Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: January 2006 (page 1 of 2)

Wanted: A Hot Scorpio Woman

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I’m a man of science, so astrology, like tarot card reading and mind-reading, is just pure nonsense to me.  Is there anyone out there who believes in astrology?  Don’t be shy.  I’m open-minded.  Maybe you can explain how it all works — why your birth date and the way the solar system is on that particular day, has any bearing on your personality.

Usually, I write my Tuesday post on Monday night.  Tuesday is the biggest day of the week for me in blogland.  For some reason, I get the most traffic on Tuesday, so I always try to prepare the most entertaining and heart-wrenching post for all of my dear readers.

Just as I was about to start writing, I got a phone call from Sophia.  She was coming over and going to stay the night.  Now, this is an extremely unlikely situation.  Whenever we have some event planned, I always go over to her house.  So, this was a big treat.  I rushed around my apartment, washing my dishes, changing the sheets, and washing some towels. 

Of course this posed a dilemma:  Do I write my important Tuesday post for a bunch of dumb strangers or pay attention to Sophia, a real live gorgeous woman?  (by the way, I decided to like boobs again)

So much of our relationship works, and so much doesn’t.   Sometimes I think it is our "love signs" that are working against us.  In fact, once we were in Borders and we looked inside some huge book titled exactly that —  "Love Signs."  We looked up the compatibility of Pisces (me) and Aquarius (Sophia).  The author wrote something like this:

"No self-respecting astrologer would wish this romantic arrangement, even on their worst enemy.  Your emotional rhythms and temperaments are rather different. Pisces is gentle, non-competitive, somewhat passive and has a need to get away from it all on a regular basis. Aquarius, on the other hand, needs involvement in the world and the flow of contemporary life.  This is NOT a match made in heaven."

We didn’t fare much better in Chinese astrology.  One book suggested that Sophia should be in a cool room and should sleep facing north, while I need a warm room and must sleep facing south. 

The scary thing is that many of these details about our relationship rang true.

I’ve been looking at some astrological websites today, trying to learn more about this subject.  It is not good news for Sophia and me.  Romantic-tips.com had this to say:

PISCES & AQUARIUS: – This is not the best union. The Water-bearer is far too cool and detached for you. Your tears and tantrums will soon tire the Aquarius.

AQUARIUS & PISCES: – This is a pretty dicey combination. The Fish’s emotional blackmail only drives you further away. The Pisces is likely to end up hurt and confused.

Uh-oh.

Maybe it’s time to just accept the logic of the stars.  Maybe it’s time to focus on finding a woman who is better suited for me. 

Yes.  What I am really looking for is a SCORPIO.

PISCES & SCORPIO: – This is a highly sexual union. You love to be possessed and cared for with the deep, warm affection that the Scorpion can provide. Truly a match made in heaven.

Are any of you Scorpios out there?  Because if you are, we need to talk, immediately.

Here’s how I would get along with the rest of you.

PISCES & ARIES: – You are far too sensitive for the aggressive Ram. You will be left behind to drown in your sorrows. An unfortunate match.

PISCES & TAURUS: – This is not a bad connection, however the Bull can get upset with your impractical nature. You, on the other hand, may find that the Bull is too stubborn.

PISCES & GEMINI: – Your emotional blackmail will usually hold a Gemini, however sorrow almost always prevails. A very destructive union for both parties involved.

PISCES & CANCER: – You belong together. You are both sensitive, weepy and love to dwell in self-pity. This is a great match, certainly lasting, however someone negative and moody.

PISCES & LEO: – You are doomed in this alliance. The Lion is too outgoing and you are far too sensitive. A hurtful relationship with little substance.

PISCES & VIRGO: – This is your polar attraction. It can be extremely perverse in the bedroom, but difficult at a mental level. You are impractical and this will really try the Virgoans patience.

PISCES & LIBRA: – You are both creatively inclined, however you are just not sophisticated enough for the Scales. Librans also have trouble putting up with your emotional whims.

PISCES & SCORPIO: – This is a highly sexual union. You love to be possessed and cared for with the deep, warm affection that the Scorpion can provide. Truly a match made in heaven.

PISCES & SAGITTARIUS: – This is not your best alliance as the Archer’s non-committal nature will hurt your tender heart. Your daily melodramas will drive the Sagittarius away.

PISCES & CAPRICORN: – This is not a bad combo in general however, you will probably run around on the Goat due to loneliness. You are also too wasteful for the Capricorn to deal with.

PISCES & AQUARIUS: – This is not the best union. The Water-bearer is far too cool and detached for you. Your tears and tantrums will soon tire the Aquarius.

PISCES & PISCES: – This is an emotional connection. Extremely good in the bedroom, but difficult out of the bedroom. You both crave attention and affection yet you want to do your own thing. Exhausting but exciting.

Here is the full list of all zodiac signs and their compatibility.  It is very important that you see where you stand with your spouse or lover.    This is a very classy and legitimate website, as you can tell from the tons of advertisements blinking in your face.  After you read about the state of your zodiac love connection, some of you may want to leave your spouse NOW before it is too late.

Not to be unfair, I looked up Sophia, and according to the stars, she should be looking for an Aries for a relationship (hopefully a rich one) and a Sagittarius for sex.

Fact-Finding Mission

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Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles is one of its most shameful spots.  Thousands of homeless roam the streets in this scary 50 square block section of the city.  But finally, Los Angeles city officials are tackling this problem.  A delegation of Los Angeles leaders, including representatives from downtown Los Angeles’ business, law enforcement, and political organizations, travelled to New York’s Times Square on a "fact-finding mission."

New York famously cleaned up Times Square in the 1990s. More than $1 billion has been poured into the area for shelters, housing and cleanup. Times Square saw a 68% decrease in crime between 1992 and 2005. Once a cluster of sex shows and run-down buildings, it is now a bustling city center and tourist destination.

Can Skid Row learn from Times Square?  This 30-member delegation wanted to find out.

Of course, there are huge differences in these two areas.  New York’s Times Square has been world-famous for a hundred-odd years and is located in the middle of the city.  Skid Row is in an grungy dangerous part of town that Angelenos wouldn’t travel to for any reason, even if Pamela Anderson announced she was going to strip naked there on Friday night.  

Some wondered if the trip was really necessary at all.  After all, isn’t the man who "cleaned up" Times Square, former NYPD head William J. Bratton, now the Chief of Police of the LAPD?  Why not just take him out for lunch here in LA and ask him?  Why travel 3000 miles and spend our city’s dollars? 

But City Council members were adamant that this trip was necessary in order to learn what New Yorkers do right — and to find solutions to Los Angeles’ homeless problem.

I feel honored here at Citizen of the Month to be able to sit down with several members of the delegation, to discuss their trip — and what it could mean for Los Angeles.

Councilman Ed Cheatem (D) said,

"My assignment was to see as many Broadway shows around Times Square as possible.  I was especially impressed by the enthusiastic crowd at "Spamalot."  If Los Angeles was able to build several Broadway-sized theaters on Skid Row, imagine how that would help clean up the area?"

Asst. Police Commissioner Manuel Dinero disagreed.

"I saw "Spamalot" and wasn’t impressed.   The biggest problem facing Skid Row in Los Angeles is the lack of fine eating establishments, like they have here on Times Square.  I chose to eat dinner 3-4 times at Becco on West 45th Street.   To taste Lidia Bastianich’s Antipasto Misto, an assortment of marinated and grilled vegetables with assorted seafood, was a real eye-opener.  If we were to open an establishment like this in skid row, I would think our problem would be solved.   Most homeless people cannot afford to eat in a restaurant like this, so they would just move away to a place like Riverside or Oxnard."

Not everything for the delegation revolved around education and "fact-finding."  After all, they were in the "city that never sleeps."

State Senator Igor Misleadi said,

"I’m sure the taxpayers understand that part of our mission in New York was to behave like a typical upscale tourist, in order to learn ways to improve our Skid Row as a tourist destination."

It was State Senator Misleadi himself who chose the fashionable W Hotel, Times Square, as their home base.

"We definitely need one of these on Skid Row!" said downtown LA real estate developer Will Steel.

While most of the group went out "clubbing" during their second night in New York,  Los Angeles Administrative Officer David Embezzlo and former Council Supervisor Mario Fraude, remained in the hotel, continuing with their work.  As part of their research, they asked two high-priced hookers to come to their rooms.  They were eager to learn what differentiates upscale New York hookers from the prostitutes on Los Angeles’ Skid Row.   Knowing that finding streetwalkers is impossible in visitor-friendly Times Square, they chose instead to deal with an escort service that operated from the Upper East Side. 

Supervisor Fraude spoke about his findings: 

"The fact that these women had to travel to Times Square did nothing to hamper their abilities to perform their services.   I was very impressed.  The obvious difference between these upscale New York hookers and their Skid Row counterparts is that these New Yorkers were much more attractive.   I also felt less fear of catching some disease.  Although their prices were a tad high for a typical county supervisor’s salary, I would say that a New York hooker puts a great deal more effort into her blowjob than the typical prostitute on Skid Row."

Administrative Officer Embezzlo agreed.

"I really learned a lot during this "fact-finding mission" to New York.  I’m hoping we gain as many insights during our upcoming "research" trip to Paris."

Ms. Neilochka

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Because of the well-oiled media machine that loves this stuff,  I’m sure you’ve heard of the controversial book, Self-Made Man, by journalist Norah Vincent.  In it, Ms. Vincent dresses up as a man to explore what life is like as the opposite sex.   The reviews have been mixed,  especially in view of the author’s "shocking" revelations:

Strip joints are about "pure sex drive – completely empty of any meaningful interaction."

OR

Male sexuality is "a bodily function. It’s a necessity. It’s such a powerful drive and I think because we [women] don’t have testosterone in our systems, we don’t understand how hard it is."

You can hear her being interviewed here.

Like Ms. Vincent, I’ve always been curious about what makes the opposite gender tick.  What is it that makes women so mysterious?  So sexy?  How do they view us?  What hardships do they have to go through on a daily basis that I, as a male, can never understand?

Today, I found out.  I went undercover as a woman.

I woke up early in the morning to begin my experiment.   Luckily, Sophia had left some of her clothes over at my apartment. Like Robert De Niro in Raging Bull, I was going to get completely into my character. 

I started by putting on a pair of Sophia’s cotton panties, the cute ones that say "If You Can Read This, You’re Getting Laid" on the ass.   Next was picking the outfit, which wasn’t as easy as I expected.  I once saw a neighbor on the second floor wearing the same Donna Karan dress that Sophia left in the closet, so there was no way I was going to wear it today.  What if I met the neighbor in the elevator and we were wearing the same outfit?!  How embarrassing. 

I finally settled on this perfect little black dress that Sophia found at Nordstrom.  It was simple, but chic.  It also did wonders for my figure.  Girl, you don’t want to hear about my hips since I drank all that egg nog at Christmas!  Don’t worry, soon I’m going to start that New Years’s resolution and go to the gym.  Yeah, right.

The best part of my outfit were my new shoes.  Ladies, look and weep!

After I was dressed, I grabbed my purse and headed out.  I decided to start my experiment at my local Ralphs Supermarket.  Would I be treated there any differently as a female than I had been as a male?

As I went up and down the aisles, I made sure that I only  bought gender-specific products:  low-fat yogurt, low-fat ice cream,  low-fat milk, Kotex, and Soap Opera Digest.  I did buy one small package of regular Oreos, but don’t tell the others at Weight Watchers.

At the check-out counter was a real hunk.  He was a good-looking young Latino with strong arms and sparkling blue eyes.  He scanned my items and I took out my VISA.  As I swiped my credit card, I noticed that he was staring at me.

"So, this is what its like to be a woman." I thought.  "To be a constant object of a man’s animal-like lust."

"I.D.," he said.

Suddenly, I realized I had a problem.  As I rubbed my chin, which is a nervous tic of mine,  it occurred to me that I had forgotten to shave and I had three-day old stubble. 

I handed him my I.D.

"Neil Kramer?"

"Yes."

"You look very different here."

"Oh, that’s a terrible photo of me anyway!  I never come out good in photos.  I always look so fat!"

"Excuse me for asking.  But, uh, Neil Kramer, are you a lady?"

I knew I had to lie.  Or my experiment would be ruined.

"Yes, I am.  And that’s Ms. Kramer to you,"

"It says here on your I.D. that you’re a man."

"Maybe you need glasses, sir."

"I don’t need any glasses.   Do you have another photo I.D.?"

"I resent the way you’re being condescending to me just because I’m a woman."

"Listen, you’re a dude, man."

"Oh, so why are you looking at my cleavage?"

"You have no cleavage.  You’re as flat as a tortilla."

"Misogynist!"

"What?  What the hell does that mean?  Is that some sort of insult about me being Mexican?"

"Oh, I heard about you Mexican guys.  You talk a good game, but three minutes in the sack and you go "adios, muchacha."

"I’ll show you adios, muchacha, you bitch!"

The Ralphs check-out guy jumped over the counter and threw himself at me.

"What the… Help!  Help!  This man is attacking a woman!"

‘You’re no fucking woman.  You’re loco, man.  Loco."

"Help!  Rapist!  The feminists are right!  They’re all rapists!  Men are all rapists!  Police!"

Luckily, there were three LAPD officers in the supermarket, buying a box of Krispy Kremes.  They jumped the check-out guy and knocked him out with a taser gun.  BZZZZ.

One of the cops was nice enough to comfort me.

"You’re OK now, Miss.  He’ll be out for quite a while." he said, as he pinched my ass.  "By the way, what are you doing later for dinner?"

MY CONCLUSION:  Men are Pigs.

Nauseous and Nauseated

Sometimes I get so very sad because my English ain’t the best
Whenever we studied grammar in school, I always flunked the test

But today I made some progress with “nauseous and nauseated,”
For the rest of the day, I was goofing off — I felt so damn elated.

So, listen to the following and tell me how you feel.
And send me your good wishes to yahoo@dot.neil

I was sitting in a Starbucks, just doing my morning shtick
When outside, I see a homeless guy standing with his dick

Now, when I see a homeless guy who I think just masturbated,
Am I wrong to sit in Starbucks feeling all NAUSEATED?

According to Sophia, my grammar is atrocious,
But now I’ve learned, without a doubt — that guy was very NAUSEOUS.

So, hah-hah-hah — you see it? — I finally got it right!
Nauseous and Nauseated  — my ego’s taking flight.

I hope to use my brand new skills to talk to a new neighbor,
This amazing chick from UCLA, Professor Dina Haber.

So, speaking proper English is clearly my new aim,
I’m hoping I’ll get laid by this gorgeous classy dame.

Be of Good Cheer

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During the summer, my father passed away.  My father’s funeral was very beautiful and dignified.  But I was disappointed.  I don’t think it captured my father’s quirky personality. Don’t get me wrong.  Everything went perfect.  Everyone was moved.   It just seemed more for the guests than my father.

After someone dies, everything is very chaotic.  There’s people to call.  Arrangements to make.  The person who died can get lost in the shuffle.

Jewish comedians always make fun of bar mitzvahs, saying that American kids treat them like jokes.  Kids make elaborate parties for their bar mitzvahs, some with crass themes, like baseball teams or Star Trek.   I used to mock these parties myself, but my view is changing.  At least these kids throw a party that reflects themselves.  Why are funerals always so drab.  Why aren’t there any funerals with exotic themes?  

I know this sounds a bit tasteless.  But my father loved the movie "Lawrence of Arabia."  Wouldn’t it be have been cool to have decorated the funeral home like a Arab sheik’s home?  Or an oasis in the Sahara desert?  I’m sure many of the guests would find it tacky and uncomfortable.  But who cares?  My father would have loved it! 

In the Jewish religion, you don’t put up the stone until a year after the death.  Today, my mother called me at home:

"On the way home from work, I bought your father’s stone."

"You did?  It’s only been five months."

"Well, I was in Flushing and I was passing the store. 

"You never can wait, can you?

"It’s going to be a very nice one.   "Kramer" in the middle, and then, "Devoted husband, father, and brother.""

"That’s all?"

"What do you want it to say?"

"I don’t know.  It’s just so… bleh.  It’s like me writing a post that says "Have a Nice Day.""

"We’re not talking about your blodge on the computer.  We’re talking about a stone in a cemetery." 

"How about at least, "Devoted husband, excellent father, and really cool brother?"  I think we can up up with something better for Dad."

"You’re the writer.  You think about it."

I met Sophia at the Coffee Bean.  We sat down to think.  Within thirty seconds, we came up with the exact same solution:

"Be of Good Cheer!"

Be of Good Cheer.  For some reason, my father always ended every phone conversation with that bizarre saying.  I have no idea where he got it from.  I’ve never heard anyone else say it.  It also sounded very 19th Century, like something Sherlock Holmes might say to Dr. Watson.  Maybe my father first heard it in an old movie as a child.

Arthur Kramer, devoted husband, father, and brother.  Be of Good Cheer.

So far, we haven’t sold the idea to my mother.

I know this is a depressing thought, but should we all start thinking about our funerals?  Do you want a traditional  ceremony?  Or something exotic?   Do you care what is written on your stone?  Would you like a certain song to be played?

I always liked "American Pie" from Don McLean:

They were singing,
"bye-bye, miss american pie."
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die."

Call Me

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Last week, I made fun of businesses that “pay” bloggers to talk about their products.    I became a hero to consumer advocates everywhere, a Ralph Nader of the blogosphere. 

That exact night, in a bizarre twist of fate, I received an email from Sprint.  In it, someone from Sprint wrote that after reading “Citizen of the Month,” they wanted to invite me to be part of the Sprint Ambassador Program.  As an “ambassador” for Sprint, I would receive a free phone with free calls, emailing, etc. for six months. 

The Sprint Ambassador Program is all about exploring our latest products and services and allows you to give direct feedback to Sprint. We recently launched the Sprint Power Vision (SM) Network and want to provide you with the full experience, at no charge. Sprint Power Vision Network enables customers to download data at faster speeds and experience new data products.

I wasn’t required to do anything, but I wasn’t discouraged about writing good things about Sprint on my blog.  At first, I thought this was some sort of Nigerian scam, but I Googled the program, and found out it was legit.

“Go for it,” said Sophia.  “Then give the free phone to me.”

“Why should I give it to you?  They want me to use it.”

“Neilochka, you still haven’t figured out how to use your current phone.”

She was right about my lack of interest in my current phone.  And what type of ambassador would I really be?  Would I have to keep on bugging my readers to switch from Cingular and T-Mobile?  I could imagine the post I would be writing in a month: 

Hey, blogger pals!  Have you seen Sprint‘s new phones lately?  SEXY!   And Sprint‘s sound quality?   I haven’t actually listened to it yet, but I know it is the best in the business.   You can hear a pin drop!   And I’m not just saying this in the hope that Sprint extends my use of a free phone to one year.  Of course not.  As a fellow blogger, I care about you.  That’s why I strongly advise all of you to go out RIGHT NOW and…

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted with a tapping sound.

“Uh, excuse me…”

I looked down and saw my penis tapping me on the right thigh.

“What is it, Penis?”

“I guess I should also come clean with your readers.”

“Jeez, Penis, I don’t think my readers want to hear the details about what happened while watching Cheryl Burke, Drew Lachey’s amazingly sexy dance partner, do the mambo on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

“No, not that.  I also got an email from a company wanting to recruit me.  I’m now an official “Trojan Brand Evangelist.”

“What the hell is that?”

“I get to try out Trojan’s new “Super Ribbed for Her Pleasure” condoms for free.    Only a select group of A-list penises are asked to be evangelists.  Of course, there’s a little promise I made.   You’ll have to write about how good the condoms are on your blog.”

“Write about them?  I haven’t even used them!”

“But I did.”

“You did?  When?”

“While you were sleeping last night, I put one on myself.  And they are excellent.   Much more comfortable than those awful Japanese ones you bought last time.   And with the “Super Ribbing,” women are going to love getting fucked by you.”

“Penis, could you watch your mouth?   I have religious people reading this blog.”

“I’m trying to get you laid, you idiot!  Now shut up and listen to your big cock!”

“Well, you’re really not that big…”

“Shut up, moron!   It’s all about salesmanship!  You’re never going to get anywhere without selling yourself.  No matter whether its cell phones, condoms, blogs, or getting some pussy.”

“Penis.  I must insist you stop talking like that.  I pride myself on being a feminist.  I don’t think women should be objectified as sex objects.”

“Think about it, dumbass.  Why do you think you’re not getting laid?  Women like sex.  Don’t you read your own comments?  They even like getting spanked.  So stop asking Sophia, “Would you like to fool around?” in a meek little voice!   Carry her to the bed, go between her legs, and don’t come up until she’s screaming for yours truly, your cock, in Russian and Hebrew.” 

“That’s enough out of you… or I’m going to wash your mouth with soap.”

“Ooh, please do.  By the way, Neilochka, that was an interesting IM conversation you had with that female blogger last night.”

“It was completely innocent.  We talked about stat counters and blogging.”

“Oh, you wanted to blog her alright.  So did I.  Several times that night.”

“Penis, she’s married.”

“So?  Her husband never has to find out.  After all, soon you’re going to have an extra, untraceable Sprint cell phone to give her as a secret “fuck me” line.”

“A “fuck me” line?  Are you crazy?   I’m a Sprint Ambassador, not a pimp.  What would Sprint say?”

“They’d love it.  Think of their sales!  Think of the ad campaign:  “A new reason to get another Sprint phone.””

“Please, Penis.  It’s like you alway have just one thing on your mind.”

“Salesmanship. Neilochka!  Remember — it’s always Salesmanship!”

Time to Ruin Another Christian Holiday!

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Dear Fellow Congregants of Temple Beit Blogosphere,

Shalom!

May I commend you on the excellent work you did last month.  Getting Walmart to say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" was a real coup!  We even got Bill O’Reilly’s attention, and he ended up promoting it endlessly. 

Did you know that one of Bill O’Reilly’s producers is Jewish?  What a shonda!  Let’s not even bring up that Jack Abramoff.  Never trust an Orthodox Jew who spends too much time at an Indian casino.

Anyway, the Temple Sisterhood is already making plans for next year’s big Holiday controversy.  Imagine what FOX News will say when we suggest changing the title of the traditional carol "Silent Night, Holy Night" to "Silent Night, Ho Ho Ho Night."  so it is less "religiously Christian."  Ooh, boy, that’s going to be a good one!  You’ll all be receiving your memos in the mail some time in September.

As you know, the next big Christian holiday is Easter.  Normally, here in America, we don’t get much bothered by Easter.   After all, we have Passover, and most of us would rather eat some good gefilte fish than an Easter ham.   In fact, I’m sure if Jesus was here himself, he’d be chugging down the Manischewitz at a seder with the rest of us. 

However, things might be different this Easter.  According to the Washington Post, trouble is brewing in Easter-land, and it has nothing to do with wearing bonnets:

Three months before the annual Easter egg roll at the White House, the usually festive event is already taking on a divisive edge because of plans by gay- and lesbian-led families to turn out en masse in hopes of raising their public profile.

Conservative groups are up at arms at the thought of thousands of gays and lesbians coming with their children to participate in the annual White House  "egg roll.".

"It’s improper to use the egg roll for political purposes," said Mark Tooley of the conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy.

Now, most Jews only know one "egg roll," and it goes best with a little spicy Chinese mustard.  But maybe it’s time for us to take a little political action of our own.  Why shouldn’t our children have the simcha of going to the White House and playing on the front lawn with all the Christian kids?  

Of course we want our "little bundles of joy" to maintain their Jewish identity at this event.  That’s why Danny Lebowitz of the Temple Men’s Club had the wonderful idea of providing each Jewish child with his or her own matzoh ball to roll on the White House lawn. 

What a great country this is where Christian children and Jewish children can play side by side, rolling their eggs and matzoh balls side by side! 

Take that, Bill O’Reilly!

Rabbi Neilochka Kramer

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Beverly Hills Doctor

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Living in Los Angeles does have its perks.  Today I went to my doctor for my yearly checkup, hoping to be told that that my cholesterol went down.  As usual, Doctor Fishbeck kept me waiting in the examining room for a half hour while I looked through his Golf magazines from 2001.  The door opened and the doctor bounced in, seeming to be in a better mood than usual.

"Well, hello Neil!  How’s the blogging going?"

"Very well, Doctor Fishbeck." 

"How are you?  How’s your golf?"

"Excellent, excellent.  I’m so glad you made an appointment for today.  You see, you’re here on a very special day. "

"I am?"

"Absolutely.  I’ve been invited to participate in a new reality show for the Discovery Channel." 

"Cool."

"It’s called "Doctoring with the Stars."  Seven celebrities are teamed up with seven Beverly Hills doctors, and each week the celebrity becomes "the doctor" and his work is judged by two prominent surgeons from Cedars Sinai and UCLA… and the third judge is the guy who played a doctor… on that TV show, Saint Elsewhere… he’s also a comedian…"

"Howie Mandel?"

"Howie Mandel, right."

"Let me see if I get this.  You’re teamed up with a celebrity, too?"

Suddenly, a man with a familiar face entered the room.  He was carrying a huge basket of Mrs. Fields cookies.  On the side of the basket, it read "from your friends at Pfizer."

It was Donny Osmond.

"Two lovely girls just brought this to you, Doctor Fishbeck," said Donny Osmond.  "They said for you to remember lunch tomorrow… and something about meeting your quota with the Prozac."

Doctor Fishbeck laughed uncomfortably.

"Ha ha ha!  Those jokesters!"

Donny Osmond looked concerned on moral grounds.

"Doctors don’t really push this stuff just because of these cute sales reps, do they?"

"Of course not."

Donny Osmond sighed, in relief.  But I was getting concerned.

"Doctor Fishbeck, didn’t you tell me the last time I was here that I should go on Prozac because I was having sinus headaches."

"No.  That’s because you were depressed, Neil."

"But I’m not depressed."

"Are you back yet with Sophia?"

"No."

"Get a good job yet?"

"No."

"I just read about that blogger Opinionista, who revealed her identity and now has a book deal.  Do you have a book deal?"

No.

"You know, Neil.  You look depressed.  Let me write you out another prescription for Prozac."

"I didn’t like Prozac.  It made my penis numb."

"Are you having any sex lately?"

"No."

"So what’s the difference?  Prozac it is."

Donny Osmond claps, impressed with the doctor.

"I’m so lucky to be teamed with you, Doctor Fishbeck.  I’m learning so much about being a doctor.  Alyssa Milano really hates the doctor she’s been teamed up with."

"Donny Osmond, meet Neil Kramer.  He will be your patient today."

"Uh, nice to meet you Mr. Osmond, but I’m not really sure… how much training have you had again?"

"Three days.  It’s just episode one.  The finale is an operation.  But that’s a few weeks away.  Do you by chance need an operation?"

"Don’t worry about the operation, Donny!," said Doctor Fishbeck.  It will be a breeze!  I’ve seen you as host of Pyramid.  Cool as a cucumber. "

"Thanks for the confidence, Doctor Fishbeck."

"Neil, I’m going to leave you with Donny Osmond.  I mean Dr. Osmond."

As Doctor Fishbeck exits, two cameramen and a boom operator enter the room.  Donny Osmond takes out a notebook, reading from it.

"OK, Neil, take down your pants and I’m going to ask you to cough."

"Is my HMO going to cover this?"

"What’s an HMO?"

My Brilliant Literary Career

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Last week, Sophia was all upset about the James Frey story and his fraudulent memoir, "A Million Little Pieces." Well, actually, she was more upset at me. 

"It’s pretty clear that the book got sold because they thought he was an alcoholic and drug abuser."

"So?"

"So, you have no grit in your life.  You don’t even like beer."

"I like Merlot."

"No one wants to buy a memoir from someone who drinks Merlot.  You’re like that depressing guy from Sideways."

"I’ve smoked pot."

"When was the last time you smoked pot?"

"When I was 14.  But I didn’t really inhale."

"Jeez, you’re so vanilla.  Did you know I once went out with someone who liked to be spanked."

"Weirdo."

"He was a college professor."

"Why would anyone want to be spanked?  All my life, I’ve been proud that my mother never once had to spank me when I was a kid.  What would I tell her now?  Sorry, Mom, now I get spanked all the time."

"Hopeless."

So much for anyone ever buying my boring memoirs. 

But what about fiction? 

Well, today, there was another nail in the coffin for my non-existent writing career.

"Did you read Gawker today?" asked Sophia.

"No."

"Have you heard of Opinionista?"

"No."

"Well, it’s a blog written by an anonymous blogger, and it’s all about the inside stuff going on at her law firm."

"So?"

"So, she just revealed herself as Melissa Lafsky!"

"Do we know her?"

"No, but read this."

Sophia handed me "The New York Observer."  There was another article about this woman:

In recent months, Ms. Lafsky has been fluffing the pillows for her landing, a sort of “soft opening” phase for her product launch. Profiled but not named in The New York Times in November, she posed so that her face was obscured; in this month’s The American Lawyer, she hinted that her identity would soon be revealed; and her blog plugged an interview with The Observer minutes after the interview was complete.
 
Of course, prior to this week’s non-spontaneous self-disclosure, Ms. Lafsky had already procured herself an agent—ICM’s blog-adoring Kate Lee —and worked up 100 pages of a manuscript loosely based on her life as a lawyer-blogger. (“It’s not a roman à clef,” she said. “It’s not The Devil Wears Brooks Brothers!”)

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(Talented, Beautiful, and can Blog without looking at the monitor)
(photo by Melanie Flood)

I wasn’t sure what Sophia wanted me to make of all this.

"Good for her," I said.   "Or is this another one of those "I hate Stephanie Klein – type stories?"

"Don’t you get it," Sophia replied,  "There have been a number of anonymous bloggers that have gotten a lot of buzz by creating a mystery about who they are… and then they make a big reveal.  Do you see where this is going?"

"No."

"Only a really dumb blogger starts using his real name right from the beginning.  Like Neil Kramer.  You should have just been "Citizen of the Month" and then had a big reveal."

"Too late now."

"There’s nothing new for you to reveal.  Nothing buzz-worthy."

"I don’t know.  We can say I’m gay."

"Hmm…not bad.  We’re already separated.  We can say we got separated because you decided you were gay. 

"Good… good.. just how long do I have to be gay for?"

"Until you sell a book."

Jeez, that could be a long time."

"Well, you’ve always had a problem with procrastination.  Finally, we found a way to keep you focused.   No sex with a woman until you write a book."

"I’m not too sure about this idea." 

"Too much like a bad sitcom episode?"

"What if I’m gay, but you decide to transform me back to being straight again."

"Yeah, then I can write a book instead of you! — "The Gay Blogger and How I Made Him Straight Again.""

"Would I have to go around the rest of my life being known as "The Man Formerly Known as The Gay Blogger?"

Note:  After Melissa Lafsky signed with ICM agent Kate Lee and resigned from her law firm, she posed in a nightgown for a spread on female bloggers for a future issue of Fashion Week Daily.

Luckily, I’m all ready for my fashion shoot with my new Texas hold’em pajamas

The Beechers of San Diego

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A couple of summers ago, I had the opportunity to take a special two-months Flash development class in San Diego.  Sophia convinced me to rent a room from Craigslist and stay in San Diego for the summer.  I found a cheap, furnished room, and within a few days, I was living in San Diego.

The owners of the house were the Beechers, a nice middle-aged couple who rented two of their extra rooms to students.  They were a religious couple who had crosses hanging all over the house.   The cross over my bed was gone, but the paint on the wall around it had discolored, so the image of the cross still existed, like a ghost.

Every few days, the friendly couple would come into my room to chat. They were both former computer programmers and it was interesting to hear them tell stories about the days of using cards to program FORTRAN.  My room was pretty small, so sometimes we would just sit on my bed and talk.  They were always inviting me to come to one of their Sunday "group meetings," but I always told them that I was busy or visiting Sophia in Los Angeles.   I don’t think they knew I was Jewish.

Two weeks before the end of the summer, Sophia decided to come stay with me.  I asked the Beechers if it was OK for Sophia to stay with me, making sure I told them that we were officially married.  They said it was fine.  In fact, they were excited to finally meet Sophia.  Mrs. Beecher started talking about how they were having a big "group" picnic on Sunday and wanted me to bring Sophia along.  She handed me an invitation to the event. 

I finally told them I was Jewish, hoping to explain my continued reluctance to participate in their group.  Mr. Beecher said that that it was a non-religious picnic and their group welcomed all faiths.  I finally caved in and said OK — but first I would have to ask Sophia.

Sophia arrived and it was great to see her.  We drove to one of favorite Mexican restaurants in Old Town.  I told her all about the Beechers and their picnic on Sunday.

"I don’t want to go to some Christian picnic." she said.  "Did you tell them that we’re Jewish?"

"I did.  But it’s just a picnic.  No big deal.  It’s not going to be a religious thing." 

"And what the hell are we going to do there?"

"I don’t know,  Meet some nice people… like the Beechers.  Nice Christians.  You’re always talking about how much you hate phony Hollywood types.  Now’s our chance to meet some real people."

I handed Sophia the invitation.  She started to read it.

"This is the group with the picnic?"

"I guess so.  The Lifestylers.  I guess they follow a Christian lifestyle."

Sophia started laughing.

"Neil, you idiot.  You are so naive.  I saw a piece on the news about these people.  This is not a Christian group.  They’re swingers.  You’re living with swingers.  They don’t care if we’re Jewish or not.  They don’t want to convert us.  They want to fuck us."

Suddenly, I thought about my last two months with the Beechers.  About how Mrs. Beecher always sat down next to me on my bed.  About how I would always run into one of the Beechers when I left the shower.  About how they were always trying to get me to go to a "group meeting."  About how excited Mr. Beecher got when he heard that Sophia was coming to town.

Chills went up and down my spine and I almost fainted into my enchilada.

I spent the rest of the week at the Beechers with my door locked.  I spent my last week in San Diego at the Doubletree Hotel.

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