the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

My Week According to Me, 9/23/11

The week started on a positive note.   I exercised for three days in a row.  I realize that isn’t a big accomplishment for those of you who compete in triathlons, but it was a goal that I gave myself over the summer that I never could quite achieve.

On Thursday, I rested, and all of the endorphins in my body crashed.  I went into a dreary funk, which in the bizarro upside-down world of creativity, pushed me into doing some interesting Instagram photos.

Why is moody and dark so cool in photography, but if I said, “I feel depressed today” on Twitter, I would be ignored, especially by those too busy promoting their book titled “Helping Those with Depression.”

By Thursday, these dark thoughts were swept away by a change in life that required my total concentration and focus — the updates to the Facebook timeline.

Sure a meteor was head for Earth and I might be dead by the end of the week, but WTF is that scrolling thing on the right side of my page?!   Clearly, Mark Zuckerberg intends to control the World in a way Ian Fleming could never have conceived when he created those over-the-top Bond villains like Goldfinger.  Timeline, A Visual Representation Of Your Entire Life?

A single female blogging friend wrote this surprising status update after watching Mark Zuckerberg presentation:

“I don’t care what you say. I find Mark Zuckerberg super sexy.  Smart, cocky, and arrogant gets me every time!”

Very telling.   So, in preparation for success in my new dating life, I am working hard on becoming smart, cocky, arrogant, and a zillionaire by the end of Yom Kippur. Wish me luck.

On Thursday night, I went to see the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s 1971 musical “Follies.”

It is a story about former showgirls from the 1920s-1940’s who meet at a Times Square theater before it is torn down, and some unresolved relationship stories are played out against the ghosts of the past.   I love Sondheim, and Follies has a number of Broadway showstoppers that you probably know, even if you didn’t know you knew them.  If you ever go to a cabaret, you’ll frequently hear older women singing songs from this show, because the main characters in “Follies” are all age 60+. Commercial culture is so focused on teens and women in their twenties, and blogging is so concentrated on moms in their 30s, that it is rare to women in their 70s portrayed as having an interior life filled with as much love, regret, and passion as their younger counterparts.

Here is 84 year old Elaine Stritch, who is not in the current revival,  singing Sondheim’s “I’m Still Here,” at the White House for the Obamas.

The revival was near perfect. The weakest link in the current production is the star, Bernadette Peters.  While I love her as a musical theater actress, her personality is too bubbly for me to buy her as the somewhat bitter character, unhappy in love for so many years.

I attended the musical with two of my friends, both men.   They have been in a relationship for years.    Over dinner, they asked for my opinion on whether they should get married as a gay couple in New York State.   It lead to an interesting, and somewhat humorous discussion.  But I’ll save it for a later blog post.

As if this week wasn’t dramatic enough, Friday capped it all with the final episode of “All My Children.”

If you are a long time reader of this blog, you know that this ABC soap opera played an important role in my marriage with Sophia.   It was one of our special pastimes.  Before I met Sophia, she had already been watching the show for decades.  I grew to enjoy watching the show with her. It became a daily ritual. We would argue about the writing and laugh at the bad acting.   I also grew to respect the show and creator Agnes Nixon’s creativity.  You TRY writing a TV show that has to come out every single day, for DECADES, and keep it interesting.

I called Sophia tonight and she was taking the cancellation hard. But before you laugh at this, try to remember how emotional you became when your favorite show went off the air. Seinfeld? Lost? The Cosby Show? It feels like the passing of an era.

“This has been a year of loss,” said Sophia. “My parents died. Then divorce. And now All My Children.”

I can’t say that my reaction is as extreme. The writing on the show has been lousy for a years. And even Susan Lucci’s Erica Kane was getting on my nerves.

But we should embrace life lessons from wherever I can.   We all have dreams.   And we all have doubts about achieving those dreams.    But if Tad and Dixie can finally love with each other, despite divorce, murder, mayhem, switched babies, and the fact that Dixie had DIED TWICE on the show, anything in life is possible.

And thanks to this week’s Blog Crushes of the Day: Crib Chronicles, Deutschland uber Elvis, Irish Gumbo, and Wellington Road.


  1. Loukia

    Loved the summary of your week… and yes, the ending of All My Children IS sad, just like any other show! And I laughed with your meteor hitting earth but we’re too busy trying to understand the new Facebook!

  2. Diana

    Good luck! Wait… when does Yom Kippur end?

    • Neil

      About three weeks. So I have time.

  3. christine

    tad and dixie got together in the end?! whew!

    and it isn’t strange at all that you are connected to that show. i watched that show as girl with my grandma then my mom. it is the end of an era.

    and i *almost* saw follies lat weekend, but we saw memphis instead.

    • Neil

      How was Memphis?

  4. denise

    Busy, busy, busy! I can’t quite put a finger on it, but I’m drawn to weekly recaps. So should we start calling you Kram in preparation for your world domination?

    • Neil

      The recaps remind me of those Christmas cards where the person updates their entire year. I wonder if Facebook, with their constant updates, has killed that tradition.

  5. Bon

    lol. i love these updates. i could read your reviews of theatre all day long, Neil.

    and i used to watch All My Children with my grandmother…Tad and Dixie? you’re kidding?

    • Neil

      I think you would particularly enjoy this musical if they ever have a production by you.

  6. adele

    I’ve wondered for years if it was possible that you, too, are gay, and I think the answer is yes. soap operas, musicals, gay friends, and gossiping with women online… it’s all pointing in that direction!

    • Neil

      Idiot. You need to see me in my red dress.

      • Elisa Camahort Page

        Neil, I’m sure you would rock it 😉

        And wow, I’m so glad I found out now, before it was too late, that my S.O. must be gay because he goes to musicals with me, we just watched the final three episodes of AMC together AND he actually enjoys our friendships with gay men.



    • Redneck Mommy

      Nah Adele, Neil isn’t gay. He’s not near cool enough to be gay. They wouldn’t take him even if he wanted to be gay.

      However, I’m certain you are a cow. I’ve got a herd of cows I know you’d fit right in with.

  7. Juli

    I watched AMC with my granny too. And with my mom. For decades. I loved when Kelly Ripa was on. And Sarah Michelle Gellar.

  8. Heather

    I remember, as a little gir, Non watching AMC during lunch time. She called it “the story.” Then, as I got older, my Mom and I watched (we taped it) after I got home from school. I watched it end, and it made me sad. Sad, because our society is so concerned with the almighty dollar, and not at all concerned with art and expression and…history.

  9. The Honourable Husband

    Many thanks for your kind shout-out, Neil. This is the second time you’ve put me up as a blog-crush.

    The first was after my first tease about finding you an after shave—I recall that I never actually followed up with the next post in the series. Stay tuned.

    And in what august company poor old DüE finds itself!

    I have always been an admirer—nay, worshipper—of Irish Gumbo. I mean, he can even write haiku. After 5 years in Japan, haiku drove me crazy. It’s the least-possible poetry. But Iggy makes me weep at the sheer beauty of it.

    Wellington Road brings back memories of a Wellington wedding many years ago, aith a trip to Taupo and Rotorua—fond memories, too. It’s a place made for reflection.

    And at CribChronicles, the tale about King Solomon’s Sister ripped out my heart.

    On the subject of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, I’ll share another photo you might enjoy, soon. I once lived on the fifth floor of an apartment building, opposite a park. I assumed that Jimmy Stewart’s apartment must have been on the fifth floor, because we could follow all the little dramas taking place across the street, from our balcony.

    As we would say in New Zealand, Oo-roo.

  10. magpie

    Aw, Follies. I want to see it.

  11. snozma

    Yes! If Tad and Dixie can do it….So can I.

    Dammnit Tad and Dixie are no more. I suddenly get the tragedy of the thing.

  12. Jody

    LaShana Tova Neil – you truly deserve to be inscribed in the Book of Life. May you have a full and happy new year!

  13. sizzle

    I had no idea AMC was ending. I think Days of Our Lives should probably do the same. How many times can people die and come back?! A lot if you judge by soap operas.

  14. Irish Gumbo

    Slow I am…(and apparently channeling Yoda. Stop that, I must.)

    This week’s Week was fascinating, and good for a laugh and deep thinking, too. Excellent combination.

    I’ve been waaaaaay behind on my blogospheric perambulations, and as a consequence I have missed a lot. Like that I was a Blog Crush of the Day.

    (hanging head in shame) And I’m in with some great company, too. And Honourable Husband’s comment made my head spin. (gulp) Very kind words, among the nicest things anyone has ever said about my work. Wow!

    Thank you, Neil!

  15. Marna - jwoap

    I try to read you regularly as I like your stuff, but I have been sidelined with a shoulder injury which is just kicking my ass — but here I am coming out of lurker-dome to comment.

    My mom and her neighbor were die hard AMC fans. I learned so many things about my mom, her neighbor, their relationships during that hour of AMC. I also learned how to press handkerchiefs , make potato salad from scratch, fold towels my mom’s way, apply make up, tweeze my eyebrows, and walk with a book on my head. All that important girl stuff:)

    I was sad to see the cancellation of AMC. I thought the characters they brought back were great – Tad and Dixie together was amazing, as was Stuart resurrection:)

    Glad to catch up. Maybe I should comment more?

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