the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Balls

Healthy Arrogance, Day 2 — Hire Me As a Speaker at Conferences

Are you a company looking to market to bloggers? A corporation excited about the potential of “social media?” A blogger wanting to increase his readership?

One of the best ways to educate yourself is to attend a web or blogging conference. Unfortunately, most attendees leave disappointed in the seminars. Six hundred dollars for THAT?!

Why are these conference such letdowns?

It is the speakers.

Most web conferences are led my marketers and and PR pundits. Have you ever actually read their blogs or Twitter messages? They are all about marketing, PR, and how to use Twitter. What can they teach you about engaging an audience? Absolutely NOTHING!

Hi, I’m Neil Kramer. I’m a writer. Ever since the time of Plato and Aristotle, it has been the writers and artists that have influenced the world. They know how to make a reader laugh and cry, sometimes with the same sentence. Why listen to someone who talks about market share when you can be learning from the person who shops in the market?

For the past three years, whenever companies think about bloggers, it has been all about the mommybloggers. Forget the mommybloggers. They have reached their saturation point. Another mommyblogger network? Yawn. It is time for a fresh face. Why not make your company or blog stand out in the crowd — and go for the SENSITIVE MALE — one who understands men AND WOMEN, parents and NON-PARENTS, married and NOT MARRIED?! My demographics include men, women, black, white, Latinos, Asians, gay and straight – and my mother. If I had my druthers, I could have 1000 people wheeling a new Bugaboo stroller or the new Diet Coke by tomorrow.

Besides, I KNOW more mommybloggers than the typical mommyblogger.

But I don’t want to be a salesperson or promoter on my blog. I enjoy being a writer. Selling stuff is not a challenge to me. In fact, it is so easy to me — it is almost boring. Writing is hard. Marketers want you to think that their job is hard. Ha! That’s why they always use such complicated words, like “branding.” I will explain branding to you within the first ten seconds of my session. I know your business depends on interaction with customers and clients. That’s why I want to teach YOU how to do it EFFECTIVELY, the “Neilochka” way.

“Where have you been all this time?” you might ask me. “I have never heard of you.” Well, that’s because I’ve been busy blogging, not promoting myself. I haven’t been wasting my time networking with other “influencers” who only know how to influence other “influencers.” I have been “in the field,” like a journalist at wartime. I know what it is like to blog on a personal level with others, the minor hurts, the major victories, the loneliness, the comraderie, the sexiness, and the anger. Ask around. My session on Male-Female Blog Friendships would be THE break-out hit at the BlogHer conference, if not for the discriminatory policy pooh-poohing male speakers at the conference.

What you will learn from me:

1) How to write engaging content.

Is your corporate blog as dull as a meal at the Olive Garden? That’s probably because your PR firm is developing the content while sipping lattes in the conference room. You need someone with actual EXPERIENCE in LIFE — someone who can chat about something other than the latest Firefox browser. I don’t need to come up with “tips” on “engaging readers.” My background as a reader of MAD magazine, the second-place winner of the Queens County spelling bee, and my four year sentence as an English major in college has prepared me for a life of writing words and coming up with literary puns stolen from the classics. I am also a film school graduate, completely adept at film, video and audio production, except for that one time I forgot to put the film in the camera. I am like a one man f**king multimedia company!

2) Community building.

There are NO other bloggers more knowledgeable about community building than I am. How many bloggers do you know who has actually had online sex with one of their readers? I bring that intimate experience with me when I work with my clients. Have you seen The Great Interview Experiment? The Annual Christmahanukwanzaakah Holiday concert (the third one this December!)? No sponsors. No badges. Just me caring about other people, with the hope of one day seeing one naked. Most people know SHIT compared to me in online community building.

3) Social Media.

Social Media is all the rage nowadays, but most marketers and PR gurus think that putting hashtags and live-tweeting from conferences is of interest to anyone other than themselves. The truth is that most social media mavens have NO INTEREST in interacting with the general public. They use social media completely to promote themselves. Are these the types of individuals or companies you want advising you on reaching the Joe and Jane Public? That’s like asking John McCain to name his favorite rap group. I am very active in the social media communty. I spend more time on Twitter and Facebook than I do watching porno movies on RedTube. That’s a lot. On Twitter and Facebook, I have gotten into arguments over politics. I’ve flirted. I’ve made lame jokes. I’ve discussed the worst rock song of the 1980’s. I am a social media DIVA! A Zen Master! One who actually uses social media for something SOCIAL!

Neil Kramer. writer. Multimedia Expert. Blogger. Community Builder. Social Media Maven. Dancer. Designer of “The Talking Penis” brand of outerwear.

I am now available for conferences, corporate meetings, and one-on-one sessions with prominent CEOs. Email me for fees. (I’m not cheap, but I am oh-so-worth-it).


Dear Sophia,

Tonight around eleven p.m.  I was hungry for something — I didn’t know what.  So, I took a drive — not really knowing where I was going. 

It was pouring outside, so I drove one block to my local 7-Eleven.  Once inside, I walked up and down the aisles, trying to figure out what junk food to buy. 

And then I saw it — Hostess Sno Balls.


I know that you probably don’t even know what Hostess Sno Balls are, but I have fond memories of eating them as a child.  I never had much of a sweet tooth, but I always had a fondness for Hostess Sno Balls

"Sno Balls were invented in 1947," says Mike Redd, vice-president of cake marketing at Interstate Bakeries, the company that bought Hostess in 1995. Accustomed to rationing flour and sugar during World World War II, Americans were now devouring manufactured sweets, and the Sno Ball was an instant hit. Even though there never has been a TV ad budget for Sno Balls, Redd says they continue to sell, though not quite as well as their heavily advertised siblings, Hostess Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes.

It took some tinkering, though, before these perfect domes of fuzzy Day-Glo pinkness became the Marilyn Monroe of the snack rack. Sno Balls originally were chocolate cupcakes covered with ho-hum white marshmallow and shredded coconut, hence the name. Not long after, Hostess decided to jazz them up by using tinted pink coconut and, for added effect, using one white and one pink Sno Ball in each package. Later, for efficiency’s sake, two of the same color were coupled. And it wasn’t until 1950 that the icing on the cake, so to speak—the cream filling—was added.

What made Sno Balls so unique was that Hostess changed the color of them throughout the year, most notably on St. Patrick’s Day, when they turned green – and they tasted especially tasty from the green chemicals.  Hostess Sno Balls also had a sexy shape to them, much like the luscious curves of a woman.  What man, on seeing his first pair of woman’s breasts, hasn’t said to himself, "They look just like Sno Balls!  I hope they taste as good?"

As you know, my birthday is next Tuesday.  Yesterday, you asked me what I wanted for my birthday. 

Well, now I know.   Hostess Sno Balls. 

Easy, right?  Just go to Ralphs and buy them. 

No.  I want you to make them.


Clone of Hostess Snoballs

Butter and flour, for tins
4 egg whites
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2/3 cup milk
Frosting, recipe follows
2 to 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Red or green food coloring (optional)

2 egg whites, unbeaten
6 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour muffin tins or dome shaped baking molds and set aside. Whip the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff but not dry and place in the refrigerator while you make the rest of the batter. Cream the butter and add the sugar. Continue mixing to blend well. Add the vanilla, almond and lemon rind and mix well. Sift the flour 3 times with the baking powder then add it to the butter mixture alternately with the milk in 3 additions. Fold in the whites and pour the batter into the molds, filling about 3/4 of the way up. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until batter is firm to the touch in the center. Let cool in the pans then turn out so the top becomes the bottom (you may need to trim them a bit so they sit flat).

Frosting: Place all of the ingredients except the vanilla in the top of a double boiler (not over the heat yet). Beat with a mixer thoroughly. Place over boiling water and beat continuously until the frosting is stiff and holds peaks. Take off the boiling water and add the vanilla, then continue to beat until cool.

Place the coconut in a bowl and add 1 drop of red or green food coloring for a pale color. Toss until food coloring is well mixed in and the coconut is the desired color. Frost the top and sides of the cakes and dip/roll in coconut to make them look like snowballs.

Yield: 12 to 24 snoballs
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours

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