Monday, February 26, 2007

Putrid Sports Weekend Plus

In just five days, the Buffalo Sabres lost co-captain and leading goal scorer Chris Drury to a concussion from a late, scummy headhunting hit from Chris Neil during the Buffalo's 6-5 win, then the Sabres lost to the Senators in Ottawa, 6-5. The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team lost twice, first to Michgan State and then to Ohio State Sunday, just after being named number 1 in the AP Poll.
Wisconsin is now ranked number 4 and ends its season hosting Michigan State Saturday, and the Sabres are preparing for an active week that sees them play the Toronto Maple Leafs twice in Toronto. Who knows what this week will bring?

Simple Music Pleasures

On our way to an errand in Amherst today, Val and I were in the car when "Thunder Road" by Bruce Springsteen and the Street Band played on 107.7 WLKE-FM The Lake (by former roommate Tina Peel). I held Val's hand and we looked at each other in that "uh huh" manner as we kept driving, saying nothing.

Their Child Is Probably Hiding Now

I'm sure we've all read those bumper stickers on vehicles that state "My child is an honor roll student at ..." Having been an honor roll student, band student and a less-than-stellar athlete, I guess I've never been bothered by these stickers, or even too much by the white trash response sticker "My child beat up your honor roll student."
But we all know that if a parent or relative wants to embarrass or alienate their child for life, they only have to start acting like or, worse, talking in public like their child or how they perceive their child or "cool kids" talk and act.
When I got in my car today, I saw that the car parked on the street in front of me had a bumper sticker that read: "My child rocks the honor roll. Martin Road Elementary School, Lackawanna." No, no, no; not now, not later and not ever will this wording be cool or anything else but a one-way ticket to a beating for the involved child. Also, the parent or parents who obtained and display this sticker have just earned themselves enshrinement in the Parental Douchebaggery Hall of Fame. Congratulations, and pick up your award and your child's first aid kit at the hospitality tent.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Personal Libraries For Sale?

Over the years, Val and I have collected in various manners thousands of books, CDs and vinyl recordings, and while we love having them (I am a particular pack rat), we are finally about to enter the market of selling used books, CDs and vinyl records, online as well as otherwise.
We have sold some things at yard sales, but it is time for us (again, I have the much larger problem of not doing so) embrace technology and use online resources. We have friends conducting business from a few sales to thousands of dollars a year on eBay and elsewhere, but this is where you fine readers come into play.
Any advice any of you have on using eBay or other onlines resources and businesses for selling books, CDs and vinyl, as well as selling them in person or otherwise, are welcome to comment here, including recommendations for sources of information on this issue. Either way, we are about to start selling some of our too large libraries.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Good game last night...

Posted by Val


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What's The Story With Jochen's Wife?

We have received dozens of hits to this blog over the past 6 months at least, the last one earlier tonight, from the search "Jochen Hecht wife" or close variants of that phrase. Can someone clue me in as to what these people may be looking for? I have ideas/suspicions, but nothing concrete.

Wisconsin: No Fun for Number 1

While Val and I enjoyed watching the Buffalo Sabres defeat the Philadelphia Flyers on television Tuesday, 6-3, we were DVRing the Wisconsin-Michigan State basketball game to watch after the hockey game.
So, our night went south sports wise as Michigan State upset Wisconsin, 64-55. The Badgers could have looked past the Spartans to the Wisconsin-Ohio State game Sunday, but regardless, Michigan State outplayed the Badgers.
Of course, neither Val nor I are happy that this will endanger Wisconsin's number 1 AP ranking, its first time ever in the top slot. We, like all Badger fans, would prefer that they win the NCAA Tournament and finish the season as the true number one team.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Wisconsin Men's Basketball: Number 1

As you can imagine, Val and I are thrilled that the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team is ranked number 1 in the new Associated Press poll, and obviously, no, I did not see the new poll results before I wrote my previous post.
Ohio State is ranked number 2, and following their loss to Vanderbilt, Florida is ranked number 3. This sets up a major game Saturday, when Wisconsin travels to Ohio State; Wisconsin beat Ohio State at the Kohl Center in their first match up this season.

Wisconsin Basketball: No Respect?

I have been seething about this topic for weeks; can someone tell me why the Ohio State University men's basketball team is ranked ahead of the University of Wisconsin? While the Badgers and the Buckeyes share the same record in Big Ten Conference action, Wisconsin has a better overall record and, because it beat Ohio State in head-to-head action, leads the Big Ten. Ohio State is ranked number 2, and Wisconsin number 3
Wisconsin has also defeated every Top 25 team it has played, both at the Kohl Center and on the road, including Pitt, which was ranked number 2 at the time, and the previously mentioned Ohio State. I have tried to stay quiet about this, but when I read a story in the Buffalo News online edition today about Ohio State making a move to be ranked number 1 after beating Minnesota, my gasket blew.
Val and I demand answers.

This Is Your Wakeup Call, Mr. Campbell

Even though he was a starter at defense in the NHL ALl-Star Game this year and started out the season pretty strong, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell has been awfully quiet in the offensive part of his game in recent weeks.
While he is en route to dishing out more assists this year (27 in 59 games this season, compared to 32 assists in 79 games last year), Campbell has only scored 6 goals, compared to 12 last season, and I can't remember when he scored his last goal.
No doubt oter teams are concentrating on Campbell's offensive talent, as well as jamming the point during Sabres' power plays, and the other parts of his game seem good, but Buffalo really needs Campbelll to step up, with so much offensive firepower from the Sabres' forwards out due to injuries.

New Logo/Old Logo? Sabres Logo?

If you watched the NBC broadcast of the Pittsburgh Pengiuns-Washington Capitals hockey game Sunday afternoon, you might have thought either an act of a higher power occurred or a time warp was in effect.
During one of the intermissions, the team of Bill Clement, Ray Ferraro and Brett Hull were discussing trades or other personnel moves some of the top NHL teams should make for Stanley Cup runs. Hull discussed the Buffalo Sabres, and while he mentioned a big and/or mobile defenseman (most teams want one, but isn't Hull aware of the five injured Sabres' forwards?), they flashed a logo on part of the screen, as NBC did for all teams.
But with the Sabres, they showed last year's logo, the black, white and red Buffalo/Bison head that has been in my opinion wrongly referred to as the "goat head." While I wish that the Sabres' had that logo instead of the new/current slug Buffalo (my true choice would be the original crossed Sabres logo), someone at NBC may want to do a little research.

Day Off

How we started our President's Day..

Thanks to fmfats on the Buddy and Julie group...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lucinda Williams Coming to Town

Americana, alt-country and roots rock singer/songwriter extraordinaire Lucinda Williams will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the State University of Buffalo Center for the Arts on its Amherst Campus.
Val and I have been major fans of Williams since the late 1980s and have caught her in concert many times; one of my favorite times was when she opened for Blue Rodeo at the Tralf, which was an amazing night of music. It is probably no coincidence that neither of us has liked her music as much as on her consecutive releases: her self-titled CD, "Sweet Old World" and "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," as those highlighted her collaborations with former guitarist/co-producer and ex-Western New Yorker Gurf Morlix.
Tickets will be $35 for the general public, and hopefully we will have much more on her appearance here soon.

Paging Some Good Books

I've always been interested in the reading lists of fellow bloggers, particularly Jennifer and Jaquandor, so I figured that it was time to let you readers in on some of my recent reading selections.
I am currently reading two books: at home, I am reading "Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke," by Peter Guralnick (one of my favorite writers, music or otherwise), and for work and occasions such as oil changes, doctor's and therapist's offices, I am about to start reading "Homage to Catalonia" by George Orwell. I am about to start reading this because yesterday, I finished "The Destruction of the European Jews" by Raul Hilberg, the 340-page condensed version of his about 1,200-page, three-volume work.
Hilburg's book is amazingly good, one of the best I have read on the Holocaust, blending many angles and avenues in a scholarly but still highly readible manner.

Hail to the Chaff

With Monday, February 19, Presidents' Day, General Motors is running a series of advertisements that are, as you might imagine, annoying the crap out of me for both content and their frequency of appearance over these last few days.
The commercials, used for every line of GM vehicles, feature photographs, paintings and other forms of artwork portraying presidents, while GM vehicles drive in front of them and, the most aggravating part, the soundtrack is an intrumental hip hop version of "Hail to the Chief." After I plug up my ears, I want to take these ads and bury them in the backyard with Walker Evans' dog crap.
I know that the U.S. seems as close to an actual capitalistic society as is possible, but remember, our form of government is democratic, as in a democratic republic, or at least the best version of this money can buy too many times, particularly in federal and state levels.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sticks to the ... Bowl of the Toilet?

Most of you know of the major recall of peanut butter due to the recent salmonella outbreak; this includes a lot of Peter Pan peanut butter, with lot numbers starting with 2111.
We are a Peter Pan family, and Friday, Val checked the new, unopened jar of Peter Pan on our pantry shelf, and yes, it had the 2111 lot number. Well, I checked the three-quarters done jar in the cupboard, and what, to my wondering eyes did appear, but another jar of Peter Pan with the lot number 2111.
Neither Val nor I have felt sick or had any of the symptoms of salmonella (no bad stomach aches or cramps, no explosive or profuse diarrhea, etc.), but we will be returning the jars to the Wegmans supermarket we bought them at later this weekend.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Let's Get It Over With

Val and I went to her physical therapy at the wellness center at DeGraff and got home, I took the garbage and recycling out and I survived the vastly overdone, overwrought, near hysterical media build up, so will the snow storm just get here, dump its snow on us and leave?
This may have been the most anticipated and reported on "snow event," as snow fall is now called too often, in years, and if it wasn't for snow/weather and sports, what would the news portions of local newscasts look like recently? Yes, I'm crabby, but it's frigging snow, people; can we please stop the run on grocery stores?

Two Nights, Hundreds of Dogs

Val, Walker Evans and I settled down for three hours of fun television viewing tonight as we watched the first of two installments of the 131st annual Westminster Dog Show. At least Val and Walker Evans watched; I pulled my usual Monday Night Snore Follies and fell asleep after the first group was judged.
And no, our watching the Westminster Dog Show is not just filler waiting for the Buffalo Sabres to continue NHL hockey play; Val, Walker Evans and I are major dog fans, and Walker Evans likes to make fun of the purebreds.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dave Alvin Review Posted

That's right, kind readers; my review and Val's photos of the Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men show at the Sportsmen's Tavern February 5 are now posted at our related web site, Buffaloroots, so take a gander when you get a moment.

'Family Guy' Comes Through Again

Val and I are big fans of "Family Guy," and tonight's program, with Peter Griffin searching for his real father, was funny in the usual rough ways. Val and I are both very Irish American, and we got a lot of belly laughs out of the Irish cliches on the program, including the bottles of booze littering the airport runway and the name and activities inside Wifey O'Beaty's Pub.
But the biggest laughs were for two items; first, Stewie Griffin driving the car while Mother Theresa was suffering an overdose in the back seat, and the second was Peter Griffin's real father, Mickey, in reply to Peter saying that he was his son, noting that it was good to see something came from "the broth of my stubby shillelagh."
But I was also flummoxed (damn, I love that word) when I watched and heard the Pepsi commercial using the song "Ca Plane Pour Moi," originally done by Plastic Bertrand, which is basically a French (although Bertrand was Belgian) version of "Jet Boy Jet Girl" by Elton Motello. I don't know if I'm thrilled or appalled.

Heaven, I'm in Heaven

Val made homemade Tollhouse cookies today; yum.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Val and I want to join the list of bloggers and other people congratulating Kelly Sedinger, better known as Jaquandor of Byzantium's Shores, for winning first place in The Buffalo News' fiction contest. But it is also not too surprising, because as well as writing about interesting topics, Jaquandor is a very good writer, and accordingly, we expect that his blog will get even better and better.
It also seems that to keep Jaquandor a bit grounded, at least in the online version of the story, Sedinger was referred to as "she." Nice copy editing.

What's the Matter with Kids Today?

Well, it's either a sign of my age or a bit of an exaggeration, because the people involved were in their early 20s, but it was a head-shaking 40-minute wait for seating for dinner at the Buffalo Brew Pub for Val and I last night.
As I joined Val waiting after parking our car, first 3, and then 12, members of a party in their 20s entered the restaurant foyer. As usual, one male seemed to be the alpha douchebag, with a voice that could penetrate lead and brain matter to match it.
When they found out how long the wait would be, you'd have thought that he had been asked to pay for his room and board by his parents. He complained and complained, always in a voice loud enough to be heard inside the Boulevard Mall. Among the complaints was that they should go somewhere else, and then he decided it was the height of hilarity to mention that they could have gone to dinner and a show in Buffalo by the time they got seated here, and he repeated his "joke" over and over. When I stage whispered to Val that the joke wasn't funny the first time, a member of his party looked at me and looked away, face reddening.
Alpha Douche's next line to repeat occurred after he asked his growing party where else they could have gone; when one female said she suggested the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery earlier, he got a stricken look on his face and said, "we're not driving all the way downtown to eat dinner," as if they would need a change of clothes and to fill up the gas tank.
Oh, before I go on, he was also the group's fashion plate; besides his sweatshirt, touque and jeans, Alpha Douche was wearing Birkenstock sandals and socks; I guess it must have been Fashion Week at school. I really don't know if he and the group were State University at Buffalo (or another college) students or hometown heroes, but neither Val nor I noticed any other vocal inflections than those of native Western New Yorkers. The main topics of conversation were upcoming floor hockey games to be played and refereed.
Finally, after too much loud complaining and repetition, one male in his party told him he was talking too loud and to keep it down; he then said a little louder, "Come on, no one here thinks I'm talking too loud, do they?" I shook my head yes in an energetic manner as I stared at him. "No one thinks I'm being too ..." he started, then after catching my glare, he stopped and grumbled softer to himself.
About two minutes later, our buzzer went off and Val and I were happily seated in the restaurant; 10 minutes later, the young group was seated all the way in the back. I forgot to wave.

Patience Appreciated

This may read like a too-often written note in appreciation of people allowing some personal stuff to delay some of my blogging, but in particular I want to thank Chris Byrd of InDaBuff for allowing me to slide on a blog item while some homefront concerns are addressed.
I also promise that my Best Music of 2006 post will be coming soon. I used to write or contribute to these articles to both print media and online venues, but I haven't yet this year except for a piece contributed to a certain online/print media outlet upon request that never saw print or LED screen.
But I must say that Tom Waits' "Bastards ..." and new releases by Rosanne Cash and Willie Nile will figure in on the national/major label release list, while new efforts by Mark Norris and the Backpeddlers, Rob Lynch and Ani DiFanco (who should probably be in the first list) will be included for local CDs.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Another Musical Abomination

While watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (I think) tonight, I heard another song from my adolescence/early adulthood I didn't want to hear in a commercial, "Blister in the Sun" by the Violent Femmes for Wendy's; if I remember correct, it isn't the first advertisement to use this song.
Yes, I know, the artists, writers, etc., have the right to use their music for financial gain as they see fit, and I am not seeking to change that. But I neither have to like it nor stay quiet about it. And yes, it may be hypocritical of me, but I am not offended by the use of Johnny Cash's music in the hotel commercial.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men: Wow

Val and I recently got home from the Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men show at the Sportsmen's Tavern, and holy cow, was it a fantastic set.
Alvin and his band played about 90 minutes of sizzling, crunching, bluesy roots rock from his solo career and his time in the Blasters, and the sellout crowd ate it up and made itself heard. I will write a full review for our web site, Buffaloroots, in a day or so and let you fine readers know when it has been posted, with photos from Val.

Removing Guts from a Song

Well, the most recent emasculation of a song for advertising purposes that really annoys me is the use by Sara Lee, in a commercial for some of its desserts/baked goods, of the "Happy Happy Joy Joy" song made famous by "Ren and Stimpy."
The commercial ignores the hilarious, nasty commentary of the virtual Burl Ives-soundalike singer of the "original" song and only uses a syrupy chorus on the refrain, over and over and over ... Let's see some advertiser try to steal a "Family Guy" song and use it in a milquetoast advertisement.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dave Alvin at the Sportsmen's February 5

Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men, featuing one of roots rock's best and favorite singers, songwriters and guitar players in Dave Alvin, formerly of the Blasters, will play a sold out, basically private party show at the Sportsmens' Tavern on Amherst Street in Buffalo at 8 p.m. Monday, February 5, 2007.
The fact that this show/party, the first event at the Sportsmen's that had a cover charge, $25, is coming here is still a testament to the amazing ability Dwane Hall and crew have of bringing great music, from country and rock to blues and folk, at normally no cost to listeners.
Ken Biringer, all-around good guy who does publicity and many other things for the Sportmens', and Dwane worked on bringing Alvin, a Grammy Award winner, when they found out he was available. When it was discovered that he could be brought to Buffalo for a show at a cost, it was discussed and Hall said yes. Then, the Sportsmen's patrons and other music fans said yes; without word in print in places like the Buffalo News, Buffalo Rising or Artvoice, or even in web sites or blogs like this, but by simple word of mouth, the show sold out in days.
Val and I will be in attendance (I caught Alvin with the Blasters about 25 years ago, and Val has seen him solo), and we will report back, but let us join the list of peple thanking those at the Sportsmen's Tavern for bringing this great show to Buffalo.

Quiet Super Bowl Sunday

Val and I will be watching the Super Bowl at home with our dog, Walker Evans, tonight. I have never been a real Super Bowl party kind of person, and have attended three, if I remember correct, all with my Eight-Year Sentence.
I want to watch the game, and this year, Val, the Chicago native, is interested for the first time since the last time Green Bay played in a Super Bowl. If you want to read a funny, accurate and expanded reason as to why Super Bowl parties suck if you are a football fan, check out Kevin P.'s piece at Bfloblog.

Words from the Front

Last week, I received two e-mails from my good friend and former journalism colleague Brian Hartman, who has apparently been covering the war in Iraq for ABC News, where he has worked for several years.
The honesty, obscenity, insanity, fear and absurdity of war and preparing to cover it are remarkably illustrated by Hartman, who as well as being a former reporter and editor for Bee Newspapers may be remembered by some readers for his time at WBNY 91.3 FM and the United Students Government at Buffalo State College. I will try to contact Hartman to see if I can publish his e-mails here, but I have a feeling he is rather busy at the moment.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Benefit at Mohawk Place

I received the following in an e-mail from Michele Buono of the Missing Planes (an excellent Buffalo band) on a benefit show at Mohawk Place, 47 East Mohawk Street, Buffalo, slated for Saturday, February 3. If you have the time, this would be a great way to help the Robbins family and enjoy some good music.

-----LOUD STAGE ONE-----



Sat. Feb. 3rd

47 East Mohawk Place

Robbins Family Benefit Show

Doors at 6:00 -------- Show at 7:00

$10 - All proceeds go to the Robbins Family

9 Bands – 2 Stages (that's $1.11/band -OR- $5/stage)




-----SOFT STAGE TWO-----

Callum Robbins, the son of J. (Jawbox/Burning Airlines/Channels) and Janet (Channels) Robbins, was recently diagnosed with Type 1 SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy). The disease affects the brain's ability to communicate with the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, head and neck control, breathing, and swallowing. Despite years of work on its treatment and "ongoing promising research," it has no cure.

When dealing with something like this, the last thing you want to have to think or worry about is money. Please join us as we try to raise as much money as possible to help out the family.

To learn more about Cal and the Robbins family and to donate, go to

To learn more about SMA and other ways to help go to -

Smoke Gets on Your Shovel

While shoveling my driveway and sidewalk a couple of days ago, I witnessed a series of classic Buffalo-in-winter scenes, at least in our neighborhood. One of our neighbors was out shoveling her driveway, with a lit cigarette hanging out of her mouth, as always, and wearing no gloves, while she complained about being tired from shoveling and feeling cold.

Man, oh Man, oh Man

This has been one awful f*cking week in several ways, and while I intended to write more, our switch to the new took longer than expected; admittedly, this was the least of our worries.
So let's get on with the show, and if I seem a little pissed at times, you have a bit of an idea why; I don't think anyone needs explantions at this time.