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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.




    I don’t think it’s my fault, but it seems as if at least once every few weeks, one of my favorite restaurants simply vanishes. I don’t know where they go, but they are here today and then gone tomorrow. And, in their place, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, a large chain restaurant is bound to appear.

    For awhile now, the big guys have pushed  little establishments out of business, and it hasn’t happened to just the food industry. However, for those of you who believe in Karma, it seems as if, in some cases, what goes around, comes around—-unless you are a dictator in exile living in the lap of luxury in Paris—-but I digress.

    When I lived in Atlanta, the department store, Rich’s was an institution that began in 1867. They had a loyal customer base and their employees happily stayed on until retirement, or the undertaker carried them out feet first.  Marshall Field’s in Chicago had very much the same reputation until the behemoth, Macy’s swallowed them both. However, there have always been bigger fish in the mercantile sea with voracious appetites, and armed with cheap Chinese goods, they seem to have taken a major bite out of Macy’s.

    So, now, Macy’s is having “Going Out Of Business” sales, and is cutting 10,000 jobs. The good news is that their sales staff won’t even notice until they look up from their cell phones and realize that there aren’t any customers around to interrupt them.  Rumor has it that Marshall Field’s is also on the Macy hit list.

    A generation ago, Macy’s competitor, Gimbell’s Department Store closed after 76 years in Manhattan (N.Y. not Kansas). With a creative move, they introduced the first bargain basement. Now, in the next two years, Macy’s plans to open approximately  50 “Macy’s Backstage off-price locations” in existing Macy’s stores. Wow! What a good idea!  “Would Macy’s tell Gimbel’s?”

    Some of the blame for failing stores can be attributed to on-line shoppers, but I have another, albeit unscientific, theory. Granted, many people do prefer to shop on-line, but there are still plenty of people—-especially women, who do the majority of shopping—- who still enjoy getting out of the house. As Erma Bombeck said, “Shopping is a woman thing. It’s a contact sport like football.Women enjoy the scrimmages, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase.” However, merchants got lazy and took them for granted.

    The one thing that an upscale store can offer is EXCELLENT SERVICE, which has gone the way of the Dodo Bird. Whatever happened to well-trained, cheerful sales staff, who acted as personal shoppers? Where’s the beautiful complimentary gift wrapping at holiday time? Who was the bright guy who decided that clothes had to be clumped into designer areas, so a person has to jog all over the store looking for a blouse. Must have been a guy. As Cynthia Nelms reminds us, “If men liked shopping, they’d call it research.”

    And, where is that beautiful restaurant that used to be a stop-off destination before more shopping?  A person didn’t even have to leave the store.

    If all free-standing stores close, and people think that they can save time by shopping on-line, forget that! I can promise you that lots of merchandise will have to be sent back because it won’t look as good on you, or in your house, as it did in the catalog. Order those shoes and you will have to send them back because you didn’t try them on before they arrived. After all, you will discover that the left shoe was made in Sri Lanka, the right shoe in Bangladesh, and the short shoelaces came from China. “Anyone can buy.  It takes an artist to shop.” (Boylan J. Finney).

    Esther Blumenfeld



    “Sometimes just when I say, “Hello!” the right way, I’m like, ‘Whoa, I am so cool!”
    (Robert Pattinson)

    When my son, Josh lived in New York City, he warned me, “Mom, New York isn’t like Tucson. Don’t say, ‘Hello’ to people. Don’t even make eye contact.” Of course, I ignored his advice and immediately said, “Good Morning,” to a woman passing us on the street. She almost jumped out of her skin, but surmising that I wasn’t going to mug her, she mumbled, “Good Morning to you too.” I assume that it didn’t take her too long to recuperate.

    I’m a friendly person, and when hiking in the mountains, I usually greet hikers with a simple, “Good Morning,” and all I expect is a simple “Good Morning” back.
    But, instead of simple “Hellos,” lots of folks get creative---sometimes in irritating ways. For instance: I say, “Hello,” and the response is “Hay!” Why is someone greeting me with cut and dried fodder?”

    Then, there’s “What’s up?” I’d like to say, “Here’s what’s up. When I got into my auto this morning, I noticed that the bonnet was open. So I also checked the boot, and then I drove to the chemist. Do you want to know more?”

    I find the expression, “Have a nice day” most irritating.  In the dictionary, “Nice,” can either be, “fastidious or not easy to please.” Then there is the expression, “How are you doing?” It is usually delivered thus: “Haarr Ya Dooon?”  I want to reply; “I’m doing one step after the other, trying to climb this steep hill…you moron!”

    Of course I can be greeted with the first and lowest cardinal number---“Have a good one” Or, “What’s shaking?” Naturally, the response is, “At my age, everything!”

    So far, I am very fortunate that no Chinese person has cursed me with “Have an interesting day!” If that ever happens, I’d be better off staying in bed with the covers pulled over my head.

    One of the most unique greetings ever experienced by several people was when my husband, Warren (of blessed memory) got on a crowded elevator, with his back to the elevator door, and, facing all those strangers, said, “We have to stop meeting like this!” Waiting for him at the main floor, I watched everyone on the elevator exit, laughing hysterically…. either that, or they were simply hysterical. I never found out, because, when I asked him, “What was that all about?”  He replied, “Don’t know. Guess it was the way, I said ‘Hello.”’

    Esther Blumenfeld (“What’s Kickin’ Little Chicken?”)



    In September 2015, Nicholas Berggruen announced the launch of the Berggruen Institute’s Philosophy and Culture Center. The Center is dedicated to encouraging new ideas and innovative thinking across cultures and disciplines, and will award an annual $1 million philosophy prize judged by an international jury. The Center collaborates with several prestigious institutions and universities. So, if you are an innovative thinker---Go for it!

    People come up with ideas all the time. Some of them, such as the futuristic technological development of “games you can control with your brain waves,” are in the realm of possibility. Scientists have taken this a step forward, and are working on activating muscle movement with brain impulses. This just might be a contender for the prize.

    However, the “Glamour Bonnet” devised in 1941, where a woman had an air-free plastic hood over her head with an attached hose and a vacuum probably wouldn’t be a good bet to win the prize since breathing wasn’t even optional.  

    Back in the 1950’s there were so many UFO sightings reported that the Air Force introduced, “The Flying Saucer Camera.” It had two lenses---one for a normal photo and the other that separated light into colors so one could detect the origins of the light.  So that’s where my tax dollars went!

    Cartoonists and Science Fiction writers often imagined fantastic inventions that are now a part of modern culture.  APPLE has perfected Dick Tracy’s wristwatch, and Buck Rogers forays into space have been realized by NASA (without the alien weirdoes). Batman’s car and Q’s gadgets have also been somewhat inspiring and replicated.  L. Ron Hubbard’s writings about space have even led to a religion.

    So why should we scoff at cybernetic contact lenses that not only help people see better, but deliver news, directions, e-mail and weather reports directly to your eyes. Don’t laugh! The technology is already here.

    And, coming to your shirt pocket is the mini “Adjustick cell phone.” Shown at Japan’s CEATEC technology convention, “the tiny stick-like device projects a usable keyboard and screen when placed on its side.” Right now, I shout at my laptop computer. I can just see myself yelling at a stick.

    So, if you are alive and thinking (two qualifications for the prize), it’s not too late to inspire the world with a $1 million idea.  Just keep in mind, that wooden bathing suits didn’t make it---But maybe if you considered Balsa Wood?

    Esther Blumenfeld (“Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity”) anonymous



    Every morning, I wake up, turn on the TV, listen to the weather report, and the latest Presidential Twitter, and then I turn it off.

    I don’t tweet, twitter or twiddle—-not even my thumbs. However, nowadays, babies go from thumb to pacifier, and then back to thumb again.They skip verbal communication and go from “MaMa” and DaDa” directly to “Hashtag.”

    Twittering can become a bad habit. Even a well-thought out e-mail can often become misconstrued. With modern technology, it’s just too easy to shoot your words out there before you have given yourself time to properly digest them. It’s called, “Ready! Fire! Aim!
    Consequently, it’s better to measure your words before causing a verbal tsunami.

    When I was a teenager, I got angry with my little brother for using my lipsticks as substitute crayons. So, I wrote a note to my Mother saying, “You should have only had one child!” BUT, I didn’t deliver it. I got over being angry, because my baby brother was a cute little fellow. Also, I was sure that Mother would choose him over me precisely because he was so cute.

    When someone has something important to say, it’s better to say it person-to-person, eye-to-eye, or not say it at all. Of course, that  causes a big problem because people addicted to their cell phones or tablets can’t make eye contact. It’s impossible because their eyes are glued to their thumbs, and the anatomy of communication is now overly dependent on thumbs.

    I always considered the thumb as being the big toe of the hand. People who twitter and tweet have not only become dependent on their thumbs, but totally misunderstand the value of the big toe.

    Consequently, in 2017 the “Little Piggy” nursery rhyme, would go like this:

    “This Little Piggy went to Goldman Sachs.
    This Little Piggy stayed home with his desktop computer.
    This Little Piggy was a Vegan, so he didn’t have roast beef, and
    This Little Piggy had none, because the cows gave off too much methane gas.
     And, the last Little Piggy cried “wee-wee-wee” all the way home, because that’s where he left his phone charger.

    And, you thought thumbs had it bad.

    Esther Blumenfeld (What’s so social about Social Media?)



    Words have always  intrigued me. As a matter of fact, I am one of those weird birds who often enjoys reading a dictionary.  So, when I recently watched a televised  discussion involving Stephen Bannon, trusted advisor to President Trump, I was taken with the word “Deconstruction,” because it seemed to be one of his favorites.

    Consequently, I looked it up, and to my surprise, I discovered that not only is “Deconstruction” a word, it is an entire philosophy. Back in the Dark Ages, when I attended the University of Michigan, one of my minors was Philosophy. So, for a week, I studied “Deconstruction,” pioneered  by the French Philosopher, Jacques Derrida (1930-2004).

    Although A. Cretan said, “Blah blah blah deconstruction blah blah blah,” I persevered. In a nutshell, Deconstruction involves questioning and revising everything we are told about the world. It applies to literature, art, music and even fashion—-breaking down—-complete deconstruction, and then rebuilding again.  Berkeley Breathed said, “Cartooning is about deconstruction: You gotta tear something down to make a joke.”

    I have no doubt that Bannon is a brilliant man, but applying Deconstruction to government is no joke! In that case it becomes an attempt to dismantle  the logic of a particular system of thought : “to ensure an institutional closure which serves the dominant political and economic interests of American Society.”

    Deconstruction in government involves cabinet picks intended to deconstruct regulations and agencies in Washington with the intent to weaken them.  Bannon says, “The United States will experience a new political order out of this.”

    Bannon’s favorite buzz words are “National Security,” Economic Nationalism,” and “Deconstruction of the Administrative State,” which involves deconstructing the current regulatory system.  He believes that, “The United States will experience a new political order out of this.” And, somewhere in the mix, he adds, “We are a Nation of culture and reason for being,” whatever that means.

    After a week of intensive study of the boring Philosophy of Deconstruction, I understand the blah blah blah reaction to it. However, it reminded me very much of a bullfight I attended in Mexico. The bull had his horns shaved to keep him off balance, and petroleum jelly rubbed in his eyes to impair his vision. Then, when he entered the ring, Picadors on horses drove lances into the bull’s back and neck muscles. This deconstructive action insured that the bull could not raise his head or defend himself. Then the banderillas entered on foot and ran around the bull with sticks containing harpoon points.  Finally, the bull became dizzy from all of this activity, and then the matador killed the already bleeding and mutilated beast. Some favored people in the crowd were awarded the bull’s ears and tail.

    As far as I can surmise, Deconstruction in government has no fixed endpoint or goal, and that repression of Society is necessary for the Philosophy to take control. So, I suggest that Deconstruction is a negative enterprise, and that people need to pay attention before we all lose our tails!

    Esther Blumenfeld (“I always wanted to put a sign up on the road to Yale saying, ‘Beware! Deconstruction Ahead!”’) Gloria Steinem