Navigation
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.

     

    Friday
    Jan042019

    RADIO DAZE

    In the 1980’s and 1990’s, radio talk shows were very popular. Those were the days when people listened and talked. During the seven years when my seven books were published, the publicity folks, at my two publishing houses, would book interviews all over the U.S. and Canada. I did hundreds of these dog and pony shows.  Later, when my husband, Warren had his oxymoron books published, his publishing house would do the same for him.

    Many of these interviews were broadcast from home hook-ups, and that was fun, because I could do them from my house, and in my jammies, and no one would know. In those days, we had one phone line and no cell phones, so to avoid conflicting appointments, we posted our scheduled interviews  on our refrigerator. When we took a trip, the publicity folks would book us wherever we traveled, and often Warren and I could do shows together.  However, sometimes, we got booked into studios that were unknown to our publicity folks. That came from the— “Any port in the storm”— mentality.  So, I thought, You, my dear readers, would enjoy some of those “off the wall” experiences.

    It was assumed that hosts of these radio shows would have read (or at least browsed) the books, before an interview. However, in some cases this was too much to hope for. But, then, a producer would usually give a host an inkling of what he or she was supposed to talk about.

    One dark and stormy night (Don’t all good stories start this way?) I had a scheduled interview with a station in Philadelphia. The phone rang. I picked it up, and the voice on the other end of the line said, “I’m the newscaster. The host of the show was in an automobile accident. I know nothing about you or your book.  We are on the air!” He then said, “Hello, Esther. Tell my listeners something about yourself and your book.” I got through that until the first commercial, and then I said to him. “I will tell you what questions to ask during the commercials, and we can get through this.” It worked. Happily, the radio host recovered from his accident, but I’m not so sure about the newscaster.

    One Thanksgiving, I was scheduled for a one-hour, call-in show in Buffalo, NY.  Most people were watching football on television, and the folks who did call in wanted tips on how to cook a turkey. Desperate times, call for desperate measures. Finally, the host shouted into the phone, “You’ll never guess who’s on the line!  It’s your Aunt Ruth!” My dear Aunt lived in Buffalo, so we had a really nice, really long, long chat. So it went. Then another person called in and said, “I’ll bet you don’t know who this is.” I faked it! You can do that with distant relatives.

    The next week I gave a talk in Knoxville, TN and was scheduled into a small radio station. One man called in and said, “My cows have a sense of humor.” All I could come up with was, “I’ll bet they do!”

     Doing a radio show, in a studio, is usually a very unsanitary experience. People and their desks and waste baskets are usually extremely grungy. After all, no one can see them. It’s not like being interviewed on a television show. So, when Warren and I were invited to be interviewed on a radio show in Phoenix, we didn’t dress up. Warren wore shorts and flip flops. When we entered the studio, we were surprised to see men in suits and women in dresses, wearing sensible shoes.

    We were seated in the sound booth, when the engineer came out, and before clamping earphones on our heads, he said, “Are you talking about your Ministry?” I replied, “No.” “We just minister to each other.”  He didn’t laugh. I suspected this was going to be sort of a religious experience. The woman interviewer came into the booth. She was a pleasant older woman with white hair, braided on top of her head. She wore tiny eye glasses, and a black skirt. Her white blouse had a Peter Pan collar tied at the neck with a bow.

    She had obviously read our books. Her questions were quite insightful, and the interview went well. However, when Warren was asked a question, he would start his answer with a little, “Whoop!” When we left the building, I said, “Warren, what were the little “Whoops” all about?
    He replied, “She had her hand on my knee!”

    Is that called, “Sacrificing for your art”…or what!”

    Esther Blumenfeld


    Friday
    Dec212018

    THE FOOFNAGLE NEWSLETTER  


    (Atlanta Magazine,The St. Petersburg Times and other papers that needed to fill space.
    December, 25, 1981, Blumenfeld and Alpern)

    After reading in great detail about too many things, we decided that the trend in holiday newsletters has gone too far. This year, therefore, we are sending our own version of a message to all our “friends.”  If you too are fed up with hearing more than you ever wanted to know about your friends and relatives, please feel free to use this one. We guarantee it will remove your name from their mailing list next year.

    DEAR——

    Happy Holidays to all our friends! Time once more for the Foofnagle Newsletter. And a busy year it’s been indeed! Much to our surprise, Fermin was offered a promotion, and is now the Second Associate Agricultural Coordinator for Fast-food Worm Farms, Inc. He has more responsibilities and just loves everything about the new job. His boss says he is progressing so rapidly we may soon be able to move from our ultra-contemporary, split-level home, in suburbia to the inner city, where we can joyfully and enthusiastically renovate an old dilapidated house into a showplace in just six short years.

    In his spare time, Fermin has taken up karate, off-loom weaving and songwriting.The music industry here is booming, and we just know Fermin’s fantastic country western rock song, “You Don’t Need No Ears To Hear My Beat” will be a hit. Keep your ears to the charts! All the Foofnagle relatives love it. In fact, Cousin Lulu is getting married again for the third time and wants it played when she walks down the aisle.

    Our lovely daughter, Flossie is really growing up. This year she’s been on the Honor Roll twice and won first prize in the school Talent Show for playing “Jingle Bells” on her nose.This resulted in her election as vice-president of the Future Organists of America. Isn’t she wonderful?  As for daughter, Bootsie, she’s sprung up four inches this year, is out of her training bra, and has six new rubber bands on her braces.  She twangs a mean harmonica in the high school marching band, and still finds time for her volunteer work at the Line Dancing School for the Unbalanced.

    Little Fermin Junior took his first steps on September 14 right after lunch. And, he was only 11 months old. Pretty soon he will be playing soccer just like his father used to—-anyone can see he has the arches of a pro.

    We did take one teeny little vacation this summer, driving cross-country in our camper, promoting my new sensitivity training program called PIT-PAT: Pull In Touch, Push Aside Tension. I am very encouraged by the response, and soon hope to be accredited by the National Psychological Facsimile Association. The two month trip was breathtaking. Such Vistas! Isn’t America  darling?  We wound up in Toocomecarry, Maine, and spent a glorious week there at the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Sex Clinic.  What an uplifting experience!

    Well there’s much more, but my homemade bread is rising (made from wheat grown in our very own naturally fertilized window box), and I’ll have to say goodbye until next year.  May your news be as thrilling as ours.

    Hugs and Kisses, Fanny, Fermin, and the three precious Foofnagles.

    P.S. The Pit-Pat seminar is available by correspondence. Simply mail $79.95 along with a self-addressed envelope to: Fanny Foofnagle, PIT-PAT at my address. Financing Available.
    Happy Holidays and a resolute New Year to all!

    Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Dec142018

    NEEDING HERCULE POIROT

    My mother-in-law used to say, “Live long enough and you’ll see everything.” Well, just when I thought that, by now, I’d probably seen it all, I found out that she was absolutely right.

    A friend and I, had a pleasant dinner, at a small local restaurant. Before leaving, to attend a play at a small theatre,  I decided to make a pit stop at the Lady’s Room. It was occupied, so I patiently waited, and then, I not so patiently waited some more. Finally, I tapped lightly on the door. No response. I waited some more, and still no one came out. Had someone fallen asleep on the commode?  Or, perhaps worse—Had someone fallen in?

    Just as I was prepared to get some help, the door opened slowly, and a bent-over, old woman, wearing a shawl over her head exited.  She said. “It’s all yours.” I looked at her, and noticed that she was carrying a mesh bag that contained nothing but very large red onion. My mother-in-law was right!  I had never seen that before.

    So, why would an old lady carry an onion into the bathroom? The question presents all kinds of possibilities. I know that some people take “comfort animals” on airplanes. Perhaps, this was her “Comfort Onion.”

    Or, perhaps she hesitated to leave her pet onion at her table fearing that some onion thief would strike. It really didn’t look like a valuable onion to me. It was just a red onion in a mesh bag. I know that some people sneak a smoke in a public bathroom, but I have never seen anyone lighting up an onion.

    On my way back to my table, I looked for the old crone, but she was nowhere to be found. I guess she and her onion had left for another adventure.

    Oh, where is Hercule Poirot when you need him?

    When I returned to my table, I said to my friend, “You’re not going to believe this!”

    She didn’t!

    So it goes.

    Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Dec072018

    HIDDEN TREASURES

    As most of you know, in the Spring, I will be moving to Hacienda at the Canyon, a new senior residence now being built right across the street from where I live. My 975 sq. ft. apartment (independent living) will have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a small kitchen and a nice sized living room with a balcony overlooking the mountains.

    Consequently, I have been downsizing for the past 6 months, and in the process (since I have kept everything) I have found a myriad of mementos—not only from my life experiences—but also sentimental treasures from the lives of my parents and my in-laws.

    For instance, in 1917, my future Mother-In-Law and Father-In-Law went to a place called, “The Golden Pumpkin.” Waiter #11 was their server.  They had swiped a notice off the table which read, “Dancing known as the ‘Shimmy,’ ‘Toddle,’ or similar style is not permitted in the Golden Pumpkin. Persons indulging in such will be requested to leave. Do not mix parties in dancing.”’

    My Mother-In-Law had also kept the special “Roxy Hart Extra Edition” of the Chicago Star Gazette whose headline reported that, “Roxie Hart is Acquitted.” Roxie Hart (the basis for the musical, CHICAGO) was “Chicago’s most beautiful murderess.” And, there was a photo,”Only photo ever taken inside the County Jail.” “Chicago’s beautiful jazz murderess says, ‘Dancing feet caused my downfall.”’

    I also found a photo of my paternal, German Grandfather, Samuel and his four brothers. All of them posed in their army uniforms during WWI. I am sure that none of them were very good shots, but  German Jews were sent to the front because they were expendable. My gentle Grandpa was known to be an up- into-the-air shooter. Anyway, I used to look at the photo and say, “Grandpa you were so handsome.” He always smiled, and said “Danke” (Thanks). After he died, I looked at the photo, one more time, and said to my Aunt, “Wasn’t Grandpa handsome!” And, she replied, “That wasn’t Grandpa. That was his good-looking brother. Sly Grandpa, took credit for my compliment every time.

    Grandpa told me that on one Christmas, an Armistice was declared, and he heard a yell from the  other (what later became Poland) side…”Samuel, is that you?” A chess playing buddy from the other side had recognized him. They met in the middle of the field, set up a make shift table and played chess until the Armistice was over. They then returned to their positions and the shooting resumed.

    When I was three years old, my family escaped the Nazis in 1939, and I became a naturalized citizen on my parent’s papers. When I turned 18, I went to court and obtained my own citizenship papers.

    Last week, while going through piles of paper with my son, Josh, he found the paperwork which proved my naturalization. I had never seen them before. However, with the new attitudes in Washington toward immigrants, I put those papers into the safety deposit box at my bank. I don’t want to be deported to Stettin, Germany where I was born—-especially since there is no Stettin, Germany anymore. It became a lost city after WWII, and is now a town in Poland called Szczecin (I think). The only Polish I know is “Pass the Pierogi.”

    Cheers and Do Widzenig!

    Esther Blumenfeld


    Friday
    Nov302018

    CHILDREN FRIED

    “When a child hits a child, we call it, aggression.
    When a child hits an adult, we call it, hostility.
    When an adult hits an adult, we call it, assault.
    When an adult hits a child, we call it, discipline.” (Haim G. Ginott)

    Paddling children in school is back. It is now again legal in 19 States to strike a child on the buttocks with a paddle. Even the Supreme Court says corporal punishment is legal if parental permission has been given.

    I’m sure that Christian Grey would say, “I got paddled as a child and am a better person for it. Ouch! I love it!”

    A kid named, Billy was in my 7th grade class. He was convinced that no one liked him. He was right! Billy managed to antagonize everyone in the class including the teacher. Every time something bad happened, the teacher, Miss Bowman, would yell, “Billy!” even if her back was to the class. Miss Bowman was my favorite teacher until the day she struck Billy on the hands with her ruler. She hit him…really hard. That blow struck fear in my heart. I had never seen an adult hit a child.

    Billy was also sent to the principal’s office where his butt became his seat of learning many a time. It’s always been a mystery to me how an adult intends to teach a child self control by losing it. And, what does a child think when Pa takes off his belt and says, “You’d better appreciate that this is for your own good. Pa’s not always going to be around to teach you a lesson.” Is a child supposed to feel bad about that?

    I am convinced that there are many ways to discipline children without hitting them. The most effective way is for the youngster to lose technology time on phones, tablets, watches— whatever. One Father was so upset with his teenager’s Facebook messages, that he took out his gun and shot her laptop. That might be a bit extreme, but I’ll bet she got the message and hash tagged her way out of there lickity split.

    One Mom reprimanded her 9-year-old daughter, “It’s not okay to ask Siri for the answer to an arithmetic question.” Her little girl  had already learned that because she said, “Mommy, Don’t worry, I won’t ever do it again because I got the wrong answer.” “How did that happen?” asked Mom.“Because I asked the wrong question.”

    Some punishments don’t work such as grounding a child but not grounding her I-pad, or
    not allowing your kid to go to the beach with his friends on a rainy day.

    However something as simple as , “If you want today’s Wi-Fi password, you need to empty the dishwasher, fold the laundry and take out the trash” works every time. It’s a hit without raising a hand.

    Esther Blumenfeld (“I like children if they are properly cooked”) W.C. Fields