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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
    Jan192018

    NOTHING STAYS IN VEGAS ANYMORE

    A few years ago, a friend was in tears because she had lost her BlackBerry.
    For her, it was more traumatic than losing her virginity. She howled, “My life is on that Blackberry!”  In 2005, there were 3.65 million subscribers to BlackBerry, the handheld, wireless data device with e-mail capacity. Then, technology progressed and the BlackBerry was replaced by smarter, sleeker contraptions.

    Now, every year, the latest gadgetry is exhibited at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). In 2018, the convention (January 8—January 12) represented the $292- billion U.S. Consumer Technology Industry. It featured more than 3000 exhibitors, more than 300 conference sessions, and hosted representatives from 150 countries. The conference was held in Las Vegas, and after reading about some of the latest products, I think that—-sometimes—-what happens in Las Vegas should really stay in Las Vegas.

    This year’s conference reports that big companies are infusing their technologies with Alexa and other voice assistants, intimating that smart products are getting smarter, and while the human brain has a capacity to store five times as much information as Wikipedia, people are getting more dependent on these devices. I can just see that human brain power Wiki-leaking.

    Here are some exciting applications for the future:

    Alexa will manage your food leftovers when you stick a button to your Tupperware, and will let you know when your food has expired. You won’t have to do the sniff test.

    2. You will be able to book a really cool Uber ride from your refrigerator.

    3. A self-propelled suitcase can follow you anywhere. I assume it will be your suitcase.

    4. The HiMirror Mini will tell you if you have dark circles under your eyes.

    5. Cat lovers will be able to buy a robot litter box, And…

    6. The Root Robot will teach toddlers how to code more easily. I assume that includes a robotic diaper change.

    I guess I will end the list with the “more intelligent toilet,” created by Kohler which leaves me quite flushed.

    All of this innovative technology brings with it a new anxiety called Nomophobia. According to a study in the journal of “Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking,” Nomophobia is the fear of being without your cellphone. “People with this anxiety tend to view their smartphones as an extension of who they are, because the device is used for sharing and storing memories.” In other words, their life is on that phone!

    To break the addiction, a person with this anxiety can purchase a “14-day Phone Addiction Bootcamp” app.”  THIS IS NOT FAKE NEWS!

    Not too many years ago, I attended a rock concert in Phoenix with a friend who won two tickets from a call-in radio show. Before the show started, I sat down next to a young woman, who whipped out her cellphone, and called to check with the baby sitter if all was well at home. After she shut down the phone, she said to me, “What did you do before cell phones?” I said,
    “We had phone booths.” And then she said, “What are those?”

    After explaining to her about the booth and the coins and the phone, I added, “And the best part was; when you closed the door, your conversation was private.”

    I’m glad she didn’t ask me, “What’s private?” because there is no explanation for that anymore— especially when your toilet is smarter than you are.

    Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Jan122018

    PIVOTAL MOMENTS

    While strolling through my neighborhood, I saw a woman wearing a “2017 Woman’s March On Washington” sweatshirt. I said, “Did you go to the March in Washington?” “No.” she replied, “But I bought the shirt.” It was her—-“Wish I had been there”—- moment.

    If I had a dollar for all of the people who claimed they had attended the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, on a dairy farm, in the Catskill Mountains, I’d be able to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

    Granted, these big historical happenings are memorable, but often it’s really the little daily events, that impact our lives in ways that we cannot immediately appreciate or measure until much later.

    In  August of 1969, while 400,000 free-spirits were letting loose at Woodstock, I remember losing my adventuresome two-year-old son, Josh in a department store. All it took was a quick glance away from him and he was gone. I knew that my husband would never let me back into the house without the kid, and the operational word was PANIC!  After everyone in the store knew his name from my shouts, I finally found him dancing in the shoe department. He had attracted an appreciate audience, and it was his pivotal moment in popular music history. I was convinced that at that event he had joined the counterculture generation. Gratefully, I left the store, child in hand, and passed some hippies who gestured the Peace Sign.  I think maybe one Grandma gave me the finger, but am not sure.

    In spite of my negligent mothering (for which I have never forgiven myself) my free spirit son turned out okay. He learned to play the guitar and is now a science writer for NASA covering profiles of Earth Science Data Users.

    Joni Mitchell said, “Woodstock was where half-a-million kids saw they were part of a greater organism.” I don’t know what those kids did after the experience, but I do believe that even small gestures, made by a few people, can help to heal the world. In 2018 we should all  learn from our mistakes, and do the best we can to  protect our rights, our safety, our health and our families.

    And, it can’t hurt to keep dancing—-even if it’s in the shoe department.

    Esther Blumenfeld


    Friday
    Jan052018

    A NUMBER OF THINGS

    I know I shouldn’t answer the phone when I don’t recognize the number of the person calling me. That’s the joy of having a landline. My voice-mail-gizmo screens unwanted calls. I absolutely never answer when it’s a call from a mysterious, “Unknown Caller.” If he doesn’t want to know who he is, I don’t want to know who he is either.

    However, sometimes, just for the hell of it, I will answer the phone. My excuse is that I haven’t memorized all of my friends’ phone numbers, and sometimes their names aren’t posted. Weak excuse!

    Consequently, yesterday, when I answered the phone some woman wanted to sell me a burial plot. So, I asked, “Why, would I want a burial plot? I just had my carpets cleaned.” I hung up. The phone rang again. This time it was a recorded message, “Your warranty has expired.” Obviously, I should have told her that I already have a plot!

    Have you ever called a friend, and she will say, “I’ll call you right back.” And, then when the phone rings, you answer, saying, “That didn’t take you long,” and it’s someone else. This someone else spoke very fast in Spanish. I figured out that it was “Maria’s MaMa” calling. When she paused for a breath, I interrupted with,”Maria, no aqui. Su numero is wrong-o!”

    The house phone is not my only source of adventure. My house number offers me many strange interludes, because my neighbors around the block have the same house number “7140,” but their house is on “Circle” and  my “7140” is on, “Road.” And to make matters worse, our small neighborhood seems to be a training ground for postal workers who cannot read street names. We rarely have the same mail person, so I receive packages and mail for the “Circle” people.

    Complaining at the Post Office does not work, because the last excuse I got was, “They just don’t train those people anymore. They just send them out in their trucks.” So, what is the excuse for the dump and run UPS guy?  

    So much for deliveries. One afternoon, I saw a stranger trimming my backyard bushes. I yelled, “Mister, my bushes have just been cut. Stop doing that!” He took his shears and ran!
    When the house painter pulled into my driveway, I shouted, “Don’t you touch that paintbrush,” and pointed my garden hose at him. It’s Arizona. We don’t have to conceal our weapons.

    So, that’s my sad telephone and house-number story. I don’t know why people are out to get me. It even happened at the doctor’s office.

    I was scheduled for cataract surgery in December, and went for my pre-op exam. The nurse said, “The doctor will do your left eye first.” “But,” I replied, “the paperwork says,”right eye.” “No.” the nurse replied, “It will be your left eye.” I said, “Please give me new paperwork.” It doesn’t really matter to me which eye the doctor decides to do first, but I’d like to know which cheek to draw the arrow that says, “This eye first!”

    Esther Blumenfeld (Paranoia does not run in my family!)

    Friday
    Dec292017

    AGE OF UNREASON

    Three years ago, my pharmaceutical insurance company informed me that Walgreens was my “preferred” pharmacy. That suited me very well, since at that time, there was a Walgreens on every corner, and my grocery store was next to my Walgreens. Two years ago, my insurance company informed me that Walgreens was no longer “preferred,” but now I could go to my grocery store’s Osco pharmacy.

    After making friends with the nice pharmacists at Osco, this year I have been informed that my 2018 “preferred” pharmacy is CVS. The closest CVS pharmacy is housed in a Target Store next to a grocery store that has an Osco pharmacy.  I am sure that all of this shuffling about satisfies the agreements between pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies, but it’s really a most unfortunate game for consumers.

    In all fairness, there’s no rule that says that you can’t go to a non-preferred pharmacy, but there is a rule that a pharmacist can’t tell you that she can give you a prescription at a cheaper price, unless you ask, “Can I get this at a cheaper price?”

    The only consolation is that if the pharmacy hide and seek game wears you out, you can now find a  mattress store on every other corner near your chosen pharmacy. There are mattress stores everywhere! So, after you go through the shenanigans of pharmacy musical chairs, you can always go lie down for a rest at your neighborhood mattress store. I think that resting in the mattress store is catching on, because their sales staff seem to change faster than the linen on the beds. By the way, flipping a mattress is now passe’ but turning a mattress is the “preferred” way to go. I assume the next trick will be mattress on a spit.

    If the pharmacies and mattress stores get too crowded there’s always the waiting room at your neighborhood Urgent Care facility. These places are popping up faster than a teenager’s zits.
    It’s a good place to take a load off and take a little rest, because these places never seem too urgent when you sit in the lobby waiting for your care number to come up on the blackboard. It’s kind of like a horse race without a horse or a race.  However, the restrooms are usually clean. Then “Go for it!” takes on a whole new meaning.

    So, in 2018 we are stuck with pharmacy roulette, mattress “blow out” sales, and non-urgent, careless urgent care. That’s called regressive progress.

    Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Dec222017

    CYCLOPS EAT YOUR HEART OUT

    When facing my second cataract surgery, I was told that,”No two eyes are the same.” I’m sure that is true, but I must add that no two surgical experiences are the same either.

    My dear friend, and travel agent, Terry, picked me up for the drive across town to the eye hospital. I figured, “She got me to China. Surely she can get me to my operation.” We arrived on time, with five minutes to spare, and a one-hour-sit-around the waiting room. Obviously, the surgeon had run into a problem earlier in the day, and his already screwy schedule, was screwed around a bit more.

    When the nurse finally called my name, I shouted, “Bingo!” Then I was escorted into the prep room. My affable nurse, Don, hooked me up to the heart rate and blood pressure machines, deposited, a funny hat on my head, and proceeded to put what seemed like a thousand various drops into my right eye.

    He then picked up a needle and started to poke at the tiny veins in my left hand, so the anesthesiologist could insert the happy sauce before the surgery. The veins in my left hand rolled away from his needle once and then twice. Then he started to poke the right hand—once and then twice. By now, I was hoping that the anesthesiologist would use a hammer, and put me out of my misery.

    Finally, nurse Don found a cooperative vein higher up on my inner arm. He taped the needle tightly, and then he, and another nurse, lowered my head, and began to wheel me into the operating arena, but the bed abruptly stopped moving. The cords to my vitals monitor had somehow gotten tangled into the wheels of the bed. One nurse sat on the floor trying to untangle them, and Don leaned over me to help her.

    In a muted voice I said, “You are lying on my face.” When he had applied the final eye drops, Don, the nurse, had ordered me not to touch my eye, but he didn’t say anything about removing his chest from my face. When the nurses finally untangled the cords, Don apologized profusely and put more sanitizer drops around my eye.  

    Finally, I was wheeled into the operating room where I spied many masked people. My head was strapped to the table, my eye was pried open and the anesthesiologist came in (I think it was the anesthesiologist and not the custodian) and put the happy juice into my arm.

    I was partially awake when the miracle-maker surgeon started operating on my eye. He told me to look at the lights, and politely told me not to talk. So I said, “Okay!” The next thing I remember was lying in the recovery room. I was unstrapped and had a new lens in my eye.

    Terry took me home, and I behaved, because my next trip is to Cuba, and I want her to book me on a return passage. So now, it’s drops time. I need to apply lots of drops into both eyes for a month. No problem, because I made some fancy check-off charts for each week.  I check off, drop one, drop two, drop three in the morning.  I check off drop one and drop two in the afternoon, and then I check off…one glass of wine.  Here’s looking at you kid!

    Esther Blumenfeld