the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: American Idol

Thoughts on the Interviews


How do I feel about the response to the Great Interview Experiment? 

Overwhelmed!  I had no idea there would be so many people!  I think we’re up to 200 interviews going on already, and I’m sure there will be more.  Just add your name in the comments here.

It’s sort of ironic.  Here, I wrote a post about how everyone is all equal and interesting, and I get to win all the LINKS!   Suckers!

This morning, Sophia woke me up and said, “There are 200 comments.  Now is the best time for you to put up advertising!”

“Are you nuts?”  I asked.  “I’d look like a total asshole.  Like I’d set this whole up to profit from it.”

“That’s what you are SUPPOSED to do!”

She just doesn’t understand.  I’m an idealist.  Or a wimp that needs to bring this fear up in therapy.  So far, it has been cool meeting some new bloggers and getting to know old friends better, but in reality, it is more work on my part than fun.   It reminds me of the times you have a bunch of friends over for a dinner party, and everyone is having a great time, except you — because you’re serving the little hot dog appetizers on a platter and washing the dishes.   I’m trying my best to keep everything updated.

I’m also finally feeling sympathy for bigshot blogger like Dooce.   How the hell do you read so many blogs coming your way at one time?  And how many “Heather”s and “Kathy”s are there in this world?!    Please don’t think of me as rude if I don’t come to read your interview immediately.  Besides, most of you new people, particularly the mommybloggers, will abandon me soon anyway — after they read some of my NSFW posts.  That’s why you always have to be loyal to your real blog friends, the ones who don’t leave even when they you write about shtupping your female therapist.  They’re your real friends. 

And shtupping is Yiddish.  Look it up.

Back to the Great Interview Experiment.  I’m constantly updating the lists of those who want to be interviewed/interview AND the final interviews.   If I screw up in some way, just email me.  I’m not perfect.  Remember, I’m just a guy sitting at home in my underwear.  (by the way, it’s been two years since I’ve asked — are tighty-whiteys still “out?”)  I still have my blog posts to write.  And I still need time to flirt with some of my regular blog friends on Facebook and Twitter.  And to write this brilliant screenplay that is stalled.  And  to watch American Idol with Sophia.  I’m a busy man!

I know some of your interviewers/interviewees are going to wimp out and never ask your questions, etc.   If you have been stuck with one of these lazy-ass motherf***ers, I say, give him five days to redeem himself and respond to you email, and if he doesn’t, just send me an email, and I’ll move you between a prettier pair of bloggers.  I’m also thinking of deleting any blog from the list that has no other purpose other than to sell things.  Those blogs are so boring to me, I start to fall asleep just thinking about them.  If you are one of these bloggers, please do the entire community a service and intersperse some fun stuff in between selling those humidifiers!  A blog should be interesting!

Again, if anyone has any suggestions, please tell me.  I think it is important to give a message to the Old Media that personal bloggers have a role to play in society — and culture.  Elitists will always want to make “real” published writers sound superior (rather than different) to those online, as evidenced by this snarky attack on bloggers in this week’s New York Review of Books (via Time Goes By). 

Fight the power!

The Sanjaya of the Blogosphere


My mother arrived in Los Angeles today, in preparation for Passover next week.   After she unpacked, Sophia and I showed her all of the birthday cards that I received from other bloggers.

“You see, Mom, friendship is more important than actually making a decent living through writing.” 

“Well, let’s not get carried away this…” added Sophia.

My mother opened up a cutesy hand-made card from a Canadian blogger.

“And so many women!”

“Neilochka’s very popular with female bloggers.” explained Sophia.

I beamed with pride.  My mother may have once imagined me as a Jewish doctor or lawyer, but I doubt she dreamed that I would grow up to become an international sex symbol. 

“You’re like that boy on TV,” she said.

“What boy?”

“The boy in American Idol.   The boy all the girls like.  The Indian boy.”


“Sanjaya!” Sophia repeated, laughing.

I felt insulted by my own mother.  She just nodded.

“When I saw him the first time on TV, I knew he was going to win.  He has so much personality.  So much more than his sister.”

“Personality!?  He’s awful,” I protested.

“Oh, yeah?  I bet you five cents that he wins.” offered my high-gambling mother, her recent Mah-Jongg winnings making her cocky.

For the rest of the day, my mother’s words rang in my head, making me wonder if I should have accepted that Prozac from that therapist last week. 

While my mother was upstairs, I cornered Sophia in the kitchen.

“I’m not like Sanjaya.  Am I?” I stuttered anxiously, acting just like a person with a dependent personality structure.

“Well, maybe your mother has a point.” said Sophia.   “I think little girls like Sanjaya because he is safe and non-threatening.”

“Are you saying female bloggers think I’m safe and non-threatening?”


There was a silence heard around Redondo Beach.

“How can I be safe and non-threatening?!  I’m always writing about sex… about how I want to f**k them!”

“Yeah, well… sure… you write about it.   Sanjaya also wore a mohawk last night, but that doesn’t mean he knows how to be a punk rocker.”


A Year Ago On Citizen of the Month:  The Best Teacher I Ever Had

Voting Rights

 cbs news

I'm a firm believer in the importance of voting.   As a good "Citizen of the Month," I vote in every election.  Maybe if everyone actually voted once in a while, we wouldn't have such crappy government leaders. 

I've voted for the Writers Guild Awards and Sophia's SAG awards.

I voted last night for Elliot Yamin in "American Idol."   Actually, I doubt that he's going to win, but he's Jewish and cries over his mother, so I relate to him. 

It's been Dave's third anniversary all week on his Blogography blog.  I voted for which Blogography t-shirt design I liked the best.

I became very excited when Kevin told me about a Fox contest to let us vote on which of the five box designs for the new "24" DVD we like the best.  As if Jack Bauer had such difficult decisions. 

While I love to vote, there are some times I want decisions made for me.  With the success of reality TV, I hope that audience voting isn't integrating into regular series.

"Watch Lost this week, then vote which character you want to die!"

Sometimes I just want to watch the story.

Luckily, there are some institutions that still take themselves seriously as an authority on their subject, like CBS News, famed home of Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Dan Rather.


The major networks (CBS included) spend millions of dollars every year trying to figure out what people want to see on TV. Yet, in the end, much of the programming isn't what you would have picked at all.

That's why we're now giving you a direct say in the matter. You and the rest of our viewers will be able to pick some of the stories we air on the CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer.

You, the viewer, are officially in charge of all the assignments of CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman. You get to tell him where to go and what to do — within reason, of course.

Every Friday we present three story pitches and you get to vote for the story you think sounds most interesting. Whichever story gets the most votes by 2 p.m. ET on Monday is the winner.

Last week viewers decided they wanted Steve to report on a teacher who has been teaching at the same high school for 69 years.

While this is a cute idea for me to do on my blog, is this something CBS News should be doing in their newscast?  Is this the evening news or an episode of "Survivor?"  

If CBS News really wants to go this route, I have a better idea to drum up ratings:

"Tonight on Sixty Minutes:  Steve Kroft reports on a new field of cancer research,  Lesley Stahl profiles Howard Schultz, the star of Starbucks,  Ed Bradley sits down with the oldest living teacher in Virginia; and of course — Andy Rooney.   After the stories, the voting lines will be open and ONE CORRESPONDENT WILL BE ELIMINATED."

In America, Everyone is a Winner


Is there anything worse than being a loser in America?  I watched three reality shows last night.  Everything was about winning and being competitive. 

Ryan Seacrest announcing the American Idol finalists last night:

"And here are your twelve final American Idol contestants!  All of them, winners!"

Kinnick, one of the four contestants just eliminated from the show last night: 

"Even though I’ve been eliminated, I know I’m a winner — just to be able to make it this far."

Sandy Aguilar, eliminated from the show during "Hollywood Week," writing on her blog last night:

"Out of the thousands who tried out, I made it to the top 100.  I’m clearly a winner."

Benji Stone, who never made it through the first day of auditions in Denver, speaking to KGGF, Denver, last night: 

"I slept outside all night in line just to audition.  My friends didn’t have guts to do it.  I’m a winner for following my dream."

Neil Kramer, sitting in his underwear in Sophia’s living room, watching American Idol, and calling out to Sophia in the kitchen: 

"This is terrible that they’re working on my kitchen sink in my apartment for another day and I have to stay here with you again.  Can you make me another roast beef sandwich, please.  And hurry up.  Gideon is going to sing soon!  (to self)  Hee Hee.  I’m such a winner!"

Television Season — Out!

Desperate Housewives, 24, Lost, and American Idol all ended this week, so my network television-viewing season is over.  Maybe I’ll now read more books or actually go outside. 

My report card:

Desperate Housewives:

It was inevitable that actor Roger Bart (Bree’s pharmacist friend) signed on as next season’s villain.   That will make for some interesting twists.  On the whole, Desperate Housewives was a fresh show that was somewhat over-rated.  I think it received media attention because the media likes shows about pretty women, especially when the shows have sexy titles.   The negative:  all of the characters were one-dimensional and there was an uneven mix of comedy, drama, and mystery wrapped in a phony suburban setting.  The positive:  It was a fun twist on the soap opera genre that will become better as the characters develop.  Teri Hatcher was also pretty adorable as Susan.  I liked her daughter, too.

Score:   A –


24 has been my favorite show for the last four seasons, but I must admit, it lost its focus this year.  One of the problems was that Jack Bauer was less interesting than half of the other characters, including Chloe, Edgar, Tony, Michelle, David Palmer, Novick, and even President Logan.  It’s nice that Kiefer Sutherland is so generous with his co-stars (especially when he is an executive producer), but he was upstaged in every episode.   His relationship with Audrey was fairly blah.  I hate to say this, but I missed his hapless daughter, Kim.

The Dina and Behrooz story was clearly the coolest subplot, but they were dropped in the middle of the story for the evil Mahrwan, a more traditional villain.  How many fans were waiting to find out that Dina wasn’t dead, but was the mastermind of the entire plot?  And Behrooz — what finally happened to him?  Luckily, I learned from Entertainment Weekly that the producers filmed a scene where Behrooz learned of his mother’s death,  but the scene was edited out.  Why?

Score:   B +

American Idol

This is my guilty pleasure.  Unfortunately, this was the dullest season yet, even though the singers were better than usual.  I think the format is getting a little tired.  None of the singers really stood out as a superstar.  Even Bo.   Vonzell had the best voice.  Constantine and Nadia were the most fun.   Carrie was too cutesy for me.  Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, and Fantasia all had a spark that no one had this year.  Even the "bad" singers weren’t as humorous as in the past.  Most annoying were the stock responses by the judges, with Randy’s "dawg," Paula’s smile, and Simon’s sarcasm.  The only one I liked better this year was Ryan Seacrest, who at least has fun hosting every week.  That said, the final episode was a lot of fun.  Carrie’s win was a surprise, and I enjoyed the idols singing with their "idols." 

Score:  B


Lost was the year’s biggest surprise.  The concept sounded incredibly stupid, sort of a dramatic Gilligan’s Island, but it was totally engrossing and mysterious throughout the year.  Watch it in reruns if you haven’t seen it.

Score:   A

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