Tuesday, January 31, 2006

New Pet Peeve

The Buffalo Auto Show (or some similar name) is again using the tag line "Cool City, Hot Cars" in its broadcast and print advertising campaigns. For some reason, and no doubt it includes the moronic tone of the guy doing the voice-over in the radio and television ads, these commercials have always annoyed me and just sound stupid. This whole ad campaign, to me, is about as creative and cloying as "Welcome to West-Herr New York," which I would be happy never to see and/or hear again. And how about the new hairdo on the guy in the West-Herr adds. It looks like he got caught in a wind tunnel just after moussing his hair; lovely.

Music Congestion

Yeah, the "problem" that frequently arises for music writers, whether with their own blogs or writing for someone else, of having more music to listen to than you can write something about, is here again.
This time, I want to mention that I am particularly sorry that several local CDs worthy of mention have still not been reviewed at http://Buffaloroots.com, our web site. These include excellent CDs by the Old Sweethearts, the Transonics, Missing Planes and others. We have even more local music to review than this, but these are CDs that I have had for a while and all deserve praise. On top of this, I just received a new CD in the mail yesterday, "Mercurochrome," by the Bird Circuit, which features Dan Braun, better known as Scary from the late, great Scary Chicken (one of the best and most underrated bands from Buffalo), on drums, as well as Dan Smith, currently of Flatbed and formerly of The Wrench/Monkeywrench, on guitar. It is really good, hard, melodic rock and will also be reviewed here soon (enough).

Tuesday Television/Sports Weirdness

Of course, the Buffalo Sabres/Atlanta Thrashers hockey game has to be at exactly the same time as the University of Wisconsin/Illinois basketball game, with Val and I major Sabres and Wisconsin fans. But at this moment, 7:57 p.m., I am watching neither game.
Val is teaching the first night of her photography class at the Buffalo Arts Studio, so we are DVRing the Wisconsin/Illinois game, and as I look at the screen, referee Dennis Larue has his arm raised and frozen, about to drop the opening faceoff between the Sabres and the Thrashers. I have the game on pause (again, the wonderful magic that is DVR), and we have a full night of sports ahead of us, if we can stay awake long enough.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Weekend, I Think

This past weekend was one of those weekends where we needed much more time and energy than was possible to get everything done.
Friday night was a perfect example; after we ate dinner at Amy's Place, we went home and did some stuff ostensibly to kill time before we went to Mohawk Place to see and hear the Tarbox Ramblers and Alison Pipitone. While Val worked on the computer, I watched the New York Knicks' game and hoped that Val, who still hasn't had her IVIG treatment for MS because none exists here (thanks for the blood donating mention, Jen), would feel good enough to go to the show. Of course, it ended up that I was in and out of sleep, and at one point, Val asked me if I was going to make it to the show. My reply, and I knew it as I said it, was pure gibberish, a combination of words that made no sense and groups of letters that did not form words. Val burst out laughing and when I was coherent enough, I realized that tiredness had caught up to me and we stayed home.
We were actually rather busy throughout the weekend (we hung Val's show at Chateau Buffalo, attended an opening at the Buffalo Arts Studio at which Val, a long-time member, had work hanging in the back studio, etc.), but I pulled off an impressive hat trick: I did not write anything for this blog, our web site, http://Buffaloroots.com, or on any of my freelance assignments. So, look for me to make up a lot of that work this week; no, really.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Not Happy

I've been meaning to write about Buffalo BlogCon 2 for a few days, but things haven't been too conducive to writing much of anything recently; let's see how many I can remember.
Sadly, the main reason is that our friend Kim, a wonderful soul and great artist, wife, colleague and mom to two pups, is fighting for her life in a hospital as her recovery from cancer is complicated by what appears to be pneumonia. Any good wishes, energy and/or prayers you can send her way are very appreciated. The last time Kim was over to our house was our wedding party, and I can still remember talking to her and her great friend and colleague Mar just outside our back door between the house and garage. I hope we get the chance to do that again soon.
Val has not been feeling too good for the last few days (just after BlogCon 2) because the monthly IV drug treatment she takes for her MS has not been found/available in Western New York for at least a week; the drug, IVIG, is a blood product, and due to the need for blood and blood products due to Hurricane Katrina, the supply is strained. Until she gets her treatment, Val will have to be careful and fight the usual effects of MS even more than normal; if there is one thing about Val, she is a fighter, and has battled her MS as successfully as anyone can for years. I just wish she didn't have to fight it so much.
There are a couple more, much less important, things that are making me grumpy. I got one of my credit card bills today, and my minimum payment, thanks to recent federal legislation, is now 40-50 percent higher. I know the legislation allows credit card companies to charge higher minimums, but I don't believe the law requires companies to do so, because my other cards' minimum payments did not increase that much.
Lastly, despite being the editor of a web site concentrating on roots music (country, alt-country, rock, rockabilly, folk, etc.), Buffaloroots.com, and being in the pipeline on concerts of these styles of music coming to Buffalo, why did I hear nothing about the Marty Stuart show earlier tonight at The Icon until Sunday night? It is hard to write about or plan to attend a show you don't know about.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

January in Buffalo?

At about 2 p.m., while Val hooked up our new Vonage connection and worked on some photos for an upcoming show (more information soon), I took our dog, Walker Evans, to the section of Delaware Park near the Buffalo Zoo. The temperature was about 40 degrees, the wind was calm, the sun was out and there were no piles of snow in sight.
I was a bit surprised that there weren't more people at the park than the decent amount I saw, but it was no surprise that so many of us had our dogs along with us. Walker had a great time meeting people and sniffing and occasionally barking at other dogs, but the most fun occurred when we turned the corner from the road we parked on and approached the bison area. Two women were intently looking at something, one leaning against the fence, the other half-kneeling, half-leaning over near the corner. As we approached, I noticed Walker sniff the air, stiffen his back and walk faster. As we got to the fence, I saw why; right in the corner, behind the double fence, was an adult bison playing with a small Christmas/pine tree, and then using it a a scratching post. After a minute of intense staring, Walker suddenly turned and walked away, sniffing at a tree. On the way back, he again all but ignored the bison but took a sudden interest in the small chicken coop next to the bisons.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Unique folk song

Just have to post about a song I just found on another blog. It's a vegatarian-slanted song named "Cows With Guns". The version that I've linked to has an animated Flash video, though I've read that this is not the only website that uses this song. Pretty amusing to those of us who aren't offended by animals getting back at us for eating them. I have had a few weird (and scary) dreams about that happening....

Fun, Fun, Fun

Val and I had a great time at Buffalo BloggerCon 2 last night, and we will have much more to say/write about it tonight after we get back from work and so on. Thank you to Alan at BuffaloPundit, Jen at All Things Jen(nifer) and everyone else who helped organize the event and the many who have already blogged about it.

Monday, January 16, 2006

It's Over, It's Over, It's Oooooooooooover

Yes, the holiday season is finally over in the Dunne/Hosey household; today, the tree, its ornaments and all of the other decorations came down and were packed away. Now, if we had only remember to take the cards down and put them in the recycling bin ...

If Anyone Cares What I Think ...

I believe Ralph Wilson made the right move in firing/letting go Tom Donohoe as general manager/president of the Buffalo Bills, and I believe that Mike Mularkey resigning as coach will help the team. But that is in the past; what now concerns us, with Marv Levy now the new general manager, is who the next coach will be.
For starters, I am NOT excited over the possibility of Jim Haslett being the Bills' new coach. He was a great linebacker for the Bills and a good position coach, but for the most part he has been a failure or, to be kind, a mediocrity, as head coach of the New Orleans Saints. Why would we need to bring a failure/mediocrity here, when we had two of that kind of coach before in Gregg Williams and Mularkey?
Mike Sherman has had success and failure as Green Bay's coach, and I would prefer him if the choice was of Sherman and Haslett. He has looked quite fondly on Buffalo quarterback J.P. Losman, certainly had success with Brett Favre leading the Packers and knows what it takes to be a success to a certain level in football. Also, selfishly, with Val being a former Wisconsin resident and longtime, ARDENT Green Bay fan, maybe, just maybe this, along with University of Wisconsin alumni Lee Evans and Jim Leonhard on the Bill's roster, she would not hold the Bills with such disdain and laugh at them so often, deserving as it may be. Now, if the Bills don't hire a person with former head coaching experience, I think former Bills defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell would be a good choice.
And to those who believe that Mularkey should not bear the responsibility of bad personnel choices made by Donohoe, remember, one quality a good coach must have is to develop and deploy the players he or she has to the best of his or her ability to bring the best out in the players. This means to motivate and use player he or she may not be keen on and to properly use the talented players on the roster. I don't feel Mularkey did so.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hallwalls at The Church

Finally! After years of driving by the Asbury Church on Delaware Avenue; watching what seemed like s-l-o-w progress (only because we were so impatient), we finally attended the first opening at the new Hallwalls.
The artist is Suzy Lake. She gave a great artist talk right after our members meeting, which I personally found rather inspiring. And in the gallery, her photographs; a retrospective, looked fabulous on the walls. What I could see, anyway- the place was so packed. I just hope we have half that crowd at the Members show in July.....
The space itself was so sleek, after seeing the ancient side of the church when you enter. As great as a clean looking gallery space can be, it was comforting to see rough walls and stained glass peeking through. Though I have only seen pictures of the Sanctuary transformed into performance space, The Church seems a premiere success! Hallwalls and Righteous Babe/ Ani DiFranco deserve a huge round of applause from the Buffalo Arts community. One of the best things I saw tonight was walking down the stairs as we were leaving the building. It was the view of Delaware Avenue through the rose colored glasses that being in the church for the first time gave me. That view showed me a robust art scene in the City of Buffalo.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Great Garbage News (Not the Band)

Today brought a very good development at home that shouldn't have taken this long to occur.
Our wheeled garbage container, which we pay a fee for depending on its size to the City of Buffalo, was taken for its own disposal in June because of a large crack where the arm that picks it up and tips it into the garbage truck hits the container. We were told that it would first take about a month, then 6-8 weeks, and then three months. Repeated calls brought different reasons (the city ran out of containers, Hurricane Katrina delayed the delivery of items from a supplier in the Southeast USA, etc.), and after my last call a few weeks ago, I was told to call back if we didn't get the container this week. Well, I got an e-mail from Val at work announcing the blessed arrival, and I can stop using bags, which of course tear from general wear and animal interest. And no, the city won't take any amount off my bill, because they provide the service and not the specific container, which allows me to use several bags per week. I think local rodents wrote up this part of the contract.
This was the second recent pleasant surprise from civic quarters; in early December, the street lights on our block (Elmwood Village, two blocks off Elmwood Avenue near Richmond, West Utica and Bryant) went out, and I and several neighbors repeatedly called the city and the utility company. During this time, the street lights on adjacent blocks also went partly or totally out, as taking Walker Evans on his daily neighborhood jaunts allowed me to discover, but happily, the lights returned late last week.

Playing Catch Up

We got a review CD in the mail today, which reminded me that we have a bunch of CDs we plan on reviewing that are backing up here at Buffaloroots.com Central (and that's not even counting Christmas gifts or CDs from our friends at New World Record). Val and I want to thank all of the musicians and publicists who send us the music to review, and we will get to as much of it as possible as soon as we can.

Monday, January 09, 2006

More Wisconsin Sports Fun

Less than a week after hoping the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team would climb back into the Top 25, the Badgers have done so following two wins over Big Ten opponents, first beating Iowa and then routing Michigan State Sunday, 82-63.
Because Val and I had grocery shopping and other things to do, we DVRed the game and enjoyed most if it after that. I say most of it because, with about 3 minutes left, while trying to hit the fast forward button on our remote control during a stoppage in play, I hit the button underneath it, the advance/increase the channel button. Oops.
The most recent Associated Press poll puts Wisconsin, with a 12-2 record, at number 17; of course, Michigan State, despite now having a worse record and losing to Wisconsin, is still ranked a couple of slots higher. I say of course because, after WIsconsin beat Auburn in the Capitol One Bowl, 24-10, and upped its record to 10-3, it was ranked number 15, while Auburn, whose record fell to 9-3, was ranked number 14

Sunday, January 08, 2006

News and Sports

As you might know, the past week was a big one for events in the sports world in Buffalo, particularly football, with Buffalo Bills' owner Ralph Wilson deciding to part ways with former general manager and president Tom Donohoe (a good decision, in my opinion).
But what caught my attention the most, and annoys me, is the fact that too many media outlets, especially broadcast media, treated the events around the firing of Donohoe, the retaining of coach Mike Mularkey (not the right decision, IMHO) and the hiring of former coach Marv Levy as general manager as, for lack of better words, real news, and assigned news reporters instead of sports reporters, broke into regular programming to carry the press conferences live and led newscasts and used front pages to announce the news.
Sorry, folks, this is sports, or sports news if you will, and not real news, again, if you will. No one's tax rates, rent, law enforcement, political representation or other conditions or status were affected, except for the direct three, four or five people involved, and not one news reporter uncovered and presented a single interesting fact a sports reporter could not have done.
Yes, I know that Buffalo/Western New York is sports crazy to a fault, but don't think that I am a sports hater; I blogged about University of Wisconsin sports a few days ago (and will probably do so again tomorrow), but more importantly, my first journalism job out of college was, yep, as a sports reporter, and I was fortunate enough to earn a first-place New York Press Association award for sports coverage.
But sports are real news? Um, yeah, but no. If you have to, take a few seconds in a broadcast to mention the firing or hiring, and then let the sports reporters report it during the sports part of the broadcast.

January in Bflo

This being my first post in 2006, I would love to wish readers a Happy New Year.
You have most likely noticed, we haven't updated Buffaloroots.com in a bit. I'm going to let you in on a secret. The holidays have us whipped. I'm not exactly just talking about myself and Kevin either. There are not too many mind blowing things that happen in January in Buffalo. Or, should I say, not mind blowing enough for Kevin and I to get our collective asses off the couch to go to. We actually stayed home and watched Star Wars-Episode lll on New Years Eve. And, aside from Yoda, Kevin doesn't even like Star Wars.....
Well, that is all going to change. At least in the blogesphere anyway.
Next week, we will be going to the Kavinoky Theatre to see "Always...Patsy Cline" (which will be going weekends until February 5th). The long awaited Asbury Church will also be opening this weekend, with an exhibition of Suzy Lake (photographer; think Cindy Sherman) at Hallwalls. Anyone who has any anticipation of life in the arts or music in Buffalo has been waiting for Ani DiFranco's church to be ready. Well, yea! We're Here! So, the holiday hangover is done- time to get moving again....

Sherry, John and Robby

Saw John Brady (drummer extraodinare) today at a favorite breakfast place. Asking (again) about a photo I took last summer at "Music is Art:", of Robby Goo showing him and our friend Sherry the intricacy of the Pez dispenser. Here's that photo, John. Wish Charlie Quill a Happy Birthday (this Thursday) for us.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

On, Wisconsin

Val and I are among the University of Wisconsin football fans rejoicing in the Badgers' 24-10 upset win over Auburn in the Capitol One Bowl Monday, January 2. Brian Calhoun, John Stocco and Brandon Williams, as well as the defense, came up big.
Readers who have checked my profile know I am a fan of University of Wisconsin sports teams, and Val and her family deserve almost all of the credit: her mother, Janice, is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin; her grandmother, the late Gertrude Wagener, worked at the university, lived a block or two from Camp Randall Stadium and was a longtime football season ticket holder, and Val, after being born and living in Chicago and then the Chicago suburb of Elgin, moved to Wisconsin and spent some wonderful time living there, especially summers in Two Rivers on Lake Michigan.
Now, let's see if we can't help get the Badgers' men's basketball team back into the top 25.

Updated Encore

The story of the idiot owner of the white Ford F150 who has blocked our driveway a few times had a new development several hours after I wrote about it a few days ago.
I took our dog, Walker Evans, on his daily walk just before 1 p.m. We were about 8-10 houses away when Slappy left his girlfriend's house and went to his truck; he grabbed the two tickets off his windshield, looked at the back end of his truck (which was the part blocking our driveway) and hit his truck door. Walker and I reversed our route and started walking back to talk to him; he saw us coming and quickly got into his truck and started the engine. When we got within about a yard from his truck, he gunned his engine, jumped the truck into gear and screeched his tires, sending a cloud of grey smoke up and spitting up stones, thus, as Val and I like to say, proving his possession of a tiny penis. But he hasn't blocked anyone's driveway in days.