NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal appeals court said on Tuesday that a new rule requiring New York City fast food restaurants to post calorie information on menu boards is effective immediately.

It's a done deal: NYC calorie-count rule effective immediately: court

I've already become used to these menu boards at Subway, which has had them for over a year because they have nothing to hide:


The slightly more-caloric chains fought the legislation since it might cause customers to reconsider their choice:


One of the claims was that adding the calorie information would the make the menu impossible to read. Here is what Dunkin' Donuts presented:


And here is how New York City responded:


Just another health-inspired law from the first major city to ban smoking and trans fats!

Photo Credit: Most of these photos are from Menu Board Calories Arrive in New York on "Weighty Matters" where they are licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada license.

While the domain will be sticking around, I killed the over-eight-year-old "The New Kai" concept of this website. Not only was it horribly out of date content and design-wise, much of it was broken!

"The New Kai" concept was based on fifteen-to-eighteen-year-old me and simply had to be discarded of. I now work about fifty hours a week, spend six-plus hours in the gym, enjoy nightlife, and sleep most of the weekend to recuperate from the previous three. It was time for me to upgrade to a much simpler content management system.

Any of the worthy content from the old site will be carried over here eventually. You'll already find a link to my two photo sites in the "pages" section of the main page. I might even bring back the KaiCams sometime, although I think they'll be a little more outdoors oriented this time! They certainly did a lot for the uniqueness of this site.

Even maintaining a website in this age of Facebook is a struggle. See my post about this last year.

Here are images I dug up of versions 1 & 2:


I'm finally freeing myself of frames on While they improved the site's appearance back in the day, there's no use for them in 2008. And last but not least, there's no more 18-year-old me frozen all over the screen!

One of the first things you learn upon arriving in New York City is that Starbucks contain the quasi-public bathrooms of this epicenter of Western civilization. There are two major reason for this:

  1. The city only provides one. (There are also about a dozen in the subway system, but they're not recommended)
  2. There is a Starbucks on virtually every corner and they do not post "restrooms are for customers only" signs.

The "Starbucks law" will help you out a lot. However, if you find yourself in a pedestrian-heavy areas, you might find yourself in a ridiculously long line several times longer than the coffee line.

That's where the New York City Public Toilet Map comes in... The preview on the site doesn't show you too many examples, but it does mention the SoHo Apple Store. I've been in there at least a dozen times and never even realized it had a public bathroom.

I don't own this map (yet), but happened to find myself in SoHo on Saturday, when it was packed by European tourists spending the formerly valuable currency known as the dollar. There was a line of about 20 at Starbucks on Spring Street by Lafayette Street. Fortunately I remembered that there's a Bloomingdales around the corner with three sets of bathrooms. There was no line.

More background on the map

New_Starbucks_Lid.jpgIt has finally happened. "The New Starbucks" has come up with a solution to the much-despised (especially by myself) "sippy cup lid." I can now confirm the availability of of a green plug with a rod that fits somewhat securely on the lid's opening.

Much in the fashion of Apple's Mighty Mouse, where the computer manufacturer came up with a two-button mouse that still technically is a one-button mouse, Starbucks obviously hasn't wanted to admit its lid's major shortcoming.

From my limited research, limited to one Starbucks location in Manhattan, the plug/rod device is only available upon special request. Upon my proclamation that this invention was long overdue and would have saved me several burns and cleanups had it come out earlier, one barista informed the other that "it's true, you can find complaints about these lids all over the internet."

Maybe this "New Starbucks" idea isn't so bad. They might have killed the breakfast sandwich, but this new lid and the new Pike Place Roast, which doesn't charcoal your mouth nearly as much, do represent significant improvements.

Further Reading: "Starbucks stores introducing tiny “splash stick” to plug hole in to-go containers", Pegasus News.

I can't believe this story is already over a month old (time flies), but it's still annoying me. I know that my recent posts probably make you thing I wander the streets with a crossed-out mermaid t-shirt, but come on...

Maybe this is Starbucks punishing me for increasingly defecting to Dunkin' Donuts for coffee. In that category, Dunkin' has caught up. However, their breakfast sandwiches are nothing to write home about and overly laden with cheese. This observation might be skewed by the fact that my sandwich of choice at Starbucks was the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Sandwich (with reduced-fat cheese).

Anyway, the removal of these sandwiches, to me, is one of those fanciful "we identified the problem" fixes. Apparently this decision will "restore" the smell of coffee at Starbucks. I've been to over 30 Starbucks in New York City, and not one smelled like a elementary school cafeteria during lunchtime. This decision will do nothing for Starbucks.

Of course, this move is coupled with ones that may actually make a difference: $1 coffees and free refills. Then again, wouldn't this just destroy the so-called "Starbucks experience" just like the breakfast sandwiches supposedly did?

My guess is that Dunkin' Donuts will continue to eat away at Starbucks. They already are in New York City. And, as we all know, they have a much better lid!

Actual Information.jpgSpotted on a board at the Wien-Speising station of the Vienna S-Bahn that informs riders of service changes.

The text reads:

Dear Passengers, Planning your travel please consider the actual information.

The actual is probably the result of a bad attempt by the ÖBB (which runs the S-Bahn) to translate aktuell, which means current. However, interestingly, the German version of the message doesn't use that word.

I am happy to report, however, that, unlike last year, I didn't see any signs by the Wiener Linien wishing everyone a "Happy New Jear" this New Year's.

A New Starbucks Lid At Last?

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I received this lid from a Starbucks last week. My first thought was that Starbucks had finally listened to my demands and had discontinued the permanently-open "sippy cup" lid in favor of this lid. I soon came to the realization, however, that this was simply a backup lid, probably purchased from a local drug store when supplies ran low.

The wait continues...

It's That Time of Year Again

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How is it already Mid-December again? In any case, I'm four days away from flying out to Vienna, and could not be looking forward to it more.

Yesterday afternoon I picked up the last piece of paper I need to be able to enjoy Vienna fully, the International Driving Permit. Apparently Austria is one of only a few countries in Europe to require this pamphlet, which simply translates credentials in a dozen or so languages. As with Time Warner Cable, there is only one AAA in all of Brooklyn, at the opposite corner from me, in Flatlands.

Last Thursday I also picked up a new Austrian passport. If I hadn't, I would have been stuck in Austria, as the old one expired mid-vacation.

I fly out Thursday night after work, utilizing Emirates to Hamburg and then continuing on to Vienna with Air Berlin. Rather exotic, but the price was right.

Kindergartners toss pizzas, learn about food pyramid

This "article" is ridiculous. Teaching kids about the food pyramid with pizza!? As one reader noted, a slice of Domino's pizza has at least 250 calories, and processed tomato sauce is hardly a serving of vegetables. This just shows what's wrong with our society today... We're teaching kids about nutrition with corporate-sponsored fatty pizza! The most ridiculous quote:

"The students learned about good nutrition and the food pyramid because pizza has many of the food groups that are included."

There's a great article in the New York Times today, "Cable Channel Nods to Ratings and Leans Left", about how MSNBC is increasingly becoming the counterweight to Fox News. I've found that I even can easily stand watching the republicans on MSNBC, as there's a difference between blindly standing behind the president (most commentators on Fox News) and simply staying true to your conservative values (and thus seeing that this administration doesn't support most of them).


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Today in Kai's History

June 8, 2004:
A Fun Weekend

Saturday and Sunday night I hung out with several people from my class, mostly at Lukas, although Saturday night started in Neustift am Walde. Both nights were up to my expectations. Tonight, despite it finally being really warm out again...

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