the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Signs of the Times

I wasn’t lying when I said I bought a web-cam.  But maybe I shouldn’t tell you that I got it for 75% off at Radio Shack.   Hey, that’s a great bargain!  Even my mother said so.

OK, so now what do I do with it?   What?!  I’m just asking. 

In other news, my mother dumped me today to go out with her friends to see “Sex and the City,” and didn’t even invite me.  How do I become so co-dependent in my marriage when my mother so easily drops me like the British tea in Boston Harbor (please note the clever American history reference for Independence Day).  Well, whatever.  I’m not going to stick a feather in my cap and call it macaroni over the whole thing.

You know, I haven’t had macaroni and cheese for ages.  I need to buy a box of that Kraft stuff to see if I still like it.

So, how did I become so co-dependent?   It must have been my father.  Yeah, it was him.

So, today is July 4th.  Despite our country’s faults, America is a cool place.   I know July 4th is all about liberty, justice, pursuit of happiness, and other American values — but in my opinion, our greatest gift to the world is free speech. 

May we always protect our right to free speech.

In honor of this important American value, I’d like to bring up the Pelcorp Management Company again.   On my last trip back to my old Queens neighborhood, I reported on how Kissena Boulevard, the street down the block, looked like a slum because 75% of the stores were shuttered, with graffiti everywhere.  Many of the stores have been closed for TEN years, despite a thriving community.  Why?  The plan seems to be to slowly force everyone out when the leases are up, so the management company  could bring in a K-Mart, or something similar.  While this is promising for the future, the entire block has been an eyesore for a decade. 

As I wrote in the previous post —

Despite a history of New York building, the fourth generation of builders now “specializes in the marketing and sale of luxury properties in Palm Beach County. This includes waterfront, country club, and other estate properties.”

The Kissena Boulevard holdings, one of their four retail holdings still in New York, must be their least attractive holding, compared to their shiny new malls in Florida. No wonder they seem so disinterested in the upkeep of Kissena Boulevard!

So, let me once again mention Prescott Lester and his Pelcorp Management Company (why did their website suddenly disappear?) on this July 4th.    Thank you, free speech!   Thank you, America.  Mr. Prescott, you are always welcome to comment here or write me – and give me your side of the story on how your company intends to enhance the community, and why shops like the bakery were left to rot for a decade. 

I wish the best to all the hard-working immigrants who owned these stores and now were forced to move, or give up their businesses.   Of course, I like to look on the positive side of things.   With some of these new Americans out of work –  they can spend more time taking spelling lessons.


  1. adena

    I love that the first misspelling was a banner that looks like it was professionally made.

    Handwritten signs are one thing…but, if you’re going to PAY for something, wouldn’t you want to make sure that it’s right?

  2. Winter

    Get the Velveeta and shells, Neil. Not the Kraft stuff with the orange powder. Mac and cheese on the 4th is VERY American! Happy 4th!

  3. anymommy

    I can’t believe I’m the third commenter and Winter already said it for me! Velveeta is the Mac and Cheese bomb. And I have three kids under three, so I know.

    Yay founding fathers – nothing like a little oppression to clue you in to what’s important in a constitution. Happy 4th.

  4. John

    “…I need to buy a box of that Kraft stuff to see if I still like it.

    I just came from the store with that very item. You know, because it’s the Fourth of July and, as you said, what’s more American than macaroni? Wait, did you say that? Well, Winter said it, so it’s covered. I also bought some frozen brocccoli to mix in with it, so it’s, you know, …healthy and all. Now if you’ll excuse me, my macaronis are starting to boil. Happy Fourth!

  5. AnnieH

    Don’t know what to tell you about urban blight and real estate pirates. Hope that Karma really is the bitch everyone says she is.
    As for the Radio Shack basement bargain special…”Step away from the WebCam.” Go get yourself a couple of cherry bombs and a few sparklers and see what kind of merry mischief you can make. Today is a day celebrate our independence, and that my boy, means greasy food and loud popping noises.Pop away.

  6. Black Hockey Jesus

    These rogues pushing that Velveeta trash are fucking Communists, Neil. Go with your gut instinct and get the Kraft. What’s that Ginsberg hippie twaddle? “First thought, best thought”, right? Get the Kraft.

  7. Black Hockey Jesus

    I’m back. Kraft owns the Patriots, right? Well there you go. Happy 4th.

  8. Christine

    You know what’s really good? That Annie’s organic mac-n-cheese…although, that Velvetta is probably best.

    I think you need to do a taste test.

  9. Christine

    How ironic I misspelled Velveeta.

    Did I just misspell misspelled?

  10. Kelly

    Yay for free speech!

    Boo hiss for lame developers who don’t take care of their properties.

    Yay for signs with mistakes–I love ’em. They are a low form of humor, somewhat like puns, but I love ’em anyway. Painted on the outside wall of a restaurant in Monrovia, CA: “sandwichies”

  11. Poppy

    I thought people only bought webcams to do stripteases on the internet.

    Neil, are you doing stripteases on the internet now?!

    (My cam is built into my Mac. *cough*)

  12. linda woods

    I vote for the Kraft stuff with the orange powder. Neil, Jews don’t eat Velveeta.

  13. margaret

    waiting for the less than teas-y strip tease/strip…. w
    atched e’s friend vomit the orange mac barely out side my car door in a gas station parking lot on the way to shoot fireworks: will never eat the box stuff again

  14. Neil

    With web-cams, July 4th, and evil developers in this post, how did Macaroni and Cheese become the central point of your interest? Is food all you ever think about?

  15. Jane

    I await the naked webcam blog.

  16. V-Grrrl

    Velveeta. Neil eating it in slow motion, licking the spoon on the Web cam.

    Once you get the technology down, I’ll come visit and you can film me eating Italian chocolates for Jane. ; )

  17. Memarie Lane

    I want to get a webcam for front porch surveillance so I can catch the mailman sticking a package notice on my door without bothering to knock.

    Maybe “comice” is the Italian plural form?

  18. natalie

    what to do with a webcam? the question is what can’t you do with one? i think the possibilities are endless…but i think the idea of licking velveeta off a spoon sounds particularly nice!

  19. Samuel John Klein

    “Marvel Comice”

    Marvel has a copyright on a pear with superpowers?

    I knew this sort of thing would happen with GMO foods, but did anyone listen? Obviously not.

  20. better safe than sorry

    happy 4th of july!
    there are tons of different types of mac and cheese now, you can even buy one for the microwave, but my kids still prefer when i make mac and cheese from scratch. it’s just mac with a white sauce and add lots of cheese. lots of cheese is the key.

  21. Bec

    The Brits (yes, the ones you opened a big can of whoopass on) are having a bad spelling day. On BBC News (yes, the damned BBC!) there was a lovely little graphic showing where the Taliban were hiding with arrows saying Taliban Posistion.

    Just put your ‘u’s back into words and you can keep the colony, k?

    Happy 4th. Yes, I know I’m late to the party. Much like George the 3rd.

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