the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Canadian Schmoozers


Schmutize honored me today with some inane wonderful “Power of Schmooze Award” that is going around the blogosphere. I’m not exactly sure what this award means — or even if it is a compliment — but I think it has something to do with a person being skilled in making social connections. Of course, this made me laugh, because in real life, I am the world’s worst “schmoozer,” but I’m not going to tell you that and ruin my image.


Schmutize is from Saskatchewan, Canada. Before I “met” her, I had never “met” anyone from Saskatchewan. In fact, I didn’t know how to spell Saskatchewan. The funny thing is that through her, I have now met several bloggers who live in Saskatchewan. I now have more people from Saskatchewan on my blogroll than I do from New York City. Isn’t that odd? I know this sounds very provincial of me, but WHAT THE HELL are so many cool people doing in Saskatchewan? I always figured that it was mostly sheep who lived in this province.

I love Canada. I really do. And in honor of Schmutzie and this fabulous award, I would like to honor all my virtual friends to the North. Not just in Saskatchewan, but all of Canada. So, today, all of my “Power of Schmooze Awards” will go to Canadians.

Typical Canadian businessman on his way to work.

In a way, it makes sense that Canadians would excel in schmoozing. Most Americans only care about America, not other countries, particularly a place as dull as Canada. Canadians who want to grab our interest really have to work overtime. They must learn to blog about things other than their usual interests — beer, hockey, and how much better their medical system is than ours. They must learn to schmooze.

I’ve always had a fondness for Canadians, especially their sense of humor. If a comedian in Los Angeles isn’t Jewish or black, he is a Canadian. As a child, I used to enjoy the pretentious animations of the National Film Board of Canada, almost as much as the aggressively-American Bugs Bunny. Am I the only American to consider “Degrassi Junior High” the best show ever created? Here’s another little secret — I have never found Saturday Night Live all that funny. SCTV — now THAT was funny.

Canadian Mommybloggers taking a break from the Canadian BlogHer Conference

I’ve been to Canada with Sophia — Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec City — a few times and always found Canadians very, uh… unfriendly people. Maybe it was because we were Americans and they resented it. I’ll never forget the time we were in a bed and breakfast in Quebec City and the French-speaking owner gave this fancy home-made jam to these German tourists for breakfast and not to us. Sophia thought she heard the owner mumble something under her breath about “Americans being warmongers and not deserving of jam.”

Despite our differences — Oh, Canada, I stand on guard for thee!

The official government sanctioned Canadian “Blogging” uniform.

My Five “Power of Schmooze” Awards to Deserving Canadians

1) Palinode of Regina, Saskatchewan. Not only is Palinode a witty blogger, he is Schmutzie’s husband. Can you imagine a husband and wife both blogging and not killing each other? I think he deserves a gold medal more than this award! The day Sophia starts her own blog and writes about ME and talks to HER vagina — that is the day I change my name and go into hiding, probably somewhere in Saskatchewan.

2) Eileen Cook of Vancouver, British Columbia. Eileen is a funny writer and an extremely sweet person. Her first novel is coming out in February. As a true schmoozer, she knows exactly how to sell books. For those of you who want to write a novel, take notes. Originally, the novel was called “In the Stars” and had a nice, romantic family-friendly cover. Now the novel is called “Unpredictable” and the cover shows a pair of sexy legs with high heels. Soon, I expect the the novel to be called “I Am a Sex Addict,” with a couple doing Tantric Position #24 on the cover. She knows how to sell those books! I expect her novel to be a bestseller. She’s a schmoozer, alright!

3) Pearl of Toronto, Ontario. The word “schmoozer” was invented for Pearl. She is one of my long-time readers and a good friend. She also KNOWS EVERYONE in the Jewish blogosphere. And you don’t have to be Jewish to like Pearl! Can a woman be a mensch? When she found out about Sophia’s surgery, she searched on the internet and found our phone number — just to call and wish her well. At first I was wary of her reading my blog, because she is religious, but I’m proud to reveal that even the religious can enjoy a good penis joke every once in a while!

4) Pearl of Ottawa, Ontario. Pearl is a brainy poet. I don’t understand half of her posts, but that makes her even more intriguing. Like most schmoozers, she is very clever. Rather than just having one blog, she has expanded to something like 25 blogs — on poetry, food, etc., creating a virtual blogging empire, and creating more schmoozing opportunities. I never know what to expect from her blog. She seems to be into everything — from sports to Buddhism. She still needs to learn that if she wants a larger American readership, she needs to be a little more simple. Americans like our bloggers one-dimensional. But I’m working on her.

Pearl is interested in positive thinking. Normally, that stuff bores me to tears, but I like the way she describes her approach in her post “Glad Game Explained.”

5) Peter DeWolf — of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Like his compatriot, Sween, Peter lives in Halifax. Like with Saskatchewan, I was mostly ignorant about the beautiful province of Nova Scotia. In fact, until recently, my only experience with the province was that Jewish families like to order “Nova Scotia lox” with their bagels. You mean people actually live there?!

You would think that anyone living in Halifax would be the laid-back type, but not Peter. He is the ultimate schmoozer. One blog wasn’t enough for him, so he started the humor blog, Burt Reynolds’s Mustache. Every day on this group site, another funny blogger writes a humor column. If you look at the list of bloggers, you will notice some very fine writers, but there is ONE important blogger missing. Yes, it is ME. You see, by the time I returned his email, all his slots were already taken.

“So, throw someone off their slot,” I demanded, in that bossy American style that Canadians hate so much. “Do you know WHO you are talking to, you Canuck?” (actually, can you call any Canadian a Canuck, or only French Canadians?)

“I can’t throw anyone off. Did you see how many hot girls are on the list writing on the site for me?”

At that moment, I understood. That is EXACTLY what I would have done. Stacked my list with hot babes.

Yes, I had passed the torch to a new generation of schmoozers.

And they were coming from Canada.

(Postmodern Sass — I know you are going to be upset, but you don’t count as a Canadian in my book right now, since you are in California)

We Canadians love you big strong American men!

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: A Very Brief Windfall


  1. sizzle

    i love canadians. my dad was canadian. i saw canadian lesbian identical twin musicians last night (tegan & sara) and they rawk.

    go canada!

  2. Neil

    Are there really a lot of lesbians in Canada? Which province?

  3. Postmodern Sass

    You bet your sweet patooties I’m upset, Neilochka. What is this distinction you Americans make between “being Canadian” and “being from Canada?” If you were living in Lisbon would you be any less American?

  4. Neil

    Sorry, Sass. You sold out to the Evil Empire and now you’re one of us.

  5. Postmodern Sass

    I’m packing, right now. Just see if I’m not!

  6. Bre

    Canada, eh?

  7. kanani

    Thanks for the links.
    The Schmooze award is a lot better than the “Thinking Blogger” designation.
    I’m surprised you don’t have an award of your own. “CLOSET ABBA” Awards or something.

  8. plain jane

    Good one Bre.

    I’m also a big fan of Canada and its residents.

  9. Dagny

    Degrassi rocks.

  10. margalit

    You wanna hear something REALLY weird? Every single person I’ve ever met from Saskatchewan is Jewish. And not only are the Jewish, they all belonged to the same synagogue. So even though I met these various people all over the place, they all know each other’s families. And they range in age from a couple who are in their late 70’s (belong to our shul) to a young couple in their early 20’s.

    PLUS, to make it even stranger, we have one family friend who lives in Halifax, a city we’ve visited many times and is absolutely the COOLEST place in Canada, bar none. This guy who lives in Halifax is originally from… Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, where the Jews are all from). and he’s yet ANOTHER one with family at that shul.

    Now if this isn’t the most bizarre case of Jewish geography you’ve ever heard of, please tell me something even weirder.

    And you have GOT to go to the Maritimes. We tend to go to Shediac in New Brunswick, which is an amazing beach in a French speaking part of Canada (they’re Acadians, not Quebequois)with the world’s biggest lobster. Check it out.

    • Syslak

      That is so entirely weird. I am from Saskatchewan and I went to university in Saskatoon. And in my entire life, I think I’ve only ever met 2 or 3 Jewish people! And none of them were from Saskatchewan.

  11. Neil

    Oh, I completely forgot about Origin of Shoeism. Therese — don’t you live in the Maritimes? Or do you live in Calgary now?

    Who else do I know in Canada?

    Oh, and Peter, I was only joking about your group blog. But if you feel guilty, you can always send me some fresh Nova Scotia lox. Mmmm… great with onion bagels!

  12. sween

    Peter has to work for the boobies. I have My Lovely Wife. My boobie hunt is over. Hence, his desperate drive to schmooze.

    [Stoically hides crushing pain of not receiving award. Eats all remaining Nova Scotian lox out of spite, leaving none for export.]

  13. Finn

    I am offended. Offended that my name was not mentioned anywhere in this post. No, I’m not Canadian, but that’s not the point is it?

  14. churlita

    Woo hoo! to our siblings to the North. I commend anyone who can live up there with all that cold all the time.

  15. Akaky

    Neil, Canadians put mayonnaise on French fries. Yes, they do; I know this for a fact. Any nation that would willingly put mayonnaise on a defenseless French fry is capable of committing the vilest of abominations, and I suggest you and the always lovely Sophia stay away from such a place lest you be consumed by fire and brimstone when the Lord decides to smite Canada for its iniquities, as He did to Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain in the days of Abraham. If you have a list of ten righteous men in Saskatoon, Neil, then I suggest you hang on to it, so that the Lord may spare the place for their sake.

  16. laura

    Hey Neil!

    Thanks for the recognition at the amount of sweat and tears we Sask bloggers have to pour into our blogs. you have no idea how hard it is NOT to write a post everyday about our igloos and dogsleds…logging and trapping…. Not to mention our sweet sweet beer, maple syrup, toques (pronounced TOOOOK), hockey, and mounties. But not beavers. we still loooooove to talk about beavers. 😉 can you blame us?

    i’m sorry you and your lovely wife have encountered the 3 non-friendly Canadians who live in our vast country. We tried to get them booted, but as you may know, Canada has a history of keeping useless people around, like Ben Mulroney. Next time come to the prairies. We’ll nice you to death and fill you with enough perogies, cabbage rolls, and Saskatoon Berry Pie to make you EXPLODE!

    Also, I believe that as long as you’re born and raised here, you’re a canuck, unless you’re a hockey player in Vancouver.

    As soon as it gets cold, i am totally sending you and Sophia Toques and some Maple Syrup!


  17. laura

    Cold? Yesterday it was 39 degrees!! that’s 102.2 F!!!

  18. laura

    re: mayo on fries

    sadly, i’ve seen it done. But they were all of Scandinavian descent. Most Canucks i know smother their French Fries in Gravey and Cheese Curds. There is nothing more beautiful or sacred in Canada than…The Poutine

  19. Neil

    Really old joke:

    Canadians favorite sex position: Doggy style, that way they can both watch the hockey game.

  20. Pearl

    Just to set the record straight: Jewish Canadians do not say “Eh!” Like their American and worldwide counterparts, they say “OY!”

  21. Neil

    Good Canadian imports: Neil Young and Feist



    Bad Canadian Imports: Howie Mandel and Pamela Anderson



  22. Akaky

    Pamela Anderson is a bad Canadian import? Five will get you ten your penis doesnt think so.

  23. Neil

    Even my penis is afraid of those things blowing up in my face.

  24. Peter

    THAT’S what Feist looks like?

    Holy crap.

  25. psychomom

    Love me some Canadian Chong!

  26. Eileen

    Who told you about my next cover change? Huh? We have to get you and Sophie up to Vancouver. I would even share our jam.

  27. palinode

    The reason Saskatchewan has so many suave bloggers is that we have a population of, like, twenty or twenty-five people. Every time someone dies we sneak over to Nova Scotia and raid the Maritime population, which is how I ended up here.

    As long as we’re talking about good Canadian things and Nova Scotia lox, don’t forget the Montreal bagels.

  28. Nance

    I just blogged about how incredibly friendly I have always found Canadians to be. I stand by that. (Notably, the Canadians in Niagara-on-the-Lake.) If I could stand the cold, I’d retire to Canada. Maybe for the syrup alone…(okay, no, but for the wineries and courtesy, yes.)

  29. Larry

    Pearl, of Ottawa fame, led me to your Canadian Schmoozers post. And yes, as an occasional reader of Pearl’s blog, I agree she is one smart Canadian blogger.

    As for Saskatchewan, I grew up in Regina, the Queen City of the Plains, and headed out to Vancouver as quickly as I could. Saskatchewanians are hardy folk but contrary to popular belief expressed in some of the comments here, not everyone in Saskatchewan is Jewish. Many of us are your average bohunk Ukrainians — not that there’s anything wrong with that. BTW if you can imagine, some of us Canadian folk are gay too but alas again, not all gay Canadians are Jewish either.

    Here’s the Alex Trebeck (another Canadian) Jeopardy answer. “This Inuit structure forms the basis of the logo of the 2010 Winter Olympics to be held in Vancouver/Whistler.” Answer: “What is an inunnguaq.” Just some chit chat to throw out at the next cocktail party you may attend this summer.

    BTW it is politically incorrect to call the northern aboriginal people of Canada Eskimos.

    Did I mention some Canadians tend to be a tad verbose and didactic? Sorry, that would be describing me and not generalizing to all Canadians who tend to be a polite group of people I’ve heard.

  30. Moviequill

    my Canadian heritage permits me to stand at attention and salute our glorius flag… even if I am sitting down

  31. Joan

    I guess you forgot me, and to think I send you a picture of my tree in fall. Oy!
    Sad Winnpeg Canuck..

  32. Neil

    Joan, that’s not fair. You don’t say you are Canadian on your blog profile. And I can’t hear your accent.

  33. Therese

    Yes, you’re right. I live in Calgary now, I used to live in the Maritimes, but they’re both in Canada.

    I thought you had completely completely forgotten me, but it turns out that you hadn’t. 😉

  34. Neil

    I wouldn’t forget you. Isn’t Calgary where they have the Stampede?

  35. Therese

    Yes. Home of the Calgary Stampede. 🙂

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