Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Tweener is dead...Long live the Tweener

Hello everyone,

It is with little regret that I announce the discontinuation of posting on the Tweener, which will occur by the end of this week. This is not a joke. Repeat: This is not another joke. I will be setting up shop at the superior Wordpress in the near future with a new blog, or perhaps multiple ones in different categories. A couple of things you can expect in the new format:

1. A narrower focus.
2. A new name, because 'tweener' now means pre-teen females in popular vernacular. Having the name "the tweener" for a blog about 20-somethings, therefore, is not exactly a triumph of marketing.

We will post at least one retrospective this week of our best/worst posts in case this blog gets shot into space as part of some sort of introduction kit for extra-terrestrials. thetweener.blogspot will remain active so people can continue to read our timeless posts throughout the ages, and also so employers can deny me a fulltime job when they google my full name even though it is nowhere to be found on this site(Attn google: How do I stop this?).

The ETA on the new blog is anywhere from a few weeks to two months (two months is at the absolute most). If I have a new blog that is very topic specific, it will be supplemented with another that is composed of my random musings. As for Amy and Ryan, they might come along to the new blogs, but if they don't, I will keep you informed if they have their own thing going.

To everyone who has enjoyed this "online magazine", please come back and visit every couple of weeks, because I will post the URL of the new blog on this page. Thank you for reading, and to quote Churchill on his own alcohol addiction: "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Three Cities

Since college, I’ve lived for some time in three cities: New York, Washington, and Philadelphia. I totally failed during my 6 months in New York, ‘made it’ professionally in DC but left after a year and a half, and am now approaching two years living a relatively comfortable existence in Philly. There are a few basic lessons I’ve learned, and these apply to twenty-somethings with 0-50K salaries. If you’re reading this and are older and make more, however, send a big advance to 759 South Jessup St. Philadelphia 19147 and I will write some shit that will blow your mind. Nevertheless, here are the lessons I’ve learned:

-Most people tend to think the grass is greener on the other side. they believe that if they move to another city, their social lives will improve. If said people live in DC, then they are correct. For everyone else who hasn’t lived in their city for at least two years, though, step back and ask yourself what exactly it is that you are running from. Could it be...Yourself? Loser. Oh, excuse me...”Tragic hero.”

-New York is billed as a “city that never sleeps”, but without a lifetime supply of stimulants, how are you going to pull that off?

-To continue on New York, nobody interesting lives in Manhattan anymore outside of Harlem and the lowest of the East Side. Sex in the City was a really popular show that made Manhattan the province of 30-something, affluent, fashion conscious professional white girls. As a consequence, Manhattan is probably more boring than even Dallas these days.

-Philadelphia is a city full of skeptics, but unfortunately, people seem to leave their skepticism at the door when a mediocre guitar band is playing. People are very supportive of each other in the local music scene, so Matt Pond hasn’t been told to quit yet.

-In Washington DC, people get excited about their flip-cup teams.

So, with these lessons in mind, here are the cities compared by category:


New York: Although your neighborhood might be run-down, there is no actual ghetto left in New York, except in the northern parts of the Bronx. Yeah, I know you live in Bushwick or Bed-Stuay. Just because my car window was smashed the last time I visited, however, doesn’t mean there isn’t a brunch place two blocks away and a coffee shop across the street from your apartment.

Washington, DC: DC is so expensive nowadays that you are stuck paying 900 dollars a month for a small room in a Bungalow in Sherlington, where the metro is a mile long walk away. At least the shittiest neighborhoods in New York have Bodegas on the corners where you can improvise some food. Fuck it; I don’t care if your life in danger, living east of North Capital and North of New York Ave is still fucking better than Northern Va. or Maryland.

Philadelphia: Like I’ve said before, people on the outside still think our city is a post-apocalyptic warzone, so you can live in a lot of convenient neighborhoods on the cheap. Unfortunately, the rent has shot up in “next big thing” neighborhoods like Fishtown, but the secret is that Fishtown is actually boring aside from Johnny Brenda's. What’s the point of going to Johnny Brenda’s more than twice a week anyway? so you can tell people “I saw the A-Sides before they became minimally successful”?


Philadelphia: Since there’s little status to be gained in this city that anyone cares about, you don’t really need to take your girl anywhere other than a functional dive bar. If you are in even a below-average band, just point at the girl you want and take it from there. If not you are not in a band, just lie about being in the Future Tips.

Washington, DC: Some casual pre-dinner wine at Tallula’s, Dinner at Marcel’s, post-dinner jazz at Bohemian Caverns ending with drinks at 18th Street Lounge, all accomplished by chartering a fucking limo. This will merit you a shoulder shrug. Your date will go on to bang an aide to Sam Brownback in order to gain an interview for an assistant Press Secretary position.

New York: Nobody dates in New York. People just accidentally fuck each other a bunch of times.

Going Out

Philadelphia: There are generally less douches in Philly. You can go an entire night in Philly douche-free. Since you are basically resigned to walking everywhere, however, your nightlife will slow down in the Winter to the point where you will not walk five blocks to a bar until it is at least 50 degrees out. And yet, no one would think to call you a pussy.

New York: Hop on the L Train! We've got a choice between a strip of bars in Williamsburg, or a strip of bars in the Lower East Side! There's no place like New York!

Washington, DC: Talk about other hotspots all you want, but your night will end up in Adams Morgan...In tears.


Philadelphia: In about two years, 60% of the hipster population will have a nervous breakdown over the tattoos they can't get rid of.

New York: Nobody even knows what's cool here anymore.

Washington, DC: You can't even get Chinese food without boat shoes.



Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rejected ideas for Tweener posts, today’s edition

Today, we look inside the mind of Chief Editor Scott’s attempt to come up with an idea for a post before his lunch break reaches two hours, meaning that writing the actual post would extend the break to three and a half hours. Even he feels bad about doing that.

This is a previously taped live blog that examines the creative genius behind the Tweener.

1:25: Come back with shrimp tempura lunch, and the first idea materializes: “The Tweener has run out of things to hate, please provides us with ideas in the comments”

1:28: Next idea: “Due to lack of ideas, The Tweener calls it quits”. Hmmm, this sounds suspiciously like “The Tweener surrenders to terrorism”. What’s the shortest amount of time someone has taken to plagiarize themselves? *breaks out spacemen 3 album* Oh yeah, the one second between songs.

1:40: Finish lunch. Read Anthony Bourdain’s blog. This has nothing to do with anything.

1:45: Third idea: “Documenting hate: a chronology of what Scott’s hated over the years”

1:52: Have to abandon timeline. It would’ve been 4 o’clock by the time I finished my rant on “Crazy Game of Poker” and that’s just the year 2000.

2:01: “The People’s Revolutionary Tweener Proclamation!” This one would’ve featured a soviet propaganda poster with my photo shopped face pointing directly at you, announcing glorious news that the “Twin Monster Movies: Cloverfield and London” post never existed, and the link would instead direct you to a post detailing the Tweener’s RSS subscription premium increase of the chocolate ration to 20 grams.

2:15: Read Andrew Sullivan’s blog. This is the most popular fucking blog on the net? Are you serious?! There’s like 20 words per post!

2:21: “Bad news and skiffle band blues: The greatest hits of Scott Cumberland’s MySpace bulletins and comments” I’m actually serious about this one. MySpace was like Greenwich Village circa 1960 back in 06.

2:30: Finally, “A note of concern to my friends: Adam’s Morgan Disease” and “Top Five Adams Morgan Fight Scenarios”. This is the post where I finally get to criticize my DC friends for still going to Adams Morgan. Unfortunately, I ran out of time, but you all are not off the hook.

That’s it. Oh and by the way, I fucking quit. Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

So, You’ve Decided to Quit Weed, cont.

5. Dissociating from stoner-types (a.k.a. entire social circle)

Pros: New friends! Not having to watch another episode of Wonder Showzen, ever.

Cons: Jonathan Richman's unlisted. Ian MacKaye is boring. Everyone else smokes weed.

6. Drinking

Pros: Costs less, alleged better method of socialization, increased confidence, improved dancing abilities.

Cons: Can't do it before work, hangovers.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

So, You’ve Decided to Quit Weed

Hey! What a coincidence! I’ve decided to quit weed too. That is, until I broke down and unsuccessfully tried to acquire some this past weekend. The worst part of not succeeding? Not being high to dull the feeling of failure.

It’s ok, however, because we’re gonna get through this quitting thing together. First, let’s dispel a bullshit myth: You will not suddenly have more energy. You know what they mean by ‘having more energy’? Not being high. Your normal state will not be enhanced because you aren’t smoking. You will just be in your normal state more often. What they mean to say, therefore, is that you will finally break even on energy after 8 years.

Now; step back and feel that normal energy. Kinda blows, doesn’t it? What you are going through is minor discontent. This happens 2-4 weeks after quitting. You have been burying your minor quibbles and major concerns under the green haze for some time now, and since the initial novelty of being sober has worn off, you are worrying that you should’ve put better use to your ‘down time’ in the past. At the same time, however, you have no clue where to start with the down time that you have presently.

It also doesn’t help that mid-end Winter is the worst time to quit. You are sick of the cold, and the weekends are at their most boring. During this time, all you want is a nice bowl and the New York Times Sunday Travel section, followed by a little Real Madrid and whatever other socialist activities you can partake in. Unfortunately, you don’t have weed for the bowl, you can’t enjoy yet another article on Portland, OR unless you are high, and Real Madrid have a tradition of fascism. This post, then, is to provide an introductory pro and con guide to steer your mind away from simply throwing more pot at the boredom problem. Disclaimer: Haven’t tried about half of this shit.

1. Throwing money at the problem

Pros: Xbox 360s, furniture/clothes shopping, prostitutes, yoga, non-gateway drugs, weekend getaways, visiting a therapist. They say money can’t buy you happiness, I say bullshit...3-6 months happiness guranteed. At that point, you can simply go back to smoking at smugly tell people, “hey, I quit successfully for half a year. It wasn’t for me.”

Cons: You don’t have the money.

2. Dating

Pro: The “thrill of the chase”. Finally being able to eat at nice restaurants.

Cons: Impossible to achieve balance. Suddenly, the girl you are having sex with becomes your girlfriend and starts throwing words like ‘ambition’ around, so you think to yourself, “I’ll serial date or work on two/three girls at a time”. Sorry buddy, but you are a serial monogamist. You will be involved with 5-8s until you are married. I’m not saying you will never date multiple girls at a time, but the only people who have the ability or drive to *consistently* do this are highly unlikable upper crust douchebags or dorky Mystery “pick-up artist” Ron Paultard voters who are lying about 75% of their conquests. Become really good at what you do or hope you land on that 8.

3. Cooking

Pros: A craft that is rewarding on many levels. Cooking an elaborate dish can take up to 2 hours of that exceedingly boring after-work downtime.

Cons: Some recipes you just can’t trust. Par exemplar: Chicken Curry. I had a simple formula:

-4 tablespoons Thai Yellow Curry past

-13.5 Ounces Coconut milk

-2 tablespoons soy sauce

-a sprinkling of sugar

-Chicken thigh meat, along with onions and mushrooms

Suddenly, I come across this online recipe that recommended that I forego the curry paste and instead coat the chicken in the following spices:




-Ground Cloves



-Chili Powder

I mean, is all this junk really necessary? “It’s just how it was traditionally done, man”. Well, I’m sure that’s how it was traditionally done 150 years ago when the chicken was exposed for 13 days in room temperature and had to be covered in spices to mask the rot. It’s 2008, however, and I don’t my dark meat to taste like someone’s garden.

4. Exercise

Pros: Absolutely the simplest and easiest way of dealing with post pothead stress disorder. No matter what the mood, exercise will improve it. I hate to say it, but it’s true. It’s what the government doesn’t want you to know; that’s why every baseball player is an alleged steroid user, NBA players are portrayed as not giving a fuck, and NFL teams are stupid enough to draft players like Kyle Boller in the first round. Indeed, the government is interested in continuing America’s time-honored tradition of indifference to all sports and physical fitness.

Cons: Gym membership costs money. If you don’t have a gym membership, you can work out at home, but that means you have do your cardio in either the freezing cold or boiling heat in a city full of drunken Irishmen. Dieting and exercise trends shift so often, the healthy workout you are doing today could suddenly be a cause of prostate cancer tomorrow.

To be continued tomorrow.

Monday, February 18, 2008

In Honor of President's Day, Ranking the Fictional Presidents

1. President Bennett - Clear and Present and Danger

Makes a deal with the Columbian drug lords he was previously trying to fight, cutting off his illegal black ops army in the process and getting them slaughtered. A true American hero.

2. President Andrew Shepherd - The American President

Before he had a big hit with "The West Wing", Aaron Sorkin made his mark with this movie about the West Wing. In The American President, Michael Douglas falls in love with Annette Bening (really? Annette Bening?). Douglas' presidential qualities are exaggerated due to the fact that no one would ever vote for Richard Dreyfuss.

3. Fake President Bill Mitchell - Dave

Kevin Kline undergoes a metamorphosis in this movie from goofy impersonator of the incapicitated president to someone with real ideas. What are these real ideas? Getting every American a job. With that type of insight, You might as well promise free sandcastles as well.

4. President Tom Beck - Deep Impact

When everyone goes crazy for Obama, they forget that Morgan Freeman was the first Black President in "everyone in this cast seems to be taking a nap" Deep Impact. Like Obama, Freeman got saddled with an America in crisis for his presidential term. Instead of a recession, however, Freeman had to deal with a humanity destroying meteor. Luckily, only part of the asteroid hits, landing on the East Coast and building a tidal wave that reaches as far as Missouri. You know what that means? Lots of crucial red states, including Florida, were obliterated. That undoubtably left California's electoral votes to aide a victorious second term for Freeman.

5. Stock footage of Bill Clinton - Contact

Stock footage of Bill Clinton oversees the first successful contact with extra-terrestrials; is there anything the Clinton's couldn't do in the 90s? Indeed, The Clinton machine was so successful, they could campaign leftover footage of Bill for president. The problem was that Stock Footage's speeches seemed a little vague, like he was trying to leave out all nouns to fit any situation: "we must know about the facts to make a decision on this particular subject. Without the facts, we might rush to judgment on the issues in question. It is the most important issue of our time, one that demands that we know the facts."

Not listed: A shitload of movies starring Chris Cooper.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's Valentine's Day!.....leave me alone.

As the lone XX in the Tweener office, I thought I would offer my wisdom for our boy-readers on what to NOT get your little girlfriends on this, the holiest of all fake/depressing holidays.

1. Undergarments

The last thing I need is a[nother] black thong with Sexy, Cutie, or Baby written across the front in rhinestones. In fact, no one should own a thong with Baby written on it.

2. Vibrator

Leave it to a dude to buy a girl the vibrator that most resembles his own penis. Great! Just what I wanted! A veiny, three-inch dick that leans to the right and runs out of batteries after 1.5 minutes.

3. Ecstasy Pills

You might think Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to let your guard down, swallow a Hello Kitty and tell your lover how you really feel. WRONG. You will end up drooling all over yourself and, through gritted teeth, repeating “you’re just so…beautiful” over and over. Save the pills for President’s Day.

4. Any makeover/beauty/bath/health product/sporting equipment

Translation: You’re ugly, you smell bad and you’re fat.

5. Engagement Ring

Scratch that—this is a brilliant idea. Propose marriage to your girlfriend today. Go ahead and sign your life away. Enjoy not having sex, getting fatter, spending time with someone else’s parents, the nagging, the arguing, the divorce proceedings, and the eventual return to bachelorhood.

6. Three-Way

This one’s complicated. If you’ve been going out with a girl for 3-5 months and she’s a bit of a freak, it might be ok. Otherwise, you might have to deal with tears, a slap across the face, and the end of the road. Bonus: the other girl still might fuck you.

7. Flowers, chocolates, etc.

Who are you, my dad?

In closing, I have zero ideas as to what a good Valentine’s Day present might be. I’d appreciate a good lay and a joint. Then again, I suppose you never asked for my advice. So, we’re all square here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hope and Change

When people ask me my political affiliation, I tell them I'm a Schwarzenegger Republican. Partly because I like Arnold Schwarzenegger, particularly the films Predator, Terminator, Twins, True Lies, Last Action Hero, Eraser, Conan the Barbarian, Red Heat, Commando, Terminator 2, Total Recall, The Running Man, Conan the Destroyer, and Kindergarten Cop (I'm not crazy about Raw Deal). But also, and more importantly, because it's a stupid fucking question. I'm twenty-five, live in center-city Philadelphia, and am most likely wearing a purple shirt. Figure it out.

Now just because I'm a Democrat doesn't mean I'm going to be watching any Obama speeches outside the comfort of my living room (or until their conclusion, for that matter). It doesn't mean I'm giving him 10 bucks. It doesn't even mean I'm going to vote. But I can't stave off the infectious interest of leap-year politics; it just grabs a hold of you! And I know I'm not the only one. Seriously, whose twee-pop message board doesn't have an "I <3 Obama (OT)" thread on it right now? You bunch a liars.

So anyway, I'm pumped. At first I was kind of going for Hillary, cause I like experienced ladies with some fire in their belly. And I would have liked Biden, but for some reason, the whole United States of America was all Fuck This Guy. Now I'm sort of settling in with ole blue eyes: Barack Hussein Goebbels Pol Obama. He's got a four point plan that's pretty tough to beat: overrated speaking ability, novelty, hope, and change. Just the kind of bullshit I like. So I hope you're pumped, too. Mix it up out there; have fun. Get out the vote and tell me how it was.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

President's Day Weekend is Slept On

Your place of employment typically offers you 5-6 three day weekends per year. MLK, President's Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day are provided by nearly everyone. Some people get Columbus Day. Christmas weekend sometimes runs for three days, but people usually take more time off. Out of all of them, President's Day is the most underrated.

Nobody plans for President's Day. Hell; nobody even knows it's coming. Over the course of November, December, and January, you are bombarded with so many holidays and vacations that you forget that there's one extra holiday tacked on in the third weekend of February. You typically only become conscious of it within 1-2 weeks of its arrival. Furthermore, you realize that it is the last holiday you get before a three month trudge to Memorial Day.

On President's Day, travel is usually out of the question; you are typically exhausted from all the traveling you've had to do in the previous three months. Expectations for big parties are usually low, too, as you are effectively in party "dead season" (post X-Mas/New Years, pre-spring) and no one in history has ever thought of putting on a blowout President's Day party. If you have a significant other, you just busted your romantic wad a couple of nights ago on whatever that made-up holiday is called, so you don't have to go all out to cater to them. Finally, you have more energy than you did on MLK weekend a month ago, but just as little to do.

With all of these factors coalescing, President's Day weekend should always be an exercise in creative debauchery: "We've got three days and no plans, so how and where do we get fucked up in this city?", and sure as the sun rises each morning until it is blocked by the ash covered sky from the 2015 Yellowstone volcanic eruption, you will find a way to get memorably fucked up. Now is not the time to worry about appearances or dignity. Have you smoked crack before? No?? Well, I don't see any reason why you're not sitting around smoking some crack, or possibly selling it. You'll need muscle, however, so got out there and recruit...It's President's Day weekend, dawg!

Have you ever been to an Asian wishy washy? Sixty dollars upfront for the body wash and massage, another two-hundred or so for the full service. Do it in the morning after you wake up, too. Save that drunken pussy "it's 3 am, let's get asian prostitutes!" shit for the regular weekends.

Don't forget the NBA All-Star game!

Ahh, President's Day. In 2005, our slogan was "rrrrrooooaaaarrrrr" due to the amount of adderral we were on the whole weekend. In 2006, in the span of 36 hours, I went from DC to Philly, then back to DC, then from DC to Atlantic City, then back to DC. I am still not sure why. On the other hand, 2007 sucked...I guess you can't win em' all. Let's compare the greatness of President's Day to the other three day weekends:

MLK: People are too partied out for this one and are usually just looking for a bag of weed.

Memorial Day: By far the most overrated holiday weekend and a budding disaster each year. Let's review the negatives:

1.) You've been inflating expectations for this weekend for at least a month before it even arrived.

2.) For some reason, nobody ever has a fucking clue on when to throw or coordinate the cookouts/parties. Sometimes it's Monday, but that means you have to reign yourself in because you work the next day. Is it Saturday, then? It is Sunday? Nobody knows anything! There should be a commission studying this! Sometimes people throw all the parties on one day, leaving you with nothing for the rest of the weekend, and sometimes nobody does anything at all because everyone went to the beach. The beach?! I'm sorry, unless you are 45 with two kids, memorial day should be a city weekend. I mean, you've been waiting three months for this and your whole plan is to drive an hour and a half in traffic to sit by the ocean and finally get around to reading Freakonomics? Holiday pass revoked.

Furthermore, people can't pace Memorial Day parties for shit. Drinking should start either before two or after five. Before two o'clock at least lets people know that they are in for a long haul and should prepare accordingly. After five allows people to dig in and push hard to make it to late night. Anywhere in-between, and people are passed out or home by 12:00, leaving all the asshole 10 o'clock-arrival carpetbaggers to make out with each other. That's illegal.

3.) Because there's never a set plan (ie 4th of July is THE day where everyone parties) , you always end up feeling like you are perpetually missing out on some superior party that nobody told you about, or that you eschewed for something else. On 4th of July, for better or worse, you've made a decision on where to go and you can make peace with it. On Memorial Day, you miss one night, and then suddenly over the next week, people are talking about this amazing party where Black Thought of the Roots showed up and was a dick to everyone, and you were completely in the dark.

4.) In my opinion, having a bad Memorial Day weekend is an omen for how the rest of Summer will go. Do you understand that I'm generally spooked by this weekend? Only a brilliant stretch in mid to late August this past year saved me from continued mediocrity. For fuck's sake, I'm spending this May/June driving across the country in hopes of ending the Memorial Day hex.

Or maybe all Summers just suck because of the soul-punishing heat.

4th of July: Hyped to oblivion, but always delivering, 4th of July is the best holiday weekend of the year. Because the 4th is sandwiched between Memorial Day and Labor Day, your expectations are tempered a little bit. Furthermore, no matter what day the 4th lies on, you always know there will be something happening on that day. This allows you to build party momentum accordingly. There is one exception, however: Wednesday. WOW that was awful last year. One measly day?! Please never let it happen again, US government. I fully expect you to temporarily change the date of independence the next time it falls on a Wednesday.

Labor Day: Second only to Memorial Day weekend in disaster potential. Everyone's kind of knackered and depressed around Labor Day. Vacation season is over, school is starting for certain people, there isn't another holiday for months, and everyone is sick and tired of the heat. I actually haven't encountered people our age really celebrating Labor Day, and for good reason: It's a fucking a glum holiday. "Here: Take one day before everything around you dies."

In conclusion, please enjoy this most underrated of holiday weekends. Remember, however, that you pretty much do the same shit on a holiday Monday that you do at work: Surf the internet and recover from the previous two days. In that spirit, make please every Monday your President's Day for eternity.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Tweener announces surrender to terrorism

Hello my friends and colleagues,

Last week, I wrote a post that was overtly critical of Mitt Romney. In that post, I sought to contrast what I believed to be his rather weak attempt at call-and-response interaction during his campaign speeches with some of our favorite call-and-response songs.

Although the Tweener has not made an official presidential endorsement, early polling shows that at lease two of our staff members will vote for a Democrat, provided they are not too high to register.

During Romney's concession speech, we learned that voting for a Democrat would mean a surrender to terrorism. Due to our criticism of Romney, coupled with our early polling results, I have decided to make a preemptive surrender to terrorism on behalf on everyone on the Tweener. It was a tough decision; I won't deny that. As a leader, however, I have to make the hard decisions, like when I should turn my entire organization over to radical jihadists. That time is now.

The terms of surrender are being negotiated as we speak. At first, I offered to turn the Tweener headquarters over for occupation by the men of Middle Eastern descent who operate the food truck in the garage below us. They were confused, as they stated that they already owned the building in which were operating out of. Woe be the humiliation that engulfed me at that very moment, for they had defeated us long before we mustered the courage to lay down our arms!

I asked the occupiers to transfer me to the P.O.W. camps in their homeland, giving up Amy's address in the process. They did not understand what I was talking about, and instead smiled and gave me a watermelon.

Indeed, negotiating surrender has proven to be difficult. The first task, locating the 147 armed terrorists throughout the world, is challenging enough. After that, there are so many different sects. Al-Qaeda was the safest bet, but which one? After much deliberation, Ryan will go to Al-Qaeda Iraq, and Amy to Al-Qaeda Pakistan/Afghanistan. To my horror, however, Al-Qaeda claimed that they didn't have the money to fly Amy or Ryan over to their respective bases. Osama has spent all of their money on weed and Whitney Houston albums. You will have to pay for your own tickets.

As for me? I have surrendered myself to the terrorists of France. There, I will suffer under the oppressive conditions of a spacious chatteau near the South Coast, enduring the strong Euro, cream-based cooking, Scott Walker albums, and beautiful artistic brunettes who will listen for hours to my anectdotes about Miles Davis. Go on, Ryan and Amy, but remember that I have sacrificed myself to the greatest torment out of all three of us so that one day, you two might see an America free of terrorist occupation.

If by miracle, I escape incarceration today, expect a post by the afternoon of tomorrow, or perhaps wednesday. Until then, this is the Tweener signing off forever.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Seven Songurai: Seven Call-and-Response Classics

I have just one thing to say before we proceed: You see this middle finger, music of the 1960s and 70s? That's the non-proverbial 'fuck you' to the songs from your era that we completely left out of this list, except for Steely Dan, who we only included to fulfill our Caucasian quota. I could've just as easily chosen Should I Stay or Should I Go from the 80s, too, but I'm only having mercy on your overrated past. Go watch the Big Chill and seriously think about what you've done by making us pay for your imminent retirement.

Now to the list, in no particular order:

Amy: Night Time is the Right Time - (as performed by the Huxtables)
Before she was starring in Chingy videos and topping 'Most Well-Adjusted Child Stars' lists, Keisha Knight Pulliam (aka Rudy Huxtable) put on an unforgettable performance in this piece of 80s sitcom call-and-response magic. If this video doesn't warm your heart, you're made of stone....or you're one of the women alleging that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted you in the past 40 years.

Ryan: D'Angelo - Chicken Grease

Ever been hanging out in the shitty Chinese store around the corner (you know Lee's, too?!) waiting for the safest meal you could possibly order, most likely chicken and broccoli or General Tso's or whatever, and some crazy guy orders Turkey Livers or some $#%^? D'Angelo wrote a song about that called Chicken Grease. I think he meant it to be about hard times growing up or something but to me and all the people who bought D'Angelo's record (instead of Sho'Nuff Killa or whoever was 'hot' that week), this song is about wondering why the hell anyone would ever be talking about chicken grease. If this blog were popular, we'd get tons of e-mails telling us all the great uses of chicken grease; good thing I don't want to talk to their broke ass anyway.

Scott: Naughty By Nature – Hip-Hop Hooray

Naughty by Nature were masters of the call-and-response hit. In addition to this song, they produced the classic O.P.P., as well as the lesser-known Uptown Anthem from the Juice soundtrack (a movie that featured a young Tupac and Omar Epps!). Hip-Hop Hooray wins solely based on the fact that its commercial release coincided with Treach's near MVP level performance in Rock 'n' Jock B-ball 4. This song also has the distinction of being the last hip-hop mainstream crossover hit before Nothing but a G Thing kicked off the Dre/Snoop era.; aka the moment Hip-Hop found its weed.

We’ve also embedded Uptown Anthem for you.

Ryan: ONYX - Slam

Maybe the main reason for call and response is that random syllables seem much more reasonable when a mob is yelling them than when sung alone. While 'SLAM!' could maybe be pulled off by a charismatic vocalist not named Fredro Starr or Sticky Fingaz, 'Dunh dunh nuh, dunh dunh nuh,' just doesn't sound right spoken alone by anyone. Still, this song was a lot of fun in grade school, and I bet their duet with Biohazard on the Judgment Night soundtrack is just great. Plus, even if their other album Shut 'Em Down wasn't a pinnacle of the mid-1990s bullshit-rap genre, they get a pass on whatever they do because Starr is on The Wire.

Scott: A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario

Another song from the early 90s! What’s next? Cameos from Horace Grant and Paul Reiser?

Long before Tribe were considered to be the predecessors to backpacker, coffee shop bohemian alternative hip-hop, they were known for this throw-down track. This song is what used to be called a “posse” cut, where one popular group tries to give attention to an up-and-coming group by featuring them on the track (ie the Homicide/NYPD Blue crossover episode). On this particular track, the Leaders of the New School play The Critic to Tribe’s Simpsons, and this song is heavy on the call-and-response verses between the emcees. There’s no rhyme or reason to where the call-and-response appears, which contributes to the random awesomeness (my personal favorite: “Layback on the payback, evolve rotate the gates...CONTACT!”). Bonus points for Scenario featuring one of the first appearances on wax for Busta Rhymes...You know, before his star really shined with his performance in Higher Learning.

Note: Before the Black Eyed Peas were embarrassing hit-makers, they were embarrassing Tribe imitators on their first album, “Behind the Front”. Nobody listened to it, yet somehow their career survived.

Amy: Ray Parker, Jr. - Ghostbusters
In college there was this pointless building called The Depot that I went to for a Halloween party one year. By the grace of god, it was a BYOB affair...which was necessary because the entertainment was a jam band. I drank three 40s and eventually blacked out. Regardless, I still knew what to say when those dirty hippies on stage asked me who I was going to call.

Scott: Steely Dan – Black Cow

Steely Dan loved cocaine and jazz, a combination you just don't see enough of these days.

Honorable mention: Gwen Stefani: Hollaback Girl. TLC: I Ain't Too Proud to Beg. Outkast: Hey Ya. The Clash: Should I Stay or Should I Go.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mitt Romney has inspired us to create a list

I'm sure you've been watching the primary coverage on the news like the diligent, informed citizen that you are. Along the way, you might've witnessed one of Mitt Romney's many concession speeches. In these speeches, he weaves a tale of inspiration for all Americans: The son of a George W. Romney, a filthy rich Mormon businessman who served as governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, Mitt Romney overcame all odds to get a dual JD/MBA from Harvard. He was highly successful as CEO of the management consulting firm Bain Capital, and then effectively managed to 2002 Winter olympics. He later became governor of MA and then ran for president on a platform of "change" involving the building of a 1,000 extra guatanamo bays, de-regulating everything involving businesses and taxes, and endlessly talking about how he was once a CEO.

It's no surprise, then, that every American hates his fucking guts except a bunch of Northeastern investment bankers and real estate speculators, who America equally hates. Still; even they didn't vote for him. In the end, only the Mormons and states where Romney lived gave him any love.

If you were to list three things that America despises, I would bet that the following three things would appear on the majority of people's lists:

1. Management consultants
2. Mormons
3. Winter Olympics

This is not even considering the fact that if you were to ask anyone who's ever met anybody from Massachusetts who their least favorite person was in life, it would be a competition between all the people that person met from Massachusetts.

Oh yeah, American's also hate their bosses, especially right now. You'd have to be an idiot to run on your CEO credentials. You might object to me and say, "bbbbbbut George Bush ran as a CEO!". It was a baseball team. People like baseball. And besides, Bush has that southern good ole' boy CEO persona, which is distinct from Northeastern corporate CEO. Nobody, I mean NOBODY, likes a big Northeastern corporate CEO, especially one who did management consulting.

Mitt Romney spent millions of dollars to lose over and over again, and despite the super tuesday massacre, he will stay in the race to lose another day. UPDATE: MITT QUIT. He's kind of like Rudy, the Notre Dame football player, except if Rudy had all of the talent, none of the likability, and got cut from the team repeatedly.

In honor of Mitt's loserdom, we'd like to make a list. This list is inspired by Mitt's campaign speeches, in which he initiates a call-and-response part with his audience that revives the worst boring cliches about white people and stiffness. Romney says something about how we asked Washington to fix something (funny, I never asked anything. Did you ask anything?) and the audience responds THEY HAVEN'T Here's how it usually goes:

We look to Washington for leadership, but Washington has failed us.

We've asked them to fix illegal immigration. They haven't.

We've asked them to get the tax burden off our families and businesses. They haven't.

We asked them to end our dependence on foreign oil. They haven't.

We asked them to maintain high ethical standards. They haven't.

We asked them to fix Social Security. They haven't.

We asked them to stop spending money on pork barrel projects. We asked them to balance our budget. They haven't.

The problem is that there is never any energy or rhythm in Romney's voice, and the audience never responds with "THEY HAVEN'T" in unison. They are always painfully jumping his sentences. A far cry from that dude who's running for the Democrats.

Here is a link to a video of this: www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=80c5d5a2d2693dd6f188

The list for tomorrow will be the top seven songs featuring call-and-response vocals, in honor of the number of states Romney won on Super Tuesday (I guess he won eight, but I don't care).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: The Parker-Spruce Hotel was on Fire!

Where there's smoke, err...Nevermind.

In an amazing development that has little importance to anyone, even for the people who live there, The Parker-Spruce Hotel was on fire last night.

This particular reporter happened to be first on the scene, and The Tweener is proud to break this news to you a mere 14 hours after we stumbled upon it on the way back from class. We also took live pictures, but the work computer won't let us upload them. We a had chance to put them on the computer at home last night, but there was a 104 state primary going on for god's sake!

You'll get the pictures this evening*. I surely have a great career in journalism ahead of me.


The mainstream Philly news won't mention this fire, and in all honesty, we wouldn't have even bothered to tell you about this if we hadn't written an ode to the Parker-Spruce a couple of months ago. While we certainly appreciate the Parker Hotel, let's get something straight: We can't go around covering the "issues" that the real news won't notify you about. That requires that I get paid, or at least am unemployed with a monthly stipend coming in. So; while we have pictures, we gurantee you not a single damn interview or react quote from any person who was evacuated from the building. Let's just tell you that they were all grimy, sad, probably evicted from somewhere else, and they all used to work at a mill. The non-destructive fire of the Parker Hotel was the least of their problems.

BTW, I've still never seen a huge fire up close. This was just one of those pussy fires. In all honestly, then, this wasn't even an issue anyway. Basically, a run-down hotel with substandard wiring caught a minor fire. I would've said that some condo developer was trying to commit arson to eliminate an ugly building that clashed with an otherwise gentrified neighborhood, but condo developers are all broke losers these days, and they probably just checked into the Parker-Spruce anyway?

I hope that some day, this inspiring story will live on through the rise of the global Chinese empire of 2014 to the end of history (2031).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Travel Plans

I’ve got reading to catch up on this afternoon, so I got only a minute here.

I’ve made tentative plans to drive across the country and back at the conclusion of my semester in early May. This will also coincide with the quitting of my job, of which I’ve already given notice.

I have to get back by early June for whatever internship/freelance work/independent project I conjure up for the Summer. The plan is to read On the Road, then do everything the opposite of Kerouac because I can’t stand that novel. I probably won’t get past thirty pages of Sal Paradise’s tiresome journey, however, so here is the real plan:

May 9th: Columbus, OH (to that get that adderall connect, Lauren! Hahaha jk, it’s simply for the “value of your time”).

May 11th: Leave Columbus, arrive at Nashville, TN

May 13th: Leave Nashville, arrive at Memphis

May 15th: Leave Memphis

May 16th: Arrive at Austin, TX (maybe stop in New Orleans on the 17th)

May 18th: Leave Austin. Stop in random desert town, or El Paso, on night of 18th.

May 19th: Arrive at Tucson/Bisbee, Arizona (home of Calexico, Giant Sand, and Howe Gelb for those you who are scratching your heads right now).

May 21st: Leave Tucson

May 24th: Arrive at Portland, OR. (maybe stop in LA or San Fran on the way. I’m not terribly interested in visiting either city, so maybe stop in podunk towns along the way).

May 26th: Leave Portland, arrive Seattle.

May 29th: Leave Seattle

June 1st: Arrive Chicago, with random stops on the way there.

June 3rd: Leave Chicago

June 4th: Arrive Philly.

That’s the plan. I’ve been to Portland and Seattle before, But I want to go to Portland again, and the plan is the west coast trip by visiting friends in Seattle. Obviously, I planned to spend much more time on the way there than back. I have someone who is committed to tagging along, but there’s a 50% chance that will fall through, so for any friends who read this, if you can ever free up thirty days, consider it. I probably would not go it alone, but traveling alone has its merits.

Any recommendations for the people who have done this before? I think the lurkers should speak up and let their voices be heard. Break free of the Lindsay, Brandon, Lauren and Ryan tyranny!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Eli, The Absurd Hero

Last night, an important football game was played. The game cemented what we already knew: Advertising executives are pathetic. Nice job, Planters Peanuts...A commercial where an extremely ugly woman becomes sexy by rubbing peanuts on herself? Truly one for the ages.

It must be such a backhanded accomplishment to land the role of the ugly Planters girl. Seriously, It’s not as if that role is going to catapult you to a career, unless you count playing Justin Long’s haggish blind date in “Epic Move 3” a career. I hope that particular actress really needed the money.

Ok; the game. I am a huge New York Giants fan. Last night’s victory was the best game I ever witnessed. Due to the diverse readership of this publication, however, we tend to be light on the sports commentary. It’s probably for the best, too. You know the saying: Every seven seconds, someone dies, every four seconds, someone is born, every three seconds, some asshole starts a sports blog, and every time you mention Ron Paul on the internet, a thousand commentators will flood your message board with a bunch of rambling about abolishing the IRS and re-instating the gold standard. If you don’t know who Ron Paul is by now, then go fuck yourself. Also; please don’t vote for him.

Without digressing into excessive analysis of the game, I want to write a few words about Eli Manning, and by extension, little brothers across the universe. Eli happens to have grown up in an atmosphere where his older brother is so extremely accomplished to the point where competing with him is almost pointless. I have an older brother who is like that, and maybe some of you have grown up in a situation like that as well.

I sometimes mention hipsters on this blog. My brother probably has no idea what a hipster is. He will never need to know what a hipster is. Furthermore, he will never need to complain about ‘fratboys’ or preppies or any shit like that. He has the gift of extreme competence, which renders 98% of other people pretty much irrelevant.

My brother deferred enrollment to a top med school to successfully qualify for two Iron Man championships. He then decided to attend a top law school while switching his focus to bike racing, and is now racing at a professional level, while editing Law Review at the same time.

You think I want anything to do with that? Fuck no. After witnessing first-hand how hard certain levels of accomplishment are to attain, you might well kick back and become the swashbuckling, erratic, mystifying brother who people believe to be both a retard and a genius within the span of five minutes. That’s Eli Manning, as well as the little brothers of accomplished older siblings everywhere. I’m not sure exactly how Eli’s life went, but I assume Peyton often criticized him for the following things:

1.) Smoking too much weed.

2.) Spending too much time talking on the phone with his first high school girlfriend, despite that fact that Peyton was guilty of the exact same thing when he was younger.

3.) Driving drunk.

I’m willing to also guess that Eli beat Peyton in a one on one basketball game when he was 13, finishing Peyton off with a barrage of two handed three-pointers to complete a stunning comeback. Nevertheless, Eli will never produce the passer rating that his brother has, but the bloodline isn’t thin, it just got accidentally injected with a small amount of liquid LSD. You may wonder where the hell his head is 60% of the time, but that other %40 will produce some brilliant moment out of nowhere.

And you know what? It’s entirely appropriate. Who wants to be exactly like someone else? When Eli throws an interception, he does that angry-at-himself, ‘aw shucks’ routine, but I bet you that deep down, he doesn’t give a shit. He’s thinking to himself, “thank god, now people will stop comparing me to my fucking brother”. When he won the Superbowl MVP yesterday, you could tell he was thinking, “yeah; this is cool, whatever. Brother did it a year ago”.

Growing up around extreme competence makes fucking up a lot of fun. It also results in some crazy things happening that your older brother probably never experienced. I bet my brother never stumbled into a Ritz Carlton hotel room featuring lesbians on ecstasy, only to have absolutely nothing of note happen (insane!). I bet he never eluded two stalking muggers in the Amsterdam Red Light district to stroll back into the hostel for a casual Heineken. I bet he never got really drunk in England, and then went to a dance party, grinding with every girl on the floor until one of them eventually took him home (I hope he didn’t get to see what she actually looked like). And for all of his athletic accomplishments, I know for certain he never launched himself in the air with a fiber glass pole.

I bet this stuff never happened to Peyton either.

Before you try and accuse me of making excuses for little brothers across the world for having less talent, just remember that we can write award winning essays on obscure Milton poems on a last minute adderral binge, we can blossom into fine actors (uh, Casey Affleck), and we can certainly lead a team of pass dropping, fumbling, 12 men-on-the-field penalty committing enigmas to a superbowl victory against an undefeated team. It’s the little brother way, and it’s never very attractive.

To symbolize what I’m saying, take a look at the picture below. Eli may look like a drunk dufus, but the girl on his arm is HOT. Judging by those eyes, however, she may be a demon.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I see you, Metro...

Low and behold, I opened up my Philadelphia Metro yesterday, and admist the fifteen word articles, I noticed a column by some guy named "Johnny Goodtimes", titled "Never Say Never". His column begins with this paragraph:

"While logging into MSN on Monday, I noticed a column titled "10 Things a Man Should Never Say to a Woman." Being someone who has a rich and voluminous history of saying dumb things to women, I thought I might be just the demographic such an article was aiming for. But alas, most of them were common sense ("are you expecting?") or things no man has ever said to a woman without being stabbed with a meat thermometer ("You are acting like my ex-girlfriend!"). Dumb."

Hmm...Sounds familiar, doesn't it? A mere three weeks ago, I wrote and directed a little one-act called "out of nowhere, a dating advice post". The post started with this paragraph:

"For any of you who have ever had a hotmail account, you are probably aware of the various dating advice lists that MSN posts on its homepage seemingly everyday: "10 first date no-nos", "14 pitfalls in bed", "8 signs she's cheating on you with a short guy". These lists are about as useful as dick-flavored ice cream. They're filled obvious pointers such as "don't punch her in the face when you say hello", as well as empty platitudes like "just be confident". Even worse, they insult your common sense by bringing in some "expert" psychologist to tell you why talking incessantly about your ex-girlfriend on the first date is a bad thing...No really??"

Yes; I conceed that Johnny Goodtimes probably never "read" my "puny" little "blog". Furthermore, I'm willing to admit that hating on the MSN dating lists should be de rigueur among those who have to frequent the site. Nonetheless, HAHAHAHA GOT THERE FIRST, METRO! PWNED! YOU GOT NOTHIN' ON "DICK-FLAVORED ICE CREAM"! ENJOY THE MASSIVE STAFF CUTS!

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Most of the poets I've seen in the last few years got their start by holding a cigarette behind their head and yelling "OH!" Before that, I was disillusioned by being the best poet in the allegedly "Advanced" poetry class at Dickinson College, where laureates like Leslie York made me discuss the merits of poems that started with a different, less funny "Oh," like, "O' in that place free of time and space/ I gave my love to your face..." I think this might start a long Tweener tradition of calling people out by name. How's that virginity thing working out for you, Leslie? (These faggots can't track us down on the computer can they? Probably too busy with their dicks in their asses you know what I'm saying?? OH!!)

But last night, spurred by the promise of free shots and other drinks, we went to the Bubble House in West Phallujah to see our friend and New York barkeep Shafer Hall say a few words that rhyme but in a symbolic kind of way. Shafer was good and got better with more shots. These other two poets really sucked but I don't want to get into it or they'll call me a homophobe. Don't we need some new terminology for that stuff? Whether you're afraid of gays or just really not afraid of making fun of them, you all get lumped into the same homophobe camp. Doesn't make sense to me. I bet they drink a lot in the homophobe camp but listen to shit music. College, we'll call it. Dickinson College.

Then, all of a sudden, a curveball entered the proceedings. A dude with a guitar and he's gonna play it! I was kind of pissed, mostly because I was on the inside half of a booth and couldn't get up to leave. This wasn't no open mic. You know where there's an open mic? In your mom's garage. What's worse, this guy had the nerve to play a shitty acoustic open mic song... with no lyrics. That and some other song that ended, "Bluebird.... bluebird.... bluebird...." If I knew this guy's name, I'd call him out, too. Practice, motherfucker. BY YOURSELF.

Anyway, then we rocketed across the South Street bridge belting out Village Green Preservation Society and got piss drunk at Dirty Frank's. I think people might have been playing trivia or some shit? I woke up at 6 AM with a plate with two pieces of pizza on my chest that I think must have been fished from the trash. All in all, poetry is all right with me.

EDIT: The Tweener has been advised that calling people out by name is punishable by Carl's Jr. sized fines in Pennsylvania, so fuck it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You thought the D and the C stood for District and Columbia?: A Southern Bureau Sexperiment


I don’t know what office life is like in Philadelphia, but here in DC, we work "hard."

Nine DC employees were recently fired for looking at porn on the job, on average, 200 times a day. Apparently, 19000 j-off moments a year will get you fired, 2000 times a year only results in a letter sent home. For those of you reading this from your cubicle, sneaking quick peeks at Facebook or Slate, let me ask you: have you seen any naked t and/or a today? Not a single facial? Ha--welcome to D.C., suckers.

TWO HUNDRED TIMES A DAY. That's 25 clicks an hour. Quite a challenge, yes. But as a healthy, undersexed lady, I figured I was up for it. Video and images are fair game. No animals or children. 8 hours…200 porn site clicks…GO:

Hour 1: I’ve luckily learned a lot from ex-boyfriends: I’m undeserving of love (Ha. Ha. Sigh.) and where to find the best porn on the www. Youporn, EasyNews and TheHun are all quality sites for the best in homemade, professional, fetish, classic, nu-wave, girl on girl, girl on guy, Victorian, scatty, pissy, etc. Bookmark them, dear reader, you will thank me later. I can easily watch 25 videos of my choosing. This is much more fun than making copies or drinking superfluous cups of coffee.

Hour 2: Watching porn is one thing, but getting off to porn is quite another. Were these discarded D.C. employees just viewing? Did anybody check the bathroom stalls? Is it getting hot in here?

Hour 3: Hmmmmm..uhh. mmmmmm. oh. Oh. Oh. *privacy demand*

Hour 4: These dicks are starting to look alike. Vaginas come in various shapes and sizes, and they are all pretty ugly.

Hour 5: Email. Actual work. Email. Facebook. Newspapers. MP3 downloading.

Hour 6: The switch from videos to static images. Booooooooooring. Warning: do not indulge hippie porn. The lure of “all natural” women is not worth the nauseating, bushy, lesbian orgy.

Hour 7: Switch back to videos. Hm. Meh. Email. Actual work.

Hour 8: The end of the day…most government supervisors have already left. A little bit of Hour 3, but mostly, I just want to get home in time to catch TMZ.

In sum, I found it impossible to click on 100 porn sites in one day, let alone 200. And that was just the average for these now-unemployed pervs. Or should I say underemployed…I think my little experiment should be a wake-up call to the mayor: employees who can check out porn 200 times in a work day show superhuman tenacity, determination, courage under fire, etc. I love this town.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Twin monster movies: Cloverfield and London

Much hype has been bestowed on the two NYC monster movies that have come out in the previous year and a half: Cloverfield and London. At first, these movies appear very much alike. They both feature a scruffy male lead who is kind of insufferable, and they begin with the male lead attending a going away party at a swanky loft apartment in the Lower East Side. Both guys are going to the party to pursue an extremely attractive, model-like woman who they were romantically involved with months ago, but had not spoken to in months. The party represents one last shot to get the girl. Finally, both movies contain numerous flashbacks to times when their respective male and female leads were happily together.

Forget what you heard, however, because the similarities end there.

In Cloverfield, the main character, Rob, faces in an obstacle in his path to the pursuit of love: A 1,000,000 ton invincible monster of unexplainable origin. This monster is destroying skyscrapers, eating people, releasing dog-sized parasites on the street to infect humans, and literally standing between Rob and the woman he's trying to win back. No one said love would be easy.

In London, the scriptwriters took a more subtle and innovative approach to the monster. London's main character, Syd, is addicted to snorting a white powdery substance, cocaine, that he believes will cure his internal fear. He soon finds out, however, that this substance is merely a psychological virus that has infected him with paranoia, as well as a propensity for babbling incoherently about the meaning of love. The internal monster causes him to lock himself up in an upstairs bathroom with an equally infected Brit (Jason Statham) for hours on end. They continue to snort the monster, but before they turn completely into zombies, they consume enough alcohol to diminish the beast within them. This alcohol overpowers them with the desire to confront their fears directly. As a consequence, Syd finally storms into the party and gets the girl he always wanted.

The ending of Cloverfield is less optimistic, however. Although Rob sneaks past the beast, reunites with the girl, and has a climactic kiss with her, they are both killed by the terrifying invulnerable monster shortly thereafter.

What can be learned from these films? Ultimately, an internal demon is much easier to vanquish than a 500 foot tall demon that can crush tanks.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Massive guitars and gargantuan monsters

Well, this past weekend had it all. Live jazz, live guitar bands, filet mignon, NYC destroying monsters, diners, breasts, Omar jumping off a 4-story balcony (lol spoiler), and the always confusing FA cup.

There were two things that stood out, however:

1.) Not seeing Six Organs of Admittance at the Khyber this Saturday:

I went to the Khyber this Saturday to see freak folk maestro Six Organs of Admittance. I didn't see him. The last opening act was some guy and an acoustic guitar, playing in the exact same tunings and singing in the same voice as Six Organs of Admittance, so I assumed it was him and left, underwhelmed.

Not seeing Six Organs of Admittance wasn't the only highlight of the night, however. Indeed, the first two opening acts more than made up for it:

1. The first band, Creeping Weeds, committed the same exact indie rock crimes that I outlined after I saw Audible . Just substitute the female bass player with a female guitarist, which is even worse, because you can easily hide a superfluous guitar in the mix. I don't just pull these theories out of thin air, people.

Let's put gender aside for a second, though, and get to this point: I can tell the difference between a musician and a marketing ploy.

2. The second band, the horribly named Intergalactic Incense Burners, were damned impressive. They had this crazy guitarist who was looked like a 45-year old homeless biker. He did some taboo things with his guitar, like improvise, play squalling riffs in the high register, Use all sorts of fx pedals, and generally carry the ebb and flow of each song. Granted, the rhythm section was tight, but I've never heard individual guitar playing like that in a long time

That type of playing got me to thinking: While me and my friend were watching, mouths agape, at this display, I wondered if the crowd were impressed, or rather, were they thinking "what a wanker! Doesn't he know that solos killed JFK"? The funny thing is, the early indie bands had plenty of solos/improvisation: Husker Du, The Minutemen, Galaxy 500 etc. Even in the 90s, Malkmus was known to let loose, and all the brit bands (Blur, The Verve, Suede) featured pretty distinctive guitar players.

Today is a different story, however: When is the last time you left a mainstream indie concert saying "wow! such and such band member was incredible"? I know that songs are more important, but does every band have to sound like its musicians graduated from some basic competency factory? I'd rather the musicians all be shiite and create something through pure novice experimentation than accept this numbing "serve the 3 and a half minute pop song" route that all the guitar bands are taking.

Unfortunately, I'm going to have sit around and wait until my opinion becomes fashionable again, because it's sure as hell not right now. And yes; I'm projecting based on my own style of guitar playing.

Tomorrow: The Tweener takes on Cloverfield.

Friday, January 25, 2008

No offense, but...

I don’t mean to be disrespectful or anything, but your essay writing skills need a little work.

I’m not trying to be an asshole here, but could you move your car a couple of feet forward so I can get out?

Sorry; I hate to be rude, but I don’t like your fake tan.

Not to ruffle feathers or anything, but please never sing again.

I don’t mean to be a dick, but can you get the fuck out of my party, faggot?

I’m sorry if I’m coming across as a smidgeon disrespectful, but the bombs will land on your capital in 24 hours.

No offense, but I only smashed your glasses because I thought you were ripping us off of our coke.

I don’t mean to rock the boat here, but this coke is actually crack. That’s not exactly what we were looking for.

I’m not trying to offend anyone here, but I’ve always believed that I was secretly better than all of you.

I don’t mean to undermine the general consensus of American tastemakers, but Little Miss Sunshine was a weak ass movie.

I don’t mean to crush your hopes or anything, but you’re gonna lose this election...Guaranteed.

Sorry if I hurt you when I cut off all communications with you for no reason at all. I guess if I were in your shoes, I would be a little upset...I guess.

I don’t mean to piss on Dylan Thomas’ grave or anything, but here I am, urinating.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Recession Related Activities in Philadelphia Pt. 2

1. Visit Chris’s Jazz CafĂ© and Ortlieb’s.

What does jazz music have to do with a recession? Let me explain: In the period between 1945-1960, jazz clubs flourished throughout Philadelphia. On Columbia Avenue in North Philly (now Cecil B. Moore), there was a club on every block between 2nd and 33rd street. In fact, the stretch was once called ‘Black Broadway’ (DC residents might recognize that nickname; it belonged to U Street as well). There were also jazz clubs throughout South Street and Bainbridge, as well as West Philly.

Starting in the mid-1950s, middle-class black and white families moved out to the suburbs. Real estate speculators cut the houses into sections to accommodate lower income residents. As a result, less property taxes were paid, which meant worse schools, less businesses, and more poorly maintained neighborhoods. Crime increased, which was met with a corresponding police presence. A riot occurred in 1964 on Columbia Ave due to racial tensions between black residents and the police. As a result of this riot, as well as most riots that occurred throughout major cities in the 60s, urban neighborhoods went into steep decline (the riots of course were the end, not the means). Neighborhood jazz music as we knew it ceased to exist.

Possibly a better explanation for all of this is that jazz music was hard as shit to play, and new styles of music weren’t. The sub-genres of be-bop, hard bop and modal were intellectual genres (the previous swing era wasn’t), and required a lot of dexterity. Conversely at the time, R&B and Rock ‘n’ Roll required less skill.

Jazz is known as folk music, which I don’t argue with, but it’s got be the most ridiculously difficult folk music in history. You don’t see fifty year old white fathers playing jazz at some reunion barbeque, like you would with blues music. As a result, jazz is deadest of dead American folk genres. It is no longer playable or economically viable. It has receded into memory due to a combination of urban decline and public indifference.

Some hippie might want to chime in and yell “but Scott! Soulive! The Bad Plus!” Soulive is funk wrapped up in bullshit, and nobody cares about the Bad Plus. In fact, I’m probably just objecting to myself here.

So, go ahead and see live jazz at one of the two venues left in Philly. You will find out that instrumental soloing isn’t the worst thing in history, which you’ve been brought up to believe. Than again, I can’t blame you, because if you had to listen to the same jam bands I was subjected to growing up, you too would want to install a 3-5 year minimum sentence for playing out of pocket.

2. Visit South Jersey

All the families who moved out of Philadelphia because the schools sucked, but couldn’t afford Doylestown, moved here. I’ve never really stepped foot in South Jersey except to buy weed in a strip mall parking lot, but people have told me that it’s completely irredeemable. South Jersey has the highest percentage of sub-prime lenders in the Philadelphia area. Combine that with rising fuel prices, and that area is going to resemble Road Warrior in a couple of years, just like many exurban neighborhoods across the country. The endless strip malls are going to be abandoned, and perhaps replaced with open air drug bazaars (you see my usage of ‘bazaar’? Why is it always ‘market’ and never ‘bazaar’? We wouldn’t need to fight the War on Drugs if we just called every drug corner a ‘bazaar’ and North Philly ‘little Istanbul’).

3. Atlantic City

The Tom Coughlin Giants have never covered at home against a team with a .500 record or above. Bet your remaining money on that.

4. Stetson Hat Company and Schmidts Brewing Company in Fishtown

Whole city communities used to be supported by manufacturing jobs. Both of these factories re-located to some useless Texas town years ago, probably to enjoy lower taxes. As a result, the surrounding neighborhoods went into decline. As we know, things go in cycles; it will eventually cost an arm and a leg to transport products across the country, and at that point these companies will wish they never re-located from the city.

Ultimately, this is the optimistic note I want to leave you all on. Our recession will hopefully move people back into a system self-sustaining cities with their own manufacturing bases. Our generation has already shown that they are sick of the suburbs and respect city life. The rest of the country will follow suit, and we’ll be living in a utopia of flying hydrogen cars, Facebook thought police, and forty-foot wide lazer-beam shooting big sunglasses. Hurrah!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Recession Related Activities in Philly Pt. 1

In case you haven’t noticed or anything, America is an a little bit of an economic pickle. With the subprime crisis, market crashes, inflation and the release of the latest gimmicky Magnetic Fields bore-fest (disclaimer: Never listened to em’), America will never be the same after 1/22.

It’s a shame that our long period of prosperity will end. Yes; that long stretch of prosperity that lasted a whole three years, sandwiched in-between the post-9/11 tech bubble recession from 2001-2004 and the one we have now. In fact, amazingly enough, if you look at economic periods over the course of United States history, you will see a constantly revolving motion, or ‘cycle’ if you will, of upturns and downturns! Wow! With this historical evidence, how could anyone see this current crash happening?

Unfortunately, many pundits are saying that this crash could be the big one. In fact, it’s going to be like that movie ‘Perfect Storm’: Terrible. Whether this crash will be bigger than 1907, 1929, or 1987, nobody knows as of yet.

Left-wing pundits are saying that this crash will reveal some ugly truths that our establishment won’t want to face: Namely, that the economic downturn, combined with high oil prices and diminishing fossil fuels, will end suburban life as we know it.
This sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? Nonetheless, whether or not the U.S. recovers without total collapse, like post 9/11, or whether we are headed for depression-like conditions, it is worth it to compile a list of activities to engage in Philadelphia that are recession related. We are talking about ‘recession’ in the barest sense of the word; literally a part of American culture that has ‘receded’ to the dustbin of history. Because if we are to believe that suburban life is to be altered forever, then why not look at aspects of Philadelphia life and culture that have disappeared due to extenuating economic factors, and combine this with what we think will disappear in the coming decades? This list won’t be pessimistic at all!

Our compilation will be available for you tomorrow, whether you, I, or any of our friends are laid off or not.