the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Los Angeles (Page 2 of 4)

Class Trip


Remember years ago when parents used to take their kids to the zoo?   In Los Angeles, they do things differently.  This morning I went to Whole Foods to buy some orange juice.  There were about fifty mothers in the store, kids attached, and the kids were being given a “tour” of the store by a special Whole Foods docent guide. 


 I followed them around for a while and found the whole thing completely bizarre.  Even if the store was preparing the next generation of  soy-milk users, do little kids really care about this stuff?  Is it fun for them to see vegetables?  Will there be Whole Grain Happy Meal Toy next?


Docent Guide:  “This is called organic goat cheese.  Can you all say that — ORGANIC goat cheese?  You want to make sure you always ask for ORGANIC goat cheese, even thought it is much more expensive.  You don’t want to be like those poor Mexican children who eat REGULAR goat cheese, do you?”

The Infomercial in the Donut Shop


Near my home is a little independent donut shop. I’ve never seen one person inside other than the owner — a petitie, middle-aged, Korean woman. I was driving by today and decided I was in the mood for a donut. I went in, ordered a jelly donut and cup of coffee, and sat down at the bright orange, plastic, uncomfortable, table/chair thingamajig that’s bolted to the floor. The donut and coffee were truly the worst coffee and donut I’ve ever tasted. As I sat eating my disgusting donut, the owner watched some infomercial on a 13″ TV sitting on the counter.

The infomercial was one of those get-rich-quick schemes:

“Use my stock market technique, and within two weeks, your two thousand will be two hundred thousand!”

As one “success story” after another gave his testimony, I could see the eyes of the donut woman widen. She was totally enraptured by what was being said.

I began to feel bad for this woman. She clearly had no talent in making either donuts or coffee. She was probably losing all her money in this awful donut shop. This type of infomercial preys on a woman like this — someone who may be uneducated or part of an immigrant community. It is these innocent people who don’t realize that it is all a scam.

“I put two thousand dollars into the stock market, and soon I was able to quit my job,” said some overly-eager male voice on the television. “Now I don’t spend time behind a desk, but behind the wheel of my new yacht!”

I felt anger at this scam artist on TV, with this modern era three-card Monte swindle. I was so furious that I squeezed my donut with my hand, shooting some jelly onto my shirt.

What was I to do? I had to warn her. I saw her writing some information on a piece of paper. Was she actually going to call these crooks?

I knew this really wasn’t my business, but I felt it was my duty to speak up. As an American citizen. As a Good Jew. I walked over to the counter. She pointed at the pile of donuts.

“Donut?” she asked.

“No, thank you,” I said. “I just wanted to tell you to be careful with these types of TV shows. They might look like real shows, but they are commercials. Don’t believe everything they tell you. You weren’t thinking of calling them up, were you?”

“Donut?” she asked again, being that it was the only English word she knew.

(photo by roadsidepictures via flickr)

Is it Tom Cruise’s Sport Jacket?


I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I haven’t been adding my “A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month”‘s at the end of my posts for the last few days. The reason is because when I look at my archives, I see that the first anniversary of my father’s passing is coming up, and I’m avoiding looking at the archives. The last few days have been depressing. Since the Jewish calendar is different than ours, my father’s memorial day was on Monday. That’s right — on 9/11. I lit my father’s “yahrzeit” candle in Los Angeles, and my mother lit hers in New York. I couldn’t deal with reading all of the 9/11 blog posts until Tuesday, which made me depressed two days in a row.

Even my recent posts seem grouchy. Sophia’s job has been extended another week or two and I’m forgetting what a woman smells like. I would be miserable if my friend Barry didn’t come to town on business. He is a friend from New York who I have known since kindergarten. Yesterday, we met up for dinner.

Remember when you were a kid you could spend the whole day having “adventures,” but when you got home and your mother asked, “What did you do?” you answered, “Nothing.”

It was that kind of “wild” night.

The night actually did start out with a bang. We were stopped by the police on La Cienega Boulevard. The reason: My registration sticker was one month old! Woo-hoo, I’m a rebel! I looked the cop in the eyes and said, “F**k you LAPD pig! I’m no Rodney King!” And then I meekly said, “I’ll take care of this immediately, Officer,” and he let me go.

Next up: Barry thought he had an ear infection. Rather than going to the hospital, he suggested we go to this “walk-in” clinic in Beverly Hills. I didn’t even know they had these things. We met with some friendly Iranian doctor, who gave Barry a prescription for antibiotics. We headed over to Walgreens for the pills, but they said it would take three hours.

Three hours! What do two Jewish guys from Queens do? We walked to Pico Kosher Deli and ate some of our favorites. We flirted with the cute waitress and tried to figure out if she was Jewish or a non-Jewish actress acting Jewish as her role of deli waitress.

As we ate our soup, we discussed 9/11 and why so many people think Bush knew about the attacks ahead of time and did nothing, wanting it to happen as an excuse to go into Iraq. We decided that the only way for this conspiracy to work would be if both the Bush and the previous Clinton administrations were in cahoots, which would at least show some bipartisan cooperation.

After our meal, we discovered this cool used clothing store that sold wardrobe pieces from major films and television shows. Most of the clothes was very high-end and looked like they had only been worn once or twice. Barry bought a nice Perry Ellis sport jacket for $35 that originally starred in Mission Impossible 2.

We went back to Walgreens, but still had an hour to kill. So, we spent the time wandering in and out of the aisles, playing with products. We talked about which razors we both used. We agreed that Swifter is overpriced for what it does. When we noticed that Barry had a mustard stain on his shirt, we experimented with different “spot removers,” but nothing worked. We read Us Weekly, Star Magazine, and Black Men Magazine. Finally, Barry got his antibiotics and downed it with some Gatorade.

We hung around for another half hour, sitting on the trunk of my car. Barry got cold, so he put on his new sport jacket. We wondered who could have worn the sport jacket in Mission Impossible 2. Was it Tom Cruise’s sports jacket? Anthony Hopkins? Or was it just some extra in the background?

There was only one way to find out!

We walked over to Blockbuster, rented Mission Impossible 2, and went back to my place. We watched the movie in slow motion, our only purpose being to FIND THAT SPORT JACKET! Unfortunately, this was so tedious a job that we both fell asleep with the TV still on.

Fun!  Eat your heart out, Sophia.

Been There, Done That


I recently went with Danny and his wife, Kendall, to a Academy screening of Bob Fosse’s “Cabaret.”  It is a great film and would have won the Oscar in the 1972 if a little film titled “The Godfather” didn’t win instead.

My favorite scene takes place in a German beer garden.  An Aryan boy in his Hitler Youth outfit stands up and sings “Tomorrow Belongs to Me,” a beautiful nationalistic song about the Fatherland. One by one, all of the customers get up and chant along, mesmerized by the boy’s voice and the Nazi vision.  The only one who remains sitting is an old man.  He is shaking his head.  He’s old enough to have seen this shit before.  He knows better. 

Do people really get wiser with age?  Who knows.  I have some really dumb older relatives.  But I think you do gain experience as you age.  I’m surprised that our culture doesn’t draw more on the experience of those who have “been there, done that.”  We might think that an older person — someone over 65 — is “out of it” because they don’t use a Tivo.  But the last generation has adapted to changes in society and technology that are more dramatic than anything we have seen.   We’ve watched a 56k modem evolve into an iPod.  But they’ve seen a 56′ Ford become a space shuttle.  And isn’t the latest rock star really a different packaging of the last rock star who was a different packaging of Elvis, who was a different packaging of Frank Sinatra?

Lately, I’ve been feeling “older.”  When I say that, I don’t necessarily mean in body or spirit, but more in my interests in life.  When I started this blog, I was going to write about “pop culture.”  I still love movies, TV, and music, but recently, less so.  Lindsay Lohan – should I really care about her life?   After all, I’m not a 15 year old girl.   I’m not even a gay editor of a gossip blog that caters to 15 year old girls.   I skipped the Emmys this year.  And the MTV Video Music Awards.  And you certainly didn’t see me waiting in line for the first night’s showing of “Snakes on a Plane.” 

I know for many of you, admitting this lack of interest of popular culture is the greatest sin possible.  I know how essential it is to be on top of everything.   To be a hipster.  To be in the know.   To be seen at the right places.  To know the cool bands.   I’ve been there.   And now Neilochka is saying he doesn’t even care about “Snakes on a Plane” — a movie with Samuel L. Jackson of all people!  How DORKY is this guy?  Does all he do is IM single women and read blogs?

Which brings me to my next topic of conversation — the website Gawker, the hip New York media blog.

If I don’t stand in line for the opening of a movie, or a nightclub, I’m certainly not going to stand in line to write a comment on a website.  Did you see the rigmarole you have to go through to comment there?  My friend told me about an interesting article today on Gawker.  But when I went to comment, I saw this:

If you’d like an invitation to become a Gawker commenter, you can apply by leaving a comment. Try to make your first one particularly witty. The comment will only appear once (or if) you’re put on the list.

1. Who can leave comments on Gawker?

Anyone who has been invited, either by us or by a friend. The invite system works like Gmail’s invite system. We’ve invited a bunch of our favorite media mavens, bloggers, and frequent tipsters to comment, then given them invitations to share with their friends and colleagues. That way, the burden of inclusion, and exclusion, is shared.

2. Why are comments by invitation only?

Most online communities, like hip bars, are quickly overrun. Not that we’ll be any exception. But we’re going to try to put off that moment for as long as possible.

3. How can I become a commenter?

A) Find a friend with an invitation to share. Many of the people who we’ve invited to comment have also received invitations to share with friends. We’ll continue to seed selected inboxes with invitations to share so the supply doesn’t die out.

B) Tip us. We’ve invited some of our most frequent tipsters to comment, as a thanks for all the help they’ve given us. If you’re looking to comment, raise your chances by sending useful tips to us.

C) Convince us. If you’re lurking inside a major media company, with dirt to dish, we might be interested in having you as a commenter. For instance, we’ll send an invite to anyone with a or email address who asks for one.

D) Blog. If you’re a blogger, you’ve got a stake in what you’re saying. Many Gawker comments invitations have gone out to fellow bloggers whose work we admire.

Jesus.  It’s like I have to learn to juggle just to write some dumb comment.  I’m surprised that they didn’t want me to bring them the head of Medusa.

Now in the past, this type of thing would make me upset.  I would be desperate to be included with the cool folk or bitter that I was such a loser.  I would feel insecure that I am not good enough (which is the point) and probably one of the reasons thousands of need-to-be-connected bloggers link to this commercial site.  

But, instead, I just shrugged.  I was too lazy to write a witty comment.   I had a good comment, but I wasn’t sure how witty it really was.  Besides, from my own experiences in real life — the people at these type of parties are never too exciting.  So, that’s it.  No huffing and puffing.  If Gawker wants my comment, they know where to find me.  I can always get my gossip at Entertainment Tonight.

I had a similar “shrug it off” experience at Saturday’s Los Angeles Blogger’s Garage Sale.  I stopped by and it was great seeing Carly and Communicatrix.  And the rumor was true.  Half of the participants were drag queens.  As I was leaving, I encountered two guys who were friends of friends.  One guy had on heels and the other was carrying colored wigs. I made some passing comment about the cool wigs, but they ignored me and started acting very “draq queenish.”   I figured they were trying to shock me.  I was wearing khaki pants and a button down Oxford shirt, despite the 100 degree weather (I need to do a laundry again!), so I must have looked like John Cheever walking into the wrong suburban cocktail party.  These guys perceived me as the white-bread Redondo Beach guy and they were going to do a little extra prancing to shock me and make me feel as uncomfortable as they would be in a redneck bar.   

Now, in the past, this might have bothered me.  What if these with-it guys actually thought I am a  — my god — a Republican — in this preppy Ivy League dress shirt?  I would have desperately felt the urge to tell these guys that I am as “hip” as they are.  That I’m OK with their outlandish lifestyle.  That it isn’t shocking to me to see men wearing women’s clothes.  In fact, I would have told them to run home and do a search on Google for the #1 link to “Husbands who wear women’s panties” — Yes, I’ve seen it all, done it all. 

But, it wasn’t worth my time.  I didn’t need to prove to them that I am a hipster or trendy — or anything.  I really didn’t care what they thought.  And that was a good feeling. 

And that made me feel “older.”  Or maybe, more “mature” is a better way of saying that.

Before I headed off, one of the drag queens dropped a wig, and bent down to pick it up.  I caught a glimpse of the back of his underwear.  They were Fruit of the Loom tighty-whiteys.

“Faker,” I mumbled to myself, as I headed down Melrose Blvd.


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:   When I Grow Up to Be a Man


The Negative Effect of my Vons Club Card on my Sex Life


I lied to you on my last blog post — the one about that Forbes article, “Don’t Marry Career Women.”  I made it sound as if I’m a super-cool feminist guy, the type of evolved man who doesn’t mind one bit that Sophia “wears the pants in the family.” 

I lied.  I wanted you to like me.  I wanted you to respect me.  I wanted you to say, “Neilochka is so much more of a feminist than macho bloggers like PaulyD and Kapgar.  I’m only going to read his blog from now on.”

The truth is, yes — I do get insecure.  There is a lot to be insecure about with Sophia.  She makes more money than I do.  She is smarter than I am.  She has a better sense of humor than me.  She can easily beat me in Ms. Pac-Man.  And she looks better in her underwear than I do.

But these items are not what really bother me.  I’m cool with her inherent superiority.   They don’t make me feel any “less” of a man.  My Achilles heel, if we can call it that, revolves around something else entirely — the use of my Vons Club Card in the supermarket.

Let me give you some history:

As an innocent young boy in Queens, New York, I remember the supermarket as an unpleasant place, a world of chaos and anger.  The aisles were too small and customers were always smacking their shopping carts into each other — sometimes on purpose, as if we were in the middle of some sadistic urban demolition derby where people actually enjoyed seeing boxes of Cheerios flying onto the filthy supermarket floor.  Many New Yorkers did not have cars, so this is where all aggression was released.  They had “shopping cart rage.”  Back in the old days, no one ever said, “excuse me.”  If your cart was in the way, someone would rudely push it aside.  It was a Hobbesian world of shopper eat shopper.  No employee would ever help you.  Once, an old woman died on Aisle Seven of my local Waldbaum’s and the employees closed the store later, just leaving her there.  The underpaid checkout girls hated their jobs and never let you forget it.

When I moved to California, I was not impressed with the weather or the girls in bikinis.  I had already seen that in the movies.  What shocked me were the supermarkets. 

They were enormous.  They were clean.  Three shopping carts could fit side by side in each aisle.  Kids happily sat and played in their shopping carts while their mommies bought dinner.  Some of these carts were bigger than the playpen I used to have as a child. 

Customers were kind to each other.  They actually went to the “Ten and Under Checkout line” with the ACTUAL correct number of items!  They didn’t argue, like Mary Riccio’s mother used to do – that milk, eggs, yogurt, and ice cream was just one item — “dairy product.” 

Life was like a dream in a California supermarket.  Music by “Air Supply” was piped in on the loudspeakers.  Some supermarkets were so large, you could also buy pots, pans, concert tickets, and even Samsonite luggage right there!

And the employees were always so polite.  Where did they find these people?  They acted less as if they had a low-paying job and more like they just won the lottery.

“Hi there, sir, can help you find the best fresh vegetables?”

“Are you looking for something that I could help you with?”

“Have you see our sale on Bounty paper towels?”

“Do you need any help carrying out that 1/2 pound bag of raisins?”

Now I knew why all these illegal immigrants were moving to California.  For the supermarkets!  

California supermarkets were like heaven to me — until Sophia signed up for a Vons Club Card.

Even though Sophia and I are legally married, Sophia decided to keep her last name –Lansky (what a typical career women!).    She wanted to remain Sophia Lansky, not become Sophia Kramer.  At first, it didn’t bother me a whole lot. 

But then was the turning point.  

One day, as I left my local Vons Supermarket, having just used our “joint” Vons Club Card, the overbearingly-friendly salesgirl shouted out joyfully, “You saved $10.55 today… MR. LANSKY!”

Ugh.  What a strike to the male ego!  And it didn’t happen just once.  Every time I left the store, having used my Vons Club Card, it was the same —

…Mr. Lansky…  Mr. Lansky… Mr. Lansky…! 

But did I ever scream?  Did I ever say, “I’m goddamn Mr. Kramer, not goddamn Mr. Lansky — you stupid Stepford checkout girl!?”   No.  I kept it bottled up inside. 

I thought of not using the Vons Club Card at all  — but I would feel like an asshole for paying an extra $10.55.  It was a lose-lose situation.

The stress affected me physically.  The symptoms started small.  I began losing interest in sex after shopping at the supermarket.  It didn’t matter if it was for bananas or milk.  Just walking into Vons was a blow to my male ego.   The “Mr. Lansky” line would be pounding in my brain over and over.  What type of wimpy man is known by his wife’s name?

Mr. Lansky… Mr. Lansky… Mr. Lansky… 

I started shopping at the over-priced Whole Foods for one good reason:  they didn’t have a “club card.”  Unfortunately, the mere passing of the Vons Supermarket across the street would give me the inability to have an erection for 24 hours. 

I became desperate.  I drove to Santa Anita racetrack and bought myself a pair of horse-blinders, to prevent me from seeing any Vons Supermarkets as I drove down the street.  But I always knew the supermarkets were there, close by, mocking me — especially since Sophia’s new GPS system was constantly telling me so.

However, with Sophia away, I was desperate for some love and affection.  I decided to fight my fear.  On Friday night, I went out with my mother-in-law’s chiropractor’s unemployed sister, Andrea.   After a nice dinner at Chicago for Ribs,  we ended back at her place.  We drank some wine and watched some TV.  Soon, we were in her bed.  It felt good to be with a woman again.  I was proud of myself for moving beyond my problem.  We made love for an hour.  Andrea was passionate, screaming things like, “Neilochka, you are amazing!” and “I’ve never been f***ed so good!” 

(note:  This unemployed woman should have said, “I’ve never been f***ed so well!” — another reason to always marry a “career woman,” who usually have a better command of the English language).

The lovemaking grew even more intense.  It felt as if the bed was levitating off the carpet.  Her face grew red, her breathing irregular.  Andrea was nearing the orgasm of her life, when I noticed that the TV in the living room was still on.  It was the end of Conan O’Brien.   There was a cut to a commercial — an advertisement for a certain local supermarket chain:

“This week at Vons:  use your Vons Club Card and get two packages of fresh strawberries for only four dollars!”

“Don’t stop!” yelled the hyperventilating Andrea.  But it was too late.   The Vons Club Card took its toll, and the toll was on me.

I have not heard back from Andrea since then.   And I don’t expect to.

But this tale does not end sadly.   Every psychological problem has a solution, if you are willing to work on yourself. 

Today, I walked into Vons like a REAL MAN and signed up for my very own Vons Club Card. 

Problem solved.


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  138th Post About Sophia

Moving Week


I hate moving!  It is so tedious and time-consuming.  But I’m never too busy to sing in the car as I’m shlepping boxes… 

sung to the tune of ‘The Jeffersons’ theme, “Movin’ On Up”  (listen to the original song)

Well, I’m movin’ on up, to the Westside
To Sophia’s apartment by the beach
Movin’ on up, to the Westside
Her panties are now within reach.

Sophie’s bras in the morning,
Wearing her stockings at night.
How does she wear these stilletos?  Isn’t this teddy too tight?
Wearing her dress on the weekend,
Looking like Barbie, not Ken.
I’m livin’ the high life, just me and her undies,
Until she kicks me out once again!

Well, I’m movin’ on up, to the Westside
To Sophia’s apartment by the beach
Movin’ on up, to the Westside
Her panties are now within reach.


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  She Exists!

Wolfgang Puck Hates My Family


I never had a fantasy about moving to California.  But when I came to Los Angeles, it wasn’t as if I didn’t know anything about the place.  I knew the Chinese Theater.  I knew Burbank from the Tonight Show.  I knew the health food restaurant on Sunset Blvd. where Alvy Singer ate with Annie Hall.  I knew Gidget lived in Malibu, the Brady Bunch lived in the Valley, and the gang from “Three’s Company” lived in Santa Monica.  I knew the Beach Boys liked a girl named “Barbara Ann.”  I knew Ventura Highway.  I knew it never rained in Southern California.  And I knew if you stayed at the Hotel California, you could never leave.

Most of all, I knew celebrity super-chef, Wolfgang Puck.  

After all, I was travelling to Los Angeles to go to film school and become part of the film industry.  And that meant — one day eating at the famed Spago.   I knew in the future, I would walk into Spago with a wannabe model at my side and Wolfgang Puck would run out of the kitchen to greet me.  “Neilochka!” he would shout in his Austrian accent, “Please sit down at YOUR special table right next to Al Pacino!”

Wolfgang Puck represented Los Angeles to me.  He was an icon.  A Hero.  And there’s nothing sadder when you lose faith in a hero, whether it is OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson, or Mel Gibson.  While Wolfgang Puck never committed a heinous crime, he became guilty of something just as bad — overexposure.


First he became a fixture on the “Today” show.   Then, he opened “Wolfgang Puck Cafes” in malls everywhere, so every Joe Schmoe could make believe he was eating lunch next to Al Pacino.  I can honestly say I ate my worst Italian meal ever in a Wolfgang Puck Cafe in Orange County.

Soon, Wolfgang Puck was invading my local supermarket with his “Wolfgang Puck” soups. 


At first, I was excited about this soup development.  I’m a huge fan of canned soup.  It is easy to make and usually tastes pretty good.   I have been eating Campbell’s Soup since I was a child.  But as I matured, I started to feel ashamed to bring my Campbell’s Soups “Chicken and Stars” to the checkout girl.  What could be less sophisticated?  Who eats this soup after the fifth grade? 

Luckily, Wolfgang Puck came to the rescue.  His soup had fancy names and a photo of Wolfgang Puck smiling at you right on the label.  Although it was three times more expensive than Campbell’s soup, I could proudly display it in my shopping cart.  And who knows?… maybe women in the supermarket even thought that I was having Al Pacino over for dinner that night!  In a way, buying a Wolfgang Puck soup was like having the real Wolfgang Puck travelling to your home and catering your dinner, much like he caters the Governor’s Ball each year after the Oscar’s.

But then I tasted the soup.  Have you ever tasted a Wolfgang Puck soup?  It  tastes like piss!  It makes Progresso Soups seem like something served at the Four Seasons

Then, my relationship with Wolfgang Puck turned worse.  It turned dangerous.

On our last trip to New York, Sophia and I took the red eye.  When we arrived in Flushing, it was already morning and my mother was at work.  While Sophia unpacked, I started making us some scrambled eggs.  After a few minutes of frying the eggs,  I reached for the handle of the frying pan and — OUCH — almost burnt my skin off.

“Holy Shit! ” I screamed, as I spilled the eggs all over the oven top.

As I jumped around in pain, I noticed a memo stuck on the refrigerator.  It was from my mother.

“Neil:  Be careful.  Wear a cooking glove when using the new pots!”

Later on, I learned the whole story.  My mother had already burnt her hand three times after buying this new set of cookware.

“What kind of shitty cookware did you buy?” I asked.   “What pots have a metal handle that gets so burning hot when you use it?”

“Oh, no, these pots are very good.”  she answered.  (even though they were on sale!)  “They are Wolfgang Puck pots!”


Wolfgang Puck!!  Now he is hawking cookware!  And some crap from China that he wouldn’t use in a million years!

After this painful incident Sophia, my mother, and I went to the Berkshires for a vacation.  I avoided telling Sophia about the Wolfgang Puck cookware, because I didn’t want to ruin her vacation.  She is a big fan of the Food Network and watches Iron Chef religiously.  I didn’t want her to know the truth about one of America’s most beloved chefs. 

We had a great time in the Berkshires.   Sophia and I got along terrifically.  On our return to New York, things even got romantic between us one night.  We cuddled all night in my childhood bedroom, satisfying my childhood dream of having a hot babe in my bed.

In the morning, I awoke feeling great.  My mother had gone to work.  I could hear Sophia in the kitchen.  I smiled.  Maybe she is making me a special breakfast in bed.  Suddenly, I remembered!  She didn’t know the true horror of Wolfgang Puck cookware.  I tossed the sheets aside, and, still naked, ran into the kitchen.

“Sophia, STOP!” I screamed.

But it was too late. 

“Holy SHIT!” I heard her yell in agony as my mother’s Wolfgang Puck frying pan came crashing to the floor.

Wolfgang Puck, enough!  Leave my family alone!


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  My First Piece of Erotica!


Mel Gibson Arrested for DUI



Mel Gibson, still drunk off his ass, is sitting in his cell, mumbling to himself about the f**king Jews.  Suddenly Danny Glover comes bursting in through the door.

Mel:  “Danny, what the f**k?”

Danny:  “Partners forever, my Lethal Weapon friend.  Let’s get out of here.  I rigged the place.  It’s gonna blow.”

Mel and Danny jump out the window and the entire jail explodes. 

Mel:  “Thanks, Danny.”

Danny:  “We have to get out of here… and fast.  The Sheriff’s Department can’t cover-up your anti-Semitic rants forever.”

Mel:    “F**k those Jew-loving cops.  I would OWN Malibu if that Yenta Barbra Streisand didn’t already own it.  Let’s go over to Nobu in Malibu for some sake and sushi.”

Danny:  “Maybe we should hide out in my place until things calm down.”

Mel:  Yeah, we can pick up some ebony hookers.  Sugar tits, here comes the Passion of the Dick!”

Danny shakes his head sadly.

Danny:  “I’m getting too old for this shit!”

Mel:  No, you’re not, Danny.  You’re one motherf***ing good black dude!  As long as you’re not a fag.  You’re not one of those that take it up the arse, are you?”

Danny:  Why do I always have to be the responsible, by-the-book buddy and you always the crazy loose cannon?

Mel:  “It’s those f**king Jew screenwriters!”

from police report

The story on

Update:  Mel apologizes.  The “I was drunk” excuse.  Jeez, funny, but when I get drunk, which is very very rare, I sing dirty songs, but I never blurt out ethnic slurs!

Los Angeles: The Glamorous Life


A friend of mine once tried to start a magazine.   He explained to me how magazines became successful.  You take some niche topic (Golf, Fishing, Teenage Girls’ Fashion, Investing,  New York City Upscale Mothers) and you write articles which make your readers feel insecure.  This way, they’ll continue to read your magazine and buy your advertiser’s products, hoping that ONE DAY they could be as successful as the person on the cover.

I pretty much use the same technique here at Citizen of the Month.   I know that for many of you living in god-forsaken places such as Montana, Pittsburgh, and Staten Island, I must be the single most glamorous person you’ve ever encountered.   After all, I live in the star-studded entertainment capital of the world — Los Angeles.   I open my shades every morning and hear the birds singing, smell the ocean air, and see Lindsay Lohan walk her dog.  My life is all about glamour.  Sometimes, I think of quitting blogging.  But then I remember all the “little people” — people like you — the ones who depend on a little elegance and sophistication to add meaning to their small-town lives.    You can easily compare me to a Fred Astaire movie of the 1930’s — top hats, champagne, and Cole Porter — letting the sad, Depression-era audiences have a little bit of taste of “The Good Life.”

My Sunday began like many others in the beautiful City of Angels.  As I awoke, a beautiful Hollywood actress walked out of my shower.  I admired her perfect naked body.  She was exotic, with a sexy foreign accent. 

“Remember to watch Windfall on NBC this Thursday,” she said, reminding me about her upcoming appearance on TV.

“Of course, Sophia.”  I said.

Los Angeles.  City of Dreams.  The sun.  The beach.  Famous actresses. 

I was living my dream.  

“How about we go have some brunch?’  I asked her, as she combed back her hair, her highlights shimmering like the crown of a goddess.

“Sure.  Where?”

Those of you who live in boring places like Washington D.C., Atlanta, and Paris probably don’t understand that this is a complex question.  Los Angeles is filled with some of the most fabulous and cutting-edge restaurants in the country.  I know that for most of my readers, going “out” means shlepping over to “Mr. Pizza” at the mall with the kids.  But for someone like me, going out means choosing from one of the hippest and trendiest eateries in town.  For us Angelenos, eating out is important.  Like clubbing and shopping on Rodeo Drive.  You need to be part of the scene.  “See and be seen” is our motto.

“How would you like to check out ‘Chicago for Ribs’?” I asked my naked actress friend.

“Is it any good?”

“I have no idea.  But I received a two-for-one coupon in the mail.”

“Cheapskate, as usual”

Although I don’t mind using a coupon (Men: only use a coupon ONCE you’re married), I’m always embarrassed giving it to the waiter.  What to do?  Make you wife do it.

“Here’s the coupon.”  I said, as we entered Chicago for Ribs, trying to shove the coupon into Sophia’s hand.

“Be a man for once in your life.  You give him the coupon!”

I sighed.  Sophia was right.  How difficult can it be to give someone a stupid coupon?

We were greeted by Frank, the maitre d’ (can you call the guy who takes you to your booth in Chicago for Ribs a maitre d’?) .  He was a sourpussed man in his forties who looked like he took a summer job at Chicago for Ribs in 1980 and never left.

“You should give him the coupon NOW,” said Sophia, as we went to our table.  “They like to get it before you order.”

I hemmed and hawed.

“Give it to him now,” she repeated.

As we sat, I showed the coupon to Frank.

“I received this coupon in the mail.  Is it OK to use it today for lunch?”

“Yes.  I’ll take it. ” The stone-faced maitre d’ replied, not really giving a shit.

Our waiter approached.

“Hi, I’m Jamal!” he said with a smile.  Finally — someone friendly!

Sophia ordered beef ribs, with side dishes of corn and coleslaw.  I ordered chicken, with side dishes of baked potato and beans.   Originally I was just going to order a sandwich, but since Sophia ordered something for $12.95, it was mathematically important that I order something for the same price — or the whole point of a two-for-one coupon is lost.

The meal was both decent and mediocre.  Real BBQ lovers would have probably thrown the “Chicago-style ribs” from the top of the Sears Tower.  But Jamal was a nice guy, who kept on refilling our iced tea.  Jamal also had great teeth. 

We received the bill.  It was $35 dollars, with drinks.  There was no discount for our two-for-one coupon.  I looked over at Sophia.

“No way!  You handle it, once in your life.” she said.

I waited for Jamal to return.

“Um…  We wanted to use a coupon with this.”  I told him.

“Sure.  Just give it to me and I’ll take care of it.”

“Um…  Actually, we already gave the coupon to the other guy when we first walked in.”

“Who?  Frank?”

“I think so.” 

“OK, I’ll ask him for it.”

A few minutes later, Jamal returns, shaking his head.

“Frank said you never gave him a coupon.”

“Isn’t Frank the guy at the door?”


“I’m positive I gave it to Frank when we sat down.”

Sophia was getting impatient with my method of “taking care of things.”

“Could you bring Frank over here, please?!” she asked.

Jamal returned with Frank.   This was the same sourpuss who I gave the coupon.

“You didn’t give me any coupon.” he said.

“Of course he did!” said Sophia.

“I told you I got it in the mail,” I added sheepishly, hoping he’d remember our conversation.  “I asked you if we could use it at lunch…”

“And I told you ‘yes.'” Frank said.  “But I never took the coupon.”

I quickly went through all my pockets, emptying everything onto the table.

“I’m POSITIVE I gave you the coupon.”

“I SAW him give it to you,” said Sophia.

“I don’t have it.”  said Frank.  “And I really need that coupon for accounting purposes.   Let me check in the back one more time.  Although I certainly don’t remember you giving me any coupon…”

Sophia and I were left there with Jamal.  Sophia was getting pissed.

“What is the big deal with this goddamn coupon?  Do we look like we would sneak in here, couponless, and FAKE having a coupon?” 

Jamal smiled.

“Don’t worry.  I’ll just take it off.   Frank loses everything ALL THE TIME.  The only reason he works here is that cousin is the owner.  Frank’s a moron.”

Jamal took $12.95 off of the menu and we went on our merry way.  

The rest of the day was equally as fabulous.  We went to E-Z Lube and got an oil change.  At night, I played in a high-stakes Texas Hold-em tournament with five women.  At the end, I beat an eighty-two year old grandmother in heads-up action.  I won the $100 pot.   The grandmother deserved to lose.  She was a card shark.

I do LIVE the LIFE!   Don’t hate me because I’m glamorous.


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Learning from Barbra Streisand

Driving in LA – In Two Parts


Part One — Car Poetry

This week’s Poetry Thursday assignment was to be inspired by a single line from another blogger’s poem. I picked “A Morning By the Sea” by Susannah of Ink on My Fingers.

The line that inspired me was:

The computer hums,
the kettle rumbles.

Why this line? Her poem is wonderful, filled with wonderful images. This is probably — content-wise — one of the least important lines. But that’s exactly what inspired me about it. Its importance is more than just the content, or the onomatopoeia of “hum” and “rumble.” I like the way the line rolls off your tongue, like a good song lyric.

The computer hums,
the kettle rumbles.

I think one reason I find it poetry difficult is because I’m always focusing on the “meaning” of the words. Poetry, more than fiction, is about the music of the words themselves.

I have a comedian friend who is always rewriting his material to make it funnier by using “funnier” words. These are words that start with a “hard” letter. So, a “Crazy Cat” is theoretically funnier than a “Weird Worm.” It’s his own way of using the “poetry” of words to enhance his routine. In a way, Susannah’s poem helped me to remember my love of words — words for their own sake.

In my ideal world, Elliot Yamin would have won “American Idol,” not because he has the best voice, or a doting Jewish mother, but because he has the coolest sounding name.

Elliot Yamin.

Taylor Hicks? Not poetry.

As I was driving on the 10 Freeway today, I thought about how much the big auto companies must spend to come up with their “poetic” sounding names for their cars.

I wonder if they hire poets.

Chevrolet Cabriolet
Toyota Corolla
Ford Focus
Hyundai Santa Fe
Rolls Royce

I like the way all of these car names “sound.”

I’m driving on the freeway
In my Hyundai Santa Fe
Zooming past a Corolla
and a Chevy Cabriolet

I know my car ain’t a Mercedes
Or a beautiful Rolls Royce
But it’s better than that Ford Focus
Now that was one BAD choice.

I know, I know. A fourth grade poem. But it was fun.


Part Two — Overheard in LA

As most people know, Los Angeles is a driving town.  What you drive matters.  Since I first met Sophia, she’s had four completely different types of cars — each one evoking a wildly different negative response from some other driver. 

1) 1996 —

As we entered the parking lot of Campanile Restaurant, an upscale restaurant, a friend told Sophia, who was driving a five year old Honda Accord:

“I’d be embarrassed to give this piece of junk into the valet.”

2) 1999 —

After a motorcycle cut us off in Beverly Hills, Sophia blinked her lights at him.  The motorcyclist turned to Sophia, who was now leasing a Infiniti i30, and yelled:

“Screw you, you rich bitch!”

3) 2001 —

As we left a coffee shop in Redondo Beach, an environmental activist was putting a flyer on a windshield of Sophia’s new Hyundai Santa Fe SUV:

“Do you morons know what you’re doing to the environment with this monstrosity?”

4) 2006 —

As (Republican) Sophia pulled away from an IHOP, after having breakfast with me, in her new Toyota Prius Hybrid, I heard two men talking about the special DMV stickers that allow some hybrid owners to drive alone in the carpool lane:

“What gives these liberal treehugging assholes the right to use the carpool lane when we can’t?!”

Moral of the story:  You can’t win driving in LA.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: 90 Million Women Wear Wrong Size Bra

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