the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: September 2006 (Page 1 of 3)

A Story for My Younger Readers


Once upon a time, there was a boy named Max.  One sunny day, while Max was walking through the park, he met a female Genie who lived in a bottle.  Max and the Genie became friends. 


This female Genie had these two Magic Orbs.  Max learned to love these Magic Orbs more than anything.  He loved to hold them, play with them, and squeeze them for good luck. These Magic Orbs made Max the happiest boy in his little town. 

One night, there was a violent storm and the Genie was blown out of town. 


Max had no Magic Orbs to play with anymore.  Max was very sad.  Max’s father saw that Max was sad.  He told Max about this other toy that he could play with instead. 


For several weeks, Max played with this other toy, sometimes two or three times a day.  Still, Max missed the Genie’s Magic Orbs.  

Max went to the park to find another Genie with Magic Orbs.  


While in the park, he saw many other Genies.  Some had big Magic Orbs.  Some had little Magic Orbs.  Max liked these Magic Orbs, but they were not his to play with and hold. 

Max became sad again.  Suddenly, Max heard a friendly voice.  It was the Good Spirit of the North, who came to help Max. 


“Here is what you must do,” said the Good Spirit, and whispered the secret into Max’s ear.

Max ran home as fast as lightning.  Now he knew what to do.  He would not be sad anymore. 

Max ran upstairs to his computer and wrote a blog post about Magic Orbs, letting the sadness disappear, and then Max played with his other toy until he fell asleep. 

Blogmatcher, Blogmatcher


Hodel, oh Hodel,
Have I made a match for you!
He’s handsome, he’s young!
Alright, he’s 62.

Being a Yenta the Blogmatcher was WAY more complicated then I thought.   My apologies if you are not in one of the pairings.  Some of you are easier to match up than others  — and remember, I’m a newbie matchmaker.  I’m  hoping some of you will try to make some blog matches from your own readers either here or on your own site.

Matching bloggers is as every bit as difficult as matching a real couple.  You want the pair to have common interests, but you don’t want them to be SO similar that there is no spark — no chemistry, as if they are brother and sister reading each other’s blogs.  On the other hand, you just don’t want it to be all blog lust.  Many bloggers begin a friendship by devouring each other’s words as passionately as lovers, but then it explodes when one blogger wants more of a “blogroll relationship” and the other just wants a “one post stand.”

I hope each person matched will try to read each other’s blog.

Neilochka’s Matches


Sarah (of The Delicious Life) is a sarcastic “food freak” from Los Angeles.  Her adventures dining out at exotic restaurants are more like stories than restaurant reviews.  

Deb (of Smitten Kitchen) is a food-lover in Manhattan.  Deb thrives on being a hands-on gal who enjoys cooking and baking.  One look at the photos of her soups and breads and you’re going to be starving.

Sarah, meet Deb.  Deb, meet Sarah.


Bookfraud (of Bookfraud) is a self-described “struggling novelist facing middle age.”  He loves reading the great masters and cursing at today’s hack writers who with their crappy novels (that sold).

The Humanity Critic (of Daily Views) lives in Virginia Beach and is the winner (along with Manjula) of the 2006 Black Weblog Awards for best writing.   The Critic loves to rant and rave about pop and hip hop. 

This pairing may seem odd, but think Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in “48 Hours.”  Bookfraud and the Humanity Critic both skewer the pompous, and always with great humor.

Bookfraud, meet The Humanity Critic.   The Humanity Critic, meet Bookfraud.


Rachel (of Crisis Intervention Summit) is a British mother and writer.  She presides over a staff of twenty at a bar.  Since most of these bar girls are young, Rachel has become the “mother” figure.  This is surprising, since Rachel can party as well as any twenty year old.

Chantel (of Uncharacteristically Sober) is a divorced mother of two from Portland who is “a cool cocktail mix with a serving of Lucille Ball, a splash of Carrie Bradshaw and a Mae West Twist.”  She loves to enjoy life as much as Rachel, but has recently been thrust into talking to her children about “the birds and the bees.”

Rachel, meet Chantel.   Chantel, meet Rachel.


Paul (of Words for My Enjoyment) is a writer known for his quirky comic sense of humor and his outlandish post topics, such as “If I Was Your Sister’s Best Friend’s Brother’s Cousin’s Cell-Mate’s Overly-Enthusiastic And Partially Egotistical Tennis Instructor.”

Karla (of Karlababble) is a Texan Blogger who has a personality as big as a ten-gallon hat.  Her interest include “spying on the elderly” and “poking children with sticks.”

I have a feeling that these two will drive each other crazy, which is part of the fun.

Paul, meet Karla.  Karla, meet Paul.


Heather B (of No Pasa Nada) is a single JD Salenger-loving Washington DC resident who graduated college in 2005.   Now she’s figuring out what life is really all about post-college.

Girlgoyle (of Chronicles of Ed) dedicated 10 years to a man in a relationship that went kaput.  She’s moved on and is now trying to figure out the mystery of love and sex.

Heather B, meet Girlgoyle.  Girlgoyle, meet Heather.


CrankMama (of CrankMama) is what they call a mommyblogger, but not your ordinary mommyblogger.  Her motto is “Good Mama, Bad Attitude.”  Despite her role as “mom,” she doesn’t forget that she has a life outside of her kids. 

Jenny (of Run Jen Run) is a vivacious single woman in the big city, sort of a like a modern Mary Tyler Moore, except this is in Chicago, Jenny is not as idealistic, and Jenny doesn’t have a hat to throw into the air.  Her life is one funny adventure after another, much like Mary…

CrankMama, meet Jenny.   Jenny, meet CrankMama.


Eliza (of Elizaf) is a mother who lives in London and has a “wicked” sense of humor.   Although she loves her life, she sometimes gets restless and dreams of doing something a little more wild, such as fencing, like she did in college, or bungee jumping.

Karl (of Secondhand Tryptophan) is a divorced father living in Florida.   Recently, he turned 40 and undertook a serious of adventures to celebrate his new decade, one of them being jumping out of an airplane.

Eliza, meet Karl.  Karl, meet Eliza. 


Javacurls (of Somewhere in the Middle) is what we used to call in Queens a “hot-blooded Latina.”   Born in the Bronx, Javacurls never pictured herself living in Belgium with her husband!  She loves travel, city life, and salsa music.  She is an amazing photographer and dreams of becoming a professional.

Alison (of AliThinks)  lived most of her life in France.  She never pictured herself living with the love of her life in Kentucky!  At first glance, Alison seems too “WASPy” for Javacurls, but Ali can surprise you, as evidenced by her recent piercings.   She is also a marvelous photographer.

Javacurls, meet Alison.  Alison, meet Javacurls.


Dashiell (of Precogs) is a New Yorker (via Michigan) who is into politics and music. 

Darling Nikki (of Imperfect Like Us) can be found “spinning some discs” on KZYX, a public radio station in Medocino County, California.

Dashiell, meet Darling Nikki.  Darling Nikki, meet Dashiell.


Colleen (of Communicatrix) is a blogger from Los Angeles.  Lately, her blog has gone into some rather odd territory, including a 21-day salute to cleaning her apartment.

Abby (of Girl With a One-Track Mind) is popular sex-blogger from the UK.  Her posts are often about orgasms and f**k-buddies. 

Colleen needs to be reminded that some things will always be messy and unorganized, such as sex.   Abby, who was recently “outed” after her book was published, could gain some management and business insights from Colleen.

Colleen meet Abby.   Abby, meet Colleen.


The PhoenixNYC (of Skinny Legs and All) is a New York blogger who has travelled the word and his “greatest achievement in life was to change and grow as time has gone on.”  Just last week he went to a seminar where he studied with the Dalai Lama!

Modigli (of Modigli) is a teacher in San Deigo.   Since starting her blog, she has become increasingly political, bringing up issues that concern her.

Do I see a match made in Whole Foods?

The PhoenixNYC,  meet Modigli.  Modigli, meet The PhoenixNYC.


Sarcastic Fringehead is a writer in Dallas who loves literature and the Houston Astros.  Fictional Rockstar is an academic-musician in Washington D.c. who loves literature and recently started loving the Washington Nationals.

Luckily, these two bloggers will never have to worry about their teams playing against each other in the playoffs, avoiding all arguments.

Sarcastic Fringehead, meet Fictional Rockstar.  Fictional Rockstar, meet Sarcastic Fringehead.


Heather (of Dooce) is a popular SAHM who was raised as a Mormon and once lived in Los Angeles.

Neilochka (of Citizen of the Month) is known as a Jewish blogger from Los Angeles.  He likes to match bloggers together in the hope of looking “noble and selfless” to his flighty readers, so they feel all guilty and don’t take him off their blogroll. 

Heather, meet Neil.  Neil, meet Heather.


Would anyone else like to take a shot at being a Yenta the Blogmatcher?

UPDATE:  I’ve been so successful today, I’m adding some more:

Danny and 2 Blowhards — you should be reading each other. 

Jessica, have you met V-Grrrl, a mother and  American expatriate living in Belgium?  V-Grrrl, can you believe that this knockout has teenage children?!

Sarcomical, you are a creative writer — have you met Eileen, who has her first novel coming out in February 2007?  Eileen, you must check out Sarcomical’s wild photographic self-portraits.

Pearl, have you met Orieyenta, the coolest kosher babe in hot Miami?  Orieyenta, have you met the hottest kosher babe in cold Toronto? 

Felicity, I know you like taking NSFW photos of yourself, which made it difficult to pair you with someone, but I think you’ll really get along with the Argentine-born Mari, and enjoy her artwork, which is an “expression of feminine power in art.”  Mari, I think you will be inspired by Felicity.

Kevin, I think you and Pete have similar senses of humor!  Pete, you better start watching “24” if you want to click with Kevin!

Amanda and Jody — you have more in common than you know!

Deezee and Lynn — you both have poetry in your soul!

Schmutzie and Sarah — Have you never met?  You’re like long-lost cousins!

Miss Sizzle, meet EEK.

Tara, meet Brooke.

Anomie-Atlanta, meet Akaky.

P.S. — Since we are on the subject of blogger love, here is one of the most moving acts I’ve seen on the blogosphere, proving that we’re not a bunch of narcissistic nuts –  over 200 knitting and crocheting bloggers have joined forces to make knitting squares on their own time for the sick grandmother of knitting blogging queen Laurie of Crazy Aunt Purl.  If only Congress could be so organized.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  A Walk Around the Block

Yenta the Matchmaker for the Day


In the old-country, Jewish marriages were arranged by matchmakers.  Perhaps the most famous Jewish matchmaker was Yenta.  Yenta was the name of the matchmaker in Sholom Aleichem’s stories, several of which were collected into what became the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”   The word “yenta” has taken on negative connotations in the modern word, and it is usually used to describe a “busybody.”

I’d like to defend the good name of matchmakers.  Being a busybody was part of the job.  A matchmaker HAD to sneak around and ask a lot of questions because she was a detective — always looking for clues that would help her make the best match.   In the Jewish tradition, it is also a mitzvah (good deed) to help make a successful match.

(from Matchmaker, Matchmaker — Fiddler on the Roof) 

Well, somebody has to arrange the matches,
Young people can’t decide these things themselves.

She might bring someone wonderful—-

Someone interesting—-

And well off—-

And important—

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
catch me a catch
Matchmaker, Matchmaker
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match

I’d like to revive the spirit of Yenta the Matchmaker right here on this blog — on these special days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.   Tomorrow, Thursday, will be a special day on “Citizen of the Month.”  Tomorrow, we shall all become Yenta the Matchmakers. 


I will be making blog matches between 10 pairs of bloggers.   These are not romantic pairings.  These are pairs of bloggers who I have never seen read each other’s material (I’ll check their blogrolls), but I think should give each other a try.  Using an ancient technique passed down from my grandmother, I will try to match bloggers by their sensibilities and interests. 

Recently I was successful in introducing Danny and Elisabeth to each other.  At first glance, they have nothing in common.  But a true matchmaker realizes that they are both brainy bloggers with a twisted sense of humor.   Now they are on each other’s blogrolls.  

This is not easy for me.  I do have a jealous streak.   I used to get upset when my “blogging friends” became friends with each other.   One day, I’ll be reading Blogger X and I’ll be surprised to see my friend Blogger Y writing a comment.  Before you know it, Blogger X and Blogger Y are taking a trip to Las Vegas together, without even sending me a postcard.

But the week before Yom Kippur is one of reflection and self-improvement.  I’m going to fight my jealousy and spread the love.   So, if I match you up with someone, give their blog a chance.  I know matchmaking is not a perfect science. 

Please join in tomorrow with some matchmaking of your own, maybe even mix and matching blogrolls.   Are you the type who is always saying, “These two bloggers really need to read EACH OTHER!”   If so, tomorrow is your chance to do a mitzvah by becoming a Yenta the Matchmaker for the day.

Update:  The matches.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  A Shanda (Yiddish for Shame)  (I really get Jewish at this time of the year, don’t I?)


Popeye Attacked by Anti-Spinach Mob


The title of this post is misleading.  I was going to write a humor piece about Popeye, but as I sat down to watch an old Popeye cartoon on YouTube, a long-repressed memory was awoken, much as the memories of childhood of Proust’s narrator in “Remembrance of Things Past” was awakened by the aroma and taste of a madeleine dipped in tea.”

As i listened to the final “boop boop” of the Popeye closing credits, I went back to my childhood, when I used to watch reruns of Popeye on a local New York TV channel.  I must have been very young at the time and I was fascinated by the triangle of Popeye, Olive Oyl and the villainous Bluto.

The plot lines in the animated cartoons tended to be simple.

A villain, usually Bluto (later renamed Brutus for a time), makes a move on Popeye’s “sweetie”, Olive Oyl. The bad guy then clobbers Popeye until Popeye eats spinach, which gives him superhuman strength.

I especially liked it when Olive Oyl melted in Popeye’s arms at the end, after he defeated Bluto.


As an only child, I was competitive with my father for my mother’s attention.  I think Freud would have loved to analyze my childhood obsession with Popeye.

I would ask my mother to cook some frozen spinach.  After they were cooked, I would have her  put the cooked spinach into a used can of Spaghetti-Os so I could make believe that I had a can of spinach like Popeye.  I have no idea why we just didn’t use a can of spinach!   Once I had my can of spinach as my acting prop, I became Popeye — in the same way Sir Laurence Olivier became Hamlet.  My mother was Olive Oyl.  She would go into her bedroom or the kitchen and cry for help.  I would eat some spinach out of the can with a fork, flex my bicep, and rush in to save her from whatever danger she was in.

Jeez, no wonder I repressed this.  How embarrassing!


I called up my mother tonight.

Neil: Guess what I’m going to write about in my blog tomorrow?  “Popeye and spinach!”

Mom: Really?  Be careful with spinach.  There’s all that bad bagged spinach coming out of California.  Remember to wash it first.

Neil: I’m not calling you about spinach.  Do you remember watching Popeye?

Mom: I never watched Popeye as a child.  I never liked him.   He had this one eye.  And creepy voice.  And weird body.


Neil: But you watched him with me.  Remember?

Mom: Did we?

Mom: Mom, it was a big deal for me back then.  I would be Popeye and you would be Olive Oyl — and I would rescue you?

Mom: We did that?

Neil: Yes!  Don’t you remember you would cook frozen spinach and put it in a Spaghetti-Os can?

Mom: Wouldn’t it make more sense to just buy a can of spinach?

Neil: I was going to ask you that!  Why did we do that?

Mom: I don’t remember this at all.  Maybe you played it with your friend Robert.

Neil: I played it with YOU.

Mom: I remember playing Scrabble with you.

Neil: Oh my god!  You’ve repressed the memory — just like I did!

Mom: And well… maybe it’s better that way.

The Rosh Hashanah Challenge


MC: It’s The Rosh Hashanah Challenge, the game show where you decide the winner! And here’s your host, fresh off her third-failed game show, former MTV star Kennedy!

Kennedy: Thank you. Welcome to The Rosh Hashanah Challenge. You know the rules. We bring out two contestants and they each tell us about their Rosh Hashanah, and the one with the most wild, exotic story wins. And you’re the ones who vote for the winner! So, let’s meet our two contestants. He’s a blogger from Los Angeles — Neil Kramer. And she’s a Russian dialect coach from Redondo Beach who is separated from her husband but still debating her next move — Sophia Lansky! Welcome, Neil and Sophia. Now, we flipped a coin before the show and Neil gets to tell his Rosh Hashanah story first.

Neil: Well, Kennedy, at first, I didn’t have anything special to do on the Jewish holiday, so Danny invited me to go to temple with his family. It was a very nice gesture, but the really surprising twist was — listen to this — they attend a gay and lesbian synagogue! Even thought they are straight, they like the rabbi and the service. When I heard about this “gay synagogue,” I was too excited for words. What a blog post I was going to write! What funny stories!

Kennedy: Oh, wow! Talk about a wild and exotic Rosh Hashanah. How were the rabbi and cantor?

Neil: Very nice. They were both women.

Kennedy: Oooh-hooo, do I hear make-out session during the service?

Neil: Actually, they were both pretty conservative.

Kennedy: What about the choir? Were they dressed like the Village People?!

Neil: No, they were normally dressed. They had very nice voices. It was a very pretty service. One of the best I’ve attended.

Kennedy: I guess all the crazy Queer Eye for the High Holy Days activities took place in the congregation?

Neil: No, everything was pretty much the same as every other Rosh Hashanah service I’ve ever attended. If you walked in, you wouldn’t even know it was a gay and lesbian congregation. My biggest surprise was how “normal” the whole thing was.

Stained Glass at Beth Chayim Chadashim

Kennedy: That’s the story?

Neil: Pretty much.

Kennedy: That’s the wild and exotic story about going to a gay and lesbian temple for Rosh Hashanah?

Neil: Yeah.

Kennedy: (sighing) OK, let’s now turn to the second contestant, Sophia Lansky. Tell us about your Rosh Hashanah in New York.

Sophia: I also didn’t have anything planned, but Neil told me about this temple on the Upper West Side that was supposed to have a very nice service. I was sure they didn’t have any tickets left, but I asked Neil to find me the phone number online. He ended up mistakenly gaving me the phone number of one of the TEMPLE MEMBERS rather than the temple itself. So, this is how the phone conversation went:

NY Woman: Hello?

Me: Hi, I’m visiting from Los Angeles and I’m looking for somewhere to go for Rosh Hashanah. I was wondering if I can still come to you.

NY Woman: Uh… sure. That would be fine.

Me: Great! What time do things start?

NY Woman: I would say around 6:30.

Me: O.K. Could you do me a favor and just give me your address.

NY Woman: Yes. We are on XXX 79th Street, Apartment 3D.

Me: Apartment 3D?

NY Woman: Yes. Just ring the buzzer downstairs and take the elevator up.

Me: I don’t understand. Am I calling Congregation B’Nai Jeshurun?

NY Woman: Huh? You’re calling me — Millie Schwartz! Are you asking to come over for Rosh Hashanah dinner?

Sophia: After we both laughed about the misunderstanding, Millie and her husband invited me over for Rosh Hashanah dinner anyway! So, I went to a stranger’s house for dinner. It was amazing. There were a whole bunch of musicians there, and after dinner, everyone took out their guitars and started to sing.


Kennedy: What a terrific story! It’s just too bad that you never made it to that synagogue!

Sophia: Oh, but I did. That same day, I was working on the film and someone mentioned that one of the actors was a member of this temple and that he could help get me a ticket! What luck. So, I went over to the actor to thank him, and I took one look at him — and I instantly recognized him as the actor who played billionaire Alexander Cambias on All My Children, my favorite soap opera. So, I went to temple using a ticket given to me by a character on All My Children!

Billionaire Alexander Cambias Sr. (aka Ronald Guttman)

Kennedy: This story get better and better!

Sophia: While at temple, I sat next to a woman who happened to be, of all things, a Spanish court interpreter! So after services, she invited me to accompany her to dinner at another person’s home! So, off we went, to a home of two young opera singers/students — after I kissed the cheek of the actor who played Alexander Cambias for helping me get a ticket to temple!


Kennedy: Holy Moses! That story blows my mind.

Neil: Uh, gay temple over here! What could be more wild?

Kennedy: Yeah, right. Now it is up to you — the audience. The Rosh Hashanah Challenge. Which story is more exotic and wild? Neil’s story of the “gay” temple where nothing “gay” happened or Sophia’s tale of dinner at the homes of strangers and her kissing Alexander Cambias from All My Children? You decide!

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Ode to the Coffee Shop

Hey, Dad

This week is the first anniversary of my father’s passing.  When I started writing this blog, I didn’t expect my usual nonsense and sex jokes to be interrupted by a phone call asking Sophia and I to fly home to New York.  I certainly didn’t expect to blog about the experience and receive so much comfort from bloggers.  And I most definitely in a million years did not expect bloggers to help us decide what to write on my father’s stone!  Thanks.

Hey, Dad. 

Happy New Year.  Shana Tova.  

You always had a quirky sense of humor, but this takes the cake.   When we all agreed, including my blogging friends, that “Be of Good Cheer” was ideal for the stone in the cemetery it was because that was your “tagline” whenever you said goodbye to someone on the phone.   I figured you picked up that phrase from one of those old British war movies you loved to watch.  Today, I did some research on Google, and guess what?  You got the last laugh! The phrase was popularized by… Jesus!  Of all people, this is who I’m writing about on Rosh Hashana?!  Well, at least he was Jewish.

The idea of “good cheer” is derived from the Greek word tharsei, and the meaning of “cheer” is very different from what we associated today with that word.  Tharsei meant “to dare to be bold,” “to take courage,” “to replace fear with hope.”   The word tharsei is so old, it can even be seen in Homer’s Odyssey. 

The phrase is also found in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, as when Moses is at the Red Sea: 

Two million people were trapped between the sea and the approaching Egyptian army. Escape was humanly impossible. In that moment of supreme crisis, Moses cried out to the people, “Fear not! Stand still and see the miracle of the Lord!” (Exod 14:13).

The idea of “cheering up” now had a slightly different meaning: “Take heart!”

Repeatedly through the Old Testament, God’s people were encouraged to take heart, based on who God is and what God would do. “Fear not, O Zion . . . the Lord your God is in your midst” (Zeph 3:16-17). “Take courage . . . I am with you . . . My Spirit is abiding in your midst; Do not fear!” (Hag 2:4-5).

In the New Testament, tharsei is constantly on the lips of Jesus. 

A helpless paralytic heard Jesus say, “Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven” (Matt 9:2). A hopeless woman was told by Jesus, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well” (Matt 9:22). Blind Bartimaeus lived in utter despair until Jesus came to Jericho and they summoned the blind man, saying, “Take heart, arise! He is calling for you” (Mark 10: 49).

This is all fascinating stuff to me because it now makes more sense why you said “Be of Good Cheer.”  I always thought it was odd that you used that phrase, mostly because I interpreted “good cheer” as meaning “go have a good time” or “live it up by drinking a lot of eggnog at the Christmas office party”   You were always a conservative man and you were not the type to tell anyone to “live it up.”  You were too much of worrywart for that.  You worried a lot about everyone — mostly everyone except yourself. 

Your “Be of Good Cheer” was not about fun, but about courage.   As a practical man, you were telling people to be strong, despite the challenges they might meet.  That sounds EXACTLY like something you would say!  Be strong.  Like Penelope warding off suitors as she waits for Odysseus’ return.  Or the Israelites trusting Moses to walk into the Red Sea.  Or a sick beggar trusting that Jesus will make him healthy.

In all these examples, those in need got “cheer” — “courage” — by knowing that something bigger than them was on their side, looking over their shoulder.  You were saying something similar.  You weren’t saying “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” and putting all the responsibliity on them.  You were saying, “Don’t Worry.  If you ever need me, I’ll be there.”  

And you were always there, for so many people. 

I can certainly get courage knowing that you are looking over me and Mom.  I will certainly have “good cheer” knowing you will always be around.

Even so, we miss you.

You can read all posts about my father here.

I Used to Be Lonely, Now I’m Not


I was down.  I was depressed.  I was lonely.  At night I would sit alone, listening to the wind.  Or watch an informercial for a product I didn’t need — with the TV sound off. 

We’ve all been there.  Some of us are there right now. 

Thank you kind bloggers who “shared their bed” with me to ease my loneliness. 

My father never spoke to me about marriage or sex, but he would always say “it is good to have someone to hold around in bed.”  (he really said that — ask Sophia!)

This week is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.  My New Year’s wish is that during this year, everyone I’ve met online who doesn’t have somebody should meet someone worthwhile to “hold around in bed.”



Caitlin’s bed is in New York.


Caitlin (of Caitlinator) has gone back to school, does not eat at McDonald’s, and loves her pet chicken.



Laurie’s bed is in Los Angeles. 


Laurie (of Crazy Aunt Purl) is a popular knitting blogger who has inspired me to start making my own socks.  She does not need an alarm clock to wake up in morning because her bright orange bedspread does that for her.



Dagny’s bed is in Berkeley, California.


Dagny (of Dagny’s Empire) is out dancing the night away so often that her cat spends more time on the bed than she does.



Daisy Mae’s bed is in Indianapolis, Indiana. 


Daisy Mae (of Daisy Mae was here…) is well-known for making beautiful blog templates.  She is such a talented graphic artist, that she has made a cut-out of herself to fool her children while she blogs at Starbucks.



Felicity’s bed is in New York.  


Felicity, of Zelos, is not a shy woman.  In fact, she’s thinking of taking up pole dancing.  For some reason, her bed intimidates me.



Heather’s bed is in Orange County, CA.


Heather works and takes care of her kids, and doesn’t have time to blog.   Her bed reflects her “do it all” lifestyle — a little messy, but very homey.



Laura’s bed is in Los Angeles. 


Laura is in the process of starting up her first blog.   I’m guessing there were many sleepless nights in this bedroom with the crib right next to the bed!



Lizardek’s bed is in Sweden.


Lizardek (of Lizardek’s Obiter Dictum) works, has a family, and sings in a choir.   Look at the exquisite European craftsmanship of her bed!  (and no, she didn’t get it at IKEA).



Roberta’s bed is in New Jersey. 


Roberta (of Roberta’s Voice) is the only blogger I know who is both Jewish and Wiccan.   She’s also pretty funny.  I’m still trying to decide if her bedspread looks more Jewish or Wiccan.



Sweet’s bed is in Washington D.C. 


Sweet (of Sour N Sweet) co-blogs with Sour, but her bed is all hers.    I love the relaxed, lived-in look, and the retro wood-grain wall, which reminds me of the time I slept in the basement of Rachel Kinder’s parent’s home in Merrick, Long Island.



Tara’s bed is in Iowa City, Iowa.


Tara (of Scruffylooking) is a mother and a lover of literature, and she lives in a city with a rich literary life.  Her bed has an Asian, Zen-like feel to it, a perfect place to meditate or read Dicken’s Great Expectations.



Mr. Fabulous’s bed is in Gainesville, Florida.


Mr. Fabulous (of Pointless Drivel) is a brave man.  Not only was he recently fired because of his blog, he is the only man MAN enough to send me a photo of his bed.  Why do I have the feeling that Mr. Fabulous — and not Mrs. Fabulous — bought that dark blue comforter?



The Viscountess of Funk’s bed is in Seattle.


The Viscountess (of Postcards From Somewhere) is a mother, a lawyer, and a writer of great imagination.  I also think her bed is large enough to fit my entire blogroll.



Deezee’s bed is in Venice, California.


Deezee (of Confessional Highway) is the coolest Mom ever.  She just took her son to see his first rock concert — the Red Hot Chili Peppers!  As you can see, Deezee is not afraid of showing herself in her bed, although she is clearly upstaged by her sleeping dog.




Two Roads’s bed is in Atlanta, Georgia.


Two Roads (of Lindbergh’s Crossing) is from Atlanta and has some “Scarlett O’hara” in her, which means she frankly gives a damn about having a very nice bed  (I know it’s Rhett’s line, but I liked the way it sounded).



Mari’s bed is in the United Kingdom.


Maria (of Argentine Babe)  is Argentine-born artist in the UK, who gets her best artistic ideas in bed while working with her assistant (shown).



Charming’s bed is in a Southern city.


Charming (of Charming but Single) is a Southerner who likes both her drinks and her boys tall, but her bed nice and soft.


The Blogosphere is Like Orange County, 1969


I had been reading Sarcastic Fringehead for a few weeks. We even emailed each other with funny stories, but something was “off” about my visualization of her. There were details that didn’t fit. Finally, I asked her, “Are you a black woman?”

Yes, she was. She is. Was I wrong to ask her that?

One of the pleasures of blogging is that we can be invisible to each other and just focus on each others’ words and thoughts. We judge someone more on a clever line than how one looks or what “group” someone belongs to. Even we do include photos of ourselves, we don’t reveal many of the cultural or regional quirks that might separate us from each other.

While this lack of context can unite us, it can also make the blogosphere bland. I have no idea of the ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation of most of my fellow bloggers. Should it matter? Not really, but sometimes I wonder if my online life is LESS diverse than my real life. I thought of doing a demographic study, just for fun, but I was worried that someone would be upset. Even the hip New York city bloggers seem to live less in the real New York City, than in an all-white Orange County, circa 1969. I hope the blogosphere isn’t turning out to be like my high school cafeteria was, with everyone hanging out by ethnic and racial group.

I was actually excited to learn that Sarcastic Fringehead was black. Can someone please introduce me to a black mommyblogger?! I know it may not be fashionable to say so, but I like differences between people. I though it was funny when Rhea wrote in a comment that she would share my bed, even though she was a lesbian. I had no idea! How cool. Rather than separating us, I feel “closer” to her now, knowing this intimate fact (don’t worry, Rhea — I won’t get too close and ruin your lesbian credentials).

I love accents. I love Sophia’s accent. I love to hear the Southern accent of Laurie from Crazy Aunt Purl when she makes a video. After all, we all can’t speak proper Amercian English like we do in New Yawk.

Although I don’t consider myself a “Jewish blogger,” I haven’t been shy about babbling about Jewish stuff. In fact I do it so often, that Leesa from Montana is now fluent in Yiddish.

I think I’m even changing my mind about this year’s Survivor Maybe the race gimmick is a clever idea. By acknowledging our “differences,” maybe we can better see that at the core, there aren’t MAJOR differences — everyone who plays Survivor is as dumb and selfish as the next guy.

Last Friday, there was a special 20/20 on racial stereotypes. What struck me as the most interesting part of the program wasn’t that racism still exists, but how far we go to make believe there aren’t ANY differences at all.

In my post about colleges, I noticed that a few women are still upset about ex-Harvard Dean Lawrence Summers and his speech about women and science. Although he was quoted as saying “women thinkers were inferior to men thinkers,” he never actually said that. From Wikipedia:

In January 2005, Summers suggested at an economic conference that one reason there are fewer women than men in science and engineering professorships might be innate sex differences in the distribution of intelligence. The suggestion was that variation in intelligence (in particular with regard to science and math ability) is higher in males, resulting in a higher number of highly intelligent males, resulting in more men at the very high levels of “intrinsic aptitude” that scholarly jobs required. An attendee made his remarks public, and a firestorm followed in the national news media and on Harvard’s campus, which incorrectly implied that Summers argued that men are somewhat more intelligent than women on average.

20/20 brought up this issue, as well as the controversial subject of black athleticism. It was amusing to see coaches coming up with complicated reasons for why blacks predominate in sports — none of them having to do with genetics. Is it really racist to suggest that African bodies may be built differently? Or is it wrong to suggest that men might have a stronger instinct for spacial learning? How can anyone live with a woman for one day and say there aren’t fundamental differences?

Of course we are all individuals. I cry at movies more than Sophia, blowing that myth. I just think a total color blind attitude towards life — and the blogosphere — doesn’t really create the diverse society we are hoping for. Why shouldn’t there be differences among groups? Ignoring it doesn’t promote tolerance. If there are no cultural differences between us, than there is really nothing to tolerate. I’m all for making my part of the Blogosphere like Queens, NY rather than Newport Beach, CA.

So, yes, I will share a lesbian’s bed. As long as she doesn’t snore.

Update:  Interesting case study about a website’s diversity.  (via Petrona and Cognitive Daily) 


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Anonymous Sources

I’m Not Horney!

Sophia saw my last two posts about the beds and thought the idea was pretty dumb.  She also thinks it is not going to “kill me” if I wait a few more weeks for her to come back to Los Angeles.

“Besides, we’re separated.  Just because you moved back in for now doesn’t mean we’re together again.  So, you know what that means.  We can sleep in the same bed, but I’m not sure it is a good idea…”


A few minutes ago, Sophia emailed me a photo from New York as a gag, taken with her cameraphone on the street.  I think it is supposed to be funny because I tried to make her feel guilty by telling her I was “horny.”



However, I don’t think Sophia knows how accurate she was with this photo.  As a graduate of a fancy college, I actually KNOW who Karen Horney is — one of the most famous psychotherapists, known for her theory of neurosis.

Horney’s theory is perhaps the best theory of neurosis we have. First, she offered a different way of viewing neurosis. She saw it as much more continuous with normal life than previous theorists. Specifically, she saw neurosis as an attempt to make life bearable, as a way of “interpersonal control and coping.” This is, of course, what we all strive to do on a day-to-day basis, only most of us seem to be doing alright, while the neurotic seems to be sinking fast.

I haven’t spoke to Sophia yet.  Do you think she is saying I am too horny OR that I am too neurotic, aka Horney?  Or both?

Here is a list of Horney’s “neurotic needs.”  It is scary how many of them I have. 

What about you?

Karen Horney

The neurotic needs are as follows:

1. The neurotic need for affection and approval, the indiscriminate need to please others and be liked by them.

2. The neurotic need for a partner, for someone who will take over one’s life. This includes the idea that love will solve all of one’s problems. Again, we all would like a partner to share life with, but the neurotic goes a step or two too far.

3. The neurotic need to restrict one’s life to narrow borders, to be undemanding, satisfied with little, to be inconspicuous. Even this has its normal counterpart. Who hasn’t felt the need to simplify life when it gets too stressful, to join a monastic order, disappear into routine, or to return to the womb?

4. The neurotic need for power, for control over others, for a facade of omnipotence. We all seek strength, but the neurotic may be desperate for it. This is dominance for its own sake, often accompanied by a contempt for the weak and a strong belief in one’s own rational powers.

5. The neurotic need to exploit others and get the better of them. In the ordinary person, this might be the need to have an effect, to have impact, to be heard. In the neurotic, it can become manipulation and the belief that people are there to be used. It may also involve a fear of being used, of looking stupid. You may have noticed that the people who love practical jokes more often than not cannot take being the butt of such a joke themselves!

6. The neurotic need for social recognition or prestige. We are social creatures, and sexual ones, and like to be appreciated. But these people are overwhelmingly concerned with appearances and popularity. They fear being ignored, be thought plain, “uncool,” or “out of it.”

7. The neurotic need for personal admiration. We need to be admired for inner qualities as well as outer ones. We need to feel important and valued. But some people are more desperate, and need to remind everyone of their importance — “Nobody recognizes genius,” “I’m the real power behind the scenes, you know,” and so on. Their fear is of being thought nobodies, unimportant and meaningless.

8. The neurotic need for personal achievement. Again, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with achievement — far from it! But some people are obsessed with it. They have to be number one at everything they do. Since this is, of course, quite a difficult task, you will find these people devaluing anything they cannot be number one in! If they are good runners, then the discus and the hammer are “side shows.” If academic abilities are their strength, physical abilities are of no importance, and so on.

9. The neurotic need for self-sufficiency and independence. We should all cultivate some autonomy, but some people feel that they shouldn’t ever need anybody. They tend to refuse help and are often reluctant to commit to a relationship.

10. The neurotic need for perfection and unassailability. To become better and better at life and our special interests is hardly neurotic, but some people are driven to be perfect and scared of being flawed. They can’t be caught making a mistake and need to be in control at all times.

Sharing Your Bed #2

Royal Bed, Versailles

Wow, I learned so much about beds in such a short time. 

A few people sent me emails that they would love to send me a photo, but unfortunately, it is too personal to share a photo of their bed with the world.   After all, your bed is the place where you sleep, make love, and are vulnerable…

Man, I would love to see what is on their webcam!

Here’s another tidbit I learned: 

Did you know that the bed is so powerful a symbol that some women actually throw out their mattress every time they break up with a man?!  Talk about living expenses!

I perfectly understand this infusing of meaning into an inanimate object.  I spent the weekend cleaning up the house, trying to make more room for the stuff I brought from my apartment.   It is so hard to throw out some things.  I know they are inanimate objects, but they have so much “meaning,” especially when there is a story associated with it. 

Since my father used to visit LA a lot, he kept two suitcases here with his clothes.  It was hard giving some of it to Goodwill yesterday, but what am I going to do with it all?  He had lousy taste in clothes anyway!  (sorry, Dad — I hope you are NOT wearing Haggar polyester slacks in heaven)

And Sophia, don’t get mad, but I finally tossed those three old office chairs.  We can talk about that later.

So, thank you those who DID send a photo of your bed.  Realizing how intimate the bedroom is — it makes your gesture even more special. 

Or should I just assume that those who sent it to me do ALL their lovemaking on the living room carpet and in the shower — so they don’t romanticize their bedroom?

(on request — my infamous bed before I moved to Sophia’s (NSFW))

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