Thursday, September 30, 2010

Alien Conversation

Let us bid September a fond "adieu" and rummage through our closets to find our autumn jackets as we welcome October.

And let us say "hello" to a potential New Earth.


From deep in space, two aliens are conversing.

The first remarks, "The dominant life forms on the earth planet have developed satellite-based weaponry."

"Are they an emerging intelligence?" inquires the second alien, who looks remarkably similar to the first.

"I do not think so," replies the first alien. "They have them aimed at themselves."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you." (Jeremiah 32:17)


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, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Groaners

Whoops. Ran out of daylight. Just a few groaners today ... haven't done that in awhile. And thanks to you, I'm nearly 25% of the way to my fundraising goal. Only four days left ... click here to donate ... and thank you!



I knew a guy once whose job was to fill up pillowcases with duck feathers. He told people his job was to upload the down load.

Bees are always well-groomed. They use honeycombs.

A friend of mine teaches a college class on all the different soda pop varieties. He's a fizz ed teacher.

What bird is with you at every meal?
A swallow.

There was this genetic scientist who crossed Rice Krispies cereal with a kangaroo. They went snap, crackle, hop.

Five o'clock in the morning is like a pig's tail. It's twirly.

Secret drink of plants?
Root beer.

Gardeners make the best umpires. They already know the ground rules.

[selected from Bob Thave's Frank & Ernest, with thanks to Stan Kegel and JokeMaster]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Since my posts are sporadic, let's find out where that word came from. It describes something that is occasional, or occurs in scattered instances. As in, "even after the battle, sounds of sporadic gunfire could still be heard." It comes from the Greeks, where the word "spora" meant sowing, as in the act of tossing seed onto the ground in irregular intervals. (Sidebar: you can also see from where we get the word "spore.") This became "sporadikos," meaning scattered.


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.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Suit Sale

Hey, if you can afford to spare a buck or three, please click here to support my Crop Walk fundraiser and fight poverty. I walk on Sunday and only have 17% of my goal so far. Thank you so much!


One of the biggest problems with buying clothes online is that, unlike in-person retail shops, you can't try them on or see how they will look on you, unless you have a *very* good imagination.

Well, Popular Science reports that those clever chaps in Estonia have developed a robot that can mimic 2,000 separate male body shapes. A retailer sends their clothes to the company, where they are placed on the robot and it cycles through all 2,000 shapes, taking a digital snapshot of each one.

At the retailer's site, you'll enter your body's dimensions and they'll call up the matching photo, so you won't have to use quite so much of your imagination.

A female version of the robot is predicted to be available by the end of the year.


When the store manager returned from lunch, he noticed that his clerk's hand was bandaged, but before he could ask about it, the clerk hurries up to him and exclaims, "Guess what, sir?!"

"I don't know. Tell me," replies the manager.

"I finally sold that terribly ugly suit we've had on display for so long!"

The store manager glances at the corner window where now there stands an empty suit rack. "You mean," he asks, "that repulsive pink-and-blue double-breasted thing?"

"That's the one!" cries the clerk.

"That's great!" the manager enthuses. "I thought we'd never get rid of that monstrosity! That had to be the ugliest suit I've ever seen in my life. But tell me, what has happened to your hand?"

"Oh, this," the clerk responds, looking down at his hand, "well, after I sold the gentleman that suit, his guide dog bit me."

[Net 153's Smile A Day]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile." (Lee Mildon)


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.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tastes Like....

My wife recently bought a few apples. They were one of the newer blends: Honey Crisp. They're delicious.

The Old Farmer's Almanac has a quick apple poll, with links to several apple-related items, tips, and recipes.


One outraged college student stomped up to the lunch line at the cafeteria, holding a plate with a piece of pie on it.

"This is disgusting!" he exclaimed. "What kind of pie do you call this?!"

The lunch lady calmly put down her ladle, looked him in the eye and snarled, "And just what does it taste like?"

"It tastes like cardboard and rubber cement!" the student cried.

Lunch Lady thinks a moment, then replies, "That must be the apple. The cherry pie tastes like stale crackers and soap."

[; retold by Mark Raymond]


WELCOME to YOUR WEEK: It's your last week to celebrate Library Card Sign-Up Month or National Mushroom Month. It's Remember to Register to Vote Week. It's also National Keep Kids Creative Week. Today is Ancestor Appreciation Day (I should go get some fish and chips). Wednesday is National Women's Health and Fitness Day. And Friday is ... umm, October. Or 82 days until Winter day.


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.

Friday, September 24, 2010

2009 Ig Nobels

We're coming up on the 2010 Ig Nobel Awards. These are the flip side of the very serious Nobel Prize Awards. These are inventions, theories, discoveries, and studies that "make you laugh, then make you think."

Which reminds me that I don't believe I ever posted the winners from 2009.

Let me correct that, post-haste. And next Friday I'll write up a few of this year's winners.



The Ig Nobel for Veterinary Medicine goes to Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson from Newcastle University for showing that cows who have names give more milk than anonymous bovine.

The Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to five scientists from the University of Bern, in Switzerland, for determining whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or an empty one. The answer? They both have the capacity to crack your cranium.

The Ig Nobel in Medicine was given to Donald Unger of California for investigating if cracking your knuckles causes arthritis in your fingers. His method? Every day for more than 60 years, he cracked the knuckles on his left hand ... but not his right hand.

The Ig Nobel for Physics goes to Katherine Whitman, Daniel Lieberman, and Liza Shapiro of three separate American universities for analytically determining why pregnant women don't tip over.

The Public Health Ig Nobel went to Elena Bodnar, Raphael Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago, Illinois for inventing a bra that - in an emergency - can be easily converted into two protective face masks. And you thought I was kidding.

[selected from The Annals of Improbable Research; the complete list can be found here]


WEBSITE of the WEEK: Hey, it's National Punctuation Day!


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.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Teen Hunger

As part of my latest attempt to take off a few pounds, I've been walking daily with my wife. We're up to a mile a day.

It has given us the courage to sign up for the annual CROP Walk, which is one of the main fundraisers for the work Church World Service does to provide hunger relief both locally and around the globe.

So, yeah, I'm looking for sponsors (read: donors). My goal is to raise $150. You can help me - and, by extension - a whole bunch of other hungry people - right here.


During my last outing with friends, the subject of teenagers came up, and how they were always grazing and hungry. Most agreed that teenagers would generally eat anything, anywhere, as long as it was free. Some in the group expressed concern that with such eating habits, it was hard to tell when a teenager was *actually* hungry and when was the right time to feed them well.

Then one parental veteran - who had raised six kids - told us of his method for determining how hungry a teen truly was.

"I hold up a piece of cold broccoli ... if they start jumping and snapping at it, I figured they were hungry enough to be fed."

[first seen in Joe's Clean Laffs]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh." (Luke 6:21)


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, September 22, 2010

Better Living

I hear that "community blogging" is the latest thing on the Internet. You establish a website, and invite lots of people - preferably subject-matter experts - to blog about various topics on a theme.

Something like Wise Bread.

Their motto is, "Living Large on a Small Budget." We can certainly relate to that.



"It is never too late to be what you might have been." (George Eliot)

"All the masterpieces of art contain both light and shadow. A happy life is not one filled with only sunshine, but one which uses both light and shadow to produce beauty." (Billy Graham)

"Love and time are the only two things in all the world that cannot be bought, only spent." (Gary Jennings, paraphrased)

"When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven't." (Thomas Edison)

"Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible. Suddenly you will find you are doing what you once thought impossible." (St. Francis of Assissi, paraphrased)

"The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it." (John Ruskin)

"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." (Eleanor Roosevelt)

[selected from]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: The other day I heard myself tell someone I was just "egging them on." Wondering where this phrase came from, I dove into my etymological resources. There I discovered that the phrase has nothing at all to do with the breakfast staple, but traces its origin back to the Old Norse word - circa 1200 - eggja, which meant to goad, prod, or incite, as with something sharp. The "something sharp" part also gave rise to another word we use quite a bit: edge.


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.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


ADMINISTRIVIA: Oh, totally forgot to fix my boo-boo from Friday! Yom Kippur was actually on *Saturday,* not Friday as I wrote this past week. It did begin at sunset on Friday, but the actual holiday was on Saturday. Mea culpa! Thanks to those of you who held me accountable on that.

Meanwhile, remember Hall and Oates? They had hits in nearly three decades, sold more than 60 million albums, had eight songs go to #1 on the charts, and their music has been dubbed "Rock and Soul."

Well, at some point after they'd stopped touring together, Daryl Hall had the idea that instead of going out on tour for the world, he'd bring the world into his home. So he began inviting some musician friends over ... they'd have a good meal, then make some music together ... and film the whole thing, putting it up on the web. He's recorded 34 "webisodes," featuring the likes of Train, Diane Birch, Plain White T's, Smokey Robinson, and a bunch of folks I confess I've not heard of.

And thus was born Live at Daryl's House.


The doorbell rang and the lady of the house found, quite unexpectedly, a well-dressed man with a small box of smaller tools standing on her porch.

"Good day to you, madam. I am Lucius, the piano tuner," the man announced.

The lady, quite taken aback, replied, "That is certainly all well and good, young man, but I did not send for a piano tuner."

"Yes, madam, I know," said the man. "Your neighbors did."

[Doc's Daily Chuckle]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "If I were to begin life again, I would devote it to music. It is the only cheap and unpunished rapture upon earth." (Sydney Smith)


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.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Knowing the End

My wife is happy ... "Dancing with the Stars" returns this evening for their new season. For those of you who may be new to the Musings, Bonnie is such a good dancer, our local Arthur Murray's once invited her to become an instructor. Hence her interest in this particular reality show.

And speaking of television, see when *your* favorite shows return with new episodes, thanks to TV Guide.



In Hawaii, because of the time difference with the continental United States, the NFL Monday Night Football Game is played in the afternoon, so our local television affiliate delays the broadcast until 6:30 p.m.

But when my favorite team plays, I'm too excited to wait, so I listen to the game on the radio, which broadcasts it live. Then, because they're my favorite team - and especially if an exciting play happened - I'll watch the game again on television that evening.

If I know my team has won the game, it influences how I watch it on television. If they fumble the ball or throw an interception, it's not a problem. I think, "Okay, that's bad, but in the end we win!"

It should be the same for believers. Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

When going through a rough patch, remember that you know how the game ends.

[Lyle Arakaki in Leadership Magazine via A Dose of Inspiration; with thanks to Wit and Wisdom]


WELCOME to YOUR WEEK: Last week - on the 15th - the country began National Hispanic Heritage Month. And don't ask me why, but it's National Love Your Files Week. It's the semi-annual Turn Off Your TV Week. Tomorrow is World Alzheimer's Day, and Autumn officially begins on Wednesday. Finally, it's Tolkein Week and Wednesday is Hobbit Day.


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.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

It's also my daughter's Sweet Sixteenth birthday. I don't think the two are related.

That's her over there, by the way. My, how she's grown. And yes, her hair has green streaks. Your monitor is not going on the fritz.

At least she has nothing pierced ... yet.



He gets satellite radio for free by tilting his head and looking south.

Her morning makeup routine doesn't require much in the way of foundation, but calls for a lot of silver polish and a burnishing cloth.

While swimming in the local lake, he caught four bass and a water snake.

The school was putting on "The Wizard of Oz" and your son was given the part of The Tin Woodsman. He didn't need the costume.

When the wind is blowing just right, she can whistle show tunes through her navel.

None of his friends will come over during a thunderstorm.

She trips over her earlobe.

You realize the best way to keep her in the house is by installing a giant magnet.

His friends have to yell to be heard over the noise when they walk next to him.

When she laughs, milk squirts out her nose ... and her eyebrow ... and her lips.

[selected from Chris White's Top Five on Parenting; edits and additions by Mark Raymond]


WEBSITE of the WEEK: Well, it's not a regular day for a post so I'll feature it here. Sunday is International Talk Like A Pirate Day and you can read up on all things Pirate-y with "Ol' Chumbucket and Cap'n Slappy" at If you use Facebook, scroll to the bottom of the page, click "English" (or whatever language you use) then click the drop down arrow next to the word "English" and then select "English (Pirate)" and watch amazing things happen to your status updates.


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.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Double Steal

So if you're one of those people who enjoy shopping online, this may be for you.

I saw on Facebook a link to something called The Invisible Hand. It's a free download that works behind the scenes of your web browser. Whenever you are on a site where an item is for sale, it automatically - and invisibly - checks other websites carrying that item, and alerts you to any of them that might have what you're looking for at a lower price.


After shopping for most of the day, a couple returns to the parking lot only to find that their car has been stolen. They return to the mall office to report the theft. When the police arrive, they head back to the parking lot to show the officer where they were parked ... only to find, much to their amazement, that their car has been returned!

There was an envelope on the windshield with a note and two tickets to a concert that evening featuring a popular singer. The note read, "I apologize for taking your car, but my wife was having a baby and we don't have one. So I hot-wired your ignition and rushed her to the hospital. Please forgive this terrible inconvenience. Here are two tickets for that big concert tonight. I hope this will, in some way, make it up to you."

Their faith in humanity restored, the couple attend the concert and return home late. There, they discover that their house has been robbed. Every valuable in the home has been taken, from basement to attic.

On the back door they find another note. This one reads, "Hey, new babies are expensive! At least you still have your car!"

[selected from Jokes Central]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his folly." (Proverbs 17:12)


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, September 15, 2010

Dieting Rules

So I think I forgot to tell you what happened with my audition for "The Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition."

They didn't pick me. They chose these six people.

But I decided to go ahead and do it on my own. I'm calling it, "The Biggest Loser: Personal Edition." The first week I gained a pound. Not so promising. But the second week I lost six pounds. I'm well into my third week. Perhaps one of these weekends I'll blog about it.

But pick one of those people above, root for 'em and pick up on some nifty weight loss tips and techniques while you're at it.



#1-Apparently, there is some relationship between how often you open your mouth and how often you put food into it. To reduce your caloric consumption, try keeping your lips together, especially when you are in the presence of cheesecake.

#2-There seems to be some disagreement among scientists over what causes fat. It has been noted that chubby laboratory rats who are fed a steady diet of ice cream sundaes seem unreasonably joyful -- so perhaps experiencing pleasure causes weight gain. You might find that you can drop pounds by deliberately being unhappy. Coincidentally, I can think of no better way to make yourself miserable than to go around hungry all the time, so you're in luck.

#3-Dieters should remember that proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are the building blocks of life and should be avoided at all costs.

#4-Some people argue that the healthiest diet is the one on which our species lived when we resided in caves and had to go everywhere on foot, even to the drive-through windows. We were scavengers then, feeding off the fresh kills left by wolves. To emulate this diet in modern times, track a couple of loose dogs through your neighborhood and then steal and eat what they pull out of trash cans. You'll lose weight!

#5-Chewing actually burns calories. The more you chew, the more you lose weight. The more you eat, the more you chew. Seems pretty logical to me.

#6-Food is the fuel our bodies burn in order to enable us to do physical things like use the television remote. To lose weight, consider alternative sources of energy, like solar panels, or wind power.

#7-My cat is very thin. It licks its fur all day and then once a week throws up on the carpet. This would probably work for people, too, though I don't want to be the first one to try it.

#8-Probably the biggest problem is when you go back for second helpings at every meal. Avoid this temptation by loading your plate with enough food the first time around.

[written by Bruce Cameron]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: One of my favorite Monty Python bits is the one where an intellectual goes into a cheese shop, only to find ... well, I won't ruin it for you, but the sketch begins with the customer saying, "I was sitting in the public library over on Thurmond Street just now, skimming through a copy of 'Rogue Harrys' by Hugh Walpole, when suddenly I became a bit esurient." The word means hungry, or even greedy. It's from Latin, of course, with the root word being "edere" (to eat) and modified to "esurire," which means "to be hungry."


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.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

School Bet


The day is slipping away.

So just a joke today.


The elementary school teacher liked to mix in a little education with everything, so on the first day of school, she was asking all the children to tell her their name, then what one of their parents did for a living, and then spell that job title.

First little girl says, "My name is Amy. My mom's a baker. That's b-a-k-e-r."

The next student says, "My name is Rayford. My dad's an electrician. That's e-l-e-k- ... no, e-e-l- ... no, sorry ... e-l-e-x- ... uh ..."

The teacher interrupts and says, "That's okay Rayford, you just think about it for a bit and we'll come back to you."

Then the next little boy says, "My name is Billy and my father is a bookie. That's b-o-o-k-i-e and I'll give you ten-to-one that Rayford don't ever spell electrician."

[Linda on the Web]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school." (Albert Einstein)


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.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Extend Your Influence

Well, here's one thing Facebook is good for ... I discovered another video there I just had to post here. Thanks, Jon.

It starts out as just another homemade video of a cute little girl having fun at a preschool. Then it turns into something ... more.

About 30 seconds in you begin to suspect that, wait a minute, someone may have actually choreographed this.

And then the magic happens. Turns out there's not a bad message attached to this.

But yeah, keep your eyes peeled.

My favorites are the guys in jetpacks.

Not the Best Thing

My apologies for a long absence last week. Lately my life has only let me get to writing very late in the evening, and by the time I've finished, it's too late or I'm just too pooped to format the post for e-mail, so I've just been throwing it up here on the blog. Be sure to check out the previous posts, and snatch a peek at the 30-second Subaru commercial I posted as a bonus on Sunday.

Tonight appears to be no different than last week, except I'm determined to get something all the way into your Inbox today.

So let me give you a tip for a Monday. Go to your favorite restaurant. Eateries are not so busy on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, so it will be easier for you to become recognized as a regular patron of the establishment on those days. And once you're recognized as a regular, good things begin to happen for you there.

I learned this from an old Reader's Digest piece on 20 Things Your Waiter Won't Tell You.



"Yes, sir, the tuna is an excellent vintage."

Your dinner is the only one on the menu with a "Recommended Antidote" listed right below it.

You're in a fast food restaurant. There *is* no "best thing" on the menu. It's all vile.

Your waiter wins a $50 bonus for being the first one to sell that dish this month. The date? The 29th.

Instead of the little icon that indicates a dish is spicy, there's a little skull-and-crossbones next to it.

"Sir, you wouldn't mind tipping in advance, would you?"

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


WELCOME to YOUR WEEK: September is ADHD Month (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). It's Line Dance Week, though personally I prefer Rhomboid Dancing. It's Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week (I've actually tried substitute teaching. Once.) And at the end of the week, my daughter has a birthday, and it's Yom Kippur.


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.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lump in My Throat

My daughter starts her driver education in just about three months. Thinking of my baby girl behind the wheel of a car .... well, let's just say the ad agency who created this for Subaru got it just right. Pitch perfect.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Who Is An American?

The events of September 11, 2001, are still fresh in my mind, as I imagine they are with most of you. The attacks on the World Trade Center are still an open wound for our nation, as well, given the lightning storms of dual controversies around the building of a mosque too close to Ground Zero, and the threat of Koran-burnings by a Florida pastor.

I pray the Holy Spirit gives us all sensitive hearts to see the Truth, soft words to turn away wrath, and right minds to speak cautiously as we mark the ninth year of that tragic day.



An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian, or Greek. An American may also be a Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab. Even a Pakistani or an Afghan.

An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navajo, Apache, Seminole, or one of the many other tribes known as Native Americans.

An American is a Christian, or could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or she could be a Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than there are in Afghanistan.

An American is also free to believe in no religion at all. For that he or she will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for God or the government.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world, even now. The root of that prosperity can be found in their Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God-given right of each person to pursue their vision of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world during their time of need, never asking for anything in return.

As of September 11, 2001, Americans had given more to the poor in Afghanistan than any other nation in the world.

One of the national symbols of America - the Statue of Liberty - welcomes your "tired and poor ... the wretched refuse of your teeming shores ... the homeless ... tempest-tossed ..." These, in fact, are the people who built America.

Some of them were working in the Twin Towers on the morning of September 11, 2001, earning a better life for their families.

Americans are not a particular people for a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, wherever they are, is an American.

[written by Peter Ferrara, originally published in late September 2001; as seen in ChapNotes ... edited by Mark Raymond]


WEBSITE of the WEEK: One of the results - among many - of 9/11 was the establishment in 2004 of "National Preparedness Month," which is now. The month of September. Check out what you can do at And, you know, be prepared.


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.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Pie Refund

So many of you know I am dieting. Again.

The folks at Neatorama have published an old Mental Floss blog entry on the History of Fad Dieting. Given my current state of nutritional affairs, it caught my attention.


A man walked into a bakery, carrying a pie box. He approached the clerk at the counter. The clerk said, 'Yes, sir, what can I do for you?"

The man replied, "I want my money back! I bought this pie here yesterday."

The clerk opened the box, looked at him and said, "But, where's the PIE?"

The man said, "I ate it! ALL of it!"

So the clerk asked him why he thought he should get his money back if he had eaten all the pie.

"See here on the box? It says it's supposed to feed 6 people! I am NOT 6 people!"

[Pastor Tim's Illustrations]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. (1 Timothy 6:7-9)


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, September 08, 2010

Marriage Counselor

I don't really have any way of doing demographics for my e-mail post or blog, but my guess is there are more women reading these words than men.

So ladies, this one's for you.

(Psst! Guys! There's some pretty good stuff there. Just don't let her catch you reading it!)



A man and his wife were having some trouble in their relationship, so they finally decided to visit a marriage counselor.

After several weeks and many conversations, one day the counselor says, "All right. I think I understand the problem. Here is the solution."

And with that, he stands up, approaches the man's wife, asks her to stand, then proceeds to give her a long, warm hug, and whispers, "I love you so much" in her ear, loud enough for her husband to hear.

The husband takes all this in without a word.

The counselor looks down at the husband and says, in a matter-of-fact voice, "This is what your wife needs. Several times a week, if not daily."

The husband thinks for a moment, then replies, "Well, I'm not sure. I know I can have her here Tuesdays and Thursdays and Fridays, but Monday and Wednesday I golf!"

[most recently seen in The Joke Barn]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: The Word Spy has discovered that clinical psychologists have been discussing those who attempt suicide, explaining that they are in extreme psychological pain, or experiencing a psychache.


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.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Car Show

My daughter returns to school today. She is officially a junior in high school.

I think I just felt an artery harden.

We spent our last weekend of non-school summer taking family day trips with Amanda and a pair of her good friends. While the canoe trip was longer than we thought it would be, I stayed mostly dry, which is a "win" in my book. Canoeing is not something I'll be taking up as a hobby.

But if you want to take up a new hobby, check out these tips before you jump in.


Every now and again one of our local restaurants will sponsor a classic car show, and auto enthusiasts from all over the region will roll up in their vintage vehicles.

Once, while strolling through the lot, admiring the trip down memory lane, I overheard two owners talking.

One explained that he had some friends who put together a car using wheels from a Cadillac, the engine from a Ford, the chassis of a Chevy, and the body of an old Plymouth.

"Wow," the other guy exclaimed. "What did they call it?"

The first guy laughs and replies, "Grand Theft Auto. They got two years!"

[adapted from Clean Hewmor by Mark Raymond]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "I have only one real hobby -- my husband." (Florence Harding)


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.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Amateur Advice

Labor Day, 2010.

As Hallmark's Maxine says, "I love Labor Day! What other day do you get to celebrate work without actually doing any?"

Speaking of work, my Facebook friend - and wife of my father's pastor, Erin Bartels - has begun a new blog for her sundry creative projects called The Consummate Amateur. It helps that she's an excellent writer, as well.


So it happened that a patient was making his first visit to the doctor.

"And whom," began the physician with a haughty air, "did you consult about your illness before you came to me?"

"Only my local pharmacist," replied the patient.

The physician was not impressed and could not conceal his contempt for the medical opinions of amateurs. He said, "And what sort of ridiculous advice did that fool give you?"

"He told me," replied the patient innocently, "to come and see you."

[Pastor Tim's Cybersalt Digest]


WELCOME to YOUR WEEK: September! It's Apple Month (so go visit an orchard or pick up that iPad), Children's Good Manners Month, National Chicken Month, and it's Healthy Aging Month. It's National Waffle Week and, of course, today is Labor Day. One of ten officially recognized government holidays.


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.

Friday, September 03, 2010

I.R.S. Letter

ADMINISTRIVIA: You may remember that coming off my sabbatical this past May, I gave myself permission to just update this blog when things got crazy in my life. Well, through the course of unforeseen and convoluted circumstances, we have three teenage girls in the house this weekend. Doesn't get much crazier. Just remember - if I'm not in your Inbox by 10:00 p.m. EST (please convert to whatever time zone you're in) - check my blog for the update. Or, if you're a friend of Mark's Musings on Facebook (hint, hint), you can get it all through them.



Dear Sirs,

I am writing you today to respond to your decision denying the deductions on my income tax return. I claimed three dependents; you have denied two of them. Thank you. I have questioned whether these are my children or not for years. They are expensive and often evil. However, since they are minors - and the government is taking on responsibility for them - let me tell you something about what to expect over the next year. For the 2011 tax year, you may apply to reinstate them to my return, providing you return an equal number of deductions to me. For this year, however, they are yours.

The oldest, Kristen, is now 17. She is brilliant. Just ask her! I suggest you put her to work where she can answer people's questions about taxes. She's had no formal training, but that hasn't seemed to hamper her knowledge of any other subject you can name. Taxes should be a breeze.

Next year she is going to college. I think it is wonderful that you're willing to be responsible for that expense. Also, she has a truck. It doesn't run at the moment, so you'll have to appropriate some Health and Human Services budget to fix it, or get up early and drive her to school.

Kristen also has a boyfriend. Ahem. While she appears to possess all the wisdom of the universe, her alleged mother and I have felt it best to occasionally remind her about the virtues of abstinence ... and, in the face of overwhelming passion, safe sex. These have always been uncomfortable conversations and I'm relieved you'll be handling them in the future.

Patrick is 14. I've long had my suspicions about this one. His eyes are a bit too close together, you know? He may be a tax examiner himself one day if you don't incarcerate him first. In June, we were awakened at 3:00 in the morning by the police, bringing Patrick home. He and his friends were caught TP'ing houses. In the future would you like him delivered to our local I.R.S. office or sent directly to Cincinnati, Ohio?

Now, kids at 14 will do almost anything on a dare. So his hair is purple. Temporary dye? No, permanent. He didn't care about the difference. You'll have plenty of time to get used to it because he is sitting out a few days of school for instigating a food fight. In the library. I'll be sure to file your phone number with the school's vice-principal.

One final word: do NOT leave him or any of his friends unsupervised with girls, explosives, anything flammable, inflatable, with wheels or with telephones.

Heather, I'm sure, is an alien. She slid through a time warp and appeared quite by magic one year. She is 10, going on 21. She must have begun her time travel in the 60s, because she wears tie-dyed clothes, beads, sandals, and keeps her hair in a way that would make Tiny Tim proud.

It's quite obvious we have been terrible parents (just ask the other two), so they have taken it upon themselves to raise this child to a new level of terror. She cannot speak English. Most people under 20 can, indeed, understand the curious patois she fashioned out of combining Valley girl / boys in the hood / reggae / yuppie / political doublespeak, but we cannot. The school sends her to a speech pathologist, who has taught her to roll her "r's." This has had the effect of adding a refreshing Mexican-Irish touch to her voice. She wears her hats backward, her pants baggy, and one of her ears is pierced four more times than the other one.

There is also a fascination with tattoos, which worries me, but I'm sure you can handle it. Bring a truck when you come because she "nests" in her room, and it may be easier to move everything rather than try to figure out what's really in there.

I guess it's only fair that you get to pick which two to take on, but I prefer you take the two youngest. I'll still go bankrupt putting Kristen through college, but then I'm free! If you take the two oldest, I'll have time to get some professional counseling before Heather becomes a teenager. If you take the girls, I won't feel so bad about putting Patrick into a military academy.

Please let me know of your decision as soon as possible.

[Humor Over Easy via Yaffa's Coffeehouse; edited by Mark Raymond]


WEBSITE of the WEEK: We've begun Labor Day Weekend, the cultural end of summer here in the States. Our family (and extended teen family) are taking day trips all weekend, to a shoreside favorite getaway on Michigan's East Coast today, a Renaissance Festival tomorrow, and then canoeing on Sunday with my son. But through it all, we've gotta eat. You'll find some helpful recipes for Labor Day and cookout menus at


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