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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.

     

    Thursday
    Jan062011

    My Give A Damn's Busted (Jo Dee Messina)

     

    It was Saturday night and the restaurant had a forty-five-minute wait, so my friend Jeanne said, “Have you ever tried, O’Hara’s down the street?” “No,” I replied. “I’ve never even seen it.” Turns out that the reason I had never seen O’Hara’s was because it wasn’t exactly down the street. It was down an alley near the street. 

    When we arrived, I noticed that there weren’t any cars in the parking lot, but there were a couple of motorcycles and a flatbed truck. The restaurant sign read, “Irish Food and Sing-Along.” Before I could protest, Jeanne had disappeared through the front door. As I entered, I bumped my head on a hanging basket. “I see twinkling lights,” I said, rubbing my head. “They’re in the basket,” she assured me. We sat at one of the tables facing the piano, and watched a man crooning “My Way” into the microphone.” If I had my way,” I said to Jeanne, “he’d button his shirt.”

    The waitress came over and shouted, “My name is Saxony.” Jeanne said, “That’s a beautiful name,” and I said, “You are lucky your folks didn’t name you Vandal or Goth.” There weren’t any other customers, so she sat down and joined us.  She also pointed out that the little boy who was running around the bar was her son. Assuring me that the kid wouldn’t mix my martini, I ordered one with the stipulation it arrive quickly. Since all of the other tables were empty, I was assured that this was certainly possible. 

    There were two men sitting at the bar. Saxony told us that the man wearing the American flag shirt was the proud owner of O’Hara’s, and that his friend was the biker. He was wearing a sleeveless shirt that showed off his jumping biceps tattoo of a grinning skull. 

    The “My Way” singer started coming toward me, so I gave him my best, “Get out of my face look,” and said, “Isn’t it time for you to take a break?” He agreed and handed the microphone to a Vietnamese waitress who removed her apron and started slaughtering songs from Phantom of the Opera. I kept hoping that a basket of twinkling lights would fall on her head, or that a Phantom---any Phantom--- would take her to the restaurant basement, but no such luck.  She sang on and on and on. Finally, my vermouth-with-a-touch-of-vodka-and-three-maraschino cherries arrived. Obviously, it was an arts and crafts project complements of the bar running kid. I sent it back and ordered a glass of water and a menu. 

    Spaghetti with tomato sauce wasn’t exactly Irish but it seemed the most harmless choice. I put down my menu and looked around. The restaurant wasn’t exactly filling up, but several people entered, sat down, cleared their throats and obviously began waiting their turn to sing.

    Suddenly, a scarecrow woman ran out of the kitchen with our salads. She tossed them on the table, and then grabbed the mike. She, was, it turns out, our chef.  Jeanne asked me, “Are you feeling okay?” I replied, “God help us. That song is from Sweeny Todd.” Turns out that the spaghetti was pretty tasty, especially when mixed with buttered cinnamon carrots.  It was a weird combination, but kind of fit the place.

    Two heavily made up buxom women—one blond and one redhead—had obviously escaped their coven, and created quite a stir when they flew in and sat at the bar. Impatiently, they flipped their long locks and drank their beers, waiting for the chef to retreat back to her kitchen. The minute she stopped to take a breath between a high and higher note, the redhead ran over, gave her a little shove, grabbed the mike and began to warble ‘Love for Sale.” Finally, realizing that no one was buying, she mercifully quit.  

    The door swung open and a 300-pound woman wearing a glittering, black dress entered.  She must have been a local celebrity because three tough looking guys followed her in. She sat at the table in front of us mercifully blocking our view. 

    No one wears glitz to an Irish sing along restaurant unless they seriously plan on singing. By now, my stomach was doing spaghetti/carrot flip-flops, so I said to Jeanne. “Let’s get out of here, before those thugs block the door.” I only hit my head on the twinkling basket once before the aria began---and Puccini turned over in his grave.

    Esther Blumenfeld (shut up and pass the Guinness)

    Friday
    Dec312010

    Kings, Queens and Rookies


    Chess is a challenging game, but it is a game I always wanted to learn. So, when I went to my public library and saw a notice for “Chess Club,” I signed up. The notice was in a brochure that listed activities for children. I asked the librarian if it would be okay for me to participate, and she said, “Chess Club is open to anyone, even you.” 

    For the first time in my life, I am now the tallest person in my class, and loving it!  However, I quickly learned that towering over my classmates does not make me the smartest strategist in the room. I now know the names of the different pieces and the direction they are allowed to move on the game board. But sometimes I forget if I have the black pieces or the white ones, since we switch sides every week. Of course, when a little voice squeeks,”That’s my piece,” I always back off.

    My first opponent was an 8-year-old Chinese boy named Murphy, who grabbed his Queen after I captured her. I wrestled it out of his tiny hand. That game was a draw. He forgave me, but after two weeks, I told him that he didn’t have to play with me anymore if he wanted to play with one of the other children

    The next week I played with a cute, blonde 9-year-old girl who had a short attention span. I won!

    However, the following week, I got a ringer. Murphy sent in his little brother, Poker Face. The kid didn’t crack a smile or say a word until he whispered, “Check Mate.”  “How old are you?” I asked. “Seven years old,” he replied. “Want to play again?” “Nope,” I answered, pointing at the clock. “Class is over”. 

    Next week I look for a five year old. 

    Esther Blumenfeld (don’t box me in.)

    Friday
    Dec242010

    Just Improvise

     

    My mother was a charming woman who loved a good party, but cooking a meal was not her forte. Her idea of salad was a head of iceberg lettuce whacked into 4 quarters smothered with bottled French dressing. Meat was cooked juiceless, potatoes boiled, and chicken baked dry. Vegetables arrived in cans, and no fish ever swam past the front door.

     Mother couldn’t stand the smell of peanut butter, so there was no escape until our neighbor, Mrs. So-and-So, took her yearly sojourn to Europe. In her absence, I climbed her apple tree and happily gorged on green apples until my stomach ached. For years she blamed pesky rabbits for the missing carrots in her garden, and my Mother fretted about my lack of appetite. She thought a daily glass of fatty whole milk would solve the problem, and then she wondered why no plant near my chair would live for very long. I knew that if a glass of milk could make a plant droop, it certainly wouldn’t be good for me.

     Consequently, I avoided Mother’s kitchen, and never cooked a meal until I got married. Luckily, my bridegroom had recently mustered out of the army, and he thought it a gourmet feast if the tapioca pudding didn’t land on top of the mashed potatoes.

     My first cooking attempt was a qualified success. He drank two cups of what I put in front of him before he asked, “What is this?” “Meatloaf,” I replied. “Well,” taking another sip, he replied, “I’ve never had it like this before, but it tastes pretty good.  Are you sure it’s meatloaf?” “No,” I replied, “Just drink it.”

     Happily, my mother-in-law was a creative cook and taught me a valuable lesson along the way, “If you don’t have the proper ingredients---improvise!”

     When our son was two weeks old, my husband called me from his office. “I am driving a visiting scientist to the airport. Can I bring him to the apartment for a drink?”  “No problem,” I replied. Turns out that the scientist asked for a dry martini. Since we had no vermouth, I mixed him the driest martini he had ever had. Once he was able to separate his lips, he said, “That is a fantastic drink.”

     Little did he know that the delicious pate that I fed him was cemented to the crackers with a jar of baby food. Some scientist!

     I promised to send his wife the recipe.  I lied!

     Esther Blumenfeld (The How did you do that? How did you do that?  How did you do that? How did you do that? Cook).

    Friday
    Dec172010

    Ding-a-lings

    I never know whom I’m going to meet when I answer my telephone.  
    Yesterday, when I answered the phone, the voice on the other end said,“I’m just calling to let you know that the plumber is going to be late.” 
    “Well, shame on him,” I replied.“But why are you calling me?”
    “Isn’t he supposed to come to your house?”she asked.
    “Not as far as I know,” I replied. 
    When I asked her what number she had dialed, we discovered she had missed it by just one flip of a finger.
    Somehow, I seem to get an inordinate amount of misdialed calls. One woman told me,“You are the nicest wrong number I have ever talked to.”
    On another occasion my phone number was mistakenly placed into an advertisement for an establishment catering to gay men. As soon as I answered the phone, the callers recognized that they had a wrong number. After I finally figured out what had happened, I contacted the newspaper so they could correct the mistake. At that time, I also obtained the correct number of the gay establishment. A week later, the owner called to thank me for all the referrals.
    Mistakes can happen, but how much is one person expected to take?
    A woman called and said, “My doctor gave me this number. I want to talk to your husband the urologist.” I told her, “My husband is not a urologist.  My husband is a psychologist.” “No,” she said, “You are wrong. My doctor gave me this number and I want to talk to the urologist.”  
    “Lady,” I said, “My husband is not a urologist. My husband can’t even fix a leaking faucet.” She hung up on me!
    Got to go. The phone is ringing. I wonder if it’s the plumber.
    Esther Blumenfeld (there’s static on the line)
     
    Friday
    Dec102010

    Uncanny


    This diatribe is about public restrooms. For those of you who want to elevate your reading, perhaps you’d better not continue. 

    When entering a ladies room stall, many commodes are now equipped with rotating sanitary toilet covers, which go around when you wave at them. I thought this quite civilized until I waved, and sat, and rode around a toilet three times before it stopped. 

    I used to know how to flush a toilet. I’d push a handle, and that was that. Now, one has to stand and study the contraption. Does it flush itself or does it pretend to flush itself? There is a difference. Often, self-flushing commodes pretend they are showers and activate at the wrong time. And when they are supposed to flush---they simply refuse. If this happens, a little red Alice in Wonderland button commands, “Push Me”.  This is when I recommend that you push and run.

    Sometimes, there is a hidden floor handle to stomp. Other times, you are required to play hide and seek with a secret lever located somewhere in the vicinity of the toilet, but not attached to it. Consequently, with all of these challenges, I often find myself in a public restroom, standing there, staring at the toilet. 

    Curiosity got the best of me, so I asked a reliable source if the vicissitudes are the same in the facilities for gentlemen. Oh, pity the men. Not only do they have the same problems, they are confronted with dry, waterless urinals. I have always thought that urinals would be beautiful planters. Of course, if they are waterless, you’d have to plant a cactus. But I digress.

    My source told me that now they have composting urinals. I’m not sure who collects that stuff at the end of the day, but it sounds environmentally disgusting. I was also shocked to read that to save energy, toilet scientists are now experimenting with electric toilets. I am not sure if they have to be plugged in to work, but I wonder if they will have a Ben Franklin kite affect in an electrical storm. More power to anyone who can save our planet. I’m all for it.

     Esther Blumenfeld (go green!)