the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Irving Berlin

My Last Post, Redone as Rated G


I got flack over the last post I wrote from Sophia, my mother, and the estate of Irving Berlin.   Who advertises a holiday concert with smut like that? 

They’re absolutely right.   The holidays are a time for family, and I want your entire family — including your adorable, fresh-faced children — to be able to enjoy the festivities of the Christmahanukwanzaakah concert.

For that reason, I’d like to move the last post one down since it is NSFC (not safe for children), and remind you about the concert once again, this time in a sugar-plum fairy, wholesome way fit for all ages.

Wholesome Santa and the Radio City Rockettes

Remember, the concert is Monday.    All materials must be in by Sunday night.   Happy Hanukkah!  Merry Christmas!  Ho Ho Ho!  All the best during this holiday season, boys and girls!


Irving Berlin:  “You know, I thought the last post was pretty funny.”

Neilochka:  “Thanks, Irv.”

Irving Berlin:  “Nice bunch of Rockettes up there.  You know, in my day, I shtupped quite a few Rockettes.”

Neilochka:  “Really?  Hmmm, I’d like to hear all about it, but tell me after the holidays…”

Irving Berlin:  “There was this one dancer named Marion.   She was so limber, she could lift her leg over her head.  As you could imagine, this came in quite handy when…”

Neilochka:  “Irving… Irving… later!   After the holidays!!   For now, this blog is strictly G-rated — nice, not naughty”


The Ghost of Christmas Concerts Future


Two days ago, I was feeling very Grinch-like. 

“Why am I hosting this stupid holiday online concert?” I asked myself as I shuffled along Wilshire Boulevard, spitting on the floor.  “I don’t even like Christmas.  I don’t even celebrate the holiday.” 

I walked by a make-shift Christmas tree lot, set-up in the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant.  There was fake snow on the floor and tinny Christmas music was playing on a lonely speaker on the ground.  

“Bah, Humbug!” I said.  “I’m going to cancel the damn concert.  I don’t care about holidays and I don’t give a s**t about other bloggers anyway.  All they care about is advertising and links and NaBloPoMo and Facebook.  And their so-called “Holiday cheer” is fakery!  After the holiday, they just go back to stabbing each other in the back.”

That night, I started writing a blog post explaining why I was canceling the contest, and basically insulting every blogger I’ve ever met as a narcissistic loser or nutcase. 

“Why I should even write this blog for free when they all should be paying me $100 dollar a day each for the honor to read one of my posts.   Let Dooce entertain the masses.  I’m better than that!”

All the anxiety must have made me very sleepy, because I fell asleep on the couch before I had a chance to press “Publish.”

I was awaken suddenly by the presence of a shadowy figure.

“Sophia?”  I asked.  “Is that you?”

“No, Neil.  It is your father.”

It was the ghost of my late father.

“Dad?  What do you want?”

“What is this bulls**t about you cancelling the concert this year?”

“Eh, what’s it all for?  Hanukkah is already half over.  And we’re Jewish.  We don’t even celebrate Christmas.”

“But don’t you remember how much I loved Christmas?”

My father reminded me about how he dressed-up like Santa every year in the hospital he worked at.

“Well, you’re a more caring man than I am.  I’m selfish.  I ask you, “What’s in it for ME?”

My father’s ghost started to fade.

“Dad, where are you going?”

“Neilochka, my son, your heart has turned to stone.  I’m unable to change your ways.  Now the BIG GUN will come for you.”

“The big gun?  What are you talking about?  Who are you talking about? Are you talking about God himself?”

The entire living room shook like the Northridge Earthquake.   Smoke filled the room and another ghost walked towards me.  He was an older man, short, and smoked a cigar.  He was dressed in a brown suit and had bushy eyebrows.

“Neilochka… Neilochka…” he spoke…

“Who are YOU?!   You’re not God?

“Of course I’m not God, you schmuck.  I’m Irving Berlin.”

“Irving Berlin?  You’re the big gun?”

“Irving Berlin.  Born Israel Isidore Baline.  A nice Jewish boy like you.  My father was a cantor who certified kosher meat.”

“So what?  What do YOU want from me?”

“I also had my doubts about Christmas when I was your age.  What do I know about Jesus?  But then I said to myself, “What do these goyishe shmendricks know about writing a good Christmas song?  It takes a Yiddishe mind to come up with “White Christmas.”  You let some white bread in a cardigan like Bing Crosby sing it.  He gets the credit, but you get the dames.”

“The dames?  You got the dames from writing a Christmas song?”

“Come, Neilochka, let me take you to my Christmas past.”

Irving Berlin took my hand and we flew out the window.  We flew from Redondo Beach to Hollywood… and then into the past.  The Hotel Roosevelt on Hollywood Boulevard dissolved from 2007 to the time of the Golden Age of Hollywood.   It looked pretty much the same, just more glamorous.  We found ourselves in a penthouse room.   In front of the two of us was a scene from the past –  a younger Irving Berlin in bed with four Hollwood starlets.  

“You see, Neilochka.  Shiksas just love Jewish men who can write a good Christmas song…”

My eyed widened in astonishment.

“You mean if I put on the Christmahanukwanzaakah concert this year with all these female bloggers around… I will…?”  I asked.

“First… let me show you what will happen if you DON’T put on the Christmahanukwanzaakah concert this year.”

I grabbed the composer’s hand and back we flew to Redondo Beach, into the future — to MY FUTURE.  Time blew away like the wind and we found ourselves  in my  living room, watching the future Neilochka.  It was Christmas eve 2007 and I was sitting by myself, the laptop in front of me… my pants down…

“My God, what am I… am I looking at online photos of Penelope Cruz and playing with myself?!”

“That’s what it looks like!”  said Irving Berlin.  “Ha Ha!  The best part is that in a second, Sophia is going to enter the house with friends she invited over for some coffee and cake, and everyone is going to be shocked, especially the couple’s young daughter.”

“This is horrible.  I can’t stand it.  Stop it!  Stop the future!”

“What about the concert…”

“OK, OK, I’ll have the Christmahanukwanzaakah concert.  Just take me from this future.  Take me away.”  I screamed, sobbing…

I grabbed the arm of the ghost’s jacket and we flew out the window and into the night sky.  I was still crying.

“I understand now.  Thank you!  Thank you for letting me see what could happen.  I am a changed man!  I’ll never badmouth the Christmahanukwanzaakah concert again.  It is my duty to host the concert.  I want to be that inspiration, like you.  I want to make people happy.  I want to please those female bloggers so much that I get four shiksas in my bed, just like you did!  Please, Mr. Berlin.  Show me the alternative future.  Show me my REAL Christmas eve this year after I host the Christmahanukwanzaakah concert.

Time swirled around us like a  tornado and we were suddenly back in my living room on Christmas Eve 2007.

“Here is your REAL future, Neilochka.”

I was sitting on the couch, still leering at photos of Penelope Cruz, playing with myself.  Sophia was about to open the front door, her friends behind her.

“WTF?!” I yelled. “It’s the exact same future as before!  What about the concert?  What happened to me shtupping MY four shiksas?!”

“The concert was great.  But you with four women?  What the hell do you want from me, you nudnik?  A miracle?   I’m only Irving Berlin, not God!” 

The 2007 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert

— is Monday, December 10th.  If you want to participate, send me an audio file or a link by Sunday, December 9th.  The songs I’ve already received are absolutely terrific, a great combination of fun and heartfelt!  If you are unable (or too wimpy) to sing, you can help “decorate” the set by sending me a Holiday photo of your family, your tree, your menorah, or something seasonal.   Or recite a poem.   Or make a video of you juggling snowballs.  If you are still having trouble recording your song, email me.

So far, we already have versions of Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas, Sleigh Ride, and Silent Night.  You are welcome to do another version if you would like.  Remember to say what song you are working on in the comments so we won’t have too many duplicates.

Have fun making music!

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