the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

We Are Devo


I never intended for my blog to be about “All Sophia, All the Time,” but lately SHE has been my life.  If you ever get the chance to date or marry someone who grew up in another country, you should go for it.  It is a great experience, and you learn so much.  I’ve always found other cultures fascinating, and I’m especially turned on by exotic accents.  It’s not like Sophia walks around dressed like a Russian babushka.   She left Russia at an early age.   It’s just that her eyes grow sleepy when I try to get her enthusiastic about something that is so familiar to me, like… baseball.

In times of stress, you sometimes want the comfort of the familiar, which is usually associated with your childhood — and frankly, our cultural references don’t easily match up.  A week ago, I had a dream about the TV show “Happy Days.”  I used to watch “Happy Days” after school.  Sophia has never seen the show once.  Sometimes, I get a little lonely to chat with someone who actually cares that it is the 30th Anniversary of “Star Wars” or even likes the movie (I showed it to her once and she barely watched it).  Luckily, I have so many low-brow blogging-friends who enjoy pop culture crap from the past.

Today, I was downloading some music.

“What are you downloading?” she  asked.


“I didn’t know you like them?”

“I once saw them when I was a kid.”

“I didn’t realize they’ve been around so long.”

“They’ve been around forever.”

“I don’t get it.  Were they children singers when you saw them?”

“Children singers?  No.  What are you talking about?”

“Didn’t you say you saw Il Divo?”


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Spain is Cleaner than Portugal


  1. Erin

    Hahahahaha…. That is too cute. 😉 You get the same pop culture disconnect when you date someone who was homeschooled, (me for instance)… I get some of the stuff, and most everything after 1994, but yeah, poor Tim. He tries to tell me about music or movies from the 80’s and I’m like, “huh?”. I have gotten into older stuff recently though. Turns out, Paul Simon is my hero….so I’ve been downloading everything he’s ever done and it’s like magic to hear it for the first time.

  2. Not Fainthearted

    That is priceless.

    Also priceless? “…but lately SHE has been my life.”

    Made my go “awww”

    And now, go make some blintzes or something so you can whip it good.

  3. Not Fainthearted

    um, made ME go “awww”

  4. Lisa

    Hehehe… sounds like conversations I have with my little man when he tells me he likes some band (like Bon Jovi) and I tell him I used to listen to them when I was a teenager. Big saucer eyes.

    Glad to hear Sophia is doing better! (((hugs))) to both of you!

  5. Eileen Dover

    That is the same for anyone from any other culture.

    What’s that Mayberry thing? Some sort of show? Never even seen it. I know it has something to do with a cop and it’s in black and white… but that’s about it.

  6. tracie Lyn Huskamp

    Hi Neil… THANKS for leaving such a nice comment on my blog today! I do hope the card made Sophia smile. She is one lucky lady to have someone like you taking care of her. I bet she appreciates it more than you will ever know!

  7. kanani

    Ha! Love it. You know, with a little photo shop I think you could put those plastic flower pots on the heads of Il Divo.
    And are they YUCK or what?

    And when are you coming over to do a guest slot on my blog?

  8. Danny

    I had the same experience with my French first wife. She never understood any of my pop culture referenes (and I was full of them, as you know). One day I came home and found her and another French friend watching an “I Love Lucy” video I had laying around (it was the episode where Lucy and Ethel go to work in the candy factory). These two French women who had never heard of Lucille Ball were laughing their asses off. Thinking about that still moves me all these years later.

  9. MsMamma

    That’s funny- I say go for it! Maybe I need to start lookin’ in the 3rd World. I dated a Pakistani who was very sexy in a young Omar Sharif kind of way, but when he told me all of his wealthy family lives together back home, well, no amount of money or sexiness could make me live with someone else’s parents!

    I like the stark comparison BTWN the two bands. I bought the entire Pee Wee’s Playhouse collection just to hear Mark Mothersbough’s theme music. 😉

  10. margalit

    Oh dear. That is just… I dunno…. The comparison of Devo and Il Devo scares me.

    I saw Devo with those flowerpot hats in the 80s when they first came out. It was quite an interesting show. Once was enough.

  11. Dagny

    One can also get a disconnect on cultural references when one dates someone who is significantly older or younger. The Steely Dan song “Hey Nineteen” comes to mind.

  12. Jurgen Nation

    AAAHAH! *snort* Il Divo…Devo…hilarious. I love Devo. Also, who was that guy who sang “Puttin’ on the Ritz”? I loved him and that song, too.

  13. Bre

    Such a sweet post!

  14. Neil

    Jurgen — “Taco” sang “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” making Irving Berlin popular again.

  15. The Cynical Girl

    I knew there was a connection between Devo and Menudo!

  16. wendy

    I saw Devo too..At the Santa Monica Civic..I wore a skinny black tie a la Elvis Costello….Such memories!

  17. an9ie

    Dear Neil,

    Thank you of posting a picture of Il Divo on your blog. They are hot and provided me with 0.2 seconds of enjoyable diversion today.


  18. Katie

    In graduate school I was a host for a new student from Japan. She liked the music I was playing one day and asked who it was. I replied it was the English band Lush, and she expressed interest in acquiring their CDs. A few days later we were shopping together and I caught her at the cash register about to buy a disc by the Canadian band Rush instead.

  19. Karl

    I hope you’ve since given her a proper Devo education.

  20. therapydoc

    Why didn’t I cchhop that you liked Star Wars? See this video of The Stooge (my kid) at the convention. Hang in there until you hear the Ladies in love with Anakin routine and the Ladies in love with Leah bit. It should give you a good laugh. You can always use that, right? Love to Sophia

  21. therapydoc

    Oops. Forgot the URL.

  22. deannie

    Whip it gooooooood! Did Devo sing anything else?!?

  23. Peter

    LOVE this, dude.

  24. Jenn

    love DEVO. D. E. V. O.
    my roommate is from Germany.
    does not get Fast Times at Ridgemont High and why it is so funny.

  25. sarah g

    I’ll concur that Il Divo= hot! Thanks: )
    Hope Sophia is feeling better! and the baseball story made me laugh out loud! Awesome.
    ” is he going to run off of the field with it” and ” why is he taking his teammates ball”

  26. Ms. Annie D

    You think a Russian is an exotic life partner for an American?


    Try being married to a Brit, like I am!

    Most people mistakenly believe that we share a common language and cultural references with *those people* across the pond.

    But after watching my husband watch CRICKET matches (which last for four days with tea breaks), and repeatedly hearing him say things like “alu-min-i-um” – rather than the CORRECT pronunciation, “aluminum” – you finally accept the cultural and linguistic gulf between you.

    Still, we’re very lucky to have our exotic spouses, aren’t we?

    Sending my most positive thoughts to you and Sophia.


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