SO LONG, SUMMER: The autumnal equinox -- when day and night are equal -- arrived this week and took with it probably the best summer people in these parts have known in decades, and may never know again. There are unconfirmed reports that not a single family barbecue in the eight counties of Western New York was rained out in three-plus months of summer. It was heavenly. Especially compared to the weather-born chaos elsewhere. Welcome to the cool of fall.
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REAL-LIFE REALITY TV: The other night, millions sat transfixed by a 21st century version of a fun house hall of mirrors. We watched a JetBlue plane with landing gear problems arrive safely at LAX. On board, the 145 passengers and crew watched themselves on TV. Later, there was even video of the video of the video. We don't know where the late Marshall McLuhan is right now, but he's surely getting high fives for warning us in 1964 this would happen: The medium is the message. In his global village, this was the the runaway horse or the car hitting a tree in earlier eras. (Indeed, at least eight other Airbus jets with the same problem landed safely; we doubt cable TV made much of those). But lost in all this interconnectedness is what the heedless cable channels would have done if that plane instead crashed while we watched live as people died.
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PRAISE THE HEROES: Kristen Masecchia, the North Buffalo crossing guard hailed as a hero this week for pushing four girls out of the path of a runaway car, reminds us of something we should recall more often. There are hundreds of people locally, and thousands nationally, who quietly go about their work, well trained, and step up when they're needed. Police, firefighters, teachers, EMTs, pilots, nurses, doctors, coaches, Red Cross rescue workers, clergy and, yes, crossing guards, protect the rest of us. So, thank you Kristen Masecchia and the rest of you. We know who you are.