Thursday, December 27, 2007

WTF Article: Consumer Confidence Rises

From the Inquirer, titled "Consumer Confidence Rises in December":

The nation's consumers grew slightly more confident in December despite underlying concerns about the health of the U.S. economy.

The New York-based Conference Board said Thursday that its Consumer Confidence Index advanced to 88.6 in December from a revised 87.8 in November. It was the first increase since July.

How can I comprise like this and start commenting on dumbass articles about the economy? "Confidence" my nuts. I withdrew from intro to micro Freshman year so I could get drunk on Tuesday nights.

Wall Street expected a slight drop to a reading of 87.0, according to Thomson/IFR. Analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance had projected a stronger 87.5 showing.

Consumer confidence is defined from Wikipedia as "the degree of optimism on the state of the economy that consumers are expressing through their activities of savings and spending".

Hey, just because I had to buy my brother and his fiance a weekend reservation at the Jersey shore because I forgot his birthday, doesn't mean shit about how I feel towards the economy.

But thank god our consumer confidence index rose a whole point during Christmas season. I guess we can forget the subprime crisis, stagnant wages, the resignation to watered-down Miller High Life cases, and driving without airbags because some poor schmoes stole them from my car to probably finance their own Christmas presents, or at least use them to make toy parachutes.

Despite this wonderful news, however, the article tells us what we already know:

"Consumers' short-term outlook regarding business conditions, employment, inflation and stock prices improved marginally," Franco said.

Still, she added: "Persistent declines in the present situation index indicate the economy is still losing momentum."

That index, which measures how consumers feel now about the economy, has been weakening since July and fell again in December to 108.3 from 115.7 the month before.

This reflects growing pessimism about the job market , a key contributor to consumer confidence and consumer spending.

Jesus, I honestly will refuse to do this anymore unless the article deals with marijuana, debutantes, or street crime. It's boring as all hell. Why aren't more bloggers like me? why don't they have original content? Don't they have anything to say about Red Bull? "The White Rapper Show"? Perhaps a funny anecdote about a homeless man on Broad Street?

In fact, a growing number of those surveyed say jobs are hard to get and fewer say jobs are plentiful, Franco said."

So, despite the headline "Consumer Confidence Rises in December", the overall gist is that we are actually screwed.

Hahah I'm not screwed. I just got an iphone. Time to check the appreciation on my inheritance. I'm gonna buy a loft apartment in Savannah, Georgia for the hell of it. Then, I'm gonna burn it down just like in that Coldplay song. You know, the one where Chris Martin is trying to destroy the place to erase the bad memories of something that happened to someone there? I actually thought "A Rush of Blood to the Head" was kinda decent. Yeah; I know it's unfashionable to say that, but let me tell you: Scott is not about following trends. He does what he feels, and he's burn that place down regardless of what happened to anyone there.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Conversations about work that go nowhere (aka mostly all of them)

Conversation with public school teacher scenario #1

Me: So, you're a public school teacher?

Her: Yes

Me: Are you some kind of idealist, trying to CHANGE KID'S LIVES?

Her: hehe, yeah I try to do that.

Me: ...


Conversation with Public school teacher scenario #2

Me: I hear it's always a couple of trouble makers who bring the rest of the class down.

Her: Yes.

Me: I'm gonna go get another beer.

Conversation with school teacher scenario #3

Me: So you're a public school teacher? What grade?

Her: 7th grade

Me: Oh man, that's the worst, isn't it?

Her: Definitely, I have one student who just jumps around the room bouncing on furniture. He's too big, so I have to bring in another teacher to restrain him.

Me: That sounds awful. I guess that's public schools for you.

Her: It's a Charter School.

Me: Oh yeah?

Her: Yeah

Me: ...

Her: ...

Me ...So, do you watch The Wire? They have a good season about schools.

Her: No.


Conversation between two guys in marketing

Me: I'm in marketing.

Guy: So am I.

Me: ...

Guy: ...

Me: ...

Guy: ...

Me: You go first.

Conversation with guy in PR:

Me: What do you do in your position?

Guy: Write press releases, develop communications materials, maintain client relations, coordinate events.

Me: *Woken up by startling noise in the background* Oh...Yeah? I hear there's a lot of girls in PR.

Guy: It's pretty sweet; about a 70/30 ratio.

Me: THAT'S ALL I EVER NEEDED TO KNOW, DUDE! *heartlily slaps back*

Me, Ryan, and seemingly every one of our Philly guy friend's conversations with girls at the Philly Art Museum:

Guy: So where do you work?

Girl: Philadelphia Art Museum

*begin tearing each other's clothes off. Start relationship/fling/rebound hook-up that ends in heartbreak/mutual split that turns partisan/marriage.*

Editor's note: Welcome men, to the local 47 Dater's Union of Philadelphia Art Museum girls. Please contribute 100 dollars in dues to the monthly brunch fund. Bear in mind that although I have 99 problems, I never worked in the museum, and the two girls that I got involved with had left/were leaving the museum at the time of start-up. My 100th problem, therefore, does not concern that of a female who currently works at the PMA. Nonetheless, I empathize with you, son.

Conversation about work that turns to discussing Internet surfing at work:

A heartfelt, flowing, humorous and dynamic conversation follows that touches on all aspects of the human condition.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A supposedly fun thing i'll never do again....or will I?

I'd like to think I'm somehow above the whims and fancies of the young and urban. When everyone around me is riding fixed-gear bikes, piling on the american apparel and registering for library school, I'd really like to be driving a Passat, buying a SFH in Catonsville and finishing up my MBA. Totes j/k! There are many stupid fucking trends out there that I wish I could resist and am forever hating on, but for some reason, my complete lack of will prevents me from standing strong. A list of the worst:

1. Cupcakes. Cakelove used to be on the tongue of every hip little Feist-lovin’ girl new to DC. Like their namesake, these Cupcake Girls are sickeningly sweet. They actually have dates where they go out and eat cupcakes! Why did cupcakes become trendy among the lady-tweener set? Because they’re just like cake, but much cuter. Like ballet slippers, sundresses and Maggie Gyllenhaal, cupcakes and Cupcake Girls are dainty, lovable and completely saccharine. I would barf, but I too wear leggings, have a dog that weighs under 20 pounds, went to a Lily Allen concert and have a refrigerator full of ‘em:

There's not even weed in there.

2. Oversized Sunglasses. We all know The Tweener's longstanding problem with big shades, and yes, I understand...bug-eyed Nicole-Richie poseurs are not hot! But...ugh...what are my options?!

I don't wanna.

They hide my glazed, tired, weary eyes most efficiently and thoroughly. I don't think I look like Jackie O, alright?

Look for me in Summer 08.

3. Social Networks. My current pattern goes: join, quit, join, quit, join, join, quit, quit, join. Why can't I resist the charms of myfacebookster? What have social networks given us but a look at the horrid music tastes of sort-of cute boys, a temporary ego boost upon peeping all the formerly hot, now fat people from high school, and an outlet for showing the world just how interesting, irreverent, smart, etc. we are? Every quip becomes a potential 'headline,' every conversation a chance to leave a 'wall post.' It's pathetic. But, still...

Has anyone tried the new "Compare People" application yet? It's the best, except when a question like "who would I rather sleep with?" comes up and the contenders are your brother vs. your cousin. But you have to decide! This stuff is really serious.

And that's the end of my first post on trendy things I can't resist. Tune in next time, when I tell you all about my love-hate relationships with coke, i-pods and anal sex. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Tweener Announces New Hiring

Due to unexpected growth, The Tweener today announces the opening of its one-person DC/MD bureau.

Please welcome Maryland correspondent Amy. Amy is result of The Tweener's desire to cross the gender barrier and expand regionally. After receiving dozens of resumes from skilled freelancers across the beltway region, we chose Amy using our most important tie-breaker: Physical attractiveness. You see, being that the two male contributors to The Tweener are very attractive, we could settle for nothing less from our female counterpart. Amy's first post will be over this weekend, while you are all hungover.

Amy likes Charleston, S.C. She hates sushi. She'll reveal the rest of her interests over time, you over-zealous prick. Why do you have to know about everything? *Pushes reader*.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Tweener's Best of 07 list Part 1

Best Album: The Bees, Octopus

This album only has four great songs, but they are better than anyone else's great songs, so they win. The Bees are a British band that are unfashionable because they have a lot of dub and soul influences. That's so gay. Where's the fucking Kraut-rock jamz, doods? What about "sister ray" by the Velvet Underground? ! What do you guys have to say about that!?

In all seriousness, though, despite all the talk of indie rock being too white, all the good and popular bands these days have a little soul in their step. Spoon. TV on the Radio. M.I.A. Of Montreal. I embrace this trend with open arms, because I reserve the hope that one day, I will never have to hear another fucking word about Lou Reed or NEU! again.

Runner up: Of Montreal, Whatever it's called.

Best Show: Kurt Vile, West Philly Basement

I was so inspired by this searing, wall-of-sound, free jazz mixed with straight-ahead songwriting cocktail that I went out and scored a goal in my first 7-on-7 soccer game the next morning despite not knowing what soccer was.

Sportsman of the year: Lionel Messi, Barcelona FC/Argentina

I know what you're thinking: "You goddamn communist! A soccer player?!". Listen fellas, I love the NBA, NFL, and MLB, but let's face the reality that American athletes are roided genetic freaks who act like pieces of shit. Don't you think it's cute when the media tries to include some of personal tragedy story in every athlete's profile? "Oh yeah, it was tough when my best friend died in an car accident when I was nine. From that day on, I vowed to become the greatest tight-end in all of college football. I guess I kind of owe my 4.3 forty and 60 inch vertical leap to him". Fuck you, you narcissistic asshole. I hope you take enough hits over your career that you can't move after age 35. What are you gonna owe to your dead friend at that point?

Just look at Lionel Messi, however. A five-foot nothing, pug-ugly runt who is a magician with the soccer ball. I bet that motherfucker is just happy to be where he is. Players like Messi are the reason why soccer is appealing escapism: the sport's best players look like normal people that you could have a beer with. Most of them aren't even strong enough to rack up sexual assault charges. Yet, their wives are hotter than other athlete's.

Soccer players: Proving evolutionary-psychology wrong since 1500 B.C.

Best City I visited: Portland, Oregon

A combined bar/classic arcade. Doughnut shops that offer Captain Crunch as toppings. record stores that sell an ample supply of funkadelic t-shirts. Endless coffee shops. Beer available everywhere. Free, abundant public transportation. A vibrant music scene. Majestic bridges, mountains, and parks, all situated about fifteen minutes from each other. And finally, throngs of homeless people who sell dank weed.

Yes, Portland is what would happen if hipsters and hippies combined to make a city. And guess what: It is not a total disaster like you'd expect, but actually pretty amazing. I have no idea if it's any fun to live there, though. I'm guessing there aren't any jobs, so don't pack your shit up just yet.

Best Book: None

I can't read (read: Didn't read).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Money pledged from one shady, barely competent city organization to another!

In a move that has widespread ramifications for how the Philadelphia taxpayer's money is wasted on our crumbling city institutions, the corrupt, state-owned Philadelphia Parking Authority has agreed to provide 3.07 million to the fiscally irresponsible, state-owned Philadelphia School District. This sure-to-be-inconsequential pledge can be attributed to Mayor elect Nutter's powerful influence over how our city bureaucracy will ultimately let us down.

As we can see, the PPA has engaged in some shady business practices over the years:

By legislative agreement, the city gets the first $25 million in parking enforcement profits, while the rest goes to the schools. But since the state seized control of the authority in 2001, the agency has typically fallen well short of that threshold and exceeded it only in 2004.

That financial track record prompted a series of articles in The Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News over the last two months that examined the authority's free-spending ways, including a doubling of the agency's staff, the high salaries of its top executives, big consulting contracts and more.

"free spending ways"? Parking Authority!? As we can see, the Republican-dominated PPA ownership loaded the institution with patronage jobs and no-bid contracts to friends. Let's face it: if you're gonna be stuck in a job that's as soul-sucking as parking authority management, you might as well get your Gordon Gecko on and cook the books as much as you can. In fact, the Republican Party must have treated the PPA as some sort of prison colony for their underperfoming lackeys, and whoever they assigned to these positions must have decided to turn it into their own Australia: High deficits, gradual privatization, and an income base that draws from the mistakes of 18-25 something Americans (PPA: Ticketing me constantly. Australia: Relying on the tourism of University of Texas coeds who think there's actually something in Australia other than the outback, weird accents and Romper Stomper.)

As we can see below, the PPA initially tried to lowball the city on this deal:

After a few days, the authority came back proposing a $700,000 increase in its payment to the city. Nutter said he told them that wasn't enough. The final deal was worked out Friday, Nutter said.

The extra money for the city and schools came after insistent requests by Parents United for Public Education.

"The parents deserve a tremendous amount of credit," Nutter said. "They came upon this issue, focused on this issue, and drew some serious attention to it, and they are the true champions here."

Thanks to the good work of Parents United and Mayor Nutter, the Philadelphia School District will now have 3 million to throw away into a budget black hole. The good news, however, is that at least 100,000 dollars won't disappear, and it will be used to buy four new computers, eight 2007 edition textbooks, and possibly a mobile "music class Winnebago" that will service 150 different schools for one 50-minute period a year. The remaining 67,000 of that money will be spent on alcohol for the annual PPA and Philadelphia School District joint X-mas party. They are both owned by the state, after all.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Whole Foods

Ahhh, organic food. The wave of the future. No pesticides, no preservatives, no South American Juntas.

Too bad it tastes terrible.

Excuse me; the Whole Foods hot bar tastes terrible. You see, I’m a big fan of wasting money, and nothing is bigger waste than a ¼ pound of black cherry chicken from the hot bar. I’ve realized, therefore, that everything from Whole Foods must’ve been sprayed by a gigantic can of bland. The lasagna tastes the same as the lamb curry. The hot wings taste the same as the potato latkes. The Chicken Kiev tastes like regular Kiev.

Is this our future? Is everything we eat going to taste like it was sprayed by the Whole Foods bland can? And is it going to cost 113 dollars for a serving of macoroni and cheese?

I mean, come’on. Inflation? High interests rates? Wage stagnation?

Fuck that, everyone is just eating at Whole Foods.

I’ll take the pesticides and certain death, please.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday Staff Parties

Get to stop working at 3
Free food
Convo with the pretty girl from reception
Alcoholic drinks
Holiday spirit
Probably something you can steal for that Secret Santa bullshit on Monday
Heart-to-heart with department head buys you some slack

Still at work while not working
Vegan crap
Ex-girlfriend standing next to pretty girl from reception
Drinking with assholes got old in college
Holiday spirit
Everyone knows you're a thief
Department head slowly realizing just how fucked up you are

Have a swell Thursday

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Spam-Bots: An Appreciation

Within the next few weeks, one of our ideas will play out on video via our friends’ Seattle news parody show, Seattle Untimely. We don’t want to reveal too much right now, but let’s just say it involves a scene in the movie Boiler Room.

Anyway; myself and one of Seattle Untimely’s writer/actors, Charlie Stockman, were recently discussing our love of spam-bots. From your worst Viagra ad, to an old ‘friend’ notifying you of a new securities investment opportunity, to the most impassioned bots the internet has seen yet, Ron Paul supporters, spam-bots are the raging underclass of internet society. All over the place, we are seeing self-sufficient spam communities sprout up their own cultures and traditions. For example, just years ago, Myspace was the sole domain of humans. Nowadays, the spammers have moved into the neighborhood, and have caused a veritable ‘white flight’ of social networkers from Myspace to the gated community of Facebook. Although Facebook promises safety, it comes at the expense of the html pictures, the profile songs, and the seizure-inducing customizable pages of the vibrant Myspace culture. You may get mugged or even have your identity stolen by a spam-bot; but there’s soul there, man. It’s just like New York in the 1970s: You can guarantee that in thirty years, we’ll have a new generation of cultural critics who will write about spam-written Abercrombie bulletin posts in the same breath as Lou Reed, Patti E. Smith, and CBGBs. And just like those critical treatises on New York punk, you’ll want to murder someone after 10 sentences.

Spam-bots are usually considered to be inarticulate thugs trying to lure you into the ‘dark alley’ (i.e. getting you to click on their link) in order to steal your shit. Further examination, however, reveals them to be more intelligent in regards to their scheming than we initially think. Remember two years ago, where a ton of people started to post those “see who is viewing your profile!” bulletins on Myspace? In this case, the spammers turned the vanity of people against themselves by soliciting clicks on some profile tracker service that was actually spam-bot fraud.

That wasn’t all they accomplished with this scheme, however. While everyone was posting profile tracker bulletins and getting spammed, a backlash occurred when people responded with those “don’t click on the profile tracker bulletins – they are fake!”posts. Eventually, the Myspace bulletin board got so flooded with profile tracker and anti-profile tracker posts that it was extremely difficult to determine who the bigger asshole was: The tracker or the anti-tracker bulletin poster. In essence, the spam-bots turned a whole community against each under the pretense of a totally useless and narcissistic pursuit – just like real life!

So; today is the day we tip our hats to the spam-botters and demand a holiday in their honor. They’ve suffered for too long without rights in our constitution. If you have special spam-bot memories, post them in the comments.

Tomorrow: We propose the “Where’s Al Sharpton” spam-bot

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Tweener takes on the news pt. 2: Fatal Stabbing

The "Tweener Takes on the News" is a weekly series by the Tweener to perform the functions of an average internet weblog, or "blog".

Low and behold, I open up my online paper today, and those clowns at that the Inquirer are clowning again. Let's take a look at this absurd story, titled "Man Fatally Stabbed in South Philly this Morning":

A man was stabbed to death this morning in the 1900 block of South Mole Street, police said.

Whoa! Looks like someone got stabbed!

The victim, an Asian male in his 60s, was stabbed several times in the abdomen. He also had a gash on the back of his head.

As you can plainly see, this is the part of the article where the writer introduces more details of the stabbing.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:36 a.m.

7:36? That's an interesting time...

Oh fuck, let's just use this article to talk about the following:

Michael Nutter. Stop n' Frisk. Sugarhouse Casino. Free Wi-fi. Sugarhouse Casino. Jocelyn Kirsch. Joey Vento. Free Wi-Fi. Vento. Philadelphia Weekly article on slam poetry. Joey Vento. Sugarhouse. Nutter. Free Wi-Fi. Brady or Manning? Stop n' Frisk. Jocelyn Kirsch.

Serious commentary:

With all the news going on in Philly, it's good to know that the Inquirer still has time to print 15 word stories on homicides that are completely divorced of context and any other useful information. Like most Philly murder stories, there will be little follow-up that will explore the motives, the victim, and the state of neighborhood where this murder occured.

Most murder stories in Philadelphia newspapers, as well as newspapers accross the country, suffer from fragmentation bias. They do not provide the details that allow the reader connect them to greater social and economic problems that they are linked to.

For example, most people think that the majority of city homicides are related to drugs. This is incorrect. Most homicides are the result of arguments.

What are these arguments usually about? Although the news rarely explores the point of contention that leads to murder, one could assume it would be money.

Guess what is difficult and time-consuming for a reporter to follow? Money disputes.

In the end, therefore, we hear time and time again about murder with little understanding of the motivations of the culprits. The accumulation of these stories leaves the reader with a depiction of the city as an apocolyptic hell-hole where violence is random at all times. The reality is that within these poor neighborhoods where the murders occur, the underground economy operates in more areas than just drugs. For example, an auto mechanic might fix a neighbor's shocks in exchange for that neighbor to put up a new dry wall in his house, because neither have the money to pay each other. When such an agreement breaks down, who is going to come in and mediate that dispute?

Not a lawyer, that's for sure.

Sorry to get all preachy on you, but this last line explains it all to me:

Police are trying to determine a motive and suspects.

Then why are you printing this story?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Jocelyn Kirsch and Pole-Vaulting

That last thing I want to do is attract more googlers, who have come to my site looking for info on this now nationally-known scandel and then leave without even clicking on one of the dozens of other posts that have covered something other than their klepto, boring-ass former friends from high school/college. As per usual, there are dozens of facebook groups being started so every nitwit who so much as made eye-contact with one of the perpetrators can provide some useless personal anecdote in hopes of getting a reporter to interview them. My favorites are always the ones like this: "I knew Eddie, I was on the swim team with him. This is crazy, I hope whatever happens will straighten him out". Hey broseph, why don't you just encode a spam-bot to write your post if your gonna be so generic? At least there'll be the possibility that your bot will be selling adderall.

So anyway, I'd like to commend Jocelyn Kirsch on concocting an awesome lie that raised my respect for her big-time: The tale of her being an olympic pole-vaulter. The inquirer took the article down for some reason, but Jocelyn Kirsch supposedly told everyone that she qualified for 2004 Athens olympics as a vaulter. She even posted a muddled facebook picture of her scaling an olympic height, when the person clearly wasn't her.

The reality was that Kirsch only vaulted for about a year. It is appropriate that she was a vaulter, as it fits her character perfectly in the context of track & field: Pole-vaulters are the moneyed gentry of track. They lie down on a padded mat all practice long catching a sun tan, only interrupting things for an occasional "run-through". Meanwhile, the 4 by 800 team is vomiting up their lunch after the twelfth interval.

I ain't mad at her for lying, though, because as a former pole-vaulter, I exaggerated my exploits quite a bit too. For example, I told everyone in college that my personal best was 11'6' to get laid, when in fact it was and even 11'. I also bragged about finishing third in the Maryland private school school championships of 99', making it sound extremely impressive, when in fact there were only about twelve teams competing in the whole thing, and only five of them had pole-vaulters.

Hey, high-school friends, remember when I came home from the Annapolis relays with a gold medal and a first place finish? Remember how much we were celebrating?

What I neglected to mention was that me and my two teammates finished first as a vaulting TEAM, and the only reason we won is because every other team got disqualified on the opening height. In essence, we won without even doing anything except clearing the opening height of 8'6'; a height so low that even Thom Yorke could dunk on it.

That was the first pop-culture joke of the Tweener. I pray to God it'll be the last.

In conclusion, us pole-vaulters really like to get high (ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Snaps!). Getting so high causes us to exaggerate the truth. In the end, however, Jocelyn Kirsch had the ambition not just to add six inches to her personal best (breasts), but also claim that she competed in the olympics, steal other's identities, and go wherever the hell she pleased. Meanwhile, the rest of us pole-vaulters are left to history's cruel whims, banished to a life of counseling at Lebanon, PA summer camps and high-school track & field assistant coach jobs.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Words of Advice on two topics

The miserable end to what has been a fairly decent opening semester is finally approaching. We will essentially be done on monday. Much content is to follow (but fuck that, you already have almost-daily content). Maybe there will be bells and whistles, like some sort of embedded audio "cast" that can be uploaded into your portable MP3 player, or "i-Pod" if you will.

I have some quick words of advice today.

2000-2004 Hippie Friends

Since Bonnarro went half-indie, half-jam band around the year 2006, I assume the college hippie of yesteryear has gone extinct. I don't know what the new amalgamation is like, because we don't tolerate that bullshit in Philly. I will, however, tell you of the misery of hanging out with hippies during the years referenced above.

Back in the day, you would be confronted with the possibility of hippie friends at a small liberal arts school that didn't have hipsters (aka not Oberlin. Remember, a lot has changed in three years), or a state school in a state that sucked (University of Maryland). You would have to choose between fratboys and hippies; there was really no middle ground.

Generally, it was ok to have one hippie friend. Having two was pushing it. Having a whole group where the majority are hippies caused your brain to melt. Let's go over the traits of these hippies:

-They weren't funny or witty

-They didn't read

-Most weren't athletic; the ones that were hated sports

-For all their love of music, it was limited to one genre, they could not talk about it coherently, and they could rarely can play any instruments themselves.

You probably already know about this, but I just wanted any hippie who reads this to be aware that they aren't welcome here.

Don't cry; you deserve it ten-fold. When you start talking about what songs you like by the Rolling Stones and the Talking Heads because Phish covered them, thereby making it 'permissible' to listen to them, you've pretty much indicated that you are a shell of a human being.

"Jesus Christ, I know Phish covered them, but is really ok to like these Rolling Stones people? Will this be ok with my peers?" *Reluctantly purchases Hot Rocks Volume 1*

To say everything that needs to be said about the 2000-04 hippie, we have the Bongo, or hand drum. Every hippie claims to 'play' this at some point. Is there any instrument more boring than hand drums? It's also completely asinine to play them, because Jam bands almost never used hand drums! How are you going to learn to play an instrument when you don't listen to any records that use them!?

Hand drum playing represents the hippie's lack of commitment to anything of substance. It requires the least amount of skill to fake-play. The only way you could be cool if you played hand drums is if you were in Fela Kuti's band, or Santana circa 1966-69. Hippies never listened to either group.

Thank God these people are easily avoidable now.

*Hateful post reflects author's poor life choices*

Pop Music Reviews

A pop music review is useful for two things: Telling you if the writer liked it, and telling you what the record sounds like in general.

After receiving that information, usually in the first paragraph, is there really a point to continuing? Most reviews just delve into overwrought meditations on individual songs and lyrics, which are completely useless. What do you care if you can't hear the song they're talking about? A pop music review that talks about the qualities of individual songs beyond "good/bad" and "sounds/like" is essentially a circle jerk between the writer and himself, and yet we see this all the time.

One paragraph reviews should be the norm

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The stupid projects a creative marketing firm will take on to make money

I'd like to bring everyone's attention to the worst business idea of all time.

It was a client that Z*gz*g Net had picked up in the Summer of 2006. Simply visiting the Client's site these days makes me crack up at the hilariously predictable failure it is now.

The client's purpose was serve as an itunes-style online audio/video purchasing site. You know, kind of like itunes.

This media site, however, would focus on independent and unsigned artists. On this site, they could sell their music and movies to the magical people who would actually pay for them in the era of Youtube and Myspace.

On this kind of site, music sales would be the bread and butter. You know, kind of like itunes.

For those of you who don't know, this is generally how one makes it at a very basic level as a musical artist:

1.) Creates demo/makes connections with musicians or venue promoters
2.) Gets early shows on the basis of demo or connections.
3.) Success of early shows brings consistent bookings. Hopefully open for a popular local act at a big local venue or at a city nearby.
4.) Create EP to sell at shows for small fanbase. Post EP on Myspace. Play festivals, showcases etc.
5.) Continue playing until picked by local act for a tour or by a promoter for a big showcase. Repeat until signed.

This is the pattern with few exceptions. Musicians initially make money off of shows. The music they record in their early stages will be free, period, until they are signed.

Unsigned: Free recorded music
Signed: For sale

There is no demand to pay for an artist's independent music, unless they are really good. If that is the case, they will be signed by SOME label. There are tons of them out there.

This is really not that difficult to understand, yet Z*gz*g's client thought they would make money by providing an online purchasing sight for artists who have little-to-no buzz. They wanted to buy ads in mainstream hip-hop magazines like The Source, XXL, etc., not realizing that independent hip-hop artists and the minute amount of fans they have hate big-media publications like The Source and never read them.

That isn't the worst offense, however. After all this talk of an independent music purchasing site; you know, kind of like itunes for nobodies, what did they name it? WHAT DID THEY ACTUALLY NAME THIS SHIT?



You can't find iVisionLive on the web unless you type it out exactly how it is. Not "iVision", not "i vision live", but only "iVisionLive". A sight with absolutely no major players backing it better be easy to locate via google search, but they couldn't even get this right while still ripping off the name of the most well-known file purchasing site in history.

So, a year into its launch, iVisionLive has no content except two hip-hop beats, and the movie "The Illusionist", which I doubt is actually available, and nonetheless defeats the purpose of the whole site's independent vibe. Z*gz*g Net did the website design and logo.

I invite you to take a look

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Tweener takes on the "news"

Over the weekend, a colleague of ours told us that we should tackle more current events and happenings in the Philadelphia area. This blog is a little unfocused, he told us.

You know what I say to THAT BULLSHIT?!

Fine, you win.

Each week, I will put focus to an article in the Inquirer that raises an eyebrow. Last week, it was the marijuana bust. This week, I want to shed light on a new criminal element in this city: young 20-something douchebags. Before we get to the story of these two thievin' bastards, I want to say a few things.

Now, as you know, I certainly appreciate America. But as you may not know, I think that the majority of this current young generation of Americans are pretty messed up. Like my man D'Angelo once sang, they are all out for a slice of the devil's pie. Status is the objective, and it is turning some of us into the living dead.

For men, they want to be Vinnie Chase. They believe that Entourage is something more than watchable crap that is tipping dangerously into unwatchable territory. They want the monies and the womens. Unfortunately for them, success on that level requires these pesky things called talent and passion. Today's male prep-school alumni don't really have the talent or passion for anything other than flip-cup.



Let me say that again...FLIP-CUP


For most women, ambition is something that begins and ends with a nationally syndicated sex-column. What would Carrie Bradshaw do? For starters, hire better writers for her show.

So, in the article I linked to, we have the tale of a young Rittenhouse couple who perpetuated large-scale identity theft on their neighbors to buy designer clothes, Ikea furniture, and tickets to Paris, among others.

Let's take a look at the profile:

Jocelyn Kirsch, 22, and Edward Anderton, 25, both of Chestnut Street near 18th, were arrested Friday on charges of stealing some of their neighbors' identities and establishing credit lines in their names.

The duo also burglarized at least two of their neighbors' apartments and, police allege, they then faked Georgia state driver's licenses so they could open credit card accounts.

Anderton and Kirsch were charged with identity theft, conspiracy, unlawful use of a computer, forgery and a slew of other offenses, said Lt. George Ondrejka of Central Detectives.

Kirsch, a Drexel University student who is a former member of the sorority Delta Phi Epsilon, according to a Drexel Web site, and Anderton, a 2005 University of Pennsylvania graduate who was fired from his analyst job with Lubert-Adler Real Estate Funds, had just tried to pick up a lingerie package they had ordered from England.

Let me make a number of baseless extrapolations:

In this profile, we see the failures of both perpetrators that led to them to such desperate acts. For Anderton, it was being fired from his analyst job. For Kirsch, it was going to a lesser school like Drexel (I kid) and probably being part of only the 2nd-best sorority.

I feel for Anderton. Losing an analyst job is nothing to sneeze at. He must have really sucked at golf. Getting fired, however, is practically a right of passage for young men these days.

For Kirsch, what can one say? There's nothing more humiliating than having less material status than your female friends, save for about a thousand other things.

So, in the end, these people couldn't even wait a few years to get the wealth that they craved. They didn't decide to downgrade their 3,000 a-month apartment for something in the 'ghetto' like Nothern Liberties, or perhaps look for new jobs. Nope, they decided to pray on their neighbors to compete with the other Penn graduates who probably had more connections than Anderton, and thus were superior.

This is our generation. Gotta compete by any means necessary, even if the competition is rigged and there are other games out there to play and win. To people who resemble Kirtch and Anderton, I say: Look at a map. America's a big place you fucking idiot. Is it really that hard to move somewhere in which you don't feel endless social pressure? Close your Facebook profile if you are so embarrassed about getting fired.

So, in the end, embrace failure early and often, turn it into some sort of success, and forget about what other people in your generation think because they all grew up on some sort of prescription drug.

Words to live by.

Friday, November 30, 2007

No Post Today

Do me a favor and watch the Hostel movies. Hostel 1 preferably. I don't find horror movies worth my time generally, but the first one is great. It's basically about a bunch of asshole guys backpacking through Europe who get tipped off to this Slovakian Hostel where the women will throw themselves at them. The Hostel and women are real, but the main characters start disappearing one-by-one, until the last one remaining eventually finds out that the hostel is just a conduit to send backpackers to a torture factory at the outskirts of town. This factory serves the rich elite, who bid exorbitant sums of money for an individual to torture.

The last remaining character gets captured, but escapes, and eventually dodges the corrupt authorities searching for him throughout the town and gets on a train. He then kills one the torturers, who was leaving the facility on the same train, in the Berlin station bathroom.


This movie is good because I could imagine this scenario happening to me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Marijuana Bust: Ways of Combating the Anxiety High

Yesterday, the Philadelphia Inquirer posted a front page article trumpeting a large-scale suburban Marijuana bust. They confiscated 812,000 dollars worth of weed, along with 12 pounds of mushrooms, in a successful raid that will surely impress the two people left in the United States who still think that marijuana should be taken seriously as a drug.


Now, phawker and philebrity have already slammed the Inquirer for treating this bust like a big deal. I would like to quickly bring attention, however, to the overdose angle of this article, starting with the opening line:

"A potent type of marijuana known as AK47 - so strong that some users are treated in emergency rooms for overdoses - has hit the Philadelphia area."

As Phawker points out, this article doesn't touch upon the drug overdose aspect again until nine paragraphs later, when a cop, not a medical official, is quoted:

"Hospitals are seeing more teens in emergency rooms because of the "overdose, effects and powerfulness of this drug," (narcotics Chief Inspector) Blackburn said, adding that overdoses are not "typical of marijuana, but it's typical of this type of marijuana.""

First off, let's get the obvious out of the way: Nobody fucking overdosed on AK47. Secondly, sweet job Inquirer on writing a 750 word article that only quotes one source. I mean, I know journalists only quote officials like cops, politicians, and aristocrats, but just one?

Could've used more voices other than Blackburn: B-.

Nonetheless, I'd like to use the overdose angle as a jump-off to discuss methods of dealing with the anxiety-high. Now, we know that nobody overdoses on weed, and the "overdoses" that the article references are no doubt the product of some inexperienced teenage girl freaking out, thinking the weed is "laced".

Sorry, but you'd have to be an idiot to waste time and money lacing weed. What people simply experience is an anxiety-high. It's the kind of high that is completely nonthreatening to your health, but freaks you out mentally. It's the type of high can cause a panic attack at the simple thought of, "you fucking idiot; why did you forget the zap-motion count the moment you finally got your chance at wing-back during Fresh/Soph football?". Of course, these 'panic' attacks are nothing, really, but they can make a high more uncomfortable than need be.

Here are the activities that can help ride the anxiety-high out of your system:

1. Driving

Nothing will eviscerate that distracting anxiety than engaging in an activity that will cause certain death if you screw up. Everyone is a little afraid to drive when too high, but after twenty minutes on the road, you've forgotten that you even smoked. There's a reason burn rides never have a designated driver.

2. Video Games

Sorry female readers, as well as male readers who still think they are cool, but I've tried all the methods, and video games are one of the best. Games provide the best outlet to cleanse your paranoia, because they require your active attention while not being intellectually strenuous. Plus, if you are playing a two-player game, it gets two stoners talking smack to each other while avoiding the worst pratfall of an anxiety-high: Conversation.

3. Music/Painting

Another active task that requires little intellectual strain. This one goes below video games, however, because you need to have actual skill to do these things.

4. Drinking shots/beer bongs/chugging/keg stands

Are you at a party where none of cures 1-3 are available? Then commence with getting drunk as fast as possible. It's the quickest way to destroy your weed-induced fear of everyone and get you socializing again.

Here are the activities you don't want to do during an anxiety-high:

1. Conversation

Disgusting. You have to think on your feet and keep the flow going, the worst activity when your mind is off the wall.

2. Movies

A passive activity that requires your full attention. If you are suffering an anxiety-high, you will constantly get distracted by whatever paranoid thoughts a scene or piece of dialogue triggers in your head. In addition to exacerbating your condition, you will also forget the whole movie. Note: Does not apply when watching a movie in a theatre, where you are stuck in one spot and have to pay attention.

3. Writing

Writing when high causes gimmicks like this.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Q: Dear Tweener, is there a way to turn crack back into cocaine?

A: Sadly, no. Poor people are to cocaine what Scientology was to Tom Cruise. They take the young vibrant energy of a Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, the unbridled panache of Cole Trickle, the devil-may care sunglasses of Joel Goodsen, and turn it into the better-than-nothing time-killer of white Samurais and special agents with an extra tooth in the middle. No, you'll never get that coke back. Just smoke the crack and next time get your drugs before you go out instead of from the first guy who approaches you as you stumble home.

Q: Tweener, can you handle the truth?

A: This is an interesting question, and one close to our hearts, because The Tweener lives on Jessup street, named after Colonel Jessup, Jack Nicholson's character in A Few Good Men fame. I can handle the truth ten months out of the year and even smoke it during that timeframe; the other two are tricky.

Q: What do I want for Christmas this year?

A: Well, you'll want some new tubes and chambers, as the old ones are getting pretty dingy. You'll want some t-shirts, like maybe some Washington Bullets or Mathletes BS, or maybe just go for the brass ring and get one that says "Tennyson? I was Golfin'!" You'll want a gift certificate to Standard Tap so you can get the steak and eggs this New Years instead of the peach and horseradish breakfast burrito. You'll also want the Legend DVD, which you can leave randomly about as an icebreaker, and an Andrew McCarthy poster (if you can locate this item, please alert the Tweener, as we can't find one anywhere). Finally, toiletries, you've been looking a bit ragged lately.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ignorant Comments Day

Dear regular readers,

What I love about life, and when I say 'life', I mean 'internet comment pages', is the stuff that people post that they couldn't get away with in the real world: Casual racism, misogyny, persecution of spam-bots etc. In my mind, there's nothing better than reading a news article about a murder by the El-Salvadorean MS-13 gang, and then seeing in the comments page:

"That's what happens when you live near black people".

Ignorant comments happen everywhere. Whether it be the most generic anti-Bush/Cheney blog, to the most obscure Sebadoh message board on the interwebs, people's dumbass voices will be heard.

Except on this blog.

Seriously, I'm very disappointed about the low-level of ignorance displayed in the comments here. I mean, you all don't leave any comments in the first place, but I thought that at least I would've caught a break so far. Why hasn't some idiot googled "Mumia", caught my post and started calling me a 'libtard" before actually reading it. It just isn't fair.

So, today is a celebration of ignorant comments. I encourage all my readers to say something ignorant about me, society, Lacrosse, the price of raw oysters, or anything in between. Everyone will given one day of amnesty to post as they please.

And btw, this post was financed by the Zionists who want to impose an Israeli dictatorship across America they control all the media along with the illuminati BUSHCO is just a puppet if you elect a DEMON-crat things will still be the same it's time to take arms in revolution remember 1967 Pinochet coup Blovia forever!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Game

Over Thanksgiving weekend, my old friends and I couldn't stop talking about it. It was a topic of conversation everywhere, from the bars, to the afterparties, to the drunk-driving on the way the way home. We argued about its merits, its flaws, and the ultimate effectiveness towards improving your life. Yes; We were talking about The Game.

I know what you're thinking: The Game is an underrated Michael Douglas film in which a clever concept eventually comes undone through a series of increasingly unbelievable plot developments. Nevertheless, the movie is buoyed by the strong supporting roles of Sean Penn and James Rebhorn.

I'd certainly say that's a fair assessment.

What we were actually talking about, however, was The Game, or the art of picking up women. You see, The Game seems to occupy the mind of every guy these days, what with the "Pick-up Artist" on VH1, the tons of books available on the subject, and the general feeling of terror amongst guys at the thought of trying to pick up a girl ANYWHERE but a place where alchohol is involved. And in some ways, I don't blame guys for feeling this way. Do you girls see the way you carry yourself in public these days? It seems like one is more likely to get tasered talking to a girl in line at a grocery store than a phone number.

Yes, I know I should sign-up for a Yoga class.

Forgetting that, however, let's analyze the rules of The Game: They are depressing. There is more fucking red-tape to practicing Game than the worst Soviet Bureaucracy.

Let's see: "Approach your target at a 45 degree angle within first three seconds of entering the bar. No slouching, no hands in your pockets, hold your drink at the waist, open your about eyes 2/3rds of the way while giving a half-smile. Swagger up to her like John Wayne in True Grit, NOT John Wayne in the Searchers. Deliver a line which slightly insults her while demonstrating your superior social value and act like you only have minute to talk even though you plan to stick around."

Loosely translated, This basically means "act like you're in a good mood". If you are consciously thinking about these rules while you are trying to execute them, you have probably already failed.

According to the practitioners of The Game, these methods are all meant to set-off a woman's 'attractiveness recepticons' or some bullshit like that. Here is the basic set-up of how the attractiveness recepticons operate in the female brain who lives in Philadelphia:

Attractiveness recepticons, accompanied by complex about not living in New York, as demonstrated in the female brain:

So, good "game" simply means pushing through to these attractiveness recepticons. I don't really practice Game that much, but I will give you some pointers that guarantee absolutely no success, but are fun.

Constant stream of 'negging': By now, you have all probably heard of the 'neg' concept, where in the flow of conversation with a girl, you make some comment that slightly lowers her value without insulting her too much. Examples include "those pants look like they are perfect for a flood" or "I hear McClellan is your favorite Union Civil War General. Personally, I think he can eat a dick". I, however, advocate a constant stream of negging that never ends:

Me: "You've got something stuck in your eye"
Her: "Oh really?"
Me: "You just spit on me when you said that"
Her: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to"
Me: "What kind of broken dialect are you speaking in anyway?"
Her: "I'm from Cincinnati"
Me: "I've always wanted to nuke Ohio"
Her: "Who in the hell are you anyway?"
Me: "What an abrasive question to ask someone"

Being Unemployed: Let's just skip The Game here and go straight to a female's Florence Nightingale Complex. Girls always talk about wanting to 'save' a guy from something, whether it be assholish behavior, heroin abuse, or both. According to most girls, being unemployed is extremely unattractive. I've found just the opposite, however. Indeed, there is nothing more appealing to a girl than hearing the sweet phrases "I just got fired" or "I'm not really looking that hard" from a guy. Many an eyebrow has been perked at these comments. There's just something about failure that gets a girl ready to tear your clothes off. So, to all my guys out there: Stop dividing your internet/work time from a 60/40 ratio, and move straight to 100/0. After you get canned, you'll won't be able to fend the hot ass off.

That's all I got because I'm probably about to get fired.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Europe pt. 3: Russia

Thank god this infernal series is almost over. The good news, however, is that we are covering the granddady of them all today: Russia.

I've spent a total of about a month and a half in Russia, starting in the Spring of 1999 on exchange, and going back twice, with the final trip in January of 2001. What I've leaned is that Russia is a glorious contradiction. In some ways, post-communist Russia resembles the absolute worst elements of capitalism (rampant materialism and oligarchiasm), yet the average person is grounded with a sense of morality and humility that is unmatched in most western societies, particularly the USA. Case in point: If you walk on the street in Russia acting all loud and arrogant, taking up all of the sidewalk, you will be regarded as an irredeemable piece of shit by everyone. The rule is keep your mouth shut, your expression straight, and keep moving.

Behind closed doors, however, Russians like to play hard. Hard drinking (of course), hard fucking, and hard violence is the norm. Your average Russian does not go to the 'pub' or 'bar-hop', and the clubs are usually nothing more than ridiculously overpriced havens for mafia and indifferent fashionistas. Most of the hanging out, then, is done at someone's tiny flat in some neighborhood outside the center of Moscow. Behind closed doors, people are warm, intellectual, creative, and if they are women, hot as hell (until the age of 35). There is the specter of violence hanging over everything, however, as you never know when an armed heroin addict might sneak into your apartment building behind you, or if a gang of Chechnyians might kidnap you off the street, or if the police might try to extract a bribe from you. Trouble with the police usually only occurs if you look Chechnyan, so you are all in the clear.

Did I mention the warm personalities? Well, you have to be careful of that too. Russians are a manipulative bunch of fuckers, and although they are quicker to welcome you than the average American, they are also cash-trapped people who will try to take advantage of you if you portray weakness. I believe it was De La Soul who once said, "it's a dog eat dog competition".

If you are a decent looking American guy who is not a total fool, Russian girls will love the shit out of you. Of course, finding the right context for meeting a Russian girl is very difficult, because you if go 'out' in a Russian city, it'll be filled with mafia-connected girls whose status is so high, they could give two shits about you. Your best bet would be to go on exchange in High School, like myself, and meet some nice middle class girl. This is not going to happen to you. I'd recommend learning some Russian and going to Brighten Beach, Brooklyn, Northeast Philly, or somewhere in the Washington DC area where there are Russians (sorry DC readers, but I don't know where your Russians are at.)

A sidenote: What is it with girls that have Eastern European blood in any context? They are either the coolest girls you meet, who are talented, smart and beautiful, or they are completely vapid and materialistic...Contradictions again.

Now; to the two Russian cities that I've been to:

St. Petersburg - Washington, D.C. for the freezing set

St. Petersburg is a close kin of D.C., due to both the fake Parisian 'charm' in their respective architectural lay-outs and the sheer amount of hatred and satire these cities have inspired from those who have lived there. There's a reason Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Pushkin set most of their famous stories in St. Petersburg, and not Moscow: To them, St. Petersburg represented every vile element in Western society that Russia falsely aspired to, from the forced European appearance, to the vast, status-obsessed government bureaucracy...Sound familiar? Most Americans look at DC the same way, except substitute "American" for "Western" in the previous sentence. Well, I guess there's a whole mess of substitutions to make in that previous sentence to complete the DC analogy, but who the fuck do you think I am? Don Nelson?!

Nonetheless, like DC, People outside of St. Petersburg are quick to bash it. And like DC, People who live in St. Petersburg are eager to move out. But in the end, no one can stop talking about either city, and beneath the bullshit, there are plenty of redeemable elements about both places. The only problem I have is this: Why did St. Petersburg get all of the good writers out his deal? Who the fuck does DC have for great art, Fugazi?!!

Quick sidenote: St. Petersburg was the absolute coldest place I've ever been.

Moscow - No Red Square for you

Quick facts about Moscow:

-Contraband street vendors: I once got Ok Computer here for 20 cents. Cigarettes on the street go for about 30 cents a pack.

-Ridiculously overpiced Department Stores: I once got the Verve's Urban Hymes for fifty dollars. Yeah; that's stupid, but I had just gotten laid and absolutely needed to hear "Lucky Man".

-The food is indeed terrible. God, Russians can't cook. Their American-style supermarkets just don't feel right, either. Also understand that whenever you read some article on Russia gastronomical revolution, those cushy food critics are talking about meals that are upwards of 150 dollars.

-the subways are nicer and cleaner than the actual city:

I've go to get back to work. Happy Russian Day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tweener Guide to Europe Pt. 2: The UK

Now, to the places where I've spent the most time: Starting with the United Kingdom

The 2002-03 school was spent in London and Norwich. It was a damn good time. With that said, I'm not writing a single thing about England. The reason being that although English are great, I hate their guts and everything about their culture. Oh; I can hear you now: "What about The Kinks?!" You fool. Go to any Englishman's place, and you won't find a copy of Village Green Preservation Society. Instead, it is only you: an arrogant, irrelevant, and poor 20-something American white guy, who cares about that album.

A couple of things about England:

1.) Everything is open from only 11 am to 2 pm everyday. As a consequence, you really have to plan things ahead, from drinking to shopping to museum-ing. It is said that places in England only stay open this long because it synchs up perfectly with soccer: An hour to drink beforehand, an hour and 50 minute total match time, and ten minutes to stuff down and after-match beef pie before stomping that Blackburn fan's face in.

2.) English cuisine is actually underrated. Let's defer to George Orwell on this one:

We have heard a good deal of talk in recent years about the desirability of attracting foreign tourists to this country. It is well known that England’s two worst faults, from a foreign visitor’s point of view, are the gloom of our Sundays and the difficulty of buying a drink.
Both of these are due of fanatical minorities who will need a lot of quelling, including extensive legislation. But there is one point on which public opinion could bring about a rapid change for the better: I mean cooking.
It is commonly said, even by the English themselves, that English cooking is the worst in the world. It is supposed to be not merely incompetent, but also imitative, and I even read quite recently, in a book by a French writer, the remark: ‘The best English cooking is, of course, simply French cooking.’
Now that is simply not true, as anyone who has lived long abroad will know, there is a whole host of delicacies which it is quite impossible to obtain outside the English-speaking countries. No doubt the list could be added to, but here are some of the things that I myself have sought for in foreign countries and failed to find.
First of all, kippers, Yorkshire pudding, Devonshire cream, muffins and crumpets. Then a list of puddings that would be interminable if I gave it in full: I will pick out for special mention Christmas pudding, treacle tart and apple dumplings. Then an almost equally long list of cakes: for instance, dark plum cake (such as you used to get at Buzzard’s before the war), short-bread and saffron buns. Also innumerable kinds of biscuit, which exist, of course, elsewhere, but are generally admitted to be better and crisper in England.
Then there are the various ways of cooking potatoes that are peculiar to our own country. Where else do you see potatoes roasted under the joint, which is far and away the best way of cooking them? Or the delicious potato cakes that you get in the north of England? And it is far better to cook new potatoes in the English way — that is, boiled with mint and then served with a little melted butter or margarine — than to fry them as is done in most countries.
Then there are the various sauces peculiar to England. For instance, bread sauce, horse-radish sauce, mint sauce and apple sauce; not to mention redcurrant jelly, which is excellent with mutton as well as with hare, and various kinds of sweet pickle, which we seem to have in greater profusion than most countries.
What else? Outside these islands I have never seen a haggis, except one that came out of a tin, nor Dublin prawns, nor Oxford marmalade, nor several other kinds of jam (marrow jam and bramble jelly, for instance), nor sausages of quite the same kind as ours.
Then there are the English cheeses. There are not many of them but I fancy Stilton is the best cheese of its type in the world, with Wensleydale not far behind. English apples are also outstandingly good, particularly the Cox’s Orange Pippin.
And finally, I would like to put in a word for English bread. All the bread is good, from the enormous Jewish loaves flavoured with caraway seeds to the Russian rye bread which is the colour of black treacle. Still, if there is anything quite as good as the soft part of the crust from an English cottage loaf (how soon shall we be seeing cottage loaves again?) I do not know of it.

Pretty hungry, aren't you? Or did you just close my browser because that was too long?

3.) To the North of England is Scotland, which contains a city called Edinburgh. It is a stunningly amazing place that looks incredible from wherever you are standing at any moment...Whatever. Edinburgh also had a record store called Fopps, which was the best record store that I've ever been to.

Edinburgh - Wake me up when I'm supposed to care about this spellbinding city

4.) Students in England are dirt poor. I mean, really. If you want to out to the pubs with your English friends, you have to get out a calender and pick a date two months ahead so they can start saving their money.


6.) When the english ask you, "you alright?", it generally means "how are you?", not "are you ok?". If you don't like this particular phrasing, simply respond the way I do: "Yeah, I'm alright...YOU ALRIGHT?"

So, that's the UK and England. I can honestly say that other than the countless great times having intelligent, reasoned conversations with my friends about a variety of topics, England was a total nightmare.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Tweener Thanksgiving Week pt. 1: Guide to Europe

We don't know about you, but we here at the Tweener are fucking exhausted right now. Chalk it up to a 9-5 combined with three hour journalism classes three days a week, homework, blogging, "reporting", weekend debauchery, and we are just about beat. Thank god for thanksgiving break, then, where I can go home to sweet Baltimore and not worry about anything for four days.

Since this week offers relaxation, however, I'm going to break convention and take you all back to a time where I ruled the universe: 2003. It was a time of travel, music, courderoy jackets, foreign love, and lost wallets. Over the past weekend, my annointed princess of 2003 wrote a post* that inspired me to take a trip back, and in the first of this series, I'm taking you through europe baby!

*Take everything she says at face value.

Guide to Europe

To be honest, I don't know shit about Europe. Oh; sure, I've BEEN to Europe, including the following cities: Amsterdam, London, Edinburgh, Munich, Budapest, Venice, Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Paris, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. About half the cities on this list I was only in for 2-3 days, and they can be summarily dismissed as follows:

Munich- A nice place...Can someone help me out here?

Munich- An old, wonderful Bavarian town with a humungous park in the middle of it. To be honest, we indulged in a hotel room and hardly left it except to go to beer halls and the tourist attractions, which included...err...Some kind of church or something with a big tower. My lack of anything interesting to say about this city hilariously manifested itself in a conversation with an outrageously hot German student in my graduate program. You can pretty much take this paragraph verbatim and apply it to what I said to her. As a result, she’s not flashing me those big smiles anymore.

The Danube River - All we wanted was some gatorade

Budapest- It was day 9 in our month-long trip through Europe in the Spring of 03. We were suffering, for you see, the non-alcoholic drink selection in Europe is terrible. I mean, all you’ve got is soda, sub-tropicana orange juice, and mineral water. But there it was: Arrayed on the banks of the sparkling Danube River, the Gatorade beckoned. As we got closer, however, we realized that the area was roped off for a Gatorade-sponsored triathalon. Fucking Triatheletes.

The other experience in Budapest included getting berated by a waitress at a Hungarian restaurant for being American. At least that’s what I think happened, as we couldn’t understand her non-American language. We sure showed her, however, as we eat all of the complementary bread and high-tailed it out of there!

Vienna - soul crushing

Vienna- Ragtime street musicians, Intimidating 18th-century Imperial architecture, free public transportation, swaths of parkland filled with gorgeous vistas, excellent local cuisine, and a city brimming with a rich cultural heritage everywhere you look. Yes; Vienna is as boring as it sounds. The only way I was able to fight the terrible boredom was by having a friend in the city who could show me to the parts that weren’t drowning in the wrist-slitting ‘pleasures’ of culture and heritage.

Italy-a hellhole

Venice- If you aren’t married, don’t even bother. The food also sucks. In fact, just understand this mantra: Just because you are in Italy does not mean you will eat well wherever you go.

Rome- Italians are secretly the biggest assholes in Europe. I honestly don’t know how the French got their reputation for being rude, because I found them to be moderate, whilst almost every American I know who has been to Italy noticed that the Italians hate our asses, unless you are wearing a Che Gueverra t-shirt. Apparently, Argentine people are descended from Italians, which explains the love for Che. Italians should thank their luck stars that they get to claim Calvino.

Rome is a dirty city where you can really ‘feel’ the history..

Just watch this movie
Barcelona- Be sure to schedule your trip during anytime other than a holiday. I found this out the hard way when the whole place become the “the city that sleeps their asses off” when I was there at the of April.

Part 2 tomorrow...

Friday, November 16, 2007


Philadelphia Art Museum
If you work here, it's a great place to pick up girls. A friend of mine has told me this. He may actually write for this blog.

Johnny Brenda's
If Philly hipsters are so poor, how can they afford to drink here?

Fixed-gear bikes
You're gonna die

Cecil B. Moore
Temple's plan for revitalizing this street on one block: Put a Border's next to a pawn shop. I'm sure this is going to end well.

Harrison Ridley, Jr.
Temple professor and Philadelphia Jazz historian. Winner of 80 awards. Consultant to the Library of Congress. Placed in tiny office with no window.

Corner Store on Ridge and 23rd Street
I broke the color barrier as the first white guy to visit there in fifteen years. Even the asian owners got uncomfortable.

Female crackhead who followed me for two blocks outside the store
Listen: I gave you one dollar, then you asked me for two. If I give you two dollars, then you're gonna ask me for four. If I give you four dollars, you're gonna ask me for eight. Just get a gun and rob me next time.

Lorenzo's/Lorenzo & Son's/DeLorenzos

Pho 75/Pho Nam
Pho 75

Getting away with throwing a halloween party on Friday, November 9th
This happened over the past weekend. "It's a pop culture party, come as your favorite pop figure!" Nice try. You know what happened? I put together a killer costume only to see five people there. The other people voiced their displeasure by not coming. Listen: It's either the weekend before or the weekend after halloween, never the weekend after-after. You think it's fun to put together a third costume? How can you throw a pseudo costume party two weeks after halloween? The bum camped outside our apartment put it best when we walked out in our costumes to go to the party: "Uhhh.....Happy Thanksgiving?"

Sorry to the person who threw this party, but you blew it. Please come to my next party

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The wrong album was embedded in the last post

it has been corrected.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Youngin' band in the game: The War on Drugs

Flash back to the year 2001: An 18 year-old Dickinson College freshman guitar phenom gets invited to play in a band with like, the three other guys in school who hated String Cheese Incident. We had four or five practices total, never played a show, and no one really gave a fuck because it was the end of the school year anyway. We weren't all that good, which is what happens when you play together four times. That 18-year-old phenom (me) also realized he wasn't so phenomenal, because playing along to Coltrane records doesn't really translate to playing in your first 'rock' band.

Anyway, the lead singer in the band was someone who you could tell was just destined for stardom. Then he started singing, and we all cried at the awfulness. There was this OTHER guitarist, however, who was pretty good.

That guitarist is now fronting what will be the best band to come out of Philly in a hot minute, The War on Drugs.

You're probably saying, "well I can't fucking google THAT"..."War on Drugs Philly band" will do the trick.

I've embedded their first EP in this post. It is about a billion years old (year and a half), but their first full-length is coming out in the spring.

How do you describe the War on Drugs? There's a stock way to do this so far: "is sounds like [sporadically fashionable male songwriter legend] crossed with [late 80s/early 90s shoegazer band]". I've tried to think of alternative way to describe them, but it just doesn't work. If you like the War on Drugs, the rest of your life will be spent reading these types of clippings:

-Like Bruce Springsteen crossed with My Bloody Valentine
-like Tom Petty fronting Swervedriver
-Like Bob Dylan eating lunch with the Cocteau Twins, and at this lunch, they decided to COMBINE THEIR SOUNDS.

Anyway, you can see why this description is appealing. The most important thing of all, however, is that these guys bring the muscle live: Two drummers, a pretty good bassist, and the great Kurt Ville playing the busiest lead guitar since.......uhhh..........*searches record collection for analogy*.....Nas' Illmatic.

In all seriousness, these guys are at once loose and heavy on stage. That's better the typical Philadelphia indie sound, titled "keep the noise level down so our friends can talk to each other at our shows".

So listen to this EP, which is more subdued than they usually sound. There's also a youtube live clip that I tried to embed, but I can't tell whether it was successful because temple's computers are retarded.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Temple University: Stunning Observations

Today, I am at Temple University. The history of Temple University is well known: Some 60-70 years ago, a cadre of intelligent Jews in Philly started their own university to circumvent UPenn's newly-formed height and general "football physique" requirements. At present day, Temple is a successful public university with several nationally respected departments and an elite 8 basketball program; albeit six years ago. Meanwhile, everyone from Penn is still superior.

I had shocking observations while walking through campus today:

People are here are attractive

About four out of every ten. This was very surprising, because it generally common knowledge that attractive people only go to Ivy League schools, Kenyon, and Oberlin, or anywhere in the NESCAC conference.

If you are the attractive person's less-intelligent sibling, there's always Centennial Conference, But never Temple or any communist public school.

So, I learned an eye-opening lesson today: You can be a mediocre student, or simply have less money to go to a private school, and still be attractive. Overall, I think it's good that less wealthy people can experience the pleasures of attractiveness. Although they probably still won't have the same status in life as people in those elite schools, which is to be frowned upon, I think it's cute that these people go about putting on clothes and washing their hair everyday in hopes of doing something.

It's very diverse here

There's that pesky communism again. All over campus, there are gangstas, terrorists, and asians. This is what happens when you let the state takeover and give more people a chance for education. Next thing you know, the liberal media, in collaboration with big government, is going to employ all of these people in a 24/7 communist propaganda news station that's going to be plastered on every TV. It will teach you revisionist history, like how black jazz musicians wore suits, General McCarthur DIDN'T successfully drop four atomic bombs on China during the Korean War, and how soccer wasn't invented by Karl Marx.

It order to fight back, I announce that we start our own WHITE cultural channel. What's that? A channel celebrating Woody Guthrie, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Schoenenberg, Appalachian Folk, Bill Evans, Guided By Voices, William Burroughs and others?

NO, those guys were all communists or jews. The WHITE cultural channel will primarily concern the history of defense contractors in Northern Virginia and the condos they live in.

There are many lunch carts here, and one bee

Motherfucking bee swirling around my motherfucking gyro. I thought the bees were extinct? See, this is the result of eating Greek communist food. I'm allergic to bees, and speaking of which, what is the deal with people saying, "don't aggravate it, it'll sting you"?. What the fuck am I supposed to do then, let it sit on my lunch and do nothing? If try to grab my sandwich, won't that be "aggravating" it to? What exactly is aggravation for a bee anyway!? Swating at it? watching too much sports? Playing the Lox after 11 PM? Typical liberal inaction in the face of the insect menace

Monday, November 12, 2007

"I got a tickle in my anus!": The Tweener's Fall TV Roundup

Yeah, we know, a preview probably would have been more helpful, but hey, you get what you pay for. Here at The Tweener offices, we watch a ton of TV. I mean the TV is always on. But television shows? What, like Murphy Brown? CBS? Should I get tested for that?

Ok, I'm exaggerating. I don't mess with tests. And I do know a few shows, mostly those on HBO, which have two just plain safeco huge advantages over network shows. For one, they're on Sundays. I can remember Sundays. I wake up drunk, watch my footie then my football, and obsess over how badly I wish it was Saturday so I could run a do-over on last night and maybe remember the ethnicity of that man who was touching me. Out of the five shittier days of the week, Sunday I can remember. But Tuesday at 9pm? Please. I'm not an accountant for christ's sake. And secondly, NO GODDAMN COMMERCIALS. I'm no hobo, I've got a lot of channels; if you run a commercial on me, it won't be until the Predator blows himself up that I remember I forgot to check in with the remainder of My Name is Jason Lee and Dogma Sucked. This is why sports has the advantage: 1. you don't have to catch every damn second, 2. you can mute that junk and pump up the Bob Mould, 3. most tv shows are awful anyway. Still, though, we're trying, and when there are no football games on, no soccer games on, no basketball games on, no hockey games on, no baseball games on, no one wants to play Pro Evo, none of Barcelona, Aliens, Dave, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fear, The Departed (has a movie ever fallen from Oscar winner to crappy stoner flick faster?), The Squid and the Whale, Commando, Romancing the Stone, WALL STREET, Navy Seals, Kindergarten Cop, Last Days of Disco, Higher Learning, Metropolitan, Knocked Up, Annie Hall, or anything else on any of the movie channels, here are some shows we watch sometimes:

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: This one gets all the credit. It's brilliant. When I was sixteen, jokes about smoking tree almost always hit the spot. Now its jokes about cocaine. Who knew?

Friday Night Lights: I liked this show last year partly because it was free to watch online. I was annoyed when I heard it was going to be on Fridays at 9 or something this year, but I realized it actually works out well, because it's not like we go out until eleven anyway, the football scenes are better when drunk, and it shows that alcoholics, idiots, and paraplegics can get the hottest girls in school, which is pretty much the confidence I need on a Friday night.

30 Rock: Pretty funny. The posters in Tracy Morgan's dressing room are the real stars of the show.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: A bit formulaic by now but still hilarious in its sixth run. Don't miss the season finale last night!

The Wire: The best show ever returns in January. Until then, is Rasheed Wallace on tv somewhere?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Diary of the unemployed

9:30 am: Woken up by alarm, which you set for 9:30 because it is not too early, and not too late to make you look lazy. Plus; it gives you ample time to apply for jobs. The clock is placed far away from your bed to ensure you will have to get up to turn it off.

9:32 am: Finally succeed in making it over to the alarm to turn it off so you can go back to sleep.

10:37 am: Begrudgingly get up.

10:51 am: Make pot of coffee, and commence with the best part of your day: The first cigarette. It is savored because all subsequent cigarettes bring diminishing returns, or because you can't afford another pack.

11:01 am: With cup of coffee, surf the following websites if football season is going on:,,,, and your team's website.

If football season is not going on: (for other sports), (in case there is an offseason article), (for other sports), and the following Gawker related sites: Gawker, wonkette, gridskipper, and deadspin (again). Also, take a look at Slate to get "real" news.

12:11 pm: Hunger calls. If you have ramen or easy mac at the house, eat it. If not, take a shower.

12:33 pm: If in Philly or Brooklyn, leave apartment to go to corner deli and get a reuben sandwich. If in Hyattsville, hop in the car and go to California tortilla or some bullshit equivalent. Even though it is only a mile away, it will still take you an hour and a half.

1:01 pm: You are now faced with the classic choice of unemployment: Apply for jobs, or frantically search for your roommates weed that you know he is hiding from you.

1:28 pm: Hidden in the cat food bag! Score!

1:40 pm: Ahhh, now what to do with your high? Grant Theft Auto? Whit Stillman movies? A short story?

1:51 pm: Finally settle on what to do: Surf the same websites you did three hours ago for new content.

2:04 pm: After finishing reading, pace around for the next hour wondering what would have happened if you had actually taken that hot indian/asian/canadian/insert exotic ethnicity girl to your senior year halloween party.

3:00 pm: 4 and a half hours into your day and you haven't applied for a single job. Spend the next half hour wondering why you continue this pattern every day.

3:39 pm: Finally start looking at jobs on Monster and Craigslist.

3:56 pm: Find a decent position on Monster, but it requires a cover letter; a big turnoff.

5:15 pm: Finish cover letter and send.

5:45 pm: Roommate gets home and notices unfinished weed in the bowl you forgot to clear out. Lie your ass off and consider not packing so much next time.

Editors note: Apologies to my former roommates Brandon and Owen.