the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Art Gallery


With Sophia in New York, I figured rather than pouting, I’d put on some of my best clothes and go out on the town. I heard about this new exhibit, so I figured I’d go and check out the scene.

“Why not?” I asked myself. “I’m always hearing that you can meet classy chicks at an art gallery.”

So, I got into my car and drove to this gallery in downtown Tehran. I had heard a lot about this exhibit: it was sponsored by the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri and contained the best international entries of cartoons mocking the Holocaust. The exhibit was packed, as it was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself who called for the cartoons as a response to last year’s caricature of Mohammad in a Danish newspaper.

It had been a long time since I’d been out alone, so I was a little nervous approaching any of the available woman. But as I enjoyed some of the complimentary cheese and tahini, I saw her, like a vision from the Arabian Nights. Her eyes were like sensuous burning coals. Well, actually, all I saw were her eyes, since she was wearing a burkah.

I introduced myself. You could hear the nervousness in my voice.

“Hi, I’m Neil,” I said.

“I’m Sarvenaz.”

“So, how do like the exhibit?”

“This exhibit is important as it will finally expose the Holocaust myth that the Zionist entity has foisted on the world.”

She obviously was very bright. But since I hate to get into politics on a “first date,” I decided to change the subject.

“The tahini here is excellent. Have you ever tried the tahini from Trader Joe’s?”

Sarvenaz started laughing. At first I thought she found me amusing, but then I realized she was laughing at one of the satirical cartoons hanging on the wall.

“I like this cartoon where American students are being dragging in chains to go to a “Holocaust” Museum and forced to learn the untruths about the so-called concentration camps.

“I get it.” I said as I nodded. “The Holocaust Museum is being presented like a concentration camp itself — and the students are the prisoners. A weird concept, but clever.”

“We received entries from all over the world. The truth is slowly getting out. Knock on wood and spit on the Israeli flag.”

Although Sarvenaz seemed a little neurotic, I guess I’m always falling for the “passionate” type. She was opinionated, but I like a woman who has a mind of her own. There was something very intriguing about Sarvenaz and I definitely wanted to know her better.

“So, which piece of art do you like the best?” I asked, trying to sound “bohemian.”

“I like the work that most tests the filthy pagan West’s commitment to freedom of speech,” she replied.

“You mean like this one of Hitler and Anne Frank in bed together, having just had sex?”

“Oh, the West and Anne Frank!” she protested. “The Holy Anne Frank. You can mock our Prophet, but if we caricature the holy Anne Frank, you Westerners consider it an outrage. You laughed at us when we went on rampages across the world after the Prophet was insulted. Now we’ll see the real outrage as Western hypocrites take to the street burning down mosques while waving their precious copies of Anne Frank.”

It was at this point that I decided to change the mood into something a little more romantic.

“Uh, so, have you had dinner yet?” I asked.

“I will not eat again until Israel is wiped off the face of the Earth!”

“Not even a little snack?”

But Sarvenaz was totally fixated on the art show.

“This next cartoon is excellent. I am sure it win a medal of honor.”

“Hmmm… I’m not sure I get it… ” I said, trying to weigh my words carefully, so as not to look like I didn’t understand art. “Why is the Statue of Liberty holding a book on the Holocaust in its left hand and giving a Nazi-style salute with the other. Is this supposed to be Dada?

“You’re obviously not familiar with the artist. He is brilliant in the way he expresses his vision so succinctly. Let’s see who’s rioting now after this cartoon is seen by the American public?!

I sighed, clearly uncomfortable with my knowledge of art history. Sarvenaz laughed at me, mocking my values.

“So, obviously your Western sensibilites are disturbed by the satiric nature of these Holocaust cartoons. You are nothing more than a worthless Zionist swine who manipulated the Danish media into mocking the Prophet’s name against their better judgement!”

“I’m sorry.” I said, apologetically. “I’m a little distracted today. Maybe I’m just feeling a little lonely. You see Sophia went to New York and I’m left by myself for the next seven weeks without my Sofotchka or a blog editor.”

For the first time, Sarvenaz’ eyes showed warmth and compassion. She turned away from the Holocaust revisionist cartoons and focused on me.

“Oh, look at you. That sad face. You look like a sad little puppy dog. Why do I suddenly feel so much compassion for you — you greedy dishonest Zionist-American fool?”

“You know, my car is right outside. And it is a Prius, so I don’t waste too much Middle Eastern oil. Would you like to come home with me tonight?”

“Do you have HBO?” she asked.


For the first time in my life, I praised Time-Warner.

And so it was written, so it was done. We went back to my place. I got my mind off of Sophia. Sarvenaz watched a little HBO. This morning, as we made love for the third time, I wondered if our relationship could be a building block to the start of a lasting Middle Eastern peace plan.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: A Wimpy Post About Friendship


  1. tamarika

    I’m laughing too much to comment here …

  2. Pphilip

    Comedy? or being ironic? Or was it written by Mr Penis?

  3. V-Grrrl

    Ah yes, it’s all about cross-cultural DIALOGUE. We CAN understand each other and find common ground, if only we abandon everything we believe is right and true.

  4. justrun

    I guess I should not be surprised that people could find common ground after something like that. But I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in it.

    (I think SOME people might also say I’m commenting too much.)

  5. SmartSocratics

    I like it. Thanks for the laugh!

  6. Sheamus

    Creativity and wit (does wit include the concepts of “Ouch” and “estrangement?).

  7. BA

    Did she leave the burkah on when she got to your place?

  8. Lou P.

    My favorite line: “For the first time in my life, I praised Time-Warner.”

  9. 3rdtimesacharm( 3T )

    *giggles nervously*
    Something tells me this may be a short-lived romance Neil. (You might want to prepare yourself)

    But excellent writing Neil! 🙂


  10. Melissa

    Must be awfully hard to get off with all that C4 strapped on. I’m sure you got points for creativity.

  11. fringes

    I loved the mirrored perspectives. Wonderful dialogue. “Do you have HBO?” Woman after my own commonality seeking heart.

  12. Non-Highlighted Heather

    No one does it like you do, dear. I was wondering if we were going to get a post on that exhibit. Well done.

  13. Michele

    Gird your loins, Neil. Gird them well.

  14. ACG

    you continued to talk with someone who used the phrase “Holocaust myth” without irony? and without clocking them in the head?

  15. Danny

    You are brilliant and utterly deranged. I can’t wait to see what trouble seven weeks without your blog editor gets you in! Just be sure to keep the Feds off your back.

  16. plain jane


  17. Alex

    That was fantastic- you are a great writer!

  18. Jessica

    Neil…you so crazy.

  19. better safe than sorry

    whatever it takes to keep your mind active. don’t forget to try the grocery store, there are alot of single women there too.

  20. Viscountess of Funk

    I think you actually outdid the Mel Gibson/Sandwich post. Call the Washington Post and ask for a follow-up interview! My favorite line, “Have you ever tried the tahini from Trader Joe’s?”
    Love this, love you!
    V of F

  21. Rhea

    She’s the ‘passionate’ type, indeed. Brilliantly funny and twisted.

  22. treespotter

    peace always come at a price. peace in the middle east, you will risk ‘friction’ with the eastern bloc? you wanna be careful there, do not underestimate the comrades there. you’ll be sorry.

  23. treespotter

    except of course if these decisions and considerations were made under the heavy influence of your famed Compatriot in Misbehavior.

    he hasn’t blog for a while, wonder what he thinks of all this, btw.

  24. Jack

    Art galleries have the most interesting people.

  25. Elisabeth

    Am I dreaming, or am I really your crush of the day?!!!? Hell, is this my 15 minutes of fame? Thanks for picking me, Neil! :o)

    Excellent post, by the way! Yeah, the line about the Tahini at Trader Joe’s was priceless.

  26. kristen

    Ok a little strange in the fantasy department, but perhaps this is your version of the UPS man walking into your home and finding you naked and ready?

  27. Heather B.

    That was AMAZING. Sometimes I’m so freaking jealous of you Neil.

  28. Miss Eight-oh-Five

    Were you sure to check her bags for gels before she entered your home?

  29. Neil

    When I brought Sophia to the airport yesterday, she remembered that the airlines don’t serve food anymore in coach, so we stopped by a Subway to buy a turkey sandwich. And then we had to pause for a second, not sure if we could put mayonnaise on the sandwich, since it is a “liquid.”

    She did get through with the mayonnaise on the sandwich.

    Let’s just say I would be worried in the future if you see a group of ten Pakistani guys aged 21-35 getting ready to board a flight, all carrying sandwiches from Subway.

  30. Blonde Vigilante

    Neil, I love how you can take something as politically heated as this subject and bring humor and light to it.


    Did you see boobies?

  32. Tara

    Hopefully, she flashed you her boobs, reminded you to take your meds, made you a brisket and cleaned all the Winchells doughnuts out of your kitchen before she left.

  33. colleen

    Want to talk about art? That’s almost as hard as talking about politics.

    I’ve enjoyed getting aquainted a little by scrolling around here. I like your stand-in, stunt-double dog.

  34. bookfraud

    i laughed, i cried, my dick fell off. almost made me glad for all the millions of folks who hate me for my circumcision.

    neil, have you ever tried comedy?

  35. wordgirl

    Now that’s just crazy talk!

  36. Janet

    I can’t remember the first time I praised Time Warner, but I know it was never under the same circumstances.

  37. jessica

    great story!!! that was really amusing! well, glad you got the girl!

  38. Jocelyn

    I laughed. I cried. At the same time. Ain’t it the truth. Thanks Neil.

  39. the psycho therapist

    Treespotter sent me over for a look-see. I agree with him: I want to be like you when I grow up. I’m too tired to rant about the penis tonight and you do an outstanding job of it…Can I refer the morsels of the masses over here tomorrow? *yawn

    Great site.

  40. OldOldLady Of The Hills

    OY! God knows who will be in your bed tomorrow! Hitler’s Grandaughter? Did he have a Grandaughter or was he a fiction of German Propaganda….?

    Sophia….Get Back Here IMMEDIATELY!

  41. Jules

    Neil – didn’t you learn your lesson with Emily Dickinson? Sleeping with the wrong kind of girl will lead to no good.

    PS – take your medicine

  42. the Yearning Heart

    Way to go, Neil – we conservative girls are hawttt – but you knew that!

    I posted a link to this on to see if President Ahmadinejad would enjoy it nearly as much. Also, since he’s such a comedy fan, and enjoys the spirit of satire so much, I was hoping he’d enjoy watching our collection of old VHS tapes of Hogan’s Heroes.

    Of course, I can’t actually lend the tapes to him, since they aren’t replaceable, but he’s welcome to view the light-hearted antics of those lovable Nazis with us, as long as he’ll pitch in on the pizza. I only eat pepperoni, or Canadian bacon & pineapple.

  43. maitresse

    good lord that was clever.

  44. Heather

    Thanks for shining a light on this. I understand that there is alot of Holocaust denying going on not only my middle eastern sorts but in academia too.

    Rather surreal, well put together.

  45. wordnerd

    Hey! Thanks for the visit! Gotta say that this post was just what I needed this morning — jumpstarted this old girl right off.

    Great blog you have here…I’ll be back to check on more of your ‘adventures’!

  46. arcadia


  47. sarah

    do you really have a prius?

  48. madeleine

    Neil, you have brought a broad smile to my miserable gob tonight.
    thankyou, thankyou.

  49. Neil

    Sarah, Sophia and I share an SUV and a Prius, trading them depending on which crowd we are associating with at the time.

  50. LilMissIndie

    Neil, I am not a blogger and don’t visit any blogs regularly, but I have been checking this one everyday for the last month. You have the most consistently entertaining, thoughtful blog out there. Thanks for the laugh today. The line about Trader Joe’s is priceless.

  51. psychotoddler


    “Not even a little snack?”

    You slay me.

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