Friday, July 30, 2010

Michael's Money

I was scrolling through some folders in my Inbox, and one of them sent me to a website, where I discovered this gem:


Michael Jordan, having "retired" with $40 million in endorsements annually, makes $178,100 each day, whether he works or not.

If he sleeps seven hours at night, he makes $52,000 while visions of sugarplums dance in his head.

If he goes to see a movie, it'll cost him $10, but he'll make $18,550 while he's there.

If he decides to have a five-minute egg, he'll make $618 while boiling it.

He makes $7,415 more than minimum wage.

If he wanted to save up for a new Jaguar XKR (app. $90,000), it would take him a little more than 12 hours.

If someone were to hand him his salary and endorsement money together, they would have to do it at the rate of $200 per second.

He'll probably pay around $200 for a nice round of golf, but will be reimbursed $33,390 for that round.

He'll make about $19.60 while watching the 100-meter dash in the Olympics, and $15,600 during the Boston Marathon.

This year he'll make more than twice as much as all the U.S. past presidents, for all of their terms, combined.

Amazing, isn't it?

However, consider this: if Michael Jordan saves ALL of his income for the next 500 *years,* he'll still have less than Bill Gates has at this very moment.

Game over. Nerd wins.

[from Up Next in]


WEBSITE of the WEEK: Changing directions, here in the U.S., the August Primaries are coming up very soon. The League of Women Voters have a very helpful website at If you click the "On Your Ballot" link, you'll be taken to a page where you can enter in your state and local information, and all the ballot issues will be available for review, as well as a set of questions and answers posed and posted by each candidate for every office. Educate yourself and know why you're putting that "X" next to someone's name in the voting booth!


Mark's Musings is available via an RSS Feed, a Facebook Note, the Amazon Kindle and your Inbox via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Eating for Two

Hey, thanks for all your well wishes and kind thoughts. Bonnie came through the surgery just fine and it's amazing that you can have abdominal surgery at 7:30 and be back home in your own bed at 11:30 the same morning. As it turned out, it wasn't a bad ovary at all. She had a severe case of something the doctor called "Pelvic Adhesion Disease," but he did his best to free up everything internally for her and now it's a matter of healing and time to see what happens next. Hopefully, nothing!

Funny thing, her urine sample yesterday morning came back with a positive test for pregnancy. Umm, say what? That would be nothing but 100% pure miracle, but they had to run *four* additional blood tests before they were satisfied she wasn't.

Don't get me wrong, we like babies and all, but the next human in our house under two feet tall had better bear the designation, "grandchild."

However, speaking of babies, Mila is just about the cutest thing ever, thanks to her very creative mom, Adele.


Five months pregnant and nearly always ravenous, I decided a second helping was in order again after a recent dinner.

As soon as I began spooning more food onto my plate, my husband gave me a look that clearly asked if I thought maybe I was overdoing it...?

"What?" I said in reply to his raised eyebrows. "Remember, I'm eating for two."

"Fair enough," he said. "But how many are you exercising for?"

[Da Mouse Tracks via Doc's Daily Chuckle]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife." (Proverbs 17:1)


Mark's Musings is available via an RSS Feed, a Facebook Note, the Amazon Kindle and your Inbox via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Signs You Need A New Doctor

Well, thanks in large part to your feedback, advice, and encouragement (plus the timely coincidence of our double-coverage insurance expiring in three days), my wife has decided to go ahead and have surgery performed in an attempt to alleviate some of her abdominal pain. If you read this before 7:30 a.m. EST, please have a kind thought or good prayer for her and the surgical team. I thank you.

Meanwhile, I'll shoot a medical link your way today. Check out Mama's Health, but be warned: depending on what topic you select, the explanations and/or illustrations can be quite frank, indeed.



All of his medical books have the Time-Life "Do It Yourself" logo on the bindings.

The patient right before you was a goat.

You can beat him in Milton Bradley's game of "Operation."

Instead of using an anesthetic, he has you watch a PBS Pledge Drive.

He has you turn your head and cough ... during an eye exam.

His assistant is named Igor.

The local bar association named him "Client of the Year."

[selected from Pastor Tim's CleanLaugh]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Wouldn't it be nice to be impervious to disease? This Latin word is a combination of three thoughts. "Per" in this context meant through, and "via" was way. So pervious meant "a way through." When you add the negative modifier "im" to the front of it, you get a word that literally means "no way through," as in something that's impenetrable or not capable of being harmed or damaged.


Mark's Musings gets a checkup on an RSS Feed, says "aaah" on a Facebook Note, turns its head and coughs on the Amazon Kindle and takes two aspirin and calls your Inbox via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The Boy Scouts of America are celebrating 100 years of scouting with a huge "jamboree" in Virginia this week, where they have pitched some 18,000 tents and set up more than 3,500 kitchens.

And today the U.S. Postal Service helped them commemorate the event with their own stamp.


The first carload of Boy Scouts had left my house just minutes ago. As I was putting the finishing touches on packing up my own vanload of Scouts, bound for the wilderness and a three-day camping excursion, I noticed that someone from the first car had left a pair of hiking boots on the back steps and snagged them.

An hour later we caught up with the first car at a rest stop. Just after we figured out that no one had forgotten a pair of boots, my cell phone rang. It was my wife.

"Have you seen the plumber's boots? They were on the back steps...."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Happiness is open to all, since, when you boil it down, it merely consists of contentment with what you have, and doing what you can for other people." (Sir Robert Baden-Powell)


Mark's Musings camps out on an RSS Feed, whittles a Facebook Note, earns a merit badge for the Amazon Kindle and salutes your Inbox via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Version Numbers

I have reached the point where over half of my interpersonal communication is now done over e-mail. But there is one thing this electronic medium will *never* be able to replace - the human voice, with all its inflection, which imparts so much meaning to the simplest of words.

This lack of inflection and the meaning it can insinuate behind the words can lead to conflict in your Inbox. People can easily misunderstand what you meant to say. Well, help is on the way.

A company founded by a former salesman called ToneCheck is now offering software - free while it's in beta testing - that connects to Microsoft Outlook and will "analyze" each e-mail you compose for phrases that might come across as emotionally-charged to the reader.



1.0 - We've got a really great new way to do things.

2.0 - We pretty sure this works well, now.

2.1 - The attorneys made us change a few things.

3.0 - No, really, we've got all the bugs out now.

3.1 - We've now fixed bugs you wouldn't see in 27,000 years of using this software.

3.2 - This version fixes bugs we found in the last round of bug fixes.

4.0 - All right. This really *does* fix all the bugs.

4.1 - Except that one. That one really big one.

5.0 - This version is put out by an entirely new batch of developers after we fired the old group.

At this point, the product name is changed, three new features are added, and you have to go back about ten steps.

[Written by Mark Raymond; inspired by an old JokeMaster post]


WELCOME to YOUR WEEK: Tomorrow is "Take Your Houseplant for a Walk Day." It's also "Walk on Stilts Day," but I recommend you try not to combine the two. Wednesday is "National Milk Chocolate Day," and Thursday is "Lasagna Day." And Friday, for those of you in tall buildings, is "Talk in an Elevator Day."


Mark's Musings is available on an RSS Feed, a Facebook Note, the Amazon Kindle and your Inbox via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I think I enjoy the creativity of this, created by some folks in New Zealand to raise awareness of Alzheimer's Disease and support those suffering from it.




Pong was pretty much it for video games? And we thought it was great fun to play?

Radio Shack was the only computer store in town?

Cordless phones were new? And awesome? And you couldn't wait to take one outside to see how far you could get from your house with it?

Sean Connery was Daniel Craig?

Mail was something you wrote or typed onto a piece of paper, folded it, and placed it into an envelope? And Spam was only a canned meat?

No one needed speakers on their computer?

The people at the next table over in the restaurant smoked and it was only mildly annoying?

A one-gig hard drive seemed as big as a warehouse?

An 8-track tape was an advanced concept in compact music recording?

[selected from an old Mikey's Funnies]


WEBSITE of the WEEK: Going to take a bye this week so I can get this post up on the web. Sorry, troops.


Mark's Musings is available on an RSS Feed, a Facebook Note, the Amazon Kindle and your Inbox via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Original

I love my Kindle e-reader. Right now it contains the Bible, a dictionary, three blogs I follow (including my own), and six novels (only one of which I'm reading; the other five are so I never run out). However, I also love hard-copy books, because in this matter, I'm a bit of a traditionalist, so I'm also reading a hardback novel, and two soft-cover books.

But, just as digital music is replacing CDs which replaced cassettes which replaced vinyl, and streaming video is replacing DVDs which replaced VHS videotapes, will the digital publishing evolution replace paperback books, which have pretty much replaced hard cover books?

Amazon thinks so. For the first time, digital downloads to the Kindle have outgrown hard copy book sales.


A new monk has arrived at the monastery. He is assigned to a group of monks copying the old texts to new parchment by hand. He notices, however, that they are making a copy of a copy, and are not using the original text. He wonders about this and finally goes to see the Abbot. He points out that if there was a mistake when the very first copy was made, that mistake would then have been passed on to all of the other copies.

The Abbot replies, "We have been copying texts this way for over four centuries, but you make a good point, my son." So the Abbot finally decides to check on this and goes down into the cellars with one of the current copies to check it against the original.

Hours go by and no one has seen him or heard from him. Finally, one of the other monks sets off in search of the Abbot and climbs down into the cellar. Softly, from one of the farthest chambers, the monk can hear sobbing. He makes his way into the room and there, by candlelight, sits the Abbot, crying mournfully over one of the original scrolls.

"What's wrong?" the monk inquires.

The old Abbot sobs and says, "The word is 'celebrate!' "

[Pastor Tim's Pearly Gates]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." (Joshua 1:8)


Mark's Musings dips its quill on an RSS Feed, scratches out words a Facebook Note, creates a copy on the Amazon Kindle and rolls up into your Inbox via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Donkey Raffle

First of all, let me apologize. I seem to have fallen into the habit of getting these posts finished late in the evening instead of early in the morning, and some days - like today - I don't get anything out via e-mail at all. I'll get back on top of my publishing schedule one day, I promise. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience with me.

I have previously pointed you to the folks at, a financial tracking and help site. Turns out they have a pretty good blog, too, and here's an excellent issue about several websites you should check before you make any kind of online purchase.



A friend bought some property in Texas and decided to buy a donkey as a family pet. He found one for sale from an old farmer for only $200 and promptly made the purchase. The farmer agreed to bring the donkey around in the morning.

The next day, however, as the farmer climbed out of his truck, he said, "I've got some bad news. Ol' Blue here was fine when we loaded him into the trailer, but somewhere between there and here, he passed away."

"I see," said my friend. "Well, give me my money back, then."

"Can't," replied the farmer. "Already spent it."

My friend thought furiously, then said, "All right, then. Just unload the donkey."

"What are you going to do with him?"

"I think I'm going to raffle him off."

"What?" exclaimed the farmer. "You can't do that! You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"

"Watch me," my friend answered. "I'll be raffling off a donkey. If they ask me if it's dead or alive, I'll be honest about it, but otherwise ... well, they'll still be winning a donkey."

About a month later, the farmer ran across my friend in town and asked him how the raffle had turned out.

"Great," said my friend, pleased. "I sold 450 tickets at $2 each, and wound up making a $798 profit."

"Didn't anybody complain?" asked the farmer.

"Just the guy who won ... so I gave him back his $2."

[Net 153's Smile A Day]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Some would say my friend's raffle was a form of chicanery, which is a cheap kind of trickery, or deceit. The actual root of the word is not really known, but it can be traced back to France around 1600, when "chicaner" meant to make a fuss, or quibble about something and was most commonly used to describe delaying tactics used in the legal profession.


Mark's Musings comes on an RSS Feed, a Facebook Note, the Amazon Kindle and via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Moon Landing

Forty-one years ago today my Grandpa Hillman let me stay up late and just before 10:00 p.m. (EST), we sat together in his living room and watched (on a black-and-white television) a man walk on the moon for the very first time.

NASA still has some quite nice features posted from the 40th anniversary last year.

Of course, if it happened now, the "One Small Step for Man" line would have gone out via Twitter, Neil Armstrong would have updated his Facebook status with "The Eagle Has Landed," and Buzz Aldrin would have sent video of the whole thing back to Earth with his iPhone.


When he took that first step on the Moon

"That's one small step for a man, one giant bonus payday for *this* astronaut. Yeahhhh, buddy!"

"Hey, Buzz! Tell Russia 'Neener neener neener!' "

"The Moon is mine! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!"

"So I'm on the Moon, Dad. The Moon! Is THIS good enough for you???!!!"

"Hey, I think I can see my house from here."

(singing) "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie..."

[written by Mark Raymond; inspired by Chris White's Top Five on SciFi]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "It's a brilliant surface in that sunlight. The horizon seems quite close to you because the curvature is so much more pronounced than here on earth. It's an interesting place to be. I recommend it." (Neil Armstrong)


Mark's Musings touches down on an RSS Feed, lands on a Facebook Note, fires a booster rocket on the Amazon Kindle and visit orbiting satellites via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vanity Plates

First there were trees. Then came highways. Then came billboards.

And then the billboards got creative. First they added extensions onto them to "advertise outside the box." Then they began using thin triangular rods that rotated so you could get three ads on one billboard. Now they've gone digital, reaching new heights of advertising graphics, plus you can have a large number of advertisers sharing each billboard.

Well, folks, get ready for the same thing to happen to license plates. They're going digital. And if your vehicle stops for more than four seconds, your plate changes from the registration number to an ad.

California's Senate apparently thinks it's a pretty good way to try and buy down some of their $19 billion deficit.



On a radiologist's vehicle:
ICNCYDU (I see inside you)

On a conservative, no-nonsense judge's Jaguar:

On the car of an undertaker:

On a classic Ford Mustang:

On a single man's car:

On the vehicle of a Hispanic who loves Bugs Bunny:
KPASAMD (Que pasa, MD -- What's up, Doc?)

On a brown Jeep Rover:

[Wit and Wisdom]


WELCOME to YOUR WEEK: It's Restless Leg Syndrome Education and Awareness Week. It's also National Independent Retailers Week, so visit a "Mom and Pop" establishment in honor. Tomorrow is National Lollipop Day, and Friday is "Gorgeous Grandma Day."


Mark's Musings is available via RSS Feed, Facebook Note, the Amazon Kindle and e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Med Chart Gaffes

So after ten years of tests, treatments, exploratory surgery, more tests and more treatments, the doctors have finally decided that my wife has endometriosis. We're told this is not uncommon, and many women must deal with this internal pain. What complicates matters here is that she is also pre-menopausal, and the drugs given to her to deal with that condition aggravate the endometriosis.

So ... anyone else out there dealing with this stuff? Suggestions? Helpful homeopathic tips?


An Oldie But A Goodie

The patient refused autopsy.

Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.

On the second day the knee felt better and on the third day it disappeared.

The patient is tearful and crying constantly. Also appears to be depressed.

Discharge status: Alive, but without permission.

Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

The lab test indicates abnormal lover function.

Skin: somewhat pale but present.

[selected from a submission by list member Dianne F., who runs her own list]


WEBSITE of the WEEK: Concerned about the Gulf Oil Spill and its effect on the surrounding environment but don't know what to do? There's always the give money option, but to whom? Try and they will funnel your donation to a charity of your choice. You can feel good about giving, as well, as Earthshare has been endorsed by the Better Business Bureau.


Mark's Musings says "aahh" on an RSS Feed, turns its head and coughs at a Facebook Note, disrobes inside the Amazon Kindle and takes two aspirin and calls your Inbox in the morning each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Canary Contest

My friend, list member, and my wife's employer - yes, they're all the same person - has put me on to a social networking contest sponsored by Fast Company magazine, called The Influence Project. Click here to support my entry! (The site takes a minute to load, registration is free and you may not even have to register unless you want to enter. I would appreciate your passing on the link to a few friends ... perhaps the ones to whom you generally forward my post? Thanks!)


Jim strolls into the paint section of his local hardware store. Bob is the assistant on the floor that day. "Can I help you?" Bob asks.

"Yes. I'd like a pint of canary-colored paint," replies Jim.

"Certainly," says Bob, fetching the small can. "Painting some trim?"

"Nope. I'm going to paint my parakeet."

"What? Why would you do that?"

"I want to enter him into a canary singing contest. He sings so sweetly, I'm sure he'd win!" Jim exclaims.

"Well, you can't do that," says Bob. "Besides the fact it's cheating, the chemicals in the paint will kill the poor bird."

"Nah, they won't," Jim replies.

"Listen, buddy, I'll bet you ten bucks your parakeet dies if you try to paint it."

"You're on!" says Jim as he pays for his paint and strides out of the store.

Two days later Jim returns, looking very sheepish, and puts a ten-dollar bill on the counter in front of Bob.

"So the paint killed your parakeet?" Bob inquires.

"Well, indirectly," replies Jim. "He seemed to handle the paint okay, but he didn't survive the sanding between coats."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!" (Luke 12:24)


Mark's Musings is available via an RSS Feed, a Facebook Note, the Amazon Kindle and via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Road Trip

The electric car is a neat idea. Part of what makes them impractical for this country, however, are that many of us need to travel long distances and there aren't nearly enough recharging stations along the way. Yet.

But what if the road itself could provide enough energy? Scott Brusaw had a brainstorm ... what if we replaced America's asphalt with solar panels? His company calculates that the energy produced would be three times as much as the energy used to operate this infrastructure, providing enough to recharge your vehicle anywhere in the country. Another benefit is that the roads would be heated when necessary, making snowplowing unnecessary.

The Department of Transportation likes the idea so much they've given Scott a $100,000 grant, and you can read more about the idea in this month's Popular Science magazine.



When my family and I travel with Marilyn, our cat, we try to pick hotels that allow you to have a pet in your room. But one night on a recent road trip, we stayed out too late and the only hotel available had a policy that forbade animals.

Sneaking Marilyn past the front desk was not terribly difficult. However, the next morning, when my husband Murray packed Marilyn into the little duffle we used to carry her in, she began meowing.

On the crowded elevator down to the first floor, Murray would cough loudly to cover the sound of the cat. Everyone else on the elevator politely ignored the meows coming from the bag. When the elevator doors opened, Murray bravely marched out, praying the cat would shut up.

He needn't have worried. His fellow elevator passengers marched with him, coughing loudly all the way through the lobby and out the front door.

[Reader's Digest "Life in These United States"; contributed by C.E. Munro in The Daily Inbox via Ed Peacher's Laughter for a Saturday]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: The Word Spy has spotted a word that captures what we recently did perfectly. I took a vacation from work, but we stayed home so it was a "staycation." That's not the word. We also planned to take a day to visit a favorite Michigan city. The Word Spy calls this a daycation, where you go away from home for the purpose of fun and relaxation, but you don't spend the night.


Mark's Musings gasses up an RSS Feed, sojourns on a Facebook Note, glides into the Amazon Kindle and travels via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

2010 All Star Game

So, here I am, online, watching Channel 234 - Fox Network - and the game is about to begin. Well, the pregame festivities, anyway.

I'm using an Acer Mini Netbook to do this and the thing practically fits in my hand, so typing is difficult. But hang in there ... hit the "refresh" key every now and again, and I'll do my best to keep up with the action.

8:00pm - Aww, a father and son "passing on the legacy" kind of opening. My heartstrings are feeling the tug already.

8:03 - Nice tribute to Steinbrenner. He once said, "I'll never die of a heart attack ... I give 'em." Ironic. The Yankee players are wearing black armbands. Classy.

8:09 - Player introductions. The game is being played in Anaheim, an American League city, so the National League (the visitors) are being introduced first. I notice the crosstown LA Dodgers are getting the biggest crowd reaction. Well, until the AL players are announced. The crowd goes wild!

8:19 - Vladimir Guerrero. I love that name. He played for the LA Angels last season, that's why he received such a big hand. The Angels thought he was more or less washed up, so they let him go via free agency and the Rangers are happy he signed with them. Having a "Comeback Player of the Year" kind of season.

8:20 - Here's the People magazine "All Stars Among Us" section. This is the second year MLB and People have done this. Last year a USPS postmaster - Kate Brooks from an office in my own postal district - was one of the honorees. The celebrity explanations this year are a nice touch. Yowsers - Harrison Ford is getting a little long in the tooth. Han, you're looking a little, shall we say, "grizzled"?

8:24 - And now the celebrities explain why these folks were chosen. This part never fails to bring a tear to my eye. The depth of commitment these folks show to their adopted causes is truly remarkable and reward-worthy.

8:28 - The cast of "Glee" is doing a number. Really? Nice plug for your show, there, Fox.

8:30 - And now the ballplayers mingle with the real folks. This is quite an honor - for the ballplayers!

8:34 - Another tribute to Steinbrenner. The man was an icon, no doubt. In baseball, in show business, in life.

8:35 - The National Anthem. Can the game be far behind? Sing it, Amber, sing it.
I still remember attending the All Star Game when it was in Detroit in 2005, as the anthem finished, a stealth bomber did a flyover of Comerica Park. You *felt* it coming more than heard it. It was flying so slow I have no clue how it stayed in the sky. It was awesome. I was so awestruck I totally forgot to snap a picture.

8:40 - Rod Carew tossing out the first pitch. Man was a great leadoff hitter. Wow. Nice pitch! Steeeerike! That's got to be one of the best first pitch tosses I've seen in some time. Annnnd, another commercial. (sigh)

8:43 - Little bit o'retrospective. Back to 1996. That's the last year the National League won. And since 2003, the winner of this game gets to enjoy home field advantage during the World Series. So it's not just a showcase here, it's a significant game of baseball.

8:47 - Awww, cute kids announcing the starting lineup. Another promotional contest for MLB. Well, they need all the positive press they can get. And heck, I think I'd rather listen to them than Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, anyway.

8:49 - First pitch. Strike! David Price is the first Tampa Bay player to start an All Star Game. My wife just remarked that this must be interesting for the pitchers and catchers, who have never thrown to each other before. I agree.

8:54 - Nice snag by Ichiro Suzuki to rob Albert Pujols, and it's three up, three down for the NL. Hey, bit o'trivia: Ichiro Suzuki is the only MLB player allowed to have his *first* name on the back of his jersey.

8:57 - Since fabled Yankee Stadium PA Announcer Bob Sheppard stepped down from the job in 2007, Derek Jeter has had Mr. Sheppard's voice announce him at home games. Since the man just passed away - another beloved Yankee icon - using it here in Anaheim is a nice touch, too. Better than the hip hop or death metal most players use to announce their at-bat.

9:00 - Detroit's Miguel Cabrera loops a single into right. I guess Ubaldo Jimenez - the first pitcher to twirl a no-hitter this year - won't be turning in a hitless performance this evening. It's men on first and third for the AL ... annnnd there's a nicely-turned double play. Good job, Ubaldo.

9:05 - Top of the 2nd inning. David Price still tossing high-90s heaters from out of the shadows toward home plate. Ryan Howard looks good. He lost a lot of weight this year, to support that mega-contract he signed w/Philadelphia. But oh! He goes down on strikes. Grab some pine, Ryan.

9:07 - Robinson Cano's new nickname: Iron Man? He's bobbled both balls hit to him, though granted, they were both scalded by the hitters. Man on first for the NL, one out.

9:09 - And a slam-bang DP turned by the AL. This could be a low-scoring game.

9:14 - Evan Longoria slams a double into left. Hmmm. Jimenez looks hittable tonight.

9:17 - And Cano hits an easy grounder. He's shaping up to be the "goat," tonight. Two innings into the books, and it's still scoreless.

9:20 - Top of the third and Andy Pettitte is into the game. This is a nod to the All Star Game's expanded rosters. Usually an MLB team carries 25 players. They let them have 34 for this game, and that's up from the 28 of a few years ago. But to accommodate those extra players, pitchers now only give you two innings. The starting pitchers used to pitch three.

Andy Pettitte is enjoying perhaps his best season, and he's just struck out his second NL batter in a row ... but there's a single by Yadier Molina, the Cardinal's catcher.

9:26 - Josh Johnson is in for the NL to pitch the bottom of the third. He has the best earned run average of starting pitchers in baseball at 1.70.

The commercial break was all about the Pepsi Refresh Project. An interesting idea and the fans get to vote for ideas generated by MLB teams, too.

9:32 - Josh Johnson is as good as his statistics. Two strikeouts and a third easy out and one third of this game is over.

9:34 - Torii Hunter of the hometown Angels is into the game in CF. Josh Hamilton slides to right and Ichiro is outta here. Cliff Lee is in to pitch for the AL, Andy Pettitte's night is over. Lee was just traded for the second time in less than a year, to the Rangers. He's a good pitcher. Just struck out the ranking "best player in the game" - Albert Pujols - Cliff Lee is a very good pitcher.

9:40 - Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego takes over at first base for Albert Pujols and the NL. Josh Johnson is still on the mound, so the two All Star managers have taken different strategic tactics this evening. It's the bottom of the fourth inning.

9:42 - Ryan Braun makes the most exciting catch of the game so far, a diving snag of a Josh Hamilton liner that was sinking into left field.

9:44 - The game is almost half over and I realize I got the link for the Pepsi Refresh/MLB crossover promotion wrong. It's here. The other link is just about *your* ideas, not the MLB clubs.

9:46 - My hometown Tigers now have Justin Verlander on the mound. Top of the fifth. But oh, David Wright singles off JV. And now Wright steals and Mauer heaves it into center field! But Wright doesn't realize it and he sticks at second. A lucky break for the AL.

9:50 - Verlander throws a nice tailing fastball and Ryan Braun goes down swinging. One out. Note the black circle on the right sleeve of Verlander's uniform with the "EH" emblazoned upon it. That's a season long tribute to legendary Tiger's broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who passed away this past Spring.

Whoop. Andre Ethier of the Dodgers singles to right but Josh Hamilton cuts it off and is ready to throw so they hold Wright up at third base. One out, runners on first and third for the NL.

9:54 - Corey Hart can't hold up on Verlander's slider and is called out on a checked swing. Brian McCann is up as a pinch-hitter, so Yadier Molina is out of the game, now. But now we've got two outs and Justin might get out of this inning without a run being scored.

9:58 - McCann hits a deep fly. Hardest hit ball of the night. Hamilton drifts back ... and back ... and hauls it in on the warning track, with the shadows of the stadium criss-crossing his vision. The AL escapes unscathed, and we are still scoreless with the game half over.

10:01 - Hong-Chih Kuo is now pitching for the NL as we go to the bottom of the fifth. I read yesterday that 27.1% of major league players are citizens of another country.

10:02 - Evan Longoria walks. Will the AL score this inning?

10:04 - Mauer hits a swinging bunt ... but Kuo airmails it nearly into the stands beyond first base! The AL now has two runners in scoring position, Cano is up. Let's hope he's less goat-like.

10:07 - Cano swats a deep fly to Matt Holliday in left field. Longoria tags ... and scores! The AL goes up 1-0. Runner still on second, one out. Carl Crawford pinch-hitting.

10:09 - Easy grounder to Ramirez at short, a quick throw to Scott Rolen at third base, and Mauer is out. Baserunning gaffe, there. Kuo has faced nearly all lefthanders, and now that a right-handed batter is due up, the NL is changing pitchers. San Diego's closer Heath Bell will toe the rubber.

10:13 - Crawford steals second, but the ball trickled away from McCann, anyway. Torii Hunter skies a fly ball into right and Ethier chases it down in the corner. We've played five innings, and the AL has a 1-0 lead.

10:17 - Jon Lester, Ian Kinsler, Vernon Wells, and John Buck (P, 2b, OF, C) are now in at the top of the sixth for the AL. Out are Verlander, Cano, Crawford, and Mauer. The bevy of substitutions that make an absolute mess of your scorecard have begun. Good thing I'm blogging and not scoring.

10:23 - Not a particularly powerful at-bat for Adrian Gonzalez, and the NL goes down in the top of the sixth. Roy Halladay is coming in for the NL. Roy is, perhaps, one of the best and most competent pitchers in the game today.

10:27 - Derek Jeter bloops a basehit just out of the reach of new NL-centerfielder Marlon Byrd. Elvis Andrus pinch-runs and Jeter is out of the game. Many more substitutions in the field for the NL. Paul Konerko pinch-hitting for Miguel Cabrera and the AL. Paul was a late addition to the AL team when Justin Morneau listened to his trainers and decided to give his concussion a few days off.

10:30 - Halladay whiffs Konerko, but Andrus was attempting a steal. McCann double-pumps and the throw is just a tad late, but Andrus' momentum carries him a step off the bag, and alert NL second baseman Brandon Phillips whips a tag onto him ... and he's out! Another AL baserunning gaffe. Hope these don't come back to cost us.

10:34 - Josh Hamilton rips a single into right, and now Home Run Derby Champ David Ortiz is pinch-hitting for Guerrero and the NL decides they want to bring in the Washington Nationals' closer, Matt Capps. So we go once again to a commercial break. Joe Girardi - the AL manager - sends Jose Bautista of Toronto out to pinch-run for Hamilton.

10:37 - The NL has put on "The Ortiz Shift" where the 2b-man moves left and the shortstop moves to play second and the third baseman slides into the SS position. The theory is that Ortiz is such a pull hitter, he'll never hit one down the line at 3b, so let's give ourselves a bigger fielding advantage.

10:39 - And oh! Ortiz is frozen by a tailing fastball and looks at strike three. We go to the top of the seventh inning.

10:42 - Nice commercial with Jake Gyllenhaal for Stand Up to Cancer.

10:44 - Three more outs and we get either "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" or "God Bless America." Maybe both!

10:45 - Scott Rolen singles to CF and my wife just notices the "star" cut into the grass by the Los Angeles ground crew. How do you make that look so three dimensional, she asks. I have no clue. I'm not even cutting my own yard this season.

10:47 - Matt Holliday strokes a single up the middle and Rolen's stretching it, trying to get to third base ... and he's safe! Torii Hunter made a pretty poor throw, really, for a guy known for his defense. Hunter has won nine Gold Glove Awards. So with runners on first and third, one out, Girardi pulls Phil Hughes and calls on Chicago's lefty specialist, Matt Thornton to face Andre Ethier. Whoops. Wrong. Arizona OF Chris Young is pinch-hitting. He pops to first. Now we have two outs.

10:52 - It's Northside Chicago (Cubs' Marlon Byrd at bat) versus the Southside of Chicago (Matt Thornton on the mound) with two outs and two runners on for the NL. Their best chance to score all evening.

10:53 - Thornton goes to a full count on Byrd. Byrd fouls one off. I have a sense this is the pivotal at bat of the game for the NL. We'll see. Byrd spoils another, fouling it off into the stands along first base. And there's ball four. The bases are loaded for the National League!

10:55 - Brian McCann at the plate. Fouls one off, then rips a double into the right field corner, clearing the bases! As McCarver says, this could be the biggest hit in 13 years for the NLers, as they take the lead, 3-1. And the AL brings in Oakland closer Andrew Bailey, since Thornton couldn't get the job done. (I have Matt Thornton on one of my fantasy teams and he usually *does* get the job done. Don't let this shake ya, buddy.)

11:01 - Bailey walks Rafael Furcal. This is starting to feel bad. NL has runners on first and second. All right. Brandon Phillips goes down swinging and now we get the seventh inning stretch.

11:05 - The PA announcer asks us to remember our service people with Cobe Cailliat (hope I spelled that right) as she sings "God Bless America." Really nice microphone technique on that nylon string guitar accompanying her rendition. Very nice. The camera shifts to a HUGE sunset that looks just gorgeous, and we're off to the commercials.

11:10 - Adam Wainwright now pitching for the NL. Wainwright has a wicked nasty curveball. Nick Swisher, last man voted onto the team, is pinch-hitting for the AL. Swisher goes down, but John Buck clobbers a drive to left and Matt Holliday watches it bounce out of his glove for a 2-base error. Hope lives for the AL!

11:14 - Ian Kinsler has Wainwright struggling with a 3-1 count. And he walks. The AL has runners on first and second with just one out. Vernon Wells steps up to the plate for his first at-bat.

11:15 - Wells grounds one into the hole at short and the only play is a fielder's choice to get the out at second. Now there are runners at the corners for the AL, two outs, and Torii Hunter strides to the dish. Let's hope he makes up for that sloppy throw last inning.

11:17 - Hunter waves at a pair of good curves from Wainwright and strikes out. Sure looks like Mr. Hunter is just kind of coasting, which is ironic, because that's what he accused his teammates of doing just last week. We go to the eighth inning, and the American League is down to six outs left, with three runs to score for the victory.

11:20 - Rafael Soriano takes the mound for the AL, and gets one quick fly out here in the top of the eighth. Joey Votto - the last man voted onto the NL squad - hits a fly ball to center, and we have two outs. And here's a fly ball to left for the third out. Didn't realize Soriano was such a fly ball pitcher. Bottom o'the eighth coming up. As Ernie would say, "It's time for the American League to get some instant runs!"

11:27 - Brian Wilson of the Giants, not the Beach Boys, is in pitching for the NL. My wife wants me to point out that *I* just noticed there's a halo on that star in the center field grass. A nod to the Los Angeles Angels, where the halo is a part of their team logo.

Elvis Andrus is at the plate. He may be one of the youngest All Stars at 21 years old. He hits a soft chopper to 2b and he's out. Five outs left. Paul Konerko steps in against Wilson.

11:29 - Konerko hits a sharp grounder, but right at 3b Scott Rolen. Two outs for the AL. Up comes Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays for the first time. Over the past 162 games, he's hit more homers than any other player. He leads the AL with 24 homers this year. And McCarver mentions that's the lowest total at the All Star Break since 1993.

Can we safely say the Steroid Era is over?

Bautista pops out and we begin the last inning of the game with the Tigers' Jose Valverde coming in to pitch.

11:34 - Valverde - The Big Potato, "Papa Grande" - takes the hill for the American League and promptly strikes out Astros' OF Michael Bourn. No ultimatum here, heh. Same result for Arizona OF Chris Young. He might as well be swinging a waffle against Valverde. Jose's split finger is just diving into the dirt at the last second ... the hitters might have better luck if they used a sand wedge. And Byrd whiffs. Jose Valverde has struck out the side. We go to the bottom of the ninth inning with the American League trailing by two runs, 3-1.

11:42 - Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton is on to try and save this game for the NL. He'll face David Ortiz to start the ninth. Ortiz smacks the first pitch into right for a base hit. Adrian Beltre steps in for his first at-bat. Alex Rodriguez is the only position player for the AL left on the bench. Ortiz is not a fast runner so let's hope Beltre doesn't hit it anywhere in the infield or we're looking at a quick double-play.

11:45 - Broxton blows a 99-mile-per-hour fastball past Beltre for a strikeout. Two outs left. Midnight approaches.

John Buck comes up. Can't pinch-hit for him because he's the only catcher left for the AL. Neither Ortiz nor Buck can run well. Looks like the NL might pull one out, finally.

11:48 - Buck works the count to 3-0, then swings through a pair of fastballs. But then, what luck! He bloops one into right field for a single ... but NO! Ortiz had to hold up because he wasn't sure if the ball would be caught or not, and that gave the RF time to throw Ortiz out at 2b for the force! Arrrgh. I told you Ortiz didn't run well. But kudos to Marlon Byrd for his heads-up quick thinking and gunning down Ortiz in what could be the defensive play of the game.

11:49 - Ian Kinsler flies to deep right-center, and that's the ballgame!

My call? Brian McCann gets the MVP award this year. Let's see.

The American League seemed a little too "coasty" this year. Too overconfident, perhaps? Some baserunning gaffes, some mishandling of the ball, some baserunning mistakes. The NL definitely wanted to win more this year. Glad they did. Let's get 'em next year, guys.

And oh yeah, the MVP?

11:56 - Brian McCann.

Live Blogging the All Star Game

Hey, Musingites and others ...

Come back to this blog at 8:00 p.m. (EST) this evening, where I'll be "live blogging" tonight's All Star Game. This is my first attempt at something like this so we'll see how it turns out. My job requires me to be up by 3:00 a.m. so I'm going to go nap now and hopefully be wide awake tonight.


Batting Practice

Well, I went back to work yesterday, after my vacation week off, and you know what? I need another vacation.

At least I'll have baseball's Midsummer Classic this evening to take my mind off being back at work.


Saint Louis Cardinal's pitching great Bob Gibson, known for his sarcastic wit, once caught teammate Curt Flood by surprise. He paid him a genuine compliment during batting practice.

He said, "You know, Curt, if I hit the way you do, I'd step off the toeplate and retire from pitching."

Flood smiled and nodded in appreciation.

Then Gibson continued, "In fact, if I hit the way you do, I'd probably also retire from baseball!"



WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "You see, you spend a good bit of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." (Jim Bouton)


Mark's Musings hits one outta the park on an RSS Feed, clobbers a Facebook Note, smashes through your Amazon Kindle and also doubles up the gap via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Monday, July 12, 2010

President Mom

Well, as baseball pauses for its annual mid-season breather, let's do the same and take a look at what happened throughout history on July 12.

Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817.

Speaking of baseball, this was the day in 1914 that Babe Ruth made his debut (as a pitcher for the Red Sox). Fittingly, tonight is the annual Home Run Derby on ESPN.

In 1933, Congress passed the first minimum wage law: 33 cents per hour, though some sources say it was 40 cents ... anyone out there still young enough to remember?

Dwight Eisenhower became the first U.S. President to fly in a helicopter on this day in 1957.

In 1960, the first Etch-A-Sketch went on sale.

The Rolling Stones played their first concert as a band at the Marquee Club in London on July 12, 1962. Eight years later Janis Joplin made her public debut as a performer in Kentucky.

The last Checker taxicab rolled off the assembly line in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on this day in 1982. The company had manufactured them for sixty years.

In 1984 on this day presidential candidate Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro to run as his vice-president. Ms. Ferraro was the first woman selected by a major party to run for such a high office.



The entire nation would have to wear a sweater when she was cold.

Diplomatic agendas would now include lots of hugging.

She gets upset about her kids' messy rooms and takes her anger out on Afghanistan.

Rude reporters at press conferences are grounded.

At state dinners, no one gets dessert until all the vegetables have been eaten.

All the food left on those plates really *will* go to starving children in Africa.

When the boys want to play with soldiers, it involves the Fifth Army Battalion.

Stretch marks become a priority for medical research grants.

[selected from Chris White's Top Five on Parenting; some updated references by Mark Raymond]


WELCOME to YOUR WEEK: I've done the history thing, so let's look ahead. Tomorrow is Embrace Your Geekness Day, and Thursday is National Gummi Worm Day.


Mark's Musings is available on an RSS Feed, a Facebook Note, through your Amazon Kindle and also via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Biblical Theme Songs

Hey, my band gets to play one of our summer outdoor gigs this evening for a neighborhood block party over on the east side of town. Pray the rain stays away from Flint today!



Noah: "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head"

Adam and Eve: "Two Tickets to Paradise"

Jezebel: "Lady in Red"

Samson: "Hair"

Daniel: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"

The Magi: "When You Wish Upon a Star"

Elijah: "Up, Up and Away"

Methuselah: "Stayin' Alive"

Paul: "Blinded by the Light"

Joshua: "Good Vibrations"

[submitted by list member Carolyn W., with additions and edits by Mark Raymond]


WEBSITE of the WEEK: Hey, if you care about this sort of thing, television has announced its prime time award nominees at We do watch a few shows each week, and several of our favorite actors (both male and female) have been nominated.


Mark's Musings is available on an RSS Feed, a Facebook Note, through your Amazon Kindle and also via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Will Rogers

So we've been to the movies this week as part of our vacation, and my attention was drawn, as it is every summer, to the Will Rogers Institute.



"A fool and his money are soon elected."

"Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have for something they don't need."

"America is a nation that conceives many odd inventions for getting somewhere but it can think of nothing to do once it gets there."

"Buy land. They ain't making any more of the stuff."

"Chaotic action is preferable to orderly inaction."

"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

"I never expected to see the day where girls would get sunburned in places they now do."

"People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing."

"Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated."

"What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds."

"Never let yesterday use up too much of today."

[selected from the collection at BrainyQuote]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him." (Psalm 18:30)


Mark's Musings is available on an RSS Feed, a Facebook Note, through your Amazon Kindle and also via e-mail each weekday (usually). Subscriptions are free. ISSN 2154-9761.