Thursday, March 31, 2005

Star & Buc: Phase 2

As I reflect months after the broadcast of the racist Star & Buc "call to India" skit, I am filled with anger. Sure, we made a little bit of noise for a few weeks, but what came out of it? Nothing. Not a single sponsor dropped, and the duo are still on the air and getting bigger.

Not only are THEY getting rewarded with huge salaries for spreading their hate, but recently Power 99 became a finalist for the 2005 National Association of Broadcaster's Crystal Radio Award for Community Service.

The only thing we accomplished (and I'm proud of this) is that we were able to create some bad PR for such a large radio station. And now Power 99 is trying to win it back.

These hypocrites must be stopped.

Please write:
John David, Executive Vice President
The National Association of Broadcasters
1771 N St., NW
Washington, DC 20036

Some background

Here are the press releases:

Power 99 fm Named Finalist in 2005 NAB Crystal Radio Awards

The Award Honors Stations with the Best in Community Service
Philadelphia, March 14, 2005: Power 99 fm (WUSL-FM) Clear Channel Worldwide: The National Association of Broadcasters announced today that WUSL- FM - Power 99 fm in Philadelphia is a finalist for the 2005 Crystal Radio Awards competition. Since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. Power 99 fm has previously won four “Crystals” in 1993, 1996, 1998 and 2001 - a record matched by only one other station in the nation.

Crystal Radio Award finalists were chosen by a panel of judges representing broadcasting, community service organizations and public relations firms. Finalists will be honored and winners announced at the Radio Luncheon, Tuesday, April 19, during NAB2005 in Las Vegas.
Power 99 fm is one of Philadelphia's top-rated stations and among the most honored for its community service.  In addition to its four NAB Crystal Awards - the station has received numerous local and national honors, including the Mayor's Award for Excellence, Community Action Network Corporate and Media Award, the Mercury Award for Best Public Service, and the NAB Marconi Award for Best Urban Station.   The station has also been selected as a “Point of Light” by the National Points of Light Foundation.

and from Power 99....

WUSL FM – Power 99 is the Delaware Valley’s Community Radio Station. When 10 year old Faheem Thomas Childs was murdered in the playground of his school, Power 99 turned off the music to talk about violence prevention. Power 99 sponsored a peace rally that drew 50,000. The station created a Peace on the Street Jam campaign that traveled to eight neighborhoods, brought music from national artists and resources from government and community groups to where it was most needed. Power 99 took over 1000 firearms off the street in a Turn in Gun Campaign. The station traveled to 28 schools in 28 days to encourage attendance and violence prevention. Power 99 awarded eight middle school students with laptops, collected a truck load of school supplies for   students in need, and  hosted a   TV show designed to teach and inspire young people in the sciences.  Power 99 registered over 10,000 new voters, hosted a get out vote live broadcast, and provided special reports informing listeners of their voting rights. Power 99 donated over 3 million dollars in airtime, 250+appearances valued at $650,000.00 and raised over $150,000 for charity. Power 99 fm is truly the Heart of Our Community.

What?! You STILL haven't signed the petition?!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Radiohead's Comlag

Am I the last rh fan on Earth to hear this album? Seriously, I feel like I lost major "fan cred." I don't know when it was released, but I didn't hear it till Tuesday when I was sitting at the Green Line Cafe in West Philly.

I could tell Thom Yorke's voice right away, but doubted it could be rh, cuz they are my favorite band and I have every album but never heard that particular recording before. So I asked the barrista who said it was only released in downloadable form and in Japan. And he said the album was Comlag and it was in fact Radiohead.

"WHAAAT?" I leaned over and shouted over music, traffic, conversations and coffee machines. "Comlag" he said quietly, "com, like dotcom and lag (he pauses) like...."

"Like a lag in time." We said this in unison. I looked up at his eyes. "C-O-M-L-A-G" he spelled it out as Thom sang in the background. It was awesome.

Why do underpaid yet knowledgeable barristas with good taste in music have to be so sexy?

Happiness is so American

My grandmom and I were watching Wheel of Fortune together tonight and I came to this realization.... People in Bangladesh express their sorrow very openly and are repressed about happiness. And people in America are very repressed about their sadness, yet demonstrative about happiness.

After guessing the correct phrase this college student on W.O.F. started jumping, screaming and smiling ear to ear. She screamed for about 60 seconds while Pat Sajack tried to move on with the show. My grandmom commented on how she gets a kick out of watching people win on game shows and watching their expressions. And how "people in my country" would never do that. I thought about if for a while, and its so true! Well, there are exceptions of course, but for the most part its true.

Images of death came into my head. Like you know when they show scenes from Iraq and Sri Lanka and the women screaming and beating their chests with hands raised to the sky in the "why Lord" position? Thats how people express themselves in Bangladesh.... no holding back pain.

And then more images of death came to mind. American images. Specifically, New Jersey images. I recently saw Garden State, and remembered Largeman's mom's funeral scene, and how everyone was quiet and somber and you could only hear the singer (did anyone else find the funeral scene humorous?) In Bangladeshi funerals, you can't hear anything! It's hard to think its so god damn loud.

In contrast, the "parties" I went to in South Asia were mad tame. First, I thought it was just a "well, its my parents generation" thing, but I saw it in young people too. I took my camera to a party and panned the room with my lens. People were talking and laughing and as soon as they became aware that a camera was on them, they closed their mouths and tried to look serious. I could never tell if people were having a good time. But here, when Americans are aware of a camera they ham it up even more, and try to act like they are having the time of their lives and wait for the camera to capture it.

Even an ex-French professor commented on this. She said how she noticed in America, when you ask someone "How are you doing?" They get all loud, confident and smiley and say "Great! how are you!?" But in France, people don't translate that as being optimistic and positive, they think its weird.... like "what are you so happy about?" Sometimes its even interpreted as being arrogant. Anyways, so she was saying that in France if you ask someone "How are you doing?" They will shrug their shoulders and quietly respond "Comme si comme sa" (so-so). So basically the French are sad by default and Americans are happy by default.

I know I made sweeping generalizations in this post. So if you disagree (or agree), please comment.

Monday, March 28, 2005

New invention: Hot Strawberry

I came up with another very brilliant idea this weekend. And this time, I wasn't even under the influence when I thought of it.... who needs drugs and alcohol when you have insomnia and boredom?

This idea was inspired by the Crazy One, who loves strawberry milk. Did you ever wonder why there was chocolate milk, hot chocolate and strawberry milk, but no HOT STRAWBERRY?

I say there SHOULD be such a drink, and it should be named after me, because I thought of it. Sure, any idiot with half the brain cells of an ex-raver COULD HAVE thought of it, but I did – and god damnit, I'm 25 and I'm not gonna let anyone stop me from leaving my mark on this planet. No matter how little it may be.

Last and most important.... the name! I like to call this concoction the "Hot Goo-ha!" Those who know my last name should find this hilarious. But than again, I DO have a tendency to laugh at my own jokes. Goo from the strawberry goo, and ha from ha ha ha.

By now you are probably licking your lips and wondering what this hot strawberry stuff tastes like, so here is my recipe (please feel free to make modifications and make it your own).

Hot Goo-ha!

- 1 mug of hot milk ( I like vanilla soy milk but you can use any type)
- 1 to 2 tbsp. of strawberry goo/powder/syrup (Nestle makes a yummy one)
- whipped cream (optional)

Stir strawberry flavoring briskly into hot milk, top with whipped cream. Voila!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Another day, another murder

This is getting ridiculous....

This time it was a block away from the school I teach at. There are one of those make-shift memorials with pink teddy bears, signs, candles and flowers up now. Its all visible from the monkey bars where my kids play.

Linguist jawn and I were talking about how if people are gonna spend money, why on a $50 teddy bear that's gonna get rained on, torn up and dirty, when that money could go to a non-violence program or the victim's family? But that's another blog for another time. We both agreed that the memorials made DEATH seem "kiddy", like a visit to Toys R' Us.

I heard it was a fight over money and the victim was under 20.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Confession

Something to get off my chest.....

I got a Shamrock Shake the other day. Yes, the kind from McDonald's. i did it. I broke the boycott.

One dollar to McDonald's means one dollar to the racist Star and Buc Wild show. I know, I'm a hypocrite. But its soooo hard to be socially concious 24/7.

I'm an adult and i weighed my choice. I knew that one milkshake wasn't gonna make a huge difference, and the Shamrock Shake IS seasonal (only available during St. Patrick's Day season.) And it's soooo good! Think cool milkshake version of an Andes chocolate mint. Yummy :)

Please pardon me for my sins.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Violence in my neighborhood

I used to think that Baghdad is the most dangerous city in the world now, but this weekend I was forced to change my opinion.

In one week, there were 18 homicides in Philly - that's more than in Iraq during the same time span. When you put things in that perspective it makes you look inside and wonder if America is really what it's cracked up to be.

If I didn't see it with my own eyes, if it didn't happen in my own neighborhood.... I would be able to remove myself from it and think that it was a media exaggeration.

But on Friday when I was catching the trolley at night to meet up with friends, I noticed that news vehicles were circling my neighborhood. The trolley was being unexpectedly late, and instead a shuttle bus came. It took us up Lansdowne Avenue as usual, but then when we got to 57th Street, the bus took a detour and I looked out the window and saw yellow tape and police. I knew that something pretty bad must have happened for the road to be blocked off. Someone on the bus said that there was a news flash and an 18-year-old kid got shot repeatedly on his mother's porch steps.

A few days later, as I took the trolley to work, I passed by the victim's house and saw candles and teddy bears on the footsteps where he was killed. I heard it was drug related. But there is so little about it in the news.

The other murder was a block away from my house. Also drug related. That's the one that freaked me and my family out.

I never knew that the drug situation in Overbrook was so escalated. I always loved this neighborhood. It's diverse, close to the city, but quiet with big houses like the 'burbs. I used to also think that it was safe.

So of the 18 homicides last week, 2 were in my neighborhood. And I think it's fishy that the police can't find a connection. This can't be a coincidence.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Porn in the Classroom

I remember the exact day my innocence was taken away from me. After that day I would never look at the adults around me the same way. Today, I feel like I did that to some one else.

Some advice, if you are a business that donates old computers to underprivileged schools, please be courteous and erase all your porn files before handing the equipment to minors. But I will get in to that later…

Back to when I lost my innocence.

My early childhood was spent mostly in North Hollywood, where I would go to my uncle’s wax museum on Hollywood Boulevard every day after school. Tourists, hookers and coke-snorting clowns, surrounded me. And I mean REAL clowns with make up and bendy-balloon things, not like “the people I work with are clowns.” But considering all that, I still grew up innocent. I wasn’t even exposed to Barbie and her huge plastic breasts. My world was all about Mickey Mouse and bubbles and ice cream.

Then when I was 8, my parents brought me to an even safer more innocent little suburb outside of Philly called Upper Darby. Although the neighborhood was diverse culturally, it was no Hollywood. Most of the kids in my school were either children of immigrants, or white trash. And everyone first learned about sex at a) home, b) school or c) the streets.

I got my sex education from the most ironic place, the Hare Krishna Temple. And not from the priest, but from a bored little girl outside. It was a beautiful summer day and my parents were inside the temple in Mount Airy. I was on the swing set going as high as I could and this smiling little girl joined me. She was only a year or two older, but so much wiser. We talked about school and I am not sure how the topic came up, but out of nowhere, I noticed the momentum of her swing decreasing, dirt rising under her sandals, and her voice quieting down. I had the feeling in my stomach that she was about to say something important and serious.

She looks at me directly in the eye and goes “Hey, do you know what S-E-X is?” I have never been asked a question so personal before. But I nod yes. Then she goes “What IS it?”

“You know” I say. “It means being naked and kissing someone at the same time.” She laughs maniacally. “No!” Then she gets off her swing and whispers everything she knows on the topic in my ear. “Eeeew! That’s gross!” Then I remember running away and telling my parents that I want to go home. I was quiet the whole car ride home.

I didn’t really believe her. But that same week, two shocking things happened. First thing: My best-neighborhood-friend’s house burned down. A few days after the incident we walked through the house and helped her family look for things to keep and things to throw away. Her uncle probably thought no one would ever rummage through his stuff, but who prepares for their house to burn down? So that brings me to the second shocking thing: Looking at my first porn magazine. So just like your mother says “Always wear clean underwear because you never know when you are going to get into an accident” Space Cadet says “Always destroy your porn stash if you are living in a house with minors because you never know when your house is going to burn down.” It was weird, everything else … his bed frame, desk, newspapers were all burned. But all the porn mags survived. They are like cockroaches I guess.

I remember going through about five magazines, mainly white girls and Korean girls. We were disgusted but couldn’t look away. That was the day that changed me. Now pornography is much easier to access, and way raunchier.

But never did I think that it was gonna be in my classroom. We got a good, working computer about a few weeks ago. It has no Internet. So no worries, right? That’s what I thought.

The kids love playing Dora the Explorer games, Paint It, and simply typing. Today the slow kid with the speech impediment, started playing around with the computer and randomly clicking around. I was close by, but distracted by another student. Then I hear Speech Impediment go “Eeeeew! Naaasty!” and then the extremely talkative naughty kid of the class walked by and exclaimed “Ew! She’s kissing his pee pee!”

I became stone-like. Was this really happening? I couldn’t move. And this wasn’t something that could be misinterpreted as art or cultural anthropology. This was hard-core blow job action in mpeg format. The other teacher walked by and quickly covered the screen with her hands. We tried to restrain our laughter, and tried to get serious. She turned the screen off (but the computer was still on), and said “the computer center is closed.” And of course, the boys snuck back and I quickly turned around and saw a tanned bottom bouncing up and down. I was mortified.

We shut the computer down and tried to distract everyone by talking about dinosaurs.

First it was shocking, then it was funny, and then I felt extremely guilty. Did I take these boys’ innocence away? Will they forget what they saw? Will they tell their moms what they learned in school today? I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.