the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: January 2007 (Page 2 of 4)

Oh, Zeus


According to the BBC: 

Followers of the 12 Greek Gods, who, according to mythology, ruled the Ancient World from Mount Olympus, have cast a thunderbolt at their Orthodox opponents.

After successfully staging a landmark ceremony at the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens, their leader pledged to fight for the right to conduct baptisms, marriages, and funerals according to the rites of the ancient religion.

“We are a legitimate religion. But the authorities don’t let us do this, but we shall claim this right through the European Union,” said Doretta Peppa, the high priestess, who led the prayers next to the 15 remaining columns of the temple.

“It is time we reclaimed our religion from the misrepresentations of the modern world,” announced Ms. Peppa. “First there were all those bad Hercules movies,  then the second banana in the Rocky films was named “Apollo” Creed, and the worst offense — there wasn’t one, but TWO cheesy “Poseidon” Adventures.  How would you like it if we named Zeus’ nerdy little cousin one of your Gods?  How about Jesus or Muhammed?  I didn’t think so.”

Followers of 12 Greek Gods have quickly organized, and the temple has already created a popular “Sisterhood” and a “Men’s Club.”  Sisterhood President, Aire Stophelese, has called for February to be “Social Action Month,” in which they will refuse to sleep with their husbands until all unfinished chores are finished in the house.

The revival of this ancient religion has angered many in the Greek Orthodox church, which strongly disapproves of what it regards as paganism.  Schisms have also developed between friends and families with differing views on the religion. 

Tensions remain particularly high in the Pusadapolis family.  This Sunday, as Eddie Pusadapolis and his mother, Aegina, sent prayers to Mount Olympus, Eddie’s father, Spridon, attended his Greek Orthodox church, as he does every week. 

“They have been brainwashed by a dangerous cult,” insists Spriridon.  “There is only one true God!”

“I don’t care what my father says,” retorts Eddie Pusadapolis.  “Who does he think he is? A king?!  Sometimes I wish I could just kill him and marry my own mother!” he continued, as he lovingly took his mother’s hand and helped her up the steps to the Temple mount.

Fearless the Cat


I fell asleep in the living room last night and had some sort of nightmare. I would tell you what it was about, but I’m trying to be more honest in my writing, and I don’t remember it at all. I rarely remember my dreams.

I climbed upstairs to the bedroom and slid into Sophia’s bed. She was sleeping and mumbled something about me “waking her up.” I lay there in that half-sleep, half-awake state when the mind seems to be at the most volatile and creative. I had some amazing insightful thought about my life, so important that it was worthy of waking Sophia up for a second time.

“You know what my problem is.” I announced. “I think other people are “bigger” — more important than me — and I’m too “small.” I should think of myself as a giant to compensate. Someone fearless. A fearless giant.”

“Huh? A what?” moaned Sophia, groggily.

“…fearless giant.”

“Felix Giant?”

“Fearless Giant!”

“Felix Giant?  I thought it was Felix the Cat.”

“I’m not talking about Felix the Cat.”

“Isn’t Felix the Cat a cartoon?” she asked with her eyes still closed.

“It is.”

“I’ve never seen it. Is it funny?”

“You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it, either. It’s a pretty old cartoon.”

“So, Felix the Cat was a giant?” she slurred.

“Forget Felix the Cat. What I said was “Fear-less Giant.” I want to feel bigger. Not afraid.”


Sophia rolled over and went back to sleep.

“You want to have sex?” I asked.


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  My Brilliant Literary Career

Why I Write


Of all the questions that I am asked, probably the most common is, “Why do you write?” This is actually a very difficult question to answer. Writing is something that comes from deep inside one’s soul. For me, weaving a tale is very much like how a knitter weaves a sweater. It requires work, attention, focus, and inspiration.

Writing is a way to express myself, to touch the heart and mind of a reader. I think my writing appeals to a certain reader, usually someone with a Master’s Degree or Doctorate and is a lover of poetry and the classics.


I’ve always dreamt of being a novelist, and to share my own thoughts and feelings with like-minded intellectuals and artists.


Sometimes, as I write, I like to imagine my readers as they hold my writing in their hands and I transport them into another world.


I like the fact that through my words, I can make them cry or even lift their spirits like balloons.


I love to communicate. Sometimes, I wish I could just reach out from inside my own words and show my appreciation to my readers.


I especially love it when I can personally touch them.


Of course, I also write for myself. Nothing gives me more pleasure than coming up with a well-turned phrase or a poetic way of expressing myself. But I wouldn’t be satisfied if I knew I wasn’t also pleasuring my faithful readers with the power of my words and stories.


Sometimes I struggle with my writing, like today. On days like that, I try to motivate myself by thinking about a future reader, an intelligent, thoughtful individual, taking my first novel home from the library, curling up in bed at night, and reading me until she can’t read anymore, then waking up in the morning and reading me again.


That’s why I write. Why do you write?

(all photos from Babes with Books) — you can find anything online!

Update:  Just a note, to those who who accuse me of only writing for an audience of big-breasted woman:  that is absurd, especially after seeing all the trouble Sophia has to go through to find a bra that properly fits.   What a pleasure it must be to go through life without having to wear a bra!  I salute you!  You are in my thoughts just as frequently as everyone with a size D!  Please examine photos 2 and 3 as evidence of women who don’t fit into the category of “big-bazoomed.”  

Let me also go on record that my readership goes far beyond the all-white women on the Babes with Books website.  I can think of nothing more satisying than my first novel being the “monthly pick” of the Compton Ladies’ Book Group:


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Beverly Hills Doctor

Ask Me Any Question!


I noticed today that a few of my favorite bloggers, including Ms. Sizzle and Karl, and Fringes, requested that their readers ask them personal questions, which they then answered on their blog. I thought this was a great way to get to know these bloggers in a more intimate way. I’m really curious to learn what questions you would ask me. Unfortunately, I’m not as patient as Ms. Sizzle, Karl, or Fringes and I don’t feel like sitting around all day answering your questions.

So, here is my idea. Go ahead and ask me a personal question. The next commenter should then answer the question for ME, as ME. After answering the question, the commenter then ask me a NEW question, to be answered in turn by the next commenter AS ME, etc.

Here is an example:

Comment 1:

Question: Neil, what is your favorite color?

Comment 2:

Neil: My favorite color is Green.

Question: Neil, have you ever been in a threesome?

I realize that most of the answers will be wrong, but what do I care? I hope you enjoy getting to know me a little bit better!

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: The Beechers of San Diego



Some of you may have noticed that during the day, I changed the photo at my last post from a stock photo to one where I am wearing the purple bathrobe.

This photo is me is un-retouched. No filters. No Photoshop. No flashy photographic gimmicks. I owe it to Sophia for pushing me into presenting myself au naturale. As I discussed two weeks ago, putting a photo of myself online is not an easy thing for me to do. Today, there was a war of words with Sophia over this photo issue, a back-and-forth much bigger than the one over the bathrobe itself.

This morning, Sophia woke me up. She was reading my post on her laptop. She thought the previous photo was a loser and the post would be better if it showed myself wearing the purple bathrobe. She suggested that we take a photo in the living room.

After she took the photo, I went into my office to check it out. I hated the way I looked and started to Photoshop it. I tried to reduce the size of my bed-head hair, and to eliminate my unshaven double chin.

As I worked with the zillions of Photoshop tools, Sophia stopped by.

“What are you doing?” she asked, in that certain voice that I know means trouble.


“You’re Photoshopping yourself again, aren’t you?”


“So, you look great in that photo. Why do you need to do this?”

For some reason, Sophia gets pissed at me whenever I try to fix myself in photos. She is of the belief that it is “unmanly” for me to be “so vain” about my appearance.

“What about when I take your photo?” I asked, ready to debate. “You’re always so picky!”

“That’s different. I’m a woman.”

“You don’t complain when I dress up.”

“That’s because you look sexy when you dress up. But it’s not sexy to have a man Photoshopping his own chin.”

“Why not?!”

“You’re a MAN. This is how a man looks. You’re not supposed to look all air-brushed. It’s so gay.”

“That’s an insult to gays.”

“OK, my apologies to gays.”

“Can I go back to my Photoshop please?”

I returned to Photoshopping my photo.

“Are you trying to photoshop your double chin?”


“Now it makes you look like you have goiters.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Let me try to use the blend tool.”

“Now you look like you have a tracheotomy. Why don’t you just photoshop in an oxygen mask?”

“Maybe I’ll take my whole head off and lower it over my chin.”

“Then you’ll look like a Hobbit. Is it really worth it? Don’t be so insecure, Neilochka. You look cute. Women will see the real you and will still go “ooh” and “ahh.” Just the way you like, I promise.”

“Are you sure you just don’t want me to look bad?”

“Why would I want that?”

“So, if we split up, I won’t date some hot blogger before you date someone else?”

“We have split up. Go date someone. Be my guest. You’re the one who doesn’t want to leave my house!”

“C’mon, Neil, listen to her – publish it. ” yelled my Penis. “Be confident.”

“You, too, Penis? I asked.  “But aren’t you worried that no woman wants to f**k a man with a double chin.”

“No,” my Penis responded.  “No woman wants to f**k a man who Photoshops his chin.  It’s not the size of anything you have, but how many times you can make her yell, *&@&% me again, you $@*&%$!”

“Your Penis is right.  Be a man,” said Sophia, nodding in agreement with my Penis. “This is what you look like, chin and all.  Accept it and be happy with it.”

Damn, Sophia was right.

So, Mazel tov to me. TODAY, I became a man. I published the photo — totally un-retouched.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: I Am So Over Boobs

Yes, Sophia, There Were Co-Ed Bathrooms in College


The Scenario:

Neil, tired of being type-cast as a humor writer, decides to write a blog post from his heart — a tale of young unrequited love and a purple bathrobe.

Neil has never told his separated wife, Sophia, about what this purple bathrobe means to him, and the college girl who once captured his heart.

Sophia arrives home. Neil insists that she read his current blog post immediately. She does. Neil nervously waits for her response.

Neil: So, what do you think?

Sophia: Boring.

Neil: Boring? How can you say that?

Sophia: You’re just trying to be all cutesy to get all the girls to go “Awwww.”

Neil: This is a true story.

Sophia: Bulls**t. I heard all your stories at least 20 times, and I never heard this?

Neil: It’s all true.

Sophia: C’mon? Seriously? Some girl gave you her bathrobe?

Neil: She did! Why is that so hard to believe?

Sophia: The whole co-ed shower thing is fake!

Neil: It was a co-ed bathroom. We weren’t in the open together. There were individual stalls.

Sophia: Like Danny said, “Was this at the University of Gomorrah?”

Neil: It was at Columbia College in New York! We can call Jake in NY and ask him. You could literally share shampoo with the person in the next stall.

Sophia: I don’t believe it.

Neil: Huh? I write about my mother sleeping with Santa Claus and you have no problem, but THIS you say I’m making up.

Sophia: Your mother sleeping with Santa Claus was not boring. Show me this purple bathrobe.

Neil takes the bathrobe out of the closet.

Sophia: That’s my bathrobe.

Neil: What? Your bathrobe? This is my bathrobe. This is the one the girl gave me.

Sophia: No, it’s not. I bought this before I met you. At the Beverly Center. This is my bathrobe.

Neil: I’m telling you. This is my bathrobe. I had a purple bathrobe.

Sophia: Maybe you did, but this isn’t it. This one is mine.

Neil: If this isn’t MY purple bathrobe, where is mine?

Sophia: I’ve never seen you with another purple bathrobe.

Neil: You think maybe I lost it when we moved in together? Or maybe I began thinking that this was my purple bathrobe?

Sophia: I really don’t know. You never mentioned this purple bathrobe before.

Neil: Well, I didn’t want to make you jealous by telling you about this other girl.

Sophia: Why would I be jealous?

Neil: I figured you would wonder if we ever had sex.

Sophia: OK, did you two ever have sex?

Neil: No.

Sophia: Did you ever kiss her?

Neil: No.

Sophia: Too bad.  But at least now I’m beginning to believe this story.

NEIL’S NOTE: I still think the purple bathrobe is mine, but maybe it is Sophia’s and I THOUGHT it was mine. But where is the original purple bathrobe? Is it stored in some box in the garage? Did I leave it behind? Now I’m questioning whether or not the bathrobe was even PURPLE. No, it was purple. I’m positive. My memories of this girl can’t be so foggy, can they?

This has to be my purple bathrobe. Can we do a DNA test on it and learn the truth?

SOPHIA’S NOTE: Here we go… He’s going for the “AWWWS” again…

The Purple Bathrobe


This morning, I wore a purple bathrobe. It is not a new bathrobe. I’ve had it since college. It is old and worn bathrobe. It wasn’t even originally my bathrobe. It was the bathrobe of this girl who lived on my college dormitory floor.

I was infatuated with this girl. But she liked somebody else. Just like an old song. Despite it all, we became platonic “friends,” although I kept on wishing for it to be otherwise.
She owned two matching bathrobes, one green and one purple. She let me wear the purple bathrobe. She wore the green bathrobe. Sometimes we would wear our matching bathrobes when we would walk over to our co-ed, but individual, shower stalls. We would sing while showering.

When we graduated, she told me I could keep the purple bathrobe.

For another year, I thought of her whenever I wore the bathrobe. Time passed, and I thought about her less and less. We completely lost touch, as happens after college.

I kept the bathrobe. Whenever I moved, I moved it with me. Today, I keep it in the bedroom closet. Even Sophia sometimes wears the purple bathrobe. Sophia has never heard the story of the girl and the purple bathrobe… until now.

I don’t wear the bathrobe very frequently, but I wore it today, because it was cold.

I like my purple bathrobe. It doesn’t remind me of the girl anymore. It does remind me of times gone by.

So, I keep it.

Fruit and Walnut and Procrastination Salad


Here is today’s Citizen of the Month’s word of the day: Procrastination.

For some reason, I have a feeling that many of you are familiar with this word.

There are different levels of procrastination. Watching the pre-Golden Globes Award Show rather than doing your bills is a mild form of procrastination. You can rationalize it by saying “everyone else is doing it.” Other forms of procrastination are more embarrassing, like downloading videos from

My form of procrastination today occurred during lunch. It began when I went to McDonald’s. Why did I go to McDonald’s? After all, I live in the land of 1000 Fast Food Restaurants, and I went to boring ol’ McDonald’s. The reason I went to the Golden Arches has less to do with today’s word of the day, procrastination, than with last week’s words of the day: laziness and indecisiveness.

Once in McDonald’s, I felt guilty for just being there. Most of their menu is just crap. Last time I was there, I tried to be “healthy,” but I was not impressed with their bland chicken sandwich. I decided to “be good” and order a salad, but the DOLLAR menu was beckoning to me like a cheap hooker.

“Why spend over four dollars on a salad when you can buy a hamburger for $1!” the dollar menu said to me. “Do you have money to throw away? Think how proud your family will be when they learn you had lunch for $1!”

I went to the counter and ordered a hamburger.

“Is that all?” snapped the teenager girl behind the counter.

I noticed other customers looking at me with unfriendly glances, as if they were thinking, “What type of freak ONLY orders a $1 hamburger?”

“Would you like a fries and a drink?” the teenager asked.

I caved in to the pressure.

“Uh, I’ll have a coffee.”

“A Coke?”

“A coffee.”

“Coke or Diet Coke?”

This is not the first time that someone outside of New York City didn’t understand me when I said “kawfee.”

“A cup of cof-fee” I said in my best midwestern anchorman voice.

“Is that it? Would you like something else?”

This girl was relentless. Are McDonald’s employees taught to bug you until you order THREE items?

I quickly scanned the board and randomly ordered McDonald’s Fruit and Walnut Salad, which cost me about two dollars.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about McDonald’s Fruit and Walnut Salad:

The fruit and walnut salad is a fruit dish sold in US branches of global fast-food chain McDonald’s. It was launched by famous tennis player Venus Williams in May 2005 [1], and is part of their move towards creating a healthier image.

The ingredients are seedless grapes, apple slices, candied walnuts and low-fat vanilla yogurt. Including the walnuts, it has 330 calories. The apple slices are dipped in the preservative calcium ascorbate, a compound of calcium and vitamin C, in order to keep them crisp and prevent them losing color and flavor. rates its good points as: very low in cholesterol, low in sodium, and very high in vitamin C, and its bad point as “very high in sugar”.

US apple producers welcomed the expected extra demand for their products. McDonald’s announced that it expected to require 54 million pounds (25 million kg) of apples per year. The move makes them the largest food-service customer for apple producers.

McDonald’s corporation has now switched to the Snack Size Fruit & Walnut Salad, a much smaller version than the original salad.

So, apparently, what I received was not the original salad, but the new “snack size” fruit and walnut salad.

I’m not the type who complains in restaurants, if you can call McDonald’s a “restaurant,” but this fruit and walnut salad was a major disappointment, not because of the taste, but because of the size of the product. The “salad” was literally 1/2 of a sliced apple, five grapes, a teeny-tiny plastic bag of candied walnuts, and three tablespoons of yogurt. If I really wanted small-size entrees, I’ll go to some fancy French restaurant, not to McDonald’s.

This fruit and walnut salad was really beginning to piss me off. This is what they pass off as something healthy? I could put together this crappy “salad” in two minutes, and it would cost 1/4 the price. I tried to forget all about it. My plan was to do some writing in McDonald’s, but as I ate my lunch, my mind kept on focusing on back on this wimpy fruit and walnut salad. It began to represent something BIGGER than just a cheap fruit salad at a fast-food joint. It became a symbol of how all of us have been cheated and ripped-off by too many people too many times!

Of course, some might wonder if I really was THAT upset about this fruit and walnut salad? OR was I using it as an way to PROCRASTINATE and not do my work? You make the call!

“I wonder how much profit they’re making on this fruit and walnut salad.” I asked myself. There was only one way to find out. I counted exactly how many pieces of each “healthy item” were in the plastic container and walked over to Ralph’s Supermarket to find the truth out for myself. Take that John Stossel!

With pen in hand, I started my research in the fruit section. Delicious Apples were selling for $1.49 a pound. I threw one apple onto the scale so I could figure out the exact cost of a 1/2 apple. I stood there a few moments, trying to figure out the math in my head, but luckily I remembered that my cell phone had a calculator.

Figuring out the correct price for six grapes was more difficult, and required some mathematical equations that I hadn’t used since the ninth grade. It’s also surprisingly time-consuming to count how many grapes are in a bunch without losing track of the numbers.

Next, I divided the cost of a box of candied walnuts by 1/12th.

The cost of three tablespoons of yogurt was the most confusing.

Luckily, a friendly Ralph’s Supermarket employee came by and asked “Can I help you with anything?”

“Yes, you can.” I answered. “How much would you guess three tablespoons of yogurt would cost?”

At first, he thought I was just crazy, but his attitude changed when I explained what I was doing.

“Hey, it’s great you’re doing this. My wife once ordered that fruit and walnut salad in McDonald’s. What a rip-off! She went back to eating Big-Macs. At least with a Big Mac, they give you some food! This is an important issue that affects us all. You should write this in the Los Angeles Times!”

(Do you hear that Los Angeles Times? Tough luck, suckers. You rejected me last time.  This hot story is going right to the Washington Post!)

The result: McDonald’s makes a enormous profit through their Fruit and Walnut Salad. And that’s not even including the discount they must get by buying in bulk.

Thanks, Jim from the Ralph’s Supermarket in Hermosa Beach for your assistance in the expose!

I arrived home from lunch two hours later. I was exhausted from all my hard research and thought I deserved to take a nap.

Which I did.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: The Toothbrush

And the Winner is…


And the winner of the charity auction bidding is… Tamarika of Mining Nuggets.  I can’t be more pleased.  She is everything I look for in a date — a woman who is funny, smart, sexy… and generous!   All the money goes to V-Day!

The only little problem with my new date is that Tamar lives in… Philadelphia.  But as Philly’s own Benjamin Franklin once said, “Great distances can never stop true romance or the opportunity to go bowling.”

Luckily, Philly is one of my favorite cities and just an Amtrack train away from Penn Station in New York.  So, as I promised, for you – Tamar:

1)  I will travel to Philadelphia the next time I am in New York.

2)  I will a dance to a song of your choosing.

3)  I will be sending you a copy of Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat.”

4)  Sophia will make a surprise appearance.

I’d be lying if I didn’t reveal a little nervousness about meeting Tamar.  She isn’t any regular babe.  She is an early childhood teacher educator, counselor, mother, and author.  She is the writer of “Confronting Our Discomfort:  Clearning the way for Anti-Bias in Early Childhood.”  Why this brainy woman is reading MY BLOG is beyond comprehension, but maybe it is true what they say — “opposites attract.” 

As for the bowling, it is her choice whether or not she wants to challenge me.  We have already talked about going to the famous Mutter Museum in Philadelphia.  I also noticed on her blogger profile that she loves playing “Scrabble.” 

So, Tamar — if we don’t go bowling, I CHALLENGE YOU to a game of scrabble — DOUBLE OR NOTHING on your bid!  Now that would be one hot date!

Thank you, Tamar!  And thanks to all.   To quote another son of Philadephia, Rocky Balboa, “You think I’m a winner, but you da winner, you da one who can knock me out with your kindness.”   (from the upcoming Rocky IX).


“But Are We Compatible?”


I know how much you’ve enjoyed me turning my blog into a promotional tool. Unfortunately, this is the last day of the bidding, so next week I will back writing about the usual important issues that I normally blog about.

Many people have emailed me saying that they’d love to give money to V-Day, since it is such a worthy cause, but they are on the fence about going on a date with me. So many of you have been burned by going on bad dates with men who were completely WRONG for you. How can I assure you that our date with be fun? Who wants to BID good money to go on a crappy date? If only there was a way to SCIENTIFICALLY learn if you and I were compatible for this charity date.

Now, there is!

Thanks to the kind hearts of those at E-Harmoni, I have been licensed to use their official 5-point compatibility quiz. Take the quiz, then compare it to my answers. If we are compatible, you owe it YOURSELF to bid on me! Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet your soulmate!


Question 1: Do you enjoy eating food? Yes or No?

Question 2: Do you consider breathing a “necessity?” Yes or No?

Question 3: Would you rather make love on the beach or be tortured by Jack Bauer from the television show “24?”

Question 4: Does the sun set in the West? Yes or No.

Question 5: Which birthday gift would you prefer: A new widescreen TV or a piece of celery?

Neil’s answers: Yes, Yes, love on the beach, Yes, widescreen TV.

Thanks, E-Harmoni!

So, are we compatible? If at least 4 of your answers are the same as mine — you know what you must do!

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