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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.




    There are two kinds of March Madness. One involves basketball and the other involves resetting clocks.

    I once went to Greenwich, near London, to set my watch. Greenwich Mean Time is the clock time at the Royal Observatory. It is not affected by Summertime or Daylight Savings Time. When the sun is at its highest point, exactly above the Prime Meridian, it is 12:00 noon at Greenwich.

    Physics is the only science that explicitly studies time, but physicists agree that time is one of the most difficult properties of our Universe to understand.  According to Albert Einstein, “Time is relative and flexible. The dividing line between past, present and future is an illusion.” So, reality is ultimately timeless. George Carlin said it more succinctly, “There is no time. We made it up!”

    Often, time becomes animate. How often have I said, “Time just got away from me,” like I was chasing it down the street. Dickens hedged his bets when he wrote, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” And, I am reminded that theologian, A.W. Tozer said, “ When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.”

    It seems as if time wears all kinds of mantles. A person can invest time, waste time, steal time or experience a good time or a bad time. I have never seen time fly, but people claim that it does, so it must have wings. I know it flies really fast, because before I know it, time has passed me by, and I can never catch it because it only goes in one direction. That’s why I often feel that there is never enough time in my day.

    Abe Lincoln philosophically said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” Although, Tennessee Williams said, “Time is the longest distance between two places.” So why does it often seem so short?

    Time is a conundrum, but here’s what I know, “Everything in life is timing.” (and a good attitude can’t hurt.)

    There are professionals who can teach us how to better manage time, but even that lesson can be fleeting since, unfortunately, often nothing really gets done until the last minute. P.J. Plauger advises, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off forever.” How timely is that!  

    And, is it really wasting time if you are having fun? So, maybe it’s okay to say, “Sorry I’m late. I just didn’t want to come.”

    Esther Blumenfeld




    “The bathtub was invented in 1850 and the telephone in 1875. In other words, if you had been living in 1850, you could have sat in the bathtub for 25 years without having to answer the phone.” (Bill Dewitt)

    I have always had a love/hate relationship with my telephone, but it does have its advantages.  Fran Lebowitz said, “The telephone is a good way to talk to people without having to offer them a drink.” Happily, Caller I.D. makes it much easier to ignore unfamiliar phone numbers, and I figure if it’s important, the caller will leave a message.

    This is generally true, but sometimes the message on my answering machine is not for me, because someone has dialed a wrong number. When that happens, I often feel obligated to call the person and let him or her know that the nurse called the wrong patient, that I haven’t scheduled a plumber, or that someone’s date is probably at the restaurant waiting for her.

    I don’t know if I’ve been helpful, but I do know that people who dial wrong numbers have always managed to find mine. Not wanting to be interrupted (no matter what he was doing) my husband religiously refused to answer a ringing telephone. He never bothered to balance a checkbook either, but that’s another story. So before the advent of cell phones and Caller I.D., it was part of my job description to answer the phone.  

    When we lived in Atlanta, The Atlanta Constitution was the large daily paper. However, there also were several small weekly newspapers. One of these weekly publications had an advertising section for alternative life styles, and also included phone numbers for Gay bathhouses.

    Somehow, instead of the appropriate phone number, our home number was printed in one of these ads. So, naturally, I informed the editor of their mistake and he promised to rectify it in the next edition. In the meantime, I received lots of calls from prospective customers. The minute the men heard my voice, they knew they had the wrong number and were always polite and apologetic---but pleased when I gave them the correct number.

    The next week, the number was put right in the paper, and all was quiet on the home front, until I received a call from the bathhouse proprietor who thanked me profusely for all the referrals.

    Some of you will be pleased and some heartily disillusioned to learn that I volunteer every Tuesday morning at Democratic Headquarters, but it is a fact of life, so live with it!  Since I sit at the front desk, one of my duties is to answer the phone.

    Last week, I answered the phone and a man said, “I have a strange request.” I said, “I have worked here for a long time. Believe me I’m used to some strange requests.  How can I help you?” He said, “I’m a Republican, and I can’t find the phone number of Republican Headquarters. By any chance, do you have that number?”  “Sure,” I replied. “Hang on, I’ll get it for you.” And, I gave him the number.

    Ten minutes later, the phone rang again. It was the same man. He said, “They are so rude!” I can’t believe how rude they were to me.” “And,” he added. “You were so nice.” I said, “I’m sorry you had such a bad experience, but I hope you learned that Democrats are really nice people.”

    In a previous column I mentioned that a woman called and wanted to talk to my husband, “the urologist” because her doctor had given her our number.  I told her that my husband was not a urologist, but she insisted that he was.  Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and said, “Lady, my husband can’t even fix a leaking faucet.” She hung up.

    Another lady, dialed my number several times, and she finally believed me that    no one named Gladys lived at my house. However, she called one more time to tell me, “You are the nicest wrong number I have ever called.”

    Happily, because of modern technology, obscene phone calls are a thing of the past---unless you count political pollsters.  

    Esther Blumenfeld (“How come wrong numbers are never busy?”) anonymous



    Burgeoning enrollments in continuing education courses, all over the country, indicate that everything we need to know, we obviously didn’t learn in kindergarten, or high school or even college. An adult educator can sniff out the needs of the community, and popular teachers of non-credit courses often receive  mementos from grateful students. One teacher received an urn filled with the last butts of the, “Stop That Smoking Hacking and Spitting” class.

    Trends are targeted, and many classes are advertised in brochures and newspapers. For instance, you can now register for: “How Money Can Buy You Happiness,” “Controlling The Compulsive Urge to Clean Your Clutter,” “How To Find Out What You Have No Interest In,” “Learning To Read Between The Lines For The Unbelievably Gullible,” and, “Putting The Inner Child Back After You’ve Let the Brat Out.”  

    Some of the teachers have advanced degrees and are extremely qualified, such as the “Assertiveness Training” professor at a local college. Unfortunately, at the last class session she had to hide in her classroom closet, because she had done such an effective training job that she completely lost control of her rampaging class.

    Recently, I enjoyed reading descriptions of  class offerings in a brochure that I received in the mail. Here are some that might appeal to you:

    In Search of Mediocrity: Have you been in the forefront too long? Sick of people seeking your opinions and hanging onto your every word? Then come and exchange warm and honest platitudes with other formerly fascinating men and women. Class limited to number of seats in the back row.

    Saturday Freeloaders At Four Grocery Stores: Join us for a progressive taste-testers lunch at four exciting supermarkets. Expose yourself to cuisine surprises as we introduce you to the fun of eating free on this culinary aisle-by-aisle field trip.

    How To Give Others The Impression That You are Really Intelligent, Even If You Are Not: Learn to fool your friends with easy-to-apply smart-as-a-whip tricks. Classes will explain how to answer questions with a question, the value of the knowing nod, maintaining eye contact while  your mind wanders, and skillfully replying, “uh huh.”

    In addition to course descriptions, the catalog gives detailed parking instructions: “Eighty parking spaces are available at no charge to our 8,000 non-credit students. While looking for a space, those registered for ‘Stress Management’ please leave your car windows up as you pass the tranquility garden since high-pitched screaming over excites plant stamens.”

    Some student endorsements were also listed in the brochure:

    Mack, an engineer, said, “I’m single and I figured out that by taking one course for $50, I can meet 20 women, where I used to spend that much on one date. It’s the best bargain in town.”

    Velma said, “I’d go anywhere, anytime to get away from my kids and the dirty dishes.”

    Simon chose “Encountering Your Actual You,” because “How To Take Your Toilet Apart In Six Easy Lessons ” was already filled. And—-

    Phillip the Philosopher summed it up: “The real reason why so many of us come here week after week, put up with the lousy parking and grab bag of classes is those colorful certificates we get at the end of each course. Not only are they suitable for framing, but I only have to take one more course for my bathroom to be completely papered for free.”

    Is that educational or what!

    Esther Blumenfeld (Based on “Evening At Emthorpe State Tech,” Southern By Choice” column, Blumenfeld and Alpern, Accent On Homes & Living Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 9, pg. 54) c. Blumenfeld



    South Dakota was the last State in the Union to require a driver’s license. That’s where I learned to drive. The speed limit on two-lane highways was 50 m.p.h., and the roads were pretty empty. In the winter, we put chains on our tires and slid along as best we could. As most teenagers, I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of a car.

    Nowadays, it’s not unusual that young people just don’t want to learn to drive. In all fairness, if a person can’t grasp the— “Scoot your seat forward”— part, perhaps some people are really better off using Uber, until self-driving vehicles become available.

    Maneuvering through congested traffic on our overcrowded streets can be daunting,  and learning how to steer straight on hilly terrain is a challenge. In Tucson, the configuration of hills and curves is only part of the problem. Sadistic homeowners who live mid-hill in the bend of a curve, strategically place—and replace—mailboxes that knock fenders off of unsuspecting vehicles as they breeze by. That, combined with speeders, can be terrifying for new drivers. And, expressways are harrowing no matter where you live, because all of those people, in all of those cars, aren’t your friends in any stretch of the imagination.

    Old timers may miss the, “good old days” when with a flick of a buggy whip, you could have a pleasant ride to a neighbor’s house, and the worst pile-up you’d see was from an ill-bred horse. Happily, Tucson hasn’t experienced the total gridlock of cities such as Los Angeles and Washington, DC, but that’s only because our “planners” keep moving the roads. It’s not unusual for a change of pace, that the street where you work will suddenly sport a bevy of jackhammers and a sign warning, “You can’t get here from there—Wherever!”

    Sometimes streets arbitrarily change names within a few blocks or religiously cross themselves several times on their way out of town. Usually, new drivers (unless they don’t know the difference between the gas pedal and the brake) are consciously aware of the rules of the road, and are safe and careful drivers. However, the other drivers on the streets are the scary
     ones, especially if they are colorblind and don’t know the difference between red and green, or lights and brights at night.

    With the fitness craze many people keep physically fit by bicycling and jogging. Bikes present problems when riders hog the road riding together like a gaggle of geese, or wobble off of bike lanes. It’s also helpful if novice drivers know the difference between a right lane and a bike lane.

    Joggers suffer from a  lack of sidewalks, and often jog in the street. Many people who jog in the street look as if they are going to fall over, especially if they are jogging in 100 degree heat  in June. When I am driving, I pray that they won’t pick my car  for their nosedive.

    Driving can be fun, and offers a sense of freedom—-unless you drive 60 m.p.h. in a 40 m.p.h. zone. Then, when the police officer stops you and says, “Where are you going in such a hurry?” I suggest you not say, “I’m late for driving school.”  Of course, that is a pretty believable answer under the circumstance, but, as our President would say, “”Believe me, it will cost you”.

    Esther Blumenfeld



    I was recently invited to a party where the hostess met her guests with “air kisses.” Since I was wearing my hearing aids, I could hear the smacks, but never felt them land on either cheek.
    Guess, I should have been happy that we weren’t required to rub noses like the Eskimos.  So, what ever happened to good old fashioned dexiosis? (also know as the shaking of hands.)

    The handshake was practiced in ancient Greece as far back as the 5th Century, B.C. Some archeologists think that it originated as a gesture of peace, while checking out that the other guy’s hands held no weapons—other than a number of microbial pathogens. However, that is why the Babylonians invented soap in 2800 B.C. In other words, there never has really been a necessity for high fives or the bumping of fists, as long as soap and water existed. Of course, all of those Greeks and Babylonians are long gone. No way of knowing if those old fashioned germs got them.

    It is a given, that a handshake creates a first impression. For instance, if someone comes at me with a fist, I run! For me, a firm and short handshake conveys trust and respect. A bone crunching handshake conveys—OUCH!

    Unless you have only one arm, handshakes are presented with the right hand. So what are you supposed to do with your left hand? Do not scratch yourself—anywhere—while shaking hands. In South Korea, it is considered rude to put your left hand into your pocket (or I assume anyone else’s.)

    Consequently, here are some valuable “Do Nots” while shaking hands:

    If you are a pumper, shake no more than three pumps, and do them from the elbow. If you shake from the shoulder, too much pumping could dislocate the other person’s arm which will not leave a very good impression.

    If your hand is wet, either from sweat after a work-out, or from a freshly caught fish, discretely pat your hands on your slacks before extending your paw, and be sure that your have offered your hand and not the dead fish. By the way, a limp handshake puts a person in a weak position and feels really icky.

    I find it annoying when a woman extends her fingers to be shaken instead of her whole hand. Manicured or not, it is very awkward to shake the tips of a person’s fingers. Lastly, while shaking hands with someone—look at her. Don’t let your eyes wander, because she just may shake you off and you will end up pumping air.  

    By the way, handshakes are usually made with bare hands unless you are a boxer. Then bump the gloves, go you your corner and expect to get your brains knocked out.

    Beware of politicians, because they will try to pretend that they are friendly and warm, and may do the two handed handshake to go along with the political two-step.  And, with athletes the ritual of congratulations can go from a friendly pat on the butt to a jumping and bumping of chests.

    Maybe air kisses aren’t so bad after all.

    Esther Blumenfeld