Thursday, December 27, 2007

Unexpected Absence

We've been gone from the blog for several days, most of them unanticipated, but a technical situation plus the holidays had us laying low for a while.
Early Sunday nght, our modem (which we've had since the previous Internet company) finally gave out; I picked a new one up from the Time Warner offices on Chicago Street Monday afternoon. I was told to ask and make sure that it was provisioned; when I did so, the ever-so-friendly "customer service" woman said, "I don't know, I just hand them out to people." Nice.
Well, something wasn't quite right with the hook up and/or modem right away, and with repeated family commitments, we weren't able to get things running until Wednesday night, but here we are, ready for more mirth and magic.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Feist Upon Us

I do not believe there is any way in which Val and I could be more sick of Feist (basically singer Leslie Feist of several Canadian bands), mainly through the atrocious"1 2 3 4" song featured/made a torture on the Apple iPod commercials.
But having had to sit through a song and several minutes of hagiography on NPR when the oh, so trendy music critic tug jobbed her and several other in-the-know picks last week, having checked out more of her music on my own, hearing friends whose musical opinions I respect praise her and now getting bombarded by either more of her music or by incredible sound-alikes (including, interestingly, a Dell Computer ad), I've had it.
Of course, there is really nothing I can do, but the point needs to be made.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Peter Case Earns Grammy Nomination

Singer, songwriter, guitarist and formerly Buffalonian/Western New Yorker Peter Case was recently (and deservedly) nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Traditional Folk category for his new Yep Roc Records' CD, Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John.
Case received a Grammy Award for his 2002 Avalon Blues CD tribute to Mississippi John Hurt as well as a nomination for his "Old Blue Car" song off his self-titled 1986 CD. His Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John CD has received a lot of critical acclaim, and indeed is a great CD and will appear on my upcoming best of 2007 music list, possibly at number one.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Low Bridge, Everybody Down

Val and I have noticed that the number of Christmas and holiday cards we have received so far this year is way down from previous years.
We are not the kind of people to just remove others from our cards list for not getting one in return (we have about 50 recipients on our list) and we adjust a couple of addresses each year, but so far, less than 10 have arrived here at the Dunne-Hosey Estates. We hope our relatives and friends, as well as others, are not in much tougher financial straits this year than in previous years.

I Know, I Know ...

Yep, I' ve been kind of a bad blogger recently and haven't written too much, despite having several topics ready to go. There are the usual holiday time constraints as well as some other things, not even counting the weather, but these are not excuses and I will start blogging more regularly soon.
I will. Really. I mean it this time.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Reason 312 Why I Love the Elmwood Village

As Walker Evans and I were approaching Summer Avenue on Norwood Avenue on our walk last night, we heard the "beep-beep beep-beep" of a car behind us. I turned to see the glistening, almost mint-condition maroon Lincoln Continental of the hardest working man in Buffalo show business, Mr. Lance Diamond, and Diamond smiling and waving at us. I happily returned his wave and Walker wagged his tail.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No More Ovaltine, Please

Does anyone else feel like picking up a hatchet, tire iron or baseball bat and attacking something when they hear the annoying, obnoxious Ovaltine commercial, mainly on the radio, like I do?
It is bad enough, and just a step away from being hilarious, how awful, contrived and dated the script and acting sounds, but why did some creative person somewhere think that kids talking/shouting in unison is entertaining or will sell a product? There is a local beverage service that also utilizes the children in unison tactic as the tikes praise their hot chocolate, and it sounds almost as dumb.
It doesn't help that, when I was a kid and early teenager, that Ovaltine was not only not a drink we sought for enjoyment, but we ran away from when offered. It tasted bad then, incredibly worse than Nestle's Quik and Hershey's Chocolate Milk, as well as the rare bottled chocolate milk back then, that it has always been considered a joke line to me.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rest Well, Sharon

Sadly, in recent weeks two people who meant a lot to me have died.
A few days ago, Sharon Modica of Kenmore, the owner and operator/chef of the Apple Dumpling restaurant on Elmwood Avenue in Kenmore, died. You may remember that I wrote a piece wondering if anyone knew why the Apple Dumpling had closed several months ago.
Sadly, the last time Val and I ate at the Apple Dumpling (Val's work schedule has really limited our visits in the last year or so), in late winter/early spring, we noticed that Sharon was looking a bit thinner and seemed to be tiring quicker. Sharon, a retired teacher, was a bigger-than-life kind of person with a large heart and large mouth who would never hesitate to let you know what she thought about you or any other topic.
She loved to travel and she loved her family, especially her grandchildren, who she spoke about frequently. She also did not tolerate fools; she had a sign in her restaurant warning people to turn off their cell phones or they would be asked to leave, and Val and I witnessed her telling people to leave when their cell phones rang.
Sharon was also a wonderful chef/cook who made breakfast and very early lunch at the Apple Dumpling. My favorites included her pecan turtle pancakes, homemade cinnamon bread French toast and eggs Benedict; Val loved her buckwheat pancakes with apple slices and caramel sauce as well as her fruit syrups.
Val and I loved her food, but also loved the atmosphere and conversation with Sharon and her staff; we made friends and received great travel tips from Joanne Paladino when she worked there. We also got to know several people from all of our frequent eating at the Apple Dumpling.
It was a sad day when Val and I went to eat breakfast there and saw the doors locked, the shades drawn and the wall decorations removed. It is much sadder and unfortunate now that Sharon has died, someone who brought true joy through her food, her teaching and herself.

All Things Jennifer Makes It to

I was reading the "Today's Blogs" column at Tuesday when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a mention and reference to Jennifer and comments from her All Things Jennifer blog.
Read here for the actual Slate content, which appears in the second to last paragraph, and here for Jennifer's complete entry.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Yeah, Thanks for Visiting ...

Somehow, I should have known it; I write an entry on one of my favorite topics and drinks, coffee, and I get a commenter who seems to be dedicating his or her life to telling people how bad coffee is and how they quit (and you can, too, if you only join him in buying, reading and being where it's oh, so peaceful).
I am debating an official response here, on the thread or other choices. I guess we'll all find out soon.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Good Morning, Good Morning ...

Yep, there isn't much better early in the morning than looking at your hands and the floor of the shower and seeing splotches of blood in the water; rather invigorating.
Before you crack wise, I was having a bloody nose, something I used to get a lot of until I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and starting taking medication to address it. Along with the fall in my blood pressure to appropriate levels, I stopped having nose bleeds so often and now barely have them more than the average person.
But it is hard to lather the face and head with soap while blood emanates from said head, let me tell you.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Kevin's Coffee Chronicles, Part I

I have written a little bit on my love of coffee here (strong, flavorful coffee); I don't consider myself a real expert, but an avid drinker.
On the other hand, it is not like me to not comment away on certain topics, so this will start what I am annoyingly/clichedly calling Kevin's Coffee Chronicles. Today's topic will be takeout/donut or doughnot shop coffee, or at least the major fight here concerning it.
This style is definitely not my favorite, but it seems to be the most popular style of coffee for people I encounter, and the big debate seems to be Tim Horton's versus Dunkin Donuts. Many people have been telling me and writing in various places about how good Dunkin Donuts coffee is, especially since the company has made a reappearance in Buffalo/Western New York. McDonald's has made a recent foray into this area, but I cannot force myself to go there unless I need (as in am getting over the flu and need something in my stomach) a chocolate shake, and the thought of what McDonald's could do to coffee frankly frightens me.
I always liked Tim Horton's coffee more than Dunkin Donuts; Tim Horton's was OK (the mocha better than the regular coffee), but really, I can barely stomach Dunkin Donuts' coffee. Its taste bears only the slightest resemblance to coffee as I am aware of it, tasting like the worst in commercial machine coffee to me. It's bitterness also exceeds Tim Horton's.
I stopped at the Dunkin Donuts on Genesee Street near Transit Road in Cheektowaga on the way home from my mother's house Saturday (no Tim Horton's or anything else directly on the route, and I couldn't hold out until I got to Spot Coffee, my favorite place). Their coffee, which I hadn't tried in a few years, tasted the same, bad. On the other hand, the Dunkin Munchkins, which I also had, are MUCH better than Tim Bits, particularly the peanut, but I'd say every kind, as well as the doughnuts (although Tim Horton's iced angels are wonderful).
Don't anyone mention coffee at Wilson Farms or places like that, either; having worked at Wilson Farms many years ago, I know just how bad the coffee was and am led to believe still is. I have neither the stomach nor the sense of adventure to try that coffee again.
Anyone having suggestions on where good coffee can be bought in these types of setup or just some good places to buy beans, please let me know.

Paging McAdoo, McMillian and Kauffman

I went over to my mother Sheila's house Saturday to take her and her 12-year-old orange tabby, Molly, to the veterinarian (happily, everyone is doing fine/better). A nice surprise awaited me.
Just before I left Mom's house to come back home, she said she had something for me she had previously mentioned to me to take home, but I had forgotten it. She then came out of one of the bedrooms with the medium blue background, orange and black lettered and insignia bearing Buffalo Braves pennant that used to hang on my wall when I was a somewhat snotty, basketball loving adolescent.
As well as just being thrilled to have it back, it brings back great memories of when my late brother Brian, a few other revolving friends and I used to attend lots of Braves' games, always buying orange seats (unless we were feeling rich and buying blue seats) and often sneaking down to the golds or reds. As soon as I find the tacks, this is going up in our media room.