The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Links & More

Some blogs lie to you. They make unbelievable promises that deep down they know that they can't keep. But here at the Passion, we (and by we, I mean my team of quick-witted monkeys on typewriters) don't lie. Sure, we speculate, we theorize and occasionally we've been known to fib, but lies, never. And when you see a sign that tells you Linx and More, you better believe that you will be getting links. And More.

For those of you not fluent in Passion of the Weiss trivia, the store pictured above is for a company that I used to cover back in my full-time reporting days when I had the San Fernando Valley Business Community on lockdown. And by lockdown, I mean that I wore a shirt and tie and politely conducted interviews with a variety of esteemed and respectable individuals. It was hardcore. I almost got shot like 14 times. And when I mean shot, I mean that I got two or three free meals, which by Jewish standards equals a whole lot of excellent. My point, if I have one, is that the proprietors of Linx and More were definitely two of the most attractive and kind women I had the pleasure of interviewing. Don't believe me, then check out the photo. I didn't get a free meal, nor did I get a charm bracelet. Denied.

When I haven't been casting aspersions on the delicate sexual issues surrounding the world of professional wrestling, I've been one busy reporter/writer/raconteur/haberdasher. (side-note: there is never a bad time to use the word haberdasher. Ever.

Monday night, the University of Judaism lecture series that I've been attending finally concluded. I'd planned to write a full-fledged post on it, but #1 I'm short on time and #2, I think it would have bored even me. Basically, I watched George Stephanopolous interview former General Wesley Clark, former Dept. of Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge, and David Kay, the man Dubya sent into Iraq to search for WMD. Originally, Natan Sharansky, the man who had the dubious distinction of writing one of Bush's favorite books, "The Case for Democracy," had been slated to speak, but had to cancel at the last moment.

Without getting into the nitty gritty of what went down, here were my impressions of the evening:
Stephanopolous: A very intelligent man and an excellent interviewer, George (Don't Call me Jack) Stephanopolous did a fine job of moving the evening along, keeping everyone focused on the questions and at one point, vaguely intimating that Wesley Clark was completely wrong about life. Okay, so this is an overstatement, but he sort of bitch slapped Clark in an extremely polite way. I wouldn't have minded big Steph to have spoken a little more at length about his own opinions of our current geopolitical situation/debacle, but it was his job to interview not babble. Kudos to him for understanding the difference. Kudos to him for also being the inspiration for Michael J. Fox's character in the "American President." It's very much my life dream to have Michael J. play me in a movie, or to at least one day make a movie as good as Teen Wolf. I'm not being sarcastic either, there are three things that will make any movie good: a guy named Styles, teenaged Werewolfism and a short but plucky Michael J. Fox.

Tom Ridge: Apparently, Tom Ridge was twice elected governor of Pennsylvania. I'm not exactly sure how. (Ian help me out, isn't this your home state?) Because to be quite honest with you, Tom Ridge didn't seem like a very bright man. I'm sure he's a wonderful father, family-man, rotarian, etc., but when it came down to speaking at length on the pressing political issues of the day he seemed overwhelmed. It sent a chill through me to think that this was the man in charge of the DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.

Don't believe me that Ridge might not be the sharpest politician in the drawer? Then please explain a man who cited "Divine Intervention" as one of the biggest reasons why we haven't been hit by a terrorrist attack post 9/11. By that same logic, wouldn't the attacks on 9/11 ALSO have been an attack of divine intervention. So what was God trying to tell us then, Mr. Ridge?

Additionally, Ridge managed to sprinkle in the phrase "mother nature," at least four or five times in the course of the discussion, as though he were explaining the concept of earth day to a classroom full of 4th graders. Overall, he seemed exactly like the type of appointee Dubya loves to nominate: ideological, religiously devout, dense (see Harriet Miers, Hector Baretto, John Ashcroft...etc)

Wesley Clark: About three years ago, I distinctly recall being at the Toluca Lake Bob's Big Boy late at night (and if you haven't been there, you should is all kinds of awesome), having an intense political discussion with a friend. Per usual, I was completely disillusioned with the feeble pool of candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Meanwhile, she was trying to sell me on the candidacy of Howard Dean. About three days previous to our conversation, I had read an article in Newsweek about an intelligent, well-decorated, Southern, military hero who was gaining a great deal of grassroots support and people were talking about him running for the presidency.

I looked at her and said point blank, "Have you heard of this new Wesley Clark character. He sounds great. I'm hoping he decides to officially join the race."

This might go down as one of the dumber things I've ever said, up there with the time that I declared sometime in 2000 that Talib Kweli would never sell out.

That being said, Wesley Clark should definitely not be a politician. I'm sure he was a fine general and I obviously respect his service to the country, but he he seems woefully devoid of ideas.

And by this I mean that when asked how he would solve the Iraq quagmire, he responded that "we need to have dialogue with Iran and Syria....We also need a regional council and a bi-lateral council with bi-weekly meetings."

This was his ENTIRE plan for Iraq. Meetings. With coffee I presume. Lots of coffee. No amount of meetings that we take are going to improve our situation in Iraq. The man had no vision, no new ideas, nothing, but a sorry stream of platitudes and criticisms of George Bush. Let's get real, knocking George Bush is an easier target than ripping on Limp Bizkit. Look, we all know by this point that both of them suck. Now what? And Wesley Clark's real answer was: I Don't Really Know. Of course, this would be fine if he wasn't angling to be our next president. But he clearly is and don't let anyone tell you differently.

David Kay: Shockingly, the most intelligent speaker of the roundtable was David Kay, who blew the two other more well-known men away. A long-time CIA veteran, Kay had a wonkish handle on the intelligence lapses that led us into Iraq. A complete cynic on our future in Iraq, Kay seemed to be the only way to rise above silly homilies and political catch-phrases to talk about the real issues at hand: According to Kay, our invasion has essentially improved the "gene pool" of the terrorists. IE, a new class of recruits has been hardened by battle and is continuing to hone their already proficient killing skills.

Basically, Kay said the whole reason why the US and the entire intelligence community was duped by Iraq was that we had zero human assets in Iraq. We had no idea what was going on. He stated, "look, when your main source's name is Curveball. You know you have a problem. In Iraq, when the inspectors came in, we were like a drunk, looking for our car keys under a lamp post." It was gems like these and insightful analysis that allowed Kay to steal the show and make Clark and Ridge look like a couple of bumbling buffoons. Point: David Kay.

On Tuesday, Entertainment Today, one of the newspapers I write for, and amazingly the only newspaper in America without a website, sent me to review the South concert at the Troubadour.

Here is my review: South is the most mediocre band in the entire world. Have you ever been at a show where you didn't know one of the band's songs and while you didn't exactly hate what they were playing, you just found it profoundly and direly boring. Standing there, watching this band peel off, traditional neo-new wave/garage revival riff after riff, all I could think of was how fast I could get home. Nothing stood out at all. I couldn't tell you what anyone in the band looked like, how they played their instruments nothing. They were the most forgettable band I've ever seen play professionally. I almost wanted to beg them to do something, a style, a different song tempo, give the bassists a flock-of-seagulls haircut, anything. Alas, it was no use. They were just a disastrous mediocrity.

Leaving after 40 minutes, I was left to contemplate the fact that there's nothing worse than seeing a band that isn't very good whose songs you aren't familiar with. Some groups can transcend this lack of familiarity and turn me into major fans(see Serena Maneese, Boy Least Likely To), but as for poor South, not so much. That being said, the crowd seemed to enjoy them, which I guess shows absolutely nothing. The people seemed like a bunch of Dave Matthews fans that had gotten high and decided that they were in an "anglophile sort of mood."

Enough meandering, if you've gotten this far, you're prolly realizing that I promised more: The links component of this blog. And if ye shall ask, ye shall receive.

1) As usual the Onion AV Club raises some points that we've pondered at some point or another. In this case, it highlights "Seven Songs With Factual or Logical Mistakes in Their Lyrics."

I was most interested in the logical trickery played by a man named Young MC in a little song I like to call "Bust A Move." The Onion rightfully calls out Young MC for rapping "Your best friend Harry / has a brother Larry / in five days from now he's gonna marry / he's hopin' you can make it there if you can / 'cause in the ceremony you'll be the best man."

As the Onion mentions, why in God's name would Young MC be his best friend's brothers best man and not the brother himself. This logic is baffling. But at the same time, I've always felt the weirdest part of that song was when Young MC raps "A chick walks by and you wish you could sex her But you're standin on the wall like you was Pointdexter."

My question all along has always been why did Young MC have such a hatred for John Poindexter. Was Young MC a passionate anti-Reaganite, one didn't gibe with Poindexter's highly controversial style. And how could he hate someone who looks like this (click here) Pointdexter looks like a lovable grandpa to me. When he was writing the lyrics to his song did Young MC why didn't someone at the very least look at him and ask " you think this Poindexter reference is gonna' last. I mean sure it might kill on the Bar-Mitzvah circuit in the early 90s, but let's think down the road, Young MC. Let's think down the road."

2) I don't know if everyone's already read this by know, but Chuck Klosterman wrote an article about two weeks ago on the Barry Bonds steroid saga and I think its one of, if not the best pieces of sports journalism I've ever read. I know people, especially literary-minded ones want to continually extol Dave Eggers, Jonathan Saffran Foer and Jonathan Franzen, but if they want to read the most important writer in America, they should read Klosterman. His work may or may not hold up over time due to its intense focus on the issues of the day, but at worst he's the HL Mencken of our times. At his best, he's as insightful of an observer as JD Salinger if he had decided to be a journalist and had been weaned exclusively on pop culture flotsam and jetsam. I was late to the Klosterman bandwagon, but the man is the closest thing we have to a brilliant AND interesting writer today.

3) So good ol' Passion of the Weiss idol, Neil Young has decided to release an album devoted to George Bush and his failures in Iraq and it even has a track called "Let's Impeach the President.I've listened to the album online and while it obviously isn't a classic Neil Young album, the music sounds pretty good and lyrics are impassioned if not a little hasty and under-written. Perhaps the most interesting decision about Young's decision to record it was that he claimed he'd been waiting for a younger singer to do something very similar, but no one stepped forward (does this mean Neil doesn't like Bright Eyes either?) and so when no one made a protest album he decided to. The truth is a younger singer/songwriter should've written something, but our political and social climate intimidates people into avoiding the topic altogether, and when we do get someone writing a protest album (see Bright Eyes) it comes off as churlish 6th grade poetry slapped together. My point: Bright Eyes sucks and Neil Young does not. He rules.

4) Anyone who thinks that indie music hasn't gone "mainstream" needs to re-examine that belief, or just check this article out for evidence. Apparently, 17 Magazine is putting out a compilation album of "indie songs," with tracks from Iron & Wine, Architecture in Helsinki. and the Shout out Louds. Its times like this that I wish Zach Braff had never been born and I'd never heard the words "Garden State Soundtrack"

5) Jaime Foxx has gone on the record to state, "I am
the savior of R&B. I'm definitely going out there with my mic and my shield to declare, 'I am here to save R&B.' I will have the people saying, 'Sire, there is a man at the musical gates saying he is here to save R&B."

He also clarified his comment upon further prodding from the reporter: "Oh, by saving R&B, I mean singing lyrics about licking women up and down with a hip-hop beat playing in the background. R&B definitely has a real dearth of that. It seems that everyone's too busy protesting the Iraq war to bother to talk about how smooth they are with the ladies."

6) Paris Hilton is getting her own mobile video game to be played on cell phones everywhere. Apparently, the game's plot is very complicated, as we watch Paris duck paparazzi, take limos and go to the all the super-hot clubs. You beat the game if you can succesfully manage to get your home-made sex tape to be seen by everyone on the Internet. Doing so, increases your level of "hotness." Whoever gets the most fame wins.

7). Fall Out Boy lead singer asks the lead singer of the Killers out on a date:
"We played Vegas the other night and we invited The Killers to our party afterwards, but they didn't show. I think they were recording," Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy said. "He hasn't officially accepted my invitation yet. I think it would be awesome. He's probably a good date. And I'm buying, Brandon! I'd take him somewhere classy, maybe go to Nobu and get some sushi."

My point isn't that Fall Out likes Boys, that's obvious. I'm more curious how in god's name Brandon Flowers thinks he can start beef? Shouldn't the fact that he wears make-up and his name is not David Bowie or Marc Bolan, inform him that he has one option: shut the fuck up. You make synth rock. People also bought tons and tons of Peter Frampton albums. Get over yourself.

8) To people who aren't from LA and want to know about what Hollywood at its darkest looks like, wonder no further. Read this article from the LA Times, about Hollywood after-hours club Xenii. I read this article and screamed, "what a douchebag." 16 times. See if you can beat me. I've been there once. I didn't run into the Great Gatsby, unless the Great Gatsby was a 34-year old slightly balding dermatologist from Westwood who pays thousands of dollars a month to make
lurid passes at golddigging 19-year old girls who are angling to talk to the three celebrities at the party.

9) According to the Yahoo! Buzz Index, Hyphy is in. Proving once again in today's wide open and all-embracing field of popular culture, new genres will continually need to be developed so that people can accurately describe really bad most rap music is. This is how crunk and reggaeton were invented.

10) Finally, check out this tidbit from the New York Daily News: Apparently, the Rush & Mollay column is claiming that: "
Beyoncé may be regretting the day Cam'ron got the address of her two-way."Cam has been text-messaging Beyoncé like crazy," our tipster says. "He's been asking her out, and dissing Jay[-Z]. He's been telling her she should be with a real man like him."

If this is actually true, Cam'ron is simultaneously the best and worst human being known to man. Can you imagine how much balls/delusion it takes to text message Beyonce and talk shit about Jay-Z. I'm really curious to know if he shouts out Dipset at the end of each text message. Sample line: "Beyonce , yo' girl do you wanna drink sake on a suzuki in Osaka Bay. You need a real man. Dipset...sent by my blackberry wireless."

And with that I'm off to Coachella.


At 12:18 AM, Blogger Ian said...

I'll be'll take a while for me to take this all in, but I agree on one aspect: South has the worst stage presence of any band I've ever seen. My friend's a huge Metric fan, so we saw them open up for South at the 40 Watt on a Tuesday night. Metric blew them off the stage and about 75% of the people left after they were done. There were, like, five people there. It might've been the first time a show was visibly awkward, mostly because I assured my friends South was pretty good.

At 8:10 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Yeah South was just an average band. Weiss and I never bail on Shows early, and we totally did for the south show.

Re Jamie Fox: He is EXACTLY what is wrong with R&B. The production factor in R&B music has totally gone down the drains. Acts don't record with bands anymore. Listen to Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and any of the old Motown mainstays and you'll know what R&B needs. In their current forms, R&B and Hip Hop are almost one in the same to me.

At 10:23 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

I believe the song "No Sex in the Champagne Room," by Chris Rock adequately sums up all of our feelings on R&B quite well.

At 9:05 PM, Blogger Joey said...

Hyphy is not a movement and is not at all good. Just to be on the record should the world end tonight.


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