Thursday, August 30, 2007

Go to Bed, Kevin

After getting home between 8:30-9 p.m. from visiting my mother Sheila at rehab, I called my sister Heather to talk about some of Mom's care, ate dinner, talked to Val a few minutes and, of course, dozed off on the couch a couple of times before feeding Walker Evans, then dozed off again and woke up at about midnight.
As I went to bed, I looked out the front door and saw an all-white truck in front of the house, which looked like it was covered in something. "Oh, my gosh, did it snow? Do I have to shovel tomorrow morning?" I thought, until I realized A)It was the white truck of our next-door neighbor, musician Jim Whitford, and B)It is August 30.
Man, do I need sleep.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thanks for Some Nice Words

Val and I are very appreciative and flattered by the kind words recently posted to Take Country Back, a blog out of British Columbia, Canada, which enjoys and covers many of the musical artists we cover here and at our sister web site, Buffalo Roots.
Take Country Back supports country and roots rock music and musicians which/who stay true to their, well, more traditional roots and don't try to go for the easy sale/kill. When I remember how to add links to our blog list, I will definitely add Take Country Back, so check them out.

Whoa, Slow Down, Please

Man, some things in the Buffalo Prefecture of the Blogosphere are happening at a fast clip, too fast or serious if you ask me.
First, lend LC Scotty and his wife Kelly some love and caring; Scotty recently wrote about a major development to a major development in their lives over at Brisket for Chucklehead. Scotty and Kelly are two of the nicest, warmest and most sincere people we have met around here in years.
Second, it appears that Jaquandor/Kelly is putting Byzantium's Shores on hiatus for an undetermined period of time. Kelly also qualifies as one of the most genuine and decent persons Val and I have met, particularly in the Blogosphere, and hope that he returns in good shape soon.
There are apparently some changes coming to at least some of the blogs over at WNYMedia, after days of getting internal errors when I tried to access them, including Buffalo Pundit. Let's see what's brewing over there.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rex Hobart at The Sportsmen August 27

Rex Hobart will be joined by most, and hopefully all, of his Buffalo band, The Wrecks, for a 7 p.m. Monday, August 27, night of great honky tonk and hard country music at the Sportsmen's Tavern, 326 Amherst Street near Grant Street in Buffalo.
Bassist and steel guitarist extraordinaire Jim Whitford, one of The Wrecks, will be speeding down the QEW from Toronto as his flight from the United Kingdom, where he toured on steel guitar with Loomer, gets in to Pearson Airport some time Monday. Let's see if he and his wife Lynn can make it back and across the border before the show ends and not make this a repeat of the Linda McRae incident from a couple of years ago.

All Apologies

While no one has questioned the reasons, and indeed, several people have been very kind about it, I do apologize to those people and entities to whom I had to break engagements and become a bit reclusive for the past several days as I handle my mother Sheila's (successful) surgery and start of recovery. Oh, and the feeding of Mom's cat, Molly.
I took a couple of days off of work to help while my sister Heather performed incredibly, coming to town a bit early to help my mother prepare for her hip replacement surgery and do some insurance and medical items; she returned home to Wayne County yesterday.
I am particularly pissed at having to miss the August 25 CD release show at Mohawk Place for Roger Bryan's new Harvest Sum Recordings' CD, "The Engine Hum." Bryan, who is best known for leading The Old Sweethearts (also on Harvest Sum), has, along with co-producer Matt Smith (ex-Real McCoys, Headhunters), created a masterpiece of Americana, pop, country rock,, folk and rock. Val and I wish we could have been there, and we will continue to enjoy the CD.
I am also unhappy I was unable to attend the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts, the first one I have missed, especially the Mark Freeland Tribute, which Val so nicely photographed and wrote about below.
Hopefully, things will get a bit closer to normal soon.

Mark Freeland Tribute at Elmwood Art Fest

Ed Koban
Paul Painkiller
David Kane and Bud Redding

I'm guesting on the blog tonight- I'll mirror this on my sister blog, Creativebflo.
Today, I spent a great afternoon at the Elmwood Festival of the Arts, culminating at the Mark Freeland Tribute. It was a fantastic time.
It included a lot of different tributes. Char read something she had written about her friend. Zilla recalled a story about how Mark truly loved everyone (and made him appreciate Paris Hilton, a great feat in Zilla's eyes).
Now, because I depend on the writer in the family (Kevin, of course - he couldn't be there, his Mom is recovering from surgery) to take notes, I am not sure what the Painkillers Freeland cover song was, but, as usual, it was VERY energetic. Paul did a heartfelt job of describing his respect for Mark.
Then, there was a very creative performance by David Kane and Bud Redding, doing renditions of songs that Mark and David did with their cover band, The Erectronics. They were joined by some talented dancers (again, missing the writer...), who I was sure Mark would really have appreciated.
The afternoon's event was closed as it started - a flute performance by Ed Koban, a friend of Mark whose Native American music inspired him.
A good day was had by all. Here's hoping this is just a taste of the upcoming event on September 15th. A Mark Freeland party is being thrown at The Towne Ballroom, featuring some of the bands from today, as well as old favorites like Paper Faces, The Enemies and The Fems.

Friday, August 24, 2007

He's Playing My Song

As I went to pay for parking as I left from my first of two visits to my mother at Sisters' Hospital yesterday, I heard familiar music coming from the attendant's booth; I was impressed because the attendant looked like a 20-22-year old athletic male Canisius College/other college student.
"A big Tom Waits fan, huh?" I asked. His expression went from slightly bored to a wide smile."Yes, you bet. My roommates can't stand his voice, but I just tell them that they're crazy," he replied. "It just shows you what kind of roommates you can get," I responded.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Send Some Love His Way

Jaquandor, the talented author of Byzantium's Shores, one of Buffalo's best blogs and one of the nicest persons you'll ever meet, is feeling a bit down with some justification. Please send Kelly and his family all of the love and good thoughts/feelings that you can.

Mom's First Hurdle Overcome

Val and I recently got back home from Sisters' Hospital; my mother, Sheila, came through her surgery today with flying colors.
My sister, Heather (Keenan) came from Walworth (Wayne County) yesterday and is going back home tomorrow, and did a great deal of work and help with our mom. The last time my mother was a patient there was for her cancer surgery about 10 years ago, and she is doing extremely well and comfortably resting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WBNY Back After Being Hit by Vandals

Fortunately, WBNY 91.3 FM, the student-run and influential radio station at Buffalo State College, is back on the air after being taken off of the airwaves following vandals causing damage to the station in early August.
The damage was more cosmetic than operational, and WBNY sounds like it is back to its regular summer broadcast schedule, and will soon return to a full schedule when the new semester starts. As an alumni, I was fortunate to be one of those people filling in the blanks with occasional air shifts this sumer, and am grateful to have been asked.
It is bad enough that this vandalism occurred at the station I was on the air at in 1984 and 1985, and hold some very cherished memories over and have made some very good friends at, but the timing could probably not be worse, with WBNY celebrating its 25th anniversary this fall. I will be taking part as an on-air DJ, panelist and simple enjoyer of concerts, events and the company of good friends I mostly do not get to see often enough. It takes more than the senseless actions of a few douchebags to stop the radio station.
When the full celebration schedule has been determined, I will print it here.

Bill Kirchen Returns to Sportsmen Oct. 21

Legendary twangy guitar slinger Bill Kirchen returns to the Sportsmen's Tavern, Amherst Street near Grant Street in Buffalo, for two events Sunday, October 21.
Kirchen will conduct a guitar clinic at 5 p.m. at Sessions Studio, located next door to the Sportmen's Tavern, at 5 p.m., followed by his show at 7 p.m., in which he will be joined by drummer Jack O'Dell. The show, part of the Sportsmen's private party series, and the guitar clinic each have admission costs of $15. People should contact Charlie O'Neill at 824-0798 for more information on the guitar clinic.
Having caught Bill Kirchen live in the past (the first time at the wedding of musicians David Meinzer and Cathy Carfagna at the Market Arcade), I can tell you without a doubt that the cost for either event is more than worth it. Tickets will be available at the Sportsmen's Tavern soon, as usual.

Monday, August 20, 2007

And the Beer Probably Still Sucks, Too

The newest version of the Coors Lite line of commercials, in which a former NFL coach hosts a press conference featuring a bunch of apparently half-drunk slobs asking leading questions in favor of Coors Lite "beer," starring Dennis Green, continues the advertisement series' tradition of being unfunny and somewhat intelligence insulting.
More people than supporting evidence can legitimately back feel these commercials are humorous and poke fun at press conferences; in fact, they are desperately redundant, humorless and sadly may get more unsuspecting people to drink this swill (if it tastes anywhere near as bad as it did while I was still drinking).
Also, fans of these commercials and outside observers thought that using Green, a volatile interview and possibly the most overrated and underperforming head football coach in the last 20-30 years, would add a spark; wrong.
Gee, just about 5-6 months more of this.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Concert Conflict

Sometimes, you wait a long time for a really good concert from one of your favorite bands to come to town; of course, next month, two great shows will occur on the same night.
On Wednesday, September 26, Americana/roots rock legendary guitarist, band leader, producer and singer/songwriter Gurf Morlix, who grew up in Hamburg and Buffalo and performed in a band with Jim Whitford (Pine Dogs, Rex Hobart and the Wrecks) before departing for Austin and later hooking up with the likes of Lucinda Williams, Slaid Cleaves and Ray Wylie Hubbard, will perform in a private party showcase show at 7:30 p.m. at the Sportsmen's Tavern, Amherst Street near Grant Street, Buffalo, for $10.
That same night, Southern Culture on the Skids will bring their brand of trashy, raunchy roots rock, blues rock and twangy rock to Mohawk Place, 37 East Mohawk Street in Buffalo. Southern Culture on the Skids' shows may be some of the greasiest, sleaziest musical fun you can legally have at a concert.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Good Food, Good People...And Democrats

Val and I joined hundreds of people, many of them friends, colleagues and fellow travelers, at the annual Sam Hoyt clambake at the West Side Rowing Club.
We got to talk with lots of people we have worked with on political issues, causes and campaigns, and as always the food was good and the cross section of people was, just like Hoyt's backers over the years as he has served the West Side of Buffalo in the New York State Assembly, diverse, progressive and fun.
We were also not the only members of the Buffalo Prefecture of the Blogosphere present, as Alan Bedenko, the Democratic candidate for the 4th District of the Erie County Legislature and our award-winning friend as Buffalo Pundit, and Chris, also know as Buffalo Girl, were at the clambake.

Congratulations, Erin and Rand

It looks like our friend and blog colleague Erin at Erin-Go-Blog is about to embark on one of life's great journeys as she and her boyfriend Rand are now engaged. Val and I send our most heartfelt congratulations.
Erin and I worked together for a short time in the newspaper world, and it was interesting when I saw her at one of the early Bloggercons a couple of years ago when she noted how much happier I appeared. I told her she was right and that it was all from being married to Val.
While Erin is a much happier and pleasant person than I was for for a while, I have a good feeling she and Rand will be even happier now, and deserve it.

In the Home Stretch

While there is still some work to be done, we are finally at least seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on our major home renovation work Summer 2007 Tour.
The drywall, electric and lamp project is almost done and the roof tear off and replacement has proceeded at a very brisk pace. Happily, the completion of the work should mean me getting back to a more regular blogging schedule.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Yep, It's a Bat

When Val got home from work at about 6 tonight, I told her of my repeated, unsuccessful searches for a bat or anything on the media room, and added I was going to check again; she said to wait for her to join me.
We looked around and Val, with the bat experience mentioned in the previous post, noted that bats like to hang when they sleep (mostly during daylight) from vertical hanging items. As I looked at my (horizontal) closet clothes bar, she repeated "vertical" a bit louder. Of course, this meant that the bat, if there was one, could be hanging from one of my many shirts, pants, sweaters or sweatshirts; I doubted it was on one of my ties.
Besides the myriad of clothes on the bar (my clothes are kept in the media room, Val's in the bedroom), there were four shirts hanging from a small clothes hook on the closet door. I took the first two off and found nothing, but on the back of the third shirt (a dark blue Geoffrey Beane long-sleeve dress shirt), there was a small, gray and brown bat sleeping. We took the shirt off the hook, folded it, put a towel over it and I took it onto the front porch.
From there, the bat looked and acted exasperated, as if we had woken him from a good dream, and crawled under the shirt and towel and went back to sleep. When I checked at about 8:30 p.m., the bat appeared to have flown away.

At Bat, Or Are We?

Late last night/early this morning, just before I went to bed, I was on the computer in the media room next to our bedroom upstairs
In the room unlit except for the computer screen (I hate wasting electricity), I noticed something fluttering or flying above me and to the left, toward the door. When I took a closer look, I first thought that it as a large moth, which many of us get in our houses during the summer. But a closer look, as it flew around the ceiling and back toward the door, made me think it was either a bird (we get them on occasion) or a bat.
Several years ago, on one summer night, Val, after coming back from a few days up in Ontario, went upstairs to go to bed, and heard fluttering after she had pulled the sheets up. She saw the bat (easily recognizing it after seeing them every night on the island of Jim Whitford and Lynn O'Meara in northern Ontario). She opened a window, closed the door, slept downstairs for the night and the bat eventually left.
This time, the window in the media room is much more difficult to open, especially in the dark and when one is tired, so I just closed the door and in the morning, checked in; I could find no sign of a bat, bird or anything, so I opened the window and closed the door. I have checked a few times since then, and still no sign of a bat or anything, so maybe my half-asleep state just saw a moth and incorrectly registered it as a bat. Or the bat found a way out of the room.

Bourne Ultimatum: Good, Good Movie

Val and I had a great time at the Transit Drive-In earlier tonight, watching "The Bourne Ultimatum," which was a really good movie, excellent action movie and absolutley great drive-in movie. It gets two thumbs-up from us.
I also had a good time in general in the atmosphere and events involved with being at a drive-in movie, but it was Val who was smiling ear-to-ear all night and had a great time, which was quite fun for me to watch.
I would have posted some live stuff from the movie, but the WiFi I used for the first message apparently went down for part of the night. It was pretty cool to turn on the in-house drive-in theater radio (obviously a syndicated station); the first song we heard was Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen's "Hot Rod Lincoln."
Another interesting point was made when just before the previews were shown, a 1-2-minute clip showed several closed drive-in theaters and then noted that the number of open drive-in theaters in the U.S. has fallen from a high of more than 4,000 to just over 400 now; pretty sad.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hanging Out at the Drive-In

Yep, as I write this, Val and I are awaiting, in less than an hour, the showing of "The Bourne Ultimatum" at the Transit Drive-In on Transit Road in Lockport, in row 3.
Val is not only a movie fanatic, she absolutely loves drive-ins, going back to Elgin, Illinois, and of course continued when she moved here to Buffalo/Western New York. I am OK with movies, but not as big a fan as Val, and this is actually the first time we have been to the drive-in together; I do have a lot of drive-in movie experience as a child and adolescent.
We were talking about it, and Val and I propose that before the weather worsens and summer is over that the Buffalo Prefecture of the Blogosphere should hold one of our get-togethers as a night at the drive-in. Please let us know what you think and when is the best weekend for this.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Thank You, Sabres Fans

Mark August 9 at the date; today, we had this season's first blog search hit for the term "Pizza Hut Family Night Buffalo Sabres."
Seriously, while I am a major Buffalo Bills' fan, I am more stoked over the Sabres starting summer camp for the new season, although after tomorrow's first preseason football game for the Bills against New Orleans, we'll see where I stand.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Great Night of Music

Val and I just got back from a zydeco night at Artpark, featuring Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas and CJ Chenier and His Red Hot Louisiana Band.
Both acts were in fine form, with Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, the openers, taking a more traditional approach to zydeco, while CJ Chenier and His Red Hot Louisiana Band added bits of blues, soul and rock and roll without losing the zydeco feel. Chenier is also a mother of an accordion player, while Nathan Williams is one hell of a frontman, spending lots of time playing his accordion among the dancers.

Where, Oh Where, Has Our Prego Gone?

Our good friend, around-the-block neighbor, entertaining blogger and hockey fanatic Prego has been missing in action recently, but possibly with good reason.
Mrs. Prego is expecting the couple's third child, and if I remember correct, she is due in late summer/early fall, so Val and I hope that everything is going OK in their household. Prego's last post, dated June 28, is quite humorous and on-topic, so check his blog out if you already haven't.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane, With Steel Guitar

Our neighbor, musician and Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductee Jim Whitford, will be leaving tomorrow to tour with the excellent Canadian roots/country rock band Loomer as they tour the United Kingdom.
Whitford, best know for his time playing guitar, singing and writing songs for the Pine Dogs, played steel guitar on Loomer's fantastic Songs of the Wild West Island CD, released in 2006, and has played live with the band. Loomer is made up of several former members of the Saddletramps, who the Pine Dogs played with here and in Canada.
Loomer and Whitford's United Kingdom itinerary will be:
Aug 10 - Glenrothes (Fife) - Rothes Hall
Aug 11 - Belladrum Festival (Inverness)
Aug 12 - Edinburgh - The Village
Aug 14 - Carlisle - The Brickyard
Aug 15 - Leicester - The Musician
Aug 16 - Nottingham - The Maze
Aug 18 - Beford - Ents Shed
Aug 21 - London - The Windmill (Brixton)
Aug 23 - Southampton - Talking Heads
Aug 24 - Brighton - Anchor Inn
Aug 25 - Bristol - The Prom
For more information, you can visit the band's website at, and when Loomer returns to Buffalo, you will read about it here.

Jabba the Blooz Guitar Player

While watching "The Closer" on TNT tonight, I just watched a commercial for the Bryan Adams/George Thorogood and the Destroyers concert August 11 at Darien Lake.
When the hell did George Thorogood get so damn fat? I realize he is rather close to washed up and his music and guitar playing are rather redundant, but man, Thorogood is way past overly jowly.
Oh, and according to the commercial, Bryan Adams has "come to rock." Man, I haven't had this good a laugh in months.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Recycled Music Can Be Fun ... Again

While searching for music in one of our storage rooms a few weeks ago, I found a few cassettes I had made for my Eight-Year Sentence that were returned to me when things ended years ago.
Since I have an AM/FM cassette player in my car (nope, no CD player in my 1999 Chevy Cavalier), I grabbed a couple and put them in my car; the first two have albums/CDs on each side of them, one of them Public Image Limited and Depeche Mode.
The second cassette, my favorite of the new stash so far, has U2's "War" on one side snd "The Head on the Door" by the Cure on the other side. I have been a major U2 fan, particularly of the band's first three CDs, since their debut "Boy" came out, but while I have enjoyed individual songs by the Cure, worked stage security at an excellent live show of the band at Buffalo State College in November 1984 and played a lot of the Cure's music on WBNY, I hadn't obtained more than one album for years.
When I put "The Head on the Door" cassette in my car radio, I was taken back by how good the album sounded as a unit as well as how good the individual songs are. The quality of the music should easily blot out the origin of the cassette.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Who's Visiting Us Here

I frequently check our statistics for people visiting this blog, but I missed about a month to 6 weeks recently and started checking again about a week or so ago.
One area that always interests me is what search word or term people use to reach us; in the past 10 days, the top referrals have been Mark Freeland, Mike Ognibene, Vancouver Canucks jerseys (yes, more than Buffalo Sabres jerseys), Nullstadt and, making a come back, Daniel Briere shirtless.
Please don't ask me to make too much sense out of all of this yet.

Off-Leash Dog Park On Target

Val and I took Walker Evans to the Off-Leash Dog Park at Lasalle Park today, and we all had a great time at what I believe is a very intelligent and positive project.
There were 5-6 dogs and their owners at the park when we got there at about 2:45 p.m., and about 10 dogs and their owners were in and out during the 90 minutes we were there. All of the dogs seemed to have their energy and frolic levels up when they first got there, but slowed down as the heat took effect. All of the dogs were thirsty, and all of us owners brought water for our dogs and to share, which is a good thing, because Walker sampled water from every other dog's dish as well as drank his own. Somebody peed an awful lot later, both at the park and in our backyard.
The canine highlight of today was a miniature Doberman Pinscher named Valentino, who had the energy of 5 dogs and had a running style that was part greyhound, part gazelle, part deer and part long jumper. He also spent most of his "rest" time standing on his back two legs near the bleachers.
While we take Walker to both Squaw Island and Delaware Park as frequently as possible, he is known as a runner, so even at the Rumsey woods area in Delaware Park where many people let their dogs off of their leashes, we keep Walker on his, so this new development gets serious tail wagging from him.
Dogs need socializing both with other dogs and people, and are considered pack animals, so an off-leash park where they can romp and frolic with each other gets our thank you, and we also thank all of the private/citizen advocates, elected officials and municipal workers who helped make this a reality.

Friday, August 03, 2007

It's Unanimous ... Almost

While my hair has been razor-wire short for 10-15 years, and pretty short for about 20 years, I recently started shaving it right to the skull with my electric razor and, for the first time Thursday, with razor and shaving cream.
I hadn't been to my mother Sheila's house in a bit, so I was curious what her response would be when she saw the new cut; mom did not like it when I first started nearly shaving my head (shearing, as Val likes to say), and she never stopped telling me this or how much better it would be if I grew it longer. I think she was disappointed when she found out Val liked my hair; by the way, Val REALLY likes my freshly shaven head.
We visited my mother yesterday as a late birthday shindig for Val and to make sure my mother, age 77 and very active, went into an air-conditioned restaurant for dinner (she and her cat, Molly, have fans at homes, like us); as always, mom had baked a wonderful chocolate cake for dessert.
As soon as we sat down at our table and ordered our beverages, my mother looked at me, and said in a low, solemn voice, "I really don't like your hair that short. Couldn't you just let it grow a little longer like before, and have some stubble?" She smiled and shook her head when she heard how much Val and I like my head completely shaved; at least mom likes my new glasses.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Summertime, and the Living Is...Slow

Between the nasty heat and humidity and the drywall/electric/ceiling fan and light job curently under way at our house, I have fallen behind in blogging and responding to readers.
Hopefully soon, if I can find a tad of energy besides at 6:45 a.m., I will get to that and other items, including this project and our stay at a downtown hotel for a few days while things got real dirty here. Also, it appears my favorite car dealer's commercials may at least temporarily come to an end soon.