It runs in the family

At first, customers at a McDonald's outlet in Bangkok, Thailand, earlier this week may not have noticed the teenager who was putting in her first day on the job. But they couldn't help being aware when Paetongtarn Shinawatra's father dropped by - with his bodyguards and a bevy of reporters and cameramen - to check on how she was doing and to order some take-out while he was at it. "Thai kids, when they finish school ... don't know how to work," Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra explained. "I just want her to have the experience" ... even though she'll be paid just 60 cents an hour. Dad, you see, knows a little about part-time work. Although he's a billionaire today, he logged many hours behind the counter of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in the US when he was in college. Later, after he married and enrolled in graduate school, his wife, Potjaman, helped with the cash flow by working at a Burger King.

Baseball cities in need of major league patience

"Wait 'til next year" is the proverbial mantra for teams that don't win baseball's World Series. Well, next year has arrived. The first pitch of the 2004 season came Tuesday, when the Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays opened it ... in Tokyo. At least some New Yorkers rose early for the 5 a.m. telecast of that game, but their hunger for another title - the Yankees have won 26, most recently in 2000 - may not be as acute as it is in other cities. The Chicago Cubs and White Sox haven't won a world championship since early last century, for example, nor have the Boston Red Sox. The longest waits, in years, since last winning the series or winning for the first time:

Chicago Cubs 95
Chicago White Sox 86
Boston Red Sox 85
Cleveland Indians 55
San Francisco Giants 45
Houston Astros 41
Montreal Expos 34
Milwaukee Brewers 33
Texas Rangers 31
Seattle Mariners 26

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