Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: March 2008 (page 1 of 3)

Name Your Sandwich at Neilochka’s Virtual Kosher Deli

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Blonde shiksa enjoying a “Neilochka”

Earlier today, I received a comment on my last post suggesting that it might be easier to earn immortality by having my own sandwich at a Jewish deli rather than creating a drink named a Neilochka.  Not a bad idea.  After all, half of you didn’t even know that a lemonade/iced tea was called an Arnold Palmer.  Clearly, my readers are lushes who only know the names of drinks with vodka or tequila inside.

I love the sandwich idea.  It totally fits my “branding.”  I love sandwiches.  I’m Jewish.   And there is something very sexy about a woman eating MY sandwich.

But I’m all about community.  In the spirit of the Great Interview Experiment, I believe that Everyone is a Somebody.  That’s why, today I am opening Neilochka’s Virtual Kosher Deli.   Think of it as a Subway extreme.  The options are unlimited.  You create your own sandwich — the meat, cheese, or vegetables, the condiments, and the type of bread — and then name it after yourself.

My sandwich, the Neilochka, is fairly simple, which reflects my personality.  Corned beef, sauerkraut, spicy wasabi mustard, on rye bread.  No cheese or vegetables.  Enjoy it for lunch.

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What is your sandwich?   Write it in the comments.

My Name is Ozymandias

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During the coronation of a new Pope, it is traditional for a monk to hold up a burning piece of flax.  After it burns, the monk says, “Pater sancte, sic transit gloria mundi,” which is translated as “Holy Father, thus passes the glory of the world.”  Catholics are supposed to remember that despite the power of the Pope, he is still a mortal man.

This is how we get the expression — “Fame is fleeting.”

Bookfraud was down on himself last week because so many novelists publish their first novel before they are 30:  Jonathan Safran Foer, Zadie Smith and Gary Shteyngart.   And he felt that the deadline had passed.

I can relate.  We all want to be acknowledged for our work.  It would especially cool to be famous.

But let’s think about this “fame” business a bit.  Is writing a book really going to give us what we want?

Jonathan Safran Foer?  Gary Shteyngart?  Seriously, I bet you that 95% of the American public think these are the names of the two main characters on “Two and a Half Men.”

What is fame anyway?.  American Idol has millions of viewers, but how many of the contestants will be remembered?  How many CDs have you bought that were released by any of the former contestants?  Quick — who won the runner up in season two?

From 1915-1922, the biggest female box office star in Hollywood was Mary Pickford.  From 1923-1926, it was Norma Talmadge.  Other than Danny from Jew Eat Yet?, do any of you know anything about these hugely popular actresses — the superstars of their day?

The #1 Blog on Technorati is Techcrunch.  Enough said.  No one will remember Techcrunch in 100 years.

In Junior High, I was forced to memorize this poem.  At the time, I was too young to understand it.  But now —

OZYMANDIAS by Percy Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Every single writer, politician, movie star, and celebrity will eventually be forgotten. 

But all is not hopeless.  There is one celebrity from today who will be remembered forever — Arnold Palmer.

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Yes, Arnold Palmer, was once the greatest golf player of the day.  But like, Mary Pickford, a person can only be at the top of the game for so long.  Eventually a Tiger Woods comes along, and everyone starts to ask, “Arnold who?”

Arnold Palmer, however, was a marketing genius.  He instinctively knew the lesson of Ozymandias.   By creating a drink — the Arnold Palmer — half lemonade/half ice tea — he did what no other celebrity could do — made sure that his name would be famous forever.  Just today, I was eating lunch in Beverly Hills, when I saw a beautiful women calling her waiter over to order an “Arnold Palmer,” her lips smacking in anticipation.   Can you imagine what it must be like to have women all around the world wanting you like that? 

Arnold Palmer is the only media consultant who deserves to speak about “branding” at web conferences.  Arnold Palmer — the ultimate brand.  There’s even a drink named after him.

I was once misguided enough to think that this blog would give me fame and glory.   Every day, people would wake up, rub their eyes, turn on their computers , and come to Citizen of the Month, ready to be astounded.   I had this illusion that even if  flying robots from Mars were destroying the United States outside, my loyal readers would not flee for their lives until they finished writing a witty comment on my latest post. 

But is this loyalty a constant? 

Already, I’m noticing newer and more exciting blogs catching your eye, your attention spans dulled by years of MTV, video games, and prescription drugs. 

Luckily, I have a plan for when this blog loses its buzz.  The Neilochka —  1/3 Pomegranate Juice, 1/3 Cranberry Juice, and 1/3 Seltzer.

Please, start ordering it NOW at your favorite watering hole.  Remember to order it by NAME.  “I’ll have a Neilochka.”

This is the only way it will catch on, insuring that my name will live in glory forever.

The Year, 2246

Bar, Moon of Saturn Outpost #23A

Beautiful Female Cyborg:  I’ll have a Neilochka, straight up!

Bartender:  Excellent choice.  Coming up!

Beautiful Female Cyborg:  I’ve been wanting a Neilochka all day.  I’ve always wondered why this delicious drink is called a Neilochka.

Bartender:  At Harvard Bartending School, they taught us that Neilochka created this drink.  He was a famous blogger about 200 years ago. 

Beautiful Female Cyborg:  He must have been an amazing person.  No one could create this wonderful drink without having been super talented.  If I lived back then, I would have definitely f**ked him.  What else do you know about him?

Bartender:  Supposedly he was very famous.  Very popular.  Did this thing called blogging.

Beautiful Female Cyborg:  Blogging?  What the hell is that?

Bartender:  I have no idea.  But, he’s certainly remembered for this drink!  I better stop talking and get back to work before I’m dooced.

How a Woman is Like a 1985 Ford Mustang

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Today, I received an email from Eddie in Ohio, who was crazy about some two year old post of mine titled Neil’s Penis’s Dating Rules for Men.    He liked it so much that he actually tried to follow these rules… in real life.   What an honor.   Sure it f**ked up his relationship with his girlfriend, and now he’s sitting home playing online poker and eating Papa John’s Pizza rather than getting laid, but at least I feel like a true inspirational role model, like a cooler and less informed Dr. Phil.

“You should write for a man’s magazine.” wrote Eddie.,

Eddie, I absolutely agree.    I’m wasting my time here on this blog writing for zilch.    You hear that — Details magazine!    If you pay me, I’m ready to start writing articles such as, “Is Being Well Hung the Key to Happiness?”

The only problem with my new career writing for the guys is that I’m not well-versed in typical male hobbies like March Madness, NASCAR, beer-drinking, or video games where you shoot the heads off of zombies.   Luckily, Google makes it easy to do all sorts of research, so I can fake it as much as anyone else.

Eddie, as a thank you for you nice email — I’ve written a men’s magazine article just for you.   Think of this blog as an online version of Maxim magazine, except without the photos of the girls in the thongs. 

How a Woman is Like a 1985 Ford Mustang

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A woman is beautiful. 

The 1985 Ford Mustang is beautiful. 

In many ways, a woman is stronger than a man. 

The 1985 Ford Mustang is equipped with low-friction roller tappets and a new high-performance camshaft that lifted the carbureted H.O. V-8 to 210 horsepower, an impressive 35-horsepower increase from the year before.

A woman is shapely, and you can play with her for hours. 

The 1985 Ford Mustang comes with beefier P225/60VR15 “Gatorback” tires on seven-inch-wide cast-aluminum wheels, both lifted from the SVO, plus variable-rate springs, gas-pressurized front shock absorbers, higher-rate rear shocks, and a thicker rear antiroll bar. A three-spoke SVO-style steering wheel freshened the interior (a running change from mid-’84), as did revised dashboard and door-panel trim and comfortable new multi-adjustable bucket seats by Lear Siegler.

Before making love to a woman for the first time, a man should remember these six important steps.

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Before driving a 1985 Ford Mustang from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in the middle of the summer, a man should remember these six important steps.

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Therapy is Making Me into a Humorless Twit

I have to keep the eye on the prize, which is to express myself honestly and openly on my blog, have fun, and not take it too seriously.   I need to be grateful for all the cool people who stop by this blog, and treat everyone as worthy individuals with an innate need to express their ideas and personality.   I need to not take people for granted.   I need to comment and read your blogs as consistently as you do mine.   I need to accept the fact that I have lost touch with some bloggers, and it is OK to feel a little sad about it.  I need to be open about all blogging opportunities that I hear about, so they can be available to as many as possible.  I shouldn’t be afraid of thinking of this blog as the best blog in the world simply because I write it, just as your blog should be YOUR best blog in the world, and I should acknowledge that when I come to visit.   I need to respect other writers for the quality of their work and the openness of their spirit, whether they are writing exquisite poetry or stupid gags, both which have an important role to play in society.   I need to remember that a good blog doesn’t necessarily make them a caring person, and that an amazing individual might not be able to put down in words everything that is in his or her heart.  I need to acknowledge that the blogosphere can be as cliquish as high school, and that I should accept it, ignore it, and mock it for comic effect.   I hope that I will be made fun of by others when I am hypocritical.  I need to be wary of marketers or all types, those trying to sell me products and ideas that are more for their benefit than my own, even if there is a short-lived profit for me or my blog.   I should always weigh the benefits to myself with the effects on others.  I need to remember that modern man has ADD, and will constantly be talking about “what’s new” and “what’s hot,” forgetting that telling stories and chatting about nothing has been going on since we lived in caves, way  before the arrival of Twitter and Facebook.   I need to dig deeper than the surface and understand that despite all the talk about “branding” and “linking” and “A-listers,” the blogosphere is mostly about imperfect humans looking for affection, love, and connection in a somewhat lonely and isolating world.

Jewish Jokes My Mother Emailed Today

I get this question all the time:  How can you let your mother read your blog every day, filled as it is with orgies and naked women?  The answer:  my mother has a good sense of humor, well at least in an old-fashioned Catskills-Jewish sort of way.  Today I’d like to share with you today’s email from my mother, chock full of corny but heart-felt ethnic humor.

My Mother’s Jewish Joke #1 —

Written across the wall of the cave were the following symbols:

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It was considered a unique find and the writings were said to be at least three thousand years old!

The piece of stone was removed, brought to the museum, and archaeologists from around the world came to study the ancient symbols. They held a huge meeting after months of conferences to discuss the meaning of the markings.

The President of the society pointed to first drawing and said: “This is a woman. We can see these people held women in high esteem. You can also tell they were intelligent, as the next symbol is a donkey, so they were smart enough to have animals help them till the soil. The next drawing is a shovel, which means they had tools to help them.”

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Even further proof of their high intelligence is the fish which means that if a famine hit the earth and food didn’t grow, they seek food from the sea. The last symbol appears to be the Star of David which means they were evidently Hebrews.

The audience applauded enthusiastically.

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Then an old Jewish man named Shlomo stood up in the back of the room and said, “Idiots, Hebrew is read from right to left…… It says: “Holy Mackerel, Dig The Ass On That Chick!”

My Mother’s Jewish Joke #2  

(note to the shiksas — horseradish is what you put on the gefilte fish at Passover)

While few of the traditional seder foods trace their origins as far back as matzoh, it should be noted that the lowly horseradish root also crossed the Red Sea with the fleeing Israelites.

As impoverished slaves, they had access to few vegetables and the hard and woody horseradish was a household staple.

While most of the fleeing Israelites carried with them horseradish, there is a story told of one family where, while gathering up their few belongings, discovered that they had no horseradish left in their house. The wife sent her husband into the field to dig up a large horseradish root, but in the darkness and confusion, he unearthed a large ginger root by mistake. 

The story continues that after forty years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites finally entered the promised  land. But it was another year before the family with the ginger arrived to settle among the rest of the Israelites.

When asked where they had been, the matriarch of the family, now grown old, shrugged and answered, “My husband insisted on taking an alternate root.”

Thanks, Mom!

I Missed My Therapy Session

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Last Tuesday, my writing partner, Ron, and I were working effectively on our film story — and I was staying at his place — so I cancelled my therapy appointment for that day.  It was the first time I had ever cancelled.  I called Brenda on the phone and left a message on her machine, apologizing.

After I hung up the phone, I remembered a discussion that I had with Brenda a few months ago.  She was explaining that sometimes, a client loses interest in therapy.  The client starts cancelling.  This happens just as the client is learning important information about himself, and his defense mechanisms want to block his growth.  I called Brenda again to assure her that I was just busy, and that there weren’t any “hidden meanings” to my cancelling therapy.

A few moments later, I remembered my first “informational” session with Brenda.  She told me that unless I canceled 24 hours before the session, I still had to pay.    I immediately sent her an email, acknowledging that I understood that I was still paying for the session, even though I wasn’t showing up.  I suggested that since I am paying for the session anyway, she could use “my time” to browse through my blog, picking up some insights on my personality.

I tried to go back to work with Ron, but I was distracted.  While I talked about my blog with Brenda during previous sessions, I’m not sure Brenda actually read the posts I wrote about HER.  I wrote these posts before I began to take therapy seriously, so the writing is jokey and silly, including the one where I fantasize about making love to my therapist in her comfortable leather “therapy” chair.

I sent another email to Brenda, reminding her that many of the posts mix fantasy and reality, and that she shouldn’t psychoanalyze every single post as “meaning” anything.   I was tempted to ask if she was wearing one those colorful sleeveless knit jersey wrap dresses that she looks so nice in while she sits on her chair with her legs crossed, but then I decided not to, worrying that she would just “analyze” that as well.

All this back and forth with Brenda ended up taking more time and energy than if I had just driven to her office for a therapy session.  And all that angst set me back weeks in my growth as a self-actualized man.

From now on — no more missed therapy sessions.  It is way too traumatic.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthNominee of 2007 Nobel Peace Prize

An NPR Easter

The announcement came from Rome:  after pressure from the ACLU, the courts had decided that crucifixion was unconstitutional.   Jesus was released and returned to his job as a carpenter, continuing his sermons as a side gig, speaking out on progressive issues important to the local community while raising his blended family.

(Coming soon:  An NPR Passover — where God’s Ten Plagues are held up in court as excessive punishment,  Moses negotiates with the Pharaoh, and the Children of Israel remain in Egypt as immigrant-workers, but with better health insurance.

Postscript:

A man appears at the door.  It is Irving Berlin.

Irving Berlin: What kind of stupid post is this on Easter?

Neil: Irving Berlin?  What are you doing here?

Irving Berlin: I like to show up on every important Christian holiday.

Neil: Why’s that?

Irving Berlin: Well, the last time I came to remind you that shiksas love Jewish men who write Christmas songs.  Today, I’m going to brag about Jewish guys who write Easter songs.

Neil: I never liked “Easter Parade” that much.  Sort of a boring song.

Irving Berlin: F**k you, Neilochka.  Let’s see how you lucky YOU get with non-Jewish girls when you move out of Sophia’s house.

Neil: You know, Irving, would it have killed you to actually write a song for your own people — like a Passover song?  I’ve always found Jewish girls very hot.

Irving Berlin: Yeah, I guess they can be sexy.  But I avoid them because they remind me of my mother.

Neil: That’s silly.

Irving Berlin: You know, Sophia actually looks like your mother when she was younger.

Neil: What are you saying?  That I want to…. my own mother?!

Silence.

Irving Berlin: How’s therapy going, Neilochka?”

Happy Easter!   Here are a few photos from the Easter Parade that Sophia and I took a few years ago —

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The Icebreaker

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I’m finally back in Redondo Beach after four days at the home of Ron, my writing partner.  We’re currently trying to woo a producer with a brilliant, never-seen-before story idea, and we wanted to email him an outline before Easter. 

Ron is an obsessed sports fan.   For the last two days, all he watched was NCAA basketball.   I need to talk to my therapist about being more assertive with the TV remote control.  I use to blame Sophia for hogging the TV because we always end up watching HER shows (how do you think I got hooked on All My Children?)  Now, I’m realized that it is MY fault, not Sophia’s.  I’m always letting the other person make the TV decisions.  When I’m with Sophia, I watch “The Bachelor.”   When I’m with Ron,  it’s the NCAA.   It is the exact same pattern.   Mark my words — one day soon, I’m going to grab the remote control first.  If I ever get married again, god help that woman.  She’s going to be watching BBC America and “The Simpsons” all night long.

Last night, Ron brought me to his friend’s home for… guess what?! — to watch a college basketball game.  The house was jammed with male alumni of Cal State Fullerton.  The “Titans” were playing in their first championship game in 30 years.  Everyone was wearing an orange Titan cap or a Cal State Fullerton t-shirt with the team mascot, which looked, at least to my eyes, like a weird caricature of Ganesha, the Hindu God of Success (or maybe it was just a really ugly elephant).

The living room was cramped.  I ended up sitting next to an athletic-looking guy whose name I don’t remember.  Let’s call him GUY. 

It was awkward sitting next to Guy.  He was yelling and screaming “Pass the ball,  F**ker!” a lot, and didn’t seem interested in much of what I had to say.  I definitely have been spoiled by my female readers.  I relate to you.  I feel that you care about every word I write.  I may be wrong, but I’m pretty confident that I wow you with every post — even a dumb post about eating a Pop Tart for breakfast — and a good 72% of you will still be imagining what it would be like to take me on your kitchen table like a tigress in heat while your kids are at school.   We click that way. 

Women are easy for me.  It is talking with men that requires the work.

First Quarter of Cal State Fullerton Game

Neil:  “How many of these players make it to the pros?”

Guy:  “Very few.  Maybe 1%.”

Neil:  “It seems as if these schools are using these players.  The schools make a lot of money with these games and the kids make nothing.  And since so few are going to make it in the pros, shouldn’t the schools be pushing them to spend more time trying to get into law school?”

Guy:  “What do you care?  Are you their mother?”

Second Quarter of Cal State Fullerton Game

Neil:  “Recently, I read that female professional cheerleaders make fifty bucks a game.  Did you know that?”

Guy:  “Yeah.”

Neil:  “I couldn’t believe it when I read that.  The players make six million dollars and the cheerleads make fifty bucks.  Even the Dallas Cheerleaders.  I wish I was a union organizer for the cheerleaders of the world.  The guy selling beer in the stands makes more money.”

Guy:  “Maybe they like cheerleading for the team.”

Neil:  “Nah, would YOU want to wear a skimpy outfit and bounce around for NOTHING?”

Guy:  “Huh?  That’s weird.  What are you talking about?”

Third Quarter of Cal State Fullerton Game

Neil:  “You want any of these “Sun Chips?”

Guy:  “Ha Ha, Sun Chips are gay.”

Neil:  “I’m not crazy about them either, but gay?”

Guy:  “You know.”

Neil:  “Yeah, I’m not being politically correct or anything.  I sometimes say something is “gay” too, even though I try not to, but I usually say it for something that is considered feminine, like the ballet.  I can understand someone saying, “Going to the ballet is gay,” but really — “Sun Chips are gay” just doesn’t make any sense.

Guy:  “OK, forget it.  Sun Chips are not gay.”

Neil:  “And frankly, some of those gay ballet dancers are pretty strong.  They could probably kick our asses.”

Guy:  “I doubt it.” 

Neil:  “Do you want any potato chips?  They’re straight.”

Fourth Quarter of Cal State Fullerton Game

Ron pulls a chair next to the couch.

Ron:  “Hey, Guy, have you met Neil?  He’s my writing partner.”

Guy:  “Oh yeah?  I heard about you.  You’re the one who writes the blog, right?”

Neil:  “Well, yeah…sometimes…”

Ron:  “You should see how many women come to read his blog.  There’s hundreds!”

Guy:  “Cool.  Have any of them ever shown you photos… of their tits?”

Neil:  “Well… uh, actually, uh… yes.”

Guy:  “Really?”

For the first time of the evening, he actually looks my way, as if I now exist. 

Guy:  “I’m gonna get a beer.  You want a beer, Neil?”

Neil:  “Sure.”

The perfect icebreaker!  My new friend, Guy.  Thank you, Blogosphere!  I can’t wait for BlogHer.

Unfortunately, Cal State Fullerton and their Ganesha mascot lost the game.  (so much for the Hindu God of Success)

Where Am I?

Working at writing partner’s home. No internet access. Forced to watch NCAA basketball games. How many of these basketball games are there? Do people watch all of these games? I’ve never heard of half these schools! There is actually a channel on DirectTV where they show four games at once all on the same screen, so you can make believe you live inside a sports bar. This is what I imagine Hell to be like. At least if there were some Hooters girls, it would be interesting. But nothing but the pimply kid who brought us the pizza. Help!

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and the Mystery of Life

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Frank Hardy smashed her bedroom door open, finding her riding his brother, sweat running down her naked body.

“You… you… whore!” yelled Frank, tears falling.

Nancy Drew’s face turned red, ashamed to be caught in such an intimate position with her boyfriend’s brother, Joe Hardy.

“Let me explain, Frank,” she said as she covered her nakedness with a sheet.

“And you!” yelled Frank, pointing at his brother, Joe. “How could you do this to me? To your own brother! I knew the three of us shouldn’t be working together. I never wanted to solve “The Mystery of Life.” This was bound to have happened!”

“That’s just it. This IS the Mystery of Life.” said Nancy, putting on her glasses.

“What?!” screamed Frank.

“The Mystery of Life. It’s solved.”

Nancy Drew stood between the two brothers as she tied her hair back. These were her two lovers, two men who made her feel special in different, unique ways.

She loved Frank’s intellect and his ability to follow a clue like a bloodhound. She never felt closer to anyone than when they worked together on “Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Case of the Counterfeit Indians.”

With Joe, the relationship was more chemical, more animalistic. She would never forget the way she gave her womanhood to him on that sandy beach during “The Mystery of Makatook Island,” allowing him to dominating her like the bull from “The Treasure of the Matador,” until all resistance faded, the way the old mine collapsed in “Panic on Seagull Island.”

“What are you talking about, Nancy?” asked Frank. “How is the Mystery of Life solved?”

“Uh, I don’t get it either,” said Joe, still in bed, echoing his brother.

Nancy continued, her voice full of energy.

“We were hired to solve the Mystery of Life, and this is it. LIFE. Life goes on. You can’t hold it in your fingers or put it in a box. You can’t plan on life going your way. That’s the mystery. You can’t control LIFE. One minute you could be in love with me, and the next minute I might be in bed with your brother. Life has its ups. Life has its downs. You never know exactly what’s going to happen next. And that’s the Mystery of Life!”

Frank and Joe glanced at each other, both aware of the games women play.

“That’s utter bulls**t,” said Frank.

“I’d have to agree with my brother, Nancy, ” said Joe. “”You never know exactly what’s going to happen next?!” Seriously, who came up with THAT one?”

“I did!” said Encyclopedia Brown, throwing open the closet door, revealing himself to be naked, muscular and tanned from his last case, “Enclyclopedia Brown And the Case of the Missing Eagle.”

“C’mon, Nancykins, ” said Encyclopedia Brown, semi-aroused. “When are these two clowns gonna leave so we can continue on with our investigation?!”

P.S. — Much love and healing to fellow blogger and REAL mystery writer, Patry Francis, on her surgery today!

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