the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: July 2005 (Page 1 of 4)

Scared Straight


When I attended public school back in Flushing, there would be a special assembly once a year called "Scared Straight," where former convicts would come to ‘scare’ us from becoming juvenile delinquents by telling us about life in "the slammer."  I hated these assemblies, not because I was as far from a juvenile delinquent as could be, but because these talks always inspired the school thugs into action — and "Scared Straight day" was the day when you were most likely to be mugged for your lunch money.  One time, after school, I even saw the "Scared Straight" ex-convict who just lectured us —  beating up Mr. Molnia, our history teacher, and stealing his new Toyota Corona.  That was the last year our school had this program.  

Recently a new type of "Scared Straight" has begun, one dealing with a 21st century problem — childhood obesity.   The leader of this new program is none other than former U.S. president Bill Clinton.  For the next five years, he will tour our nation’s schools along with the American Heart Association, promoting healthy eating habits and encouraging kids to exercise. 

Some cynical people might think this is all a gimmick to help Hillary in her upcoming campaign.  I think Bill Clinton has a genuine interest in working with our young.  Clinton was obese as a child and understands the hardships of fat children. 

He’s going to start by talking to the kids, visiting schools around the country and telling his story. He was overweight as a child–by age 15, he weighed 210 lbs.–a problem he attributes partly to genetics and partly to a diet rich in barbecue, fried chicken, ice cream and pie.

But what exactly is he going to tell these kids that is going to help them change their habits?

His first school assembly, at the Harry S. Truman School in Kansas City, was less than successful, and shows that President Clinton still needs to refine his lecture:

I was a fat kid.   Then I went to Yale and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford.  Then I became the governor of Arkansas.   After that I was elected as President of the United States.   That was the best.  I had some girl half my age give me a couple of blowjobs.  And a  Jewish girl!  Children, do you know how hard it is to get a Jewish woman to do that?  I must have tried at least six times with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before she threw that gavel at my head.  

Do you all know what branch of government the Supreme Court belongs to?  The Judicial.  Ha Ha, the Jew-dicial. 

Man, that Ginsburg is hot!  I wonder if she wears anything under that robe?   Brazilian or not?  What do you think, kids?

Maybe if I wasn’t a fat kid, things might have been different with her.  

So, don’t get fat, kids.  Take it from me, former two-time President of the United States William Jefferson Clinton.

Reading Others


Question from Reader:  Do I really read all those blogs on my blogroll?

Answer:  Yes.

Question from Reader:  Do I go through the list alphabetically or geographically?

Answer:  Neither.  Every endeavor deserves a plan, and I have devised a very specific plan for reading those on my blogroll.

The Plan:

First I read all the blogs of unattached women.  I always write a comment on their sites, making sure I say something flattering and flirtatious.  I remind them that I may be soon available for dating.

Next I read all the blogs of women who have boyfriends or husbands. I also write a comment on their sites, making sure I say something as flattering and flirtatious as I did with the other women.  As with the unattached women, I remind these women that I may be available soon for dating — and I have no problem with them cheating on their spouses.  I also try to write something disparaging about their boyfriends or husbands, hoping to stir up trouble and break up their relationship, making it easier for me to "score" with a woman on the rebound.

Next, I read the blogs of the men, but only those men with connections to publishers, producers, Hollywood agents, or waitresses at Hooters.  I always write a comment on their sites, making sure I say something flattering and ass-kissy.  I remind them that I’m looking to advance my career or to meet their sisters, and even sometimes their mothers if they had them at an early age.

After that I reread all the women once again, writing a suggestive comment to their comment, which commented on my comment.

At about 2 a.m., I click onto the sites of all the other men — those without important connections.  I don’t actually read anything on their useless blogs.  I just click on their sites for show.

After that I reread all the women, writing a extremely sexy comment to their comment, which commented on my suggestive comment, which commented on my original flirtatious comment.

Very Superstitious, Writing’s On the Wall


Despite my love for the arts, I have more respect for science.  It will be science that will eventually find a cure for cancer, not the latest novel by Nick Hornby.   Yesterday, I stepped into San Diego’s science museum in Balboa Park.  They had all these cool hands-on exhibits for kids.  Most interesting was a new exhibit about pendulums.  I really didn’t understand what was going on scientifically, although some smart-ass kid tried to explain it to me.  I ended up pushing him away so I could play with the pendulums myself.  Was I ever like this annoying kid? 

I hate when politicians get involved in science.  You rarely hear me talk about politics, mostly because I find both Democratic and Republican women sexy, so I like to play it safe (although I’ve never dated an Independent and I’ve always wanted to).  The only thing that really gets my goat is when religious nutcases want to teach "Creationism" in public schools.  Another insanity is not wanting to use stem cells for scientific research. 

In case I’m making my liberal pals too happy, I disagree with those PETA nuts who don’t want us to do science experiments on rats.  Yeah, I’ve seen Planet of the Apes.  I know what the future holds for us — the animals rule. But rats are rats!

Because I believe in science, I don’t believe in superstitions.  Sophia thinks our relationship may have had problems because I’m a Pisces and we’re supposedly not compatible in some book called "Love Signs."   I’m not afraid of black cats, broken mirrors, or staying on the 13th floor.  Sophia and I were married on October 13th (uh-oh).

Sophia’s Russian family introduced me to a whole new set of weird superstitions.  If anyone leaves the house, and then immediately goes back in because they forgot something — you have to go look in the mirror before you go out again.  Maybe Tatyana can explain this one to me.  In the beginning, I refused to get involved in this weird superstition, but then I realized that her family would not go out with me if I didn’t look at myself in the mirror.  So, I never forget things at home when I’m with them.

The only superstition that I seem to have an irrational fear of is walking under a ladder.  A couple of days ago I was in Borders bookstore and I was standing near one of those rolling ladders they use to climb up to get a book on a top shelf.  I wanted to go past it in order to grab a book.  I could have easily walked under it, but I caved in and slid the ladder all the way down to the other side.  Why tempt the fates and walk under the ladder.  Who knows?  Maybe just then, 1000 copies of James Joyce’s "Ulysses" would have fallen on my head, crushing me.

Hopefully, I’ll be back in Los Angeles on Saturday, knock on wood.

The Biggest Tip She Ever Got


I’m writing some internet content for a company in San Diego and I’m staying in town for the week — at the Hyatt downtown.  I love staying in hotels.  I love seeing all the tourists and business people.  I love big hotel lobbies.  The one thing I don’t like about hotel life is all the "tipping" you have to do.  This is something I’ve inherited from my parents, who are always nervous about being seen as "under-tipping."  Even today, when my parents go out to eat and pay with their Visa card, my father always goes over to the waitress and says "I left you something on the Visa," just to make sure she doesn’t give him "the evil eye" as he leaves the restaurant.

I haven’t been in the hotel for five minutes before I’m tipping the valet guy for parking my car (which is already costing me eighteen dollars a day!).  I tipped the bellboy after he carried up my one piece of luggage.  I noticed how he kept on telling me about the "great bars" in the Gaslight District in order to make me feel like he was my buddy.  Did he really care?  No, he wanted a nice tip.   There’s nothing wrong with that.  I know that’s how this guy makes his living.  It just makes for a very phony relationship.  Couldn’t he just be honest and say "I’ll tell you where the hot girls are in San Diego, if you give me five extra bucks."

I wasn’t able to blog for half the day because the wi-fi didn’t work in the room — and I know how many people depend on me.  A technician came to my room and fixed the internet access.  I gave him a tip, even though it was the hotel’s own fault that it didn’t work.  Since they caused the problem, shouldn’t the hotel offer to tip him for me?  A half hour later, the wi-fi wasn’t working again.  The technician came up and fixed it again, and then had the chutzpah to wait around for another tip, which I never gave him (but felt guilty about, like I was Ebenezer Scrooge not giving one of my poor employees a ham for Christmas). 

Let’s see how fast this technician comes to my room the next time the wi-fi goes kaput.

Some countries don’t tip.  I’m sure that’s why this hotel’s restaurant adds a 15% "gratuity" to the bill whether you like it or not — basically to force the Japanese and Swedes to tip.  Of course, like a dock worker in the former Soviet Union, when there’s not much incentive for a waitress to work hard, she just doesn’t.  The service in the restaurant was atrocious, and I had no choice but to tip this moron 15% — which I probably would have done away, being a wimp like my father.  I couldn’t bear a waitress looking at me with an evil eye.

To read about real waitresses working hard in bars, see Mary and Kdunk.

I grew up in an apartment building in New York where we had "supers" — guys who came up to your apartment to fix things like your toilet and kitchen sink.  Even though they made a pretty good salary, my father always tipped them for their services.  What really used to bug me was how during Christmas, the apartment building gave each "super" a big bonus, and every apartment resident would give them a big tip as well.  It never seemed as if these tips were really from the heart.   They always seemed like the forced blackmail of the Mafioso.  God forbid you didn’t tip the super!  Your toilet would be overflowing all over your apartment, and the super would always be "busy."  But of course, he always had time to help someone who gave him a big tip.  Luckily, he always helped my big tipper father, but I don’t think any of the supers ever visited the cheapskate Weiselfeiffer family in apartment 3C — and I mean not even once in twenty years.

My own personal experience in tipping came at an early age.  When we were very young, my friend Rob and I were not allowed to take the subway by ourselves.  One afternoon, being adventurous (or at least Rob was), we decided to disobey our parents and took the long ride on the 7 train to Times Square.  We even had a final destination — one of the last remaining "Chock full o’ Nuts" coffee shops that our fathers used to go to.   A Chock Full of o’ Nuts cafe, for those not in the know, was like a Starbucks before its time — a place mostly for coffee and a muffin.  We sat down at the counter, thinking that people would think we were adults if we just acted like it.  We ordered two coffees.


Waitress:  Do your parents know you drink coffee?

Rob and I:  Sure… yeah… we always drink coffee…

The waitress shrugged.  I’m sure she saw weirder things working in Times Square (this was before the Disneyfication).

Waitress:  You want it regular or black?

We said black, since it sounded more adult.

The waitress gave us our coffee and we forced ourselves to drink this awful-tasting sludge.   When we were done:

Waitress:  Anything else?

Me:  No, thank you, Miss.

She gave us the check.  Rob took one glance at it and broke out in a sweat.

Rob:  We only have enough money for the coffee and the train ride home.  We don’t have anything for the tip!

We both lived in the same apartment building as our Mafioso supers, so we knew that tipping was extremely important.  There was only one solution:  We would write the waitress a nice thank you note.

I took out the Bic pen I always carried with me and we both composed our masterpiece on the back of the Chock full o’ Nuts napkin.

Dear Waitress,

We are sorry, but we don’t have enough money for a tip.  But you were the best waitress we ever had.  If we had money, we would give you the biggest tip you ever got.  Thank you for the cofffee.

Yours truly,

Neil and Rob

We took out the money we owed and left it on the table.  We turned the napkin towards the waitress and we ran out.

To this day, Rob and I still wonder how this waitress responded to our little note.  We hope that she was incredibly touched and framed the napkin and put it on her wall at home.   Maybe she’s retired now, and sometimes looks at this napkin as the highlight of her waitressing career. 

I hope she wasn’t upset.  I would hate to think that as we ran out of the Chock Full o’ Nuts, she gave us the evil eye for not leaving a tip.  

Tale of Two NBC Job Applications


I love NBC.  I really do.  And I’m not just saying that because I recently applied for a job there. 

The people at NBC are very nice.  I enjoyed my interview.  Before the interview, I went to human resources.  I spoke with a very nice and attractive executive.  We joked a lot about the relationship between NBC and Universal.  While I was there, I was given some paper work to fill out — and when I say paperwork, I mean PAPERWORK.  You know, the typical questions for a corporate human resources department:

Where have I worked for the last ten years?  What are my last seven residences?  Have I ever applied for a job at NBC before? Do I know anyone at NBC?  What are my references?  Have I ever made a joke or a disparaging comment about NBC’s lame comedies since Frasier left the air?  Have I ever watched one of the dozen different Law and Orders and can I distinguish one from the other?  Do I like David Letterman better than Jay Leno?    Have I ever been convicted of a crime or been in jail?

Now, imagine I have been convicted of a serious crime.  Imagine I did do some jail time.  Do you think I would have a chance to get the low paying job I was applying for, something I’m way overqualified to do? 

Even better, do you think they would let me host my own TV show — say a spin-off of "The Apprentice," one of the network’s most popular shows? 


NOTE TO THOSE COMING FROM 2 BLOWHARDS:  I’d like to welcome you here.   Please check out the other people on my blogroll.  They are much friendlier than I am.  I also would like to thank Michael Blowhard for his kind words about this site.  If only you would have made them earlier, maybe I would have gotten that stupid NBC job (which I didn’t).  Next time, I’ll fake you as a reference.   I also promise to stop describing your terrific blog to others as "the egghead one."

What is a Neilochka?


Names and naming is important in the Jewish tradition, as it is in many cultures.  Most Jewish boys and girls are also given a Hebrew name to connect them to their past.  I also notice that when a couple become boyfriend and girlfriend, or lovers, they also give each other a special pet name.  Sofotchka is a Russian endearment for Sophia, sort of a cutesy way of saying "little Sophia."  So, when I started calling her Sofotchka, she started calling me Neilochka, which is the name I use on my Yahoo email. 

I’m sure most of you have your own pet names for your mates (both former and present), and I’d love to hear about them.  It’s always a little cringe-inducing to hear other people call each other babyface and loverdoll, especially when you don’t have a special someone in your life.  But then when you meet someone you like, you immediately name your new beau honeypot and torture everyone else as well.  Sophia and I even had nicknames for each others’ "special parts," which again, is pretty common.  I think part of this naming process is saying, "You (and that special part) are now mine, and mine alone."

If Sophia and I officially break up, I’m not sure what happens to our pet names.  I’ll miss being Neilochka.  I’m not sure we can continue calling each other by these names.  It would seem inappropriate.  And you definitely cannot transfer the same pet name to a new relationship. 

Every once in a while, a former lover’s pet name can pop up at an inappropriate time.  There was one time that Sophia called me by her former boyfriend’s pet name (and no, it wasn’t in bed.  In bed, she just had the strange habit of calling me "George Clooney.")  It was when we were in Carmel, a place where she had some very specific memory of travelling with him.

I also had an embarrassing episode of calling Sophia by the name of another woman.  I was sick in bed with the flu, acting like a total baby, making Sophia climb up and down the stairs to bring me more hot tea and honey.  When the tea got lukewarm and I suddenly got the urge for a tuna fish sandwich, I yelled downstairs in my scratchy, hoarse voice, "MOM!!!"

If I Can’t Have Barbra…

Do you ever find yourself choosing the same type of woman or man over and over again, even though you know it means trouble?  I always hear of a woman dating a jerk, then breaking up with him to start dating another jerk.  Or a man who chooses a woman who breaks his heart, only for him to start a relationship with a second woman who doesn’t want a serious relationship. 

After some fellow bloggers told me that I need to get over my infatuation with Barbara Streisand (she’s taken!), I became very depressed.   Look how sexy she is!


But I decided to be proactive.  I put on my best clothes and went to my local synagogue for a singles’ event.  While I was there, I started talking with Naomi, the rabbi’s eldest daughter.  I found myself strangely attracted to her, in a Barbra Steisand way — I don’t know why…

(image via Koganuts)

Learning from Barbra Streisand


Do you notice that whenever there’s a Hollywood movie where there’s a white guy and black guy disagreeing about something, it always ends up in racial name-calling (Crash, 48 Hours, every movie by Spike Lee)?

Last night, I went to the movies with my friend J.  He is an African-American.  I am a Jewish Caucasian.  We decided to see the new nature documentary The March of the Penguins because penguins are both black and white, and we figured the subject matter was so uncontroversial that no racials tensions could possibly develop.

We met early to have some dinner.  As J. drove, we discussed what we wanted to eat.  J. wanted Italian.  I wanted Chinese.  Neither of us would budge.   Tensions rose and the racial epitaphs started to fly.  J. told me that when he came to my seder last year, that my mother’s gefilte fish "sucked."  I mocked his culture’s weird attraction to eating chicken and waffles together!  It got ugly.

I told him to stop the car immediately.  I knew we needed some help, and I knew there was only one person who could bring us back together — Barbra Streisand.

I took out my laptop (as a blogger, I always carry it around) and stole some wi-fi from some home in Beverly Hills.  I clicked on  Barbra Streisand’s website, where she publishes many of her political ideas (yes, Sophia, TWM, Rachel, and others — all very liberal).  I showed J. one of the posts dated June 18, 2003.

I see people trying to divide the unity of Blacks and Jews, in particular. We can’t allow this to happen, because we have too much in common to be divided. With a shared history of oppression and slavery, as well as a common ingrained culture of social justice, Blacks and Jews, over the years and still today, have been natural allies.

In fact, Blacks and Jews have a long and important history of working together… recently, Blacks and Jews worked together in Florida after the 2000 election when both groups were disenfranchised after their votes were disregarded – Blacks because they were wrongly purged from voter lists and Jews in Palm Beach County who had mistakenly voted for Buchanan due to a poorly designed ballot. It was wonderful to watch Jews and African-Americans come together at rallies during that important time in our history.

J. and I looked at each other, ashamed of ourselves.  Despite our differences, didn’t we learn anything from that 2000 election year?   

Suddenly, we understood what Barbra was saying to us.  Blacks and Jews have so much in common — both groups are idiots!  

Blacks forgot to register to vote and Jews were too blind to read the ballot.

J. and I compromised and we went out for Thai food.

(story truth quotient 8%) (chance that fellow blogger Alley is not going to realize that it’s a joke and lecture me about politics 100%) 

(by the way, maybe this is a Jewish thing, but I’ve always found Barbara Streisand incredibly sexy and beautiful — but I have a feeling James Brolin has one high maintenance woman on his hands)

If It Takes Nine Months…


Three of my new online friends all have birthdays this weekend — Hilary, M.A., and Tatyana.  Is that just a weird coincidence?   I think not.  July babies are very popular.

I just did the reverse 9-month arithmetic in my head — July back to October — back to the moment when each set of parents finished their bottle of wine and headed upstairs earlier than usual.   There must be something in the brisk Fall air that spells romance and the urge for mating.  I’m always looking for an advantage in the dating game.  Is it possible that the leaves changing color make women horny?

Let me mark this on my calendar: 

I will most likely find a woman who wants to take me back to her apartment and repeatedly have her way with me — sometime between Yom Kippur and Halloween.  

Let’s hurry up and finish summer already and move into October!

Happy b-day — all three of you!

Stretching the Jamba Juice


The following is taken verbatim from the Jamba Juice newsletter "Jamba Whirl" that I picked up at my local Jamba Juice (true!):

When Shellie Wilkinson first walked into Jamba Juice in October 2003, she wasn’t thinking about losing weight or changing lifestyle.  She was simply hungry — and wanted something to boost her energy level. 

But it wasn’t long before Shellie realized that drinking down a delicious smoothie (with a shot of wheatgrass on the side) was the perfect alternative to a fatty, fast food lunch.  It tasted great, filled her up, and even better, it let her feel energized.  After about a month, she was already a few pounds lighter.

"I started going every day, and pretty soon everyone at Jamba knew me," says Shellie, 37, an entrepreneur and mother of two who lives in Santa Barbara, CA.  "I would get in line, and by the time it was my turn to pay, my smoothie would be ready!"

Her newly found energy also inspired her to purse a new passion:  karate.  She and a friend signed up for lessons, and she began going three hours a week.  Other changes followed:  she gave up alcohol, stopped eating after 6 p.m. and prepared lighter, healthier dinners. 

The result?  In one year, Shellie lost 60 pounds and dropped from a size 16 to a size 8.  She’s now a fit 146 pounds and has earned a purple belt in karate.

"I had tried every diet out there," she explains.  "Nothing worked.  I realized Jamba smoothies offered good carbs, nutrition and energy and when combined with my other lifestyle changes, the weight just started coming off.  Thank you, Jamba!"

I like Jamba Juice smoothies, but do you really think Shellie lost all that weight by drinking the almost 400 caloried Jamba Juice smoothies every day — and not from the other things she did?

If I wake up every morning and play with myself for an hour, then jog for ten miles, then give up alcohol, and then eat a salad every day for lunch — can I really say that playing with myself every morning made me lose 60 pounds? 

Jared and Subway.  Shellie and Jamba Juice.   The "Citizen of the Month"’s revolutionary new diet plan. 

Could I write a book, "Playing With Yourself —  Into Thinness!"?   Would Oprah take me as a guest?

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