the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

I Love John Updike (Not Really About John Updike)


This week was a milestone for me.  I submitted my Fame post as an op-ed at the Los Angeles Times. 

Will they ever actually print it?  Extremely doubtful. 

But it was the first time I ever submitted my writing anywhere (other than scriptwriting).  Deezee pushed me into it.  She literally emailed me three times to make sure I did it.  So, thanks Deezee, for being such a pushy bastard.

I’m sure I looked unprofessional in my query letter.  I wrote “Dear Editor” rather than using a specific editor’s name.  I didn’t know you were supposed to include a page count.  After I submitted the article, I found an informative article in Daily Kos about writing op-ed pieces.  I wish I had seen it before!  It is a must read if you want to write a piece.  Don’t look like an amateur nudnik like me!

I’m always reading blog posts from YOU that would be perfect for a op-ed piece, so I’m going to try to push some of you to submit your work. 

Deezee also advised me to take out certain words from my post, such as “penis” and “balls,” which I did.  Rather than saying “If John Stossel had any balls,” it now reads “If John Stossel had any guts.”  I know that totally destroyed the sentence.  I totally wimped out, but it’s all part of the game.

People who have met me in real life know that I am actually a polite guy who never curses.  I’m always surprised when I learn that a blogger who writes beautiful poetry can “curse like a sailor” in real life.  Maybe it is because I rarely use words like c**k, p***y, f**king, etc. in the real world, that I LOVE to use them on my blog.  But every once in a while now I might clean up a post, especially if I have a job interview that week. 

It would be a shame, though, to refrain myself from using these obscenities on my blog.  I liked to imagine that whenever I say tits or c**k in a post, that thousands of women around the world are getting so turned on that they having orgasms right at their work cubicles.  That is happening, right?

For some of you, this is the only sex you get all week, so I can’t just eliminate this sex talk.  It is a public service!   So, I’ve come up with a way to both talk about sex AND be PG-13 for the Los Angeles Times and prospective employers.  It is called USING CODE.  Talk having your cake and eating it, too!

From now on:

c**k = iPod
p***y = Toyota Prius
tits = John Updike
f**king = “Deal or No Deal”

So, for instance, imagine you’re reading the following post.  Can you decipher it?


Happy New Year, fellow bloggers!  How was your Christmas and Hanukkah?   I had a great vacation.  And guess what — I got a iPod as a Hanukkah gift.   What a great toy.  I don’t think I’ve every had more fun playing with anything in my life.  I’ve been using my iPod constantly, plugging it in, buying all these accessories, and looking for friends to share my playlist with.   I love the way it fits right in your hand.  And I didn’t even get the mini one!  No way! 

Soon, I’m hoping to figure out a way to install my iPod right into the Toyota Prius.  Then I can listen to music as I’m driving to the store.   I love that Toyota Prius.   It’s so comfortable inside, I almost want to sleep in it!  Dude, that would be the ultimate!

Do you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  I promised myself to read more this year.  I’m a big fan of John Updike and I hope to read all of his books this year.    There’s nothing better than curling up in bed with a good book by John Updike, especially one of his 500 page novels. 

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the new season of “24” and “Lost.”  So far, I haven’t been impressed with the new TV season other than “Deal of No Deal.”  Has anyone been watching “Deal or No Deal?”  It seems to be on TV every night lately!  One of my blogger friends recently told me how she Tivo-es it and then watches 4-5 episodes a night with her boyfriend!  That made me feel old.  I haven’t watched that much TV in one night since I was in college!   In fact, sometimes I even zip past the commercials, and fall asleep in the middle of the show. 

I’m glad they renewed “Deal or No Deal.”  Hopefully, I will be watching it a lot more this year.  Usually. I’m watching it in the bedroom before going to sleep, but I think I’m going to change things around in 2007.  I’m going to watch it on the living room TV and even on the little TV in the kitchen!   This is a YEAR of CHANGE!   I’m going to try to watch it every chance I get, with or without Sophia!   Who knows, maybe I’ll even get the chance to watch the show with two friends at the same time!  I could throw a little “Deal of No Deal” party!  I can’t tell you HOW MUCH I love that show!  I wonder if you can download “Deal or No Deal” directly onto you iPod and watch it in your Toytota Prius? 

Anyway, I love you all!  I’m gonna go take a cold shower now.  Or maybe I’ll just relax and read some John Updike.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Girls Gone Geeky


  1. V-Grrrl

    I love Deal or No Deal too, but I don’t get it here in Belgium. I’m hoping for an iPod for my birthday…a Grrrl can dream.

  2. V-Grrrl

    P.S. Deezee isn’t a pushy bastard, she’s a pushy bitch–and an awesome writer. Don’t obssess over writer’s guidelines, they’re just “guidelines.”

  3. psychomom

    I have a Toyota and could really use a new iPod to replace my cheap mp3 player.

    Good luck with the op-ed!

  4. Lynnster

    I’m so very not an Apple person, but THAT kind of iPod…

  5. deezee


    You stole my line! I was all ready to claim ‘bitch.’ And thanks for the plug. Now I better go write something worthy of the praise…

  6. Neil

    V-Grrrl — You’re right. She’s a bitch, not a bastard. I’m never going to win the approval of the LA Times when I can’t get my genders right.

    As for “Deal of No Deal,” I’d hate for anyone to actually think I like that piece of crap! I need to write a post about that show’s awful concept. Maybe I should change my euphemism to “House.”

  7. Lauren


  8. laurie

    I am so glad you submitted that piece as an op/ed! Yay Neil 🙂 That is an excellent way to begin 2007. I once heard this phrase that sounded profound, I may have been drinking, and it may have been from Oprah, but anyway, it went something like:

    “You can’t wait for the motivation to act, sometimes you have to get out there and act before you get any motivation.”

    So, good for you and thank goodness for Deezee!

  9. Bice

    All my friends and family say I’m the bigggest iPod they make. I usually tell them to mind their own deal or no deal busiess and quit being such Toyota Prius’s about it.

  10. Rick

    You’re such a Deal or No Deal whore. (Joking, JOKING. I think.)

  11. charming, but single


    I got an iPod shuffle for Christmas. It is so tiny I can keep it handy in my pocket in case I ever have an iPod-related emergency …

  12. sarah

    Thinking of this one for a while have ya?! You can’t really be THAT impromptu with your innuendo!

  13. tiff

    y’all – girls can be bastards too! and some boys can be bitches….or is it beeyotchez. Anyhow – bastard isn’t a gender-specific thing. Yes, I can be a picky bitch!

    heh – “didn’t even get the mini iPod” is hilarious.

  14. Think Frustrated

    The iPod and Toyota ones worked. For some reason the Updyke and Deal or No Deal didn’t work for me.

    I plugged my iPod into a vagina*.

    *Vagina = iHome Boombox

  15. Churlita

    Do you read Updike in braile so you can feel your way around the prose more easily?

  16. Neil

    to myself:

    I’m sorry to interrupt the lovefest, but after reading this post again, I think it is really, really stupid! Are you trying to sabatoge your reputation as a op-ed columnist?


  17. Roadchick

    thousands of women around the world are getting so turned on that they having orgasms right at their work cubicles. That is happening, right?

    YES! YES! YES!

  18. Neil

    I knew it! My only hope now with the LA Times is that the Editor is a woman!

  19. deezee


    I suspect Neil was pointing out my ability to bark rather than making insinuations about my parents’ marital status at the time of my birth, so I stand behind V-grrrl’s correction 😉

    (Gee, it’s way more fun hanging out here than writing my own posts.)

  20. Neil

    On a serious note, there was a point to this post — has anyone successfully turned a blog post into something published on paper, like a newspaper or magazine?

    Has anyone gotten anything useful out of syndication sites like Blogburst?

  21. TherapyDoc

    Do I get NO credit whatsoever for this? Of COURSE you’re supposed to speak in code.

  22. Heather B.

    My last ipod broke due to overuse. I keep meaning to get a new one. Perhaps this weekend. Something to ponder.

  23. Wendy

    Oh boy! A secret code we can use around the kids!

  24. better safe than sorry

    i love code!!! you do realize you’ll never be able to blog about an actual i-pod without everyone wondering…
    good luck with your submission.

  25. Annie D

    Keeping my fingers crossed that your Op-Ed gets published!

    Oh, and unlike you, I would never, ever use vulgar words like c**k, p***y, or f**king on my blog.

    I save those words for real life.

  26. buzzgirl

    I am laughing and orgasming uncontrollably at my desk. My Toyota Prius is all afire. Perhaps I should call a firefighter? Only an iPod can quell the burning in my loins. Deal or No Deal is all fun and games until someone “lets loose” all over John Updike.

  27. Danny

    Your code words are well chosen. An iPod IS a c*ck, is it not? At least until Apple’s sexy new iPhone comes out.

    I’ve never turned a blog post into a published piece (except on the Huffington Post) but I got gigs in the L.A. Times and Chicago Reader partially thanks to my blog. Not that I can quit my day job, though. Oh wait, I don’t have one…

  28. Neil

    A few weeks ago, Brooke sent me a message that she knew someone who might be able to give me a real writing assignment. So, I IM-ed her, full of excitement, and she told me she knew someone who was working on an adult magazine and was looking for a writer. “Great,” I said. “I’m ready.” But then Brooke said they looked over Citizen of the Month and said I was the wrong choice for the job. “You use a lot of words like c**k and f**k, but no one ever actually has sex on your blog.”

    Sort of like my life.

  29. Michele

    Dang, Neil. You work like a mad dog on these posts, don’t you?

    Impressive, as Darth Vader says. Most impressive.

  30. Leezer

    I can only read your blog at home because at work a blue screen pops up that says it’s been “screened” by the IT department. I guess too many penis words. Please employ this gimmick at all times so that I can read you at work, o.k?

  31. ms. sizzle

    i am SO glad you submitted something! yay you!

  32. Killer

    My ipod is not reliable anymore. It only works half the time, and even then not for very long.
    I think I was downloading too much free music and got a virus.

  33. plain jane

    Good for you Neil!

    Killer’s comment is hilarious.

  34. Two Roads

    Love the post, love the comments. Need to go change my pants now….

  35. mckay

    1. you crack me up. posts rarely make me laugh out loud and you succeeded today.
    2. glad you sent your post to LAT. i hope you get published.
    3. thanks for the sex
    4. i am way too intimidated to buy you at auction now. how can i be as witty as you? i’m afraid you’ll be bored and will want to watch CNN instead of talk.

  36. Caron

    Secret Agent code is a requirement in the year 007 isn’t it?

  37. Megan

    Oh baby, talk dirty to me!

  38. Neil

    Rejection.  Just heard back from the Los Angeles Times! My first op-ed rejection.

    “Thank you for your submission to the Los Angeles Times OpEd page. Unfortunately, we are unable to use your piece. We do thank you for considering The Times and wish you luck in placing it elsewhere.”

  39. nelumbo

    I get 10-20 of those letters for every query that actually ends up as a printed article. Hence, writing is a hobby and teaching a career.
    I wonder what the legal ramifications are from selling a blog post, since usually you sign away “first publishing rights” but in the case of the blog post it’s already been published.

    Anyway, yes anyone who drives a Prius is a pussy so that works on so many levels!

  40. Neil

    Nelumbo, with you being Miss Gardening… I was sure you would be driving one…

  41. Steve

    I think you meant: watch it in “your” Toytota Prius…

    …everyone wants to be an editor.

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