When I was Late on September 11th

me with twin towers

Me at the Statue of Liberty trying to point at the plane flying over the WTC

The train had rocked most of us on this New Brunswick to Penn Station train to sleep but not me; My MP3 CD with 100+ songs burned from Napster had not yet lost its novelty. I was listening to the Cure as a good teen Catholic high school pseudo-goth when a man sitting by the window blurted out, “there’s a fire!”

We were about to go under the tunnel, still on the New Jersey side. When the buildings cleared again before we descended under the river the few people that had gathered peered out but the angle had changed, or the wind picked up. We didn’t see anything. “I saw smoke” said the man. “I really did.” We were unconvinced, and returned to our seats. I focused on the task at hand: filling out a yellow slip and forging the signature of my school’s lobby receptionist.

I was late, really late, and when you were late at my school, you had to check in at the front desk to collect a slip, which you then gave to your teacher. Once you collected three, you got detention. I was late a lot — my parents had moved out to New Brunswick for the birth of my step-brother and I was having trouble catching the 6:20 train every day to get to school on time– which is where the stolen packet of late slips came in. On September 11th, I was on the 8am so I was “missed first period” late.

Riding the 6 train and running the couple of blocks to my school felt odd but I attributed it to rush hour being over. A classmate let me in the side door and I bounded up the stairs, my teacher waving my late slip away not even bothering to sign it. Class was not in session, everyone was talking about the Twin Towers. That man on the train was telling the truth!!! My chemistry teacher burst into the room and ordered everyone into the basement. We were under attack. The Pentagon had just been hit. Read the rest of this entry »

New Yorkers (and the world) need to chill out over the Great Bronx Zoo Cobra Escape

Lilith (1892) by John Collier in Southport Atk...

There's this rumor going around saying Lilith slept with snakes...

So, I am not a “snake expert”, and the post below is based off my limited experiences with snakes at friends houses and from my observations at the zoo. Oh, and, the fact that snakes are cold-blooded, meaning snakes are the temperature of their surroundings.

Psst, New Yorkers! The cobra is a cold-blooded reptile, and it’s 40 degrees outside! Why would the escaped cobra even leave the Reptile building?

Because there is obviously nothing to fear, I have to assume this is all because New York,  New York was feeling jealous over all the national (and international) media attention Chicago’s been getting because of our newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel. As proof of how awesome our new mayor is, his fake twitter account is being made into a book.  Does Mayor Bloomberg even have a fake twitter (a good one)? And are the tweets of the fake Bronx Zoo Cobra  going to be made into a book? I scoff at myself for even posing the question. Well, maybe if the cobra actually kills someone.

You can probably tell, I don’t find the fake Bronx Zoo Cobra twitter account funny mainly because I refuse to forget that snakes are cold-blooded… (just like how squirrels can’t pickpocket people because they don’t have hands – I’m looking at you, Justin Kaufmann-)

As to why journalists (and their readers/viewers) have eaten this silly story up, my  guess is the escaped  Bronx Zoo cobra story lightens an otherwise somber international community worried about Japan, Libya, and budget deficits.

UPDATE: Before I hit the Publish button I  google-newsed “bronx zoo cobra”, and do you know what was at the top of my search? The Egyptian cobra was found inside the Reptile building. I am soooo good.

Like me, the director of the Bronx Zoo Jim Breheny also doesn’t understand all the hub-bub over the snake, as evident by his behavior in the above press conference video.

Beautiful architecture soothes my post-9/11 soul

I told my mate that when the World Trade Center Transportation Hub was complete, it is time for me to move back to New York City.  I don’t care as much about the other buildings in the WTC place- they don’t symbolize the rebirth of NYC quite like the Transportation Hub. And check out the WTC memorial – you know drunk fools  are going to fall in those pools at some point.

My mate naturally objected, he complained of the NYC prices and the cramped living spaces – but ultimately agreed on the superiority of Santiago Calatrava’s design.

I want to live in a city with the  most beautiful subway station in the world…

Hey New York City – If you never build this structure I will never forgive you.

Also, Port Authority, if you do a crappy job at continuous maintenance, this hub with become Pigeon Central.

Additional readings

NYTimes – Trade Center Transit Hub’s Cost Now Over $3.4 Billion

The New York Observer – How an over budget PATH Station Helps Explain a Missing Church

Time – What’s Behind the Ground Zero Stalemate

NYTimes Blog – A Twisted Path for a Curve-filled Terminal

Gothamist – Inflation Worries Hit World Trade Center Hub (photo gallery)

Chicago is a hot-bed for start-ups after all!

RedEye Sailboat Category:Images of Chicago, Il...

I want to get on the RedEye boat (Image via Wikipedia)

Tracy Swartz wrote a whole article in the RedEye I can use as  ammunition  against the New York and San Francisco tech-snobs:

These young up-and-comers said they prefer Chicago to start-up hotbeds such as San Francisco and New York City because office space and payroll are cheaper, talent is easier to find and keep, and top business schools at universities including Northwestern and the University of Chicago are nearby.

The increased recognition has brought benefits. One of the problems Chicago entrepreneurs used to face was little access to funding. West Coast investors now are recognizing that Chicago firms are worth the investment, Rudnick said, and they’re not requiring these companies to move to Silicon Valley.

via “Think Big! Young Chicagoans cashing in on tech ventures

I am also partial to this article because Tracy highlighted non- Groupon start-ups in a positive light. Hot.

Umlauts and My Hungarian-American Identity

Special keys of a Hungarian keyboard. Such key...

Image via Wikipedia

Now that True/Slant is winding down and will cease to exist and I go looking for another website where I can spew my half-hearted written agenda, I have arrived at the very important decision of using the umlauts in my name.

Fruzsina Eördögh

Fruzsina comes from the greek goddess “Euphrosyne” but in Communist countries, being named after a god is frowned upon, so the “eu” was chopped off.

Eördögh alludes to the Hungarian word for little devil– like a tricky imp, a demon faun of the lesser order. I will continue to pronouce Eördögh in the weird French way that I do, because I don’t want to listen to Americans attempt to roll their “r’s”.

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Interview with David Csicsko, the Redline Belmont stop artist

csicsko full mural

photos via David Csicsko

As most of you Redline Belmont stop users already know, the Belmont Redline train station has a new detailed mosaic. If the artwork looks similar to the old mural, it is because it is done by the same artist, David Csicsko. I met with Csicsko (the Hungarian pronounciation is “cheech- ko”) a couple of days before the installation was complete.

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Hungarian Rhapsody: my family's escape from Communism

A Communist statue still standing in Budapest, extremely ironically called the "Statue of Liberty"

A Communist statue still standing in Budapest, extremely ironically called the "Statue of Liberty"

Today is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a historic occasion the West marks as the collapse of communism. Months before the wall came down, Hungary had opened its own “Iron Curtain” of guard towers, mines, and electric fences that lined the border between Austria and Hungary. A family friend Lajos used to have the job of patrolling this border, and told me the story of how one day he threw off his body armor and gun, and told his fellow patrol guard and good friend that he couldn’t do it anymore. He ran for the border, and told his friend he could shoot him if he wanted. Needless to say, Lajos wasn’t shot, but he never saw his friend again.

Communism was never a natural fit for Hungary.  The country’s aristocratic past, as part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, never dimmed from memory.  After the 1956 uprising, Goulash Communism was instated to appease the populace.  It was because of this little bit of capitalism that my mother was able to open a flower shop in Budapest.  Still, the relationship with Hungary’s Communist leaders remained strained.

When the border between Austria and Hungary was opened in May 1989 (some say the Sopron Picnic in August was the official opening),  many Eastern Germans used this route through Hungary to get to Austria and back to West Germany.

I thought I would throw other Eastern-European nations into the media mix today by sharing the story of my Hungarian -American exodus.

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