Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Wide World of Rich, Paralyzed Iraqis, Part II

Before I continue with this thread, I would like to address a comment made on my previous post by a reader/visitor who identifies as "the friend." First,

"Iraqis, as a whole, probably speak/write better English than most Americans."

No. No they do not.


"Why don't you write something actually worth reading about the Iraqi conflict. Everyone who reads this blog knows you have the intelligence and writing ability. "

This is probably more accurate, although given the scammer's hilariously obvious attempts at deceiving me, we can hardly take his/her nationality as a cold, hard fact. Chances are the person was posing as an Iraqi in an attempt to find a soft spot in some idiot web neophyte who thinks that AOL is the internet. What I'm saying is that the Iraqiness of the person is incidental. Let's all just sit back for a moment, clear our heads, and realize that slipping tasteless puns and obnoxious jokes past non-native Enlglish speakers who are clearly engaged in acts of deception and thievery, while certainly sophomoric, is also kind of fun.

Whatever the case, whoever jumped to my defense could have been a little more polite.

On with the story:

She responded. And I was all,


The response in itself was nothing special. It seemed to me to be a previously written response. It did, however, contain some serious gems:

"Thanks in appreciation of your desire to help me out of this situation, I am ready to accept any aggreement towards this project provided you do not betray me. However you have to assure me of your trusthworthiness as my situation here is critical, my son is just 15 years, not old enough to take decision, so ia relying in you."

Wait... you have a son?

"I think you have built confidence in me that I shall be glad to tell you that i paid the company for the transfer, if any money is to be paid, let me know. The said money is 100 dollar denomination,wraped with foils from Central Bank Badhdad in a 100 x 80 x 100 cm dark coloured formaica box (consignment) with diplomatic sticker attached to it. Toltal amount 22.5 million dollars."

Yes, over our long friendship of one spam email and two replies, we have certainly built confidence in one another. I agree. Let's send each other money!

Then she said some crap about having to move the money to Europe or something. This was probably where the whole transfer fee thing would come into play. There was no doubt about it - I was being expertly scammed.

So I replied:

Hello Fareeza

What a relief! I thought that you had died or something! That would have sucked big time, because I'm so goddamned eager to help!

How is the weather in Iraq? It's cold here, but the winter hasn't been quite as cold as it usually is. I think it's El Nino, but people around here are getting their panties all in a bunch about global warming. What do you think? Is it warmer than usual over there? Can you even tell? Haha if I were you I would use some of that money to get an aboveground pool. They're mad cheap. Once we safely execute this transfer (haha! execute! pun alert!) you should be able to afford that.

Also, I cannot be sure about this transaction unless I see a picture of you. I can tell a lot about a person by the way that they look. You had better be pretty! Haha just kidding but seriously don't be too fat.

I hope to hear from you soon. Peace in the Middle East (haha they used to say that in the 80s, it's kind of funny now, isn't it?)


Next: Fareeza starts to get frustrated.

One last thing. How is the formatting for this? Is the text too small, or too gray? I'm trying desperately to distinguish the emails from my own commentary without hundreds of colors and such. Let me know.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Wide World of Rich, Paralyzed Iraqis, Part I

The title sucks you in. I know it does.

A few weeks ago, our band account received an urgent email from one Ms. Fareeza Hayat, an Iraqi widow in dire need of help. "I feel sorry for bordering you at this time," Ms. Fareeza wrote, "since we have not met orknown each other before, but I beg you in the name of almighty allah, tohave patience and listen to me." I I did, in fact, listen closely to her email, and it turned out that Ms. Fareeza in fact needed very badly to transfer $22.5 million of United States Dollars into someone else's bank account. Could we, this poor hip-hop band from Boston, help her? Maybe, if we were willing to pay a small transfer fee.

She continued:

"Yes America and its allies have enthrone democracy in Iraq, but can wesustain it, the weakness of the Arabic leaderships is shameful and distressing. And they do not feel ashamed of themselves, with their negativity that insulted this nation's dignity, and led it to the lowest level. Anyway I am saying this thing for you to understand the feeling of an average Iraqi on the street and the reason most of us who have the opportunity are doing this kind of thing. Ask an Iraqi boy on the street are you Iraqi?He will say no, I am Sunni, Shi'ite orKurdish, he will not mention Iraq. Worst of this is the obnoxious kurdish tradition which strips the womam of all her husband's wealth and transfer it to the brothers of the man when the man dies, that is my situation here."

Needless to say, my heartstrings had been expertly tugged. However, me being the greedy bastard that I am, I decided that I would create a new email account and answer to this poor woman so as to keep all of the riches to myself. I decided to christen myself Johnny Faux and wrote her the following response:

OMG when I saw your email I was all OMG I need to help this woman. Anything I can do to help the plight of your people I must do. For realz. Don't worry, you weren't bordering me at all. In fact, you border Iran. HAHA! If you don't get it, don't worry, it was just a little English mistake that you made. Or a geography mistake. Nothing serious. I totally understood what you were trying to say, I think.

Anyway, yeah, I have like 4 Swiss bank accounts, so this should work out fine. Which one do you want tosend the money to? I can just give you the access number, or if you like, we can meet up somewhere and I can hand you an envelope full of money. Does that sound good?

I only ask one small favor in return. When I hand over the money to you, I want you to dress like a cheerleader and call me "coach."

Okay, hope to talk to you soon!


Would Ms. Fareeza reply? Was she all right? Did she or whomever sent out this email really, honestly think that this crap was going to work?

Stay tuned for Part II.

Friday, January 19, 2007

a letter to the weekly dig

I recently wrote a letter to the Weekly Dig in response to this article outlining the conflict over a white Boston-based promoter, Edu Leedz, putting on a Black History Month show at McGann's Pub in the North End. I got a response from a Dig staffer (hooray! I'm relevant!) but I'm not sure if they'll publish the letter on Wednesday, and I need material to get this blog going again, so here is my letter. Don't forget to read the story first.

I am writing this email In response to last week's article, "Devil in the Details," which described the controversy surrounding Edu Leedz' upcoming Black History Month hip-hop show at McGann's: First, full disclosure: I am a white rapper and the lead vocalist in a five piece live hip-hop band and worked with Leedz on a few separate occasions early in my career. We have not worked together on a show in over 18 months and may not ever cross paths again. That said, I consider him a hard worker and a hard-nosed businessperson who takes his responsibility to Boston and to hip-hop culture seriously. I do not know Mr. Crawford.

It seems to me that Mr. Crawford claims an ownership over Black history and culture that not only affords him the right to celebrate it, but the right to deny the act of celebration to others. However, this kind of action neither preserves nor promotes culture; rather, it slowly drowns it under a sea of avarice and provincialism. The reason that we celebrate culture - and the reason that it transcends all materialism and corporate co-opting - is that it cannot be owned. Culture and history are by nature shared objects, because the only way that we experience them is through the free flow of information. We have culture only because we share it. When we refuse to share our culture with others, it becomes a wretched, twisted caricature of itself.

Mr. Crawford's actions seem, at best, woefully misguided. At worst, they are a self-centered attempt to deny people access to aspects of his history that are relevant to all of us. Whether he likes it or not, Black history and Black culture are shared Amerian experiences. Historic figures like Malcolm X arise where cultues clash, not in petri dishes of isolated cultural hegemony. Malcolm X may indeed be Mr.Crawford's "hero," but Mr. Crawford's reverence for Malcolm X makes him no less available to Leedz, no matter how vehemently Mr. Crawford chooses to protest. In fact, the more Mr. Crawford endeavors to deny non-Blacks access to his culture - a culture that has been shaped by both Blacks and non-Blacks - the more he deprives us of the ability to examine who we are as a community.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Resolutions by The Indefinite Article

Happy 2007!

The year is only two days old and you’re already hearing from The Indefinite Article. Could that mean that big things are on the way? When have big things ever not been on the way? Come on!

Because it is a new year, and because the new year is a time for resolutions, and because we are on break and thus have no shows coming up in January, and because I’m a fool for old, hackneyed traditions, I’m going to give you a list of New Year’s Resolutions for 2007, which I have appropriately titled…

A List of New Year’s Resolutions for 2007
by The Indefinite Article

1. The Website. www.indef-art.com, will be up and running in full force at some goddamned point in the future, with audio, video, stuff, things, and merch. We swear.

2. The Blog. www.indef-art.blogspot.com, will be up and running starting now, with this newsletter. In addition to posting every monthly newsletter, I will resume posting both relevant and irrelevant information to this site at regular intervals. The posts will also be available on our myspace blog.

3. The Rest of the InterWeb. We will be making a full-scale run to have a presence in as many of the interconnected tubes of the interweb as we can. This includes: MySpace (of course), Facebook, YouTube, Google Video, PureVolume, and whatever other crap factories pop up their sloth-like, time-wasting heads this year.

4. The Album. We will write and record an album for you to have and cherish, releasing at least one single for you to behold during 2007.

5. The College Radio. This one is easy. Starting on February 5th, The Indefinite Article will team up with Planetary Group to do a 6-week college and non-commercial radio promotion campaign for The Grand Applause. Please be sure to hound your local college station to play our music starting on February 5th.

6. The Video. We will be teaming up with filmmaker Matt Rutherford to do a video of the song “You Might Wanna“ from our debut album, The Grand Applause.

7. The Kids These Days. We will start actively involving ourselves in playing all-ages shows, starting at Andover Town Hall, whenever Rick gets around to booking us an event there.

8. The Smacking Down of Punk-Ass Bitches. We will begin our master plan to systematically crush all those who hinder the juggernaut of forward progress that is The Indefinite Article. Masses of backward thinking, intellectually bereft clods will whimper in terror as they attempt to wrap their tiny little brains around the simple tautology that we have already processed and internalized: that it is impossible to stop us, for we are impossible to stop.

Okay, now it’s on to the outline. Let’s do it.

I. Indef on Boston Nocturnal!
II. February 2007 and Beyond!
III. Why such a short newsletter?

I. Indef on Boston Nocturnal!

Boston nightlife documentarians Boston Nocturnal dropped by our amazing December 15th show at Bill’s Bar to do a bit on the band. The current episode of the show can be seen here. If you are having trouble finding the episode that features us, it is also up on YouTube. Just click here. The video quality is better on Boston Nocturnal's own site, so try viewing it there first. We will be receiving a cut of the piece and will post the clip on our myspace as soon as we figure out exactly how to do so.

II. February 2007 and Beyond!

Yes, folks, we already do have a ton of gigs booked for our return to action in February. I’ll write you a short list right now. You’ll get the full details in the February newsletter. Here they are:

Thursday, February 1 – The Brick House, Dover, NH
Friday, February 2 – Kitty O’Shea’s, Beverly, MA
Thursday, February 8 – St. Anselm College, Manchester, NH
Saturday, February 10 – The Barley House, Concord, NH
Saturday, February 17 – Middle East Upstairs or Bill’s Bar, Cambridge or Boston, MA. Long Story.
Thursday, February 22 – Nectar’s, Burlington, VT
Friday, February 23 – TBA
Saturday, February 24 – Sugarbush Mountain, Warren, VT
Thursday, March 1 – The Blackburn, Gloucester, MA
Friday, March 9 – The Lion’s Den, New York, NY
Saturday, March 10 – The Santa Fe, College Park, MD
Thursday, March 22 – The Blackburn, Gloucester, MA
Thursday, March 29 – Tammany Hall, Worcester, MA
Friday, March 30 – Harbor House, Gloucester, MA
Thursday, April 19 – Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
Thursday, May 4 – Santa Fe, College Park, MD

III. Why such a short newsletter?

Because I’m actually writing this on New Year’s Eve and I’m about to go get drunk.

Also the rest of the band

If you would like to unsubscribe, email the.indefinite.article@gmail.com and try not to spread your pessimism and anger too heavily so soon. You’ll need it all year!