Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A FARTHER TIME



MY GRANDFATHER, Elwin Atwood Sherman, with me on his knee.

Fast forward two generations (and it sure feels like it), and that's me with Grandson Myles on mine.

“For last year's words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice.” 
        ― T.S. Eliot

Happy 2014, all.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

RUM A DOLDRUM, RUM A DOLDRUM

IN THE FOURTH GRADE, I was singled out to perform 'The Little Drummer Boy' in the Christmas play. Took me this long to live and rewrite the tribute:



THE LITTLE WINTER DOLDRUMMER BOY

Come, they told me
doldrum a drum-drums.
A cold malaise there'll be
doldrum a drum-drums.
Our hands and feet will freeze
all numb a numb-numb.
We’ll cough, shiver and sneeze
until we succumb,
to the doldrums,
dumb a dumb-dumb.

Or, we’ll warm our toes
our fingers and thumbs.
We’ll drink umbrella drinks
of butters and rums.
We’ll slurp them down wethinks
and sit on our bums,
bum a bum-bums,
bum a bum-bums.

Shall I pour for you
my rum a rum-rums?
Your butts I'll warm up, too.
Come chum a chum-chums.
We won't care if it's cold
and won't be so glum.
We'll drink 'til winter's old
come spring and then some,
what we become,

Merry Doldrums.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

JUDY RIDING HIGH

THREE YEARS AGO TODAY, my sweet Judy was stricken ill.  She spent the next 16 months struggling through multiple surgeries, setbacks and rehabs, until making her ultimate transition from this earth.  She never lost her courage, her good humor, and that radiant smile.

This is how to best remember her, from a day we made a "toy run" on the Harley.  She loved to ride.

You are still sorely missed, dear Judy.

Ride on......

Monday, December 9, 2013

THE GRANDPA RESOLUTION

 (I have a new granddaughter, Norah, and in lieu of making New Year’s resolutions for 2014, I’m sending a welcome letter to my new off-offspring.)

          My Dear Norah:
          You arrived in the world today (pardon the mess), and the announcement came with the usual vital statistics: you weighed-in at eight pounds, thirteen ounces, and a smidgeon over twenty inches long. Don’t labor over what a “smidgeon” is just yet. You’ll discover that we humans have many ways of assigning units of measure, especially in this North Country. You’ll have enough trouble later sorting out oodles, smithereens and heebie-jeebies.
          You’ll have to trust me, that someday when someone asks you about your birth size, and you tell them that you were a smidgeon over twenty inches, they’ll know what you mean.
          This naturally brings us to your biggest earthly challenge: the art of communication. Not to worry. At first, nothing intelligible is expected from you. In fact, in your first photo, there you are with your thumb in your mouth and your first finger in your nose. You have a close relative (ahem) who believes that such early psychomotor dexterity means that you might one day be a maestro conducting your own symphony at Carnegie Hall, but that’s just the way he thinks (wink-wink).
          The truth is, you COULD grow up to do just that, if that is within you, and when I think of how wide open the world is for you, I get dizzy with excitement. But, it’s also my duty and devotion, right about here, to help you prepare for what’s coming. I know you will have to travel your own path in your own way, but I can offer a few tips:
          It’s probably best to not pet any animal on someone else’s leash without asking first.
          When you make a drawing (which you will be called upon to do) and you choose to color the sun purple, and someone tells you that you’re wrong, try to ignore them. Sometimes, the sun IS purple. Don’t budge. If you see it and feel it purple, use purple.
          I want to explain to you how it’s possible that the first time you stand in the sand at the edge of an ocean, the water from a wave rushing back through your toes can make you feel like you’re changing the shape of the whole world --- but I won’t try. When you do it yourself, it will be all yours.
          I never learned how to whistle through my fingers, but your Great-Grandmother Pauline knows. She’ll be happy to show you.
          I am, however, pretty good at ducks & drakes. This is where you take a flat stone and throw it just right so it skips across the water. When you’re ready, I’ll be happy to have a skip-off with you. It’s all in the hips and wrists. You may choose the stones.
          There is an old expression: “Every form of refuge has its price.” Please, always keep this in mind. If you love to fly, you’ll need to have a long talk with gravity. If you want to ride a unicorn, you’ll need a good unicorn saddle. If you make mudpies, you’ll get muddy. If that’s fine with you, and you want to make a mudpie for me, I like mine packed with lots of sticks and gooey stuff.
          You’ll have moments when you just don’t understand why things happen the way they do. Never stop asking. Keep at it until you find the answer that works for you.
          I’ll bet you a mudpie that no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to say “black bug’s blood” three times fast. This is one of life’s great mysteries, along with the inability to sneeze with your eyes open or tickle yourself. And, very few people can wiggle their ears or raise just one eyebrow, but I’ll be happy to practice trying with you.
          All your life you will be faced with things you should do, things you could do, and things you would do. How you do or don’t do them will make all the difference.
          There are many perils waiting for you up ahead, but just as many pleasures. It’s a good idea to always have a Plan B. Don’t ever stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. Forget what’s fashionable and wear comfortable shoes. You can’t ever clean up all the world’s litter, but you can always not throw any yourself. Find the common ground between poetry and science. Be kind to animals. Ride the rollercoaster at least once. Dance with abandon.
          Know always … that you are loved.
          Welcome home, my dear Norah!
          Love, Grandpa El

* * * * * 
Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist writes from Bethlehem, NH.  His new book: “Walk Tall and Carry A BigWatering Can,” is now available. Copyright 2013 by B. Elwin Sherman.  All rights reserved.  You may contact him here.




Wednesday, December 4, 2013

LET IT GO, LET IT GO, LET IT GO.

PROOF POSITIVE, that once upon a long-gone winter, I actually enjoyed romping outside all day in the cold & snow.  Shown here with sister Sue.

Now ... finding a way to recapture that bliss.

I'll need, at minimum, a new attitude and a magic pom-pom.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

PILGRIM'S PROGRESSION

Spent some of the morning watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Wait ... I mean ...

I gave up watching it when it turned into the Aflac Duck Discover Card Kool-Aid Planter's Peanut Disney Studio Sony Pictures Drake's Cakes Ronald McDonald Pillsbury Doughboy Hilton Domino Sugar Lip-Synching Auto-Tuning Black Friday Macy's Promo Thanksgiving Endless Commercial Day Parade.

THANKSGIVING?

Yes.  Right now, I'm giving thanks for the off-button.

Oh ... and a special Thanksgiving thanks to Irving Oil.

Thank you, Mr. Irving, for raising your gas prices 10 cents a gallon the day before the holiday.

May a raw bag of giblets find its way into your innards.


Friday, November 22, 2013

11/22/1963 --- JFK RIP

"If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a better place in which to live."
       --- John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Harvard Address 1956


Sunday, November 17, 2013

BLACK FRIDAY PENULTIMATUM

ATTENTION, ANY BLACK FRIDAY "SHOPPERS": 

If you're planning on joining the jostling lines of standing (tenting, sleeping-bagging) Wal- and K-Martian lemmings, spending hours gearing up for those mad stampedes into now Thanksgiving Day sales, shoving & running over your fellow creatures so you can save $20 on digi-plastic planned obsolescent shitboxes that you'll give as gifts to wish your Christ a Happy Birthday ... 

you have lost your way, little lambs.

Monday, November 11, 2013

HAPPY VETERANS DAY


YOUR JARHEAD'S first home on leave, a few lifetimes ago.

I remember this moment: Okay, Mom, here's your picture.  Now, how about those car keys!

Happy Veterans Day, to all my brothers- and sisters-in-arms, then and now.

Friday, November 8, 2013

MOM'S HOLIDAY BEANSTALK

          Dear Mom:
          I know you don’t appreciate being the subject of my affection in a humor column, but I do have this duty to my readers, and it was you, after all, who taught me my first malapropism: “You don’t phrase me any, little man.” You arrived at that with no little sacrifice, as I’m about to remind you.
          Another holiday season prompts me to spend time reviewing the highlights of my life. Trouble is, I’m finding that my memory will sometimes turn itself inside out. Take today, for instance (or was it yesterday?) when I can’t remember what I didn’t have for breakfast, but ask me about that toddle-walk across Dad’s den when I was three, and I can still look up and see that cord dangling from his desk.
          This is my first recollection, not only of any event in my life, but of also attempting my first stand-up comic impression. I was Jack, and there was my beanstalk. I began to climb.
          The beanstalk, of course, was no such thing. It was the end of a telephone cord, and it was attached to Dad’s black desktop rotary phone. Right here, Mom, I have to tell my younger readers that this was a communication device with roughly the size and heft of a small anvil. It came in two pieces and was attached to a wall plug. You could not “text” with it, and if used correctly, an actual live human voice could be heard.
          I climbed up, intent on meeting the sky giant, stealing some golden eggs and bringing them to you. You were in the kitchen, also three-plus years into my young life, and thanks to all the intrigue I’d already brought into yours, probably still wondering when your womb had been struck by lightning and why you’d ever considered begetting in the first place.
          I say this, because this also sparks a memory of the first spoken words of yours that I recall: “Oh death, where is thy sting?”
          No, I’m not speaking of the Biblical reference, but rather an entreaty that you invoked whenever a boyhood transgression of mine drove you to it. I consider it part of the root structure of the maternal Sherman family tree, and in my defense, I do believe that it’s the natural order of things for boys to occasionally send their mothers into fits of soul-searching lunacy.
          It was sometimes terrifying, however, watching you raise your head to the heavens, palms outstretched, eyes rolled back, beseeching God and begging to know why you hadn’t thus far been struck down dead in your tracks.
          During such son-induced blackouts, any mother would wonder about the course of her little male’s gestation period.
          Scary as it was, it was also empowering, knowing my actions could drive you to summon the Supreme Being’s wrath in a wishful self-matricide. I could then use that power, compelling you to hark the heralding angels on the spot. But, I had to be careful. If I nagged you over the brink or pushed a good tantrum too far, you might’ve done a Mrs. Lot impression right there in front of me.
          I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide my role in the reckless deed if Dad came home to find you turned into a salt pillar at the kitchen sink.
          “Elwin, did you turn your mother into stone?”
          “No, Dad.  Honest.  I just found her like that.”
          But, even now as a boy alumnus, I can’t explain why I delighted in the discovery that I could make you lose control of your bodily fluids if I chased you with a spider, or why I’d revel in draining the color from your face by standing atop the barn with an open umbrella, or why I thought the heavenly shriek you emitted when I dumped Kool-Aid in the aquarium or burned down the lilacs with a magnifying glass, was a joyful noise.
          Though I’m unsure today if I’m operating on yesterday’s empty stomach, I’m clearly recalling a long-ago giant-killer day, and can still feel the beanstalk cord going slack in my hands as that descending anvil phone came crashing down on my head.
          Scientists call this “short-term memory loss,” and scientists call this “short-term memory loss.”
          I prefer to think of it as “selective memory” – the term you still level at me whenever I still dare to cop that classic kid plea of conveniently forgetting anything that would incriminate me.
          Now, how to fix this over the holiday season and make amends for all the woe and worry I inflicted on you?  Maybe this year, when we gather for dinner at your house, how about I bring along some deviled golden eggs?
          All these recollections later, Mom, that ought to finally take the sting out of it.

* * * * * 
Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist writes from Bethlehem, NH.  His new book: “Walk Tall and Carry A BigWatering Can,” is now available. Copyright 2013 by B. Elwin Sherman.  All rights reserved.  Used here with permission.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

CAN YOU SPARE TWO TENS FOR A FIVE?

NO, OF COURSE I DIDN'T WANT THE GUBMINT TO DEFAULT, but I think we're moving into Bunker-nomics.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BY YOUR LEAF, SIR

TO THE ANAL RETENTIVE LEAF-RAKERS:


Leave them be.

 They feed the lawn and insulate the perennial beds. Let Ma Nature do her stuff. Unless you're stuffing a goblin, let 'em lay. Trust me, Ma will tend to them.

And, if you have a leaf-blower, you're beyond redemption. Nothing fruitlessly funnier than watching someone blow leaves on a windy day.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

OVER EASY WITH EFFECTS ON THE SIDE

DEAR PHARMACEUTICAL AMERICA:

Something is amiss when we watch your 60-second commercials for a new drug, and 52 seconds are devoted to "possible side effects."


I can't get past watching your actors cavorting carefree on a beach while I'm also listening to how Intestoplex could cause their explosive nocturnal diarrhea and yeast infections.

Surf's up.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

OH LITTLER TOWN OF BETHLEHEM

It's been well-said that "Politicians, whores and ugly buildings all get respectable if they live long enough."

Interesting, yesterday, as I stood on the street with my camera, watched the demolition and listened to my fellow locals mourn the loss of the Jackson Block, our Bethlehem, NH landmark.  For years, it's been an "eyesore" and an "embarrassment" and "something that should've fallen down or been taken down years ago."

Now, it's a "loss of our heritage."

I'm with George Carlin:

"When you die, your approval curve goes way up."




Thursday, September 5, 2013

NIGHTINGALE DIAMONDS

IF NURSES WORKED LIKE MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS, we'd only have to pitch (work) just over half our shift, then another nurse could "relieve" us, and we'd still get paid for the whole thing.  

Or, when we stepped up to the plate (bedpan), and only emptied it 4 times out of 10 ...

Or, if we also didn't get a hit (give medications) to 6 out of 10 patients, we'd still be considered super nurses.

And, we'd get free uniforms, only have to work half the year and our average pay would be $3 million even if we're out sick.

Play ball.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

A SINGLE MALE EGG

            My dedicated readers know that I’m a big fan of statistics, and because we now have so many ways to find out anything we want to know, it’s made my job a breeze, whenever I elect to cite some.
            Did you know, for example, that brown eggs come from chickens with red feathers and red ear lobes?  (I never said that statistics were funny; I just like them.  And, prior to researching this, I confess to never having once thought of a chicken’s ear lobe.) 
            For this column, I wanted to find out how many of us (men) are out there living alone.  I discovered that the United States ranks fifth in the world in the percentage of single-person households.  Sweden is number one, at 47 percent.  Here in America, there are 3 million men my age living solo.  I don’t know how many of us are Swedish, but I’ll bet I could find out.
            I’ve excluded single women from this, because I’d have to then research and factor-in how many of them do have a co-inhabitant in the house but feel like they don’t, especially on garbage collection day.
            It naturally follows that I and my 2,999,999 fellow solitary older men should have a code of conduct, if not a peer review or some kind of guide for going it single.  For this column only, we’ll allow our Scandinavian expatriates into the fold.
            Let’s start with the basics:
            Gentlemen, I’m not going to address why today we find ourselves living by ourselves.  There are 3 million of us, which means there are a minimum of 3 million reasons, many of them reasonable, why we’re making omelets-for-one today, and that’s a good place to start.
            COOKING:  I’m going to limit this to those of us who had little or no experience in meal preparation prior to our independent living. 
            I’m assuming that most of us have computers, which means we have some prowess in the art of multi-tasking.  You cannot cook a well-balanced diet without multi-tasking, unless you want every meal to last six hours.
            A few simple rules:
            Don’t eat anything green that started out as another color.
            Do remember to break the yolk in that egg before putting it in the microwave, unless you’re prepared to scrape it off the ceiling.
            Buy big tubs of peanut butter.
            The end.
            CLEANING:  This task has many variables, because we all have different acceptable levels of what constitutes dirt.
            Do clean any countertops, floors, carpets and walls that you’re certain were another color six months ago.
            Don’t vacuum the dog, even if he doesn’t fight you.  He doesn’t like it, and already thinks you’re crazy for blowing up your eggs.
            DUSTING:  Forget that.
            LAUNDRY:  No woman I’ve ever known has ever appreciated what I’ll call the Law of Reverse Osmosis.  Dirty clothes will, if given enough time, through a complex scientific process of membranous permeability, clean themselves.  Rotate your piles, sifting through them regularly.  Fluffing is optional, but it will speed things up.
            IRONING:  (see: Dusting).
            DISHES:  I remember my grandmother scolding me, not for not washing the dishes, but for not rinsing them off after eating.  I agree with this in principle.  The remains of a ruptured egg left unrinsed-off until the next day will become an integral part of the plate.
            This is easily bypassed by utilizing what some of my fellow North Country dog-owning brethren call “the canine pre-wash.”
            Lacking this resource, you may apply a variation of the laundry methodology.  Dirty-egged plates left overnight in the refrigerator will be neutralized enough to use again safely.  Don’t worry about germs.  You live alone.  You’re not going to infect yourself.
            SOCIAL LIFE:  Turn off your telephone.  Then, you’ll never have to wonder who isn’t calling you.
            HOME AND VEHICLE MAINTENANCE:  I won’t speak to those among us who are adept with tools.  You don’t need me.  I am concerned, however, for my comrades-in-clumsy who use screwdrivers for hammers and believe that body English will repair a sagging rain gutter. You must not be ashamed, nor does it make you less of a man if your solution for starting a cold engine is pounding the steering wheel.
Don’t be discouraged, if after you “tighten up” that loose lawnmower blade with a hammer shaped like a chisel, when said blade later flies off in mid-mow and helicopters across the lawn, narrowly missing your terrified but well-vacuumed pooch, and embeds itself in your truck bumper.
Just dig it out with a spatula.
You know --- the same one you used to chip dried egg off the ceiling.

* * * * *

Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist writes from Bethlehem, NH.  His new book: “Walk Tall and Carry A BigWatering Can,” is now available. Copyright 2013 by B. Elwin Sherman.  All rights reserved.  Used here with permission.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CLIMB 'EM IF YOU GOT 'EM

CANNON MOUNTAIN today.

One more gone from the accounts payable spirit ledger.





Tuesday, July 30, 2013

HOW TO SURVIVE A SUMMER VACATION


"I work harder on my summer vacation than I do on my job."

I'm here, dear dedicated readers, to prevent those words from ever being uttered again.  No one should come away from leisure time without feeling leisurely, and my dictionary defines "vacation" as "leisure time spent away from work devoted to rest or pleasure."

Right there is where we get into trouble.  Rest is always pleasurable, but pleasure is not always restful.  In fact, pleasure can be downright laborious, as we all recognize from this column's opening declaration.

Thus, having a pleasurable, restful summer vacation takes careful planning: the kind that a carpet-flopped dog applies when it gets up and moves away from the couch, only to re-flop over there by the TV.  (As a general rule, we should pay more attention to animals.  They have no ulterior motives, and often have no apparent motives at all.)

As a specific rule, surviving summer leisure is far more challenging than making it through a winter's labor.

 Winter is easy in our North Country, once you resolve to not pummel anyone who crunches around the re-formed frozen tundra spouting: "Well, at least you can dress for the cold."  These people should be duct-taped into six layers of woolen hats and thermal union suits, then parachuted over the equator.

Yes, you can dress for the cold, but you can also not dress for the heat – a far more pleasurable, restful and cheaper application, as we enter the canicule.

"Canicule," as we all recall from our high school French lessons, means "a chocolate-glazed jelly doughnut."  This is what I recall, anyway, which is why I flunked French class.  It actually means "heatwave," or "scorcher," or "the hot period between early July and early September."  I remember spending my last adolescent canicule wondering how I'd ever survive it without the unrequited affections of my senior class French teacher.
     
    (CONFIDENTIAL to Mademoiselle Rousseau:  If you're still out there, that was my longest, hottest summer vacation ever, and I did finally give up wearing a beret, eating chocolate-glazed jelly doughnuts, and calling everything "magnifique!")

No summer vacation plan (remember the flopping dog) should ever be set in motion without a Plan B.

 Here, I confess to being a worst case scenario kind of guy.  No, this is not being pessimistic.  A pessimist is always expecting the worst.  I'm always expecting the best, but I'm ready with a satisfying alternative when everything goes wrong, which it usually does (the first rule in: "Sherman's Two Rules For Living With Rules").

Again, look to your dog's example.  You don't see him descending into a combination of road rage and helpless funk when the family car breaks down enroute to visiting Crocodile Safari Land.  He's just happy for the chance to go off and chase jackalopes while you wait for the tow truck.

So, as you "plan" your summer vacation, a few do's and don'ts:

DON'T use this time to "catch up" on projects in and around the house.  These activities have few, if any, leisurely components to them, and are almost always dangerous, irritating or beyond your expertise.  If they weren't, you wouldn't have waited until now to tackle them.

Yes, the eaves at the top of your house where the ladder just barely reaches are still unpainted.  Big deal.  Go with Plan B, and think of yourself as the neighborhood's king of the unpainted peaks.  Then, lie down next to the dog and have a nice restful AND pleasurable nap.

This will avoid your having to spend a long-awaited canicule (and beyond) in the restful but most decidedly unpleasureable mode of orthopedic traction after you went with Plan A, painted over the hornet's nest hole YOU KNEW was up there, and jackknifed backwards off the abbreviated ladder into the juniper bushes.

DO let them know at your job that you are not to be called during your vacation for ANY reason.  Yes, maybe that invoice you misrouted on your last day of work resulted in the entire eastern seaboard's widget vendors being mistakenly billed for doohickeys, but you don't need or want to know this until you return to work.

Save it for when you end your off-duty canicule and go back to find your desk emptied.  You should always avoid receiving word that you've been fired (Sherman's 2nd Rule) while lying in a body cast and recovering from an overdose of hornet venom.

DON'T take the family to Crocodile Safari Land, unless your idea of restful pleasure is ogling big lizards in a concrete sinkhole, and watching some disaffected guy (probably an ex-widget invoicer just out of rehab) stunning them into submission with hypnotic underbelly rubs.

DO take time to embrace every day of your well-earned respite as if it were your last (and have faith that this will not be the case).

DON'T forget to just plain relax, and enjoy every restful, pleasurable moment that life affords you free of charge:  walk in the woods, swim in the water, sit in the sun, and nap with the dog.

DO remember the Plan B bug repellent, life jackets, sunblock and flea collar, and if you're going to stop and smell the flowers, I'd first check for hornets.

We'll save Plan C for next winter.

* * * * *
This column is taken from Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist B. Elwin Sherman's new book: "Wall Tall and Carry A Big Watering Can."  He is now off somewhere not painting over a hornet's nest in the North Country.  Copyright 2013 B. Elwin Sherman.  All rights reserved.  Used here with permission.


Monday, July 29, 2013

AUTO MOTTO LIBERATO!

WHEN YOU CAN'T FIND A REVOLUTION, or a good cause, or even a point of view, just brag on being what you are. Spotted this at the post office this morning. This is SO Cow Hampsha (with a little dose of Maine). I waited for a few minutes to see who was sportin' this, but they didn't show.

Guess they couldn't get theah from heah.

Ayup.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

JACK & THE GIANT!

SPENT THE DAY WITH DAHLIN' DAUGHTER (she is Artistic Director for "Jack & The Giant") at dress rehearsal, Kingswood Arts Center in Wolfeboro.

 Don't miss it!!





Friday, July 19, 2013

HEAR YE, HERE WE!

BEFORE THE WORLD GOES absolutely bananas over the arrival of the "Royal" baby, I'm posting some majesty of my own: Queen Judy with Prince Myles. All babies have splendor, not just those castle-born.

Pardon my peasantry, but no new human has any more or less value than another.

That's my proclamation for the day.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

HOW DO YOU TAKE MY COFFEE?



             Lots of talk these days about how we’re losing our privacy. Everywhere we go, we are being watched. Everyplace we speak, our voices are being recorded. This is perhaps best evidenced by the fact that politicians are now too often caught unawares in the act of saying what they really mean, and being exposed when telling the truth can ruin a political career.
            If you’re growing more uneasy about how public everything you do and say has become, I’m here to help. This column nearly ended right here, because I’m not in the habit of attempting the impossible.
            I’m old enough to remember a time when “Big Brother is watching you” meant that I had to spend the day babysitting my younger siblings. Now, I’m not here to wax nostalgic about how life used to be less complicated because it was, but I think that’s where we’re headed.
            (IMPORTANT SIDEBAR: Just so you all know, except for what I’m doing right this second, I don’t “text,” and I can’t even think about anyone who will text while they are driving. They apparently missed that Sir Isaac Newton class on what happens when a dumb object meets an immovable one.). 
            There are ways on the internet (I’m not telling you how, because that would make me an accomplice in fanning the flames of your paranoia) to not only see where you live, but to click along a photo-logue of your street to your house. I’ve just done it to myself, and yep, there’s my front door, my tippy porch chairs, my snowplow-flattened hydrangea, and the neighbor’s dogpoop on my lawn for everyone in the world to see. Looks like I’m not home, but let’s see if you are:
            Aha! I see you! It seems that my friend Ray still hasn’t hauled away that rusting lawn tractor, Betty really needs to get after those rain gutters, and Teresa has a new birdfeeder. And, hey, Robert! So, you can afford a new roof, but where’s that fiver you owe me?
Uneasy enough yet?
       I’m thinking about where I went today, and I conservatively estimate that I was photographed at least 100 times. A simple walk through one downtown and a drive-through another for a few errands, and tonight I’m a star in the video highlight vaults of stores, banks, town halls, post offices and parking lots.
            There’s now undeniable hard on-camera evidence that I like pizza with extra cheese, I took TWO Hershey’s kisses from the bank teller’s bowl, I used the bathroom at Wal-Mart, and I didn’t return my shopping carts to the corrals. There’s also a strong presumption of proof that I had too much coffee this morning before leaving the house, because I also used the bathroom at the town hall and the supermarket.
            I’m recklessly assuming that I was only filmed entering said bathrooms, and not while I was in there. If I was, you’ll notice that I did wash my hands and put the seat down.
            Personally, I’m not worried about being spied upon by the USA. We’ve been assured that this is not happening, and that just because Uncle Sam has the ability to eavesdrop on our phone calls, he wouldn’t. I don’t care. If fighting terrorism and world peace can only be achieved by my government spending 20 minutes listening to me trying to enunciate clear enough for my electric company’s crappy voice recognition software to understand what “YES…I…PAID” means, that’s fine with me. Spy away.
            Sorry, but unless you’re willing to get rid of your computers, credit cards, automobiles, bank accounts, licenses, phones, utilities, mortgages and jobs, you’re forever now in the roving eye of public domain and I can’t help you (mission impossible accomplished).
            Still, the government is a rookie sleuth compared with the advertising biz. There are people out there devoted to discovering that I’m a creamy not chunky peanut butter kind of guy, then filling my spambox with creamy peanut butter offers, which then generate a counter-offensive from their own chunky division.
            And, as this information is out there being sold and re-sold, the inevitable jelly ads start to roll in.
            I also expect, now that I’ve gone public about my bathroom breaks, that the coffee coupons aren’t far behind.

* * * * *

Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist writes from Bethlehem, NH.  Copyright 2013, all rights reserved.  Used here with permission.  His new book: “Walk Tall and Carry a Big Watering Can,” is now available at nhbooksellers.com, and via his blog at witbones.com.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

ZIMMERMANIA

AMIDST ALL THIS ZIMMERMANIA, I have one question for my readers: If you were wrongly accused of a heinous crime, and you really truly knew you were innocent and had nothing to hide, would you take the stand on your own behalf? Man, I sure would.

Yes, I know the defendant is not bound to open his mouth, but if my life was on the line, I'd speak, and lawyerly posturing be damned. And, if I'd been a juror, I'd have had to see his eyes, his body language, and hear his voice when GZ responded to: "Why did you keep following him when you were told not to?" Revelation.

Meanwhile, if you're in need of a fix on how life should work in a perfect world, wouldn't this have been refreshing (and just) if GZ's lawyers had come this clean.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

You CAN Get Here From Here

IT'S RAGGEDY, full of holes, 40 years old, and I just can't throw it out.  It still says what I want to say, whenever I can't think of what it is I want to say.  Like now.

You, however, may fill in the blanks.  Either hand is allowed.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

FOR JUDY WALLACE, ON HER BIRTHDAY

Is laughter the best gift of all?

The poet will say of love that "it remembers well."  Today, I will most cherish and well-remember those times when I made her laugh.

For my beloved Judy, who left us a year ago on April 29th.

Today is her birthday.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

HAPPY 4TH, NOW TRY NOT TO BREATHE

A MOMENT OF SILENCE, please, for all the ER nurses who will have to deal with that Independence Day deluge of dimwits for the next 3 nights:

The near-asphyxiations from the charcoal grilles moved indoors, the rectal burns from the yahoos who thought "butt-rockets" was a good idea, and that host of exotic injuries caused when hammered morons discover Isaac Newton.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

WHAT GOES AROUND, STOPS.


ANOTHER SCORE AT THE DUMP, when I snagged these folk art critters in the recycling shed. "Every home needs a partially-plucked dusty duck and an only slightly chapped chicken," my Grandma would always say.


Seems that all my inanimate objects are wounded but rescued. I like that.

I've also saved a one-legged milking stool, only missing its one leg, but it serves perfectly as a fine platter....

A vintage 8-track player.  As an 8-track player, it makes an excellent plant stand, but one more generation and I'll clean up with it on Ebay....

A chipped thingamawhatzit that I choose to use as a whizzamadingie....

And, my favorite:  One of my own books (signed & dedicated, so I know who didn't think I was good enough for Ebay, or they cleaned out their apartment and it was either me or the thing I'll end up with the next time they move).  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

JUDYBLOOM FELINE FINE

SO, THERE I WAS AT THE JUDYBLOOM GARDEN, taking a pic of her final resting place favorites (astilbe), when I felt a warm sensation going up my leg. "Judy...is that you?" I thought, startled, on the edge of an epiphany. "Thank you, lovely lady, for this beautiful garden!"

 Then, I looked down. It was the usually aloof Thomas the neighbor cat. Still...I think she sent him, knowing how much I love punchlines in the mystic.






Friday, June 21, 2013

ARE WE BLUE, ELVIS?

SCIENTISTS TODAY have announced that all of us with blue eyes have one single common ancestor. Okay, I'm sending out invitations to Bob Dylan, Gregg Allman, Peter O'Toole, Ellen DeGeneres, Renee Zellweger, Judy Collins, Lawrence O'Donnell and Ringo Starr for the Sherman family picnic this summer.

We can all jam, get drunk, and tell lies about Uncle Elvis.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"WALK TALL AND CARRY A BIG WATERING CAN" --- New book!


From Plaidswede Publishing Company and its New England Columnist Series, this collection by New Hampshire humorist B. Elwin Sherman is subtitled, New Hampshire Humor and Other Foregone Conclusions.

What do women umpires, men in tubs, radioactive cereals, puppy shampoos, unborn grandchildren, heart attacks, a pounce of cats, frost heaves, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, bad diets, chainsaw etiquette, family vacations, flying pigs and bicycle tossing have in common?

Don't be caught short the next time someone asks you that at a party.  Click on photo or   ORDER HERE!  


Sunday, June 16, 2013

HAPPY FATHERS DAY

HAPPY FATHERS DAY to all the top Pops in the group. In loving memory of Alger Sherman, 1924-1972. Jazz musician, piano tuner, teaching me that harmony and discordance are joined at the hip.



Thursday, June 13, 2013

NO NEWS IS BETTER NEWS



Minnesota Fats once said: “I don’t have to exaggerate; ain’t noboby gonna believe it, anyhow.”
Because there are so many “satirical” news sites out there spoofing the news, and because so much of today’s real news presents as too strange or outrageous to be true, it’s made this humor columnist’s lot nearly impossible. It’s hard to make something serious funny (my job), when it’s already funny without any help from me.
We’re all going lickety-split down the information highway with so many ways to receive and share information these days, but I’m not sure that I always want to know everything that’s going on out there every minute. Yes, I do enjoy keeping up with what’s happening in the world hither and yon, but there are times I regret turning on this social network or tuning in to that news media.
            Take today, for example. Here are some newsbits that I could’ve lived without.  Unfortunately, now, neither can’t you.
            Ready?
            “Kindergarten Graduation Brawl Breaks Out In Cleveland.”
            (I warned you.)
Yes, it seems that some fruit punch was spilled near the dais during the ceremony, and this prompted a melee. We can only be comforted, according to Cleveland’s police Commander Wayne Drummond, that “you had adults fighting adults, juvies fighting juvies, and so forth.”
That’s a relief. At first glance, I imagined that a flash mob of Nerfbat-wielding tots had suddenly run amok against their parental units in a Lilliputian frenzy. Before it was over, there were multiple arrests made for “aggravated rioting” (can you have an unaggravated riot?), and ten police cars were dispatched to the scene. City Councilman Jeff Johnson said that it was “embarrassing that parents during a kindergarten promotion cannot control themselves.”
Embarrassing?
            No.  Embarrassing is when, with everyone inside watching, we repeatedly push on a convenience store door that says pull. But, hurling punch and punches at your child’s first cap and gowning goes beyond feeling red-faced, and when the Great Cleveland PTA Tumult inevitably erupts this fall, we’d rather not know about it. Next up:
            “Loose Llama Subdued With Taser.”
            I suppose it had to come to this eventually, and it did recently in Tallahassee, Florida. The runaway llama’s name was “Scooter” (that should’ve been a tip-off right there), and it took six police officers to run him down, zap him, and bring him to justice.
            He was tasered because “llamas don’t respond well to voice commands,” said police Lt. Tony Drzewiecki.
            I didn’t need that last bit of information, because even though I’m now armed with it, I know that I’ll still instinctively yell “Get out of here, you crazy llama!” if a llama on the lam shows up in my vegetable garden.
BONUS NEWS:  As I read the above story, another one appeared, and we can only hope they’re not related. I’m not kidding: “Four Llamas Involved In I-75 Car Crash.” Now, were they driving? Were they drunk? I don’t know, because I had to stop reading. I’m not sure that I could’ve handled tasered and breathalyzed llamas on the same day.
            I was hoping that further research wouldn’t produce more items that you didn’t want or need to know, but alas, they kept on coming. I’m confident that you’d have otherwise been just fine today without discovering that the town of Wildwood, New Jersey is preparing to pass a “Saggy Pants Ban” on its boardwalks, unless you’re including Wildwood in your summer vacation getaway plans. If you are, tighten your belts.
            Or, I’m sure that your daily routine would’ve gone on unchecked if you’d gone on uninformed about a young man who has just been declared “The World’s Fastest Clapper,” slapping his hands together 802 times in one minute. I watched the video (no sacrifice too great for this readership) and that’s a minute of my life I’ll never get back, but you’re welcome.
            Lastly, I’ve no doubt that you’d have had a hunky-dory day without now being aware that 566 Sears employees recently set a Guinness world record for being “The Most People Assembled In One Place Dressed As Superman.”
            Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a wonder that Sears was open for business!
            And, it’s something we wish we didn’t know.

* * * * *

Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH, as if you didn’t need to know that. Copyright 2013, all rights reserved. Used here with permission.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

PRESS THREE FOR SHHH!

    SO, THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, turns out, has been monitoring my phone calls for some time now? I'm imagining and pitying the bottom level agent sitting in a windowless room, thwacking his head and questioning his own existence after suffering through 30 minutes of listening to me being put on hold 5 times and arguing with the utility company about a billing error.
   
   Have at it, Uncle Sam.
(CONFIDENTIAL TO THE NSA:  When you get to that recorded phone conversation I had with a friend where I was talking about a "hostile takeover" and the "ugly fuzz", I was referring to a 3-month old eggplant Parmesan leftover in my refrigerator that I forgot was there, not the government and the police. Have a nice day.)

Monday, May 27, 2013

MA GONE WILD

DEAR MOTHER NATURE: Okay, you know I love you, and I'll be happy to sleep with you for an eternity or two when the time comes, but criminy craps, Sweetpea, did you really have to have a hissy with the snow? Really? Okay. I'm better now. You're still my girl.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

GOING LIKE NINETY


I'M REMEMBERING A NONAGENARIAN patient of mine.  He was a delightful man I visited regularly at his home, where he still lived well and independently. He'd smoked roll-your-owns, drunk blockade whiskey, and indulged in Caligula-mocking excesses all his life. 

"My doctors told me years ago that I had to quit all that stuff or it would kill me," he said.  "If you like, I can show you where they're all buried."

Monday, May 13, 2013

AN UNDULATION SITUATION

HOPS ON THE RISE, gargoyle on guard, rickety-pickety steps, perennials pushing through the weeds. Now, a front porch swing and I'm good for spring.


Monday, May 6, 2013

SCREEN TEST

TODAY IN 'ADVENTURES IN DUCT TAPE,' yet another reason why you should never hire me as your handyman. I love my front porch screen door, and its fragile, sagging, multi-painted-over framework of well-weathered wood. Yes, I could replace it, but you don't discard an old friend for having a bad half-century.

 

Monday, April 29, 2013

REMEMBER WELL, DEAR JUDY


OUR SWEET JUDY
One year ago today, gone too soon.
 Here at her happiest, on Long Pond.
 Raise your glasses, m'dears.
 A time to toast and celebrate her life with us.
 Travel on, dear heart.