New York


Hypocrisy On Sugar Ban? 4

I had a pretty healthy discussion with a friend from my high school earlier this week on New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks which is quite a noble idea but seems to be missing the point. It was also amusing that the following day was National Donuts Day that the mayor of New York had no problem promoting. Apparently he said he was promoting moderation

The big problem I have is I don’t think banning larger drinks solves anything when it still allows people to acquire to drinks of smaller sizes without any consequences. I think levying a significant tax on sugar drinks will drive home the purpose a lot clearer than setting an arbitrary limit which can be easily circumvented. It makes it more expensive to buy larger quantity of sugary drinks and will cause people to think twice about getting larger quantities.

The proposed sugar bans are included below… so let me know what you think?

 


Different Behaviour And Other Observations 2

In my second edition of Toonie Tales, noticing the behaviour (<– notice my spelling) of people here has been a refreshing change from those south of the border. No matter where I have gone – take it from the Passport Office to the Tim Hortons to the Government of Ontario offices to the people at Pizza Pizza – there has been nothing short of gracious service and friendly people everywhere. It’s a complete culture shock even though I have visited here nearly every year since I moved away but moving back has been great.

First experience was immediately felt at the border. I presented the guy there with my proper forms of ID for crossing into Canada and I figured since I had tons of stuff with me, I would have my work contract since he would most likely ask. Instead, the guy asked me about my school and where I graduated from, which state I was currently residing in and whether I planned to still own the car the next time I would visit. THAT was it. My contract lying on the seat next to me went by the way side, no luggage check for someone admitting to move into the country and in under a minute, I was on my way. It’s safe to say, people like me are usually the ones “randomly” selected to be inspected at any TSA line.

I thought maybe I had gotten lucky but I was in no mood to push my luck so I carried on. The rest of the travel was rather short and I only unpacked and called it a night. The next day was my first at work and I had spared myself some extra time getting to downtown because of the train commute. I got there a little early and the thing I noticed, (noticed it when I came for the interview too), was that there is no uptight security like we have back in the States. Any work environment I have been a part of, barely lets you set foot into the building before being forced to talk to a security guard of some sort or brandish your work ID. Here, there is a guy sitting at his desk but he just said “Hi” as I walked in like I had been here before. Interestingly, all the doors on every floor including the entrances from the staircase are ID protected so you can get in the building, but can’t do much else.

The relaxed and refreshing environment of security was also present at the passport office too where a very pleasant officer was greeting people waiting in line going out the door and was suggesting alternative timings to come avoid the rush or different places if you were there just to pick up your passport instead of filing for one. The kind people over at Service of Government of Ontario were great too. I didn’t have an appointment (they accept people from 4-7pm with appointments only) but the lady waived me through as the queue was rather empty. Apparently I didn’t have all the necessary paperwork ready that day but when I did come back a couple of days later, a different lady guided me through all the paperwork, even chatted about why I hadn’t lived in Canada since 2000 and what I liked better.

I put all the government offices first because that’s where you are least likely to find a friendly environment in New Jersey or New York but this behaviour transcends those walls too. The local Tim Hortons next to my work has a packed line at 7 or 8 in the morning and yet they each find a way to laugh about something with each customer. How do people get the energy to do that, this early in the morning? The Pizza Pizza near where I am living apparently goes even beyond that. First, the lady upgraded our order from a large to extra-large because there was a sale/it was going to cheaper on our end and then once the order was complete, they opened up each box to show that we were satisfied with what it looked like. Apparently, they go back and cook more / make you a new pie if it is too burned. Good like finding that kind of service at Pizza Hut or Dominos without putting up a fight.

All that praising aside, they do have a complex with identifying every single person who is Canadian though. For example, there have been repeated updates on the radio of injured “Canadian” first baseman of the Minnesota Twins Justin Morneau. It is quite awkward to hear all Blue Jays, Raptors, Leafs and Argos updates and they include a tiny segment for the Twins vs. White Sox update because Morneau is not playing. Also on the radio, there is a rather bizarre obsession with Lady Gaga music here that has to be classified as some sort of disease.

My biggest adjustment so far would probably have to be not crossing the street on a red light. No one and I literally mean no one crosses the street when there is a red hand up. I am sure everyone has places to go but even on an empty road in the morning or the add break in traffic leave for home, everyone seems to patiently wait until the light turns green and the ‘walk’ symbol appears before they start walking. Succumbing to public pressure, I have also stopped and kindly twiddle my thumbs while waiting for the light to turn green – I guess I need to learn to be more patient.

On a funny note to end this, I did experience one incident of road rage while I have been here but it turns out the license plate of the guy was from the great state of New York. Go figure, right? Good Ol’ USA.

P.S. Popeyes still has the best chicken and biscuits of any fried chicken place.


Help Make Eid an Observed School Holiday

I had heard about this issue rumbling around the state of New York for a while now but I got this concrete petition from my cousin over at Chill Yo Islam Yo and even heard about from my dad today. New York City has the nation’s largest school system. A 2008 study by Columbia University’s Teachers College estimates at least 10 percent of the city’s 1.1 million students are Muslim.

Supporters say the school board needs to be inclusive of the growing number of Muslim students in New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke out against approving the holidays this week, saying it would open the door to other religious groups asking for days off. The Mayor seems to have no issues of celebrating Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur with two days off every year however…

As all of you might know already their has been aggressive efforts to make Eid al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha an observed school holiday. This comes by no surprise,  since their are around 800,000 Muslim New Yorkers and about 10% percent of children who attend NYC public schools are Muslim.

Recently, the resolution was almost passed until Mayor Bloomberg pulled a stunt on the Muslim community and rejected it. His excuse? It will give too many days off for students when added to existing school holidays. Come on Mr.Mayor, keep it real! You’re jewish, listen to Rabbi Moshe Edelman.

Insh’Allah the resolution gets past and Mayor Bloomberg stops being shady, after all American Muslims are productive members of society as well.

chillyoislamyo.com, Chill Yo Islam Yo, Aug 2009

[download id=”3″]

Print it, sign it, do what you need to do with it to pass the word. You can send your signed copy to the following address:

The Honorable Micheal Bloomberg
Office of the Mayor
City Hall
New York, NY, 10007

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Guest Post: NHL Playoffs Preview

If I need hockey news from someone I know personally, it is usually down to three people and two of which I went to high school with. One of those two has written a guest post on the upcoming NHL playoffs that get underway on Wednesday with 3 Eastern Conference series and 1 from the Western Conference.

I have bolded his series predictions below and added mine [in blue]. I think it just might be a nice contest throughout the playoffs to see who predicts the series more accurately.

Here is an analysis from Rusty Moke who is an avid hockey fan since as long as I can remember and has been in attendance for more hockey games this year alone than I even I got to watch:

The NHL playoffs are finally upon us; if 82 games weren’t enough get ready for a couple more.  Now, I’m no NHL scout or hockey analyst, (just an old high school buddy of a specific angry brown guy, who I’d like to thank for making room for me in his intelligent blog) but as an avid hockey fan/player you might be able to find a morsel or two of decent predictions among all of my ranting.

There are 8 different matchups, so I’ll make it short and sweet for each one.

(8) Montreal vs (1) Boston – The Bruins have surged forward this season, from 8th playoff seed last year to 1st this year.  The Canadiens have limped down the stretch, Markov is injured, and Price needs another year or two to become an outstanding goaltender.  Although I believe Boston is overrated and Tim Thomas is garbage, I’ll say Boston wins the series 4-1. [Boston – 4-2]

(7) New York (R) vs (2) Washington – My hatred of the Rangers aside, they are going to have a tough time with the Caps.  Washington has too much firepower for Lundqvist to handle between Ovie, Semin, Green, and Backstrom.  Theodore is Washington’s weak point, but the Rangers season long scoring problems shouldn’t give him much of a problem.  Having the #1 penalty kill in the league doesn’t win games.  Washington sweeps 4-0. [Washington – 4-2]

(6) Carolina vs (3) New Jersey – I’m obviously going to be biased towards the Devils.  Yes, we’ve had problems with the Canes all season long.  Yes, since Marty broke the record he hasn’t been at the top of his game.  But, Marty finally has rest and we have too much history with Carolina to drop this game.  Keep an eye on Babchuk, he’ll make things interesting.  NJ wins in 7. [Carolina – 4-3]

(5) Philadelphia vs (4) Pittsburgh – Not much to say here.  Since the coaching change Pittsburgh has been nearly unstoppable.  Everyone recognizes the names Crosby and Malkin.  Philadelphia has always been an unpredictable team, I don’t think they can hold onto this series, Biron isn’t very reliable.  Pittsburgh wins 4-1. [Pittsburgh – 4-2]

(8) Anaheim vs (1) San Jose– Not much to say here, get out your brooms.  Keep an eye on Cheechoo.  San Jose in 4. [San Jose – 4-1]

(7) Columbus vs (2) Detroit – Look no further for an upset.  Columbus has fought too hard to lose to the Wings in their first post season appearance.  Osgood isn’t as good as he is made out to be, Nash’s leadership is better than Datsyuk’s.  Mason isn’t done with shutouts this season.  Columbus in 7. [Detroit – 4-1]

(6) St. Louis vs (3) Vancouver – The Canucks faltered during the middle of the season, they won’t during the playoffs.  Congrats to the Blues for making it to the playoffs, they better enjoy it while it lasts.  Luongo has this one.  Vancouver wins 4-2. [St. Louis 4-2]

(5) Calgary vs (4) Chicago – Another close series.  Chicago has youth; they can make a run at the cup next year.  Calgary’s trades this year were invaluable.  Calgary wins 4-3. [Calgary 4-1]

Don’t go placing bets on my predictions, but then again who knows.  The playoffs always find some way to keep things interesting.  My cup prediction:  New Jersey vs Calgary.  That’s probably biased, but I’ve seen it all season.

I will probably add my own analysis tomorrow but once again big time appreciation and thanks to Rusty for some fantastic analysis. Once again, if any of you wanna jump in and add your predicitions, feel free to comment below and just let either me or Rusty know wha you think of the guest post.


Freedom is Slavery. 1

Just got this off of Engadget but you knew this was only a matter of time before it became a reality with the direction this country is headed in. Luckily I don’t live in New York but being just a state away, will New Jersey follow suit?

NY state inserts RFIDs into licenses; citizens next?

NY state inserts RFIDs into licenses, citizens next?What can we say about RFIDs that hasn’t already made you afraid? Your passport? Clonable. Your work ID and “secure” credit cards? Yeah, those too. Not scary enough? How about every adult New Yorker walking around with one in their back pocket? It’s just a matter of time, as the Empire State’s clearly enhanced drivers licenses (says so right on ’em) are now hitting the streets. For $30 on a new one, or $10 if you’re looking to upgrade, you can get yourself a radio-wave emitting ID, enabling you to cross the border into Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean sans-passport. Don’t worry, the cards won’t be broadcasting any personal information — just a unique code that the government can use to track your every movement.

[Via Crave]