Snow, snow, go away

Why is it that in Brooklyn, the snow still piles up making walking a bit of a hassle — while in Manhattan, it’s just slushy and mildly irritating?

Snow-related story, that can’t possibly happen only in NY? — restaurant owner Toshi Suzuki, of Basta Pasta on West 17th St., builds an igloo outside his restaurant. It comfortably seats four, and Suzuki apparently does this after every major snow storm. This latest one is his 4th in 15 years. NY1 has the film footage– quite fascinating.

A curious story in today’s Daily News: Radio DJ on Hot97 had a song parody that just denigrates Asians and then the on-air crew denigrated its Asian newsreader when she protested about their song. Frank Lombardi reports:

Hip-hop radio station HOT 97 has sparked outrage across the city by airing a twisted song that shockingly mocks the 200,000 victims of the South Asian tsunami.

The radio station, WQHT, was forced to air an apology yesterday after the insulting song – whose lyrics include racial epithets aimed at Asians – was played for four days last week by morning deejay Miss Jones.

“We are absolutely appalled, saddened, outraged and angered,” said Kai Yu of Asian Media Watch.

The nasty parody, sung to the tune of “We Are the World,” makes light of how the killer tsunami “washed your whole country away.”

Some of the other tasteless lyrics refer jokingly to orphaned children being sold into slavery. [….]

Before one airing of the song, the station’s news reader, Miss Info, who is of Asian descent, objected to the song, only to be attacked by Jones and her cohorts.

“That song is really offensive to me, and I opted not to involve myself,” Miss Info said.

Jones replied, “I know you feel you’re superior because you’re Asian, but you’re not.” Later, co-host Todd Lyn, incensed at Miss Info’s criticism, said, “I’m going to start shooting Asians.”

Councilman John Liu (D-Queens) said it was outrageous that the station, owned by Emmis Communications Corp., aired the song for four days.

“It degrades the more than 200,000 victims,” Liu said.

Liu and other Asian leaders have called for the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on the station and demanded that Miss Jones, whose full name is Tarsha Jones, be fired.

Apparently, Jones and her staff will be donating a week’s salary to tsunami relief efforts. What really was interesting was watching this on the news: Councilman Liu was with a diverse crowd of fellow councilmen and they were all denouncing Hot97 for the racist parody. Thumbs up for a unified condemnation of racist remarks; thumbs down for media people who lacked the sense for putting that on the air in the first place (their defense: “we thought it was funny.” – well, it’s offensive, so boo-hoo to you).

More snow expected tomorrow, plus more frigid cold by Thursday. Ah, and to think that New Year’s Day had 60 degree temperature. Global warming means bizarre weather, I see.

Taipei coming into its own?

I suppose when the New York Times deigns to publish an article about a topic, it’s pretty newsworthy and important to know about. So, to my surprise to get an article forward from a fellow BLS alum where, it declared
“A Young Taipei Finds its Groove”

Unfortunately, it reads like a fluff piece, banalities abound. Rather disappointing. It makes some factual errors such as referring to Civil Boulevard when it’s always been known here as Civic Boulevard. On the other hand, it just could be that the Taipei city government has gotten the translation wrong (often does). It talks about the lounges and malls, Taipei 101 (the observation floor has officially opened this month and I believe it’s located on the 86th floor), and states that Taipei’s new “emerging culture catering to young people, [it] is becoming a cool place to visit.”

I suppose it is. It seems like it’s getting more internationalized, but it’s a case of one step forward, two steps back. English is still something that the city and the whole island has been trying to come to grips with for years now but often fails to. Except for a few government ministries and bureaus, Taipei and Taiwan is still a Chinese country (oops, I show my biases). It’s hard to argue that Taipei is becoming internationalized when foreigners can’t communicate with/to Taipei citizens. If you’re an international city, you’re going to have to be able to make foreigners feel welcome and have English documents, signage, people who can speak it. They don’t have it.

Despite all the glitz that’s showing, scratch a little deeper and you’ll find that it is as many people feel, a peasant city with tall buildings. Places like Shanghai, in just a few short years have leapfrogged Taipei as an international city where all the beautiful people go to see and be seen. Taipei can’t compare to Kuala Lumpur as an international city. Bangkok is catching up fast and if things continue, it will likely surpass Taipei and come of its own within the next few years.

Taipei, keep trying.


The worst day of the year

Some depressing folks in the UK had declared January 24 as the “worst day of the year”, mostly because it is depressing post holiday, people are broke from holiday spurging, and to top it off, it’s a Monday.

The commute in from Sheepshead Bay really sucked – the B train was stuck twice on the way in towards Manhattan, finally giving up the ghost after an hour’s commute at 7th Avenue, Brooklyn. I walked to the 3 train stop at Bergen Street; P turned around and went back home. The guy I was expecting from Washington DC actually made it in 30 minutes before I go there.

The C train has been KO’ed by some bum starting a bonfire in a shopping cart, destroying the switching station at Chambers Street. Estimated repair: 5 years and millions of dollars! The A train will be manually switched, cutting capacity by 2/3rds. On the other hand, it makes the V train useful now, as it will take over the C train line from West Fourth Street to Euclid Avenue. They’re going to recreate the exact same system from 1910, instead of going to some sort of computer control like the one being implemented for the L train. I don’t get it.