Tag Archives: humor

The Cabinet, or, Better Living Through Chemistry

18 Sep

The Cabinet


Better Living Through Chemistry

by L. Stewart Marsden


I know I put them in here … somewhere
Underneath the whitening tooth gel;
Crammed beside the fat-burning oil;
Above the No More Wrinkles, My Friend;
Or the Gradual Gray-Away Hair-Coloring Brush;
Between the Sleep Deep Tonight and the Stay-Awake capsules;
Or the Breathe Through the Night Guaranteed nose spray;
And the Psoriasis Cream; or the Pain Go Away hot and cold bags;
Near the Gas-Away tablets, and the Warts-No-More stick-ums;
The Breath-O’-Mint gargle, and the NuHair in the Morning rubbing salve;
The ear-wax drops and the nose-hair plucker;
The Intimate Hair Begone; and the No-Leaks, My Lady underwear pads;
The No Sweat – You Bet underarm roll-on; or the Flab-Away Arm and Leg Lotion.
Where the hell are they?
I know I put them in here … somewhere.



Breaking News!

25 Jul

Breaking News!

Five historical (hysterical?) headlines, delivered à la ABC News Anchor great, David Muir, posing intently before the camera, wondering what did he know, and when did he know it? Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and Charles Kuralt,  rolling in their graves, eating their hearts.

Athens – 490 BC. Running to tell Athenians of the great victory over the Persians at Marathon. Traveling more than 26 miles full out. Pheidippides, uttering “Joy to you, we’ve won!” Falling, dying exhausted. “We should commemorate this day,” suggests Greek statesman. Looking back, historians wondering, What did he know, and when did he know it?

Wittenberg Castle – 31 October 1517. Nailing list of ninety-five shades of gray areas re the Catholic Church. Calling for the Pope to use his own money to build cathedrals rather than tax the poor. According to cousin Lex, idea for protest comes to Martin while sitting on the chamber pot. The Pope, dismissing the list as a “passing fancy.” Parishioners wondering about The Pope –– What did he know, and when did he know it?

Montana Territory – 25, 26 June 1876. Leading a battalion of 700, General George Custer, feeling confident. Crazy Horse and others, lying in wait sneakily, ambushing good American soldiers. More than 260 dying, including Custer. Boston hairdresser, mourning the loss of his favorite client, saying, “He was larger than life!” Grant, wondering “What did he know, and when did he know it?”

Pearl Harbor – 7 June 1941. Japanese air attack surprising US Naval ships on an early Sunday morning. Sinking ships under exploding Japanese torpedoes. Addressing the nation by radio, FDR, branding the attack “infamous.” Declaring war on Japan. What did he know, and when did he know it?

The Moon – 20 July, 1969. Landing the lunar module Eagle at 20:18 UTC. Stepping onto the surface, Neil Armstrong, commenting something about his small feet. Joining him later, Buzz Aldrin, remarking “Wonder how far I could hit a golf ball up here?” Congratulating the Apollo astronauts, Nixon, talking via the mystery of satellite. What did he know, and when did he know it?





1 Feb





Garbage in, garbage out.

A phrase that seemed to be on many people’s lips a few years back, a nemonic from the high tech industry.

Made sense then, makes sense now.

Perhaps the trick is discerning what constitutes garbage.

After all, one man’s garbage is another’s treasure.

Yard sales, flea markets attest to that.

When I lived in New York City in the 70s I wrote a comedy sketch using that as a central theme.

A man hauled out his bags of garbage for pickup by the city sanitation department.

A rather dapper man who was walking by, stopped, and asked if he could buy the man’s garbage for $50.

The man was no fool, and took the man’s money gladly.
As he climbed the stairs to his building, he turned to see the pristine man rummaging through the bags, oohing and aahing as he did.

“Hey!” Said the one-time garbage owner. “What’re you doing?”

The man replied, “My good fellow, I have learned to recycle things that people throw away. In doing so, I have made my fortune. I shall parlay the fifty dollars I just gave you into $1,000.”

He then pulled items out of the garbage and described their alternative uses, which astounded the dumbfounded man.

“These styrofoam egg cartons? Voila! Bras for Barbie Dolls!” And so forth.

The man suddenly realized he had been had, and came back down the stairs.

“Here’s your fifty dollars back, gimme my garbage!”

“Oh, I AM sorry my friend. All cash transactions are final.”

“Okay,” he said, rifling through his wallet, “here’s another $10.”

“No deal, I’m afraid.”

“$75, then. I’ll give you $75.”

“Once again …”

“OKAY! $100 for my garbage back! That’s my last offer!”

“You strike a hard bargain.” And the gentleman took the $100 and walked away.

Extremely satisfied with himself, the man scooped up his bags of garbage and fairly leaped up the stairs. Opening his front door, he yelled inside,

“Mabel! Look at what I just got for a measly $100 bucks!”


17 Jun



By L. Stewart Marsden


My nephew and his daughter encounter an unexpected swimming mate. Actually, it's Photoshopped.

My nephew and his daughter encounter an unexpected swimming mate. Actually, it’s Photoshopped.





There’s shark activity off the NC coast this week. My family and I are about ten days from driving down to the feeding grounds for two weeks’ of sun ‘n sand ‘n shark bites.

One hapless swimmer was nipped at a beach to the south of where we’re staying. Her boogie board has two very nice impressions gouged out of either side of the Styrofoam carcass. The kind dentists use to make a dental impression. Say ahhhh!

Two others, a boy and a girl, lost portions or all of an arm at the next beach up. In the surf. In the afternoon. Not far from the beach’s pier where fishers have been chumming the waters around the stilted wooden structure. Both were left arm injuries. Apparently liberal sharks.

They were tiger sharks — or bull sharks, say the experts.

According to one website, you are more likely to die from bee, wasp or other insect stings than at the jaws of a shark. Actually, twenty more times likely to die from a cow bite.

Doesn’t take the attention off that meeting of land and sea, though. I’m sure the victims could care less about the remote chances of being bitten by a shark.

My youngest daughter says all sharks need to be killed. Yeah — that’s the spirit … kill the bad beasties.

Meanwhile I’m following Katharine and half a dozen other tagged sharks who meander up and down the east coast. Ba-bum … ba-bum … But it’s not the tagged sharks that cause the heartbeat to flutter.

The shark killed by humans ratio to human’s killed by sharks is something like a million to one each YEAR! I’ll bet the sharks don’t like those odds one bit. American Pharoah stood worse odds of losing the Triple Crown than sharks have of surviving the slaughter of their species.

Imagine what the shark newspapers are saying? What the headlines are … Keep Your Dorsals, Avoid Japan! And any other country’s waters where men worship shark parts over Viagra.

You know who’s fault this is, right?

Peter Benchley.

He’s not around to kick, though. And actually, Benchley became an advocate of shark protection before he died.

Spielburg runs a close second. And he is still around.

Then there’s Shark Week as well as the Sharknado film series.

Oh, god — if we can’t get hysterical over something …

Thank god for Donald Trump and comic relief.

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 17 June, 2015

The Best! Valentine EVER!

13 Feb

The Best! Valentine EVER!

By L. Stewart Marsden


In the many years I have given and received valentines, there remains one gift that will forever come to mind on this auspicious occasion.

It was my freshman year at college. I’m not going to tell you how many years ago, but suffice to say it was a few years ago.

A girl I was dating at the time and I planned to spend Valentines Day by going to the fraternity I was pledging. That in itself is a story. I firmly believe that the classic film, Animal House, was modeled after Delta Pi Zeta, but I understand a west coast location was the honored frat.

My date, let’s call her Linda, and I went out to the local hamburger joint where the absolute best hamburgers ever were made. Two slices of Texas toast nicely browned, spread with Miracle Whip on one side, saturated with butter, with a slice of tomato, melted cheese, and a flap of lettuce all hugged a large square of beef (this was before Wendy’s). Um! Topped off with a thick vanilla milk shake! Um, um! I’m salivating as I write.

Then we exchanged valentines. I can’t remember what mine was. More than likely it was a stuffed bear. For me, stuffed animals were the magic elixir to a girl’s heart. And when you were on a budget, a $5.99 stuffed bear or rabbit was purrrr-fecto! So, I gave her whatever stuffed thing I was able to find at the five-and-dime (a clue as to how many years ago this story happened).

She gave me a box, nicely wrapped in heart-shaped wrapping paper. When I opened it, I nearly fell out of our booth where we sat eating.

A cake! Homemade, no less!

Heart-shaped! With red icing spread over the top and down along the edges. Little red roses adorning the bottom edge.

And on the top surface of the heart, the inscription: HAPPY VD!

It was written so large, Linda wasn’t able to spell out the words Valentines Day.


I guffawed and — had I sipped some Coke before I unwrapped it — would have spewed cola everywhere!


Of course I asked her if there was something I should know . . . though we had an innocent relationship.

We didn’t eat the cake. I wouldn’t allow it. Instead, I took it back to my dorm room at the end of the evening and hung it on the wall. It dried out over time, and one night crashed to the floor and broke into a hundred little pieces.




Happy Valentines Day, all!

God the favor dispenser

29 Jun



God, the favor dispenser

by L. Stewart Marsden


What’s your mental/emotional image of God? The relaxed muscular gray-bearded guy in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel work, his finger just beyond that of Adam’s?

The angry, fire-breathing god that the members of the Westboro Baptist Church promote?

The distant, I’ve-done-my-thing-so-don’t-mess-it-up god?

Maybe it’s the quid pro quo god, who works — in a way — like a dispensing machine. Or even a slot machine. The god of health and wealth.

The do-something-throw-the-quarter-in-pull-the-arm-down-and-voila!-I-give-you-something-back god.

I get these posts on Facebook that make me grind my teeth.


IF YOU HATE CANCER, LIKE THIS POST (How do you like something you hate?)



Most such posts into the category of IF YOU HAVE A DAUGHTER AND YOU LOVE HER, LIKE THIS POST! Or, fill in the following for “daughter”: mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, 2nd cousin four times removed, pet hamster, VW Passat . . .

Of course you want to “like” all these — or most of these — or some of these — or . . .

I got to thinking of some of the “heavy hitters” of the Bible and the kind of posts they get on their Facebook pages:

If you love this flaming bush (and forget the innuendo of the term “flaming bush”) . . .
If you love these plagues . . .
If you love these ten commandments . . .

If you love one woman in your life . . .
If you love fruits . . .
If you love spare ribs . . .

If you love DIY projects . . .
If you can count to two . . .
If you love animals . . .

If you prefer light, easy-to-carry assault weapons . . .
If you want to learn the guitar . . .
If your palace overlooks the house of a hot MILF . . .
If you need a little cash . . .
If you question your successes . . .
If one wife is not enough . . .

No one in the New Testament has a Facebook page. I checked. I think the rules changed between the prophets and the gospels.

So, what’s your god like?

I pulled into the parking lot of my local Walgreen’s so my daughter and I could pick up a few last items for the beach trip. I drive a Honda Insight — which is Honda’s sort-of-answer to Toyota’s Prius (If you love your Insight . . . ).

The engine shuts down when you slow to a stop, which surprised many. Scared the hell out of me when I first drove it off the lot and thought my engine had conked out at a stop light.

So a guy in the passenger side of the car parked to my left was startled when I pulled into the space.

“Wow! That a hybrid?”

“It is.”

“You could kill a person with a car so silent.”

“You could kill a person with any car — if that was your intent.”

“I’m around dead people every day.”

“Yeah?” Thinking he worked in a mortuary, I asked stupidly, “What do you do?”

“I die daily. Paul said unless a man die daily . . . ” and finished his evangelist task for the day.

In Boy Scouts, we had a motto: Do a Good Turn daily.

I guess in evangelical Christianity, the motto is: Spiritually harass someone you don’t know from Adam daily.

That must be the “like” on the motto post.

If you love JE-SUS, like this post and he will give you something in the next 120 minutes.


It’s early on Sunday morning. I’m at the beach, and my cottage faces the Atlantic.

Not everyone gets to do this, I know and realize.

While not smooth calm, the ocean is relatively peaceful after a night of heavy thundershowers.

Waves are maybe one to two feet, and gently exhaust themselves onto the sand with a sigh.

No surfers. A couple of fishermen with plastic buckets and more rods and reels they need for the tiny fish they are not catching.

Gulls of various types are flapping into the wind, or soaring on its currents, kreeing muted calls that I barely hear.

A brown pelican glides inches from the surface of the water — looking ever-so-much the modern counterpart of its dinosaurian ancestor.

There are no burning bushes here.

No one-arm hit-the-jackpot god-vending contraptions.

The masses of beach-goers are still asleep. The ocean lulls them into the final dreams of their overnight sleep.

And, for me, God is right here. Not asking me to like him. Not promising something in 120 seconds. Not whispering into my ear, “Give me and I’ll give you.”

God and I are enjoying a brief moment on the coast, where the great ocean waters meet the shore. Where one lone man is awed by the greatness he does not understand.


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 29 June, 2014