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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.




    Last New Year’s Eve, at a get-together with friends, a young man and I engaged in a conversation about books and authors. When I mentioned to him that I had never read books by Anne Rice, or other authors who deal with supernatural mythology, he suggested that I do so, because he found those books entertaining. So, taking the challenge, I read a book by Donna Boyd who created a world of Werewolves who live undetected among us.

    The story involved two packs of Shape Shifter Wolves, who can change into human forms at will. One pack of Werewolves enjoyed the company of humans and found them inferior but amusing, while the other pack thought them to be parasites that needed to be exterminated.

    The Alpha Male in one of these packs had fur (or hair depending on his form) of a reddish-yellow color, and a business empire that stretched all over the world. He also served in a high position of government, and had an exceedingly large ego. He lived high on the hog (sometimes literally) in a mansion. Since Werewolves considered themselves superior, they took credit for every positive innovation or invention ever created---including the work of Thomas Edison. They blamed the bad stuff, such as wars, on humans.

    According to my Google search, in the last century several Werewolf sightings have been recorded, and many of them have taken place in Wisconsin. This is a good time to remind you that the good people of Wisconsin have also brought us bratwurst, cheese, beer and the Green Bay Packers. However, it is also good to note that on November 14, 1908 Joe McCarthy was born to the McCarthy pack in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, and he followed the “humans are parasites” career path.

    According to Mr. Google, “The history of the Werewolf has roots in many cultures dating back to ancient times”. One legend is the story of the Spirit God, and Shape Shifter, Wisukachek, and refers to an early Native American tribe in the area now known as Wisconsin. For many years, these stories were thought to be mere legend, until; “In 1936 a string of modern Werewolf sightings changed everything. Where did this take place? In the USA State called Wisconsin.

    So, all of this begs the question, Are there Werewolves among us? And, if so, would we ever know? Stephen King writes, “Some Werewolves are hairy on the inside.” That isn’t helpful at all. Was it a hairy inside that really killed Joe McCarthy, or was it excessive alcoholism as the doctors claimed?

    Molly Harper sums it up in Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs: “Contrary to popular myth, Werewolves are born. Werewolves are not made. No matter how many times they bite someone, that person will not turn, though they will probably bleed profusely, and will definitely be annoyed.”

    As far as I am concerned, “A pox on the Werewolves among us.” We will survive them, because as Michael Gerson writes, “Being an American is to belong to a flawed but wonderful tribe.”

    Esther Blumenfeld





    “I’m proud of my gold pocket watch. My Grandfather, on his deathbed, sold me this watch.”  Woody Allen.

    Twenty years ago, a woman in my neighborhood told me that her father-in-law, a man of enormous wealth, had died at the ripe old age of 103.  His young, devoted granddaughter had become his caregiver during his declining years, and in gratitude, he had bequeathed her all of his millions. This would have afforded her a carefree life of ease and leisure, but there was a caveat in the will. Grandpa had left her a fortune to be collected upon the death of her parents.

    Unfortunately, longevity runs in the family.  A couple of years ago, her father died in his late 90’s, and the not-so-young-anymore woman is looking after her little, old Mom, who is as active as the Energizer Bunny.

    No longer a spring chicken, the grand daughter is now entering the Social Security zone of life, and by the time she sees any money, she will probably be a spinster on Medicare. A cruel will indeed!  The only saving grace is that as John Dryden said, “All heiresses are beautiful.”

    I have met people who look forward to giving money to their children, but only after they die, and then, many times the children enter litigious relationships with each other. Fair enough, since, “We often pay for the mistakes of our ancestors, and it seems only fair that they should leave us the money to pay with.” Don Marquis.

    My Mother, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet believe that, “It’s better to give with a warm hand than a cold one.” It’s well known that for some, money is an aphrodisiac. Once, on a cruise, I met a honeymoon couple that had eloped. He was 85, and had married his beautiful 21-year-old manicurist.  I guess that she had given him one heck of a manicure to convince him to marry her, and tell his kids only after they returned home. Surprise!

    At the spa, she complained to fellow passengers that she was disappointed that he wasn’t as rich as he had led her to believe, but I guess there was enough money there, because she had him panting after her up and down the stairs. The last time I saw them was when she signed both of them up for a scuba diving adventure ashore.

    I know she never heard of Honore Balzac, because she read the same National Enquirer at poolside during the whole trip, but he would have advised, “To kill a relative of whom you are tired is something. But to inherit his property afterwards, that is genuine pleasure.”

    I’m not sure that,” Money is the root of all evil,” because I think that where, when and how you plant those roots makes all the difference. Of course Gregory Nunn said, “If you really want to know what your friends think of you, die broke, and then see who shows up for the funeral.”

    Esther Blumenfeld (“Die and endow a college or a cat.”) Alexander Pope



    Several years ago, I was invited to a fancy, black tie New Year’s Eve party at the home of a friend in San Francisco. Besides the three catering companies that the hostess had hired, there were a cartoonist, a fortuneteller and an opera singer to entertain the 500 guests that roamed about the house and gardens. Every room in the house overflowed with people, and as the evening wore on the guests got louder and louder as alcohol clogged their ears and the music played on.

    Not knowing anyone---other than the hostess and her mother (who had escaped the festivities by hiding in her bedroom and locking the door) I roamed from room to room on each level of the magnificent mansion.

    After tasting food that each caterer had prepared, I sat on a sofa and made extremely small talk with whoever sat down next to me. It was easy since no one ever listens at this kind of party. So I could say whatever I chose to say such as, “I just returned from a trip to The Queensland Coast.” And the woman next to me asked, “How was it?” I said, “Extremely Australian.”  “Lovely,” she said as she got up to talk to someone she recognized.

    I finally climbed the stairs to the third floor ballroom, where people were gyrating madly to the beat of the band. Sipping on a glass of wine, I overheard a young woman tell her companions that she had been accepted into nursing school, and that it came at a fortuitous time, because her grandfather had passed away and left her a sizable inheritance. Also, she had recently broken her engagement to a man who got fired from his job for doing some hanky panky with the firm’s funds.

    Finally, I tired of watching the dancers and made my way back down to the second floor, where people were lined up to have a session with the fortuneteller. I spied the young woman in line, who I had seen in the ballroom, and I said, “Excuse me, but you really don’t have to stay in line to get your fortune told. I am a psychic and I can do it for you.” She was most impressed. After all, I knew the hostess. I wore a fancy dress and I looked pretty honest. So, we, and some of her friends sat down for the psychic event.

    I held her hand and told her that she was very fortunate to be rid of the deadbeat she had been engaged to. I also told her that her grandfather loved her a lot to leave her such a fortune, and that he was very proud of her, because she was going to nursing school. Then I left her, and her friends, who were the only speechless people in the room.

    On the main floor, the opera singer was working on her “Do” “Re” “Mi’s,” when a woman approached me. “I am so impressed,” she said. “I have never seen a real psychic in action. You are wonderful!  How did you know all of that information about the young woman upstairs?”  I told her, “Don’t be too impressed, I heard her tell her friends that story in the ballroom.” She looked at me and said, “I know that’s not true.  I read that you psychics are very selective.” And then she whispered, “Can you tell me just a little something about me?” At that, I handed her my untouched glass and said, “I know you will enjoy this glass of wine. It was a very good year.”  She thanked me profusely as I left.

    Happy New Year!  Take my word for it, 2017 will be another year. Have I ever lied to you before?

    Esther Blumenfeld 



    When I was a little girl, someone gave me a moving company box. I turned it upside down and cut out a door and a window. It was the best gift ever! I have seen toddlers tossing gifts aside and delightedly playing with the wrapping paper. Sometimes a simple item will surprise and delight---or not.

    Fifty years ago, when my friends Bob and Lynne were planning their wedding, Lynne’s wealthy Aunt told them that she was sending them a valuable, irreplaceable gift.  Lynne imagined a beautiful piece of china or crystal, but when the package arrived, it turned out to be two extremely heavy, hippopotamus head bookends.  “I hated those bookends, but I didn’t want to hurt my Aunt’s feelings,” Lynne bemoaned. “But, no matter how many times we moved, and no matter how many times I dropped those damned hippopotamus, they never did break.”

    It makes us happy to give gifts, and we hope that what we have given people will make them happy. However, in all fairness, sometimes gift giving can be daunting. On occasion, I have given gifts and received no acknowledgment, so there was no way to know if the gift was received, let alone appreciated. Often gift cards are not used, and mailed checks are not cashed.  In those cases, if someone would only say, “Thank you. You shouldn’t have”---I wouldn’t have.

    My husband, Warren (of blessed memory) was a very generous man, but on occasion he would bring me some odd gifts. I received loaves of sourdough bread carried in a suitcase from San Francisco, and a Styrofoam box containing a lobster from Boston. That made some kind of weird sense since he liked both sourdough bread and lobster. And he was the boy, who, many years ago, had given his dainty mother a basketball for her birthday.

     However, when he got off the commuter train in Chicago, and presented me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, I thought it a bit odd since he had never brought me flowers before. I was really touched until I noticed the big, black ribbon that tied the flowers together with a sticker wishing me a “peaceful rest.”

    “Thank you,” said I, “But what’s up with the black ribbon?” He had a big smile on his face when he said, “All day long, vendors were selling these bouquets on every corner for the Senator’s funeral. At the end of the day, they were giving them away, so I brought one for you.” 

    He looked so proud, that I didn’t have the heart to say, “I’m glad you didn’t bring me the wreath.” I know it is the thought that counts, but I never did figure out what in the world he was thinking.

    It is best not to expect too much, because sometimes you will be disappointed. When I was a pre-teen, I really wanted a bicycle, but when I saw the box, I knew this was going to be something I couldn’t ride. Some door-to-door salesman had talked my parents into buying me a large all-in-one-book encyclopedia. When I saw how excited and proud they were to give me that gift, I swallowed my disappointment, and thanked them profusely. After awhile, I did use the book, and eventually got my bike. 

    I am glad that my parents never knew how disappointed I was with their gift, because the love behind it was what really counted.  Afterall, the people who care about us are the real gifts---the real blessings---that we should cherish everyday.

    Esther Blumenfeld



    A friend of mine recently said, “I don’t want to celebrate my birthday anymore, because I’m just too old.”  “Well,” I responded, “I for one am glad your parents had sex!” That visual stopped her in her tracks and she began to celebrate with an extra large martini.

    No one is ever too old to commemorate a happy occasion, and it is selfish to deprive your friends of the opportunity to enjoy happy times in your life with you. That is, if you have any friends left after being such a sour puss.

    Lord knows, there are enough bad times to go around, and every once in awhile, it’s good to remind ourselves to kick up our heels and have some fun. If you do that, with loving friends, and/or family, there will be plenty of good wishes to go around.

    If someone is a good person, it is a joy to celebrate the day of his or her birth.  If someone is a rotten person, he is probably the result of parents who had sex only once in their lives, and didn’t like it very much. In that case it’s a good idea to throw a party and not invite him.

    There are all kinds of anniversaries that offer another excuse to celebrate. I have known people who celebrate both their wedding anniversary and the anniversary of their divorce. Some people throw parties for pets.

    I once had a neighbor who paid $5000.00 to have a portrait painted of her buck-toothed dog. The whole neighborhood was invited to celebrate the portrait unveiling. The painting wasn’t all that good, but the story of that party lives on.

    Sometimes, when no one is available to celebrate an occasion with me, I take myself out for dinner and entertain myself. I make a toast to life---the one I’ve led so far, and to the right-now-day that I am living.

    With all the joy and pain that life brings, I’m still grateful for each blessed day. I am glad that my parents knew each other in a Biblical way, since I can always celebrate them on my birthday.  I can also celebrate the birth of my baby brother, even though it took me awhile to understand that my parent’s gift to me came with a no return policy.

    So, rejoice while you can---the blessings of family, friends and life itself. Take it from me; tears from laughter are the best kind.

    Esther Blumenfeld