Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: April 2007 (page 1 of 3)

A Story for Sophia

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At 6:00 AM, I was dragged out of bed with a mighty force. I was carried along the floor like a sack of potatoes until I found myself in the living room, lying at the feet of a white-robed man with a long white beard. In his hand he held a staff made from the finest wood.

“Moses?” I asked, surprised.

“How dare you insult God in your last blog post.” he said. “You and I are mere men and we cannot judge God for his actions. He was especially pissed off about you telling him to “talk to the hand.””

“Tough. It’s my blog. If I want to show him the hand, I’ll show him the hand. I can say anything I want on MY BLOG… well, as long as Sophia approves of it first, and until I put Google Ads on the sidebar soon, which will restrict me from making fun of Google, and… oh, I can’t talk about my Aunt Tilly, who has been divorced four times and has a little bit of a drinking problem…”

“Is this what the Tribes of Israel have become… bowing down in front of false gold idols like the one you prominently display on this shelf for all to see?”

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“Uh, Moses, that isn’t a false gold idol. V-grrrl sent this to me that after I wrote a post about the Peeing Boy of Brussels. And while I’m sure V-grrrl has money, I doubt she would send me anything made of real gold. My blog isn’t THAT good.”

“Apologize to God.”

“No. He’s been a pain in the ass lately. Sophia shouldn’t have to go through this again.”

“Why have you so hardened your heart?”

“And what do you care?”

“I am Moses. I have been sent by God.”

“Yeah, and what are you going to do about it?”

Moses lifted up his staff. The room lit up like a Hanukkah menorah as lightening blasted through the ceiling.

“With this staff I bring a plague of frogs into this home!”

Thousands of frogs jumped out of the Panasonic big screen TV. They covered everything, even opening the US Weekly magazine on the coffee table to read some article about the cast of “Gray’s Anatomy.”

“Eh, frogs don’t bother me. We already have silverfish in the bathroom. Have you ever seen a slimy silverfish? Now THEY are disgusting!”

“I have p–plenty of more p-plagues to inflict on you!”

“Huh? What did you say?”

“I have p-plenty of more p-plagues to inflict on you!”

“Wow, the Bible is right, Moses… you do stutter!”

“Tell me about it. Usually I have Aaron here to do all the talking. But I hate having such a Dependent Personality Structure. I wish Aaron wasn’t such an enabler.”

“You know, maybe Sophia can help. She does work as a dialect coach, after all.  In fact, she’s the best Russian dialect coach around. She’s worked with big Hollywood stars like Nicolas Cage to help them with their pronunciation.  Maybe she can help you stop stuttering.”

“Hmm… I don’t really have any money on me… a few shekels. I can’t pay much.”

“Moses, Moses, Moses, you glorious fool… we could never allow Moses to pay.”

“Ha ha ha… Moses, Moses, Moses… from the Ten Commandments, right?

“You’ve seen it?”

“Can you imagine that NRA nut Charlton Heston as me?! He’s about as goyish as they come.”

“Did you really have a thing with the Pharaoh’s daughter?”

“Nah. Besides she was fugly.”

“Let’s go wake up Sophia.”

I went upstairs to wake Sophia. She wasn’t too happy at being woken up, since she was up late last night watching poker. I thought her demeanor would change when I told her that Moses was downstairs, but instead, she seemed more upset.

“Did you clean up the living room before he showed up?” she asked.

“I had no time! I was dragged there.”

“That’s no excuse. I don’t want him seeing my underwear sitting on the couch. Take him into the kitchen and clean up the living room before I come down.”

I told Sophia about Moses and his stuttering.

“But why would you offer my services for free?” she asked.

“He’s Moses!’ I protested.

“First him, then the next thing you know — Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are all showing up, wanting things for free!”

Seeing that I already promised Moses, Sophia came down and started helping Moses with his speech.

Sophia’s tutoring of Moses went surprisingly well. Within a few hours, his stutter had practically disappeared.

“I love to preach
and eat a peach
while in Redondo Beach.” said Sophia. “Repeat that one more time.”

Moses took a deep breath.

“I love to preach
and eat a peach
while in Redondo Beach.”

“I think he got it!” I screamed joyfully.

“Mazel tov” said Sophia, and we all toasted him with some vodka.

“I feel like a new man.” said Moses.

“Can I be honest with you?” asked Sophia.

If there is one thing Sophia is famous for, it is speaking her mind.

“Shoot.” said Moses.

“Your hair is a mess. No one wears it so long anymore. I don’t mind that the hair is white. It looks good on men. But your white beard — it just makes you look so much older than you really are.”

“You think so? What can I do? I put myself in your hands. Darn it, there I am being dependent again! No, I want to change my appearance. This is for me. I think how your look outside sometimes reflects how you feel inside.”

“I know someone who can help,” said Sophia.

We all jumped in Sophia’s Prius. Moses was very impressed with the GPS system as we made our way to the Chris McMillan Salon in Beverly Hills. At first, Sally Hershberger‘s assistant said that the famed hairdresser was busy all day, but we were able to convince her to squeeze Moses in at 1:15.

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“Holy Vidal Sasoon!” said Sally Hershberger. “This is going to be a challenge. Have you thought about what you would like, Moses?”

“Well, I brought in a few photos from US Weekly, but I know you’re famous for Meg Ryan’s shag cut. Do you think you can do something for me that has that layered look, but is still masculine?”

“Absolutely!” said Sally Hershberger.

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Sophia and I put our “thumbs up” for Moses, and went next door to wait for him at the Coffee Bean. About a half hour later, the door opened and a middle-aged man entered. He had salt and pepper hair, a cleanly shaven face, revealing a strong chin, and he was wearing a new Armani suit. Moses had a gorgeous body, a glint in his eye, and you immediately knew this was an ethical cool dude. This was not the type of man who would covet his neighbor’s wife, but rather one who would be there for any emergency, like taking a friend to the airport.

It was Moses.

Every woman in the Coffee Bean turned to check him out, even girls half his age. Outside, Leonardo DiCaprio passed by the window, and no one noticed.

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Moses stepped up to the counter.

“I’ll have a double latte,” he said, without any stutter, to the admiring female barista.

Sophia and I ran up and gave the big guy a huge hug.

“Jesus, Moses, you look fantastic!” said Sophia.

I was totally shocked at his transformation from dusty lawgiver to chic hearthrob.

“Wonders of wonders! Miracles of miracles!” I said.

The moment was short-lived, as suddenly it felt like there was a major earthquake. But it wasn’t an earthquake. It was only the Coffee Bean that was being shook around like a fragile leaf in a storm. The roof of the store flew off, as if a giant hand had pulled it away and tossed it across Wilshire Boulevard. A blinding light shot into the Coffee Bean from heaven itself, making us shiver with fear. The sound was deafening.

It was God.

“Moses? Moses? Where are you?”

Moses nervously stepped forward, holding his latte.

“I am here, God.”

“What have you done to yourself? You look more like an ICM agent than a lawgiver.”

“Listen, God, I love you. But I can’t be dependent on others forever. I’m my own man. And I like my new look. Why can’t I be a lawgiver AND still feel confident about myself?”

“Are you QUESTIONING ME, Moses?

“C’mon, God. Mellow out. How perfect are you? If you were really perfect, why do people get sick? Why is there cancer?”

Lightening flew down, smashing the cappuccino maker into pieces.

“How dare you speak to me like that?! I am the only God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…”

“OK, that’s it!” said Moses, angrily. “You made me spill my latte on my brand new suit!”

Moses looked up to God, raising his arm in protest.

“What are you trying to say to me, Moses?”

“I’m not saying anything to you, God! Talk to the hand!”

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That’s What Blogging Friends Are For

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Hey, God, what’s going on? Give us a break already!

On Friday, Sophia’s surgeon called. An MRI test showed that something they’ve been watching for a year is still there, and at this point, another biopsy just cannot be trusted any longer, and a full surgery needs to be done to remove it. There is a 50/50 chance that is is cancerous.

WTF? Are you pissed at some blog post I wrote? Are you mad that we skipped over most of the Haggadah during the Passover Seder so we could eat dinner?

Well, we’re tired of this. Even the characters on “All My Children” get a break every once in a while from their soap opera drama.

Wasn’t it just three weeks ago that Sophia’s mother was in the hospital? Wasn’t it two weeks ago that Sophia had an exploratory surgery, because the medication that she was taking to prevent a breast cancer recurrence was suspected of causing another type of cancer?! Why would you play with our minds, like the producers of American Idol, by letting us celebrate the good results of that surgery, only to learn that there’s a plot twist a few moments later?

I have some news for you, God. Even the storyline is getting old. Didn’t Sophia already go through a breast cancer surgery and endless treatments three years ago? The recovery took such a long time and was very painful. And I really hate seeing Sophia in pain, you know? I love her. I really love her, despite whatever kind of crazy married/separated relationship we have going on. This news makes me very mad. And it makes Sophia very depressed.

Eh, God, you know what? I’m not even in the mood to talk to you right now. That’s right, I’m showing you the hand. I’m busy. We can negotiate later.

Right now, I want to talk to the readers of “Citizen of the Month.” If you have been a long time reader of this blog, you know Sophia. She is my real-life Lucy Ricardo — funny, wacky, kind, sometimes overly-assertive woman — who I write about on these pages all the time. She’s the strongest woman I know, but she’s not that strong right now.  

She needs some serious cheering up. She knows many of you already through emails, comments, and our trip to Portland. She actually asks me at dinner what is going on in YOUR lives, as if we are gossiping about friends in the neighborhood.

The surgery is on May 9th.  So, send her a card.  Send a joke.  Send her a message.  Send a song.  Send a voice email. Send a webcam greeting.  Send a postcard.  Send Sophia some TLC:

Neil Kramer
P.O. Box 475
Redondo Beach, CA, 90277

Coming This Summer on FOX: Are You Smarter Than An Octogenarian?

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Match your wits against Sam, a retired accountant from Encino.

Sample questions:

Who is this woman? —

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What are these children playing? —

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What was this “machine” called? —

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Cool news story of the day:  Nola Ochs, 95, to be oldest college graduate.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthThe Dark Side

Why I Married Sophia

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Neil:  “Hey, Sophia — look!  Someone nominated me as the BEST blog of all time!”

Sophia:  “Oh, yeah.  About that…  That was me.  I used a false name. I felt bad that no one else nominated you.”

Neil:  “Aw, Sofochka, you didn’t have to do that!  It’s all nonsense.  Besides, this contest is sponsored by PayPerPost, some evil company that gets bloggers to secretly hawk products to their readers.”

Sophia:  “At least someone is making some money off their blog.  So, who did you vote for?”

Neil:  “My motto is if I know them, I vote for them.  If Hilary Clinton comes to my house – I’ll vote for her.  if Rudy Guiliani comes to my house and shakes my hand, I’ll vote for him.”

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Sophia:  “Crazy Aunt Purl again?!  Isn’t she the one who you bitched about not sending you a birthday gift?”

Neil:  “Uh, well…yes….”

Sophia:  “Hmmmm….”

Neil:  Well, maybe she’ll vote for me.  Even though I know I’m not going to win the “best blog ever,” I hope someone gives me one more vote.”

Sophia:  “Why’s that?”

Neil: “Look where I am.  I don’t want to spend the rest of my online life known as the blog one notch above cranialvomit.com.”

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I Love Knitting Bloggers

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I love Sophia.   She is smart.  She if funny.  She knows how to make very good French toast.  But she’s not perfect.

“When are you going to learn to knit?”  I asked.

“I’m not interested in knitting.”

“Knitting is very hot now as a hobby.”

“Shhh.  I’m reading about playing Texas Hold-em.  That’s what I’m interested in.”

“The house is drafty.  You can knit me a willie warmer.”

“Why don’t you just wear pajamas?”

“It’s just not the same.”

“Use a sock.”

Sigh.

My new approach to life is to look at everything in a positive way.   I need to accept the fact that Sophia was not put on this Earth to knit me a willie warmer.  

Maybe the gods are teaching me a lesson.

“Stop being a man with such a dependent personality structure!” bellows one of tough-ass gods.  “You can’t depend on Sophia for everything!”

How true.  Luckily, I know so many wonderful knitting bloggers — Dagny, Psychomom, Caron, Ellen Bloom, Katie, etc… (did I forget anyone?)

One of these knitting bloggers is Laurie.  She writes the popular Crazy Aunt Purl.   Her blog is about knitting and cats… but mostly about her life.   She’s very funny.  On paper, I have as much in common with her as I do recent guest poster NSC.  But that’s what makes the blogosphere such a special place.   You learn to relate to all different types of people with all different types of interests, and you can connect in ways that would never occur in real life.  

Recently, I’ve been bad-mouthing blogging as “inferior” to actual real-life interaction, but I’m changing my mind.  On Monday night, I had dinner with Hilly and Karl.  We had a wonderful time, and I had to remind myself that I wouldn’t even KNOW these friends, or even had met them if it weren’t for blogging.  And I wouldn’t have “met” Laurie, even though we live in the same city.

Laurie just wrote a book that is now in pre-order at Amazon.  It is titled Crazy Aunt Purl’s Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair: The True-Life Misadventures of a 30-Something Who Learned to Knit After He Split. 

Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair is the irreverent first-person narrative of a contemporary, displaced Southern woman facing life after her husband leaves her to “get his creativity back.” With infectious humor and heart, she explains how she gets her groove back after finding herself alone in a rented house with four cats, a mountain of boxes and a slightwine-and-Cheetos problem. Reeling from the sting of divorce, it is the hobby of knitting — and the adventures it leads her to — that keep her from “directing traffic in her nightgown.”

Readers will laugh and cry with her as she gets dumped, makes new friends, gains weight (aka The Divorce Diet), travels abroad, and navigates the ins and outs of the modern dating scene. With her sense of humor and broken heart, she chronicles how “picking up sticks” helps her to pick up her life.

Most of you know how much I hate pimping my blog out to promote someone else, so you can just imagine the huge crush I have on Laurie.  I will even make a one-time unique promotional offer — the first person who tells me in my comments that they have ordered Laurie’s book through Amazon, will also get a special gift.  I will kick my dependent personality in the butt and I will KNIT YOU A WASHCLOTH by myself!  That’s right, although I have no idea how to do it, I will learn!  Neilochka of “Citizen of the Month” will use his hands for something other than typing on the keyboard and uh…uh… well, whatever — to knit you a first edition “Citizen of the Month” washcloth.  Imagine — you can be the envy of all your friends. 

Right now, I am just offering one washcloth, since it will probably take me three months to do it.  Once I get really good at it, then I will open up my online store.

One Book, One Album, One Movie for that Deserted Island

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And you?

I’m also on Poetry Thursday today.

Talking Guns with NSC

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I like hearing differing views. So many people are afraid of hearing ideas that don’t match their own, it often makes me wonder if they are really that confident in what they believe. Besides, no issue is all black and white. Two weeks ago, I complained about the medical care my mother-in-law received at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. I got into an email conversation with Psychotoddler, who actually works as a doctor when he isn’t busy blogging. It was fascinating to learn about the struggles of a doctor in today’s medical world. Doctors are as frustrated as their patients (and working in a hospital is nothing like Grey’s Anatomy!). I’ve invited Psychotoddler to come on Citizen of the Month soon. I’ll ask him some questions, and maybe we’ll get some insights on the best way to get the most out of your doctor.

I had another interesting email conversation with another blogger about gun control. Not So Confidential (NSC) is a long time blogging friend. He’s more conservative than I am, but he’s very cool and likes his women brunette, just like I do.

The tragedy at Virginia Tech has brought gun control back into the news. I know nothing about guns and could never understand why so many fight stronger gun control. However, there are a lot of Americans who consider gun ownership a right.

Looking to learn more about the issue, I asked NSC a few questions, and he was gracious enough to answer.

Q: Why don’t you tell the others something about yourself?

A: As one (the only one?) of Neil’s conservative readers, he asked me for some input on the VA Tech shooting and the gun-control controversy that has naturally followed. I am flattered that you asked me to comment, but I was also hesitant to do so for three reasons. One, I am not a very capable writer. Two, I am no expert on the subject. And three, COTM’s readers are pretty damn smart and used to good writing so therefore they are likely to tear me apart. Still, I have never shrunk from a challenge nor run from a fight – well, only that one time when they high school kid threatened to kick my ten year old butt – so I will do my best. I was born and raised in the deep South where guns are commonplace. I am a former military officer where guns are commonplace. And I am now a federal law enforcement officer who uses a gun as a tool to defend myself and those around me. I also believe that the Second Amendment of our Constitution means “individual” ownership and not a militia like the National Guard. That being said, I am not a “gun nut” as some liberals might say. I do not now nor have I ever owned a gun, and while I did hunt some with my father’s shotgun as a child, I never took to it, preferring the occasional fishing or camping trip.

Q: I grew up thinking guns were bad and dangerous, and only the police should have them. That said, it is hard to argue that if someone had a concealed weapon at Virginia Tech, the outcome might have been different. But how would we determine who should be able to carry concealed weapons for protection? How could we really make sure that only really qualified, stable people are allowed to have guns?

A: I believe people should have the right to own guns for sport and self defense and to carry those guns with them if they do it legally, safely and responsibly. At first I was a little concerned about concealed-carry laws, but time has shown that concealed-carry is a safe thing. I could not find exact numbers, but since the concealed-carry trend started between 35 and 38 states have passed laws allowing residents to carry weapons, including Virginia, where this tragedy occurred. And since then there has been no rash of crimes or gun violence among those law-abiding citizens who choose to carry concealed weapons. In fact, in can be argued that just the opposite as occurred. According to data from the FBI, states offering concealed carry permits have lower crime rates than states that do not offer them. On average, these states have a 24% lower total crime rate with 22% lower murder rates, 37% lower robbery rates, and 20% lower aggravated assault rates than states without concealed carry laws.

If you live in one of those states, chances are you know someone who carries a gun legally. You may not know you know them, but you do. They eat at restaurants where you eat and they shop at malls where you shop, they work where you work and golf where you golf. In order to carry their guns, they have received mandatory training in shooting, gun safety, the legal use of deadly force, and they have had background checks to insure they are not criminals or crazies (this crazy shooter had not been legally committed, thus the check did not pick up his prior psychiatric counseling). And for the most part those checks work. (Including mental health data past commitment is something that should be considered, but then again how far do you go? Is marriage counseling a reason to deny a gun permit? Does the Geico caveman’s self-esteem issue keep him from owning a gun?)

Virginia allows concealed-carry so chances are some of the students at Va Tech had the right to carry weapons on their person almost everywhere in the state except on campus. And I do not know about you, but it seems illogical and silly that the state believes these law-abiding adults are capable of safely and responsibility carrying a weapon everywhere except at school. But that is the decision they made and as a result we will never know if one of those people might have been able to stop that crazed shooter and saved lives. Now gun-control advocates are arguing that we need more and stronger laws against gun ownership. But the fact is that most gun crime is committed by criminals who are already breaking an average of 20 some odd gun laws every time they use a gun. If those people are breaking those laws how can anyone believe new laws will stop them? I mean, while this crazy was able to get the guns legally, he was breaking a law by bringing them on campus. Did that law stop him? He was not carrying high-capacity magazines as reported in the news, by the way, but even if he had been, a law against buying them probably would not have kept him from doing so – he was crazy after all.

Q: While it would be nice to think that some “good” person carrying a concealed weapon might have averted the tragedy, do we really want today’s college kids walking around with guns?

A: Well, that is a valid concern and I do not think kids should be allowed to keep guns on campus in their dorm rooms. Too many kids, too much alcohol, and too many hormones add up to too many problems. On the other hand I see nothing wrong with commuting students who are legally allowed to carry being able to keep them with them while they attend classes. That may be a double-standard, but no one forces kids to live on campus and they could make a choice – live there and limit their gun rights or live off campus. I also do not see why professors and certain employees (perhaps that Dorm RA ?) who have concealed-carry permits could not be armed on campus. Had one or two of those professors been armed I feel confident lives would have been saved. Again, the thousands of people who are carrying weapons now do it safely and responsibly. Why does one believe they would be any less safe or responsible on a campus? It makes no sense to me.

Q: Some of the pro-gun lobby just seem plain crazy. They fight against every little regulation. I’ve never gone hunting, but I respect those that consider it a tradition, but what’s so wrong with long waiting periods and restrictions on guns that are clearly anti-social, like semi-automatic weapons? Can’t you wait another week before you go hunting? I think if the NRA was less stubborn and naive about the harm guns do in urban areas, urban liberals would be more willing to respect gun owners.

A: It is my understanding that this crazy in Virginia waited the mandatory 30 day waiting period to buy both of his weapons. Would 60 days have made a difference? Not with this guy who was obviously crazy for a long time. And 30 days certainly is long enough for a “heat of the moment” moment to pass I would think. You also mention the “anti-social” semi-automatic weapons. Well, I am not sure what is anti-social about them. They look more lethal than a revolver, but are no more deadly I assure you. Yes, the rate of fire is faster, but from what I have heard on this shooting the guy could have reloaded with speed-loaders and done just as much damage.

Q: Chances are I’m never going to get myself a gun, but let’s face it — it is a dangerous world. I depend on people like you (the military and the police) to protect me when there is danger. But maybe I’m too dependent on others for self-defense. If I were in one of those classrooms last week, I would have no idea on what to do to protect myself. What could the average person do in a situation like this or in a terrorist situation? Is it best to barricade a door or throw a chair?

A: As to specific advice I could give in a shooting situation. The best thing to do is get low immediately and become less of a target than anything else in the room. In this particular case barricading the doors was a good idea and it did save lives. I told my sons, one who is in college and another starting next fall, that should something like this happen they should run away from the sound of the shots and if it is not possible to run away block the doors or get under cover as best as they can, and finally, if, as it seems to have happened in this situation, there is no escape, then attack the shooter while he is focused on something else. That is easy for me to say I know, but had any of these poor kids had the frame of mind to attack this shooter it might have saved some lives. I do not know that they could have done anything and I am certainly not criticizing them for not trying; I am only saying that this is something you NEED to consider. Don’t be a herd, be a pack.

Thanks, Not So Confidential. Hopefully, our next conversation is on a happier subject, like “hot brunettes of the blogosphere.”

Come Saturday Morning

Jessica of Daughter of Opinion asked me to post a photo of what I look like the minute I wake up in the morning for her “Rise and Shine” photo challenge.   Here is what Jessica looks like in the morning.  Of course she loves this photo challenge idea because she would be beautiful with mud on her face.  I thought Hilly and Karl looked sexy in their photos.  I’m not a bad fan of overly made-up people, anyway.

Ugh, but I look like a mess in the morning.

Here’s my photo from when I first woke up. 

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I forget the name of the woman in bed with me.  Give me a break!  I show her a good time!  Isn’t that enough?  Do I have to remember her name?

Ha Ha.  I know some of you are gullible, but that really isn’t me.   Here I am. 

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And yes, I do sometimes fall asleep with my glasses on.  

Show yourself — if you dare!

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  OK, I cheated.  Sophia scolded me as vain, so here is the REAL very first photo, the one before I put on my glasses and straightened my hair.

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A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:   Those Dancing Feet

You Know Kids Better Than I Do

Not having children is bad for my writing career. Everyone loves stories about families. It is bad for my social life. People with kids stick together. Mommybloggers ignore me, thinking me unworthy of their time. I’m stuck in a limbo blog-niche world, somewhere between dating bloggers and daddy bloggers. Separated husband bloggers? Eh, it has no ring to it.

I’m an only child, so I don’t have nephews or nieces. How am I going to write about a character who is ten years old when my childhood references are from decades ago?

Imagine that I’ve been hired to write a story for The New Yorker.

The New Yorker Editor: “We love your blog, Neilochka. We want to hire you to write a story for us, sight unseen.”

I hand in a short story that begins like this:

“It was 3PM, March 12, 2007. Young Taylor left school, his lunchbox in his hand, and entered the local pizzeria to play some Ms. Pac-Man.”

The New Yorker Editor: “What is this crap? It’s supposed to be 2007? What kid carries a lunchbox anymore?”

Neilochka: “Kids don’t carry lunch boxes? Where do they eat?”

The New Yorker Editor: “They eat at McDonald’s.”

Neilochka: “You mean ten year olds go out for lunch?”

The New Yorker Editor: “No, the McDonald’s is IN the school!”

Neilochka: “Oh.”

The New Yorker Editor: “Don’t you know any kids?”

Neilochka: “Not really.”

The New Yorker Editor: “And seriously… no one has played Ms. Pac-Man since 1984!”

Neilochka: “So what would Young Taylor play at the pizzeria?”

The New Yorker Editor: “What pizzeria? What is this — Saturday Night Fever? He’d be playing World of Warcraft at home and getting a pizza delivered from Domino’s!”

Neilochka: “Wouldn’t that ruin his appetite for dinner?”

The New Yorker Editor: “Dinner? It is his mother who ordered the pizza. She’s too busy running her sex blog to make dinner. Get with the times! This is the worst story I’ve ever read. You’re fired. Never come back here again!”

Sad, isn’t it? Do you really want this to happen to me?

Luckily, I have YOU. Finally, you can feel happy about having your ungrateful, overly-expensive, snot-nosed children who have ruined your sex lives and careers. You can be MY resource for questions I have about children, 2007.

Let’s start simple. Have the cool TV-show themed lunchboxes disappeared forever? Is there such a thing as a “Lost” lunchbox? Did kids even bring their own lunch to school? Do they still eat tuna sandwiches or are they eating sushi for lunch?

I get the sense that most current lunchboxes are made for nostalgic baby boomers —

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I was never a big baseball fan, but I have the fondest memories of playing with Topps baseball cards. The baseball card games were as intense as any Texas Hold-em tournament on TV. We would “flip” them and play games to win each other cards. Did anyone else do this? Is this as antiquated as wearing a suit and tie to a baseball game? I’m beginning to think I sound like I just walked out of an old Bowery Boys movie.

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(Barry? Tuck? Are you reading this? Sophia asked me how we “played” with the baseball cards, and for the life of me, I don’t remember. How was one kid able to “win” a bunch or cards from someone else? Was one baseball team worth more than another, which enabled you to win the pile?)

Here’s one thing I’m sure hasn’t changed — going shopping with Mom for new “school clothes” in September. Am I right? Is wearing the “right” brand of sneakers and jeans also important?

I remember spending hours talking with my friend Barry on the phone about math problems. Do kids discuss their homework assignments on phone, or do they do it now via IM? Do kids get regular ol’ paper report cards or are they sent to the parents by email?

What time does a ten year old go to sleep?

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On a related note, I watched “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” for the first time tonight. It’s a good idea for a show, but Jeff Foxsworthy is totally wrong as host. The show would be much better if the host was a little more “teacher-ish.” And while ten year old Kyle may be smarter than me (who remembers earth science?), I can still kick his ass.

A Year Ago On Citizen of the Month: Ask the Amateur Sexologist

Blogging Tools #3

It’s time again to talk a little bit about all the different applications out there for us bloggers.  It seems as if every few months, there’s a whole bunch of new toys.  Sophia really hates these posts, calling them “in-groupy,” so please don’t tell her that I am writing this.

Previous “blogging” posts —

(Blogging Tools #1 — 3/06) 

(Blogging Tools #2 – 6/06)

I’ve noticed that Twitter is popular with a few of the really cool kids.   It is a mini-blog that enables you to tell others what you are doing 24/7.  It is a cool idea, but I’m not sure why anyone would care if I was eating a turkey sandwich for lunch.   If you use Twitter, in what way has it enhanced your online life?  Or is this narcissism gone wild?

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The always cool Eileen Dover using Twitter.

I’ve seen MyBlogLog on many of your blogs.  I’m curious if this tool has helped create comraderie with other bloggers or is this just another way to create online insecurity (boo-hoo, he has more friends than me!)?

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The fabulous Finn uses MyBlogLog.

I DO like the concept of the “shared” posts from the Google Reader.   It tells me what a blogger is currently reading, and lets me learn about some new blogs.  Unfortunately, who has time to read even MORE blogs?  Information overload is becoming a very serious problem for me.   In fact, if I haven’t commented on your blog lately and you want your birthday gift back, please email Danny.

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Plain Jane Mom “sharing” her Google Reader “starred” items on her sidebar.

I’m a big fan of using del.icio.us to keep all of my “bookmarks” online.  I like the fact that you can make your bookmarks public so you can share your finds with other people.  It is fascinating to see what others are bookmarking.  Sometimes, you get a better sense of a person through their bookmarks than their blog.   This is my del.icio.us page.  It used to be more interesting before I got into blogging.  Now, my bookmarks are mostly about blogging.  You can also track the bookmarks of other users by creating a network.  I don’t know if they are aware of this, but I know a lot more about Communicatrix, the Delicious Life, Jurgen Nation, and Schmutzie than they realize because I have included their bookmarks in my network.  Sorry folks, there is very little PRIVACY online!

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My del.icio.us network

I frequently think about many of you when I am out on the street, doing nothing related to blogging.  I always thought it would be cool to interact with another blogger without having to be on the computer.  For instance, I know Dave from Blogography is obsessed with actress/model Elizabeth Hurley.    What would I do if I was walking in Beverly Hills and  I saw Elizabeth Hurley eating a hot dog on Wilshire Boulevard?  I would want to contact Dave, but I  wouldn’t know his phone number.  I could wait until I get home later in the day OR I could try this new application called Jott, which would allow me to send an email over the phone… using my voice.  

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The steps look pretty simple.   I would dial some 800 number and say the name, “Dave.”  It would recognize his email address because I would have already added it to my Jott database.  I would speak a message, such as, “Dave, you sucker, I just saw Elizabeth Hurley eating a hot dog on Wilshire Boulevard, something she would never do in dull Seattle!”  I would then have a choice to send the message as a voice attachment or as text transcribed by workers in India! 

And so far, it is free.  Cool?

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Elizabeth Hurley without her hot dog (via chance98).

I’d like to experiment and see if Jott really works.   Later today, I’m going to send “Jott” messages to the email addresses of some of YOU — the first ten people who say it’s OK, five in audio and five in text.   Let’s see if you receive the message.

I’m especially interested in seeing if the transcribing works.  Will the guys in India understand my strong New York accent?  Would I even want others transcribing my personal message?  I would hate to send a message to Charming but Single that says “Good luck on your date,” and have it incorrectly transcribed as “Good f**k on your date.”

A Year Ago On Citizen of the MonthIs Your Wife An Imposter?

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