Thursday, February 28, 2013


This isn’t the first time I’ve tackled the differences between men and women as the subject for a humor column. It’s always tricky, because no one rule or size fits all.
I once received a letter from an angry woman reader in response to a column I’d written about fishing. I’d gone on about how only a man would spend untold fortunes on the latest in scientific fish-finders, baits, lures and pontoons (no self-respecting North Country fisherman could claim the title of expert angler without a pontoon), only to spend an entire day in said inflatable boat batting away mosquitoes, drinking his lunch, and not caring, really, if he caught a fish.
Catching a fish, to a man, is not the point of fishing. This does not make sense to a woman, especially when she can’t park her car in the garage because of his pontoon.
And, to me, “jigging for crappies” or “twitching a Swedish pimple” just felt inherently masculine. Fishing guy stuff.
Despite all of man’s savvy and high-tech goodies that he’ll use to catch the big one, he often won’t. Then, along comes a woman who’ll reel in a whale with a doughball and a bent hair pin in two minutes, then ask “Is this a good one?” Ack!
My lady reader took great exception to this, lambasting me for suggesting that women can’t, won’t or don’t know how to fish. I never posited this; I was only trying to say that somewhere beyond our anatomical differences, out where the crappie meets the jig and the pimple twitches, men and women are not the same.
Show me any woman, for instance, who would ever see the logic of showering with your clothes on. I tried to defend this practice once to a female when I lived alone in a third-floor walkup with no washer & drier. Lather up, wash the clothes, rinse, undress, lather, rinse, repeat, towel-off and hang the wet stuff on the shower rod.
Laundry done. Body bathed. All in one chore.  Simple.
“That’s crazy,” she said, and not long afterward she stopped taking my phone calls.
I’ve lived alone since last year when my dear wife Judy passed on, and I’m here to defend a few tips (already preparing for my reader mail) on how to best accomplish living alone as a man.
The “performance” level of any task radically changed when I found myself only having to do for myself. I now prop up and repair broken things with a different sense of aesthetics and funky functions. Okay, I do have a washer and drier and I have since taken a shower or two in my skivvies, but that was due to sleep deprivation, not logic.
In the kitchen, Judy was a gourmet cook, and I’ve been left to fend for my food and cooking alone. I’ve slowly adapted, but let’s just say I lack culinary finesse for some things. I never knew, for example, that an egg cooked in a microwave would cause it to explode when you stick it with a fork, but I also learned that a wire brush duct-taped to the blunt end of a broomstick will get dried egg off the ceiling.
Food shopping for one is a whole new adventure. If I don’t bring home enough, I need a slide rule to reconfigure recipes. Too much, and the leftover casseroles turn into fuzzy green science projects. Rotating tires works, but rotating moldy macaroni doesn’t.
I do find that I talk to myself out loud occasionally, and will often agree with me after listening closely. Sometimes I take exception to my side of the story, but I’ve learned that I can be easily persuaded.  I don’t suggest doing this in public, but it will thin out the line at the post office as people make way for you and yourself.
For some reason, with half the humanity here, I also thought there’d be less need for cleaning & vacuuming in the house.  Another myth debunked, but I’m not worried. If it weren’t for dust bunnies, I’d have no pets at all.
Except for maybe a big fish story or two.
Man alive.

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Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH. Copyright 2013 by B. Elwin Sherman. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.

Monday, February 25, 2013


For my daughter, living her dream and lighting my heart.

I love you, Erin.

Please support her art at:

Saturday, February 23, 2013


OKAY, LET’S GET THIS OVER WITH: This is for those alphabetical alliterative Armageddon-ites at the Weather Channel, who are already talking the wrath of Winter Storm Rocky before Q has even landed: 

Winter Storm Stanley Stirs Up Livingston.
Winter Storm Tetley Teases Teaneck.
Winter Storm Ulysses Upsets Union City.
Winter Storm Vampire Ventilates Virgin Islands.
Winter Storm Walt Decomposes Disneyworld.
Winter Storm Xerox Copies Calamity.
Winter Storm Yogi Bears Big Blast Boner.
Winter Storm Zero Eliminates Everybody. 

Now, STFU and bring spring already.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Snowing and blowing and cold outside.  Inside, I discovered this little interloper in the kitchen.

Know just how you feel, lady.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I picked up a copy of this month's New Hampshire Magazine while out getting Cheez-Its today. At the register, I opened it to my article and waved it at the cashier.

"So, do you think this looks like me?" I asked.

Without missing a beat, she looked at it and deadpanned: "If you think you look like a cartoon."

Friday, February 8, 2013


"NOW, CAPTAIN HARDING, aren't you ready to dance with the devil now?" --- Captain Nemo, from Jules Verne's "Mysterious Island."

Long as the power holds out, I'll be curled up with Cheez-Its, my shovel, and watching this favorite movie classic from 1961.

(Spoiler Alert: Nemo, like every other anti-hero and winter storm, gets his in the end.)

Thursday, February 7, 2013


"HISTORIC CRIPPLING BLIZZARD AHEAD," says the weather report. Okay, let's see: Ample supply of Cheez-Its? 


Candles & flashlight batteries?


Increasing sense of impending doom already complemented by a daily descension into the sucking vortex of the inescapable inevitability of helplessness?


Okay, weather guys. We've got it. A big snowstorm in February.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Reg Presley, lead singer of The Troggs, died last night. Remember "Wild Thing"? Here's a pic of our Rock band from the day (your host on the drums). With Dennis Giguere on rhythm & vocals, Dave Wadsworth on lead & vocals, and Tim Pickel on bass & vocals, we used to do terrible things to it:

 "Wild Thing, you make my Kong King, you make my pong ping, you make my dong ding, you make my onion ring ..."

We named our band "The Shandoes."  We wanted a name that had absolutely no relativity or meaning.  It worked.

Later, we changed the band's name to "Seymour's Fat Lady," which was full of relativity and meaning, but may have been partly responsible for insuring our obscurity.
 RIP, Reg.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


            Don’t get me wrong; I love science.
            If you’re like me, you do too, and not because of how you use it in your daily lives, but because of how much you don’t realize it until something breaks, aches or bakes.
            It’s possible, thanks to science, to cook a chicken pot pie in a microwave oven, or if going viral on YouTube is your goal, to blow up an egg in one. Science is the reason we’re now using telephones as cameras and can instantaneously send videos of our dogs performing stupid human tricks to millions of strangers around the world (for now, we won’t discuss videos of us performing stupid pet tricks, but you know who you are).
            We can also thank science for the recent discovery of a mysterious and long-sought subatomic particle. “We are reaching into the fabric of the universe like we’ve never done before,” said scientist Joe Incandela, adding that they’ve “found the key to the structure of the universe.”
            As an armchair domestic egghead, Joe, I can relate. That’s exactly how I felt when I finally vacuumed the rug under the bed and found the key to my house.
            Winter in the North Country is a good time to talk about all things scientific. It’s too cold to read poetry, too dark to write it, and the roads are too icy to even risk a trip to the store for a microwaveable chicken pot pie, though I did once make a mad slip-sliding snowstorm dash to the store to satisfy a Cheez-Its craving.
            Wait … the roads were suffering from “wintry conditions,” would say the scientist … the same one who failed to deliver an overcast weather report as six inches of partly cloudy in my basement.
            By the way, when I looked up the word “science” in my synonym finder, it said “science.” Thus, for the following, let’s just call this a study in Leonardology.
            Today, I became an amateur Leonardologist when I read a story about how NASA scientists recently “beamed a picture of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, to a powerful spacecraft orbiting the moon, marking a first in laser communication.”
            Wow! Were YOU even aware that we had a “powerful spacecraft” up there going around the moon? I wasn’t. It’s called an LRO, or “Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter,” and it now, apparently, has a picture of the Mona Lisa on its dashboard visor.
            It’s fitting that the Mona Lisa, painted by a man who designed a parachute 420 years before Wilbur & Orville Wright proved that bicycles can fly, was picked by scientists to be the first image transmitted through space via laser beams. To me, Mona Lisa and the Man in the Moon have the same scientific smile.
            The major breakthrough, of course, is that the image was transmitted with a laser beam, not with radio waves. Big deal, NASA. I was successfully experimenting with primitive lasers on one sunny boyhood day when I scorched my name into the picnic table and burned down the lilacs with a magnifying glass.
            To date, we’ve brought back 842 pounds of rocks from the moon, and left behind almost 375 thousand pounds of junk cars, flagpoles and golf balls. Again, I can relate, Leonardologically. That’s the same deposit-withdrawal ratio when I go to the landfill with my trash, and return from its recycling center with junk car parts, an only slightly bent flagpole and a box of golf balls.
            And, if I had been Neil Armstrong, I’d have struggled with a moral dilemma if the Sunshine Biscuit Company had promised me a lucrative endorsement deal if I’d just take that first step onto the lunar surface and yell “Cheez-Its!”
            I was also not aware that we have six humans orbiting the earth in the ISS (International Space Station). You can check their current workday schedule online. Right this minute, there’s a scientist flying over your head in the ISS who is about to “post-sleep inventory the atmospheric revitalization system carbon dioxide scrubber.”  In amateur Leonardology-speak, I think that means he’s going to count trees when he wakes up.
            One of the scientists aboard the ISS says that the most common question he’s asked by schoolchildren is “What would happen to a marshmallow in space?”
            Well, it doesn’t take brain surgery on a rocket Leonardologist to know that it has nothing to do with molecular density or subatomic structure or wintry conditions.
            If you looked at it through a magnifying glass, it would roast and change into a ringer for the Mona Lisa.

* * * * *
Author and Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist B. Elwin Sherman launches his columns from Bethlehem, NH.  Copyright 2013 by B. Elwin Sherman. All rights reserved.  His new book, "Walk Tall and Carry a Big Watering Can", is scheduled for publication soon by Plaidswede Publishing.

This column and website/blog contents are protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Electronic or print reproduction, adaptation, or distribution without permission is prohibited. Ordinary internet links to this column at B. Elwin's website may be distributed without written permission. 
* * * * *

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Yes, Groundhog Day has come around again, and this year Punxsutawney Phil "emerged from his lair and didn't see his shadow," and we all know what that means:

1.   It's impossible to see your shadow when you're surrounded by men in top hats.

2.  Poor Phil didn't "emerge" from anything.  The aforementioned men in formal wear scooped him out of a box by the scruff of the neck.

3.  He's a GROUNDHOG.  He doesn't have a neck scruff, and howinhell do we know what he saw?

4.  Phil is wrong.  I saw my shadow this morning, and that means there will be six more weeks (and four days) of winter, because:

5.  The sunshine that caused my shadow also illuminated my wall calendar, and despite all my other failings and informal pajamas, I can still do simple addition.

Friday, February 1, 2013


To Alois Bell, pastor at Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries, who took exception to tipping her waitress 18 percent at Applebee's when she only gave God 10 percent. Pastor Bell complained to Applebee's when the receipt was published and went viral, and the waitress was fired.

Dear Pastor Bell:

Here are the top five reasons why tipping your waitress more than you tip God was, and always is, the right thing to do:

1.  Your waitress brings you everything you ask for, every time you ask for it.  God's record on such requests and accommodations is about 50 percent, if you're lucky.

2.  Your waitress is pleasant to you even when she's dog-tired and feeling shitty.  When God's having a bad day, He's liable to run your car into a tree and/or flatten your house with a twister.

3.  Your waitress depends on her tips to make anywhere near a living wage.  God doesn't need the money; your church does.  But, amazingly, you and your ilk have convinced your subscribers that the road to Heaven has a toll booth on your front door.  A-Plus for marketing; F-Minus for "Christianity."

4.  Your waitress has to pay property taxes.  God can write-off 100 percent of your 10 percent for His digs.

5.  Wait ... Uh-oh ... I'm getting a message from God:



(This column is appearing in the "The Last Laugh," in the February 2013 issue of New Hampshire Magazine.  Illustration by Brad Fitzpatrick, used with permission.)

          I’ve also always gone against the grain of that other simple adage, and instead followed “you can’t get here from there” as my life’s compass, but it’s safe to assume that 2013 will eventually bring to a close another typical New Hampshire mid-winter, and together we’ll face the next big climate change, otherwise known as late winter. No, not early spring; that won’t arrive until early summer.
          As a born & bred New Hampshire writer, I’ve always lived life as a borderline reckless optimist, wildly assuming that I know what the future holds. Maybe that’s because I’m older now than when I was younger.  Don’t laugh. That’s not as easy to oversimplify as it sounds. 
          Right about now, those of us who aren’t moose, Bode Miller or trees, are spending more time indoors than outdoors. Yes, unless “sled-dog” or "downhill” are our living winter verbs, or we can only enjoy our nouns while cavorting alfresco in six layers of clothing, it’s nigh on Cabin Fever time.
          Personally, I prefer my cavorts in one layer or less, and slightly above room temperature.
         (If you're one of that baffling ilk who say "at least you can dress for the cold," I can't help you; I'll never understand you, and may the penguins of paradise march into your foot pajamas.)
          But, we do live in this Granite State willingly, so we can't complain without adding a qualifier: suffering through these interminable winters affords us a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of our other eleven seasons (rimshot mandatory). Granite Staters are nothing if not well seasoned.
          But winter leaves us stuck with the one malady we can’t use as an excuse to call-in sick: "Sorry, I can't work today. It's too cold outside, and the doctor’s treating me for Cabin Fever." You’d do better to tell your boss that you’ve contracted the Heebie Jeebies, but I don't advise it.
          Still, as self-conscripted, granite-hardened boondockers willing to trudge through the cold, dark days from winter solstice to vernal equinox, we're entitled to some guidelines for diagnosing this annual affliction:
          Did you look above the sink today to that nail still holding the Thanksgiving turkey wishbone, retrieve said clavicle, make a wish, and traditionally snap the holiday furcula in a fit of longing for brighter, warmer days? You're there.
          Did you do this with no one else around, and couldn't decide whether it was you who got your wish or someone impersonating you who didn't? You're especially there.
          Do you find yourself staring at the floor, and it's the wall?
          Have you put on the six layers of thermal wear just to go spend the morning sitting on your frozen Harley in the barn?
          Did you do this while making those "potato-potato" engine noises in the back of your throat? Oh, dear.
          Have you forgotten where you put your glasses and they're on your head? Can you not bear to open your freezer door? Are you making peepholes with your tongue on the ice inside your windows?
          Face it. You've sprung a fever, and there’s only one remedy:
          A little more seasoning.

* * * * *
Author and Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH.  Copyright 2013 by B. Elwin Sherman. All rights reserved.  His new book, "Walk Tall and Carry a Big Watering Can", is scheduled for publication in March 2013 by Plaidswede Publishing.

This column and website/blog contents are protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Electronic or print reproduction, adaptation, or distribution without permission is prohibited. Ordinary internet links to this column at B. Elwin's website may be distributed without written permission. 
* * * * *