Sunday, September 30, 2007

Stocking Up for Halloween

It's that time if year, wirth October starting tomorrow (MondaY), for Vl and I to start buying enough candy to handle the hordes we get a thte Dunne-Hosey Estates here in teh Elmwood Villaghe for Halloween.
I started buying our Halloween candy while shopping at Wegmans three weeks ago; we got 62.5 ounces the first week, 77.9 ounces the second week and 68.75 ounces this week, all in the "Fun Size" bags of varying weights. In other words, we have bought 209.15 ounces of candy so far, or a bit more than 13 pounds of it.
When I started buying the candy, the female cashier laughed at first, but her jaw dropped when I told her that we handed out more than 16 pounds of candy last year, and had to stop when we had only three pieces left. "I'm a country girl and this is my first Halloween in the city; we used to get 3-5 trick-or-treaters each year," she said.
I think we have a few more bags of candy to buy, and yes, we do buy the good stuff, only candy we would eat ourselves, except we always buy one kind-of-big bag of cheaper/unchocolate candy for obnoxious and/or rude trick-or-treaters or those who appear to be ready to shave their faces, legs, etc.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I Want My Alpha-Bits

For some reason, I have not been able to find or buy one of my favorite cereals, Post Alpha-Bits, recently at either Wegmans or Tops Markets.
I tried to buy some a week or so ago while I was getting over the flu, because cereal was one of the very few solid foods I could keep down, and I figured it would be a good idea to complement the Rice Krispies I was able to eat with another relatively uncomplicated cereal. But I could not find it then or any other time I went grocery shopping for either myself or my mother Sheila (whose recovery and rehab from hip replacement surgery is going very well, thank you).
Has anyone heard anything about the production of Post Alpha-Bits, even if it is bad news such as reduced or suspended production, and does anyone know where I can buy Alpha-Bits (plain, not the ghastly marshmallow variety)? I would be grateful to hear anything on this vital topic.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Prego Returns, Does Not Tell All

It is good to see Prego back and blogging some, but there is still no official update yet on Mrs. Prego and whether or not she has given birth to their third child and if it is a girl (would be their first) or boy (would be their third).
On the other hand, to quote Mike Oliver from Go, Dog! Go, "I've got a secret/but I'm not telling you."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Fine Gurf Morlix Show

Gurf Morlix performed what may be his best Buffalo show at the Sportsmen's Tavern on Amherst Street in Buffalo last night (Wednesday); delighting a sold-out audience with two dirty, hard scrabble sets of roots rock and Texas music.
Yes, this means I now have two shows to write up reviews for our web site Buffalo Roots, Gurf Morlix and the Ani DiFranco show; fortunately, Val seems to have the memory and software concerns under control now and my health is finally back to 100 percent, so expect those soon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Get That Iodine Away From Me

After about 20 years of keeping my hair about 1/4-1/2 inch long, I started shaving my head several months ago; I really like it, Val really likes it and it has worked out fine so far.
I started by using my electric razor, but switched to razor blades and shaving cream (actually Edge gel) two months ago; ideally, it is faster and closer.
Of course, theoretically, it can be more dangerous, and for some reason, the last 2-3 times I have shaved my head I have gotten worse cuts and nicks than ever before. I just finished about 5 minutes ago, and there was actual blood flowing from a cut behind my ear, over the ear lobe, across my cheek and lower chin. I looked like a 1980s hockey fight participant, and I know the back of my head looks even worse, because it certainly feels worse.
Maybe it's time to actually buy some GOOD blades that don't come in packs or plastic.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Whence the Apple Dumpling?

Val and I were disappointed and disturbed when we went to the Apple Dumpling restaurant on Elmwood Avenue in Kenmore for breakfast Saturday; while the outside sign was still there, the doors were locked, the shades were gone, the walls were bare inside and all of the condiments, etc., normally on the tables were packed up.
What the heck happened? Val and I have eaten breakfast there since we started dating more than seven years ago, and Val actually had been going there for a while before we stared dating. Sharon, the owner and cook, is a great woman, crusty outside with the heart of gold that would be cliched if it wasn't true inside.
If anyone knows what happened to the Apple Dumpling and/or Sharon, please let us know; we're hoping our Kenmore correspondent Becky has some information. The last time we tried to eat there was Labor Day weekend, and we figured it was closed for the holiday.

Gurf Morlix at the Sportsmen September 26

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and former Western New Yorker Gurf Morlix, a modest but well-qualified Americana/roots rock/ legend/genius, will perform two sets starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 26, at the Sportsmen's Tavern, 326 Amherst Street near Grant Street, Buffalo.
I have been fortunate enough to catch Gurf live many times in Buffalo as well as a couple of times in Austin, in set ups from solo acoustic to duets to electric as a sideman and with his own full band (and this doesn't even count the many times I've seen and heard him play with Lucinda Williams), and he has always put on a fine, twangy show with lots of feeling and some humor.
Cost for this show is an amazingly low $10, and Val and I will see you there; as always, Dwane, Ken and the Sportsmen's crew deserve a serious thank you for this show, which is part of the Private Party Series, with tickets available at the bar.

Time After Time

I thought I would be feeling back to normal and have caught up with a lot of my posting here, but the flu I have fought for about a week has stalled after I was feeling about 90-95 percent better.
While I haven't puked in a while, I am having fevers and chills that I told Val and my sister Heather seemed kind of like mini-hot flashes; Heather was nice enough to tell me about a cable news story a co-worker at her school saw that discussed male menopause. Thanks.
My appetite is better than what it was, but my stomach is still not 100 percent and I am being careful in what I eat and the portions I eat. I have gotten back to coffee and a little chocolate, but my other caffeine consumption has not yet resumed.
I really, really hope to be back on track soon.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pick It Up, Doggone It

Among the reasons Val and I, and many of our neighbors, enjoy our neighborhood in our part of the Elmwood Village (Norwood-Ashland-Bryan-Highland-Richmond-Elmwood basic area) so much is that it is truly a dog and dog lovers' neighborhood. Many of us have dogs (lots of multiples), and as Val has pointed out, you very often meet and begin to get to know people by meeting and learning the names of their dogs first.
So it is distressing when some of these neighbors so willfully and obviously violate the most basic codes of respect for others.
I had Walker Evans on his walk late last week (just before I got sick), and we were returning home on Bryant Street, having just crossed Ashland Avenue from in front of Trattoria Aroma. Ahead of us a bit more than a half-block away was a man, a homeowner just about a block or two away, who had his two dogs out, a gorgeous Doberman Pinscher and an older black Labrador. As we are both walking in the same direction, we remain a half-block or so apart until his Labrador stopped and took a poop on a lawn near a garden. Amazingly, the man did not take out a bag or scooper or anything to pick it up, but immediately walked away and crossed Norwood Avenue.
It seems minor to some people, but to us homeowners who pick up after our dogs and take pride in our neighborhoods and our dogs, this is insulting and disappointing.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fit to Be Tied

There aren't many greater clothing joys in the morning than to have your main closet clothes pole fall down; talk about good fortune, mine has fallen down three times in less than 6 hours.
It first fell on top of me at about 12:45 a.m. when I was looking for my shoes for this morning to set them out; after I collected the clothes and put the poll back up, it fell again about 15 minutes later as I replaced my dress shirts, pants, polo shirts and ties. After the second falling and muttering of more profanities, I only placed my pants, ties and a few shirts on it to see how it did overnight.
Things held through the night, so I was putting more shirts on it about 15 minutes ago when it fell again; at the moment, the media room is full of piled up and hanging shirts, pants and ties and me wondering what the next step is.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Freeland Tribute

Well, it was pretty damn good.
Since the grand writer was home with the flu, I am planning on doing a photo story on the show. Unfortunately, due to some oddities on my computer, Photoshop activities must be suspended for a bit. I will, however, leave a link to local music writer and archivist Elmer Ploetz' s video of the evening (he says he hopes to improve the sound) .

Funny How Time Flies

For those of you wondering why it has been more than a week since my last post, it first was a situation of being busy with work, political volunteering, helping my mother in her post-surgical recovery and attending an excellent Ani DiFranco show with Val at the Church/Babeville.
But it seems that my body thought that during this very important and busy time, that it would be oh, so lovely to host a return visit of the flu/flu-like virus I had during the winter that caused me to miss about a week of work.
Luckily, it is not as bad a version, because I am returning to work today, after missing only two days and maybe a few hours today, but good lord, let me tell you it was no fun doing a lit drop on a Saturday morning when the temperature is in the low 40s (or even colder) and I was breaking out in a sweat so bad that by the end of the first block, my shirt and t-shirt were soaked. Navigating the Wegmans in Depew for my mom while my stomach was fighting itself and apparently my ribcage was no fun, either.
Worse, I missed the Mark Freeland tribute show at the Town Ballroom Saturday night; Val had bought our presale tickets and had prepared a slide show of 1980s/early 1990s photos of Mark for the event, which fortunately I got to see on her computer, and she was still able to attend. According to Val, it was an absolutely wonderful show, with tons of Mark's friends, colleagues and fans and loads of great bands and artists present (on the other hand, ask Val about the "punk rocker" she dressed down).
The meal of choice for a few days? Rice Krispies, as well as a couple of McDonald's chocolate milk shakes, and so far, I have gone for about four days without coffee; except or the last time I had this damn virus/flu, it is probably the longest I have gone without since I started drinking coffee.
Anyway, I recovered enough to do lots of political stuff yesterday (every candidate I voted for/worked for won their primary race), and now I have a lot of catching up to do with writing a review of the Ani DiFranco show and lots of blog stuff. Oh, and eating, too.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Yea! A lot of fun to look forward to tonight! Now, this is the kind of thing I think Mark would have wanted. People remembering him with music and showing his art. In a nightclub with loud live bands. The Fems will be headlining, as they should, though there will be an empty place without him. Robby Goo with Amungus, The Jumpers, Paper Faces, Industry of Life Divine, David Kane- the list goes on.
I was getting my hair cut at Simon Salon yesterday- I watched him sell his last pre-sale ticket. The place was buzzing with activity- Jon is playing a huge part in getting this together. When I left, Scott Michaels from the Jumpers was getting his hair dyed......
My contribution is a slideshow made of photographs I took of Mark in the late '80s. Some of those old negatives were a bear to clean up. Kevin and I were talking at dinner last night- we think we're gonna see every one we know! If you have ever loved anything in Buffalo music, there will be something there for you. Mark would have wanted it that way....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ani DiFranco Wows Them at Babeville

Ani DiFranco played an excellent, energetic show to a sellout, appreciative and loud crowd at Babeville, formerly Asbury at the Church, on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo earlier tonight.
Playing the first concert at the former church that now houses her Righteous Babe Records and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Ani and her band were in fine form, playing 19 songs (including the encore) from throughout her career, including some new tunes. Hammell On Trial opened the show and was also fantastic; hilarious, profane, frenetic and rocking.
Val took some great photos, and we will have a full story and slate of photos posted to our web site, Buffalo Roots, later this week, but Val had to stand the entire night, and her legs are absolutely exhausted, so she has already gone to sleep.

Ani DiFranco at The Church Sept. 11-12

Buffalo's own legendary (add your adjectives here) folk singer/guitarist Ani DiFranco will perform two shows here in her hometown Tuesday and Wednesday (today and tomorrow), September 11-12, at Asbury Hall at the Church, 341 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo.
Val and I haven't caught Ani in a couple of years, and we are fortunate to have received press passes, and Val is thrilled that she was issued a photo pass, so look for some really good work of Val's along with my writing about the show.
Ani 's timing of her first show is no coincidence; the show's 9/11 date not only coincides with the release of her new double-CD compilation, Canon, on Righteous Babe Records, but Ani has been very outspoken about the events surrounding and following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the aftereffects they had on people as individuals as well as countries and societies, including her comments in NYC on the first anniversary. Some of these comments have caused controversy, but no one really expects nor should expect Ani to not make her feelings known about this, having been a New York City resident for years.
Ani will be joined on stage by bandmates Todd Sickafoose on upright bass, Allison Miller on drums and Mile Dillon on percussion and vibes, and Hammell on Trial will open the show. Tickets may still be available at Ticketmaster locally at (716) 852-5000.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Heavy Trash at Mohawk Place September 11

While Val and I will be at the Ani DiFranco show, there is another good concert here in Buffalo September 11, Heavy Trash playing at Mohawk Place, 47 East Mohawk Street.
Heavy Trash, made up of Jon Spencer (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Pussy Galore) and Matt Verta-Ray (Madder Rose), plays what could be called an energized blend of rock and roll, blues, surf, twang and early rock, with some real dirt. The band's Yep Roc Records' new CD, Going Way Out with Heavy Trash, is a definite keeper.
Also on the bill is a Buffalo classic, the Irving Klaws, bringing their sleazy, greasy rock from every decade, swamp, rockabilly and, well, all of those pervasonic sounds we love. Val and I especially are disappointed we won't be able to catch the Irving Klaws.
Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $12 in advance and $14 the day of the show; call 855-3931 or visit the Mohawk Place web site for more information.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Peter Pan Is Back

Following Becky's notice, when I did today's grocery shopping at the Wegmans on Amherst Street in Buffalo, I found and bought some Peter Pan peanut butter.
I won't get to eat some for another day or two, but it is about time my favorite peanut butter is back, and no, I have no worries about salmonella problems.

Read All About Richard Thompson

It's bad enough that we had a few software issues, as well as several problems and major home situations, that delayed our posting of my review and Val's photos of the Richard Thompson concert at the Tralfamadore Cafe at our web site, Buffalo Roots.
But the review and photos are now posted, and have been for a while, and I apologize for forgetting to mention it here. You fine readers can click above to view our coverage.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Good Eating, Dessert Included

Val and I, after some discussion and confusion, decided to go to Friendly's Restaurant for dinner, the Maple Road in Amherst location in particular.
As well as much better food than they are given credit for, Friendly's serves up some pretty darn good ice cream, another reason Val and I decided to go there. Indeed, there was a Ghirardelli chocolate special going on, so after dinner, partly in honor of Jaquandor, I ordered a "Choc on the Wild Side" sundae, with Ghirardelli chocolate chocolate chip ice cream, fudge and Swiss chocolate almond sauce, brownie chunks, whipped topping and Ghirardelli chocolate chips on top (I skipped the cherry).
The sundae was amazing, outstanding and incredibly chocolaty, and I am still feeling a bit stuffed.

Air, Glorious Air

Val's original idea to have a ceiling fan installed during our recent major home improvement and repair project became a reality, and a great idea it is.
Instead of the usual tossing and turning, waking up with sweaty bed clothes, sheets and pillow cases and feeling exhausted and icky (no shuffle, though) on a warm night, I fell asleep almost as soon as I got to bed last night and stayed asleep all night, feeling very comfortable and much cooler than normal on a 75-80-degree night.
Of course, I'd prefer to still be in bed with Val, who has Fridays off of work in her screwed-up schedule

Where's My Inspiration?

I'm too hot and sweaty, tired (fell asleep watching the Indianapolis Colts demolish the New Orleans Saints), had to go back out for a commitment after getting home from work and had to eat pizza, etc., for dinner again (yes, that's a complaint) and I'm drinking fluids like a sponge. I'll get to actual/possible interesting blogging later Friday.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

How Long Has This Been Going On?

So, how long do I/we have to put up with the lack of Peter Pan peanut butter, and how much longer, due to the reported salmonella outbreak, do we have to make this extreme sacrifice?
Yes, Peter Pan was/is my favorite brand of peanut butter, and yes, I am glad it was taken off the market after the problems that occurred, but damn, Jiff , Skippy and store brand just won't do, and don't even ask me about Goober or Smuckers.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tarbox Ramblers to Play Sportsmen Sept. 5

Boston's The Tarbox Ramblers, featuring guitarist/singer Michael Tarbox, will bring their raunchy, hard driving American Gothic brew of blues, country and rock and roll to the Sportsmen's Tavern, 326 Amherst Street near Grant Street, at 9 p.m. Wednesday, September 5.
The Tarbox Ramblers, who Val and I have interviewed, reviewed and photographed here and at our web site Buffalo Roots in the past, are touring in support of their new CD, A Fix Back East, and the show, which will be opened by Alison Pipitone and band (who have released several CDs recently, but we have neither received nor heard any music or information from in about 5 years here), is free.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

Closing in on my bedtime last night/this morning, things seemed normal in the neighborhood until 12:30 a.m., when a party or gathering of some kind either across the street on Norwood Avenue or just around the corner on Bryant Street got noisy and the music became much louder.
At 12:45 a.m., the music got even louder, so I called the police, who must have paid a quick visit to the shindig, because the music suddenly got much quieter and then stopped. But at about 3-3:30 a.m., some apparent party goers went to their cars in front of our house, with one female voice especially piercing my eardrums with her talk and laugh.
So, was this it? Of course not; at about 4-4:30 a.m., Walker Evans detected something of great interest outside and went on two short barking jags until Val outdid me and got him to be quiet. To top off my whining, my sinuses have been hurting me since last night; oh, joy.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bit of a Getaway

People have asked Val and I if/when we are going on vacation this year; we have been joking that the two days we spent in the downtown Holiday Inn on Delaware Avenue when our major drywall demolition was done was our vacation, even though we went to work.
So we were thrilled that we were able to get away from Buffalo and work for the day Friday, as we took Walker Evans with us and drove out to Canandaigua for some photography, sight seeing and driving, or, as you can tell, some simple relaxing.
Along with spending some time at the shore of Canandaigua Lake (Walker would not go in the water even an inch, despite several other dogs frolicking nearby), we drove to nearby Yates County, as well as Gorham, and stopped to visit a schoolhouse from 1874, a church from the 1830s and, most photogenically, a farm with a group of about 15 sheep on one side.
Val got out to photograph them, and at first the suspicious male protecting the group came over a bit her way. But then, in groups of one or two, the rest of the sheep noticed Val, and not only moved together a bit closer, but every one of them stared at Val, virtually without blinking, until she got back in the car.
While driving out on the New York State Thruway, we decided to drive Route 5 back home to check out the sights, which was for the most part a smart move, because it was definitely the scenic route. The only sad part was the large group of emergency vehicles, with lights blinking, on both sides of the road somewhere in Livingston County. We noticed one or two damaged ATVs and a lot of somber looking firefighters and police. That night, when I watched the news at home, it was reported that a male riding an ATV was killed in a crash off Route 5 in Livingston County.
To cap the day off, after we got home, Val and I decided to go out to Chef's Restaurant for dinner; it turned out to be a star-studded evening. First, we saw State Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak, who I know from covering him first as a councilman and then as supervisor of Cheektowaga, and we talked for a few minutes. Just a couple of minutes later, we saw Alan Bedenko, Democratic candidate for the 4th District Erie County Legislature seat and best known and read as Buffalo Pundit. We talked to Alan and his wife Maryl for several minutes, with Val and Maryl comparing notes on restaurants in Batavia, where Val went to college and Maryl works.

Thank You, Buffalo

I want to thank everyone who has sent an e-mail, blog comment, telephone call, card or any other kind word over the recent surgery and rehabilitation of my mother, Sheila.
After getting her left hip replaced almost two weeks ago, she went through more than a week of rehab and has returned home. My sister Heather and I have been and will continue to help her in her recuperation and rehabilitation.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

It's a Wing Festival, Not an Eating Contest

Drew Cerza deserves congratulations for another successful National Buffalo Wing Festival; maybe someone should have reminded too much of the media that it wasn't a mindless eating contest.
Cerza and the other volunteers and organizers who have worked with him to make the National Buffalo Wing Festival not only a large, successful event but one growing in size and notoriety, not only here in Buffalo/Western New York but nationally, chose to include a chicken wing eating contest as part of the festival, but only a part. For the broadcast and print media to concentrate so much on the wing eating contest, and ignoring much of the rest of the festival, is ridiculous. This is particularly true after some media previously lauded Cerza and the festival for its positive effects on the economic health of Buffalo and its national reputation, but this time totally missing the point for a cheap, exploitative "flashy" news bite.
If you cant tell, I both hate food eating contests and believe Cerza is doing a fine job with the National Buffalo Wing Festival.