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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 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



    Have you heard the latest about the secret ingredient in Coca Cola? Whatever it is, the Chinese have found it superior to ground rhinoceros horn for stimulating virility in men over 90. Never mind if what you hear doesn’t fit the facts, a robust lie can make or break reputations and can affect the operations of an entire corporation.

    The history of business is littered with incidents in which the truth was flattened and forgotten under the steamroller of a juicy lie. If you doubt the potency of “pertinent information”—-the heady stuff that distorts and disguises, with moral certitude, anything that even resembles the truth—-remember what Norman Mailer said, “Facts are worth nothing without the nuances.”

    Even before the recent Russian micro-targeting of lies on social media, the softest whispers caused agony to such corporate giants such as McDonalds and Wendy’s, who had to deny accusations that they used worms and kangaroo meat fillers in their burgers. That story was quickly quashed when the public was informed that both worms and kangaroos are costlier than beef.

    Shortly thereafter, K-Mart had to convince customers that although their sweaters were imported from Taiwan, they were not laced with hatching baby snakes, and no one had been bitten by anything worse than the price. Hot on the heels of those rumors, Kentucky Fried Chicken was forced to assure patrons that neither regular or crispy rats had been added to the menu. Any logical person would recognize that no corporation would add a new product line without proper advertising.

    Of course, all of this pales with the barrage of politically shady divisive untruths seen by over 10 million people on Facebook. It is now certain that  these ads had been placed  by Russian linked accounts to affect our election. In recent years, gossip and downright lies have gone viral on everyones’ electronic devices. Audiences have been targeted by fabricated news, and many people have trouble digging the truth out of the muck.

    On the bright side, both electronic and paper subscriptions to newspapers such as the New York Times and Washington Post have gone way up, because people still trust those news stories and reporters. This is helpful in urban areas. Unfortunately, rural audiences get most of their news from radio, television and Facebook.

    Happily, the truth always has a way of coming out in the long run, but sometimes that is a pretty long run especially when the technological cloud bursts and we become drenched with bogus information.

    So, it behooves all of us to be wary. As Ronald Reagan said, “Trust but verify.”  I would add, “Be careful who you trust.”

    Esther Blumenfeld (Based on “Rumor Takes All,” Coffee Break Column, Blumenfeld and Alpern, Business Atlanta Magazine, June 1986) c. Blumenfeld



    So, here’s the conundrum: Whatever happened to the letter “T”? And, why has it been so ceremoniously dropped in the pronunciation of perfectly formed English words?

    For example, an introduction may lead to a productive personal or business relationship. Whereas, an “innerduction” suggests an unpleasant meeting of the innards.

    A voice on the intercom may intrude on your “innercalm.” And, when applying for a job, your presentation should be intelligible unless you want to be “ineligible.”

    It’s always a challenge when driving on the interchange. However, you may become a better driver when there’s a bit of “innerchange.”

     Also, I really should caution my dear readers to be most careful with the word, intercollegiate, because “innercollegiate” could produce a sexual harassment charge.

    At this point, you may have had enough and would like to intercept, but if you “inercept,” you’re on your own.

    If you are engaging in “social inercourse” you are simply talking to yourself. However, if you’d like to “inercede,” your tummy may produce a cherry tree. Unfortunately, too few people “inerrupt” themselves, but would rather interrupt others.

    My friend, Joanna sent me this illustration of the versatility of the forgotten “T.” She wrote:

    “If  you replace ‘W’ with ’T’ in ‘What, When and Where,’ you’ll get the answer to each of them.”’

    Suits me to a “T.”

    Esther Blumenfeld



    Before my annual physical, I went to get blood drawn for the tests that had been ordered. Although she had a terrible headache, the blood lady found my vein and the withdrawal went without a hitch. As I left, I suggested that she take an aspirin and put a cold compress on her head.

    The following week, I arrived at the Doctor’s office for my exam. The masked nurse, who had a bad cold, ushered me into the examining room. After she measured my vitals and gave me an EKG, I suggested that she might try some saline nose drops and take an antihistamine. I also told her to avoid going to the bank for awhile.

    After she left, the doctor entered the room.  He told me that he had just recuperated from a bad case of the flu, but not before he had infected his entire family when he went to visit them in Chicago. He added, “They told me to never come back again.” I told him that he didn’t look so good and needed to get some rest.

    When I checked out, the receptionist told me that she had a sore throat. I suggested tea with honey and a dollop of whiskey, but to forgo the whiskey until she got home.

    Now that I think back on my adventure, I realize that I was the healthiest person in the office. I think I will send them a bill for all of my medical advice.

    Pass the hand sanitizer please!

    Esther Blumenfeld



    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