge in our weepfest.



"I received a system-wide e-mail from one of our Information System Techs today. It read, 'Hello all, if you received an 'Out of Office' message from me, please disregard it with my apologies. It was a notice from last year that managed to wriggle out of the Exchange server and into your inboxes. It has been captured humanely and placed under sedation, and will be transported to an Old Email Farm where it will live out the remainder of its years in peace and tranquility.' Finding out IS Techs really do have a great sense of humor made my day!"

"My grandmother has been in the hospital for several days, and is no longer lucid, but earlier today she woke up to tell all of us that she loved us. It made my day."

"I work as a pastry chef in a restaurant. When the order slip comes up to tell me what to make there is a place on it for special requests or information. One of the notices said, 'To prevent mutiny.' It made my day."

"I don't like to dress up, and only own one skirt, which I hardly ever wear. I was wearing said skirt today, however, which caused my five-year old neighbor some confusion. He came to my door, and when I opened it, he stared at me for a good two minutes before asking, 'Are you getting married?' "

"My ten-year old little brother was acting very crazy one day and my mother asked him if they needed to put him on medication. With a perfectly straight face, he replied, 'There's no medication for being awesome!' It made my day."

"Today my niece fell and bumped her head. After, she came over to me and said, 'I think I might have a Caucasian.' It made my day!"

"It was the last day of school and I was stuck in my Science class. The teacher knew that everyone wanted to get out of there and no one would be paying attention, so he announces, 'Today we're going to watch a small astronomy film,' and he puts in the movie. A moment later in big yellow words we see, 'STAR WARS.' It made my day!"

"I was teaching the vocabulary word 'devour' to my first graders. Thinking of Sesame Street's Cookie Monster, I said, 'I'm thinking of someone on television who likes to devour lots of a certain type of food--' and before I could go on, one kid says, 'Oprah?' "

"A year-and-a-half ago my cat fell from seven stories up and suffered fairly severe brain damage. Today for the first time since the fall he started purring again. It may be the best sound I've ever heard. It made my day."

[selected from with edits for grammar and clarification by Mark Raymond; warning-not all entries there are family friendly]


Probably no "Saturday Novel" this weekend. I'm giving Michael Mitty a short break.

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Valentine's Day is a week from Sunday so find a few romantic ideas at You may need a little lead time on these so I point 'em out today.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday using Ezine Director and I pay a little more 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 someday get a reply, click here. Less than two weeks before pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training! You can forward or reprint Mark's Musings freely but please keep the credits attached. Taking the credits off happens, but do try not to do it; we'll both feel better. Original material and musings © 2010 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of my e-mail post daily (plus I often add graphics) and very 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: "The less routine the more life." (Amos Bronson Alcott)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Wisdom Nuggets

Well, this is something my wife could use right about now. Come to think of it, most of us could.

I especially enjoyed the "Nineteen Tips for Cheering Yourself Up" entry.

And sorry for the late, late post.



Money will not buy you happiness, but it will let you look for it in more places.

Your conscience will not keep you from doing what is wrong, but it will certainly keep you from enjoying it.

Misers are not much fun to live with. However, they make *great* ancestors.

Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

The real reason you can't take it with you is that generally it's gone before you are.

Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even if you wish they were.

A closed mouth gathers no feet.

A modern pioneer is a woman with three young children who can make it through a rainy Saturday without a television.

Remember, the world is full of willing people. Some who are willing to work, and others who are willing to let them.

[selected from Joe's Clean Laffs]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God." (Ecclesiastes 2:26)


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed, Facebook Note, Amazon Kindle or e-mail each weekday. Find me in your Inbox each morning by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Haiku for Today

Bumped into a busy 24-hour cycle here, troops, so just some homemade haiku today.



Facebook friends? Lots. But
Do I really need to know
You're in the bathroom?

Ella, Frank, past greats;
On American Idol
Would they win today?

On global warming:
Would it hurt to live greener
No matter your views?

The big game is big.
The commercials are bigger.
Super Bowl Sunday

Oscar's Big Party
Why can't my teenager see
Nominated films?

[written by Mark Raymond]


WONDER for YOUR WEEK: If a poet writes one poem and then another, has he put himself in reverse?


P.S. - Before I get a lot of mail, yes, I *do* realize that this year's nominees have several films that my daughter could see. Did see, in fact. I was speaking in generalizations.

Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed, Facebook Note, Amazon Kindle, and e-mail by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Special Day

ADMINISTRIVIA: Well, the good news is my blog has gotten popular enough that it's come to the attention of the spamming community. The bad news is this means I've had to add "word verification" to any comment(s) you want to leave, to prove you're a human and not a spambot. I apologize for the inconvenience, but I was beginning to spend too much time deleting all the spam, and it was only getting worse.

Meanwhile, here in the States it's Groundhog Day. Let's hear it for Punxsutawney Phil!



Over breakfast one morning, Sally says to Steve, "I bet you don't know what day this is."

To Steve's credit, he looked like a deer caught in headlights only a moment before he indignantly exclaimed, "Of course I do," and he left for work, quickly.

That morning, a florist's van pulled up to their house and a dozen long-stemmed roses were delivered.

Shortly after lunch, another delivery brought a box of expensive chocolates and flavored mints.

In mid-afternoon, a third delivery van pulls up and drops off the expensive designer dress Sally had had her eye on, from her favorite boutique.

Just before her husband arrived home, she received a phone call, explaining that their dinner reservations for Chez Couteuse had been pushed to 7:15 p.m., regrettably. Sally was, however, surprised and thrilled, for she had always wanted to eat there.

Later that night, in the car on the way home after dinner, Sally sighed and said, "Steve, this is the *best* Groundhog's Day I've EVER had!"

To Steve's credit, the car only ran off the road a little bit.

[first seen in Charlie's Chuckles; edits and additional material by Mark Raymond]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "To shorten winter, borrow some money due in the Spring" (W.J. Vogel)


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