Monday, July 30, 2007

Not Once, But Twice on the Radio

I had the good fortune to not only get the chance to do one air shift as an alumni DJ at WBNY 91.3 FM at Buffalo State College this weekend, I got to do two shifts, starting with noon-3 p.m. Saturday and also picking up a late 9 a.m.-noon Sunday air shift.
I love being able to play music on the college radio station I was a DJ, news anchor and reporter, and talk show host and producer at in 1984-1985, but not being a professional broadcaster, the main difference is that I have lost the radio chops I developed (not great but not too bad except for a nasal voice), and it takes an hour or more to get back into things and taking shorter, smoother mics and to mix music better. Al Riess on Saturday and fellow alumni Tom Connolly on Sunday did their best to update me on the new technology at the station after their shifts ended.
With the WBNY Alumni Weekends becoming more popular and the number of alumni growing much larger than when I first graduated, the Alumni Weekend air shifts are two hours, down from four hours when I was a DJ at WBNY (my first regular shift was 2-6 a.m. Sunday mornings and my longest-running was 6-10 a.m. Wednesdays), and by the time I get back into stride, the shifts are over. So I was thrilled to be offered one, and then two, 3-hour shifts this past weekend.
My Saturday shift took the format of what I've done for the last several Alumni Weekend shows, featuring music I played at WBNY from 1984-1985, plus lots of roots music from all eras and all kinds of music up to now, including as much local and format music at the station as would fit and sound right on my show.
To indulge myself at least, here are my playlists, starting with Saturday, July 28: Noon - MC 5, Shakin' Street; Transonics, Get On!; Bottle Rockets, Mountain to Climb; Rockpile, Teacher Teacher; Nick Lowe, Heart of the City; Fleshtones, Do You Swing?; Flying Burrito Brothers, Christine's Song; Linda McRae, Hoot and Holler; Redd Kross, Janus, Jeanie and George Harrison; This Is Now, Planet Why; The Jam, Set the House Ablaze; Tom Waits, Ol' 55; Bruce Springsteen, Erie Canal (Live); X, Your Phone's Off the Hook (But You're Not). 1 p.m. - Emmylou Harris, Waltz Across Texas Tonight; Hank Williams III, 7 Months, 39 Days; Stoll Vaughan, No Stopping; Gurf Morlix, Were You Lying Down; Buddy Miller, That's How I Got to Memphis; Joe Ely, Boxcars (Live); The Vores, Heartbeat; Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Love Comes in Spurts; Husker Du, Pink Turns to Blue; Lucinda Williams, Pineola; Richard Thompson, Hard on Me; Mark Norris and the Backpeddlers, Walk Out; James Hand, I've Got a Lot of Hiding Left to Do. 2 p.m. - Hank Williams Sr., Jambalaya (On the Bayou); Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys, Black Iron Bridge; John Doe, the Golden State; Elvis Costello and the Attractions, No Action; Congo Norvell, Golden Gates; Sonic Youth, Silver Rocket; Opaline, A Way; Tim Easton, Carry Me; Steve Earle, NYC; Blue Rodeo, No Miracle, No Dazzle; Los Lobos, Don't Worry Baby; Ronnie Dawkins, Just Rockin' and Rollin'; Old Sweethearts, Arms of the City; Robbie Fulks, Banks of the Marianne; the Clash, Clampdown.
The 9 a.m.-noon Sunday, July 29, show was intentionally more low-keyed and subtle, both in music and my vocal approach/length of mics taken: 9 a.m. - Kraftwerk, Trans-Europe Express; Laurie Anderson, From the Air; Miles Davis, Nefertiti; Tony Bennett, East of the Sun, West of the Moon; Duke Ellington, Caravan; Velvet Underground, Sunday Morning; The Pogues, The Band Played Waltzing Matilda; Public Image Limited, The Suit; Kris Kristofferson, Help Me Make It Through the Night; Justin Rutledge, Too Sober to Sleep; Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball. 10 a.m. - Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives, Come into the House of the Lord; Alejandro Escovedo, Thirteen Years; Buddy Miller, Through the Eyes of a Broken Heart; The Church, Under the Milky Way; The Jam, That's Entertainment; Elvis Costello, Almost Blue; Linda McRae, Falling Off the Face of the World; Lyle Lovett, Road to Ensenada; Blue Rodeo, Falling Down Blue; Marianne Faithful, Ballad of Lucy Jordan; Richard Thompson, Take Care the Road You Choose; Husker Du, Never Talking to You Again; Peter Case, Walk in the Woods. 11 a.m. - Julie Miller, All My Tears; the Carter Family, When the Roses Come Again; James Hand, Shadows Where the Magic Was; Rockpile, Crying in the Rain; Sonic Youth, Karen Koltrane; Lucinda Williams, Something About What Happens When We Talk; Grant-Lee Phillips, Wave of Mutilation; Gurf Morlix, I'm Hungry and I'm Cold; Hank Williams Sr., I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry; Patti Smith, Gloria; Tim Easton, Happy Now; Los Lobos, A Matter of Time; Steve Earle, Fort Worth Blues.
I was able to do at least a decent job of picking music to take in despite the drywall demolition and installation going on at home that prevented me from finding or uncovering lots of music, as well as simply not being at home for a few days because we had to stay at a hotel and missing a day of work and not bringing music from there. I may get to play more music at WBNY this summer, and I again thank Andrew Katsinis and the station management for giving me this opportunity.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

James Hand to Play Sportsmen July 31

Texas singer, songwriter and downright damn good honky tonker James Hand will perform a private party series show at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, at the Sportsmen's Tavern, Amherst Street near Grant Street in Buffalo.
Admission will be $10, and a limited and rather small number of tickets remain for the show, which can be purchased at the bar. If you think that the weather will be extra hot this week, so will the traditional country music.
Hand, 54, released his debut CD, "The Truth Will Set You Free," on Rounder Records last year, and it is a gem. Hand has been compared to classic country singers such as Hank Williams Sr., and the man hailed as a "throwback" to classic traditional country has recorded a fantastic CD that includes great songs such as "I've Got a Lot of Hiding to Do" and "Shadows Where the Magic Was," the latter a song of heartbreak, rage and self-destruction, somehow with a slightly upbeat sound. I was happy to play both of these songs this weekend on the two shows I got to DJ as a alumnus of Buffalo State College at WBNY 91.3 FM Saturday and Sunday.
Just listen to the CD and you'll see and hear that James Hand is the real deal, and if you're somehow not convinced, people such as Lloyd Maines, Ray Benson, Darrell K. Royal and Bob Cole are also singing his praises.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Radio Across the Dial, Universe

I will return to my college radio stomping grounds, WBNY-91.3 FM at Buffalo State College, for a show from noon-3 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, July 28. I thank Andrew for his kind offer to ask me to handle the shift, which is tough to fill during the summer while some students are home from school.
As always, it will be a great time, and I am taking in a bunch of music to play and to supplement the station's library. You can listen on the Internet if you are out of town or you have a tough time picking up WBNY; just click here and follow the instructions.

Commercially Yours

First, I am incredibly annoyed by the "Duh" series of television commercials for Hyundai motor vehicles; it smacks of a major conglomerate sadly trying and failing to latch on to a more youthful catch phrase.
Also, it is interesting to see Russ Celino back at the Celino and Barnes law firm and in their television commercials. But not only does Celino look a bit haggard, he doesn't blink once during the commercial; did Steve Barnes bring back a cyborg instead of the real Russ Celino?
And wow, GMAC Trucks are using the actual recording of "Turn It On Again" by Genesis in their new ads. No doubt the members of Genesis from that period are really hurting for money.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Coin Message in a Bottle

A couple of months, ago, I wrote about Val kicking in a gallon bottle of wine she had used to store coins in for the last few years; she ended up getting six stitches in her heel and ankle from the shattered glass.
Well, we decided that as we cleaned up the house for various reasons, that one thing to do was to take the coins, which were in a plastic bag inside a much stronger fabric bag, to the coin change machine at Wegmans to cash in; unfortunately, the machine at the Wegmans on Amherst Street was out of order both times we checked that day, but the Tops Market at Amherst and Grant had a similar coin change machine, so we went there and it was working.
As we started putting the change, which seemed to weigh about as much as a regular 16-pound bowling ball, into the machine, Val said she was hoping that there was about $30-40 in the bag. She had already decided to take the amount of money in coins as an certificate/account, which would allow her to avoid paying the 8.9 cents per $1 service/handling charge.
It seems that she, um, underestimated how much her coins were worth; when all of the coins were accounted for (Canadian coins were rejected), the amount was $139.66. This was made up of more than 5,000 coins, including more than 4,000 pennies.
I don't know for sure what Val will be getting (she did ask me to give her a book suggestion for me), but I would guess that there will be some CDs and books ordered.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sorry, It's Not That Important

Drew Carey is a nice guy from what I can tell, he is a pretty good actor and host of "Whose Line Is Iy Anyway?" but it isn't a news story that he has become the new host of "The Price Is Right" game show.
I realize that news and other programs on CBS-TV will highlight this, because that is the network of "The Price Is Right," but come on, breathe and try to tell us something vaguely relevant, OK?

Good Eats, Little Sleep

Yesterday, Sunday, July 22, was Val's birthday; she isn't one to make too much of it, so I didn't mention it here while we were celebrating.
We started with dinner Saturday night at the River Grill, eating some fine seafood, and we planned to sleep in and go to breakfast. Unfortunately, a private crew decided that 9 a.m. would be a great time to dig up part of the driveway and the street next door to us to work on a drainage problem, so sleeping in was canceled; maybe more on this later.
But, after gifts and going out to breakfast, we continued Val's birthday celebration with the traditional grocery shopping, house cleaning and laundry; later, I took her to the Left Bank for a great dinner.
So, if you see Val today, make sure you wish her a slightly belated happy birthday.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Lucinda Williams at Artpark

Having photographed and reviewed the Lucinda Williams show about 3 months ago at the University of Buffalo Center for the Arts, Val and I decided that making her lug the camera around to photograph and review her Artpark show July 17 would not be fair, and that we would simply attend and enjoy the concert.
We had enjoyed her April show at UB more than any we had witnessed in about 10 years, so we were happy for that, but the Tuesday show was great, adhering to what Val and I believe is the formula for a great Lucinda Williams show: she concentrated on material from her first three official releases, her self-titled album, Sweet Old World and Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.
She ended up performing 16 songs at Artpark, 11 of them from the above-three albums. Indeed, the show started with five old songs; Williams opened with a solo, acoustic guitar and voice version of "Passionate Kisses," with her band joining her on "Pineola," "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," "Changed the Locks" and "Concrete and Barbed Wire." The songs were in a somewhat raw but not sloppy manner, and the rest of the show featured lots of her bluesier side, which Williams said was intentional because she noticed that Buffalo/Western New York was a blues region.
Another great song that night was when Williams had opener Charlie Louvin join her and the band on stage for an intense run-through of the gospel song "Gotta Get Right with God." Louvin was enjoyable as an opener, playing some real traditional simple country and gospel, but his voice is showing some strain from age, etc.
Our seating arrangements were interesting; we were more than fortunate enough to meet and sit with Giles and Jill Manias, great people and the parents of singer/guitarist Alex Lynne; we had some wonderful conversations.
Just before Williams' set started, a group of about 8 people asked if they could set up their chairs behind us; we said yes, because there was more than enough space.
One woman in the group was particularly talkative and said how excited she was to be seeing Williams in concert again, because "Lucinda really speaks to me." When several summer Artpark concerts were announced, she screamed "woooooo" for Pure Prairie League, and actually leapt into the air with fists clenched and raised when America was mentioned. She also proceeded to shout/mewl "Luuuuuciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinda" throughout the show, thankfully most often between songs.

Tiny Bubbles in Allentown

After dinner, Val and I did some work around the house getting it ready for the upcoming home improvement work scheduled; needing a break from that fun, we headed out to Sweet Tooth at Elmwood and Allen for dessert.
After we got our orders (ice cream for Val, cake for me), we sat down with our treats and copies of Artvoice and ate and talked away at a window table. I was facing the Elmwood/Allen intersection, and halfway through dessert, some shiny things caught my eye out the window.
Happily, they were soap bubbles, being provided out of a fourth-story apartment window by the man best known as The Bubble Guy; with little breeze at that time of the night, he was using a fan to blow the bubbles out the window and around the neighborhood.
The evening was almost ruined as we walked back to our car; we stood at the Elmwood/Allen intersection in front of Mike's Subs, ready to cross to the corner where the Town Restaurant stands. Traffic was flowing on Elmwood Avenue with the green light, and among the cars were three bicyclists in a group. Suddenly, a white SUV tried to sneak in off of Allen Street by turning right on red. The two closest bicyclists had to quickly brake and veer to the left to barely avoid hitting the SUV, while the third bicyclist was far enough back to brake without coming close to the SUV. The driver of the SUV drove on, coming close to the bikes again, and the first two riders yelled at him, with one swatting the back of the SUV; the driver yelled back at them.
About a half-block away, the SUV unexpectedly stopped with the third bicyclist close behind him; the bike rider barely avoided hitting the SUV, and the vehicle driver shouted at her before driving away.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hire an Actor ... Please

While this practice has gone on for years, it seems to have become an epidemic in Western New York: too many automobile dealerships are producing advertisements with their owners, managers and employees being the "talent" in them. Being this cheap doesn't seem to work.
It wouldn't be so bad of any of these people could communicate in a successful but human manner like people have for thousands of years, nor would it be so bad if they had even a tiny amount of acting or writing talent and had a clue that what they think is funny or clever is insulting and juvenile. More important, they will never get me to buy a vehicle from them.
One group of commercials that I have hated for years, and I have read that other people agree, are the Mike Ognibene Ford monstrosities. First and foremost, the "We'll see you right here" slogan has to be the most stupid, offensive and unappealing car commercial I have witnessed in these parts. Ognibene also comes across as an unconvincing, well, used car salesman, and for the love of everything that does not suck, can someone teach him that flailing his crane-like arms when he talks, causing them to go off of camera on every advertisement of his I have seen, is a waste of time, gesture and body parts?

Good Television For Kids And Adults

Val and I are really enjoying the television program "Serious Arctic," about a group of British children studying and surviving in the Arctic Circle.
The program, broadcast on Discovery Kids and produced by that network and the BBC, has minimal adult on-camera participation aside from two tour/group leaders. The boys and girls participating, apparently age 12-15, are often brutally honest in their homesickness and loneliness, as well as not being overly tolerant of those they believe to be shirking their responsibilities. Oh, and they really don't seem to like the cold very much.
The program runs from 9-9:30 p.m. Thursdays, so give it a try if you get the chance.

Gone, But Not Forgotten

I could have sworn I saw an, um, interesting post on the future candidacy of an, um, interesting person for an, um, interesting post earlier today, but I can now find no sign of it.
Am I on the slow road to dunderheadedness?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Connect the Thoughts

I kind of planned on blogging on a couple of topics, but between the Lucunda Williams show at Artpark Val and I got back from about 90 minutes ago, plus work on finally getting the financing in place and starting a bunch of major home projects soon has kind of taken my mind off of this fine blog.
But probably tomorrow, I will fill you guys in on the Lucinda Williams show, a great concert that Val and I aren't doing a full review and photos of on Buffaloroots, as well as some douchebag audience notes.
And by the way, I also wrote a nearly 1,000-word review on last month's Richard Thompson show for our web site Monday night, which should be posted in a day or so.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Did You Know, iTunes Version

Did you know that there are 356 hits when you search "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on iTunes as of 10:30 p.m. tonight, and while about 50 are from album titles, this means that there are about 300 versions of the song on iTunes, with NONE of them the version I am looking for, a live recording by Les Paul?
Indeed, there are 292 songs by Les Paul on iTunes as well, but as of yet, not his version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from the "Les Paul: Chasing Sound" documentary I wrote about a few days ago, made last year or this year.

City Living: No Condo Needed

When Val came home from work Sunday, she was tired but energetic, and when I got home from grocery shopping a few minutes later, she said she wanted to go take photographs of a few things she had planned to shoot for a while. I put the last load of laundry in the dryer, saddled up Walker Evans and off we went.
Our first stop was to be the ship tied up at the Cargill grain elevator (which was planned/hoped to be turned into a floating casino at one time); as you may know, our timing was awful, because either Saturday or early Sunday, the ship was moved. Val was pissed, and after she took a few photos of the Lackawanna windmills, we headed back to Buffalo for some other destinations.
On our way back, Val suggested we take the Tifft Street/U.S. Coast Guard base exit to take photos of another grain elevator. After going around once and up to the Coast Guard base gates, we went around and got back on the exit ramp, which went past some thick woods that may be part of the Tifft Nature Preserve. Because where we hit the ramp was a bit forward of one building, I drove in reverse to go back.
After about 50 feet of this, Val and I watched as about an eighth-mile in front of us, first one, then two, then three young dear came out of the forest and fields and came onto the roadway. They tentatively looked all around as they slowly proceeded across the road, and I put the car's gears into drive and crept toward them. While they seemed to see the car, they did not react to us; but when an 18-wheel truck drove over them on the Skyway, they all reacted. The young deer in the lead bounded once to fully cross the street, bounded once again away from us and then with two more mighty bounds, made it back across the street and into the fields; he or she was closely followed by the other two, who combined bounding with scrambling.
We continued to slowly drive up to the point we saw the deer go back into the woods/fields; I wondered out loud if the mother deer was nearby. As we came up to a tree, we saw an opening and, all of a sudden, there was the mother deer, staring at us for a few seconds before she turned around and walked into the heavier tree growth. For the next few minutes, we slowly drove the car to the end of the forested area, and then in reverse we drove back, first seeing two and then all three young deer for a moment, then all three moving back and to our right. We went back a bit further, and through a tunnel-like opening of trampled high grass, the mother deer was there, and we stopped so Val could get some better photos.
All this time, Walker Evans was in a very excited state, but except for one or two whines, he was silent save for his copious sniffing; it was obvious that Walker Evans smelled the deer, and you could also tell that the mother deer smelled Walker Evans, too, and she did not take her eyes off of us for minutes on end.
Eventually, with the time nearing 8 p.m. and neither Val nor I having eaten dinner, and the deer and her offspring seeming to get bored with us, we left to take one more series of photos, of the demolition and construction across from City Hall near the Elmwood/Niagara intersection. This went off without as much excitement.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Music, Art and Optometry

I went for an eye examination and got new glasses a few weeks ago (more on this soon), and I got another reminder that there aren't even six steps of separation between most of us in Buffalo/Western New York.
After some tests and talking with some staff, the optometrist, a doctor I'll refer to by his first name, Bert, as he asked me to call him, came in to continue the exam. After he asked me about my book "Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-1945," a fantastic book by Max Hastings about the end of the Third Reich, we spoke about national politics a bit when he found out I work in government, and then asked about my hobbies or previous vocations. When I mentioned this blog and our related Buffaloroots web site, as well as my previous journalism career, he asked about what I had most recently been writing. I told him that we had been writing about Mark Freeland and the events and effects of his recent death. Bert said he didn't know that Mark had died and asked me if I knew Rob Lynch.
I immediately smiled and replied that yes, Val and I knew Rob well from his musical and artistic endeavors. Rob had played drums with Mark quite a bit over the last few years and Val and Rob teach photography and painting, respectively, at the Buffalo Arts Studio, where both are resident artists and Val is a member of the board of directors.
Bert said that he knew Rob and has bought several of his paintings, and asked me if we had ever attended any of Rob's Christmas/holiday parties. He added that he was at Rob's Christmas 2005 party and had not only encountered Mark, but listened to him play some Alvin Lee songs on guitar; being a fan of Lee, Bert said he asked Mark if he could borrow his guitar and played another Lee song.
Before I left, he was kind enough to link our web site to his MySpace site.

It's May Be One of Those Nights

If Walker Evans, our loving and protective pup/canine companion, has a fault, it is that he is deathly afraid of thunder (and sometimes lightning), and barks loudly and repeatedly at it when it blasts while running through the house, particularly downstairs, from front to back, apparently believing that he is protecting Val and I from something.
While the thunder has already passed us by for about 10 minutes, he is still barking and groaning at it, and I had to grab him by the collar as he ran by and pet/rub his shoulders and neck to calm him down a bit. Actually, he has been quiet for about 5-10 minutes, and we're hoping that the thunder has ended for the night and that Walker Evans can stay calm and not get into that overexcited, chest heaving panting that keeps us all awake.
I'm curious as to how many of you readers have this trouble with your dog or other pets.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Great Television

Val and I just watched "Les Paul: Chasing Sound," a great documentary on the life of still-performing guitarist and musical/studio recording innovator Les Paul, who is age 92 and won two Grammy Awards in 2006, on Channel 17, WNED-TV.
The man who lent his name to possibly the greatest electric guitar, the Gibson Les Paul (along with the Fender Telecaster), and successfully introduced multi-tracking to the recording studio, Les Paul is best known for a long string of major hits with singer Mary Ford (his former wife) in the 1950s just before rock and roll took over the charts, including classics such as "Vaya Con Dios."
One great scene ended the film: he was first shown at his sister's 100th birthday party in 1988, and started playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for her; this segued to Paul playing a beautiful, mournful version of the song at a New York club in either 2006 or 2007, ending in a standing ovation.
Here's to many more years of Les Paul.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Some People Have to Be Healthy

While taking Walker Evans on his walk through the neighborhood Friday, I went down Lexington Avenue toward Elmwood Avenue from Norwood Avenue and ran into Mark and Jill Wisz from Where to Roam Clothing and many other arts, music and writing situations.
As we spoke about the similar home repair projects we will be performing at our respective houses this summer, I noticed that Mark has lost a lot of weight and is looking in pretty decent physical shape. Mark said he is both eating healthy and working out/exercising.
It seems some of us want to live longer and better; good.

And "Colon Blow" Was a Joke

I saw a television commercial at about 7:56 p.m. today, Monday, July 9, that I loudly laughed at while shaking my head in amazement.
The television commercial, broadcast during "Jeopardy," was for "Super Colon Cleanse," and a blandly smiling Stepford Wife-style woman declares that the product makes her "feel clean from the inside out."

Sunday, July 08, 2007

12 Girls Band, One Gag Reflex

I've been subjected to the television commercial for the new CD by the 12 Girls Band, "Shanghai," way too frequently in the past week or so.
This 12-piece (naturally) band from China (apparently the People's Republic) plays a treacly new agey adult schmaltz contemporary style of music, both traditional Chinese songs and such stellar popular songs as "My Heart Will Go On" from "The Titanic" soundtrack. This is the type of music that people who like Enya but think she rocks too hard would enjoy; perfect for opening that next Celine Dion tour.
Because the video for the commercial shows the band members all but sitting or standing perfectly still while they play, the fact that a live DVD "Live in Shanghai" is also offered in the commercial is particularly amusing.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Don't Play It Again, Sam

While Val nd I were eating dinner at Zetti's (see entry below), we noticed that the radio station playing was the dreaded 102.5 FM, whatever zany name the station now has.
Like many radio stations nowadays, they have an "Eighties at 8" feature in which they play music from the 1980s for a half-hour or hour. Val and I were subjected to the leadoff song, "Take Me Home Tonight" by Eddie Money with Ronnie Spector, followed by "Brass in Pocket" by the Pretenders, then a song that makes me question the existence of a benevolent supreme being, "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor, followed by another piece of aural cow dung, "Mad About You" by Belinda Carlisle.
I actually like "Brass in Pocket" by the Pretenders, but the song was released in the late 1970s. Otherwise, this was one of the worst 1980s musical sets I have ever heard.

Get Me to the UPS Drop Box On Time

Val and I are obtaining a home equity loan to do some major work around the house (complete roof tear off and replacement, drywall, painting, ceiling fan), and to complete our loan process, we had to fill out documents, get them signed by a notary public and return them in the UPS Overnight mailer our lender provided July 5.
With Val's mother, Janice, a notary public, we had everything worked out; after we filled out the forms in her presence and Janice validated them, we would stop at the (apparent) nearest UPS Store to Janice's Amherst residence, at 3842 Harlem Road in Cheektowaga, to make sure everything was in order and ready to be sent.
So, when we got there at about 7:15 p.m., we discovered that this UPS Store closed at 7 p.m.; as panic started to set in (the papers were dated and had to be sent out July 5), we decided to stop at the nearby home of Val's sister and brother-in-law, Tricia and Brad Dossinger (as well as their son, Jack), to see if we could borrow either their computer/Internet access or telephone.
Of course, they were eating dinner when we got there, but they immediately understood our problem and Brad called the UPS 1-800 number. After several humorous and stilted statements to an automated system, Brad wrote down the address of the five nearest UPS drop boxes, with one, at 3906 Harlem Road, between the UPS store and the Dossinger Estates. We profusely thanked Brad, Tricia and Jack, drove out to the box and dropped off our package.
Since we hadn't eaten dinner yet, Val suggested we stop at Zetti's in the University Plaza, which I happily agreed to; when we pulled in the plaza and parked, we saw that next door to Zettis' was an ... open UPS Store. We laughed, we cried, we swore and we all but dashed to Zetti's to get our pizza.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

You Can Quote Me on That

During some of my political volunteering two weeks ago, when I returned to the HQ building to turn in my sheets, I was handed a small survey to fill out by Liz Burakowski.
When I handed mine in a minute later, she looked at my name om top, smiled and joked, "Hey, you're the guy who is making me and my friends say 'yambag' all the time." She picked up the word from my usage of it during live hockey threads on Bfloblog; Liz and her friends, many of them season ticket holders, check out Bfloblog during home and away games, but don't contribute yet because they are text messaging each other during games.
I chuckled and told her that I couldn't take credit for starting the use of yambag, even on Bfloblog, because Chris, known to most as BuffaloGeek, introduced many of us to the fine word/phrase (is it one word or two?).

Meanwhile, I Was Still Thinking

It's been more than 48 hours since the main two shoes dropped as unrestricted free agents and (now former) Buffalo Sabres co-captains Daniel Briere and Chris Drury signed with the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers, respectively, and I am still mulling things over, even after Dainius Zubrus signed a six-year deal with the New Jersey Devils today.
There is no one or two villains or reasons in these cases, but many, including smaller-revenue NHL cities like Buffalo, team ownership and management, the players and agents themselves, and sadly, us fans in part for sometimes falling for the oldest tricks in the book and rooting for something beyond obedience to the almighty dollar.
But man, I hope we don't hear of any more defections from Buffalo, and that restricted free agent forward Thomas Vanek is signed soon, followed by maybe a tough defenseman and/or forward or two.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Sabres (Death?) Rattling

Sabres' fans are trying to figure out all of the ramifications of co-captains Chris Drury and Daniel Briere being lost during the first day of National Hockey League free agency yesterday; Drury to the New York Rangers, Briere to the Philadelphia Flyers.
If nothing else, this should certainly leave the Sabres enough money to sign restricted free agent forward Thomas Vanek, and as usual, for the best news and commentary on the Sabres during free agency and otherwise, check out Kevin and Mark at Buffalo Blog.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

It Isn't Easy, Or Busy, Being Green

I realize that this is the first full week the Open Air Sightseeing Autobus has been taking people on tours of Buffalo (and apparently some of the suburbs), but it was both interesting and disappointing when one drove by Walker Evans and I when we were out on our walk today.
We were walking on West Utica Street coming up from Elmwood and just a house from the Norwood Avenue intersection when the green, mainly roofless bus, drove by on Norwood Avenue. Sadly, there were only about 3-5 passengers on the bus; I expected a lot more people to be taking advantage to this incredibly nice day (sunny, decent temperature, low humidity).
I couldn't find a web site or way to contact the bus line, so either I was lame or maybe an easier way to find more information on this great idea would help.