New rules do away with old wives tales; IMAX’s Jerusalem a stirring tale

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Alec Baldwin got it right…even though he was in the need of a good dose of anger management.

Not too long ago the volatile actor was seated in an airplane about to take off.  The usual announcement came over the cabin loudspeaker directing all passengers to turn off all electronic devices.  Technically they can turn them on again after reaching 10,000 feet but permission is rarely given until cruising altitude is reached.

Baldwin, who is not known for his patience or toleration of anything he disagrees with, declined to switch off the device he was using to play some game or another.  Perhaps he was about to hit a top level of Candy Crush and didn’t want to lose the points.

At any rate, the flight attendant became insistent and Baldwin adopted an attitude of “Don’t you know who I am?”

It turned out that the American Airlines flight attendants really didn’t care who he was and Baldwin was removed from the flight from Los Angeles to New York.  Other passengers fumed when the craft returned to the gate so he could be dumped.  It cost them all an hour’s delay.

Fortunately American Airlines did not file a complaint. Baldwin later made a snide reference to the incident in one of his credit card commercials.

The prohibition against using electronic devices reaches back to when the first cell phones and Blackberrys were developed and people began playing games on them as a means of passing the time…especially those who may be sitting at the gate or on the runway with delays that might reach hours.

Using them at the gate has always been fine, but when the hatch closed, it has been traditional that the request to turn off all devices is made.  The odd passenger has on occasion refused to do so and has been sanctioned, as Baldwin, with either removal or arrest.

Many frequent flyers have complained for years that these devices posed no threat to the electronics or radio equipment of modern aircraft.  But the airlines have remained steadfast in maintaining the prohibition.

Some aircraft have phones on board, generally located in seat backs that for the swipe of a credit card and an exorbitant fee, passengers are permitted to make air-to-ground calls.  That prohibition remains intact today.

Now along comes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with an edict saying that playing games on electronic devices poses no threat to the safe operation of an aircraft.  Passengers may now protect their sanity while waits of up to three hours on the flying tube sits on the ground waiting for takeoff.

The rules against making telephone calls on your own device remain, perhaps to be changed in the foreseeable future.  For use of those devices there will have to be some upgrades.  Anyone turning on a call phone while in the air has seen that more often than not there is no service.  If you do manage to get a signal, it may jump from cell to cell creating some havoc with the system.

With our advanced technology it should not be too far into the future when you can enjoy listening to your neighbor in the next seat fighting with his wife over his mobile phone.  We can’t wait.

Jerusalem, arguably the most fought after small parcel or land in the world, is home to the major religions of the world; groups who all preach peace and understanding but seem unable to heed their own tenets.

The IMAX at Palisades Center Mall (Nanuet) is presenting a 45-minute exquisite documentary of the embattled city on its giant screen. Palisades Center is a popular day trip destination for residents from Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey.

The film takes an interesting tack in viewing the Holy City through the eyes of three young women; an Israeli, a Christian and a Muslim.  While it strives mightily to be even-handed, it does at some points pass over the truly vexing problems.

Made in conjunction with National Geographic, the film gives a tremendous insight to the lives of the distinct inhabitants, their customs and even delves a bit into their religions.

The Western Wall, holy to Jews; the Dome of the Rock, one of Islam’s holiest sites; and several Christian churches, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, are explored.  The photography team was given extraordinary permission to fly over the city, something rarely granted to anyone.  This has produced amazing views and a great perspective.

The young women each take you on a tour of her part of the city and talk about their lives.  It is poignant because they have never met each other although they live in such close proximity…and will never meet.

It is interesting to note that while the churches and Jewish sites are open to all, there are severe restrictions imposed by the Muslims-and oddly, enforced by Jewish Israeli police-restricting Jews and other non-Muslims from free access to the Temple.  It is more interesting to note that the film virtually ignores this.

In the audience at the preview showing were representatives of all three religions and the discussion would have been a clarion call to the United Nations as to how a respectful discussion should be.

Perhaps the most wrenching scene was the closing shot with the three girls standing near each other, facing in different directions, each oblivious to the presence of the others.

The film is a wonderful opportunity for groups as special rates are offered.  Groups can call (845) 353-5555, ext. 200.  Others can obtain information on tickets and showtimes at