Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Hermosa Beach

Turning Over a New Leaf

beach6b.jpg 

I fasted today, but I didn’t go to temple for Yom Kippur.  I just didn’t feel like going.  On Yom Kippur, there is an important memorial service, and it would have been the first time going to the service for my father, and I just didn’t want to do it.  So, instead, I just broke all the rules.  I went to CVS pharmacy, bought myself a $3.99 disposable camera and walked to Hermosa Beach.  It felt very spiritual walking around the beach looking for photos to take.  Or then again, it could have just been hunger.

If you have any interest, you can see the photos here.  One warning:  the photos are not THAT interesting, and I’m not in any of them, so don’t get too pissed at making you do an extra click of the mouse for nothing.   If you’re never been this this part of the country, maybe you can get a sense of the “sleepy” beach community I’m living in right now. 

beach19b.jpg

I’ve grown to like Southern California, but I find October depressing in the dry West.  I love FALL.  I love what it represents — a new beginning.  I think the time of the Jewish New Year makes a lot more sense than January 1st.   I love the change of the weather and the leaves and the new school year and the new TV season, and everything new that goes with Fall.  As I was taking my walk today, I realized that today’s weather in Los Angeles was not that much different than it was on July 4th!  Where’s the change? 

Most of my blogging friends do NOT live in California.  I know you sometimes laugh at us for being weird and electing actors to be governor, uh — TWICE.   But try to remember that the State of California has enhanced your life in many ways:  the birth of the internet, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, California Pizza Kitchen, and the word “gnarly.” 

Now it is your turn to pay us back —

Could someone help a Southern Californian who is homesick for Fall and email him a photo of a leaf or tree changing colors?

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthMan in the Mirror

The Sidewalk of Love

stars.jpg 

Whenever friends come to visit me in Los Angeles for the first time, they always want to see Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.  In all honesty, this collection of Hollywood “stars” is completely cheesy, but I guess stepping on Humphrey Bogart’s “star” is about as close as most of us are ever going to get to shaking his actual hand.  After all, we go to cemeteries and interact with the tombstones as if they were the actual person, so why not relate to a piece of the sidewalk on Hollywood Boulevard?

One can laugh at the corniness of the Walk of Fame, but the concept has been imitated countless times over.  In my travels, I’ve seen a Cowboy Walk of Fame, an Astronaut Walk of Fame, a Yiddish Theater Actors Walk of Fame, a Surfer’s Walk of Fame, and even a Physicist’s Walk of Fame at Caltech.  I will not be surprised if someone already has the url: bloggerswalkoffame.com

I’ve seen this “walkway” idea morph into other concepts that move away from the “fame” idea.  Before I moved back into Los Angeles, I lived a few miles south in the beach community of Redondo Beach, where Sophia still lives.  The next town over is Hermosa Beach.   

beach2.jpg 

In 2000, the town created a “Millennium Walkway” at a local park.  Local residents could purchase bricks to be etched with their names.  But unlike the theme being famed Hollywood actors or astronauts, the theme was a simple one —  “Love.”   Each brick would bear the name of a loving couple, mostly those who were happily married.

It was a beautiful, romantic idea. 

It was also incredibly stupid.  

Because a stone symbolizing a couple’s love “forever” is more of a crap shoot than a Hollywood star immortalizing Judd Nelson’s acting career.  What could be more fleeting, more ephemeral —  than love?

Six years after the Millennium, several of the marriages celebrated “forever” have already gone kaput.    In fact, three divorced couples are in a battle now with the city of Hermosa Beach to rip out their names.   Two of the requests have come from new wives of two men whose names remain etched in brick with those of their ex-wives.

Hermosa Beach Community Resources Director Lisa Lynn reluctantly acknowledged receiving the requests by telephone.

“One wife was going for a romantic stroll with her new husband and low and behold, she saw his ex-wife’s named etched in brick,” Lynn said. The one ex-husband who contacted the city said his new love would not marry him as long as his ex-wife’s brick haunts her millennial footsteps.

Lynn responded to the requests by saying the city has no plans to remove any of the walkway’s 738 bricks, she said.

Do I hear lawsuit?

I always hear of lovers who get a tattoo of their beau’s name. Does it ever come off?  Or are you forever scarred with a remembrance of that relationship gone bad?

On the day that Sophia and I moved into our place in Redondo Beach, the City was doing some work repaving the sidewalk right outside our garage.   After they left, we took a tree branch and engraved our initials into the cement.  It is still there.  I look at it every time I visit.  But rather than it being a negative memory, it reminds me why I keep coming back.

walk.jpg 

 

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  The Fourteen Millionth Most Popular Blog

Comedy and Modern Science

costello4.jpg 

Last Friday, Sophia and I went with blogger-pal Danny and his wife, Kendall, to the Hermosa Beach Comedy and Magic Club.  It is one of the best comedy clubs in Los Angeles, well-known as the club Jay Leno performs every Sunday night, trying out his monologues.  It is a great place to visit when you come to Los Angeles  Afterwards, remember to drop by Sophia’s house in Redondo Beach for some tea and cookies.

At Friday’s performance, we were sitting next to a rowdy table of ten.  They all seemed drunk.  In the center of the bunch were two twins, both blond Pamela Anderson types, both wearing skimpy halter tops.   It was their birthdays.   (Danny later discovered that these “twins” were the Costello Twins and they are known for something in C-level Hollywood.    Look it up yourself.   It’s not that interesting.)

The show consisted for four acts.  During each act, Blond Twin #1 would stand up, talking to the comedian on the stage — wanting to bring the attention to herself.   Even though the comedians seemed annoyed, they tried to keep it light, realizing she was drunk and it was her birthday.

But the audience was getting increasingly pissy.

The headliner for the evening was the very funny Ralph Harris.  Towards the middle of his routine, Blond Twin #1 stood up for the fourth time.

“I like you.  You’re funny.” she slurred.

“Uh, yeah, thanks,” Ralph Harris said.  “Could you sit down now?”

But Blond Twin #1 did not sit down.   Instead, she pulled down her halter top and flashed her breasts to the comedian — and the rest of the audience.

Now, I know what you’re thinking while you’re reading this at home or in the office.

“Why is Neil telling me this story?” 

I tell this true-life tale for an important reason.  I think it’s time to prove to my female readers that not all men are horndogs.  As this blond beauty turned my way, her breasts bare to the world, my eyes didn’t pop out of their sockets like a cartoon character.  I didn’t drool all over myself.   The table didn’t miraculously lift a foot off the ground.

No, I sat there and pondered modern science.    I thought:

“When are they ever going to make fake boobs that don’t look like large bocce balls?”

A Year Ago On Citizen of the MonthThe Blog is Mightier Than the Sword

Double Entendres and Croissants

croissant3.jpg

I had the cold first.  Then, I went over to Sophia to get some TLC, and got her sick.  So, by the end of the week, we were both miserable.

Friday, I took some pills and ventured out, mostly because I was excited to meet two bloggers coming to town from San Francisco — Kristy of She Just Walks Around With It and Ish of The Original Pawns of Comedy.  I really enjoyed meeting them and talking about blogging, writing, comedy, and all sorts of things.  We had lunch in Hermosa Beach and then took a walk on the beach right up to the waves. 

Being with people new to the area helped me look at LA in a new way.  I complain about living in Los Angeles a lot, but there is something to be said for living right by the beach, even if I sometimes feel like a fish-out-of-water in the beach culture — with the surfer dudes, the professional volleyball girls, and the ubiquitous fish tacos.

On Saturday, Sophia and I, still under the weather, spent most of the day inside, watching TV.  We especially enjoyed watching old game shows on the Game Show Network.  The highlight of the day was "The Newlywed Game," especially when Bob Eubanks asked the "wives" this question:

"Which of the following game show titles best describes your husband’s behavior lately in the whoopie department?"

A)  Concentration
B)  Make Me Laugh
C)  Beat the Clock

I thought I would have some fun with Sophia and ask her to play along.

"So, what’s your answer?"

"Whoopie meaning sex, right?"

"Yes.  So, which game show title best describes your husband’s behavior?  Concentration?  Make Me Laugh? Or Beat the Clock?"

"I never heard of any of those shows."

"They’re old shows.  Just pick one."

"I don’t know them.  Can I pick one I do know?"

"Sure."

"Wheel of Fortune."

"Wheel of Fortune doesn’t make sense."

"Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"

"Millionaire doesn’t really work either.  It only works if it’s a double entendre."

"Millionaire could be a double entendre.  Like "My husband is worth a million bucks in the sack, or should I phone a friend?.""

"But it’s supposed to be funny.  It should be something making fun of the man’s inadequacy."

"Ok, if you insist.  How about, "My husband’s lovemaking is so blah, that every time we make whoopie, there’s a "Family Feud.""  That’s not bad.  Or my husband is so boring in the bedroom, he’s the ultimate "Hollywood Square."  Or "Let’s just say that when I make whoopie with my husband, the words "Weakest Link" always come to mind."   Better now?"

"OK, OK, I get it.  Let’s watch something else."

On Sunday, Sophia and I spent most of the day like Saturday — watching TV.

At some point, I got lustful feelings and tried to get flirty with the sniffling Sophia, who responded by hitting me in the head with a tissue box.  Sophia promptly fell asleep and I started watching one of those poker shows on TV. 

It was a high-stakes tournament going on at the Aviation Club in Paris.  There was a lot of excitement in the air.  As the players battled each other with their cards and chips, some ordered drinks from an attractive waitress.   Not that this was unusual for a casino.  But I was very surprised when one player asked to be brought a croissant.

A croissant!

How French I thought!  He’s playing for a million dollars, but still has time for a croissant!  I’ve always been fascinated by the French.  Their culture.  Their art.  Their wine.  Their beautiful woman.  My all-time favorite movie director is Frenchman Eric Rohmer.   One of my greatest joys with this blog is that I actually have readers in France.  I’m not sure how they found me, but I’m glad they did.  Like a lot of Americans, I was pissed at the French government’s siding with the Iraqis a couple of years ago, but I never went so far as to change the name of my French toast to Freedom toast. 

And what is more French than a croissant? 

Suddenly, my lustful feelings became focused on French baked goods.  I had a deep yearning for a croissant that just had to be satisfied.  I threw on my clothes and headed for the supermarket. 

But Vons Supermarket proved to be a big disappointment.   Their store brand of croissants looked awful.   A true croissant is much like a perfect bagel — there must be a perfectly modulated juxtaposition between the toughness of the exterior and the softness of the interior.   Vons Supermarket’s croissants looked like cut pieces of cardboard.

But now I had a problem?  Where the hell am I going to find a good croissant in Redondo Beach — where Tito’s Taco Shack is considered fine cuisine?  Luckily, I was able to find a foodie friend at home, who directed me to a bakery in Hermosa Beach.

An hour later, I returned home, holding a bag with two croissants, one for me and one for Sophia.   I thought about the intense pleasure that eating this croissant would give me — like a night of passion in Paris with the most beautiful French woman.

"Why do you go out for croissants?" asked Sophia.

"It was like inspiration.  I heard player in a poker tournament in Paris ask to be brought a croissant."

"No one asks for a croissant in the middle of a poker tournament."

"In France, they do.  You just don’t understand the French.  They have a lust for life.  When they want a croissant, they get a croissant."

"Let me see."

The game was still on Sophia’s Tivo.  She zoomed back to the exact moment I was talking about.   She started laughing.

"He didn’t say "croissant!"" said Sophia, who happens to speak French.   "He said "troi cents!"  He was asking another player if he had "troi cents" — three hundred [thousand] in chips."

"Oh," I said, feeling like an idiot.

We ate the croissants anyway.  Sophia loved hers, but it just wasn’t the same for me.

Memorial Day, Hermosa Beach

memA.jpg

memD.jpg

memB.jpg

memC.jpg

memE.jpg

memF.jpg

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial