Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TV Delivery

Well, I have two major project deadlines mere hours away as I type this, so let me just point you to the Hybrid Mom, dash off a quick joke, crank over the quote machine, and get outta your Inbox.


While I was staying with my aunt, she was watching a PBS television show presenting a very frank video of a live birth. Thinking it would be a good experience for her three young children, she called them quickly into the living room and we all watched.

As her five-year-old studied the baby emerging from the birth canal, he asked, "Mom, does that hurt?"

Remembering the births of the three lovely children beside her, she replied, "Oh, yes, it hurts quite a bit. But only for a little while."

"Wow," her son continued in an awestruck voice, "does it hurt the mother, too?"

[Pastor Tim's Cybersalt Digest]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been." (Robert Brault)


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, November 29, 2010

Shopping Newbie

Today is the Internet's answer to Black Friday.

They call it Cyber Monday.


I used to live near a major university.

Every fall, the new flock of kids attending college always included some who needed a little help with everyday chores, due to never having really done any while they lived at home. Things like doing the laundry, or purchasing groceries.

One day at the grocery store, I was in the dairy aisle, picking out some eggs. As I usually did, I opened the carton to check them over for damage before putting them in my cart. That's when I noticed the young man beside me, mimicking my every move.

When he saw I had noticed him, he leaned toward me and whispered conspiratorially, "What are we looking for?"

[Good Clean Funnies List via Randy Walker's Clean Humor]


WELCOME to YOUR WEEK: We put November in the rearview mirror of our calendar this week, but before it goes, you still have two days to enjoy Plum and Pomegranate Month. Today is Electronic Greetings Day, and tomorrow is Computer Security Day. I guess that's the cyber equivalent of wiping your hand after you shake someone else's hand.


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, November 26, 2010

Useless Things

So how about a few things for which we are *not* thankful? Feel free to comment below and add a few of your own.


And other less-than-useless things

The little paper tags that are stapled to buttonholes or belt loops on laundered or dry-cleaned garments, the only purpose of which is to be overlooked and idiotically worn in public.

The "trip computer" on your car that uses the magic of modern telemetry to tell you exactly how many miles you have left in your tank, except when you get below 50 miles and could really USE this information, which is when it just says, "low."

The CAPS LOCK key, the only purpose of which is to facilitate the sputterings of online lunatics, but which is easily and annoyingly pressed by mistake. Locating this key between the tab and shift is about as smart as locating the rat poison between the bubble juice and the sippy cup.

Cellphones that make a lot of noise when they vibrate, defeating the strategic purpose of "vibrate."

Internet Explorer asking you, every time it crashes your computer, if you wish to "report" the error, as though Microsoft has a team of specialists somewhere ready to get right to the bottom of your particular problem.

Motion-sensor doors that are so slow you have to wait for them to open, delaying you more than if you'd opened the door yourself.

The cheap little plastic disk that seals the plastic on a loaf of bread, an allegedly resealable system that turns out to be fiction because more often than not, it snaps like a dry noodle.

The QWERTY keyboard, laid out during the early days of the typewriter, when it was necessary to keep frequently used letters a distance from each other so the keys wouldn't jam together on the platen. Now it's the chief culprit behind typos.

Caps on the stem of your tires. They exist only to get lost and make you feel vaguely unprotected.

Flatware in a restaurant or banquet wrapped so tightly in the napkin you have to shred the napkin to get to your fork.

Any computer program that ends with "Wizard."

The "sent from my iPhone" or "sent from my Blackberry" text that is automatically appended to your e-mails, which serves no purpose other than branding you as a person who thinks they are important.

So called "pockets" on clothing that can accommodate nothing larger than an Altoid.

[selected from an old Washington Post article]


WEBSITE of the WEEK: With just 29 shopping days left until Christmas, the end-of-the-year and best-of-the-year lists are beginning to arrive. The first one I've seen this year is at http://www.popsci.com/bown/2010. It's Popular Science Magazine listing 100 items they call the "Best of What's New in 2010."


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, November 25, 2010

Holiday Conversations

Thanksgiving, 2010.

The folks at "Eat This, Not That" have listed their Top Swaps for Thanksgiving Day.

And if you're reading this after the big meal, maybe you should just check out Christianity Today's page on Thankfulness.

Be blessed this day, my friends, and *thank you* for reading this e-mail and blog one more year.

And kick in a comment ... what topics did everyone at your place discuss this year?



Whose house this is and how you'll act in it.

Who put a roof over your head and how you'll behave as long as you're under it.

Who is not here to win any popularity contests.

What is an argument and what is just a heated discussion.

Who is in charge here.

How school is going.

The weather.

Who has had more than enough to eat.

[Jason Rohrbacker via McSweeneys; edits by Mark Raymond]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer." (1 Timothy 4:4-5)


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, November 24, 2010

Hollywood Holidays

Science is about to make another monumental leap forward for Hollywood. (Well, and all of us, really.)

First came Betamax. Then came the Video Home System (VHS). Then the Digital Video Disc (DVD). Now we have Blu-Ray, which can store five times more data on the disc than a DVD. By the way, it's called Blu-Ray because the laser used to write the data emits a blue beam instead of a red or infrared beam.

So what's next? Titanium Oxide. Scientists in Japan have figured out a way to allow this material to store and retrieve data, simply by configuring how it reacts to light. The good news is not only can it store thousands of times as much data as your average DVD, but because the compound is so readily and easily made, it should be *much* cheaper than Blu-Ray.

Don't have any idea what they'll call it, though. TOx? Tide? Oxanium?





Saint Agent's Day

Holy Mirror Day

Box Officing Day

Thanksgiving 2: Turkey's Revenge


Men in Black Friday

[Chris White's Top Five on Movies w/edits and additions by Mark Raymond]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: The Word Spy is reporting out a new word that applies to my situation here. With my wife still in Florida (she is extending her stay into December to help her Mom handle her Stepdad's health issues), we talk via Skype and on the phone quite a bit. Now, if it was just she or me doing the talking, that would be a monologue. ("Mono" refers to one.) If you could hear our entire conversation, that would be a dialogue. ("Di" refers to two.) The Word Spy says if you knew there was a dialogue going on but could only hear one person talking, that's a halfalogue. Cute. I like it!


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, November 23, 2010

Clever Boy

Bleh. All this busy-ness caught up with me and I spent much of today in bed from exhaustion and stress and feeling like I should have gotten that flu shot, cost be hanged.

So just the joke and just the blog again today.

Thanks for your patience.


One afternoon a little four-year-old boy tells Mom he has to go to the bathroom and trundles off. He's gone for the longest time. Finally Mom goes to find him.

She finds him in the bathroom, sure enough, door wide open, and he's sitting on the potty with his pants around his ankles, looking at a picture book. As she's watching, he puts the book down, grips the toilet with one hand, and whacks himself in the head with the other hand. About half a minute later he repeats this.

Finally Mom pipes up and asks, "Are you all right? You've been in here for awhile."

"I'm fine, Momma," her son replies. "I just haven't gone potty yet."

"Okay," says Mom, "I just wanted to make sure you were okay. But why are you whacking yourself on the side of the head?"

Her son gives an eloquent shrug of his shoulders and says, "Works for ketchup."

[submitted by list member Corinne J.]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "In a dark moment I ask, 'How can anyone bring a child into this world?' And the answer rings clear, 'Because there is no other world, and because the child has no other way into it.' " (Robert Brault)


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, November 22, 2010

Monday Groaners

I am so far behind on a handful of projects that I may lap myself.

So only the joke today.



I saw an expensive outdoors jacket filled with fluffy duck feathers, but I couldn't afford the down payment.

If every economist in the world was laid end-to-end, they still would not reach a conclusion.

Why is there a general in charge of the post office, but a secretary in charge of defense?

An apple a day makes Bill Gates very nervous.

I once knew a pig who could write. He used a pigpen.

Why can't you take a picture of a man with a wooden leg in Oklahoma?
Because you need to use a camera.

[Jokes Central]


WELCOME to YOUR WEEK: As we slip into the downside of November, it's still Historic Bridge Awareness Month, and National Adoption Month. We have just begun both National Bible Week and National Family Week (appropriate, with Thanksgiving I suppose). It's also National Game and Puzzle Week. Wednesday is Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day (as long as your unique talent is safe and legal), Thursday has a little something to do with Giving Thanks, and Friday is "Black Friday," named because it is the day when many merchants finally show a profit for the year due to the heavy onset of Christmas shopping. Finally, Friday is also the National Day of Listening. And there's your link to uphold my motto.


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, November 19, 2010

In This Home

It seems Bonnie and I have run into a spot of parental health issues this week. My Step-Mom is probably going to have a pacemaker inserted, either today or tomorrow. She'll be 91 at the end of this month.

Meanwhile, Bonnie's Step-Dad is struggling with a mild staph infection that is really complicating things, when being impaired by a severe stroke is complicated enough. So she'll be staying on in Florida to help out her Mom until December.

Amanda and I will tend to the home fires here, but this will be the first Thanksgiving Bonnie and I have been apart in more than 25 years. As you always have, please lift a kind thought or a warm prayer on everyone's behalf.


In this home...

WE BELIEVE that faith in what God can do is more important than faith in what people can't do.

WE BELIEVE that children and a clean home cannot exist in the same place at the same time.

WE BELIEVE that mowing the lawn is the result of having nothing better to do.

WE BELIEVE in homework first, television last.

WE BELIEVE that cooking is not a lost art ... it was deliberately misplaced.

WE BELIEVE that love, faith, hard work, and good music will result in peace of mind.

WE BELIEVE in family ties, except on casual days.

WE BELIEVE the best things in life are free, but that doesn't help pay the mortgage.

WE BELIEVE in over-paying the sitter.

WE BELIEVE in businesses that help others, families that pray together, faith that encourages growth, and a God that cares.

WE BELIEVE all these things...

...in this home.

[written by Mark Raymond]


WEBSITE of the WEEK: Have any DVDs of old children's movies you no longer want or need? Consider donating them to http://www.kidflicks.org/. This California organization, founded by four sisters, have collected and donated over 50,000 movies to Pediatric Wards around the country and into South Africa.


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, November 18, 2010

Coffee Stop

I'm not a big fan of Starbucks or fancy coffees. Gimme a straight cup o'joe with a generous dollop of cream and I'm good to go. (Full disclosure: my favorite coffee shop is Tim Hortons. There, I said it.)

But I know that some of you are fans of the Seattle Company.

For you, between now and Sunday, you can get one holiday specialty drink free when you purchase the first.


Bill and Doug were on a cross-country trip and stopped in a little town diner for a break.

The place looked as though it had seen better days. As they slid into a booth, Bill wiped crumbs off the seat, then he took a napkin and wiped a ring of moisture and some more crumbs off the table that someone had missed when they cleaned it after the previous guest.

The waitress appeared and offered them menus. "No, thanks," said Doug. "I'd just like a cup of black coffee."

"I'll have a cup of coffee, also" said Bill, "but please make sure it's in a clean cup."

The waitress shot him a look, then disappeared into the kitchen. A minute later she was back with two cups of coffee.

"Here we are, two cups of coffee. Now which one of you wanted the clean cup?"

[Net 153s Smile A Day]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)


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, November 17, 2010

Bathroom Jam

I think I mentioned that my wife is gone this week. Usually I try to surprise her with some sort of household improvement, even if it's just a little bit of extra cleaning. This week, however, I'm busy wearing my union editor hat so there may not be much of that.

If you have time, however, Reader's Digest provides solutions to nine common bathroom cleaning problems.


As my wife finished cleaning the bathroom one day, she noticed the toilet wasn't flushing properly, and asked me to investigate. I couldn't fix the problem with a plunger, so I wound up dismantling the entire fixture ... no small feat for the non-plumber, home improvement-impaired man that I am.

I discovered, jammed down inside the drain, a purple rubber dinosaur, belonging to our five-year old son. I removed it and then painstakingly got all the toilet parts put back together properly.

To my surprise, it didn't flush and drain much better than it had before. As I pondered what to do next, our son wandered into the room. I explained what I was doing and pointed to the purple dinosaur as the source of the problem.

That's when he asked, "Did you get the green one out, too?"

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: It sounds like our friend above put that toilet back together meticulously. That word has its root in the Latin word, "metus," which meant fear. Someone who had "meticulosus" was fearful, or timid. The word in its current form has come to mean someone who is extremely or even obsessively careful about paying attention to details. Almost as if they were afraid to get it wrong. See how that word works?


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, November 16, 2010

Pork Tasting

Thanksgiving - or what my wife and I call "The Forgotten Holiday" - is coming up next week. I hope you will be able to gather with your family, as many of us do here in the States.

But unless you're the one actually cooking up the turkey (or ham, or gefilte fish, or whatever), you're probably going to need to bring a side dish or some other edible contribution to the meal. I know our family always looks forward to my Mom's banana bread and my wife's pumpkin roll.

Well, the folks over at iVillage have 50 Thanksgiving Side Dishes to offer, complete with recipes and mouth-watering photos.

I'm already hungry.


A rabbi at a prominent local temple had been curious for years about why Gentiles seemed to love the taste of pork so much. Finally, as his retirement approached, he thought he would take a risk and try some. He went to another city, where he was unlikely to be known, walked into one of the better restaurants, and ordered the first item on the dinner menu he knew to be made of pork.

As he was waiting, who should walk in but the president of his congregation. Seeing the rabbi, he approached with a big smile on his face, and asked if he could share his table. The rabbi had no choice, of course, but to agree. The two exchanged pleasantries.

And then, as it happened, the waiter appeared with the rabbi's order. Setting it carefully on the table, he removed the cover with a flourish and revealed an entire roast pig, done up to perfection with an apple in its mouth.

The president of the congregation was thoroughly shocked, naturally. However, thinking quickly, the rabbi proclaimed, "What an incredibly nice restaurant this is! Everything is so fancy! Why, look at all the trouble they went to just to serve me the apple I ordered!"

[first seen in Pastor Tim's PearlyGates]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day." (Robert Caspar Lintner)


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, November 15, 2010

Dental Visit

When I was young, I became afraid of needles. You see, my mother had Type I diabetes (it eventually killed her), and every morning she would give herself a shot in her hip ... which was eye level for me, as a child. I'd see the needle go in, a tiny spot of blood appear, and a quick grimace of pain on her face and decided then and there I didn't want anything to do with needles.

Flash forward a few years to when I finally developed a cavity in one of my teeth. The dentist had to give me a shot of Novocain before he drilled and, thanks to my fear, it felt like the consarned thing was plunging straight through my cheek, and I freaked out. Well, my father convinced me the next time I had to go that I could "man up" and go through the filling without the painkiller, and he was right. If you go to the dentist regularly, they catch most cavities before they get too deep and the drill doesn't come anywhere near a nerve ending.

Until this one time, when the drill hit a nerve, and I had to be scraped off the ceiling. Now I pretty much ask them to make me as unconscious as possible.

You see why I'm pretty excited about this breakthrough.


At the busy dental office where I work, one particular patient was always late for his appointment.

Once, when I called to confirm his appointment, he said, "I'll be about 15 minutes late. That won't be a problem, will it?"

"No," I replied, "we just won't have time to administer anesthetic."

He was early.

[Terri Spaccarotelli in Reader's Digest Online]


WELCOME to YOUR WEEK: We are smack dab in the middle of Aviation History Month, National AIDS Awareness Month, National Pet Cancer Awareness Month and Sweet Potato Awareness Month (rich in carotene, the yam will help boost your immune system). It's American Education Week, and Global Entrepreneurship Week. Today is America Recycles Day (and, indeed, we put our recyclables at the curb today), Wednesday is Homemade Bread Day, Thursday is the Great American Smokeout, and Friday is Have a Bad Day 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, November 12, 2010

Apology Letter

It's time for my mother-in-law and her stroke-impaired husband to begin their annual migration to Florida. I mention this only because my wife takes the journey with them, to help as she can and be an extra layer of security for them on the trip. She's out of here tomorrow and will fly back next Friday.

Which leaves just my daughter and I at home this week. Anybody know any good takeout places?


Lisa, who is my coworker at the travel agency where we're both employed, had a customer whose trip was a complete fiasco from start to finish. Lisa was going to write him a letter of apology, but wasn't sure how to begin.

I reminded her of a similar experience one of my customers had the previous year, and dug out the letter I'd written for him so she could use it as an example.

Handing it to her, I said, "All you have to do is change the details: the date, the trip info, and the name."

Lisa glanced at it, chuckled and shook her head. Then she looked up at me and said, "We won't even have to change the name."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WEBSITE of the WEEK: After Bonnie drives down to Florida with her Mom and Step-Dad, she flies back home. While I was checking on her flight - and with a little help from Kim Komando - I stumbled across http://www.hipmunk.com/, an airline booking website that combines price, length of trip, and number of stops to generate an "agony" rating. The flights with the lowest scores float to the top. I especially enjoyed the easy-to-read chart that's generated. And with tabbed browsing, you can search for flights from different cities to find the best value.


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, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010

Veteran's Day, 2010. The day we commemorate when the guns of World War One went silent. It was the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

No link, just the joke today.

And a wish for the swift return of our military men and women to their families in safety.



"I don't care how hungry you are, 'Enfilade Fire' is a military tactic, not the latest burrito down at Taco Bell!"

"I hope this hip holds up for the parade."

"Vets *should* have a special day. All those fine men and women who study for years to ensure your pets stay healthy...."

"So the mess sergeant points me at the ten bushels of peas. And that was when the shelling started."

[selected from Chris White's Top Five on the Military]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)


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, November 10, 2010

Hired Hand

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Jones Soda Company is once again breaking through the flavor barrier with their soft drinks.

This year it's bacon.

That sound you just heard were taste buds everywhere, screaming in terror.


A farmer and the hired hand he had recently brought on to help with the harvest were having a fine, full breakfast one day at the height of crop-gathering. They were both busily gulping down coffee, eggs, biscuits, gravy, and all the bacon they could eat.

Thinking of all the work they had to do that day, the farmer remarked, "You know, this is probably going to be our lunch, too." The hired hand just nodded, refilled his plate, and continued eating.

A short time later, the farmer says offhandedly, "We've got so much work to do today, this may well have to be our supper, too."

The hired man grunts his understanding, takes a last few bites, then pushes back from the table, loosens his suspenders and takes off his boots.

"What are you doing?" the farmer asks.

The hired man replied, "I don't work after supper."

[Joe's Clean Laffs]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: This past weekend a friend of mine was curious about the origin of the word, dollop. Turns out it's one of those words where linguists only have a best guess: they suspect it is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word "dallop," which referred to a small patch, clump or tuft of grass. It has come to mean a small amount of something - usually something squishy (such as jam) or a liquid, as in "a dollop of brandy."


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, November 09, 2010

Two Surgeries

Found out yesterday that my son is once again participating in the "Movember" fundraising contest - where men grow mustaches for a month and raise money for prostate cancer research. That's him up in the corner.

Several of you were so generous in helping me raise money to feed the hungry. Here's another good cause. I'll be donating to this one, as well.

Even if you just visit the site and read up on the "mo"vement, I'll be thankful.


My 72-year old uncle was in hospital for prostrate surgery. He was admitted at 6:00 a.m., the surgery was performed at 7:30 a.m., and we were amazed when the hospital discharged him by 4:00 p.m. and he was back in his own bed before supper.

Later that week, in one of those odd coincidences, we had to take his dog to the Veterinarian because Rex also needed prostate surgery. I asked the Vet what time I should pick Rex up.

I was told Rex would be staying overnight and I should come back around noon the next day.

"Overnight?" I asked. "His owner just had this same surgery and was home that same day."

The Vet looked at me and replied, "Yes, well, Rex isn't covered by an HMO."

[Joke of the Day via Charlie's Chuckles with a little editorial massage by Mark Raymond]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." (Calvin Coolidge)


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, November 08, 2010

Pit Crew

Documentary films tend to have a decidedly, umm, let's say National Public Radio/Television axe to grind - which means they tend to lean more toward the liberal end of the spectrum rather than the conservative ... nonetheless there have been some very good documentaries made recently; Oscar-winning films, even.

And you can watch many of them - for free - at Free Documentaries; including some quite popular ones. Everything from films about 9/11 to Who Killed the Electric Car?, which I've heard was quite well done.


The Ferrari Racing Team recently fired its pit crew to hire several unemployed youths from the Liverpool, England area, after team leaders viewed a documentary showing the vagrant young people removing a set of car wheels without proper tools in under four seconds. The prevailing theory is that most races are won or lost in the pit area so this was thought to be a good move.

What team officials hadn't counted on, however, was that not only were the lads swapping out the tires in under four seconds, but within another ten seconds they had repainted, renumbered, and sold the vehicle to the McLaren Racing Team.

[Pastor Tim's PearlyGates]


WELCOME to YOUR WEEK: It's National Adoption Month and National Peanut Butter Lovers Month. For some reason, this is also Dear Santa Letter Week (must take six weeks to travel up to the North Pole and back ... wink, wink), and it's World Kindness Week. Wednesday marks the anniversary of the Marine Corps, Thursday is Veteran's Day, and Friday is Domino 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, November 05, 2010

Tigers in the Dark

Many Americans will receive the "gift" of an extra hour of sleep this weekend.

If you're in one of the States that observe Daylight Saving Time, remember to set the clocks back an hour before you go to bed Saturday night. You'll find the sun out a little bit earlier on, appropriately, Sunday.


Many years ago a circus was broadcast live on television in front of a large audience, and one of the acts featured a lion tamer and a cage full of Bengal tigers.

The trainer entered the cage and locked the door behind him. The spotlights highlighted the cage and as the television cameras moved in closer, the audience watched in suspense. The trainer put the fierce cats through their paces, but in the middle of the performance, the unexpected happened: the power failed and the lights went out!

For twenty or thirty long seconds, the trainer was stranded, locked in with the tigers, knowing they could see him perfectly, but he could not see them at all. His whip and a small stool were all that stood between him and certain death.

But he survived, and when the lights came back on, he finished his performance to a standing ovation.

Later, in an interview, the trainer was asked how he felt knowing the tigers could see him but he was completely in the dark. He admitted that fear had sent a chill down his spine, but then he realized that the tigers didn't know he couldn't see them. "I just kept cracking my whip," he said, "and I kept talking to them until the lights came back on. And they never knew I couldn't see them."

The parallel to what occasionally happens in our own life is unmistakable. At some point, we are all fighting tigers in the dark, terrors we cannot see. But if we trust to what we know, just keep cracking our whip, and wait for the Light, all will be well.

[A Dose of Inspiration via Wit and Wisdom; slightly rewritten by Mark Raymond]


WEBSITE of the WEEK: NASA says there are 818 asteroids larger than half-a-mile across in near Earth space. Though they are confident that none appear to be headed our way, there is now a website where you can check the data about what would happen if one did at http://www.purdue.edu/impactearth. You can fill in your own measurements, or use the drop down lists and take one of their suggestions.


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, November 04, 2010

Health Quotations

What happens when you combine social networking, your goals for a better lifestyle, and making it all feel like a fun competitive game?

You get Health Month, created by Buster Benton. A new game starts on December 1. You have until then to decide. Let me know if you try it, and how you feel about it. I might jump in as my New Year's Resolution.



"It's no longer a question of staying healthy. It's a question of finding a sickness you like." (Jackie Mason)

"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not." (Mark Twain)

"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver." (Mahatma Gandhi)

"So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health." (A.J. Materi)

"To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life." (William Londen)

"A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools." (Spanish Proverb)

"In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties." (Henri Frederic Amiel)

"Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings." (Publius Syrius)

[collected from several sources; most from thinkexist.com]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones." (Proverbs 3:7-8)


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, November 03, 2010

Optician Jokes

That tremor you felt last night was America, shifting to the right.

Meanwhile, in Germany, they're developing breakthrough technology that makes Geordi's visor on Star Trek obsolete before it's even invented.



Patient: Doc, I'm still seeing spots in front of my eyes.
Optician: Didn't the new glasses help?
Patient: Sure! I'm seeing the spots much clearer now!


Optician: You need glasses!
Patient: But I'm wearing glasses.
Optician: Then I need glasses!!


One Optician reports: "My patients come in all the time, embarrassed that they sat upon their glasses. After readjusting the frames, I hand them back and admonish them to not do it again. Besides, it's unnecessary. Didn't your mother teach you that hindsight is 20/20?"

[selected from optiboard.com]


WORD for YOUR WEEK: Here's a word mildly related to eyesight, though it's not used that way: obfuscate, which means to darken, or cloud and confuse. As in, "one of the best ways to win an argument is to obfuscate the issues." It's from Latin, as you might expect. Fuscus meant dark, and the modifier "ob" means over or above, as in more of something. And, indeed, with an affliction such as glaucoma, your eyesight could be obfuscated.


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, November 02, 2010

Voting Excuses

I just got back from my polling place. I was Voter #312 to cast a ballot from my precinct.

I read recently that when the Iraqis were finally allowed to vote in a truly democratic election, they achieved a 73% voter turnout, despite threats of suicide bombers being rampant.

Meanwhile, in this country, where you can vote without fear of bodily harm, we can barely attain half that percentage. So what will it take to achieve a decent voter turnout? Candidates who truly inspire us rather than frustrate, annoy, and outrage us? Finding a way to register and vote without having to leave your house? Creating "designated voters" who can cast votes on behalf of multiple voters for a small fee? (Hey, that would create jobs and help the economy, too!)

Or maybe all we need is an element of danger. Put up barbed wire around the polls. Use metal detectors. Do random strip searches. You know, like the airports.

Post your thoughts here in the comments section so we can all marvel at your idea.



They stopped giving out juice and cookies afterward.

I only vote every ten years. Like the census.

Ever since the Mondale defeat, I've lost faith in the system.

I don't live in an important state.

Both candidates are just so trustworthy and deserving, I can't decide!

Last time I voted, a war started.

I talked to someone who completely disagrees with me, so my not voting will cancel out his not voting.

Oh, it's not like anyone *really* wins these things.

No, I don't vote ... it just encourages them to run again.

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


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "We'd all like to vote for the best man, but he's never a candidate." (Frank McKinney Hubbard)


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