Wednesday, December 13, 2017


   If we were smart, the first thing we’d do every morning is admit how dumb we are.
   No, not the kind of dumb my dictionary calls: “a lack of intellectual acuity.” That kind of dumb happens when I don’t bring in the suet birdfeeder at night, and by morning, a herd of bears has trampled the rhododendrons and twisted the feeder post into an iron pretzel.
   By the way, when marauding bears collect in a group and savage your birdfeeder (the latter also known as “a squirrel feeder”), the proper animal collective noun is “sloth,” not herd. A sloth of bears. I didn’t know that until researching this column, and that’s the kind of dumb I mean that we need to revel in.
   Uninformed. Unenlightened. Unaware.
   Not the dumb where you know full well that if you don’t bring in the feeder at night, a passing sloth might flatten the perennials, but you leave it dangling out there anyway, thinking you’ll outsmart Mother Nature. Dumb.
   But, I didn’t know until venturing here, that said sloth would deprive the “scurry” of squirrels of their bird food, not to mention the “dissimulation” of birds, specifically the “party” of blue jays. There, now I suspect there’s also at least one fun fact you hadn’t known until just now. You are now less dumb than you were a minute ago, and this may have saved your life.
   I claim this because I once had the privilege of tending to the daily needs of an old woman. She was old. I mean the kind of old where if she’d been ten years younger, she’d have looked the same.
   In one morning conversation we had as I prepared her breakfast, I told her about the “kneeling moose” I’d seen early this summer (more on this coming up). She listened, smiled and said: “There, now I won’t die today.”  She believed that if she learned at least one new thing every day, she’d live to see the next.
   She just recently passed away, probably dying on the day that she felt she’d learned enough. I’ll always have to wonder if she hadn’t known, and might’ve lived another day, if I’d told her that cats can see ghosts, and when two adult felines lie immobile and staring at an empty sofa, that’s a “pounce” of cats probably waiting for the spirit of a visiting dead uncle to yield their favorite cushions.
   Thus, “I’m dumb and I’m proud!” might just be the rallying cry to good health and longevity. After this sentence, you’ll feel livelier knowing that when you find what looks like a scattering of thistle seed on your kitchen counter in the morning and the tell-tale nibblings in your fruit bowl, you’ve been invaded by a “mischief” of mice.
   Or, when you swerve to avoid that cluster of lumbering characters in the road, your mood will brighten when you realize you had a near-miss with a “prickle” of porcupines.
   Or, it just might lower your blood pressure and put a spring in your step, now knowing that when kittens congregate, they do it in a “kindle,” and your neighbor has a new “puddle” of puppies.
   Kitten kindles. Puppy puddles. Say those together three times fast and you’ll be sure to live another day.
   I don’t know why I’d never known that a moose will drop down on its front knees to eat. I discovered this on a respite to a remote New Hampshire cabin, when I saw one assuming this genuflective feeding posture one late afternoon.
   I’ve spent most of my life in moose country, and when I haven’t been swerving to miss that highway prickle, I’ve been preventing sloths from gobbling up suet intended for dissimulating parties but stolen by scurries.
   I’d just never seen a kneeling moose. I’ve watched them eating trees (on their feet), stepping over guardrails and swimming across ponds. I knew their antlers could have a six-foot span. I knew they dropped them after mating season and grew new ones in the spring, thus conserving energy for winter (making them smarter than some other dumb animals I know).
   I knew they could eat 100 pounds of lily pads a day. I knew that one of them had a cartoon sidekick named Rocky. But, I never knew that moose will kneel down to eat up. Makes perfect sense, of course. On your feet all day and bent over?  Forget kneeling; I’d be lying down to eat, and often am.
   But, there’s one dumb animal kingdom enigma which never has been and never will be explained:  One goose?  Two geese.
   One moose?  Two … moose. I’ve stopped asking why moose not meese, though I believe it’s forever been an inside joke amongst our founding lexicographers, and I still feel dumb about it.
   Lastly, you deserve an extended life bonus just for all this learning: I can tell you that geese are also clumped together according to activity and habitat. Ever see geese in flight?  You’re looking at a “skein” of geese. Geese on the water?  You’ve just spotted a “plump.”  Meanwhile, multiple moose standing, swimming, stampeding or kneeling?  Doesn’t matter. Always a “herd.”
   I don’t ever expect to see a herd of kneeling moose, but if one hobbles into view, I’m ready.
   Thomas Edison said: “We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.”
   Now that we’ve learned that, we’ll have lots of tomorrows to figure out what it all means.
Senior Wire News Service Syndicated Humor Columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH. He is an author, humorist, agony uncle columnist and poet. His latest book is “THE DIOECIANS –His and Her Love”. You may contact him via his website at Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Kudos to Dr. Patrick Morhun and his team at the VA hospital, after my 2nd successful eye surgery.  20-20 vision now, for the first time since boyhood, WITHOUT GLASSES! 

Oh ... and to all those long-ago bullies who took great delight in the "four-eyes" chant? Here's your  giant audio-visual raspberry.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Revisiting the "yellow footprints,"  Parris Island, SC
   A Happy Veteran's Day to all my brothers- and sisters-in-arms, past & present. I'm sorry that this comes at a time when our current president is "visiting" Vietnam.  What a slap in the face to all veterans.
   This wretched chickenhawk, who received multiple deferments from active duty during the time of the Vietnam War for bone spurs in his feet, is now on a "tour" of Vietnam.
   What an outrage.
   What an insult.
   What an embarrassment.
   What a disgrace.

   This is the same man who said:   "It's my personal Vietnam - I feel like a great and very brave soldier." --- Donald Trump, speaking about the challenges of his avoiding STD's with multiple women. 

   I apologize on behalf of all of us, for the actions of this degenerate-in-chief.
   Meanwhile, a shout-out to all my fellow veterans.
   Thank you for your service.

Friday, November 10, 2017


A dedication for my wife Diane's mother

Dagfrid Holm-Hansen Church

Aged 98
Leaving us on 11/09/17

    Dagfrid Church Back Share Email Dagfrid H. Church October 14, 1919¬November 9, 2017 Conway, South Carolina
    Mrs. Dagfrid H. Church, 98, wife of the late Howard B. Church, passed away peacefully Thursday,
    November 9, 2017 at her home, surrounded by her loving family. Born October 14, 1919, in Norway, Mrs. Church was the daughter of the late Osmund Lutzow and Bergliot Pedersen Holm¬Hansen. Her family immigrated to the United States from Norway in 1929.
    Dagfrid and her husband lived in Westport, CT for nearly 50 years before retiring to Conway, SC. She held a Masters Degree in education and a Bachelors Degree in organic chemistry, and was an educator and research scientist. She was an avid tennis player and birder.
    Dagfrid loved gardening, shelling, butterflies, traveling, hiking, and spending time with her family, including Taffy and Sammy Jo. She served as a volunteer at Brookgreen Gardens for over 20 years.
    The family would like to extend special thanks to her dear friends Maggie Tudgay, Clara Elizabeth Brown, James Carl McNeil, Jim and Joy Schroeder, Sallie Crowley and all the Green Hatters.
    Dagfrid's daughters are especially grateful for the loving and compassionate care provided by Home Instead Senior Care and Embrace Hospice.
    Survivors include her daughters, Carol Joanne Church Holm-Hansen of Vollen, Norway, Diane Lillian Sherman of Fairlee, VT, Patricia Gwendolyn Church of Fairfield, CT and Sharon Holm Church of Boston, MA; three siblings, Vebjorn Holm-Hansen of Fairfield, CT, Turid (Trudy) Moore of Corpus Christi, TX, and Osmund Holm-Hansen II of La Jolla, CA; three grandchildren, Courtney Longo, Kim Longo, and Gabriel Church Lambie; one great-grandchild, Vanessa Longo; and many nieces, nephews, and extended family members.
    In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Brookgreen Gardens, 1931 Brookgreen Garden Drive, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576.
    Please sign the online guestbook at Goldfinch Funeral Home, Conway Chapel, is serving the family.