the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Sanjaya of the Blogosphere


My mother arrived in Los Angeles today, in preparation for Passover next week.   After she unpacked, Sophia and I showed her all of the birthday cards that I received from other bloggers.

“You see, Mom, friendship is more important than actually making a decent living through writing.” 

“Well, let’s not get carried away this…” added Sophia.

My mother opened up a cutesy hand-made card from a Canadian blogger.

“And so many women!”

“Neilochka’s very popular with female bloggers.” explained Sophia.

I beamed with pride.  My mother may have once imagined me as a Jewish doctor or lawyer, but I doubt she dreamed that I would grow up to become an international sex symbol. 

“You’re like that boy on TV,” she said.

“What boy?”

“The boy in American Idol.   The boy all the girls like.  The Indian boy.”


“Sanjaya!” Sophia repeated, laughing.

I felt insulted by my own mother.  She just nodded.

“When I saw him the first time on TV, I knew he was going to win.  He has so much personality.  So much more than his sister.”

“Personality!?  He’s awful,” I protested.

“Oh, yeah?  I bet you five cents that he wins.” offered my high-gambling mother, her recent Mah-Jongg winnings making her cocky.

For the rest of the day, my mother’s words rang in my head, making me wonder if I should have accepted that Prozac from that therapist last week. 

While my mother was upstairs, I cornered Sophia in the kitchen.

“I’m not like Sanjaya.  Am I?” I stuttered anxiously, acting just like a person with a dependent personality structure.

“Well, maybe your mother has a point.” said Sophia.   “I think little girls like Sanjaya because he is safe and non-threatening.”

“Are you saying female bloggers think I’m safe and non-threatening?”


There was a silence heard around Redondo Beach.

“How can I be safe and non-threatening?!  I’m always writing about sex… about how I want to f**k them!”

“Yeah, well… sure… you write about it.   Sanjaya also wore a mohawk last night, but that doesn’t mean he knows how to be a punk rocker.”


A Year Ago On Citizen of the Month:  The Best Teacher I Ever Had


  1. Two Roads

    Wow, I can’t believe I could be first.

    Sophia has a point regarding safe & non-threatening but you aren’t the only one this applies to. Anyone whose only communication is via the internet could be considered a “safe & non-threatening” . Why do you think internet dating is so hard? People can be someone they really aren’t in real life and when you meet that “connection” really wasn’t.

    You on the other hand, put yourself out there and make opportunities to meet other bloggers and get from behind the computer. I think you are safe & non-threatening has more to do with your “separation” status.

    Separated & married men are off limits to many, many women.

    IMHO, you have nothing in common with Sanjaya – he’s painful to watch or listen to. You have a beautiful voice and I’m sure you are quite fun in person.

  2. Caron

    So that’s a mohawk on your head and not some strange space helmet which intercepts intergalctic messages for your penis?

    Two Roads is right. Most of the women I know wouldn’t take things any further than a little flirting with someone who is married, even in the seperated sense. Flirting with them is safe because you know it isn’t going to go anywhere.

  3. Dagny

    Did you say anything after Mah-Jongg? Because all I could think was how long it’s been since I’ve played.

  4. Sizzle

    good god please don’t let sanjaya win!

    but, dear neil, you are charming and sweet and that’s why the ladies love you.

  5. deannie

    I can’t believe you think being considered safe & non threatening is an insult in this unruly world. Neil, the Internet is not all warm & fuzzy; if you are one of the good guys, so be it. Wear the badge with honor. It isn’t handed out every day.

  6. Jurgen Nation

    Safe and non-threatening? *crickets* Anyway, she has a good point, but you say it with such scorn! I’m not the first one to write this, but it’s actually a GOOD thing. What’s the alternative? Unsafe and threatening? Good luck with that. 😉

    It’s a good thing. Sophia is right about that, but your mom is SO WRONG about you being like Sanjaya. (Sorry, Mrs. Mom Neilochka.)

  7. Hilly

    Exactly what Deannie said, Neil! It is a rarity to find non-creepazoid men on the net. I cannot believe there were five of you in the same place at one time. Be proud that the women of the Blogistan feel comfy with you!

  8. Alison

    I’m with Deannie too, even though you look like some bizarre kind of Vulcan in that photo. 😉

  9. Ginny

    i personally find you creepy as hell. so there’s a point in your favor, perhaps?

    now pardon, as i go sharpen my knives.


  10. Pearl

    Neil, forget your waning ego… I have a more important item on the agenda: Now that your mom’s in town, can she be a guest blogger for a day? Please? We rarely see her comments, so maybe you’d like to give her the spotlight and a post of her own. What sayeth thou?

  11. teahouseblossom

    You’re much better looking than Sanjaya.

    And I’m sure you’re a better singer, too!

  12. Wendy

    Amen on the much better looking than Sanjaya – and all the girls know that it’s your wit and humor that are sex-Y! Much better than a fauxhawk – 😉

  13. plain jane

    The ladies love you because you’re witty, intelligent and you write well. What else could a woman ask for.

  14. gorillabuns

    your witty and well written word is far sexier than a cock-a-doodle-do coif.

  15. Leezer

    You poor, poor man. Emasculated by Sophia and your mother. Well, here’s something. There’s nothing wrong with non-threatening. Would you really want to be threatening???

  16. Neil

    I can’t believe Ryan Seacrest did the same mohawk gag on TV tonight.

    And maybe you’re right… I did win over Sophia, and she’s pretty hot. And if I’m going into therapy, I can’t be all that safe and non-threatening. I have all these neuroses to deal with. Who knows what crazy thing I might do next? Or what wild plan is up my sleeve? Or…

    … gotta go. My mother is calling me because she can’t figure out how to use the remote control.

  17. V-Grrrl

    Oh sure, listen to all these wimpy women praising your social skills and sweetness. Pass me a bucket so I don’t get barf on my keyboard. All those women want is SEX, Neil. Sex, sex, sex. Women FAKE the relationship so they can have more sex.

    And as for sending cutesy, homemade cards to married men? My gosh, I would NEVER do that–except you know, if I were trying to fake a relationship to get him in the sack.

  18. better safe than sorry

    gee, look at v-grrrl’s comment, i tried to make you a homemade card, but couldn’t get a half decent photo of myself and dog, so bailed at the last minute and bought one instead. i’d still like to have a fake relationship with you though, hope it’s not too late!

  19. alissa

    I love that your mom watches American Idol!

  20. Karl

    Neil, you and I should go on a crime rampage across the nation. That’ll show ’em who is safe and non-threatening! We’ll start by knocking over bingo halls and work our way up from there.

  21. You can call me, 'Sir'

    You’re both sexy AND dangerous, Neil. Seriously. So sexy. And dangerous.

    Did I ever mention that I moonlight as a motivational speaker? I do. It’s awesome. You’re awesome. Go get ’em, tiger. Rowr.

  22. Jennifer

    Ummm…Sanjaya had a mohawk and yours looks more like a sort of Neo Nazi pith helmet. I find you very threatening in that picture.

  23. Jazz

    Safe, non-threatening, charming…. the perfect jewish boy. ‘Course the women love you.

  24. Not Faint Hearted

    The hair? Creepy. Both versions. That’s all I’m saying.

  25. Katie

    Neilochka, you remind me of a dear friend from college – a nice Jewish boy, attractive, smart, musical, always around the ladies. But, I never saw him actually get beyond the friend stage with any woman. My husband asked me why I never dated him, and I replied that he was almost too friendly – he was always giving girls massages, or hugs, and would talk openly about sex (and porn). I figured, if he’s like that with everybody, he couldn’t be serious about me. So maybe that’s a more complete description of the “non-threatening” notion?
    BTW, I fixed up said friend with my officemate from my first job, and they got married. And then divorced, a few years later. But he’s in a long-term relationship now, and happy. I don’t watch American Idol so can’t comment on the mohawk guy.

  26. psychomom

    I don’t like you that much but I do like your humor and that you are good to your wife and mother but that doesn’t mean I would want to be left alone in a room with you.

    I’ll take that 5 cent bet Mama Kramer and raise you a son, because I’m a big gambler too. He is only 18 but he has that ‘dependent personality structure’ we moms like.

  27. Margaret

    I don’t see Sanjaya as safe or non-threatening, he’s more of a Michael Jackson-esque freak! You, on the other hand, possess real, honest, mam’s boy charm.

  28. Lauren

    God save us if Sanjaya wins.

  29. fringes

    Hilly, I am so stealing Blogistan.

  30. Bre

    As a girl who is a big fan of the “safe” guys, I say it’s not such a bad thing.

  31. Leah

    OMG! You almost made me blow coffee all over the screen! That was so hilarious. And that hair!? AWESOME! I think we need a picture of your actual hair done up in that way!

  32. DCChick1

    Oh no… Really Sanjaya? I don’t know about that.

    I agree with you about him on AI though, I’m boycotting until he gets kicked off. It’s sad how much it irritates me that he’s still on.

  33. Dana

    Mad Photoshop skilz, Neil. Sort of a Star Trek-meets-Tellytubbies look. Especially effective with the stripy vertical blind backdrop. And, Hi, Neilochka’s Mom! I agree with Pearl. Please guest blog.

  34. Neil

    Alissa — I was actually surprised that my mother watched American Idol, too. It just shows you how broad the show’s appeal is. I couldn’t believe how much she knew just from reading the New York Post. She even told us that Chris Sligh was a devout Christian and went to Bob Jones University. She knew more than us. Except for the fact that she at first mispoke Sanjaya’s name as “Jaguar.”

    The Mohawk is actually from another photo I got on Google images, but I had a hard time matching our head sizes, so the mohawk got a little distorted. A Photoshop genius I ain’t.

  35. Eileen Dover

    Is that Neil-turned-Eddie Munster?

  36. sandra

    Neil, I’m happy to try being scared of you.

  37. Churlita

    My friend was just talking to me about her new boyfreind and saying that he was a Mama’s boy, but that it was a good thing. I’d much rather have a man who respected his mother and his separated-but-still-living-with wife, than one who didn’t. Ladies Love Cool Neil.

  38. Sophia

    I would have never said that.  AND!!! – I would have never compared talentless humorless Sanjaya to Neil.

    Ergo – truth quotient – 42%.

  39. Lefty

    Yes, Neil, you should be insulted.

    You are, however, like me, a Stud of the Blogosphere, so virile that your very presence of your blog on a woman’s computer screen threatens to impregnate her. You really should include a warning statement to avoid any messy palimony suits.

  40. nelumbo

    Only 42% ? Maybe we should be comparing you to James Frey.

    Sanjaya doesn’t give a crap what Simon or anyone else thinks about him. It would probably help you to be MORE like him.

  41. AscenderRisesAbove

    thanks for the chuckle!! poor sanjaya; without a clue…

  42. brooke

    Say hi to mom for me!

  43. an9ie

    Or maybe there are just more women who read blogs?

    And you call that a mohawk, Sanjaya? Looks like a mo-bird-of-paradise to me!

    Xo an9ie

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