Students get healthy lunches made from scratch

Fresh food, made from scratch is rare in NYC schools. Usually school lunch is the dreaded glops of sloppy Joes and frozen fish sticks, but at MS. 37 in Queens, fresh meals are prepared specifically to cater to its students. Since most of the students at MS. 37 are of Indian decent, the manager uses curry with other ingredients, including garam, a blend of hot spices common in Indian cuisines. There are many delightful dishes and creative mixtures available for the children to choose from.

The NY Times reported that barely half of NY’s 1,385 school kitchens have enough cooking and fire-supression equipment to actually boil, saute, etc. Therefore, students in most schools usually rely on frozen chicken patties, ravioli out of a large can, or frozen vegetables. However, at MS. 37 there is unlimited access to a salad bar, where cucumbers are a popular pick.

If only this luxury gourmet cuisine was around years ago when we were going to school.


Spacelander Bicycle Doesn’t Fly

The spacelander bicycle was handmade in 1946 by MG Auto Company. The bicycle “incorporated an ingenious dynamo that stored downhill energy and released it on uphill runs” The bicycle was too expensive to produce and remained that way until 1960 when the Bomard Industries were asked to created a “one speed version.” Bomard Industries created 522 examples, as they were too expensive to create; leaving the bicycle unreleased to the public.

The Brooklyn Museum has the Spacelander Bicycle in its Visible Storage Exhibition. Instead of being a means for traveling, the Spacelander ended being a piece of art.

One persons failed business is another’s work of art.

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Impostors Spoof New York Post

Last Monday, the 21st, sometime between midnight and 1 a.m., I was surprised to see a “special edition” of the New York Post slid under the door to my apartment.  The front page screamed the headline “WE’RE SCREWED” with a picture of lightning bolts striking the Lower Manhattan skyline.

It looked like a Post, felt like a Post, even smelled like a Post.  The headlines portrayed the familiar hysteria and sarcasm of the Post.  And it wouldn’t have been the first time that the Post distributed a free special edition.

But still something wasn’t right.  Every story in the 32-page edition was focusing on climate change and other environmental issues.  Since when was the Post committed to green activism?  And as I leafed through this strange document, I noticed there were no bylines.  I was stumped.

It was when I noticed that all the ads were dedicated to activist organizations and the like that I realized that this was the work of impostors.  And lo and behold, the next morning Romenesko’s Blog, the hot-spot for all media news, had a short story about it.

The faux-Post, it turns out, was the work of the Yes Men, an activist group whose modus operandi, according to their website (, is “impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them.”  Their past shenanigans include posing as execs of Exxon and Haliburton to make outrageous public statements and a similarly convincing prank edition of the New York Times.

Romenesko reported that three Yes Men volunteers had been detained on Monday morning while distributing the fake papers outside of the offices of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch’s behemoth media conglomerate that owns the Post.

I managed to speak on the telephone with one of the volunteers who had been detained.  Melissa Lockwood, 44, told me that she and two other volunteers were assigned to distribute the papers on the sidewalk in front of the building on Sixth Avenue near Rockefeller Center.  The only trouble they had was a security guard asking them to stand on the sidewalk, and not on the building’s property.  A Post photographer even asked them to pose for a picture.

Lockwood told me that at one point a car pulled up, and out popped Murdoch himself with an entourage.  One of Lockwood’s companions approached him and offered him one of the fake Posts.  Murdoch “looked up with a pleasant look on his face,” Lockwood said, “and he reached out and took the paper.”

The three volunteers ran out of papers, so they left to get more and were sent back to the same location, Lockwood said.  It was then that the police approached them and asked them for a paper.  The police told them that they suspected copyright infringement, and asked the three to wait there while a representative of the Post came to the scene.  Eventually, however, Lockwood said, one officer informed them that they were free to leave (copyright infringement, after all, is not an arrestable offense).

I got in touch with a lawyer for the Yes Men. “The police should not be in the middle of a civil situation,” the lawyer said. “The first amendment is fairly straight forward about these things.”

The Post mostly brushed off the spoof.  Here’s its statement on the matter: “It’s no surprise that they tried to spoof the New York Post; they figured this time they’d choose a paper people actually love to read,” (apparently a reference to the previous New York Times parody). “But this is a limp effort.  It has none of the wit and insight New Yorkers expect from their favorite paper.  The Post will not be hiring any of their headline writers.”

Looks like the Yes Men will have to keep their day jobs.

U.N. Climate Summit

The leaders of the world met last week at the United Nations Building in New York City to discuss the global strategy to combat climate change in preparation for the Copenhagen Summit set for December.

President Obama stressed the necessity for all nations to work together to construct a comprehensive climate change treaty. He urged developed nations to take responsibility for past polluting habits and urged developing nations to act responsibly as they grow.

You can listen to President Obama’s speech on the New York Times website.

Billboard’s Women in Music Event and the Rising Star Recipient

According to articles from, The Billboard Women in Music Event “celebrates the most powerful and talented women in the music business and is also held in conjunction with the Women In Music Power Players List issue, which recognizes the top female music executives who are leading the industry with their artistic and business vision.”

This year’s event will be taking place on this Friday, October 2, 2009 in New York City. Today, it was announced that New Yorker Lady Gaga, will be named this year’s “Rising Star”. Lady Gaga has been making a splash lately from being named the third artist ever in history to have three No. 1 singles on the Top 40 Airplay chart to her wild outfits she wore to the 2009 MTV VMAs.

As said in today’s article, Lady Gaga is “one of those rare examples of a truly unique artist with mass appeal,” says Bill Werde, editorial director of Billboard. “She has established herself as one of today’s top songwriters, and the whole world is waiting to see what her next outrageous but brilliant move or style will be. It is that ongoing anticipation, combined with her success that makes her a rising star.”

To read the article, take a look here and check it out.

Here is Lady Gaga’s performance at the 2009 MTV VMAs:

A Music Blog Moves Beyond the Screen

Being a regular blog reader means never being surprised by what other blogs do. You are on top of all of the happenings of the blog and you know what the blog is about. So it was a pleasant surprise to find out that the Brooklyn Vegan, a popular Brooklyn music blog, does showcases!

Being a sometimes reader, this blogger never thought about music blogs moving beyond the computer screen. However, it does make sense. Music bloggers are suppose to be talking about what is happening in music and making their readers aware of the hidden gems that they discover. Instead of just writing about it, the Brooklyn Vegan has taking it one step further and decided to give a showcase with CMJ, (College Music Journal). Turns out, this is something that has been happening for the past few years.

This year’s showcase takes place at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 6 p.m. You can read more about it at the Brooklyn Vegan and get tickets here.

Here is a video found on YouTube of a band that played at the Brooklyn Vegan Showcase at CMJ 2006.

“It’s a good way to escape, but the problems, they are always there.”

One more enclave of woes has been uncovered here in New York; it seems that heroin usage is heightening while the users’ ages are shrinking. Today, more New Yorkers in their teens and early 20’s are becoming addicted to this  soul crushing substance. Heroin, like many other narcotics, claims the lives of many of its users. Cara Buckley wrote about the rise of heroin-addicted youth on Long Island in her September 25, 2009 article “Young and Suburban, and Falling for Heroin”. She mentions that, in relation to other popular drugs such as cocaine, heroin is cheaper and longer lasting.

In this economic recession, many people have had to let go of some comforts. Surely, this is felt by more than just one group, but it trickles down even to children, whose parents are worrying how they will pay their rent or send them to college in the coming years. It seems that now would be a time where some people, desperate to make ends meet would be more inclined to sell drugs, and some people, facing these heightened pressures would be more inclined to use. An article which elaborates on this idea is written roughly one year ago is, “Recession leads to drugs and depression,” by John Hurlburt.

If this becomes a public struggle as it was in the 1970’s, New York would suffer a dramatic change from its current standing as the safest big city in the United States, reports the FBI. The 1970’s heroin epidemic existed in a dirty crime ridden New York, amid a fiscal crisis. “In the ’70s, a bag of heroin — enough to get a user high once — cost $30 and was about 28-percent pure. Today, it’s 80 percent to 90 percent pure, which makes it powerfully addictive, and it sells for $4 a bag — cheaper than a six-pack of beer,” reports Anthony Brooks in his 2004 article, “Heroin in America.”

Hopefully the current fiscal crisis, will soon join the past.