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.



    Piranha Days

    Ever had a day when seemingly small aggravations accumulate and voraciously attack and nibble your good humor away? Well, I did.

    All I wanted was a piece of toast, but the wrapping broke, and hundreds of tiny breadcrumbs hit the counter---then the floor---and then imbedded themselves into the throw rug in front of the kitchen sink. After washing the counter and floor, I opened the front door to shake out the rug, and an extraordinarily large bee flew into the room. Consequently, I ran around the house swatting at the invader with the throw rug, until I knocked the wind out of the little sucker. I threw the bee back outside, where he belonged, and slammed the door shut behind him. Now, I had to vacuum the bedroom rugs and dust the furniture that was anointed with breadcrumbs.

    All I wanted was a piece of toast.

    Sometimes the simplest things seem to take on a life of their own. First, my stapler jammed, and then my checkbook wouldn’t balance.  I ran to the bank to get a recent printout. All the numbers matched, and my checkbook still wouldn’t balance. I never have problems balancing my checkbook. I use a calculator. I think the calculator hates me. The mail arrived at 12:01 p.m., and there was a $385 error on my water bill. The water office closed at noon and wouldn’t open again until Monday.

    I needed new cartridges for my printer and ran to the store, because they had sent me a discount coupon. The coupon had expired. I was on time to meet a friend for lunch at our favorite restaurant. The restaurant closed without notice the night before.

    Happy to escape the madness, I boarded a flight to Providence, Rhode Island, which was booked to fly me from Tucson to San Francisco. United Airlines wanted me to see the West Coast before heading east. I fastened my seat belt and heard an announcement that there would be a delay, because the pilot couldn’t “boot up the computer.” I shouted, “Call a guy in India,” but no one paid attention to me. Two guys boarded and flipped pages in their manuals and figured out how to boot us up. When I arrived in Providence at midnight, I collapsed into a taxi and told the driver to take me to the hotel. He said, “It’s only a block away. Take the limousine.” I said, “I have been flying all day, I am not getting out of your cab. Take me to the hotel.” He said, “I can’t make any money that way.”  I said, “You will make money, and I gave him a $4.00 tip on a $3.00 cab ride.

    It was just one of those days.

     Esther Blumenfeld (Once you get out of bed, you have to go the distance)


    Life Is An Open Book

    Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook has a mission. He wants to change the world, so it will become a more open place. That doesn’t necessarily mean a better place, it just means more open. Facebook is, of course, a platform for human behavior. That’s exactly why I won’t join. The last platform I used was a high diving board when I was 12 years old, and I scraped my nose on the bottom of the swimming pool.

    The world is so open now that no one has any privacy---nor do they seem to want it. Dinosaurs were the last private creatures. That’s why no one knows what happened to them, and they ain’t telling!

    Reality shows on television are certainly open places where the exhibitionists among us let it all hang out---sometimes literally. But of course, these shows would not be so successful if their openness didn’t appeal to the voyeurs among us. I guess it’s something like slowing down to gawk at a car wreck at the side of the road. You hope that no one got hurt, but you can’t help being curious about the people who are involved. I am not sure that is the case with those who enjoy NASCAR races.

    So it is with Facebook. Kids share their secrets with hundreds of their best friends, and grandmas check to see what their grandchildren are sharing. Granted, Facebook has some educational value. One man has a page where he teaches people how to tie a necktie. He now has 6 million viewers, and he does it fully dressed.

    Entertainers, politicians and the rich and famous can no longer hope for privacy, and the most intimate aspects of their lives are fair game. Heaven help the vegetarian celebrity who gets caught on camera pigging out with a ham sandwich. Newscasters will report endlessly on her admittance to the Hog Heaven Rehab Facility and her struggle with hindquarter withdrawal.

    All of this openness has led average folks to think they have the license to ask personal questions of anyone, and they think they are entitled to answers. I am blessed to come from a heritage where one often answers a question with another question. So here’s my advice. When someone expects you to tell it all, just stare at him and say, “Why in the world would I want to talk about that with you?”

    Esther Blumenfeld (slamming the privacy door shut)



    Snakes Alive

    A few weeks ago, my eight-year-old neighbor brought over her yellow corn snake for me to admire. “You’re the only grown-up I know who like snakes,” she said, as, in awe, I gently petted the beautiful creature that she had slung around her neck.

    Just as there is a difference between a tabby and a cougar, there’s a difference between a corn snake and a rattler, and I know to keep my distance from the latter. In Tucson, the fire department will send a brave fire fighter to catch a snake when it ventures into a residential neighborhood, and then he releases it far away into the desert. So, when I saw a large diamond back rattlesnake scooting across my back yard, I called the fire department. The dispatcher promised that the snake catcher would show up in 15 minutes, but he had one call ahead of mine. I opened my back door and yelled, “Stay!” at my reptile intruder.

    Forty-five minutes later, a twelve-year-old dressed in fireman’s garb arrived with oversized gloves, long tongs and a big wooden box. Naturally, by now, my snake was long gone. The fireman poked at several bushes and apologized saying, “I caught 2 snakes before getting here, but couldn’t locate the last rattler either.” I replied, “That was probably the reptile with a cell phone, who called my snake to warn him that you were coming.”

    After he left, I phoned my neighbor who has a dog the size of a peanut, and warned her that she should probably find a better place than her backyard for that little thing to lift his leg.

    Dusk had arrived and a gentle rain began to wash over the walk in my front yard. I glanced down and saw a big snake peeping back at me. This time I had a closer view. I realized he was not a rattlesnake after all---just a Mexican King Snake. He stuck out his tongue, with a “fooled you!” wiggle before he disappeared into the shrubbery.

    So, here’s the difference between probability and possibility.  It is probable that it was the same snake. It is possible that the first snake had a twin brother.  It is a certainty that I was sober.

    Esther Blumenfeld (so many snakes and not an apple in the house)




    A Mute Point

    When learning English, newcomers to the U.S. are advised to watch American television to hone their language skills. Of course, this includes all those commercials that pop up during television programs. I don’t know how these tenderfoots can tell the difference between some of the inane programming and the intrusive sales pitches, because sometimes they run together, and it must prove extremely confusing. 

    Recently, while watching the muted marketing on my set, I realized that not only are commercials shorter than they used to be, but one sales pitch blends right into another, which may or may not be related to the previous product. And they run into each other more quickly than before. Airtime is expensive, so obviously companies have decided to cram as many commercials as they can into as short a time frame as possible. Time is money! 

    Consequently, I de-muted (Is there such a word?) bringing the sound back, and began listening to the messages as they ran together.  I also grabbed a magnifying glass and tried to read some of the small print disclaimers written at the bottom of my screen. So, without naming the companies, here are some actual commercials that bump into each other. Consider yourself a newcomer to the English language:

      “If you develop an allergic reaction to this medication, stop taking it. Our product helps with stretch marks--- toaster strudel---pizza rolls--- diarrhea--- constipation. For a body in motion. What do you really want from your toilet paper? We’re America’s Natural Gas Company. Destroys odor on contact. This product will transport you to Hair Color Heaven. This is a dating service where God makes the choice. Don’t take this medication if you are about to become pregnant. Lipstick will last for 10 hours. Side effects dry mouth”.

     I especially like the life insurances that are sold to old folks for only a few pennies a day. They come with a lifetime warranty.

    Esther Blumenfeld (This statement has not been approved by the FDA)





    Summertime And The Living Is Hot

    There is nothing as sweet as the sound of rain on the roof after 80 consecutive days of dry, summer, desert heat.  Looking out of my window in the middle of the night, I dub the welcoming drops as “Angel Sweat,” as the large rocks in my yard begin to glisten in the light of the full moon. Monsoon Season has begun in Arizona. Arroyos will fill with water, and a few fools, who ignore the warnings, will have to be rescued or drown in the desert. 

    Visitors to my neck of the woods invariably ask, “Doesn’t it get hot here in the summer?” I am so tempted to respond, “Of course it gets hot. It’s the desert stupid,” but I don’t.  Instead I say, “Yes, it’s unbearable. I think you should move to Florida.” I suffer from the same malady that many people do after moving here. We want to pull up the drawbridge and keep the beautiful mountains and desert all to ourselves. Winter in Arizona is a delicious season, but summer is close behind, and it arrives every year without fail. I call it my “Blizzard Season,” because I know when to venture out and when to hunker down, but I don’t have to shovel it. 

    I, for one, enjoy summer in the desert. The evenings cool down, and I don’t mind getting up before 5 a.m. in order to hike my 2 miles in the mountains. By 7:30 it is quite hot, but I have enjoyed the birds, the deer, lizards and other creatures that venture out early in the morning. I have also quaffed a bottle of water. One day, after the rainfall, I found a puddle in the middle of a sandy path. In it, tiny tadpoles were paddling about. Yes, the desert is a wondrous and extremely weird place. By 1 p.m. I have already been up for 8 hours and find that a short siesta is a most civilized activity. 

    After it rains, the air is redolent with the smell of the creosote bush, a smell that no one can describe. Whenever you ask old-timers about creosote, the answer is: “They put it on railroad ties.” I assume they are talking about something extracted from the bushes---not the bushes themselves, because a bunch of bushes on the tracks would probably slow down our already sluggish trains. I have never put my head on a railroad track to smell the creosote. The woodsy smell is pungent, but not worth losing my head over. So, rain brings out the “heavenly essence of the desert.” Forgot to mention that the Spanish word for creosote is hediondilla, which means “little stinker.” I just saw a streak of lightening over the mountains. Can the rain be far behind? 

    Esther Blumenfeld (A desert rat and proud of it)