the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

My Name is Ozymandias


During the coronation of a new Pope, it is traditional for a monk to hold up a burning piece of flax.  After it burns, the monk says, “Pater sancte, sic transit gloria mundi,” which is translated as “Holy Father, thus passes the glory of the world.”  Catholics are supposed to remember that despite the power of the Pope, he is still a mortal man.

This is how we get the expression — “Fame is fleeting.”

Bookfraud was down on himself last week because so many novelists publish their first novel before they are 30:  Jonathan Safran Foer, Zadie Smith and Gary Shteyngart.   And he felt that the deadline had passed.

I can relate.  We all want to be acknowledged for our work.  It would especially cool to be famous.

But let’s think about this “fame” business a bit.  Is writing a book really going to give us what we want?

Jonathan Safran Foer?  Gary Shteyngart?  Seriously, I bet you that 95% of the American public think these are the names of the two main characters on “Two and a Half Men.”

What is fame anyway?.  American Idol has millions of viewers, but how many of the contestants will be remembered?  How many CDs have you bought that were released by any of the former contestants?  Quick — who won the runner up in season two?

From 1915-1922, the biggest female box office star in Hollywood was Mary Pickford.  From 1923-1926, it was Norma Talmadge.  Other than Danny from Jew Eat Yet?, do any of you know anything about these hugely popular actresses — the superstars of their day?

The #1 Blog on Technorati is Techcrunch.  Enough said.  No one will remember Techcrunch in 100 years.

In Junior High, I was forced to memorize this poem.  At the time, I was too young to understand it.  But now —

OZYMANDIAS by Percy Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Every single writer, politician, movie star, and celebrity will eventually be forgotten. 

But all is not hopeless.  There is one celebrity from today who will be remembered forever — Arnold Palmer.


Yes, Arnold Palmer, was once the greatest golf player of the day.  But like, Mary Pickford, a person can only be at the top of the game for so long.  Eventually a Tiger Woods comes along, and everyone starts to ask, “Arnold who?”

Arnold Palmer, however, was a marketing genius.  He instinctively knew the lesson of Ozymandias.   By creating a drink — the Arnold Palmer — half lemonade/half ice tea — he did what no other celebrity could do — made sure that his name would be famous forever.  Just today, I was eating lunch in Beverly Hills, when I saw a beautiful women calling her waiter over to order an “Arnold Palmer,” her lips smacking in anticipation.   Can you imagine what it must be like to have women all around the world wanting you like that? 

Arnold Palmer is the only media consultant who deserves to speak about “branding” at web conferences.  Arnold Palmer — the ultimate brand.  There’s even a drink named after him.

I was once misguided enough to think that this blog would give me fame and glory.   Every day, people would wake up, rub their eyes, turn on their computers , and come to Citizen of the Month, ready to be astounded.   I had this illusion that even if  flying robots from Mars were destroying the United States outside, my loyal readers would not flee for their lives until they finished writing a witty comment on my latest post. 

But is this loyalty a constant? 

Already, I’m noticing newer and more exciting blogs catching your eye, your attention spans dulled by years of MTV, video games, and prescription drugs. 

Luckily, I have a plan for when this blog loses its buzz.  The Neilochka —  1/3 Pomegranate Juice, 1/3 Cranberry Juice, and 1/3 Seltzer.

Please, start ordering it NOW at your favorite watering hole.  Remember to order it by NAME.  “I’ll have a Neilochka.”

This is the only way it will catch on, insuring that my name will live in glory forever.

The Year, 2246

Bar, Moon of Saturn Outpost #23A

Beautiful Female Cyborg:  I’ll have a Neilochka, straight up!

Bartender:  Excellent choice.  Coming up!

Beautiful Female Cyborg:  I’ve been wanting a Neilochka all day.  I’ve always wondered why this delicious drink is called a Neilochka.

Bartender:  At Harvard Bartending School, they taught us that Neilochka created this drink.  He was a famous blogger about 200 years ago. 

Beautiful Female Cyborg:  He must have been an amazing person.  No one could create this wonderful drink without having been super talented.  If I lived back then, I would have definitely f**ked him.  What else do you know about him?

Bartender:  Supposedly he was very famous.  Very popular.  Did this thing called blogging.

Beautiful Female Cyborg:  Blogging?  What the hell is that?

Bartender:  I have no idea.  But, he’s certainly remembered for this drink!  I better stop talking and get back to work before I’m dooced.


  1. Kathy

    Eek! If publishing before thirty is the standard by which one measures success, I haven’t a chance in hell then.

    I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but I cared more about — I don’t want to say fame, because no one I respect is remotely famous, at least not in the American Idol kind of way — but making something of myself or whatever ten years ago than I do now. I’ll stay in my lull between quarter and mid-life crisis for a while.

  2. sassy

    It’s sure that if you make something as hollow and fleeting as fame a goal, only disappointment can follow. Still, my MTV-fried brain thinks you’re okay, Neil.

    But where’s the vodka?

  3. better safe than sorry

    i agree with the fame is fleeting, but i’ve never heard of that arnold palmer drink, yours sound delicious!
    this weekend my kids asked me who won WWII, they seriously had no idea. i asked them what they thought churchill’s famous words meant, they had no idea what i was even talking about or who he was. how long ago was that? and look at the impact it had on our lives. but i guess something like that isn’t actually considered “fame”.

  4. Neil

    Better Safe — My whole post falls apart if you don’t know what an Arnold Palmer is? I hope this isn’t an obscure thing…

    Do people not know what an Arnold Palmer is?

  5. Avitable

    Hahahahaha – very nice!

  6. Nat

    I had no idea that was called an Arnold Palmer. I always pictured him drinking something with gin in it.

    Who Tom Collins anyway? NOW that is a drink.

  7. bookfraud

    glad to see i can inspire somebody. a great post, natch.

    if you look at the lists of best-sellers from even 50 years ago, most of the names are mysterious to even us writers.

    but i don’t care about fame, neil. all i care about is that my novel sees the light of day and that somewhere, someone reads and enjoys it. that’s all a writer can ask for. i don’t care if people remember me 100 or 50 years from now.

    just as long as i get lots of money and chicks. and plenty of neilochkas to drink.

  8. turnbaby

    Sounds like a damn fine plan. What’s it called if you all champers instead of selzter?

  9. Roadchick

    Neil, darling, most women would actually prefer a Hot Dickens’ Cider.

    (Say it out loud if it doesn’t make sense at first.)


  10. Jennifer

    Very inspired. 🙂

  11. brettdl

    My daughter calls her brother Yah-yah. What a great name for a drink! “Bartender, I’ll have a Yah-Yah!”

    Okay, totally off point, but then, I’m a lonely dad blogger and my own name would never work as a drink. Loved the last word of your post, btw.

  12. Miss Britt

    SWEET!! I’m already half way there then!

    I have created a Brittini about a year ago!

    Now… how does one go about making their signature drink popular?

  13. churlita

    Nice post. I had no idea that a half lemonade, half iced tea was called an Arnold Palmer…So, I’m not sure how your theory will play out. I’ll always remember you from your blog.

  14. Neil

    Jeez. In Los Angeles, they even write Arnold Palmer on menus. This sucks. No one gets the joke. Bookfraud — take note. Do not put a character drinking an Arnold Palmer in the next novel. Will confuse readers, thinking it a sex act.

  15. Ginormous Boobs

    Perhaps they will name a sandwich after you and your name will christen Jewish deli menus from coast to coast.

  16. Neil

    Ginormous Boobs — Never thought of that. I want to be corned beef with sauerkraut. Spicy, yet smooth.

    Your name is perfect for the matzoh ball soup at the 2nd Avenue Deli.

  17. -RM

    Ha! Totally didn’t see Arnold Palmer coming. It’s an okay non-alcoholic drink. Yours needs alcohol. Also, their names sound more like they belong on Big Bang Theory rather than Two and a Half Men.

  18. Atomic Bombshell

    I think you’re on to something. That drink sounds fairly delicious.

  19. Finn

    I got the joke!

    Tell me what you know about Harvey Wallbanger…

  20. Penelope

    You definitely need alcohol in the Neilochka if it’s going to catch on – this side of the Pond I don’t know anyone who drinks virgin cocktails – we’re all lushes!
    Sorry, but I didn’t know who Arnold Palmer was either, but then I’m only a Brit ;o)

  21. smart bohemian

    If you want someone no one (except me, I guess) will remember, how about the runner up of Season THREE of American Idol?

    The Arnold Palmer sounds kinda good. I might have to order one.

  22. Annie

    I will always remember you Neil, even without the drink named after you, but then I am getting older I may only have another 45 years left if I am lucky :-).

  23. Neil

    Finn — Harvey Wallbanger —

  24. Neil

    Does anyone else have a drink he want to name after himself?

  25. Karl

    In the future, people will have video camera implants in their eyes and everyone will be live-blogging all the time automatically. And they’ll be drinking Neilochkas…with vodka. You’ve got to have vodka in a Neilochka. Rhymes and everything.

  26. Judy

    I have been drinking the “Arnold Palmer” for years without realizing it. Had I known, feeling as I do about golf, I might have stayed thirsty. I was going to say a purist, but with five marriages, pure has been removed from my lexicon.

  27. sizzle

    Having a drink named after you- sheer brilliance. 🙂

  28. Kerri Anne

    Well, you just used one of my favorite poems of all time in a post. AND talked about an awesome golfer (ode to my father) with an awesome drink named after him. My Monday is surely improving.

  29. Not Fainthearted

    For a second I thought my stats spike today was due to the Blogher ads. Silly me. I’m Neilochka’s blog crush!!! {{blushing madly}}

    The thing with Neilochka the drink is that the kind of bars I frequent probably wouldn’t have pomegranate juice. And there’d be no free refills like with the Arnie Palmer or pop (a.k.a. “soda”)

    BUT, that won’t stop me from ordering it anyway. As for the alcohol content. What about if the “standard” had vodka and the “Celebate Neilochka” went without.

    As it were.

  30. HeyJoe

    What a brilliant post, Neil. I can guarantee that no Beautiful Female Cyborgs from 2246 will be thinking about ME. And I loved how you worked in dooced.

  31. ingrid


  32. Dana Whitaker

    Neil, I want to reassure you that I understood the Arnold Palmer reference. I never refer to the drink as such, but I knew that the mixture of lemonade and tea was bestowed with Arnie’s name.

    I do think the Neilochka needs some booze, though. I have a tough time accepting that your drink-namesake would be virgin.

  33. Heidi

    Anyone care for a Shirley Temple?

  34. the slackmistress

    There’s already a drink called the “Ninochka” at Bar Lubitsch, and it’s freakin’ delish. Sure, it’s not technically named after me, but it’s the drink I would have created, so I’ll take it.

  35. melanie

    I’ll have a Neilochka… with vodka!

  36. nelumbo

    Your post reminded me a lot of this:

  37. Iron Fist

    Why stop there? See if you can tap into the youth market by naming, say, a skateboarding maneuver after yourself (“Hey, did you see that Neilochka that Benny did of those stairs?”), or a UFC finishing move (“It’s all over now, McNary has put Beefcake Ortega in a Neilochka and he’s seconds from tapping out.”).

    Okay, I don’t know where I was going with that.

  38. Neil

    Iron Fist — Sounds great, but wouldn’t I first have to learn to stand on a skateboard?

  39. Baroness von Bloggenschtern

    Aww, babela. I still wake up every morning, rub the sleep out of my eyes, turn on my computer and go to COTM. While drinking a Neilochka. Damn, man – you are hilarious!!

  40. gorillabuns

    Sadly, I DO know about this drink and the golfer.

    I would name a drink “the shana-banana”

    1 part red bull, 1 part diet sprite and 1 part vodka.

  41. 180/360

    I could swallow a Neilochka! But I agree- it would taste even better with Vodka. 😉

  42. an9ie

    Neil! You missed all these opportunities to write things like, “The beautiful female cyborg wrapped her lips around the Neilochka’s straw” etc.


  43. Theresa B.

    So is that a neil-oh-chka or a neil-aw-chka. Either way, this was a delicious post. Tangy with a touch of sweet.

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