the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

A Message From Our CEO


My name is Roger Hedgegood, CEO and President of ToughBoy Toys. 

Now that the popular Lonelygirl15 on YouTube, an inspiration to countless teenagers across America, has been outed as a fake, a mere marketing gimmick developed by filmmakers repped by CAA — I think it is time to come clean as well.   

As part of a promotion for our upcoming Christmas toy for boys ages 10-14, Fighting Ninja with Talking Penis, our marketing department developed a blog centered around a self-named “Citizen of the Month.”  Using the names of my two pet gerbils, Neil and Sophia, my marketing department, under the creative guidance of V.P. Marketing, Elaine Lansky-Kramer, developed this entertaining and poignant blog hoping to create a buzz about our new toys. 

I know many of you have grown to admire “Neilochka” and “Sofotchka.”   I hope you will continue to enjoy this exciting interactive storytelling experience.  Even thought they are not “real” in the traditional sense, you shouldn’t stop showing your love and affection.  It is you, the fans of Toughboy Toys, that are the real stars.  And here’s some exciting news – soon there will be “Neilochka and Sofotcha” brand “skinny jeans” coming to a Gap near you, from sizes 0-6. 

A special thanks to Pooja Rajghatta Associates of Bombay for all their assistance with Neil’s “emails” and “phone calls” and the William Morris Agency for supplying us with the actors who played Neil and Sophia on their “visit” to New York and the Berkshires.

Thank you and remember, “Fighting Ninja, Talking Penis!”  — on sale at Walmart stores starting on November 12!



  1. 3rdtimesacharm( 3T )

    *giggling* You crack me up Neil!

    WAIT. This had better be a joke.


  2. deezee

    Now it all makes sense. There was no way a couple that much in love could really be living apart. I’m such a fool!

  3. Annie D.

    Now it all REALLY makes sense! Don’t male and female gerbils in a natural habitat live apart when not mating?

    Lucky thing that they do figure out how to find each other again…

  4. The Cynical Girl

    These pictures of old white men are scaring me. First Larry. Then Roger. Who’s next? Jerry Lewis?

  5. Dagny

    I think I’m going to skip the toy but I’ll definitely hit The Gap for the jeans. I can’t wait to see what other things you’ll be selling via this blog. And now maybe I’ll start reading all the spam as well advertising all those interesting things for sale.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  6. laurie

    I don’t really understand this because I’m not hip enough… I hear my cat has a myspace page, and a blog, but I’m not on her “friends” list. Maybe the fictional “Neilochka and Sofotcha” will add me to their cool people list so I will feel part of something cool, and bigger than myself.

    Although I am bigger than the skinny jeans, so that is a start.

  7. Jacynth

    Neil, not to be picky, but if you are going to mirror the Gap, you have to say “skinny jean” No S. Yes, I know, it’s baffling.

  8. lizardek

    I KNEW it! 😀

  9. V-Grrrl

    I can’t believe the focus groups responded positively to a “Fighting Ninja, Talking Penis” product name. Toughboys should not have hired the consultants from Tokyo. The Asian influence is obvious and so yesterday. I think SuperPenis would work better–comes with a nice latex cape. Ahem. Or maybe a Star Wars tie-in would resonate with the 10-14 year-old crowd. How about a talking penis named “Hands Solo”? This would seem VERY appropriate. And then they could have Curious George and his talking banana for the preschool set…

  10. deannie

    How does one follow V-GRRRl’s comment?!? Except to say that I should have not been drinking coffee when I read this post…damn keyboard is sticky now…

  11. kristen

    Ha! So I didn’t have such a Gracie moment (at least reading here) about you and Sophia ~ I get it now. What I’m wondering is why the link to CAA at the end………

  12. Bre

    When I first heard about this, I ran right on over to youtube, thinking these videos must be really fabulous for people to be so obsessed, and to care so much that they’re faked.

    Obviously, I’m not the target demographic because I just don’t get it! Sure some videos are nicely edited, but why are thousands of people tuning in to see this girl read a textbook to the camera?!


  13. Therese

    Ahhhhh Neil, you crack me up like an egg.

    Hee hee hee hee hee.


    So, if I read about “Neilochka and Sofotcha” and buy a “Fighting Ninja, Talking Penis!”, will it make me popular? What if I can’t fit into the jeans? If I wear the jeans and buy the “Fighting Ninja, Talking Penis!”, will everyone think I’m a poser?

  15. kapgar

    Neilochka Skinny Jeans ™? Apparently “Bloggers with Biceps” paid off for you, didn’t it?

  16. Tara

    So, you guys aren’t real, eh? Man, I’m always deceived by marketing. I think you need some subliminal (buy it!) messages in here and you’ll be all set.

  17. Rabbit

    Ok, it was bad enough when someone told me that blogger friends are not “real” friends, but now you’re informing me that you’re a FAKE not-real friend, Neil?

  18. 2nd Pearl Past the Post

    It’s a bendy world bandied about online. This comment brought to you by Jamieson Aloe Vera Gel, the cool nutritionally active compound gel

    (btw If the Walmart falls thru, at least cafepress to fall back on. 😉

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