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.