Wednesday, January 30, 2008

And Windy Has Stormy Eyes ...

So, has anyone seen any people, pets, roof tiles or vehicles blowing down the street yet today? While it's still early, dog walkers in our neighborhood seem to be moving at a quicker pace so far.
Like many of you, we felt our more-than-100-year-old house move and sway with the wind, but only the laundry room door has blown open at all, and it is now closed and secured. Now, where did I put my kite?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

State of the Union Improves as Bush Leaves

Last night was the first time I actually cheered at one of President George W. Bush's State of the Union Addresses, but only because it was his last one and we will be done with his vile presidency and administration in less than a year.
With misleading and all but false "facts" and information, taking credit for things he didn't do or lead on, threatening other countries and leaders without concrete reasons or need, pandering to the lowest and not even common denominator and still believing in the swill of his right-wing ideology, I suppose Bush was just being Bush, but he and his minions have done more than enough damage to this country.
And if the Republican lunatics in the Senate and Congress had stood up and cheered and yelled one more time, I would have called for a mass game of Musical Chairs and gladly pulled away their seats. Too many Democrats played the same game, apparently not believing that their constituencies, who elected them, wanted them to appear at all different from the Republicans.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Democratic Presidential Candidates: 0-2

The Dunne-Hosey Estates aren't exactly having sparkling results from the original two candidates we have favored in the Democratic Presidential Primaries.
My original candidate, Governor William Richardson, withdrew from the race a couple of weeks ago, and Val's favored candidate, U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, left the primary race last week.
Val has pretty much chosen a candidate she can support for the New York primary and the rest of the race, while I am still making up my mind and checking out all available information before deciding.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pine Dogs at Sportsmen's Tavern January 27

The Pine Dogs will perform the first of several reunion/get-back-together shows at 5 p.m. Sunday, January 27, at the Sportsmen's Tavern on Amherst Street near Grant Street in Buffalo, with no cover charge.
The Pine Dogs, simply put, are the best roots rock/Americana band Buffalo has ever been home of, and their late 1980s-1990s run proved them to be one of those bands that should have made it and is still a musical tragedy that they didn't. The Pine Dogs blended country rock, roots rock, traditional country, 1960s rock, R&B and whatever else they chose, led by singer, songwriter and guitarist Jim Whitford. The Pine Dogs were also made up of singer Gretchen Schulz, guitarist/singer Don Vincent, bassist/occasional singer Tom Fischer and drummer/singer Jim Celeste.
The Pine Dogs have always been big in the Dunne-Hosey Estates' hit parade and lives; Val was their road manager and photographer (her photos make up the art work of the "Mighty Engines of Love" CD cover, among others), I have interviewed and reviewed the band (and later other bands the members were in) since virtually their start, and Val and I now live next door to Whitford. The esteem with which these musicians are held is somewhat amazing and deserved.
The Pine Dogs will also perform at TriMania at the Tri-Main Center March 29, so why not catch both performances, starting with this free one Sunday?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sven? WTF is a Sven?

Now that it has been broadcast for a few weeks, and been mildly amusing a couple of times, what the hell, if anything, is a Sven besides an allegedly funny foreign name being used in the AT&T smart phone commercial?
Is it a computer, cell phone or some kind of communications term or euphemism used by people much more in the know that me, or did some patronizing advertising director with a limited intelligence and sense of humor think it was cool and funny to use the Scandinavian name?
Tired minds what to know.

New World Record RIP

I join many music (CD and yes, damn it, record) buyers in mourning the upcoming closing of New World Record, for many years dominating Elmwood Avenue's music community along with Home of the Hits, which closed last year.
I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to write and reminiscing, and later today or tomorrow I will have a more comprehensive posting on the store operated by Govindan Kartha and his wife, Elizabeth Eisenhauer, and what it means beyond one store.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Re-Emergence of Suckitude

Another commercial use of a New Wave song during an advertisement on the Patriots-Chargers game recently occurred, with a female singer (Nouvelle Vague, apparently) warbling a crappy, acoustic version of Modern English's "I Melt With You" for the GMC Acadia sports utility vehicle.
I know this commercial is not new, and has been broadcast at least since last year's Super Bowl, but this version of the song is still awful and pretentious and the ad is otherwise forgettable.

This Is Progress for the Bills?

I have to admit that I am not entirely sold on the appointment/promotion of Turk Schonert by the Buffalo Bills to offensive coordinator from quarterback coach.
Yes, Schonert, and even the prime minister of Turkmenistan, would no doubt be an improvement over Steve Fairchild, who, for some reason, was hired by his alma mater, Colorado State, to be their head coach.
But Schonert was the quarterback coach during a pretty bad time in the Bills' history for quarterbacks, and the lack of progress of former starting quarterback J.P. Losman, and meager progress of rookie quarterback Trent Edwards, is not a good sign on the question of Schonert's qualifications. Shouldn't Schonert have at least been able to help Edwards, a rookie needing coaching and, like Schoenrt, a Stanford graduate, show some improvement by the end of the season?
I hope my worries are overdone, but I don't have a real good feeling on this hiring, which no doubt was aided by the Bills' and owner Ralph Wilson's wish to stay in house.

Sony Spends on Stones

If you wonder how serious Sony is taking its "HDNA" high-definition television campaign, along with the number of new commercials they are showing, the ad on at about 3:30-3:35 p.m. of the New England-San Diego AFC Championship football game should be a clue.
The music bed for the commercial was "She's a Rainbow" by the Rolling Stones, a band not exactly known for cheaply selling its music for advertising (although Mick and Keith are certainly not shy about licensing their music to advertisers).
I wonder who we'll be hearing (and seeing) not only the rest of today, but in commercials on Super Bowl Sunday?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Are They Really Getting Mad at Him?

We've noticed a major spike in people reaching this blog in the last few days, and the vast majority are searching out the song "One More Time" by Joe Jackson (from his brilliant "Get Sharp!" album) and "Taco Bell commercial."
A nerve seems to have been struck by my weekend entry on the television ad, and the second most popular search to get here is Sean Kipp, the, um, legendary automobile sales person, who is running a distant second.

Not That Size Matters, But ...

While picking up a couple of things at Wegmans Monday I forgot to get Sunday, I made, for me, a first-time Buffalo Sabres' sighting (as in first time I saw this particular Sabre) there; as I went to get into the "7 Items and Under" line (two items, no cheating), I saw Sabres' forward and enforcer Andrew Peters with a full cart a few lines away.
Now, I am no midget at 6-foot-3 and about 205 pounds, but I felt like one when I walked past Peters; he is listed at 6-foot-4, 247 pounds by, but I thought he was down to about 235 pounds this season. Either way, even without skates, he seemed much taller and built like a linebacker. Interestingly, no one went up to say "hello" or ask for an autograph before I cashed out and he was still in line.
One point of note: When I checked Peters' statistics, it said that he was the Sabres' 2nd-round draft choice, 34th overall, in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Really? Wow.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bird Aftermath

Walker Evans and I took part of our Sunday walk down Norwood Avenue toward Summer Street, the same route we took Friday when we saw and heard the massive number of blackbirds and crows in our neighborhood.
The evidence does not lie; under every large tree on that route where big groups of birds roosted, there was below, on sidewalks, lawns and garbage totes (cars had moved by then) a virtual Jackson Pollock wonderland of white and gray bird poop splotches. The trail was heavy along the route I described a few days ago and trailed off just as the birds did, just before Norwood and Summer.
Why yes, of course; I am anal enough to check out this kind of stuff.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Somewhere, Alfred Hitchcock Smiles

While out in the neighborhood Wednesday and Thursday, Val and I noticed a large amount of blackbirds and crows flying around and squawking.
Friday, while I was taking Walker Evans on his walk, these birds were particularly flying in large numbers and loading up telephone wires, houses and trees. There were at least hundreds, if not thousands, of the blackbirds and crows flying around, and at one point, as Walker Evans and I proceeded down Norwood Avenue from Bryant Street to Summer Street, they seemed to be following us, filling up tree after tree as well as some telephone lines, until we got just before the end of the block, when the birds took an apparent turn toward Richmond Avenue.
We have always gotten a lot of these birds, and noisy ones, for years, but I do not remember this kind of activity. Did anyone else on the West Side, or in Buffalo or Western New York, get this kind of bird reaction recently?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Not Wasting Demolition Time

The work to build and open the new Bank of America branch at 493 Elmwood Avenue near West Utica Street in the Elmwood Village is taking major steps forward.
Demolition started around January 5, and the crew and contractor obviously meant business; the former Pier I Imports store, which the bank will replace, was down by Monday, and when I drove by the site Tuesday, not only was all of the debris removed, but the foundation/basement was gone and two cranes had dug a rather deep hole/work site and were continuing their work.
It was strange to see a store that Val and I shopped at a decent amount, especially at holiday time, being torn down, particularly for a bank and not housing or a new retail business or restaurant/coffee shop, but we are glad that something is going in that space and soon.
Now, if someone would just take over the former Sweet Tooth space ...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Not So Fast, National Pundits

As a former journalist and current political junkie (and participant), I am disappointed by the rush of members of the media at overstating the results and fallout of last week's Iowa presidential caucuses.
Yes, in the Democratic caucus, Barack Obama earned an impressive victory, and John Edwards edging out Hillary Clinton for second place was a surprise and strong showing for Edwards, but let's not jump to conclusions (for the record, I am currently a Bill Richardson supporter). The race is a long one and by no means decided or over, and Clinton, while finishing third, is by no means on her way out or lacking support. Nor should Mitt Romney or the other Republican candidates be judged losers because Mike Huckabee won in Iowa.
I am most saddened by how much of the media is going overboard and using the results of one caucus to all but set the agenda of the presidential primaries. This is a case where the media is creating and becoming parts of the story, something it should not do and indeed does not do as much as some people accuse media outlets of doing. And it is certainly not the falsely accused "liberal media" acting here, but a media driven by profits and fleeting, spectacular headlines.
On the other hand, at times I still miss covering elections and politics; life can be strange.

One More Time? Argh

Readers know my dislike of the use of songs from the late 1970s/early 1980s punk and new wave community being used in advertisements, even though I don't begrudge artists making money off of their art in music, photography, painting, acting, etc.
One that surprised me because the song was not a big hit, even though it is a particular favorite of mine, was hearing, first last night and again tonight during the BCS Championship Game, "One More Time" by Joe Jackson, off of his classic "Get Sharp!" album (one of my all-time favorites), in a Taco Bell commercial.
Aside from my continued hatred of the commodification of my adolescence and of something bigger, the music and culture, it strikes me as unusual for an almost 30-year-old song to be used, except that creative directors are now of my age group.
OK, I'm going to lay down now.


It appears that I have gotten back to feeling 100 percent better from my almost one-week stomach bug, even though I did have a final, rather colorful event at work (Khaki? Egad) today.
On the other hand, Jenn is still trying to kick her nasal situation and may have gone the antibiotic route by now; let's all wish her well.

Friday, January 04, 2008

I'm Back and Not Heaving

I returned to work yesterday, Thursday, at about 80-85 percent full health, but I was glad I did; I am feeling about 90-95 percent back to normal today, Friday, and just a bit tired.
The stomach upheavals have ended, and the thing that has been slowest to return to normal has been my appetite; fortunately, after missing it for two straight days, I resumed drinking coffee yesterday, so I was not as much of a bear as I could have been otherwise.
Oh, and where was the press conference I had set up before the holidays held yesterday? At the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office, including in the autopsy room, cooler room and X-Ray room.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Even Sports Didn't Help

Putting up with my stomach bug and Val having to work New Year's Day, we were hoping that some sports success would help; wrong.
While the Sabres-Penguins Winter Classic hockey game was very exciting and put a great face on Buffalo and Western New York, still, the Sabres lost in a shootout, 2-1. And in college football, Wisconsin lost the Outback Bowl to Tennessee, 21-17, despite having several chances to win.
At least Val still has her Green Bay Packers in the NFL playoffs.

Sick But Not Down ... Mostly

It appears I am not the only member of the Buffalo Prefecture of Blogistan to be under the weather; Jenn continues to suffer from a nasty sinus infection/cold, but unlike me, she has continued her blogging.
Show off.

Happy New Bbbbbllllllleeeeeeeeaaaaaahhh

So, what kind of excitement rang in the New Year here at the Dunne-Hosey Estates?
Due to Val working New Year's Day, she went to bed just after 10 p.m., and shortly after we ate a lovely meal I made, I got a queasy stomach and the chills, so I was huddled under a blanket on the couch watching a college bowl game on DVR.
At midnight, the fireworks from downtown woke up Walker Evans, who barked for a few minutes before he settled down; Val woke up and we exchanged New Year's greetings from downstairs to upstairs. A little more than an hour later, I threw up for the first time, providing my first encore four hours later, then again shortly after noon and then after 1 p.m. All I did that afternoon was sip ginger ale and watch the Winter Classic Sabres-Penguins hockey game, then later pick Val up from work.
While I am feeling a lot better, I am still nowhere near 100 percent, and am writing this from under my blanket on the couch; I was OK to take Val to work, but having eaten no solid food other than five crackers and a roll with jelly in the last 42 hours, I need a bit more rest.
But, seeing the New Year with Val and Walker makes this seem like an insignificant event.