Sunday, March 9, 2014


(Time once again for “Dear Witbones – Ask A Humorist!”, America’s only agony uncle advice column for laughlorn readers.  This time, I’ve selected the best posers from the wonderful world of science.)

DEAR WITBONES: I’ve just read a news story on the subject of cow-tipping. A university zoology professor in Canada says that two people could tip over a cow in theory, but only if the cow has a “rigid, unresponding body,” which it doesn’t. Can you settle this? --- LEANING IN LOUISIANA
DEAR LEANING: First, I’d like to know why Canadian taxpayers are paying a university professor to research the finer points of bovine balance. I was about to investigate this, when I saw where American taxpayers were recently billed $50,000 to promote the Annual Hawaii Chocolate Festival. You could’ve tipped me over with a Hershey’s Kiss. Thanks for Witboning, and keep me posted.

DEAR WITBONES: Did you see the story on fat cats? University scientists here are saying that chromosome studies of calico cats may help show why some humans have problems with obesity. What gives with that? --- CORPULENT CALICO IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR CORPULENT: Yes, I did see that article, and I think I can help.
Calico cats are almost always female, which means they have two X chromosomes. Male cats have an X and a Y chromosome.  The same goes for humans, minus the hairballs. As you know from your high school math and science classes, whenever you have a known value of X and an unknown value of Y in an equation, you must use Pi to find the answer.
Logic then tells us that calico cats, often along with their human owners, are fatter because they eat more Pi. Thanks for Witboning, and keep me posted.

DEAR WITBONES: I’ve seen recently where alligators are now climbing trees, but as if this isn’t scary enough, I’ve learned that there are toads out there with “weaponized mustaches.” What the heck is going on with Mother Nature? --- AFRAID IN FLORIDA
DEAR AFRAID: Yes, unfortunately for you, it’s true that alligators are now climbing trees, but according to scientists at the University of Tennessee, “only as long as footholds are available.” You may thus conclude that it’s scary to live in Florida and easy to be a scientist in Tennessee.
And, yes, there are male frogs in a remote mountainous region of China that are equipped with “spines on their upper lips,” which are used to combat other male toads while guarding their nests. Canadian scientist Cameron Hudson warns us, however, that “they do try to stab you a bit if you try to pick them up.” Now you also know that it’s easy to be a scientist in Canada studying horny-lipped toads in China.
I haven’t conducted a scientific study, but I think that the mustachicles I sported through this past sub-zero winter could’ve easily out-stabbed any Chinese rival. Thanks for Witboning, and keep me posted.

DEAR WITBONES: Last night during supper I dropped a dill pickle on the floor. I brushed it off and ate it, thoroughly grossing out my college senior daughter who now thinks I’m disgusting. How can I convince her that what I did was not “gross”? --- PICKLE IN PALM BEACH
DEAR PICKLE: Once again, science has the answer. A Clemson University scientist has debunked the “five-second rule”.  This is the conventional wisdom that says if your pickle stays on the floor for less than five seconds, it’s okay to eat. Foodologist Dr. Paul Dawson reports that “food dropped on surfaces contaminated with pathogens will pick up those bacteria immediately.”
He and his team did extensive testing, dropping their pickles on various surfaces in timed intervals, discovering that wood or tile floors are much more infectious than carpets. I’m no rug bug scientist, but I’m calling this “the fuzzy factor.”
I’m also certain that Dr. Dawson neglected to test the average sorority room floor, where six-month old Doritos under beds have been known to be consumed with no ill effects. You may quote me the next time you dine with your daughter. Thanks for Witboning, and keep me posted.

DEAR WITBONES: Why is my image reversed when I look into a mirror? Does this make sense to you? --- REFLECTING IN RHODE ISLAND
DEAR REFLECTING: Science tells us that mirrors work when photons cause your atomic electrons to vibrate. Thus, “If I was a mirror, you’d be vibrating all over, baby,” is a great pickup line for scientists. Let’s leave it there. Thanks for Witboning, and keep me posted.

* * * * *
Syndicated humor columnist and author B. Elwin Sherman conducts his scientific research from Bethlehem, NH. He can also be found in his internet lab at  Copyright 2014 by B. Elwin Sherman.  All rights reserved.  Used here with permission.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


No caption necessary....
 Illustration by Brad Fitzpatrick
(Thanks to Brad Fitzpatrick, cartoonist/illustrator extraordinaire, who rendered this timely image of me frozen atop my Harley for a Last Laugh humor column in NH Magazine.  Used here with permission.
  Copyright 2014 by Brad Fitzpatrick.) 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


FOUND THIS OLD SIGN at the dump, and though the days when some strapping eager young person would arrive at your door, shovel in hand, offering to dig you out are long-gone, I put it in my window, anyway.

Besides, I just checked the weather report, and I'm in denial.

Saturday, February 8, 2014



Fifty years go, John, Paul, George & Ringo landed in America. I remember Dad at supper asking me and sister Sue: "Did you hear about a new band called 'The Beatles'"?

What a long strange magical mystery tour it's been since then.

Monday, February 3, 2014


I DIDN'T WATCH THE SUPERBLOWOUT, but I did see the news today on Bob Dylan's automobile commercial. Every day, more evidence that I've lived too long. The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the windshield....

Sunday, February 2, 2014



NOW, the "health experts" are telling me never to reuse my bath towel or walk in my bathroom barefoot, don't shampoo daily, always throw out my loofa after a week, trim my shower curtain, microwave my toothbrush, squat don't sit and wash don't wipe when I poop, and always put the lid down before I flush.

And, insomnia will make me fat.  Caffeine and chocolate ARE good for me (they change that position every other year), I SHOULD eat more (or fewer) nuts, drink more (or less) red wine, and now that another decade has passed, it's gone back to brush my teeth side-to-side, NOT up and down.

Howinhell have I lived this long....