the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: October 2005 (Page 1 of 3)

A Man Who Loves His Friends


To: Blogging Friends

Subject: [Citizen of the Month] Unique Business Opportunity

Dear Fellow Bloggers,

I am writing to you tonight from one of the world’s poorest countries in Africa.  I received an email this morning offering me a great opportunity to make a lot of money.  I love so many of you and appreciate your friendship.  That’s why I want to extend this opportunity to you as well.

A recent aquaintance of mine, Mobuku, recently stumbled across a bundle of American dollar bills sitting on the street in his country.  The worth of this money was  US$14,000,000:00.(FOURTEEN MILLION USD).  It belonged to a American businessman who died along with his entire family in an unfortunate  plane crash.   Of course, Mobuku tried to contact the next of kin, as is required by the banking guidelines of this terribly impoverished African country, but sadly, all of the businessman’s relations died in the plane crash — leaving nobody behind for the claim.

The banking laws of this corrupt Third World country are very specific: 

No citizen of this country walking around on foot can claim millions of dollars found in the street.  It must be claimed by either a relative or someone (or some group) in the country of the deceased at the time of the money’s discovery.

When Mobuku emailed me with this opportunity, I immediately jumped at the chance.  But on my arrival here, there was a major hitch.  The money was discovered on September 2. the exact day that I was with a couple of buddies at a strip joint in Montreal, Canada.  So, officially,  I was NOT in the country of the deceased at the time of the money’s discovery.

I therefore make this business proposal to you, my dear blogging friends.   Since I cannot claim this money by myself due to the legal requirements of this overcrowded and polluted country, I will consider ALL OF YOU as the next of kin.  After all, nobody is coming for it and we don’t want this money to go into the bank treasury as unclaimed money.  

As my mother might say, "That would be a waste."

We agree that 30% of this money will be set aside to be shared equally by every blogger who commits to be a partner in this enterprise, 10% will be set aside for expenses incurred during the business, and 60% would be for Mobuku and I.

Thereafter, I will visit each blogger in person (at your own expense, of course), for disbursement according to the percentages indicated. 

To enable the immediate transfer of these funds to you as arranged, you must first apply as the "next of kin of the deceased."  This means I will need each of you to write down your bank name, bank account number, private telephone and fax number for easy and effective communication, and location wherein the money will be remitted — and send me the information now

Please, time is running out, as this terribly anti-Semitic African country has it’s own very weird Daylight Savings Time system that is very confusing, and the food is terrible.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime.  Blogging favorite Stephanie Klein is already on board as a partner.  Please join Stephanie, Mobuku, and me in this unique business arrangement. 

Soon, we will ALL be so rich, we can blog to our heart’s content!

Yours faithfully,


Blog East, Young Man

(artwork by Hirschfeld)

A YOUNG BLOGGER approaches Neil.

Young Blogger:  "Master Neilochka, you are so wise.  I need your help.  I just started a blog. 

Neil:  "Very good, Young Blogger."

Young Blogger:  Yes, but I have a metaphysical question.  Is it really a blog if I have no readers?"

Neil:  "Ah, the ancient conundrum"

Young Blogger:  "How do I get people to notice me?"

Neil:  "It’s very simple, young blogger.  You write things that are interesting.

Young Blogger:  "I see… how profound.  So, you’re saying that the important thing to do is to write for myself because eventually people will see my unique vision and come wanting to hear more." 

Neil:  "No, you idiot.  You write things that are interesting to those who live in NEW YORK."

Neil turns to SPEAKS DIRECTLY to YOU from the other side of YOUR monitor.

Neil:  "Hi there, my good friends and readers.  Let me take a moment and bring you up to speed, as some of you seem to be having some problem following my posts lately.  Not that I’m insinuating anything about your intelligence, but — well, yes I am. 

As most of you know, Manhattan is a very small island.  But as the media center of the country, New Yorkers love to love themselves.  And since they run everything media-wise, if they’re not talking about you, you’re pretty much NOTHING.

Think about it.  A new movie opens.  Do the studios really care what the Des Moines Register says about the film?  Of course not.  It’s the New York Times.

When I started blogging, I was naive.  I became friendly with bloggers from such crazy places as Santa Cruz, California (the amazing Jenny and Ms. Sizzle)  and Montana (the writer and photographer Leesa)  (Montana?  Where the hell’s Montana?  Although I do think Robert Redford has a place there, but he’s one of the crazy guys that likes to live in the middle of nowhere).

But really, what was I thinking befriending bloggers living in God knows where?  How does it really help me move up to the Blogging B-List?

Look at a New Yorker’s blogroll and what do you see?  A New Yorker here and a New Yorker here and another New Yorker and maybe a New Yorker who got married and now lives in Connecticut.  And when I say New Yorker, I mean Manhattan.   A New York blogger would rather have someone from California on their blogroll than someone from (gasp) Queens!"

(artwork by Natalie Ascencios)

"So, if you want some attention for your blog, you must capture the New York-centric minds of other New Yorker bloggers.  For our first lesson, here are some buzz words that you can drop into your posts that might end up showing up in a Technorati search:

H & H Bagels

Grey’s Papaya

Fashion Week


Varick Street


But if you really want to OPEN THE EYES of a jaded New York blogger, the ultimate gimmick is to write a post about Stephanie Klein."


Neil moves in closer to YOUR monitor and speaks loudly.

"Do you hear that, New Yorkers?!  Contact Blogebrity!  I’m writing a post about STEPHANIE KLEIN!

Now, you bloggers in the other 49 states might be asking, "Who the hell is Stephanie Klein?" "

Neil shakes his head condescendingly. 

"How innocent and naive you Red State Americans are — with your chickens and farms and church-going and nuclear waste centers.

OK, I’ll let you in on a little secret.  Until recently, even I, the ultimate hipster, had never heard of Stephanie Klein.  When I first heard her name, it did sound familiar, but then I realized I was thinking of Stephanie Kleinman, who sat behind me in Hebrew School.

No, Stephanie Klein is a popular and talented blogger who writes about the miseries of her upscale life, using "Sex and the City"-style details of her sex life and relationships.  Because of this, she got herself a big book and TV deal. 

Based on a blog!  Can you imagine that?! 

Because of her BLOG?!"

Neil starts coughing and choking on his own words. 

The always beautiful Sophia enters, dressed in a Vanna White-style outfit.  She pats Neil on the back until he stops coughing, then gracefully exits.  

Neil continues.

"While most of us sit here in our underwear blogging in our tiny apartments, she got a big deal because of her blog!  And this has brought out the envy, admiration, and hatred that comes with the territory.  Some love her writing.  Others hate her as a person.  Who to believe?  Why should I care?

But it mattered to a lot of people.  The talented Fauxy and Sarah started a funny blog called "Tale of Two Sisters," which was a parody of Stephanie Klein’s blog, Greek Tragedy.  I don’t know what exactly happened, but there seems to have been talks of lawsuits and angry name-calling all around. But, then again, there’s nothing New York literary types love more than New York literary types fighting each other.

In the last couple of years, I’m sure you’ve all  read the many negative portrayals of President Bush.  Those who hate him have called him everything from a war criminal to a Hitler.  But these are compliments compared to what people have to say about Stephanie Klein." 

The YOUNG BLOGGER raises his hand.

Young Blogger:  "Excuse me, Master Neil, but I have a question."

Neil:  "Of course."

Young Blogger:  "Are you saying that only New Yorkers have an opinion about this blogger named Miss Klein?"

Neil:  "Excellent question.  No, there are others.  Once New Yorkers become interested in something, they tend to talk about it so much that even those from far away take an interest in their weird obsessions — for example, look how America quickly took to that moronic Donald Trump.  Or let me quote what Tim had to say about Stephanie Klein on his blog.  And he lives in Costa Rica:"

(reading from Tim’s blog)

"To put it bluntly, she is perhaps one of the more superficial, immature, shallow, money hungry, status seeking people I’ve met through blogs… and I fear a woman seemingly devoid of a value system or boundaries. Her fixation on penis size, while humorous, is distressing as she has apparently not yet learned (at age 30 or so) that the most important sex organ is the heart.

Her lack of understanding of men is truly unfortunate.

If she was as socially immature at Barnard as she is now, I can fully understand why she was the only woman in her class not to be invited to join a sorority. They had her number."

Neil chuckles to himself.

Neil:  "Jeez, now I worry what MY readers think about MY obsession with MY OWN penis."

A can of Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda (NY reference)  flies in from off-screen that almost hits Neil in the head.   Neil turns to see Sophia, shaking her head, annoyed.

Neil continues.

I have to admit that I really haven’t read much of Greek Tragedy, so I really can’t comment on the content.  I don’t know this Stephanie, either.  All I know is that her writing (and success) touched a nerve in many New Yorkers, such as the passionate Anocsanamum:"

(reading from Anocsanamum’s blog)

"Stephanie Klein IS NOT a REAL NYC woman.

A NYC woman is not meeting for coffee with friends midday, and seeing matinees. A NYC woman winces when she ALONE has to hand over the $2500.00 ransom check for the closet she dwells in. A NYC WOMAN goes to the corner bodega to get a 6-pack because spending that much money on wine is not conceivable in this lifetime.

A NYC woman has REAL HARDSHIP over REAL BREAKUPS. Not the imagined "if I were by myself" scrawlings of a Dominatrix with a boytoy.

I can’t stomach her, for the fact that she is the face the world assumes to be me. When people outside of NY think of US real women who live in NYC – with a REAL PERSON’s life, responsibility – trials and tribulations – they think we are all Free-lance PAM slicked hussies who have nothing better to do then dwell on our OH-SO SCREWED UP CHILDHOOD AT FAT CAMP.

Here she is with a silver spoon screaming at the top of her lungs because she has no Lennox China.


Neil walks over to a blackboard, picks up a piece of chalk, and writes the number "2."

Neil:  "So, the way I see it, there are two camps that dislike the woman.  One is the group who is repelled by the materialistic content of her writing.  The other group is the one who is jealous."


"I didn’t realize how many people in New York are using their blogs to get ahead in publishing or writing for magazines.   Sophia is definitely pushing me in that direction.  And to think, my original intent was to flirt with women!

But frankly, all this flirting has been one big disaster.  After six months of blogging, I have not received one topless photo of any of my readers.  Well, I did see one reader on the Bobbie-thon site, but that required my own initiative. "

Neil winks at the audience.

YOUNG BLOGGER raises his hand again.

Young Blogger:  Excuse me, Master Citizen, but may I ask another question?

Neil:  Of course.  That’s what I’m here for.

Young Blogger:  Is there an actual point to all  this?   I mean your interest in bloggers’ boobies is interesting, but what is your opinion of Stephanie Klein?  Surely you must have some important insights into this controversial issue.

Neil:  Young Blogger, I see that you have a long way to go in your blogging career.  Don’t think so much.  It doesn’t matter what my opinion is.  I have no opinion.  All that matters is that I use the right New York buzz words like "Stephanie Klein" to get the attention of those bigwigs in the Big Apple so they’ll come and read my blog.   These New York types are so obsessed with themselves that you’ll never get noticed unless you make believe you care about nonsense like this Stephanie Klein brouhaha.  Now bring me over my "H & H Bagel" and my "New York Times" so I don’t have to "schlep" over there.

Jane Loves Target


Meet Jane.  She loves Target so much she bought a car of the same color.


Jane finds Target very sexy, unlike the boring Walmart.  Target has fancy designer brands.


Jane likes to try on sexy clothes at Target.


Jane loves these Mossimo Gold Pricilla Crocodile ‘fuck me’ pumps she found at Target.


Jane remembers a funny article which said you can "buy all sorts of unintentional sex toys at Target like novelty handcuffs, furry slap bracelets, and phallic garden hoses equipped with "turret pistols." "


Jane doesn’t have a boyfriend and decides to buy the Ultra Percussion Massager with Heat at Target.


Richard works at Target.  He is divorced.  He once dated Jane in high school.


Richard sees that Jane doesn’t have a boyfriend.


Richard gives Jane exactly what she needs in the employee dressing room.  Three times. 

Richard is concerned that they didn’t use a condom.


Jane says don’t worry.  She has a prescription for emergency contraception from her physician.


This is Mr. Willis, the Target pharmacist.   Mr. Willis says that Target does not fill those types of prescriptions, even if they are perfectly legal.  Target is a family store and not about sex.

(props to Miss Tanya)

More info at Blogging Baby, Crazy Virgo, Bite My Cookie, and City Mama

Simon & Garfunkel, meet Melville and Beck

By popular demand (well, actually it was Sophia), I’ve moved this comment from my Jane Austen/Pussycat Dolls post over here so it can have its own home.  Why?  I’m not really sure. 

Here was Mernitman’s request –

“Risking the lit-esoterica zone, I’ll put my bid in to see the Melville/Beck mash-up, in which Bartleby the Scrivener sings, “I would prefer not to / I’M A LOSER, BABY!”…”

So, here it goes, just for you:



Imagine my surprise, nay, my consternation, when, without moving from his privacy, Bartleby, in a singularly mild, firm voice, replied, “I would prefer not to.”

In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey
Butane in my veins and I’m out to cut the junkie
With the plastic eyeballs, spray-paint the vegetables
Dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose

I sat awhile in perfect silence, rallying my stunned faculties. Immediately it occurred to me that my ears had deceived me, or Bartleby had entirely misunderstood my meaning. I repeated my request in the clearest tone I could assume; but in quite as clear a one came the previous reply, “I would prefer not to.”

Kill the headlights and put it in neutral
Stock car flaming with a loser in the cruise control
Baby’s in Reno with the vitamin-D
Got a couple of couches, sleep on the loveseat
Someone keeps sayin’ I’m insane to complain about

“Prefer not to,” echoed I, rising in high excitement, and crossing the room with a stride. “What do you mean? Are you moon-struck? I want you to help me compare this sheet here — take it,” and I thrust it towards him.

“I would prefer not to,” said he.

A shotgun wedding and a stain on my shirt
Don’t believe everything that you breathe
You get a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve
So shave your face with some mace in the dark
Saving all your food stamps and burnin’ down the trailer park
Yo cut it!

I looked at him steadfastly. His face was leanly composed; his gray eyes dimly calm. Not a wrinkle of agitation rippled him. Had there been the least uneasiness, anger, impatience or impertinence in his manner; in other words, had there been anything ordinarily human about him, doubtless I should have violently dismissed him from the premises.

Soy un perdedor
I’m a loser baby
So why don’t you kill me?

But as it was I should have as soon thought of turning my pale plaster-of-Paris bust of Cicero out of doors. I stood gazing at him awhile, as he went on with his own writing, and then reseated myself at my desk. This is very strange, thought I. What had one best do?

(double-barrel buckshot)
Soy un perdedor
I’m a loser baby
So why don’t you kill me?

Try one yourself!

Jane Austen and the Pussycats

Hey, DJ Neilochka here tonight for all those brainy lovers out there who WANT their literature with a little funk, their books with a little BOOGIE — this is for you — a literary/song mash-up where the button down babes of the 19th Century meet the bottoms up beauties of today.

What is a mash-up?

So, here we go, a mash-up of Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice" (now a movie!) and The Pussycat Dolls "Don’t Cha." 



Pride and Prejudice – Chapter One

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

I know you like me (I know you like me)
I know you do (I know you do)
Thats why whenever I come around
Shes all over you (she’s all over you)
I know you want it (I know you want it)
Its easy to see (it’s easy to see)
And in the back of your mind
I know you should be f***ing me (babe)

"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."

Mr. Bennett made no answer.

"Do not you want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.

"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."

This was invitation enough.

Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?
Don’t cha
Don’t cha
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me?
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me?
Don’t cha
Don’t cha

"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week."

"What is his name?"


"Is he married or single?"

"Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"

I know I’m on your mind
I know we’d have a good time
I’m your friend
I’m fun
And I’m fine
I aint lying
Look at me shit
You ain’t blind (you ain’t blind)
I know I’m on your mind

"How so? how can it affect them?"

"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them."

"Is that his design in settling here?"

"Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes."

Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?(like me)
Don’t cha (Don’t cha baby)
Don’t cha
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend raw like me? (raw)
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend fun like me (big fun)
Don’t cha
Don’t cha

Keep it Real.  Peace.  DJ Neilochka – OUT!

Jonny Kops — Remember That Name!

(photos by Lawrence K. Ho/LAT)

Let’s admit it.   We all want to hang out with the hipsters.  To be where the cool people are. 

Even the stodgy LA Times.  Why else would the Los Angeles Times do a Page One story yesterday on Mark "The Cobra Snake" Hunter, a blogger famous for taking photos of hipsters at cool parties and posting them on his website, The Cobra Snake?

With evident glee, Mark "The Cobra Snake" Hunter bypasses a long door line and climbs the steps to the packed upstairs level of the Hollywood club Cinespace, his digital Canon D20 camera at his side.

As soon as Hunter and his two female friends are in, hipsters in the crowd reach out to greet him, call out his name, give him high-fives. Hunter is frenetically taking pictures, complimenting strangers on their outfits, searching for the next shot almost before he finishes the first.

It makes the Los Angeles Times look as cool as Sergeant Friday did when he ‘got down’ with the ‘hippies’ in one of the old Dragnet episodes.


Let’s admit it.  We all want to hang out with the hipsters.  To be where the cool people are. 

Even young music producer Jonny Kops.   For years, Jonny has dreamed of hitting it big.  Sure it’s a tough biz, but if he makes the right connections, goes to the right parties, gets his name out there…

Jonny is at the hip Cinespace when Mark "The Cobra Snake" Hunter bursts in with his Canon D20.  Daniel Hernandez, Times Staff writer, is following their every move:

It is nearing midnight on a typical Tuesday for the city’s most sought after self-made party photographer.

"I’ve met you before, I met you at that party. What was it? The Diesel party?" Hunter asks Jonny Kops, a 25-year-old Brooklyn music producer standing against a wall holding a beer.

Hunter is already snapping his portrait.

"He’s all over the place," Kops says after Hunter disappears to look for another shot. "He’s the Ron Jeremy of photography," a reference to the famously homely porn star.


Jonny Kops is proud of his witty comment.   He ponders his new found fame.

"Things are going to change now.  I’m gonna be in the LA Times.  Every hipster in town is gonna know my name."

He smiles at a cute blond with fake boobs, who runs past him, waving to Mark "The Cobra Snake" Hunter.

"Take my photo!  Take my photo!  Please!"  she  screams.

Jonny Kops takes a sip of his beer.  Jonny laughs to himself.

"Soon, the women will be running after me.   Once my name is in the paper, every female blogger is gonna wanna fuck me.  Jonny Kops.  Remember that name.  Jonny Kops."


In today’s LA Times (in small print):


My Hit Broadway Musical


On of the most anticipated New York theater pieces this fall is the opening of Dog Sees God:  Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead.

"Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead’ is an "unauthorized parody" that follows the Peanuts gang – all grown up. Set approximately ten years after the events in the fifty-year-running comic strip, ‘Dog Sees God’ begins with Snoopy’s death, and things for the introspective "CB" go downhill from there. Still trying to understand life’s darker meanings, still plagued with his endless identity crisis, CB talks to his gang of friends to find answers to his many questions. Of course, this gives us the chance to laugh at seeing what became of these well-loved and recognizable characters.

Clearly, producers are trying to mirror the success of "Avenue Q," where the characters are modeled after the former-happy-go-lucky creatures of ”Sesame Street.”

It’s a perfect formula to appeal to the media obsession and ironic tendencies of the younger generation.   Take some old time childhood comfort and throw in some modern edge.

Was this the same formula that was used to update everyone’s favorite childhood movie, "The Wizard of Oz," into Wicked?

"Wicked," which has won 10 Tony nominations, finds good and evil reversed. Glinda the Good is a ruthless alpha girl, embodied by Kristin Chenoweth as the queen of spiteful, popularity-obsessed perk. Her nemesis, Elphaba (Idina Menzel), the Wicked Witch of the West, is an idealistic do-gooder and social pariah with a scary green complexion, who is fanatically intent on liberating Oz’s caged animals.

Of course, Broadway isn’t as predictable as most Hollywood movies.  There are other ways of capturing nostalgia without destroying our memories of childhood classics.  How about reliving the favorite songs of our past in a musical with no plot?  Let’s see, there have been musicals based on the music of Billy Joel, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Queen, Abba – am I missing anyone?

Today, I sat down and decided to develop a Broadway hit.  What if I could create a show that combines the characters of a childhood favorite (using a edgy gimmick) with a lively musical that features the hit songs of a popular singing group?  And I found it! 


Broadway’s next hit — Alvin and the Chipmunks! What other cartoon characters also have a #1 Billboard album?  Sit back and watch as Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, now middle-aged, deal with divorce, tummy tucks, and Alvin’s pornography addiction (with plenty of their old songs to rock the house!)

(All right you Chipmunks)
(Ready to sing your song)
(I’ll say we are)
(Let’s sing it now)
(Okay, Simon)
(Okay, Theodore)
(Okay, Alvin, Alvin, ALVIN, Where’s ALVIN?)
(He’s online downloading photos of MILFs again!)

Citizen of the Month Wants a Cure


Sophia:  "Neilochka, you certainly love writing about my breasts on your blog, don’t you?"

Neil:  "Of course.  They’re the most exciting things I’ve had to play with since my Etch-A-Sketch."

Note to God:  Are you crazy?  Why did you create the most beautiful things in the world, a brilliant piece of female anatomy that comes in so many tasty shapes and sizes — and then come up with this breast cancer shit?

Sophia:  "You know, it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Why don’t you say something about breast cancer?"

Neil:  "Like what?"

Sophia:  "You can talk about me." 

Neil:  "I can?" 

Sophia:  "It’s been a year."

It’s been a year.

It’s been a year since they found cancer in Sophia’s left breast.

Last year was pretty shitty.  This is why I was so glad that the Jewish New Year finally came a couple of weeks ago.  Maybe this year will be better.  The year had ended with my father passing away.  It began with Sophia learning she had breast cancer.

There was no history of cancer in Sophia’s family, so it came as a total shock.  It was a time of stress, fear and uncertainty.  National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great idea —  except when your life was just turned upside down and you suddenly became a "patient" dealing with breast cancer.  Everywhere you go, you are reminded of the disease.  At the supermarket, there are banners hanging.  You try to escape to the mall, and everyone is selling pink bunnies, slippers, bracelets.  Neither of us knew much about cancer, but we sat down for a quick education.  We read every medical site and every book possible.  We got the best doctors at Cedars-Sinai.  Sophia had a lumpectomy and through her own research, found out about a radical experimental radiation treatment.

Sophia was so brave throughout.

It was a new experience for me, as well.  I was supposed to be the caregiver, the "rock,"  but I was probably more of a "big stone."  Although I was always at Sophia’s side, I had this slight little problem of always being more nervous than Sophia herself.  I wish I could have been more like Sophia was when my father was in the hospital.  She can be a "rock."  I never had the strength to demand the best of everyone in the hospital, the way Sophia did for my father.

In fact, I found the experience so stressful, that two days before Sophia was to have her surgery, I got so tense that I ended up at Cedars-Sinai’s Emergency Room myself!  I don’t think the ER nurses ever really understood why my wife was calling me on the phone cursing at me for being in the hospital.

Many of you have emailed me through the last couple of months, asking why Sophia and I are separated.  The most common comment is "You write about her with so much love and admiration." 

There’s no one I love or admire more than Sophia.  Today, despite everything she went through, she is more beautiful than ever.  But, she is still on medication and dealing with continuous treatment and the side effects.  Sometimes, she gets down on herself or fears for her future health.  But she’s a brave and strong woman.  And boy, is she funny too.  I think a good sense of humor is really important in keeping yourself healthy.  On Saturday night, we actually worked together on that recent post on my blog — the one about the flowers and the "sticker."  When we finished it, we must have laughed for a half hour. There’s nothing more exciting to me than seeing Sophia laugh and smile.

Sophia’s sense of humor helped her maintain a great relationship with her doctors.  She was especially friendly with her great surgeon, Scott Karlan and his caring staff.  After her surgery, Sophia thanked him by ordering him a marzipan cake shaped as two huge breasts, with one a little bit lopsided, like hers was after the surgery.

I hope Sophia knows how much she means to me — whatever she is right now — my wife, my separated wife, my friend, my blog editor-in-chief, my dance partner, or the straight man in most of my blog posts.

I think I learned to be a better "rock" during times of hardship, even if I didn’t always say the right thing.  I still try to "fix things" when I should just listen.  Once a week Sophia goes to a group at the Wellness Community, a great place, where people with cancer, their friends and loved ones can talk about different issues.  One of the biggest complaints heard very often is that people just don’t know how to talk to someone with cancer, either out of insecurity, fear or stupidity.

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sophia’s group did something special for "Citizen of the Month" :they made a list of stupid things people have said to them.  Let’s hope that reading some of these will help us avoid making the same mistakes.

15 things you should never say to someone with breast cancer:

But you’re so young!

How long do you have?

And you have such beautiful breasts!

Oh no, what are your kids going to do?

You shouldn’t be depressed because if you get down, you’ll waste what little time you have left.

God only gives you what you can handle. 

But you look so good!

Two people just died in our office from cancer — these things always come in threes.

Oh, no.  That’s so weird.  I just saw Melissa Etheridge in concert last week.

I’m wracking my brain.  What could have you done to cause it?

Do you use paper or plastic? — because I read plastic can cause it.

At least with a double mastectomy, you’ll be even.

Don’t say the word.  Just say "C."

Now you’ll see if he really loves you for you.

I know how you feel.

Here’s something you can say:

Sophia, you’re amazing.  Congratulations on being a one-year breast cancer survivor — and getting healthier every day!


21st Century Additions to the Dictionary


dooced adjective
having lost your job because of something you have put in an Internet weblog

The word dooced was coined in 2002 by Heather Armstrong, a Los Angeles web designer who lost her job after writing about work colleagues in her personal blog, Her subsequent advice to fellow bloggers is straightforward: ‘Never write about work on the Internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact …’

neilochked adjective

when a blogger’s own mother loses her job at a prestigious publishing firm (home of Nobel prize winning authors such as T. S. Eliot, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Czeslaw Milosz, Joseph Brodsky, and Seamus Heaney) after a woman named Sophia convinces her to ask the editor-in-chief to read her son’s blog on the same day that he just happens to post a story about a $3.99 sticker hanging from his cock.

OK, she didn’t really get fired, but nobody asked her to lunch today.  Coincidence?

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