Past Articles
This form does not yet contain any fields.


    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.




    When I tell people that I am 81-years-old, they seem surprised  and say, “You don’t look 81.” So, what does 81 look like? I have no idea. I’ve never done this before. However, after lifting a heavy bucket filled with soapy water, and getting a several-day back spasm, I can absolutely tell you what 81 feels like.  

    Yes, I now realize that I can’t run around carrying heavy buckets of water anymore, because my back is saying, “What in the world were you thinking?” The answer is, “I wasn’t.” Consequently, I have proven that mind over matter doesn’t always matter, because I thought I still had the back that I had back when—-or is it back then?

    Anyway, stuck at home accompanied by heavy duty ibuprofen, a back patch and an ice pack, I managed to catch up on reading that I had saved for a rainy day.

    The first article I pulled out of my, “To Read” folder, was titled, “It’s Mathematically Impossible To Beat Aging.” How appropriate! The article reminded me that aging is a natural part of life, no matter how good you look, and that attempts to stop the process won’t work.

    Scientists at the University of Arizona published the results of a study in the Proceedings of the National  Academy of Sciences. The article says that it is impossible to halt aging in multicellular organisms. The next time someone asks me about my religion I will now say, “I am a practicing multicellular organism.”

     So, what’s the problem? As we get older, some of our cells get sluggish, and don’t function as well as they used to. The example given in the article I was reading was, “Hair cells stop making pigment.” As a multicellular organism, that’s really not a big problem. If you can lift the bucket, you can always pour some Clairol over your head.

    But, there’s always the person who wants the impossible. In order to defy gravity, she wants  to swallow a rope, then, ask her doctor to tie it to her innards, and, then, ask her doctor to pull that rope out of the top of her head—- lifting the whole enchilada—- so she can look like a kid again. Looking tighter is always an option, but a 90-year-old will never be High School Homecoming Queen again.

    That is really okay. As my friend, Fay says, “Attitude is everything!” And, I’d like to add, “Especially, if you have a good one”.

    Esther Blumenfeld (Staying away from heavy buckets of water.  Pass me a glass of wine.)



    Although our calendars herald the upcoming holidays of Chanukah and Christmas, few people have the foresight to shop in July. Granted that computer and catalog shopping have put a dent into the last minute craze known as the, “Black Friday Mall Onslaught,” millions  of people, most of whom were previously unknown to one another, set their clocks so they can arrive at the same moment to shop together.

    Armed with gift lists, charge cards and sensible shoes, otherwise congenial folks embark shoulder-to-shoulder on a spending frenzy, firmly convinced that this will be the year of the accessible parking space. However, creative parking is only an omen of things to come.

    Surging with the pack, you will dive through the doors into the Mall and run smack into sensory overload. I’m not just talking rock-and-roll here—-This is planned bedlam! At one end of the Mall a high school band plays its holiday version of “Start-Together-Finish-Together-But Heaven-Help-The-In-between.”

    At the other end, bells are clanging, a hurdy-gurdy is grinding and muzak carols duel with an elementary school’s rendition of Leonard Bernstein’s, “Mass”—- accompanied by the “Ach Mein Gott” cloggers. Some happy little tots are clamoring for Santa Claus while others are shrieking to escape.

    Dodging your last Elf, as you stumble into your favorite store, you are greeted by a sign, “Pardon Our Dust.” So where did they move the escalator? Swirling marble and flashing mirrors cleverly conceal all direct paths to anywhere, and rest assured, there is no way out!
    Elbowing your way to the Information Desk, you may ask, “So, where did they put the merchandise?” At this, the clerk smiles, smooths his spiked blue hair and answers, “Like, I don’t know. I’m just temporary. But, Merry Christmas!

    When you eventually reach Menswear, the only shirt sizes left are 14 x 35 or 17 x 30. Time to settle for a bathrobe, “One size fits all—-Almost.” Finished at last, you end up with 14 little bags inside one big bag, guaranteed not to tear until you reach the parking lot.

    Now, the ultimate challenge: Where is your car? Perhaps, you’ll borrow the technique of an elderly couple who simply hailed a cab and cruised the lanes until they located their Buick.

    So, if you don’t want to shop in July, what’s the solution? Many people do resort to computer or catalog shopping, but where’s the fun? After all, that kind of shopping has its hazards too. What if Aunt Emily ends up with a power saw instead of a cake cutter. Now that wouldn’t do. That wouldn’t do at all!

    Esther Blumenfeld, (Based on “Coffee Break Column, Esther Blumenfeld and Lynne Alpern, BUSINESS ATLANTA MAGAZINE, December, 1986)  c. Esther Blumenfeld



    There is a one-of-a-kind grocery store near Fairfax, VA called Wegmans.
    They are headquartered in Rochester, NY, and several Wegmans are located on the East Coast. In all of my food shopping days, I have never experienced a store such as this. So, I wrote a letter to the owner in Rochester and told her how much I enjoyed my shopping experience. I added, “Rochester is so cold in the winter. Why don’t you move to Tucson? And, please bring your store with you!”

    It’s a good thing to send compliments when kudos are deserved. However, I have also been known to express  complaints, but when I do, I go right to the top. Never mess with the middlemen!

    Companies can ill-afford to turn a deaf ear to complaints. According to A.C. Nielsen Company data, that for every written complaint  one company received about its product, another 16 unhappy customers returned the merchandise directly to the store where it was purchased. Another 33 suffered in silence. However, when the customer was satisfied with the response to his complaint, twice as many bought the product again, compared to those who didn’t voice their grievances.

    Companies can also uncover customers who use great latitude in interpreting  product directions. Rectal suppositories are not to be swallowed, powdered sugar is to be sprinkled on cookies after they are baked, and the plastic bag with turkey innards should be removed before the turkey is cooked. As Robin Williams said, “At Thanksgiving, my mother used to ask, ‘You want dark meat, white meat or plastic dip?”’

    Although most people would rather stew than squawk, even the most reluctant among us are driven to action when it affects our pocketbooks. The decibel level of tax grumbling crescendos to epic proportions on April 15, and most gripes are leveled at the Internal Revenue Service. Of course, this is misdirected. The IRS doesn’t take our money—-Congress does!

    So the next time you complain, to a dinner companion, at a restaurant, “My soup is cold!” Send it back!  

    And, the next time members of  Congress promise to fix a problem, and they do not do so—-
    Send them packing!

    Esther Blumenfeld  (“Dogs bark, but the caravan moves) Arab proverb



    This morning, I read a headline on the Business Page of the ARIZONA DAILY STAR: “Whirlpool’s relationship with Sears spins to a stop.” The story said, “Sears will no longer sell Whirlpool-branded appliances, curtailing a business relationship that dates back more than 100 years.”  And, it’s all my fault!

    A month ago, my 5-year-old Whirlpool washing machine stopped spinning, and left me stuck with a tub full of wet clothes. I called my home warranty company, American Home Shield (AHS) and they sent a repairman from Sears. Before he arrived, I had to move everything out of my laundry room so he could get to the machine.

    Tech #1545 came, lifted up the machine, looked underneath and said, “Your capacitor (a device for starting an electrical charge) is lying on the floor. He picked it up, pushed it back into the washing machine, and wired it to the spot, so it wouldn’t fall onto the floor again. AHS paid $169.00 for that job.

    After #1545 left, I put all of the stuff back into the laundry room and did a load of laundry, whereupon my washing machine once again stopped spinning and left me with another load of wet clothes. A few days later, once more, I moved all of the stuff out of my laundry room, and AHS sent out Sear’s Tech #0299 who replaced a sub actuator shifter. He told me that Tech #1545 had a heart attack, shortly after he had left my home. At that, I started feeling a little guilty. Tech #0299 also told me that I was his last job before he left for vacation. This time, AHS paid $268.00. After my first experience, I had wised up a bit and did not put all of the stuff back into the laundry room, until I did another load of laundry. The machine seemed fine—until it wasn’t.

    Perhaps, the third repair would be a charm…or not!  The next day Tech #8038 came from Sears. “Hooray!” I exclaimed, when I saw a lady technician. She lifted up my washing machine with one hand, looked under it and exclaimed, “#0299 didn’t put the correct wire nuts on the capacitor wires. The wires have slipped out. No wonder the machine stopped working.” I said, #0299 is on vacation.” She said, “I think he quit.” Now I was really feeling guilty. My Whirlpool had given #1545 a heart attack and made #0299 quit his job. No wonder he seemed like such a happy fellow.

    #8038 attached the correct wire nuts and said, “Now your machine should work fine.” AHS paid $200 for the job. I trusted her and replaced all of the stuff in the laundry room. The washer did one load of laundry, and once again groaned to a halt.  When Sears informed AHS that their service department was backed up, and couldn’t send another repairman to my house for a month, My son advised, “Mom, get a new machine.” However, AHS had already scheduled, someone from “My Tech-Joe” to come fix my Whirlpool washer.

    Joe didn’t come, but sent a really conscientious young man who spent lots of time under my washing machine. He diagnosed the problem, “Machine Won’t Start.” The service performed was, “Reconnected Capacitor Wires Properly.” Once again, I was not charged. Don’t know how much AHS paid, but so far I had paid $75 for a service call, and AHS had paid $637 to repair my Whirlpool washing machine that had originally cost me $597.

    After the “My Tech-Joe” guy left, I washed 4 blankets and several loads of laundry. So far, so good, but no one really knows when a capacitor may have another prolapse, and AHS will have to call in a urologist to finish the job.

    Esther Blumenfeld



    All of us know about Sailing (as in the Americas Cup), but Sale-ing, as in garage sales, yard sales and house sales is a sport whose fans are legion, but whose games are never covered on television or in newspapers.

    The roots of Sale-ing as a sport sprouted in the Garden of Eden, when Eve, the world’s first customer, said to the serpent, the first yard sale vendor, “You expect me to pay WHAT in exchange for that apple?” It was, however, difficult for garage sales to flourish until years later when someone invented  a garage—-possibly Hannibal, who needed someplace to park his Yak out of the snow. However, it is doubtful that even Hannibal owned enough stuff to hold a garage sale, because “stuff” wasn’t invented until the Middle Ages when an entrepreneurial member of the Suits of Mail Guild had a few takers for his Male Order wares, which unfortunately tended to poke through their envelopes at inopportune times. Thus, the sport of Sale-ing didn’t really take hold until the Age of Enlightenment.

    Now, in the 21st Century, the thrill of Sale-ing has attracted many devotees to the sport. Every sport has its own language. For instance,  “Touchdown” is the favorite word in football. So, if you are considering taking up the sport of Sale-ing, it is helpful to learn the lingo. For instance, “My, you have interesting taste,” means, “I can’t believe you’d own that hideous thing.” Or, “Cousin Matilda would love that!" means “Flashy, tacky, and cheap—just like Cousin Matilda.”
    And, “It has possibility,” means, “I want it, therefore, I need it.”

    If you have questions about the works or quirks of any appliance for sale, ask the youngest member of the family selling stuff. The kid will give you the real poop. Once you are ready to haggle, and if you don’t know how to negotiate, try some of these lines to test the waters:
    “I doubt if anyone else will find a use for this item, but for the right price, I’d be willing to take it off your hands.” “I know that’s a reasonable price for that item, but I can’t afford it. Do you have a similar item that’s not that nice?” And, “If you’re asking $10 for that dish, how many do I have to buy to get them for $10?” You become a winner, if the owner flunked arithmetic in grade school.

    There are hazards with every sport, but if one indulges in Sale-ing two risks are money and time. When, as beginners, you are on a collision course of  spending too much time and money it can trigger a disease known as “Rapture of the Deep Pockets.” Symptoms are Hydrophobia (a morbid fear of rain checks) an inability to say, “No,” and an obsessive desire to fill one’s home from stem to stern with flotsam and jetsam. When your home finally overflows, and it will, you’ll know it’s time to bail out and take up Sailing. No, not Sale-ing, Sailing. And, you will finally get away from it all, and discover the joys of swabbing decks and scraping barnacles from the bottom of your boat.

    Esther Blumenfeld (Based on the column, “Southern by Choice,” ACCENT ON HOMES AND LIVING MAGAZINE, c. Blumenfeld and Alpern, 1991-1993)