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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
    Aug262016

    A SMALL CORRECTION

    Several months ago, a home building development, near where I live, was finally completed. The street barriers came down and congested traffic proceeded as usual. All was well during daylight hours.  However, I mentioned to a friend that I could not see the road lane separations at night, and it seemed to me that drivers were weaving all over the street.

    My friend said, “I drive that street every morning, and have no trouble seeing the lines of demarcation.” So, I called my ophthalmologist’s assistant and asked, “Is it time for cataract surgery?” She said, “You were in here two weeks ago and had a complete check-up. Do you think your cataracts have gotten worse in two weeks?”  “No,” I replied, “I just can’t see the lines at night on that street.” Of course, the operational words were, “At night,” and, “On that street!” Then I told her, “I’m going to call the County Road Department and tell them to repaint the lines.” She thought that was pretty funny, and hung up saying something like, “Lots of luck with that.”

    In the meantime, I called another friend who said, “I’m all over that place on that stretch of road at night, and I’ve HAD cataract surgery.” So, I called the County Road Supervisor. He said, “Are the road barriers still up?” “No,” I replied. “Well,” he said, “The workers weren’t supposed to take the barriers down until the road was re-stripped.” He added, “I just got a notice from my inspector that those lines need to be re-painted” Then he added, “I should put you on the payroll.”

    I have had several job offers in my life, but never with the County Road Department. The next day the white lines were repainted on both sides of the street. And, the man in charge of line painting called me to see if I was satisfied with the job. I thought that was extremely nice, but a little unusual.

    I learned that before you tackle any problem, first you have to admit that there is one, and happily that the solution in this case didn’t call for surgery---only a few cans of white paint.  But, before I could get too pleased with myself for getting such rapid action, an attorney friend informed me; “That was a big liability issue and they probably wanted to avoid a lawsuit.”

    No accident. No lawsuit.  I still think that’s a pretty good deal.

    Esther Blumenfeld (“If I had an hour to save the world, I’d spend 59 minutes defining the problem.”) Albert Einstein

    Friday
    Aug192016

    NOT THAT KIND OF POT

    While channel flipping on my television set, I discovered that one of the “Housewives” had hired a potty trainer for $2000 to toilet-train her little two-year- old daughter. The deal was that in two days the job would be done. That’s a $1000 a day to get the kid to pee in a pot.

    My practical friend, Paula said, “The money would have been better spent on some expensive bottles of wine. Mommy could enjoy drinking it, relax and let nature take its course.” I think she’s right.  I have never met anyone in college who hasn’t been potty trained.

    I have, however, met college kids with potty mouths. When I was in college, I brought some colorful language home with me for my first visit. My Dad reminded me that, “English is such a robust language. Surely you can find more acceptable words to express yourself.” I studied the dictionary and cleaned up my act.

    Years ago, I took a taxi from the airport to my hotel in New York. The driver hailed from a Middle Eastern Kingdom where they never taught him how to turn off his automobile emergency blinker. Of course, every driver that passed us, shouted, “Your emergency blinker is on.” Whereupon he would yell back, “Your Mother is a camel.”

    The problem with using obscene words from a foreign language is that the recipient---as well as the person throwing them around doesn’t often understand them.  For instance, many times I have heard someone call another person a “Putz.”  It is obvious to me that they do not understand that “Putz” has nothing to do with golf.

    Sometimes, obscenities are relegated to gestures. I have a friend who, when cut off in traffic, shot the other driver a hand gesture. “What are you doing?” I asked her. She responded, “I am giving him the finger.”  “No,” I replied. “You are giving him the thumb.”

    Sometimes, it’s all in the translation.

     Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Aug122016

    A TAIL OF TWO DOGS

    I like dogs, but I’ve never lived with one. Happily, I’m in the enviable position of having a relationship with two beautiful, intelligent mutts. I can play with them, and then, like a doting grandparent, send them home with their human families.

    First, let me introduce you to Dulce. Like her Spanish name, this sophisticated lady is as sweet as a pound of caramel candy. I enjoy taking walks with Dulce and her human friend, Perry. Of course, Perry thinks he is the boss in this relationship, but my observation of their interaction tells me he is delusional. For instance, Perry told me that, “For the best seat in the house, I have to move the dog.” And, Perry can never trust Dulce to guard a pastrami sandwich.

    Dulce and I have a ritual that at the end of our walks, we will shake paw (hers) to hand (mine), and then she will jump on Perry. Being jumped on by Dulce is like having a 45-pound suitcase hurled at you off the carousel at the airport—and if she has run through wet grass---it’s like a 45-pound WET suitcase.

    Dulce has a sweet disposition, and I have never seen her stop to conduct a major business transaction. She conducts those in the privacy of her backyard. When a grown man has to pick up dog poop, you know who’s in charge. I rest my case.

    Now, let me introduce you to Zoe. Zoe lives in another city, and since her adoptive parents are my cousins, I guess she’s kind of a member of my family. Zoe could be Dulce’s little sister. Are all mutts caramel color? In order to discover her heritage, a DNA test would have to be administered, but I swear that when she stretches out on the ground, she resembles a balloon critter that clowns create at kids’ parties. So, I know she’s part balloon.

    Zoe rarely barks, but when she does so, everyone has to play the guessing game, “What the heck is she barking at?” As a matter of fact, Dulce is also not big on barking, unless Perry is sleeping. Then Dulce wants to remind him that she’s the boss.

    When I first met Zoe, she did a little wiggle dance, and her tail wasn’t just wagging, it was rotating, and it never slowed down. I am convinced that she is not only part balloon, but also part helicopter. It warmed my heart, when she followed me about, and snuggled next to me on the sofa, and became my best friend. I was so flattered that Zoe loved me---until I discovered that Zoe loves everybody!

    Taking Zoe for a walk is a happening. Obviously, the entire neighborhood belongs to her. She sniffs out every nook and cranny and gleefully marks her territory along the way---turning the walk into a stop and go adventure. At one stop, a man asked, “Is that a cat in a dog suit?” Zoe would have licked him to death, had I allowed it.

    So, what happens at feeding time? Every morning, Dulce escorts the family cat to the kitchen and watches the cat eat some of her dog food. I’ve never seen the cat, because it goes into hiding after the daily theft. Dulce is obviously good at sharing.

    However, Zoe inhales her food in less than 30 seconds. She licks the bowl clean, and to paraphrase Oliver Twist, she always looks around and disgustedly seems to wonder, “Is that it?” Of course, with both dogs, no one ever has to pick food up off the floor.

    Alone at home seems to be more of an adventure for Dulce than for Zoe. Zoe will delicately gather her family’s slippers and socks, pile them on the sofa, near the front window, and keep watch until they return.

    Dulce will do something unexpected such as the day she ate Perry’s girlfriend’s bathing suit, and she didn’t even share it with the cat.

    Esther Blumenfeld (“The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.”) Samuel Butler

    Friday
    Aug052016

    IT COULD HAVE BEEN PRUNES

    Last week, my friend Barbara called and said, “Would you like some figs?” “Sure,” I replied. “I like figs.” She dropped off a big bag of figs.

    A couple of days later, Barbara called again. “I’m bringing you a jar of fig jelly.” “Thanks so much,” was my response. The jelly arrived with another big bag of figs.

    I called my friend, Perry. “Would you like some figs?”  He replied, “Not unless they are attached to Newtons.”

    In a few days, Barbara called again and said, “I’m dropping off some fig scones.” The scones arrived with another bag of figs.  Finally, I got up the courage to say, “Barbara, I know you are a fabulous cook, but what’s with all the figs?”

    Barbara replied, “It’s a classic case of the ‘No good deed goes unpunished phenomenon.” My friend, Barbara has a very big heart, and is kind to many people. Among them is a neighbor whose parents recently died. He, of the prolific fig tree, is very grateful for Barbara’s caring during his time of grief, and now Barbara hesitates to get her morning paper, because it seems to arrive everyday with another platter of figs.

    After she left, I called Perry and told him that I didn’t have Fig Newtons, but I did have scones. He was happy to receive the bounty.  Then I called my friend, Jane. “Would you like some figs?” She laughed and said, “Barbara just brought me a big bag. I made Fig Glaze for chicken.  Just sent my husband out for chicken.”

    Barbara just called to tell me that she found a recipe for a porchetta, goat cheese and fig quiche.  Knowing her, she will continue her delicious fig adventure until the tree is empty or killed by frost. 

    I’m just waiting for the day that she informs me that she has made a fig leaf jock strap for her husband.

    Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Jul292016

    NOODLE BRAINS AND OTHER CHOICES

    Teddy Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

    Everyday, we have all kinds of choices. Go to the grocery store and decide which cantaloupe to buy. You can thump, press and smell it, and still wind up with a dud, but there’s an easy solution for that choice. The mushy melon can be dumped into the garbage or returned to the store.

    It’s not so easy when choosing people who will have an impact on our lives. I have a friend who married a beautiful, vivacious woman. His bride was 25 years his junior. The marriage didn’t last because he said, “My history was her trivia.” When I was a kid, I asked my Mother, “How will I know when I’m in love?” She said, “You’ll know,” but she never told me how. I guess she should have said, “Finding a best friend is a good start.”

    For those who say; ”Everything happens for a reason,” my answer is, “Sometimes the reason is that you made a bad choice.” The choices you make matter.

    When I lived in Georgia, two men were running for Governor. The Democrat was an avowed racist, and the Republican was a noodle brain. At the same time, there were two excellent gubernatorial candidates in California---one a Democrat and the other a Republican.  I could have, in good conscience, voted for either one of them. However, being a resident of Georgia, I had to decide which wrong choice felt the least wrong, so I voted for the noodle brain. Plato said, “If you don’t vote, you will be governed by your inferiors.” In Georgia, I had no choice about who was running for office. I could only do the best with the deck I was dealt.

    SPOILER ALERT!  Obviously, I am getting into the realm of politics---something you are advised never to talk about at a party.

    I have discovered that you can talk about politics before dinner, during dinner and after dinner---if you are with like-minded people. However, if that is not the case, it’s a good way to call it an early evening, and get home in time for the NBA playoffs.

    One of my favorite poets, Robert Frost wrote; “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I---I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.”  I don’t believe in chance. I believe in choice, and that we are all accountable for our actions.

    Bear with me. I’m trying to be diplomatic here---keeping in mind that, “Diplomacy is the art of saying, ‘Nice Doggie’ until you can find a rock.” (Will Rogers)

    As citizens, we are asked to make a monumental decision in November. I am not so presumptuous as to tell people how to vote, but to quote my friend, Robert Orben, “Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?”

     Esther Blumenfeld (“You can lead a man to Congress, but you can’t make him think.”) Milton Berle