the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: blog

Dear Emily Blogpost


Dear Emily Blogpost,

I’m a male blogger who lives in the Los Angeles area.  Recently, it was my birthday, and I received cards and gifts from other bloggers.  Today I started writing “thank you” emails.  Things started out well.  I sent four emails, but then I suddenly stopped, feeling myself going into a panic.  Sweat poured down onto my shirt.  What was the problem?  I feared that I had made a terrible mistake in blog etiquette. 

I quickly reread my notes and it was just as I had feared –  at the end of each note I signed things off at the end as, “Love, Neil.” 

Now, while I am fond of these bloggers, I’m not sure I actually “love” them in the traditional sense.  I probably was overdoing the literary hyperbole, which is a frequent problem of mine as a writer.  When I used the word “love,” I hoped to convey a friendly fondness, much like a person can love a cat, or a bowl of Fruit Loops.  I hope that this “love” is not misinterpreted by others to mean “I am now stalking you” or “I know your bra size is 36D and I think about you when I caress the Bali Bras at Target,” or “meet me in the Westin at LAX, room 1201 on Saturday at 3PM so we can **** for a couple of hours on Westin’s trademarked signature Heavenly Bed (with ten layers of comfort!).

Perhaps I should just stop writing, “Love, Neil” on my thank you notes. especially to other men.  I thought about ending each email by saying, “Your friend, Neil,” but that seems lame, as if we hang out together and play Texas Hold Em on Thursday Nights or go to see action movies together.   “Your Blog Associate, Neil” is even worse, because it sounds like some new-fangled job description at Google.

Eh, maybe I’ll just go back to “Love, Neil” and hope someone hot misinterprets it and shows up at the Westin.

Emily Blogpost, please help!

Loves Too Much

P.S. — In a sidenote, while we were travelling, Sophia and I found it amusing that hotels still don’t have 13th floors in 2007.  Isn’t this the silliest superstition to have in modern times?  You can bring a hooker to your room, but can’t sleep on the 13th Floor?  Why not just ban mirrors and black cats?  Hell, Sophia and I got MARRIED on October 13th!

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Meeting Barry at Canter’s

Arm in Arm


Imagine a world where liberals and conservatives stand side by side. Where gays and right-wing reactionaries work for the same cause. Where snobby New Yorker and small town Southerners live as equals. Where foul-mouthed frat boys and stern-faced feminists wish each other well.

Is this utopia? No, this world does exist.


This world is called Blogads.

Since I started blogging, I’ve complained about how segmented the blogosphere is — differerent “communities” that rarely interact. In reality, a unifying force brings the most popular blogs together — one God you might say — yes, it is money from advertising.

I’ve always been fascinated with advertising, ever since Mr. Molnia, my eigth grade Social Studies teacher, taught us about “propaganda techniques.” He always told us to study the advertising on TV and newspapers because you could learn a lot about what is — and what is NOT said — in the world.

Despite my hatred for advertisements on blogs — and I HATE THEM — there is a strong possibility that I might end up with them some day. So, today, I hit the online road to explore what is out there. And here is what I found: No surprise. There is a lot of advertising going on.

Before we all get all excited, you should know that to make any sort of money, you need a lot of readers and “hits.” In the scheme of “blog celebrity,” if Dooce is George Clooney, I’m Pauly Shore’s unknown brother, Herman.

Dooce and the big mommy and daddy blogs like Amalah, Finslippy, and Dad Gone Mad, all seem to be part of the Federated Media Publishing network and get advertisements from Adbrite. I quickly left these two sites, realizing I was on hallowed ground.

I headed over to BlogAds (for opinion makers!), mostly because I’ve seen them on all types of blogs, and they seemed to “represent” a broader ranger of “categories.”

We’re the blog advertising specialists. Launched in 2002, is where you place ads on America’s most influential blogs.

We represent the blogs you read — sure they’ve got stellar demographics (see our surveys of 56,000 blog readers), but blog readers aren’t just another random crowd of affluent consumers. Bloggers and their readers are mavens, influencers and insiders. Densely networked and brainstorming together at the speed of light, they are the new epicenter of American opinion.

Brainstorming together at the speed of light? Is that what we do every morning in our underwear? And… speed of light — are you kidding? Have any of these people actually commented on a Blogger site? It takes five minutes just to fill out the name, the email, the url, and that stupid jumbled word? Speed of light? Maybe big-time bloggers never actually comment anywhere, sort of like how former President Bush didn’t know how to buy groceries in a modern supermarket.

Still, I knew Blogads was the place for me. How did I know that? Because there were testimonials. Testimonials that I didn’t understand, and I’m always impressed with things that make me feel stupid.

“Blogads is the ‘Intel-inside’ of the blog revolution.”
– John Hlinko,

Ok, great!

“My favorite ‘buzz seeding’ tool currently is the amazing network over at…”
– Brian Clark, GMDstudios

I like the buzz seeding stuff because it sounds like sex.

“The best part is being able to share space (mind-space, virtual-space, screen-space) with the bloggers who — if they embrace our books and authors — make all the difference”
– Farah Miller, Knopf Publishing Group

The three dimensions of space. Cool!

But clearly my favorite was:

“…we’ve gotten very good CPM and CPC rates this way…”
– Elias Israel, Messagefire

Now, this is why I started blogging!

As in other “ad networks,” Blogads separates their blogs into convenient “hives” to attract the appropriately affluent demographic.


Curious to know “What’s My Hive?”, I went through each hive one by one, trying to find the best “fit” for Citizen of the Month.

Here’s the bulk of the list:

Hollywood Blogads
Liberal Blo Advertising Network
Humor Network
Conservative Blog Advertising Network
Beltway Bloggers
The Philly Ad Network
Hip Hop
Baseball Blogosphere
Gay Blogads
Environment and Sustainability
Los Angeles Blogs
Women Bloggers Network
Blue Country
International BlogAds
Government Relations Blog Network
Programming and Technology Blogs
Riveting Reviews
The Liberal Prose
Foodblog Ad Network
Military Blogs
Hip Hop and R&B
AltWeeklies Blog Network
Southern BlogAds
North Carolina
Fashion Blogads
Indie Film Blogs
Indie Music
Law Blog Ad Network
Texas Progressive Alliance
Design Network
Science Blogs
The Anti-Terrorism Coalition
Red State Network
Progressive Parenting
Baby and Parenting Blogads
UK Blogads
Economic Blogads
Chicago Blogs
Oregon Progressives
Football Blogosphere
Gun Blogs
Raging Center-Right Bloggers
Stock Market Investing Network
Jewish Blogs
Product Niche Network
Blogads Gaming
Evangelical Bloggers
Japan Blog Ad Network
Colored Left
Physician Blogging
Jersey Ad Network
Travel Blog
Michigan Ad Network
Wine Blogger Ad Network
Libertarian Ad Network
Christian Moms
Homeschool Blog Network
Art Network
Twin Cities MN Blogs
Lesbian Blog Ad Network
Colorado Progressive Bloggers
Iowa Blogad Network
Weight Loss, Fitness, and Diet
Boston Blogs
Craft Blogads
Feminist Blogger Network
Music Blog Network
Blogads Gadget Network
Gossip Blogs

Whew! That took forever to type out.

Have you ever seen a more motley crew? On the blogosphere, they all hate each other, but on Blogads, they all work for the same cause. In fact, the better the Christian Moms do as a network, the more money in the pot for the lesbians! It’s a small world after all!

Of course, it is difficult to “typecast” yourself. Of all the categories, the ones that seemed most appropriate for myself were the Humor Network, Los Angeles Blogs, and Jewish Blogs.


1) My blog really isn’t that funny anymore. Humor Network.

2) My most popular post on Los Angeles was: “Why is Los Angeles So Ugly?” Los Angeles Blogs.

3) Jewish Blogs? Uh… uh… well…


UPDATE: On request, Jay at the Zero Boss offers readers of this blog a very special BLOG ADVERTISING PRIMER — an insider’s look at how it works and why it is important to clutter up your blog with ads.

UPDATE #2 — 10/20/06: My little post on advertising yesterday received more email than anything I’ve written lately, so it must have touched some nerve. There’s probably a lot of different anxieties at work here — art, snobbishness, money, envy, etc.

I think many of us were initially attracted to blogging because of how democratic it seemed. Any grandmother with a mouse could start a blog and join the conversation.
But, all of a sudden, everyone is talking about bloggers paying their mortgage with their blog.  I understand t would be be nice to get something back something in reurn for all our blogging “work” — other than spam. Oh, right, we’re supposed to be doing this to find our writing voice and make online friends? Hah!

Today’s society is clearly a world of marketing and publicity. We should know. Half of us work in that field.

Everywhere around me, I see the melding together of art and commerce — not that it is new, just that there are fewer and fewer places to hide from it. Just today in the LA Times, I read about how a new PBS children’s show is being sponsored by Arby’s. There are already cross-promotions in the works. Why exactly does PBS exist if it is becoming as commercial as network television? But really — who can blame them? With less government funding, PBS needs to get money from somewhere.

It is sad to me that you can’t even hide in the Blogosphere.

At The Zero Boss, I learned about how blogs are using clever methods to sell you products. Wal-Mart’s PR firm created two blogs that were POSING as grass-roots support for the giant retailer.

I had never heard of this new company called PayPerPost, where you can sign up and make money by promoting products on your blog. So, in the future, if I tell you how much I loved my Burger King Veggie Burger, you won’t be able to know whether I really enjoyed it or I am GETTING PAID to say I enjoyed it.

I’m surprised that so many of you actually said that I should “go for advertising.” To be honest, I’m not sure it is even worth it. Someone who works in the biz emailed me and said that when all is said and done, the most I could expect is forty bucks a month — and that’s only if I completely covered my sidebar. God knows what type of ads would go here.

I think I would be better off with a job with better health benefits.

Maybe I am behind the times. Maybe I’m a sucker for the laid-back, old-school Los Angeles vibe of years ago, a world I fantasized about even as a child in Queens — where everyone just hung out at the beach, not worrying about marketing, but only the sun and the surf, listening to the Eagles on the radio —

What did you say? The Eagles just made an deal today to sell their next album where?  Excusively at … WAL-MART?!

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: How Much is that Dildo in the Window?

(is this old post kosher?)

Two Birthdays and Blogiversary


Neil is asleep in bed. 

Neil’s Penis:  Neil, Neil, get up already.

Neil:  I’m sleeping.

Neil’s Penis:  Time to get up.  Don’t you know what today is?  It’s our birthday!

Neil:  Happy birthday, Penis.

Neil’s Penis:   You too, Neilochka.  We’ve certainly been together a long time.  I even consider you a friend.

Neil:  Wow, Penis, I didn’t figure you to be the sentimental type.

Neil’s Penis:   Sentimental?   Bullshit.  I sometimes wish I was attached to someone else.  Someone who actually fucked a woman a little more often.

Neil:  I love you, too.

Neil’s Penis:   Aw, shit.  You see right through me, don’t you?  You’ll always be my best friend. 

Neil:  Thanks, pal.

Neil’s Penis:  Just try to work with me more, like a partnership.

Neil:  What do you mean?

Neil’s Penis:   Are you a numskull, Neil? 

Neil:  You don’t have to get nasty.

Neil’s Penis:  Let me see if I can explain this to you so you can understand.  Imagine all you ever eat is pizza.    All you want every minute of the day is pizza.  And everywhere, 51% of the population is walking around with pizza.  Beautiful pizzas. some with mushrooms, some with anchovies, some with green peppers.  And all you can think about is all that pizza, with all that cheese and spicy tomato sauce, and the pizza dough that’s cooked to perfection.  You getting it now?

Neil:  Not really.

Neil’s Penis:   Get me some fucking pizza!

The doorbell RINGS.

Neil’s Penis:   That better be Domino’s!

Neil:  Do you really want pizza?

Neil’s Penis:  It’s a euphemism, moron!  A euphemism for some pussy! 

Neil:  Oh!

Neil opens the door.  It is Sophia and Neil’s mother.

Neil:  Mom?  Sophia?  What are you doing here?

Neil’s Penis:   Aw, jeez, your mother is here.   Talk about a mood-killer…

Sophia:  We wouldn’t miss your birthday, Neilochka. 

Neil’s Mother:  Look at you.  All grown up.  A real mensch. 

Sophia:  And we brought you a birthday cake.  It’s giant pink Hostess Sno Ball.

Neil’s Penis:   Oh great.  How about giving him a hostess with real giant pink Sno balls….

Neil:  Huh?

Neil’s Penis:  Tits, you imbecile!  It’s another euphemism… for a woman with a nice pair of tits that you can just…

Neil’s Mother:  Neil, are you still talking to that "thing" on your blodge?

Neil’s Penis:   Penis, Elaine!  Penis!  I have a name!

Neil’s Mother:  Who’s that talking?  Do I hear someone else talking?

Neil:  Uh, it’s the TV.  "American Idol."

Sophia:  No more TV watching today.  We’re taking you out for you birthday.

Neil:  I’m not in a very celebratory mood. 

Sophia:  C’mon, it’s your birthday!

Neil:  It just hasn’t been a great year.  Things are still unresolved with us.  I’m still looking for a good job.  I just found out I may be kicked out of my apartment for illegally subletting it.  And the saddest thing, of course — Dad passing away in September. 

Sophia:  Yeah, we all miss him.

Neil’s Mother:  Especially me.

Neil:  This is my first ever birthday without him around.  When I moved to Los Angeles, he was always the first one to call me up — always seven in the morning LA time because he couldn’t wait any longer to sing "Happy Birthday."  He always made such a big deal over my birthday.

Neil’s Mother:  It certainly hasn’t been a good year for any of us.  

Sophia:  But you’re forgetting one good thing about this year. 

Neil:  What’s that?

The doorbell RINGS again.   Ther are a few hundred bloggers standing outside.  It’s every single blogger Neil has interacted with this year, from Akaky to Xtessa.   

Sophia:  It was exactly one year ago — on your birthday, that you set up your WordPress template.  And you published your first post on March 8th.    Here’s what you wrote:

"What’s on my mind this evening — the night of my first post?   It’s the future.   My future. 

I see it so clearly.

I’m a very spry 100 year old man, thanks to medical advances and the ability of the medical establishment to take chances with modern patient care.  Who knew that the diet supplement Trimspa would end up eradicating most illnesses from the world?  

I’m in my home of the future.  My grandson, Bar Code #466408736664, sits at my side, browsing the internet in eye-scan mode  (using the latest upgraded Intel mini-chip in his brain — the PC having disappeared decades earlier)..  Suddenly, he tells me that he’s at the Coca-Cola digi-Archives site (formerly the Library of Congress) and viewing this very first post that you are currently reading.

At that moment, I will be an old man remembering the early days of the Internet.  The 56K modem.  Netscape.  Those AOL disks falling out of every magazine.  That first illegal MP3.  That first post on the blog.

"Grandpa," #466 says with a twinkle in his eye.  "Man, grandpa, this post really sucks."

And just then, I realize that it isn’t a twinkle in his eye, but a reaction to one of those synthetic drugs he’s been taking at school.   I laugh, remembering how I was drunk while writing that first post.  

"He’d grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.""

Neil:  Wow.  I did forget that. 

Neil’s Mother:  I think your blodge really helped you going all year.  I know it helped me, except when you write about that "thing."  I can do without that.

Neil’s Penis:  (Robert De Niro voice)   You talkin’ to me? 

Neil:  You know — originally I was going to wrte about movies and TV, but then I saw how Hilary wrote about her dating life.  So, I started writing about Sophia.    And I saw how Pauly would write every single day, so I was inspired to do the same.   I was encouraged by the support of 2 Blowhards and Nick Douglas at Blogebrity, now at Valleyrag.  And I began to look forward to blogging every day.  Especially when I had the help of Sophia, editing me and telling me when a post was too shitty to post.  And when I needed comfort, like when my father passed away, I got it not only from Sophia, but from bloggers themselves — strangers who weren’t really strangers anymore.   And during this year, I’ve made some great friends.

Neil’s Penis:  If you had some balls, you could have had some action, too. 

Neil:  And what about now?

Neil’s Penis:  Now it’s too late.  Six months ago, female bloggers might have slept with you .  Now you’re like the gay cousin who they talk about shoes with.  

Neil:  Damn it.  I knew I should have made the move on ****** when I had the chance.

Neil’s Mother:  I think you and Sophia need to sit down, discuss things about your marriage, like two adults, and get back together.

Sophia:  I think you need to stop writing about me without asking my permission first.   Or if you do, at least start giving me some good lines.

Neil’s Penis:   I think you need to get laid.  And soon.  And your best shot right now is with —  Tatyana.  She seems to get turned on by liberals.  I think she’s married, but I think if you buy her some expensive flowers, not the cheap ones you usually get for Sophia —

Man’s Voice:  I think your blog is just fine!

Everyone turns around towards the open window.  It is the Spirit of Neil’s Father — Arthur Kramer himself.

Neil:  Dad?  You’re here!

Neil’s Father:  Of course I am.  I wouldn’t miss your birthday.  Even if I am in heaven.

Neil:  This makes me so happy.  Hey, everyone.  This is my father.

All the bloggers greet my father.

Neil’s Father:  Taking care of my boy, Sophia?

Sophia:  I promised, didn’t I?

Neil’s Father:  Hello, Elaine.

Neil’s Mother:  Hi, Artie.

Neil’s Father:  I hear you’re going to put "Be of Good Cheer" on the stone.

Neil’s Mother:  You like it?

Neil’s Father:  Very much.  Is it possible to have it play the theme from "Gunga Din" every time someone approaches the plot?

Neil’s Mother:  That’s just ridiculous.

Neil’s Father:  I think it would be funny.

Neil’s Mother:  No.

Neil’s Father:  Just like a woman.  Even when I’m dead, I still can’t get what I want.

Neil:  So, Dad, how’s it going up there?

Neil’s Father:  Eh… surviving.  It’s comfortable.  Relaxing.   Good entertainment at night.  It’s a little bit like how Grossinger’s used to be in the Catskills.  The food is good.  But I don’t like the way they cut the corn beef.  It’s too thick —

Neil:  Yeah, you never liked it like that —

Neil’s Father:  You’d think in heaven they can do better, but frankly Pastrami King on Queens Boulevard made a better corned beef sandwich than they do in heaven —

Sophia:  So, Dad, can you explain to us how heaven works?   I’ve always been curious.

Neil:  Yeah, do you watch me all the time from above?

Neil’s Father:  No, no, no.  That’s only in the movies.  But don’t worry, Neil.  I follow everything about your life.

Neil:  How?

Neil’s Father:  I read your blog.  Everyone reads "Citizen of the Month" up here in heaven.

Neil:  They do?

Neil’s Father:  Oh, we love it.  A few days ago, we were all laughing so hard!

Neil:  You mean people in heaven really appreciate my sense of humor?

Neil’s Father:  Not really.  We were laughing at you because you still wear those tighty-whiteys.   Even in heaven, no one would be caught dead wearing those.  In heaven, we all wear boxer-briefs with microfiber material.   C’mon, son, get with it!   Stop embarrassing me in heaven with this mama’s boy underwear!

Thank you all for one year of great blogging.  

Be of good cheer… until tomorrow…










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