Thursday, July 5, 2007

Nature wins on July 4

Mother Nature took home the prize for the best fireworks display on July 4, unless you live in New York City.

Just to let you know who's boss, the big mama sent in fog to the few Connecticut communities that ignored the weather yesterday, July 4, 2007, and still held fireworks displays.

In one community in the northern half of the state, a bystander told TV reporters that he was glad his town put on the display, but was a little disappointed he couldn't see anything because of the fog. Well, who wants to put down his or her town on television.

New Haven postponed the fireworks until Friday night and it looks as if they may have been right, as more rain is forecast later today.

My wife and I joined friends to see "Ratatouille" at the Showcase Cinemas in Orange, Conn. For those over 60, it's the bargain of the age -- $3.50 all day Wednesday at a theater that charges a general admission of $10 a pop.

The picture was just delightful. It's a story of a ne'er-do-well who works as a garbage boy in a famous Parisian restaurant and his friend, a rat, who is a gourmet chef.

Pixar and Walt Disney Studios have outdone themselves, in my eyes. I really didn't like Toy Story or Monsters, Inc., but this was just a joy. Get out to see it, if you can. It's rated G, but there's some noise and dark moments, so I'm not sure it's for the really little ones.

Page 2

Back on June 12, Murray Chass of The New York Times said he didn't see why the New York Yankees couldn't catch up with the Boston Red Sox by July 4 and be in first place by the All-Star break.

Well, Murray, the reason is that the Yankees don't have it this year. The Red Sox, despite a month where they couldn't hit a basketball with an oar, still sit about a dozen games ahead of the third-place Yankees because of their pitching.

It's also because of their heart. As I've said many times, Red Sox fans just don't give up. Few leave Fenway Park even if the Sox look like they're going to take a beating, unlike New York fans who head for the exits.

Case in point: Julio Lugo. This guy couldn't buy a hit, made mistake after mistake in the field as well as in running the bases. So, do the fans give up on the guy and start booing? Nah.

Earlier this week, Lugo got up with the bases loaded and made an out. The next day, he got up again with men on base. Did the fans boo? Heck, no, they cheered for him and this time, he hit a two-run single. And then they gave him a standing ovation.

I must admit that I had screamed at the television, asking why Tito (Red Sox Manager Terry Francona) doesn't send him to Pawtucket or Portland, both Red Sox minor league teams.

That was as much a mystery to me as much as why Tito has people swing at balls thrown by pitchers who couldn't find home plate with a map. But, as my son-in-law patiently explains, that's why I'm sitting at home screaming at the television and Tito is in the dugout eating seeds.

Page 3

I am so glad to read (New York Times Page 1 today) that somebody is delving into the true extent of air-travel delays.

Because the government and the airlines report delays of flights and not passengers, it's possible for a person to be delayed many hours or even days and the delay be reported as only a few minutes.

It works like this: The first leg of your flight is 45 minutes late. Because of this, you miss your connection and have to wait 12 hours for the next flight with an available seat going to your destination. The second flight is on time.

You've wasted half a day, but your flight is only listed as 45 minutes late. The lost hotel reservations and cruise connections, missed family events and lost business opportunities are never reported.

Now, a group of advocates and academics are trying to amend the reporting to trace a flyer's experience. If the same scenario takes place, the person would then be 13 hours late, not 45 minutes.

It's about time.

Page 4

I'm glad BBC reporter Alan Johnston was freed by his captors, a Gaza clan of thugs of whom even Hamas, the terrorist organization holding Gaza hostage, is sick and tired.

Hamas operatives kidnapped four members of the clan, also known as the Army of Islam, and said they would be held until the journalist was freed. That happened the next day.

Now, Hamas expects to be treated as heroes. Don't hold your breath.

My only question is why didn't Hamas do this 113 days ago and really show it is part of the solution, not the problem.

That's because if it walks like a terrorist and quacks like a terrorist, it's a terrorist.

I hope the folks at BBC learn their lesson about dealing with the likes of Hamas. But I don't hold out much hope. This is Britain, the home of the rolling boycott of Israel.

If it looks like fool and quacks like a fool...

Until next time....

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