Wednesday, March 26, 2008

CRAIG STEVES:

My fellow New Yorkers, I encourage you all to check out the YouTube video diary of Craig Stevens. He is an adorable kid originally from Murfreesboro TN and a recent graduate of Tidewater College in VA. He has come to the big city to pursue his dreams of being a Broadway performer. Through Craig’s 6 video blogs, he has chronicled what his life has been like since moving to New York, finding a place to live, a job and the general thrills of the big city. He also tells us of his failed auditions, most embarrassingly when he tried out for the part of little Simba in The Lion King. He's also brought along his girlfriend Janine, but it’s a long distance relationship. He lives in "a part of Manhattan called Inwood" and she lives out near Coney Island. According to Hop Stop, that’s about a 1 hour 40 minute commute, on a good day. While he is auditioning for musicals, he pays rent by working at Broadway Babies (a store that sells kid size Broadway musical apparel), and his girlfriend works the souvenir stand at The Little Mermaid. Although Craig is the kind of person that most New Yorkers loathe, (his hobbies include “hanging out in Time Square” and his favorite restaurant is TGI Friday’s) there is still something so sweet an innocent about him. It reminds all of us New Yorkers that originally we did come to this city with some sort of grand plan, naively hoping to fulfill our dreams. I’m not sure whether to laugh at him or cry for him because there is something so hilarious yet ultimately tragic about it. But let’s be honest, I’m laughing and you should too. If you watch his blog I’m sure you will become a big Craig Stevens fan too. I have posted the first video in his series after the jump. But I really encourage you to visit his You Tube profile and check out all 6 of his videos. Also please read his profile; it's really a good laugh.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

IT'S RAINING MCCAIN

If you are still undecided about who you're going to back this election season, I encourage you to watch this very professional music video. I was unsure of who I was going to vote for, but after seeing this, I am sold on McCain. That Obama girl doesn't have anything compared to these gals. I love the fact that one of them has pants that disappear on the greenscreen. Also, please take note that it is literally raining McCain during the final chorus.

Monday, March 24, 2008

OPENING DAY DECISION

The Indiana basketball season came to an embarrassing and depressing end on Friday night. But with every end, comes a new beginning because opening day is right around the corner. I am a born and bred CWS fan and that will never change, but as long as I have made the commitment to become a New Yorker, I feel like I must make the commitment to a New York team. The question now arises to what team will I pledge my allegiance? I can think of reasons to be a fan of each team, and I’m really at a deadlock here. I refuse to be one of those people who cheer for both teams. Growing up in Chicago, we have the Sox and the Cubs, and I know that no true Chicagoan honestly cheers for both teams. A choice must be made, and the same for anyone who calls themselves a New Yorker. When there are two baseball teams in a city, the team you cheer for becomes part of your identity; it classifies you, is a marker of the kind of person you are. So here is my list for each case and I would appreciate you all to cast your vote to help me make this most important decision.

YANKEES:

The Yankees are in the American League; same as my White Sox. Therefore I should cheer for the team in the same league (just like I cheer for other teams in the Big Ten).

Because the Yankees are in the American League, I have seen them play against the White Sox many times when I lived in Chicago. So I feel like I already know the team pretty well.

The Yankees get so much more coverage in New York, and they are “America’s Team.”

I have already been to 3 Yankees games since moving to New York, and I haven’t been to any Mets games.

I already own a Yankees cap so I wouldn’t need to buy a new one (a dumb reason I know)

METS:

Because the Yankees are in the American League (same as the White Sox) I should not cheer for them because they hurt my team if we ever make it to the playoffs… therefore I should be a Mets fan.

Shea Stadium is in Queens, the same borough in which I live.

The Mets are like the White Sox of New York. They are the less popular team and it’s not as ‘easy’ to be a Mets fan/go to Mets games.

Doesn’t everyone want to see the big guy (aka the Yankees) go down? It’s so much more fun to root for the underdog.

Two words: Mr. Met

Thursday, March 13, 2008

SHAKING THINGS UP

March means two things to me: The NCAA Basketball Tournament and St. Patrick’s Day. As an Indiana alumna I sure do love me a good tourney, but St. Patrick ’s Day holds a special place in my heart. Growing up in Chicago, I always felt left out because I was one of the only non Irish kids in my elementary school, but none of that mattered when St. Patty’s day rolled around. We would all wear green; my mom would make delicious corned beef and cabbage for dinner; and during recess a mischievous little leprechaun would come and mess up our class room. But there has been one St. Patrick’s Day tradition that has been long forgotten about. The Shamrock Shake. In case you are not aware of this glorious tradition, the Shamrock Shake is a “seasonal dessert” sold at McDonald’s to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Basically it’s your standard vanilla shake, flavored with mint extract and dyed green, and it normally shows up around mid February. This was one of my favorite treats during the season. It was always something to look forward to and just thinking about it brings a smile to my face. Having something only offered for a limited time, just makes it all that more delicious. So today I headed over to my local McDonald’s restaurant (50th and Broadway) to get one of these tasty treats. However when I got up to the front of the line, I learned that they do not sell them! I was furious. The name of the restaurant is McDonald’s, clearly it’s an Irish restaurant, and just the thought that they would have done away with this tradition makes me sick. I returned to the office, and upon further investigation I came to learn that starting in the late 1990’s, McDonald’s started to phase out the Shamrock Shake. It can only be found in selected restaurants around the nation. Furthermore, the Shamrock Shake is not being soled in ANY of the five boroughs. On the McDonald’s web page they say that it is only offered in Ireland. Apparently it is up to the individual restaurant to decide if they want to sell them, and not mandated from the corporate office. Perhaps I will take a little trip to Jersey and see if my “luck” will be better there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

HOW MANY FIVE-YEAR OLDS COULD YOU TAKE IN A FIGHT?

I encourage all of you to take this wonderful quiz to find out how many five-year olds you could take in a fight. Now I personally had never seen a swarm of five-year olds as a threat to my safety, but I guess next time I see that kindergarten fieldtrip on the subway I will feel more secure knowing that I can take down 20 of them. I thought I would only be able to take 10 kids, but I guess I’m more ruthless than I originally thought; a little eye-gouging never hurt anyone.

Monday, March 10, 2008

THE WRITING ON THE WALL

On Saturday night I went to a great spot to play ping pong and shuffle board with some friends. While there, I found some inspiration in an unlikely place; the graffiti on the bathroom wall.





Saturday, March 8, 2008

ONE MILLION PENNIES

In regards to my previous post about the penny, here is an interesting article about a man who tries to get rid of 1 million pennies.... it's pretty funny and worth the read.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS


In this election season, there are many important issues that our country faces. Universal healthcare, immigration, Iraq, the deteriorating economy, the mortgage crisis and environmental issues are some of the main issues. But there has been one issue that has been overlooked, and I will not choose a candidate until I know his/her stance on this most pressing issue. I want to know if the candidates are pro or anti penny. That’s right. For those of you who don’t know, there have been two bills introduced into The Senate trying to eliminate the penny. The most recent is known as The Currency Overhaul for an Industrious Nation Act (someone worked real hard at fitting a bill to the acronym COIN). What the bill would essentially do is force the rounding off of all cash transactions to the nearest 5 cents, thus making the penny coin useless for everyday transactions. When looking at the facts, there are a lot of good reasons to do this, but there are also a lot of reasons why the penny should be kept around. Here are the basic arguments for both sides of the case. I’ll report, you decide, like that whole FoxNEWS thing…

ANTI-PENNY

  • PRODUCTION AT A LOSS: Zinc is the penny's main ingredient - which at current prices brings the cost of making the coin to 1.4 cents each. At current prices, eliminating Penny production would save the US Mint $44 million. This is not a hard one to figure out.
  • TIME IS MONEY: Using the Penny slows down business transactions. How many times have you been at the store waiting for the cashier to methodically count out those useless pennies? It’s ridiculous and my ever decreasing patience cannot stand it. It has been calculated that nation wide, the cost of time wasted by counting pennies adds up to $1 billion annually. Using a different calculation, economist Robert Whaples estimates a $300 million annual loss.
  • NO HIGHER PRICES: Although this really does not make cents to me (pun intended), I have read that Robert Whaples, an economics professor at Wake Forest University, has calculated that rounding up to the nearest 5¢ would have virtually no impact. He actually claims that consumers would gain a tiny amount-- about one-fortieth of a cent per transaction. I was never the best at math, but I’ll take his word for it.
  • PENNIES ARE USELESS! I can’t use them in the vending machine, toll booths or anywhere else. Most people don’t use pennies to pay at all; they simply use larger denominations and get pennies in return. Personally, I cannot even be bothered to spend the time and effort to bend down and pick a penny up off of the street (and living in New York, who would want to pick anything up off the street). Please raise your hand if you have ever thrown away a penny (my hand is raised). The only thing pennies do are get stuck in your vacuum cleaner. Also, is it just me or has anyone else ever realized that the cent sign (¢) isn’t even on the keyboard?
  • INFLATION: Now this is interesting… Did you know that there has never been a coin in circulation in the US worth as little as the penny is worth today? Due to inflation, a nickel is currently worth approximately what a penny was worth in 1972. If you are bored at work you can check out this really cool inflation calculator.

PRO-PENNY

  • HIGHER PRICES: Rounding to the nickel would effectively raise prices. Raymond Lombra, an economics professor at Penn State, estimates that rounding would force an annual $600 million rounding tax on consumers (this amounts to about $2.00 per person per year)
  • TARGETS LOWER CLASS AND CHARITIES: You all remember in elementary school, how you would collect pennies in a coffee can and see which classroom could collect the most. Well those days will be over. And what would a college night out at the bars be without those annoying IUDMers begging for coins?
  • DEPENDENCE ON COPPER: The penny primarily made of zinc, and its removal will require more nickels. The nickel is 75% copper and copper is less abundant than zinc. The cost to produce a nickel is also more than its worth, about 5.5¢, so that really doesn’t get us anywhere.
  • COOPERATION: Retailers have not yet taken a lead in abandoning the penny and until they do so, the Penny is still necessary.
  • SENTIMENT: To me, this is really the biggest reason to keep the penny. The cent was one of the first coins authorized to be minted by the American government, and the first to be put into production. The penny is "an integral part of the American experience" and I personally cannot imagine a world without pennies. Eliminating the penny would be like eliminating the stamp. Is the penny soon to be one of those things we give our grandkids when they come to visit? My grandma gives me 2$ bills. What about lucky pennies? The thought of having a jar of nickels on my desk just does not bring the same smile to my face.

So those are the facts. I encourage you to do more research and form your own opinion. I myself have not made a firm conclusion, but I would like to see the penny stick around, I guess it’s the romantic in me. I can’t imagine the American people going for it. It would be like trying to switch us over to the metric system. Lincoln has had it hard enough. First he got offed by Booth and now this… well at least there is always the 5 dollar bill.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

THE PET PEEVES OF A STRAPHANGER

The other day I had an experience that filled me with shock and disappointment. For the first time in my New York life, I, Kiki Kapral, was not able to get on the subway because there were too many people and simply did not fit. Let it be known that I have always been able to be that last person to sneak on, standing on my tiptoes, and grasping my bag against my body so that the door will not close on it. On this particular day, I came down the stairs in Time Square as a part of my daily commute to transfer to the uptown 1. My first thought was that the train had broken down somewhere along the line because there were more commuters standing on the platform than normal. I was elated when I actually saw the light shining down the track, indicating that the train was approaching; I jockeyed my way towards the platform and positioned myself in front of one of the doors. The doors opened and a few people got off, and the mass of straphangers pushed their way onto the car. I did my best to scramble to the front but I couldn’t get in! I was flabbergasted. I stepped back onto the platform in amazement. Then as the doors closed and the train pulled away, a feeling of rage came over me as I saw through the window of the car that no one had moved into the middle of the car. I don’t understand why this is such a hard concept to understand. If there are people trying to get into the subway, move in. This experience got me thinking about other things that I hate about the subway. And it’s not the subway itself; it’s the people that ride the subway. So besides not moving into the car, here are some things that I just do not tolerate on the subway…
  • Clipping your nails
  • Eating fried chicken or other messy foods
  • Breast-feeding
Yes, I have seen all of these things. Seeing any of these things truly tests my gag reflex. It is quite disgusting. The subway can probably be most closely compared to a public bathroom of some sorts (and sometimes used as such). But this doesn’t have to be the case. We are not animals; we are humans, and we should act as such.