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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.




    A young friend just told me that the doctor diagnosed the pain in his joint as, “Tennis Elbow.” “That’s really weird,” he said, “because I don’t play tennis.” “Well,” I replied, “You must be doing some repetitive motion to cause the pain.” I know that he lifts weights, and does all kinds of cockamamie exercises on a Nautilus Machine, but when I said, “It’s probably one of your exercises,” he protested that it didn’t hurt when he exercised.  I then advised that he pay attention to which repetitive exercise causes him pain, and then, “Stop doing it.”

    My advice made sense to me, but he will probably ignore it, because I’m not a doctor. Common sense can be so underrated. The whole conversation reminded me of the old joke, “Doctor it hurts when I do that.” “Okay,” says the Doctor, “Stop doing that!”

    Years ago, as an avid swimmer, I would swim for 45 minutes at a time, using the “Australian Crawl”. My right shoulder started hurting, so I went to the doctor, and after several cortisone shots, I was told that shortly I would need a shoulder replacement. That’s what the doctor said, but he never asked me what I thought might be causing the problem. My common sense told me to just stop swimming that way, and my shoulder miraculously healed without having to take a trip to Lourdes.

    I have a friend who decided to fill her Jaguar with gas at 11:00 p.m. at the most deserted, unlit gas station she could find. I skipped the common sense speech and went right to---“Are you nuts?”  I admit that sometimes it is difficult to choose between right and wrong, but certainly a person should know the difference between right and stupid.

    It’s always good advice not to argue with a fool, but when a kid behind the counter at the hardware store bragged, “I never vote, and I never will.” I said to him, “If someone came in here and told you that the government is going to take away your right to vote, you’d probably be the first one out there kicking up a fuss.”

    I would like to say that I gave him something to think about, but I’m not sure he could do that. Perhaps, my common sense should have told me that we’d all be better off without him setting foot in a voting booth.

    I agree with W.C. Fields who said, “Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.”

    Esther Blumenfeld (“A sense of humor is just common sense dancing.”) William James



    After running a few errands this morning, I returned home and started humming a song. I didn’t pay too much mind to what I was humming until I stopped and realized, “I am singing, Three Blind Mice.” How dumb is that!  Well, it got not only dumber but extremely irritating, because I couldn’t rid myself of the ditty in my head. Don’t know what precipitated it, unless I was thinking of the voters in the forthcoming election. Nah! It couldn’t be that.

    What had lodged in my memory, like a broken record, was an “earworm”---an annoying tune that repeats itself in an endless loop. Scientists who study the earworm phenomena suggest that to get rid of it one should replace the song with more amenable thoughts. They suggest that working on a Sudoku Puzzle or on anagrams (word games rearranging letters) or reading something that will challenge the cognitive part of your brain will do the trick.

    So, I picked up Consumer Reports Magazine and started reading page after page about, “How to Protect Your Privacy.” The article was so depressing that I threw the magazine into the trash and cheered myself up by singing, “Three Blind Mice---See how they run”---and then I forgot the rest of the lyrics which made me feel even worse.

    Three quarters of people who experience earworms report unique songs not experienced by others. A western Washington team of scientists found that Lady Gaga was the most common artist to get stuck in people’s heads with pop songs such as Just Dance and Paparazzi. That sounds like much more fun than getting stuck with three mice.

    While reading about earworms, I learned that the song, “Put the Blame on Mame”, obsessed Jean Harris, who murdered her lover, Herman Tarnower. If I remember correctly, the three blind mice had something to do with a butcher knife. Maybe she could have blamed them instead of Mame.

    Here are some suggested cures for earworm:

    Identify the song playing in your head.

    Well, that won’t work for me because sometimes I make up Country Western songs in my head such as, “I won’t leave until I milk the cow. I won’t leave until I slop the sow. I won’t leave until I mow the hay. I guess I just won’t leave today. ” And those are just the lyrics.

    Search the Internet for the complete version of the tune in your head.

    That’s impossible, because to do that, you have to know the name of the song.

    Play the tune for several minutes and listen to it.

    Hooray!  That way the earworm can become a permanent mental soundtrack you can never eliminate from your brain.

    After the song is finished playing, go and do something that avoids your mind from wandering.

    Impossible!  My mind goes places I’ve never even been.

    Replace the earworm with another song.

    That’s just what I need---twin earworms.  So where’s the answer?

    “The answer my friend is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind”

    Esther Blumenfeld



    When my son, Josh was in second grade, he had a pal named, Joey. Joey’s father was a doctor, and one day, when he had to pick up some files at the hospital, he asked the boys if they wanted to go along for the ride. Naturally, they were up for the adventure.

    On their way to the hospital, they told Joey’s Dad that they had to bring something to school the next day for Show and Tell, and Joey’s Dad said,  “How would you boys like to take your urine specimens to show the class?”

    So, the next day, Josh and Joey presented two vials of urine, along with a graphic description of the collection, to the enthusiastic class. Nothing, fazed their teacher, Mrs. McIntyre, whose response was, “That was most illuminating, Boys. Now, go dispose your exhibit into the toilet.”

    After the class calmed down, little Timmy Snyder raised his hand and said, “Mrs. McIntyre, my Daddy is a doctor too. Can I bring him to school tomorrow for Show and Tell?” “Certainly,” replied the teacher, “But we’ve already heard enough about urine. That’s not what you plan to share, is it?” “Oh, No,” said Timmy. “My Daddy had a vasectomy.”  Mrs. McIntyre retired shortly after that.

    Show and Tell, in second grade, was a lovely way for the children to get to know one another. Sharing something meaningful encouraged children in the class to respect one another, and talking about something of interest, helped a child develop some organizational and presentational skills---as well as thinking fast on his or her feet. For a shy child, this was a real challenge, but an important one.

    The only time I was involved in Show and Tell, as an adult, was at my wedding shower, where I had to open my gifts in front of the multitudes and ooze appropriate appreciation---“This is beautiful. Thank you so much!” It worked very well, until I opened one package, and hadn’t the foggiest idea what the item was supposed to be used for. It looked like an instrument right out of the Spanish Inquisition. There was no way I could say, “What is this?” or “Thanks for the thumb screw.” So, I said, “Now, this is truly a memorable gift.”  As you can see, I did not lie!

    Nowadays, because of Social Media, we live in a Show and Tell society. It used to be that people valued their privacy, but nothing seems to be sacred anymore. People just let everything hang out---figuratively and literally! And, while they expose themselves, they don’t seem to care that millions of people are watching, listening or hacking their personal lives.

    This leaves me to wonder; what do these people really cherish? What do they hold dear? When they get old, everything will have been shown and everything will have been said, and there will be nothing left---even to the imagination.

    When my Father was a very old man, in the twilight of his life, he prepared a final surprise for his family.  After his death, when we gathered around the dining room table, my brother, David read Dad’s final wishes for his children and grandchildren. Dad had thoughtfully, and carefully, selected which family heirlooms he thought would be cherished by each person around that table. He had written the history and story of each piece, and gave insight into why he thought that item would be meaningful, and why he had selected it for a particular loved one sitting at that table.

    It was the Show and Tell of a lifetime. It was a Show and Tell always to be cherished. It was a Show and Tell gratefully received and never forgotten.

    Esther Blumenfeld



    This is the first article I have written by popular request. So many of you readers liked my take on three automobile advertisements on TV that I decided to tackle a few more.

    Several of you mentioned the Matthew McConaughey commercial where he approaches a swimming pool dressed in a $1000 suit. He looks into the water. Then he turns around and executes a backward dive into the pool. I assume he puts a towel on the seat of the expensive car he is next shown driving. However, I know he stopped somewhere first to blow-dry his hair, because he is looking pretty good---as only Matthew McConaughey can. I can’t remember the brand of the car, but Matthew does have a nice set of teeth when he smiles. So maybe the ad is about brushing your teeth with whitening toothpaste, after taking a bath. He is probably smiling because he is thinking, “I can’t believe I am getting paid to do this.”

    The next celebrity ad that totally perplexes me is the one featuring Johnny Depp. He’s kind of a confusing guy even when he doesn’t appear in a commercial---kind of resembles a raccoon with all that tattooed eyeliner. At first I thought this was another car ad, because Johnny is driving down a road and sees a water buffalo. Then he stops to dig a hole in the sand in the desert. “There’s got to be a pony in there somewhere,” but I know he doesn’t find it, because he throws down the shovel, to gaze upon a bottle of Man Perfume that is floating in the air. No, I don’t know the name of the floating perfume, but after all that digging in the sand, I guess he needs a spritz of something.

    The next commercial is in the realm of the creepy.  It features a big talking frog, attached to a bathroom wall. He is holding a role of toilet paper in his webbed toes. The frog is complaining that when people come to and fro into the bathroom, he is forever doomed to watching them. As the television camera zooms in on those big, popping frogeyes, he sits on the bathroom wall staring at the toilet.

    Why would anyone in his right mind want to buy a brand of toilet paper that is being promoted by a peeping Tom frog? Even the ads to cure constipation are more appealing than this.

    And then there’s the commercial where a guy talks and then people lose the tops of their heads, because they find out that they can buy some stuff cheaper, than when they had their heads intact.  Makes no sense at all!

    Esther Blumenfeld (“Where’s the beef?”)



    As a one-person focus group, I’d like to compare three commercials that are shown on television. I assume that the automobile companies pay some smart people to create these ads with the purpose of selling their cars.

    The first is a commercial for Buick. Not only do I like the story, but I can also remember the name of the car. In a nutshell---Mother and Daddy are sleeping. A toddler wakes up crying in the middle of the night and Dad turns to Mom and says, “I’ll take him for a ride in the Buick.” He obviously assumes that the smooth ride will lull the little fellow to sleep. However, the adorable toddler, strapped in his car seat in the back, loves the ride in the car and coos the night away having the time of his life. Father and son bond until daylight. Mother finds them both fast asleep at the breakfast table. The Buick is a fancy car that should obviously be purchased by insomniacs and parents of crying babies.

    The second ad is a total mystery, not only to me, but no one seems to be able to answer my unscientific survey question that asks, “What the Hell is this commercial all about?” No one so far has given me a satisfactory answer---let alone the name of the car being advertised.

    There are four people in the car, three men and a woman driver. They are all dressed in designer clothing, and obviously on their way somewhere. The mature, beautiful woman makes me think that the target buyer is the mature, beautiful woman. A young man is sitting in the passenger seat. In the back seat, another young man is sitting next to an older, sophisticated bearded gentleman, who is playing with a wedding ring. None of these people have anything to say to one another.

    Finally, the woman punches a button on the radio, and a lovely song comes fourth.  She eyes the bearded man in the rearview mirror, and he taps her on the shoulder. They both smile knowingly as the car is seen speeding down a winding road. So what’s the story here? I assume they are on their way to their wedding, but why has that left them speechless? And, if he keeps fingering that ring, he may drop it and then they will have to stop the car to look for it. By now, not only do I not know the name of the car, but also I don’t care what happens to the speechless people. However, I would like to know the name of that beautiful song on the radio.

    The third ad features a creepy looking guy driving down a deserted road. He has long, curly hair and a rather unruly beard. He has a look in his eyes that gives me the chills---not the good kind! It appears that he is on a clandestine mission. He doesn’t talk or play songs on the radio. He is deep in thought. Perhaps he is contemplating, “Is this a good day to drive this sucker off a bridge?” Suddenly, a wind blows leaves all over the highway, and he aggressively drives the car through them. This is when I suspect that he is an Uber driver on his way to a call.

    No, I don’t know the make of the car, but if it’s covered with leaves, I suggest that you call the guy, driving a little kid around in his Buick.

    Esther Blumenfeld