Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


"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


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.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013


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


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


             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, and via his blog at

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


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


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


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.