the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: May 2010 (Page 2 of 2)

Favorite Comment of the Week

(Re:  Yesterday’s post titled “The Three Year Old Dinner Party Meme”)

I kept reading your headline in my feed reader as a dinner party for three year olds.  And at first I thought, three year olds?  Who wants them over for dinner?

But then I realized that since we were talking about bloggers, the kids might be preferable.

(ba da bum.  here all week, folks! etc.)

Gwen from Not Really

The Three Year Old Dinner Party Meme

Three years ago, there was a meme going around online: Pick five bloggers that you most wanted to have over to your house for a dinner party. I didn’t participate in the meme. I found it crude. Why would I want to choose five bloggers over the others, showing favoritism, and hurting feelings? And what would be my criteria for choosing? It also pissed me off that some of my friends didn’t invite me to their imaginary dinner party. Why would someone choose to invite the Pioneer Woman over to dinner, even for an imaginary dinner party, rather than me, a real friend? Surely they knew that I would bring a virtual bottle of wine, even if it was a cheapo one from Trader Joe’s.

Time has passed, and I now “get” how the blogosphere works, uneasily balanced on a tightrope between honest and fake. The whole enterprise seems fluid, changing each month. The five people I might have picked in 2007 are not the same I would choose today. Bloggers treat each day’s thoughts as published in stone, but our words are less like heavy boulders than feathers floating in the air for a day or so, then blowing away.

Most of all, it just doesn’t matter that much. That’s a lie. Of course, it matters. We are all human beings, weak and petty, wanting to attend the “best” dinner party.

But you can only control your own dinner party.

Today, I’m going to finally pick the five people online who I want to invite to a private dinner party at my virtual home. You would be very surprised who I picked. It’s not who you think. It’s an interesting mix. A popular blogger. A new blogger. A woman of color. Someone depressed. Someone funny.

Am I going to tell you who gets the invites? No. Am I going to tell the invites who gets the invites? No. I still think it is crude.

I just thought it was cool that I finally made a choice, even if I don’t tell anyone.

Enjoy your dinner. I will invite five new people to the next dinner party, just to make things fair.

A Man Has to Dream

Earlier this week, I was contacted by someone writing an article for Penthouse. She had read this 2007 post of mine titled “Fifty States, Fifty Positions.” The post, as you might guess, is about my life-long “dream” to have sex with a different woman in every state. Finally, the media has caught on, and was writing an article on this important subject.

“Why do I have this dream?” you might ask. Well, I love women. I love to be challenged. And like the people behind Fox News, I love being a patriot. I believe in America first. Why sleep with a foreign woman in Paris or Tokyo when you haven’t tried all that America has to offer, from the Housewives of New York to the Belles of Birmingham?

Back in 2007, I was lagging in my goal. I was bi-coastal — New York and California — in more ways than having just been inside two state’s voting booths during election day. There were still 48 states to explore, and the clock was ticking. Each gray hair was like another missed opportunity in some far-flung state of the union. And with global warming creating havoc on the environment, it was becoming essential to travel to locales such as Alaska before it melted away.

It is now 2010, and sadly, I have not progressed much during these three years.

But don’t write me off just yet. During that time, I have been training on my own, every day, like Rocky.

Clearly, speaking with this writer for Penthouse has stirred old passions within me, an urge to return to my life goal, but is it still possible? Or is it all a pipe dream?

And then I remembered that I have an important new ally. Buick! (see last post)

Here’s the pitch, GM. I will drive a luxury car throughout America (rental cars in Alaska and Hawaii) and sleep with a different woman in each state. Take that, Bossy and Jane Devin.

An essential part of this “sponsored” blogger trip will be making love with a different woman in each state. And here’s how you can help! —

Many of my female readers live in these weird states that I would normally have no reason to visit. WTF am I gonna do in crazy places like Idaho or Wisconsin, for instance? But, now that I have a strong motivation to go there, it is a different story. So far, based on previous emails with certain female bloggers, I am pretty confident that I have Florida, Rhode Island, and Nevada all wrapped up for the trip, but the slots for the other states are still available.

This is a wonderful opportunity for me to give back to my readers. Besides the excitement of having sex with me, this will be a great boost for your blog. After each sexual encounter, I will be writing a blog post describing our evening (please include room and board — local cuisine recommended — along with the sex — thanks!) and how amazing I was in bed — and, GET THIS! — including a LINK to your BLOG!

It’s a win-win situation.

Neil’s Brain: “This post is a waste of your talent.”

Neil’s Penis: “Wimp. If you were a real man, you would DO it, not make a joke about it.”

Neil’s Heart: “I think I’m a little depressed today.”

Neil: “I need to do the laundry.”

The Buick Time Machine

The 2010 Buick LaCrosse

DISCLOSURE: The nice people at Buick gave me two VIP passes to the TCM Classic Film Festival and a 2010 Buick LaCrosse for the week. I had a great time with Sophia. It was just what we needed — a fun event after the last few stressful months!

Some men spend their lives pondering the great questions, such as “Does God exist?” or “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?” All my life, I have mostly asked one important question — “What does this button do?” From my first “stereo” with the identical-looking buttons for bass and treble, to the first time in bed with a naked woman sprawled in front of me, mysterious, unfamiliar body parts in display, it is “What does this button do?” Even today, in the virtual world of Facebook, I am always asking for assistance from a fellow blogger about the “Like” button, unsure of the ramifications of clicking it.

“What does this button do?” I nervously ask.

Because of this button affliction, I needed Sophia’s help in writing about the 2010 Buick Lacrosse I have been driving all week, back and forth from the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. I give credit to GM for asking me to attend this film festival. They took a chance on someone who has no experience in doing a sponsored or “review” post. While I am a good fit for a film festival, I am not the ideal person to review a car. SOPHIA is a car person, not me. She knows both cars and technology — a very smart woman and a self-professed gadget freak. That’s why I turned to her for help. We sat together in the car this morning, and I asked her the essential question, while pointing at the dashboard, the overhead panel, and the steering wheel —

“What does this button do?”

“That’s OnStar,” she answered.

“OnStar is what I use if I get into trouble, right?”

“Yes, but it’s a lot more. It’s really cool. You can call up OnStar and someone will recommend a local restaurant.”

“How do they know if the restaurant is any good?”

“I don’t know. They just do.”

The Buick Lacrosse is a beautiful car, and very luxurious, with leather seats, French seams, futuristic blue lighting in the dashboard, and a driver’s seat that pulls back to let you enter and exit more easily. I felt successful just sitting in the car.

“What does this button do?”

“That warms up the steering wheel.”

“What do I need that for?”

“If it’s cold when you first get into the car in the morning. Imagine you’re back in New York and that you get up early in the morning.”

“Can’t I just wear gloves?”

“Oh, you can also warm up AND cool down the seats. I love, love, love the cooling part.”

Sophia pressed the cooling button. I can feel my ass getting cold.

“It’s kind of a weird sensation.”

Remember, I am a tough critic.

The thing Sophia was totally psyched about was one of the most advanced aspects of the car – the use of the windshield head-up display (HUD) technology, similar to that used by Air Force F-16 pilots, so they don’t have to look away from the action. Also known as enhanced vision systems, the HUD systems project laser images of important data, such as speed, navigation directions and time directly onto the surface of a car’s windshield. Talk about futuristic.

The press has been quite excited by the LaCrosse, considering Buick’s staid reputation as the maker of “Dad’s car.”

From U.S. News and World Report:

When the 2010 Buick LaCrosse first appeared, the automotive press collectively gasped, “That thing’s a Buick?!” With a Lexus-like interior, and elegant exterior and better road manners than anything the brand has put out since its heyday in the 1950s, the entirely new LaCrosse is a triumph for GM.

We read thousands of car reviews, but rarely have we seen the automotive press so stunned. They’re not speechless – these are journalists we’re talking about – but they’re universally shocked at the sight, sound and feel of the 2010 Buick LaCrosse.

Buicks have earned a reputation in America as huge, ponderous cars with forgettable bodywork, flat bench seats, and decent engines but the road manners of a cabin cruiser. More than one reviewer has remarked that only senior citizens who can remember the fine Buicks of the 1950s and ‘60s tend to buy them.

The 2010 Buick LaCrosse, by that standard, has left a lot of jaws hanging open. It was so well-received, it was a finalist for the North American Car of the Year award.

As good as the reviews, I was still confused about all the buttons.

“Wait. What does this button do?” I asked Sophia, reaching for the shiny, flickering blue light near the navigation screen.

“Don’t touch that button. NEVER TOUCH THAT BUTTON.”

Of course, this just egged me on, and I felt obligated to press the button. The Buick started to shake and twirl and blink with lights. It lifted up a foot off the ground and then immediately floated down.

Sophia and I looked out the car window. Our house was gone. The entire neighborhood was empty except for a few shacks. A 1955 Buick Roadmaster passed by on a dirt road. “Tutti Frutti” was playing on the radio. There was a copy of the Los Angeles Times in the back seat of our car. I grabbed the newspaper and the lead story was about President Eisenhower.

Our 2010 Buick Lacrosse was also a time machine!

“Oh no!” cried Sophia. “I told you not to touch that button. What are we going to do now?”

“Why are you upset?” I said, smiling, suddenly understanding our good luck. “This is the best thing that ever happened to us. I can finally make it in Hollywood by making blockbuster movies before they are produced by anyone else! We’re gonna be billionaires!”

“Where are you going to find anyone in 1955 to make your movies?”

“Don’t worry.”

I pressed the OnStar button. A friendly female voice spoke.


“Hi there OnStar.” I replied. “We seem to have a special Buick LaCrosse that is also a time machine, and we have gone back in time to 1955.”

“I see. How can I help?”

“I would like to pitch a blockbuster movie idea to a studio executive. What restaurant would I find a studio executive eating in 1955?”

“You should try The Brown Derby.”

I thanked the OnStar woman, then turned to Sophia.

“Wow, OnStar IS good!”

Sophia and I drove to Hollywood. Our 2010 car was pretty impressive to passerbys, and stopped other automobiles in their tracks; so when we arrived at the Brown Derby, we were already a cause celebre. Darryl Zanuck of 20th Century Fox was eager to meet with us, sensing that I was “ahead of my time.”

“What’s you movie idea?” he asked over martinis.

“It’s a movie called “Transformers.” It’s about these metallic robot/car/machine things that beat up each other and blow things up. Kids will love it because they will buy the toys, and the movie will make 300 million dollars!”

“300 million dollars?! That’s music to my ears. Let’s make it.”

A year later, in 1956 (remember, with a time machine, time is fluid), Transformers opened at the Chinese Theater, starring a young Marlon Brando, Jack Lemmon, and Debbie Reynolds, the biggest budget movie ever produced.

Despite a massive publicity campaign, the movie got the worst reviews ever written. Critics and audiences in 1956 found a movie about battling robot toys incomprehensible, and Twentieth Century Fox went bankrupt.

Sophia and I were run out of town by an angry mob of studio executives. As we sped towards Bakersfield, I commented on the smooth ride of the 2010 Buick Lacrosse. I pressed the blue button again, eager to leave this time period.

Blue flash!

When the dust settled, Sophia and I found ourselves parked outside Red Restaurant on Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, via 1998. Why did this location and moment seem familiar? Of course. We had our third date in this restaurant!

Sophia and I were shocked to see ourselves — Sophia and Neil from 1998 — walking out of the restaurant. It was our third date. We were holding hands, seeming very romantic. My hair had no gray in it, and I walked with a virile jauntiness.

“How about we go to my place?” Neil’98 asked Sophia’98, a sexiness to his voice.

Inside the car, my eyes were filling with tears.

“I remember exactly what happened next,” I said to Sophia next to me in the car. “I forgot my wallet in the restaurant and went back inside. And then… we go back…”

“Oops, I forgot my wallet,” said Neil’98, right on cue, and headed back to the restaurant.

Sophia’98 looked into the window of the “futuristic car” parked outside of the restaurant and fixed her lipstick. She noticed that her mirror image was wearing a different hair style and color. Sophia opened the window of the Buick LaCrosse.

Sophia ’98 stared at her future self, her mouth agape.

“Uh, what…. how is this possible?”

“We’re from the future, Sophia. We are driving a 2010 Buick Lacrosse that also happens to be a time machine.”

“It’s a beautiful car,” said Sophia’98. “The car looks so successful. Neil must be soooooo successful.”

“Well, actually, he still drives the Honda Civic. We just have it for a week. Neil is testing it for his blog.”

“A blog? What is a blog? Is that how Neil makes his living?”

“Uh, well…”

“Wait a minute…” asked Sophia’98, her eyes brightening, “If you’re coming from 2010, that means Neil and I are still together? Do we end up getting married? Are we incredibly happy? Is it all a Hollywood ending. Do we sleep together tonight? Is he amazingly good in bed?”

“Well… actually… if you really want to know the truth…”

I quickly pressed the flickering time machine button, getting us the hell out of there before Sophia finished her sentence.

The Buick LaCrosse returned to 2010. I drove the car back to our home. I loved driving the Buick, but next time I’d prefer a car that doesn’t travel through time.

Thank you, Sophia, for the education and for being a great time travel companion. Thank you, Buick, for this wonderful opportunity. You were a lot of fun to work with, both at the festival and while exploring the LaCrosse. And thank you, Jane.

Disclaimer: Not all 2010 Buick Lacrosses come equipped with time machines.

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