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    Esther Blumenfeld  

    The purpose of this web site is to entertain.  My humor columns died along with the magazines where they were printed, although I cannot claim responsibility for their demise.  I still have something to say, and if I can bring a laugh or two to your day, my mission will be fulfilled.

    Everyone I know thinks he has a sense of humor.  Here is my unsolicited advice. If you try to be funny and no one laughs, don’t worry about it.  However, if you try to be funny and no one EVER laughs, you might have a little problem.

     

    Friday
    Dec072018

    HIDDEN TREASURES

    As most of you know, in the Spring, I will be moving to Hacienda at the Canyon, a new senior residence now being built right across the street from where I live. My 975 sq. ft. apartment (independent living) will have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a small kitchen and a nice sized living room with a balcony overlooking the mountains.

    Consequently, I have been downsizing for the past 6 months, and in the process (since I have kept everything) I have found a myriad of mementos—not only from my life experiences—but also sentimental treasures from the lives of my parents and my in-laws.

    For instance, in 1917, my future Mother-In-Law and Father-In-Law went to a place called, “The Golden Pumpkin.” Waiter #11 was their server.  They had swiped a notice off the table which read, “Dancing known as the ‘Shimmy,’ ‘Toddle,’ or similar style is not permitted in the Golden Pumpkin. Persons indulging in such will be requested to leave. Do not mix parties in dancing.”’

    My Mother-In-Law had also kept the special “Roxy Hart Extra Edition” of the Chicago Star Gazette whose headline reported that, “Roxie Hart is Acquitted.” Roxie Hart (the basis for the musical, CHICAGO) was “Chicago’s most beautiful murderess.” And, there was a photo,”Only photo ever taken inside the County Jail.” “Chicago’s beautiful jazz murderess says, ‘Dancing feet caused my downfall.”’

    I also found a photo of my paternal, German Grandfather, Samuel and his four brothers. All of them posed in their army uniforms during WWI. I am sure that none of them were very good shots, but  German Jews were sent to the front because they were expendable. My gentle Grandpa was known to be an up- into-the-air shooter. Anyway, I used to look at the photo and say, “Grandpa you were so handsome.” He always smiled, and said “Danke” (Thanks). After he died, I looked at the photo, one more time, and said to my Aunt, “Wasn’t Grandpa handsome!” And, she replied, “That wasn’t Grandpa. That was his good-looking brother. Sly Grandpa, took credit for my compliment every time.

    Grandpa told me that on one Christmas, an Armistice was declared, and he heard a yell from the  other (what later became Poland) side…”Samuel, is that you?” A chess playing buddy from the other side had recognized him. They met in the middle of the field, set up a make shift table and played chess until the Armistice was over. They then returned to their positions and the shooting resumed.

    When I was three years old, my family escaped the Nazis in 1939, and I became a naturalized citizen on my parent’s papers. When I turned 18, I went to court and obtained my own citizenship papers.

    Last week, while going through piles of paper with my son, Josh, he found the paperwork which proved my naturalization. I had never seen them before. However, with the new attitudes in Washington toward immigrants, I put those papers into the safety deposit box at my bank. I don’t want to be deported to Stettin, Germany where I was born—-especially since there is no Stettin, Germany anymore. It became a lost city after WWII, and is now a town in Poland called Szczecin (I think). The only Polish I know is “Pass the Pierogi.”

    Cheers and Do Widzenig!

    Esther Blumenfeld


    Friday
    Nov302018

    CHILDREN FRIED

    “When a child hits a child, we call it, aggression.
    When a child hits an adult, we call it, hostility.
    When an adult hits an adult, we call it, assault.
    When an adult hits a child, we call it, discipline.” (Haim G. Ginott)

    Paddling children in school is back. It is now again legal in 19 States to strike a child on the buttocks with a paddle. Even the Supreme Court says corporal punishment is legal if parental permission has been given.

    I’m sure that Christian Grey would say, “I got paddled as a child and am a better person for it. Ouch! I love it!”

    A kid named, Billy was in my 7th grade class. He was convinced that no one liked him. He was right! Billy managed to antagonize everyone in the class including the teacher. Every time something bad happened, the teacher, Miss Bowman, would yell, “Billy!” even if her back was to the class. Miss Bowman was my favorite teacher until the day she struck Billy on the hands with her ruler. She hit him…really hard. That blow struck fear in my heart. I had never seen an adult hit a child.

    Billy was also sent to the principal’s office where his butt became his seat of learning many a time. It’s always been a mystery to me how an adult intends to teach a child self control by losing it. And, what does a child think when Pa takes off his belt and says, “You’d better appreciate that this is for your own good. Pa’s not always going to be around to teach you a lesson.” Is a child supposed to feel bad about that?

    I am convinced that there are many ways to discipline children without hitting them. The most effective way is for the youngster to lose technology time on phones, tablets, watches— whatever. One Father was so upset with his teenager’s Facebook messages, that he took out his gun and shot her laptop. That might be a bit extreme, but I’ll bet she got the message and hash tagged her way out of there lickity split.

    One Mom reprimanded her 9-year-old daughter, “It’s not okay to ask Siri for the answer to an arithmetic question.” Her little girl  had already learned that because she said, “Mommy, Don’t worry, I won’t ever do it again because I got the wrong answer.” “How did that happen?” asked Mom.“Because I asked the wrong question.”

    Some punishments don’t work such as grounding a child but not grounding her I-pad, or
    not allowing your kid to go to the beach with his friends on a rainy day.

    However something as simple as , “If you want today’s Wi-Fi password, you need to empty the dishwasher, fold the laundry and take out the trash” works every time. It’s a hit without raising a hand.

    Esther Blumenfeld (“I like children if they are properly cooked”) W.C. Fields


    Friday
    Nov232018

    A LAUGH A MINUTE

    Have you ever said to yourself, “I can do that!  

    Well, in 1982, I did just that. I sent some jokes, I had written, to Phyllis Diller. She liked them well enough to write to me,”I don’t know whether you’d be interested in ‘Ghost Writing’ for me. I realize that in that situation the ego suffers, but the money helps.”

    When I received her check, I realized that the stipend she paid for gags would help her much more than me, so I respectfully declined. However, when going through my files, I found not only her letter, but some jokes that I had written, and that I had never mailed out.

    So, dear readers, with a bit of updating, I will share these stories, that have never seen the light of day, nor slid off a comic’s tongue. Allowing for a bit of updating, I hope that you will enjoy them, and that some of them may bring you a well-deserved chuckle. They were written to be said…not read, so keep that in mind.

    “I have the same clothes designer as Melania Trump. Isn’t it amazing what this body can do for those clothes.”

    “My neighbor’s kitchen is so clean she says, ‘You can eat off my floor.’ That’s okay if you don’t mind the taste of Mop-N-Glo.’”

    “My husband doesn’t talk too much, but when he does he always has something good to say. He says,—-‘Good Morning!’   Good Night!”’

    “President Trump thinks the space shuttle is the answer to unemployment. He’s sending Detroit to the moon.”

    “I used to tease my hair until the Humane Society put a stop to that.”

    “John Bolton keeps shaping our foreign policy. I just wish he’d stop using Silly Putty.”

    “I’m not that kind of girl—-that kind a woman—Maybe!”

    (In memory of Phyllis Diller)  “Everybody says my friend Milton Berle steals jokes. I didn’t believe it until today— I caught him walking off with Fang.”

    “I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that my plastic surgeon asked me to pose for some before and after pictures for a magazine. The bad news is that I’m still the  before.”

    “I dreamed I was in a movie with Clint Eastwood. He asked me,  “How do you want it?” I answered,’Any which way but loose.”’

    Cheers,

    Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Nov162018

    THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

    People often ask me, “Why do you take your early morning walks all by yourself?” and I reply, “Because that is my thinking time.” That sounds really erudite until I tell them, “I was just thinking that, ‘If fish would keep their mouths shut, we’d all be vegetarians.’” Sorry! but that’s how my mind works. Oh, the words that go thorough my mind that I never say.  How often has someone said to me, “That goes without saying,” and I have been tempted to reply, “Then please don’t!”

    I know a woman who talks because she enjoys the sound of her own voice. Unfortunately, her tongue moves faster than the mass of nerve tissue in her cranium can catch up. She is quite a talker.  On the other hand, I have never heard someone say, “Your dog is a good dog, because he barks a lot.”

    A conversation usually involves  speakers and  listeners, but sometimes it’s just better not to talk. That way people might take you for a deep thinker. Or, they might think you are a half-wit, but perhaps it better to be thought of as stupid, rather than enter the conversation, and prove them right.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good conversation. But a good conversation involves two people who have some knowledge about what they are talking about,  and  who have something to say that does not involve a hashtag.

    There are all kinds of ways that people speak. Some people mumble. When that happens, the listener should nod sagely and say, “You could say that again!” And, some people shout. A shouter never says, “Can you hear me now?” because you can hear him before you enter the room, while you are in the room, and long after you’ve left the room. It’s lots of fun to see a mumbler and a shouter talking with one another. The shouter has to close in and the mumbler has to back off.

    Recently, I was on the moving sidewalk in an airport. A fellow walked down the walkway waving his arms and shouting at the top of his lungs. Every passenger stopped to look at him. Never could figure out if he was on a cell phone or a schizophrenic off his meds.

    But back to the thinking part of this tale.  When I think, I often think out loud. In other words, I talk to myself. It’s called a monologue, but in my case there are no listeners. I can think aloud to myself, and I can make myself laugh. That’s when I write it down. Hamlet’s soliloquy is a conversation with himself, but since it is in a play, the audience eves drops on the poor, tormented fellow.

    I recommend that everyone should take time off to pause and contemplate before going out to
    express oneself.  However, if you don’t think you have the inclination or time to take my advice remember that, “One way to prevent a conversation from being boring is to say the wrong thing.” (Frank Sheed).

    Esther Blumenfeld “Don’t speak unless you can improve on the silence” (Spanish proverb)

    Friday
    Oct192018

    WAIT FOR ME

    Whenever I learn a new skill, I don’t want to wait to use it. A few years ago, I was taught the Heimlich Maneuver. Now, I was prepared to save a life!  Consequently, every time someone coughed in a restaurant, my husband and son had to restrain me.

     One day, while driving my son home from soccer practice, we saw a man lying in the grass, next to his bicycle. This was my big chance. The waiting had paid off.  I stopped the car, and ignoring the cries of “MOTHER!”, I shouted, “Hang on, I’m coming!” At that, the man jumped on his bike, and peddled away as fast as he could.  I guess I scared the choke out of him.

    It seems as if all of us are constantly waiting for someone or something. When the actress, Mae West was told that ten men were waiting for her at the stage door, she said, “Send one of them home. I’m tired.”

    I have learned that if you wait for things to happen something usually does, but it just might not be the something you’ve been waiting for.  Bob Hope grew up with six brothers. He said, “That’s how I learned to dance—-waiting for the bathroom.”

    In 1990, according to the British Royal National Theatre, “The most significant English language play of the 20th Century” was Samuel Beckett’s WAITING FOR GODOT. Of course the tragicomedy was originally written in French, but they ignored that part. It is the story of two tramps, in which nothing happens except trivial conversations of the meaningless of life. That’s the funny part. They are waiting for a fellow named Godot and debate whether he will show up and what to do if he doesn’t. A messenger comes and tells them that Godot isn’t coming, but will show up tomorrow. They keep waiting and talking and the same thing happens three times. Finally, they decide to leave but don’t move and the curtain is dropped.

    Once you see this play, you will never complain about waiting again!

    The renowned novelist, Anne Tyler was standing in a schoolyard waiting for her child, when another mother approached her and said, “Have you found work yet? Or are you still just writing?” (Wait, Wait! Don’t tell me!)

    When I was a little girl, I usually lagged behind my friends as they ran down the street. I remember yelling, “Hey, You Guys. Wait for me!” I was lucky because they usually did. Maybe, I made them feel bad about leaving me behind.  Or, maybe it was because I was always the one who carried the ice cream money.

    Some people are just worth waiting for!

    Esther Blumenfeld