June 18, 2007

Camp Cramer
Close to 40 years ago, James J. Cramer was a fellow camper with me at Camp Paradox in upstate New York [“Cramer vs. Cramer,” June 4]. Somehow, it’s very reassuring to realize that over time our personalities never change. The portrait Jim draws of himself is exactly how he was as a young teenager. Of course, back then, Jim didn’t spout stock picks. Rather, in our hiking club, he was kind of a human Garmin navigation system—verbally updating our position, route, altitude, estimated time to the top, estimated time back down, and probable weather forecast as well, every 30 seconds. All these years later, I think I now understand why I love to hike alone.
—Mark Friedman, Mount Kisco, N.Y.

Jim Cramer wonders why everyone hates him. As a former friend with intimate knowledge of the creative process behind Mad Money, I can provide the answer: He is living a lie. Cramer seems to think that Mad Money sprang entirely from his brain. The real creator of Mad Money is Susan Krakower, his executive producer at CNBC. It was Krakower who convinced Cramer to leave Kudlow & Cramer to try something new and went to Jeff Zucker directly. All the freshness and groundbreaking ebullience of Mad Money was born of Cramer and Krakower’s collaboration. Krakower alone came up with the segments in Mad Money and the shtick that defined Cramer. “The College Tour”? Susan’s idea. No wonder Jim finds himself “repulsive.”
—Jessica Stedman Guff, Senior Broadcast Producer, Good Morning America, Manhattan

JIM CRAMER RESPONDS: It’s true that Susan Krakower contributed to the success of “Mad Money.” I thank her and many others at CNBC for helping to make the show possible.

Tom Ford Beyond Sex
Okay, I get it. Even though Tom Ford is gay and a fashion designer, he’s not stereotypically some mincing, limp-wristed fashionista [“Tom Ford After Sex,” by Vanessa Grigoriadis, May 28]. Could Grigoriadis be more schoolgirl flirty in her descriptions of the designer: his furry chest hair, his baritone voice and oozing masculinity? And could Ford himself be any more arrogant? He says men and women and teen girls are attracted to him. This gay man isn’t.
—David Smith, Indianapolis

On the Rollercoaster
Never have I taken the time to read an article the way I did “The Survivor Monologues” [May 28]. I cried for Jon Gluck, the “Radioactive Dad,” and for the man to whom Gluck was the “oldest friend.” I laughed at one survivor coining “tummy tit” and prayed for a donor for the man without insurance. My favorite: the 92-year-old man who just wants to live. These are remarkable and powerful people.
—Marjorie Mesidor, Manhattan

A New Woman
My newly slimmed-down pug Gertie rolled over laughing after reading Arianne Cohen’s “Fat Is a Four-Legged Word” [“Strategist,” June 11]. Like Lola, four-year-old Gertie was, shall we say, a robust girl. Amazingly enough, without the help of a trainer, nutritionist, pet psychic, or water aerobics, she was transformed. The method: less food, more exercise. Weight loss: four pounds. Girth reduction: 2.5 inches. Total cost: $0.
—Sacha J. Malkin, Manhattan

A Spoonful of Bourbon
Like Amy Sohn’s husband, I grew up watching TV [“The Home Front,” June 11]. I watched late-night movies like Captain Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I don’t think that TV is damaging to kids. Yes, the “good-parenting brigade” has gone too far. I never wore a bicycle helmet, and my mother massaged my teething gums with bourbon. To quote a wise person quoted by Sohn in a past article, “If you watch The Three Stooges with your kid and love it, even if they’re getting no useful knowledge, they’re happy” [“Who’s Their Daddy,” July 18, 2005]. I could not agree more.
—Ernest Barteldes, Staten Island

June 18, 2007