Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Wall of Fire

I am a fireworks fanatic. The week of July 4th is spent going from one fireworks display to another. We have good shows here.

When we got to the hotel in Niagara, I was excited to see a flier lying on the check-in counter advertising a half-hour long, Wall of Fire, a kilometer long, most spectacular fireworks display you will ever see. The show was supposed to start at 10:00 on Saturday.

Saturday, we went over to the Falls and walked around. Of course, we did the Journey Behind the Falls, and then picked up the Peoplemover to go to the Butterfly Conservatory. We got off unexpectedly to walk the trails down to the river. I hadn't done that before and it was a neat experience. Also discovered how badly out of shape I was - I would rather do this type of exercise than go to the gym, but of course, spending more time at the gym would have helped with some of those steep climbs.

After we were done exploring, we headed back towards the Falls area. We found an outside table at a restaurant overlooking the Falls. It was supposed to be a good spot to observe the fireworks and we thought we would get thrown out to make room for people with reservations. But we lingered over food, drinks, dessert, drinks, and more food until the fireworks started.

Crowds began to gather below, staking out their space on the lawn or the sidewalk. There was a band playing outside who sounded pretty good. Fathers were dancing with their young daughters. Children were jumping, running and laughing with each other. Moms were spreading out blankets and leftover ponchos as seats.

I have to confess though I was so disappointed with the fireworks show. The crowds that were below me were ooh'ing and ah'ing. Photographers and videographers on the balcony with me were trying to get every shot. It was not what I would call a wall of fire. I had expected something more like a constant finale for a kilometer down the street. Instead, it was a boom, pause, a boom, pause, boom, boom, pause, .... Yawn...

But all in all, it was a great day and spending dinner overlooking the Falls was a pretty good evening. As the sun was setting, you could see the rainbows over the Falls where the sunlight hit the mist.

Butterfly Man

We went to Niagara Falls for the weekend. I should say the day, because we got there Friday night, had Saturday at the Falls, and came back Sunday. Schuyler wanted to go to the Butterfly Conservatory. We got there at a bad time - several tour buses had just dropped off which made it a little crowded.

I've been to Niagara before and to the Butterfly Conservatory. I remember the conservatory more fondly in the past than this weekend with the crowds. They tell you over and over not to try and touch the butterflies but to let them land on you. People were continually trying to touch the butterflies and to force them onto their fingers. I felt stressed watching them. When I saw a little boy pick one up by the wings, I had to say something. When I told him he would hurt the butterflies like that, he threw it behind one of the bushes and walked off.

There were some pretty blue butterflies there from Costa Rica. I was chasing them around with my camera lens but they wouldn't stay still. And when they were still, they folded up their wings which were a unattractive brownish color on the other side. The one here I finally got right as we were leaving. It landed on this boy's sleeve while at the same time, another landed on his hand. One little boy had four butterflies on him at once.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


According to the National Priorities Project,
http://www.nationalpriorities.org/home/index.php, Pennsylvania has or will spend $17.4 billion through 2007 for the Iraq War.

Instead of war, we could have chosen to spend that money to provide:

4,040,849 People with Health Care


287,581 Elementary School Teachers


2,466,634 Head Start Places for Children


5,135,438 Children with Health Care


176,723 Affordable Housing Units


1,210 New Elementary Schools


1,510,938 Scholarships for University Students


296,911 Music and Arts Teachers


400,989 Public Safety Officers


20,911,444 Homes with Renewable Electricity


267,352 Port Container Inspectors


What could you have done with the money to better the world? And, what could those who died, all who died, have done with their lives?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Great to see Mac again

Schuyler and I packed up the kids and went to NJ Friday where we met up with Colleen. Leaving the kids in the hotel, we headed into New York City to see Ian McLagan and the Bump Band at BB King's. Colleen and I had seen Mac in Austin at SXSW. First time for both of us, but we made sure we caught their act three times.

Our table at first was off to the side, but fortunately for us, some people left the center table so we asked to switch seats. We were looking for Lynne who is Mac's assistant - turns out, she was sitting right below us in the lower level. Our new seats were perfect.

The show was too short, partly our fault because we got there a little late. Hotel had no restaurant due to renovations so we had to feed the kids before we could leave. But after the show, we had the opportunity to meet Mac again and spend a few minutes talking to him. Like a past experience with Pete, it was deja vu when the guy behind us in line had an armful of old record albums that he wanted signed. We let him go in front of us so we would have more time to chat with Lynne and Mac.

Mac and the boys are touring this summer so if you have the opportunity to catch up with them, have a great time!

America - What's Happened to Us?

That's what Melissa Etheridge asked during her performance at LiveEarth in NJ Saturday. She sang a song, "Imagine That" in which she talked about the power of change and how we can become agents of change. She stopped in the middle of the song to ask "America, what's happened to us?" She talked about the past and how when there was an unjust war, people stood up and raised their voices against it, some giving their lives for the cause.

She referred to a time in the past when we had a criminal for a President. Said that democracy was important to us and we stood up and raised our voices against him. "America, what's happened to us?" She said that maybe our credit cards and our desire to consume is taking up our time.

Imagine if Monday morning, we would raise our voices and say Enough! She has faith in America, that when Americans see injustice, they rise up and speak the truth...

You can see part of her performance and all the LiveEarth performers at http://liveearth.msn.com/