Wednesday, September 30, 2009

If It Happens Again ...

And yes, of course, it did; I have fallen behind on writing reviews/articles for our BuffaloRoots web site, and I have two articles to write actually all ready to go and revisions on a third article, an interview, just waiting to be made and published.
I swear I will get to them soon, or you can start swearing at me. Really.

Sorry, One More Weather Item

I know, I know; I'm falling into a "write about Buffalo weather" mode, and there are more interesting topics to many readers, but I have one more point.
While the weather is calming down to cold, windy and somewhat rainy after Monday's deluge and storm, as of 6:30 a.m. today, the jeans I wore while taking Walker Evans on his walk that day are still wet. Not just damp or moist, but actually wet, and parts still soggy. Oh, and I just stood up to check, and the socks that I wore that day that got just as wet are still hanging on my closet door, still wet.
Fortunately, no lines of animals in twos and no new boat construction were reported on our street yet.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When the Rain Comes ...

We're all pretty much aware of the intense rain and wind storm that hit Buffalo and Western New York yesterday and is still hitting us today. Once again, an inalienable fact was proven: Dogs want their walks, regardless the weather.
I got home at about 4:20 p.m. (8 a.m.-4 p.m. work) and, as usual, I started Walker Evans' food and went to take him on our walk. While it was raining pretty good downtown when I left, by the time I got to our home in the Elmwood Village, the rain was barely a sprinkle. I had to be back somewhere at about 5:45 p.m., so I didn't have time to wait for the storm to stop (a dumb hope anyway).
The rain held up for about half of our walk; it started to get more intense as we got to Norwood and West Ferry, and by the time we got to Richmond and started coming back, it got much harder and was a downpour in another minute or so. While Walker looked at me in disdain a few times, he neither started to walk faster nor cut off his route at all; I try to let him pick our route within reason.
I was wearing a hooded, waterproof coat, which did its job well except that it funneled off some of the water directly onto my thighs; my jeans, of course, weren't waterproof, and while my coat extended a bit down my thighs, the water started hitting right under that. At first I was pissed off, then I realized that the downpour was going to soak me in another block or so anyway, runoff or not.
As we neared home, Walker looked more and more like a black and tan half-drowned rat, and started to smell (toweling him off afterwards only achieved so much), leaving a scent throughout the house for much of the night until, curled near the space heater Val started using, he dried off. My jeans are still hanging over a bathroom rack drying, more than 13 hours later.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Welcome to Monday, Weather

The last thing I did before I went to bed last night was check the National Weather Service web site for the Buffalo forecast; yikes.
According to the site last night and this morning, there is a gale warning for all of the Lake Erie shoreline in New York State as well as all of the Lake Ontario shoreline in the state. There is also a wind advisory for Buffalo and Western New York, with winds predicted at 17-20 miles per hour increasing to 25-28, with gusts of up to 40 mph expected. Oh, yeah, and a 90 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms.
Working downtown, I can only imagine what angles people will be walking at today, and Val, who works at the waterfront, will really be having some fun going from the car to her building. Be careful, everybody.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Show in the Sky

I had to wake up a bit earlier than normal today, and at least there is one good point: What a great blue, pink, purple and white sunrise I am getting to see right now. Two thumbs-up to Mother Nature's special effects and lighting people.

Down Day

Yesterday turned out to be a bit less than fun in the long run, and today will be the same, mainly due to development from the Buffalo music community.
First, I and many others found out of the death of Jim Parry, a great musician and Buffalo music community member and, most important, a great, friendly all-around person.
Then it was reported yesterday that demolition work was to start on the (it is real hard to say/write "former") Continental, 212 Franklin Street, as part of an upscale hotel, restaurant/whatever project. I was able to drive by the site on my way home from an event last night, and noted that while a crane was parked next to the Continental, work had yet to start. I will check again today to see about any progress there.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

U.S. Census, Murder and My Dad

The murder of a U.S. Census Bureau field worker in Kentucky has certainly got me feeling sad and pissed off for many reasons, some of which I can actually communicate right now.
My late father, Edward W. Hosey, was a U.S. Census Bureau field worker in 1989, working part-time along with his full-time job at then-Gold Circle, not only to earn some extra money for his family, but because he was proud to serve or work for his country and government. His previous federal service has been in the U.S. Army as a Korean War veteran, and he applied the top secret rating he had been issued as a member of the U.S. Army Security Agency to his Census Bureau work, never telling us more about his job than where he was assigned to work each day.
Yes, there is a segment of the right-wing wingnuttery that looks at the U.S. Census as a major invasion of people's rights and privacy and a step in America's alleged march to the New World Order, but that's simple garbage. It certainly did not in any way mean that Bill Sparkman, 51, deserved to be killed with the word "fed" written on him.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Great Show by Gurf Morlix

Yes, indeed, Gurf Morlix performed a great show to a sellout audience at the Sportsmen's Tavern last night, featuring songs from his new "Last Exit to Happyland" CD, as well as some older ones among the 25 songs he performed.
I will have a review of it up very soon (no, really) at our BuffaloRoots web site, and Val took a good number of photos and will have some posted to that review as well as elsewhere online.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sportsmen's Private Concert Series

This is a final mention that former Western New Yorker and 2009 Americana Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year award winner Gurf Morlix will perform in a solo show as part of the Private Concert Series at 8 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, September 22, at the Sportsmen's Tavern, 326 Amherst Street near Grant Street in Buffalo.
As part of the series, only 80 tickets have been available, and I cannot guarantee that any will be left as of show time, with the number very low as of Friday, when Val and I bought our tickets; indeed, organizers want to stress that tickets are never guaranteed to still be available the day or night of a show.
In an e-mail message to me, Ken Biringer, one of the bookers and organizers of the concert series, wrote: "I'm in constant disbelief that folks just assume they can buy tickets for the Private Party Series shows at the door. Yes, sometimes we have a few available, but most of the time they are sold out in advance. We only sell 80 tickets."
You have been warned, people; buy early.

Monday, September 21, 2009

And the Winner Is: Gurf Morlix

Former Western New Yorker Gurf Morlix won the Americana Music Association instrumentalist of the year award at the group's awards show Thursday.
This was perfect timing, as Gurf and his wife Brende Fuller came into town Friday, and I first saw them as they waved while driving by as Walker Evans and I trundled through the neighborhood late Friday afternoon. They were on their way to stay at the house of our next-door neighbors Jim Whitford and Lynne O'Meara, with Morlix playing a house concert in Fredonia Saturday and a show at the Sportsmen's Tavern Tuesday, September 22 (we bought our tickets Friday night, and there were VERY few left).
Gurf was rather modest when asked about his award at Whitford's show at the Sportsmen's Friday: "It was a real surprise and I was grouped with several real good musicians," he said. When asked if he had "a shiny award" with him, he smiled and replied, "Yeah, Kevin, I got that award ... right here."
Morlix got up on stage to play several songs with Whitford's band, both on bass and on guitar, during the second set Friday, and it sounded great, as usual.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gurf Morlix Show, Interview

Western New York native and guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer and sideman Gurf Morlix will perform as part of the Private Concert Series at 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 22, at the Sportsmen's Tavern, 326 Amherst Street near Grant Street in Buffalo.
Admission will be a more than reasonable $10, and you should expect Morlix, who won the best instrumentalist award at the 2009 Americana Music Association awards event September 15 and is a Buffalo Music Hall of Fame member, to perform songs from his new "Last Exit to Happyville" CD, as well as older tunes. Having caught him as a solo performer and in bands quite a lot, Val and I will definitely be there.
I also recently finished revamping an interview I did with Morlix in February 2009 for another publication that it eventually chose not to use, and it will be up on our BuffaloRoots website within the next day or two.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Not Ready Yet

Fall may actually be here, but between the darker mornings and earlier darkness at night, even my October birthday isn't getting me in the mood for the change in seasons yet.
I'm pretty sure, as all of us know, that the half-summer (at best) we had was not enough and I hope that it is not a sign that fall will be worse and winter will be harsher than last year. I'm not exactly holding my breath, though.

Jim Whitford Band = Rock AND Roll

The Jim Whitford Band will present an evening of "rock and roll jackassery" at 9:30 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, September 18, at the Sportsmen's Tavern, 326 Amherst Street near Grant Street in Buffalo.
The band is made up of: Jim Whitford on guitar and vocals, Cathy Carfagna on keyboards and vocals, Jim Morabito on bass and vocals and Rob Lynch on drums and vocals. There are some "surprise guests" promised (hint, hint), and there is no admission charge for this show.
Having caught the Jim Whitford Band frequently, most recently at the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts, I highly recommend you join us for an evening of what Jim calls his two favorite forms of music, rock and roll.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Day? Hmm ...

Yep, there's really no better feeling than to be sitting here at the computer at 6:52 a.m., wishing that the day was already over so that you could either start making dinner or crawl back into bed.
I'm not feeling physically sick (although emotionally and politically, yeah) fortunately, but yesterday was not a good day on several fronts and I will have to adjust myself accordingly. This should also prove for an interesting next two months in some ways.
In fact, I have yet to really pick out much of anything for birthday gift ideas, and I have less than a month to do so; chocolate, of course, still is always good.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It Must Have Been Monday

How did I know I was living during/through a Monday morning at work yesterday?
At about 8:50 a.m. Monday, I was writing something at work, and I felt some dust in my nose and knew I was going to sneeze. Just as I went to sneeze, I felt a hiccough coming up, and couldn't stop it.
Yep, the two hit me simultaneously, so I ended up with something with the power and spray effect of a sneeze and the contents of a hiccough, and sprayed coffee through my nose onto my hands. Oh, so lovely.

It's Primary Day - You Know What to Do

Yes, it's Primary Day here in Buffalo and elsewhere, and I urge you, especially if you are a Democrat here in the City of Buffalo, to go out and vote in the vital races today, ours for mayor of Buffalo.
I will be in and out all day, between actual voting and other election volunteering and activities, but please, it is so simple to do to make sure you are participating in one of the most basic tenets of democracy and your future, so if you have primary elections in your district, go out and vote.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jim Carroll RIP

It was sad news reading about the death of writer and musician Jim Carroll last night, who died of a heart attack at age 60.
I feel he was one of the truly great writers of my generation and a little before my time, having written one of the best books I have ever read, "The Basketball Diaries," which later became a movie (and a book I read more than once), as well as poetry and other books.
He was also a notable musician, getting his start with urging from Patti Smith, and his debut album, "Catholic Boy," is his best know music recording, featuring the college rock classic "People Who Died." It was one of the first records I reviewed for publication, and I still enjoy it.
Part of his writing focused on his battle with his fierce heroin addiction, so some writers have already commented on he seems to have died in much quieter fashion than expected.

Music Is Art, Robby Do It Again

I'll be going into details later (and probably elsewhere), but I have to at least give a hearty congratulations to all of the people organizing and taking part in this year's Music Is Art Festival, in particular its main organizer, founder and heart, Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls.
The weather being beautiful this year was a pleasant change from last year's rain, allowing the grounds of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery to fully support and feature the event, including the great music, art, culture and people. Val made some pretty good sales of her photography and we had a great time with all of the visitors to Val's booth, friends and art appreciators.
We are already looking forward to next year's Music Is Art Festival.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Meet Us at Music Is Art

Music Is Art, the seventh annual gift of music, arts and culture by Goo Goo Doll Robby Takac to Buffalo and Western New York, will run from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. today, Saturday, on the grounds of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery facing Lincoln Parkway and Delaware Park in Buffalo.
Val and I will be there all day at the free admission fest, taking in music, arts and culture as well as Val exhibiting and selling her photography in booth/tent 45. We urge you to join us at a great event and stop by at Val's booth to say hello.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stephen Hoffman Not Forgotten

As well as remembering those who died during the terrorist attacks of September 11, and how they affected individuals and our country that day and in so many ways since then, I do have a personal sadness from it all.
I was one of many who lost a friend in the attacks on the World Trade Center; Stephen Hoffman, who worked at Kantor-Fitzgerald and was an amazing person, died that day. A friend from Buffalo State College, I still remember getting a call late that sad day saying that he was missing and later getting the even worse word of his presumed death.
RIP, Stephen and all the victims.

Idea Drought

One thing I have noticed that political volunteering has done to or for me recently is reduce ideas I often get for blogging because I am not doing some of the things I usually do or want to do.
As you can tell, today is a prime example. While I have a longer blog piece on the Music Is Art Festival coming up Saturday, September 12, I do not have enough time to write it now.
I also have my doubts that there is too much more you people want to read about my political volunteer work, so I'll leave that alone for now.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

On the Campaign Trail

As my political volunteering continues during this primary and general election season, a few things occur just as they do every year.
First of all, I do regret that this activity keeps me away from Val, Walker Evans and home for too long at times, and that some of my other interests have to be left to the wayside or at least be given much less attention for the time being. It's nothing new, but it does occur.
Second, I am and will continue to consume way too much pizza and chicken wings, which of course means I will continue to consume too much mediocre to bad pizza and chicken wings, with the occasional LaNova order helping things, but still without barbecued wings. The food is mostly provided for us, but my stomach and waistline complain still. Once in a while, a substitute of sorts is offered, but maybe someone should try to get us some subs from Subway once in a while.
And, as I mentioned briefly a couple of weeks ago, when you get the change to drive home at sunset frequently, you get to enjoy some real colorful shows provided by Mother Nature or whoever is in charge. Last night, as I stood in a northern Amherst parking lot getting into my car, the clouds were in swirling lines, white with orange lining and blue skies with a touch of orange getting darker as I drove home.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Music Is Art Coming September 12

Goo Goo Doll Robby Takac will present his annual Music Is Art Festival starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 12, at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.
This will be the second year in a row the day of music (live bands and DJs), photography, art, dance and fun will be held at the Albright-Knox, and the event is free. We will have an interview with Robby and a photo or two up very soon on our BuffaloRoots web site, and I will let you know as soon as that is posted.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

OK, OK, I Know

Yes, I was a bit lazy on Labor Day yesterday and did not write anything here; sorry, I was not inspired in a blog way and will try to make up for it soon.

Big Ten Network: Yay, Except For ...

Val and I get the Big Ten Network, and with our being big University of Wisconsin fans (I've mentioned Val's family connections to Wisconsin), we were thrilled to start the NCAA Division I football season with the 7 p.m. game Saturday being Wisconsin hosting Northern Illinois.
The Badgers beat Northern Illinois, 28-20; the game was closer than it should have been due to at least one overwhelmingly bad referee's call on a play in which the Badger defender stopped the quaterback, forced a fumble and recovered it deep in his own territory, but forward progress was ruled stopped and the call was not reversible.
The broadcast team, who of course I forgot to write down, was pretty good; informative, professional sounding and did not fall for the vast majority of cliches that too many other ESPN and other broadcast network teams use during college football season.
There was one painful part of the broadcast, though; like Monday Night Football, there is a theme song for this year's Big Ten football season programming, as well as a big production commercial featuring a band, all teams and cheerleaders. Of course, there is a horrible song written just for the Big Ten, performed by ... Rascal Flats. Fucking Rascal Flats.
It's as if the Big Ten Network went as close as it could to getting someone worse than Hank Williams Jr., and actually did get a worse recording act.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Squirrels in Trees, Again

As Val got out of her car when we parked in front of our house after we ate dinner at Globe Market last night, and I walked around the car to help her, we watched a squirrel take a 10-12-foot leap from the ground onto the maple tree trunk next to her car.
Amusing, but not exactly unusual, we were impressed and a bit surprised by what followed. I was born at Sisters' Hospital in Buffalo, and Val was born in Chicago (even though she spent time on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin), so, as Renee Roberts suggested after reading the story, maybe we need more time in the country.
Val and I listened to and watched the squirrel chew branches and leaves off the top of the tree, which is a little taller than our 2 1/2-story house, and loudly start to put them together building a nest; neither Val nor I have ever seen a squirrel build a nest before, and it was fascinating. The squirrel moved very fast from branch to branch, carrying the broken and chewed off parts he used and dropping parts that had too many leaves on them.
After 15 minutes or so of watching this, we went inside but made a beeline upstairs to the bedroom and computer room windows to watch more, and it remained fascinating. The squirrel finally stopped his work, but we are expecting the tree condo to be occupied soon.
Val, who took photos that we will try to post here, just noted that he probably has an in-ground pool and counter tops in the nest by now.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Trees Are Alive ...

I mentioned that our enormous, more-than-100-year-old black walnut tree (not oak, my mistake) in our backyard had lost some 20 feet (or more ) of branch, long-term damage from the October 2006 storm, a few days ago. The residents of the tree appear to be going strong.
The squirrels who live in that tree, by all indications, live active lives. The most notable part is their daily daring of Walker Evans to come chase them; they hit the ground and saunter away from the tree, and when Walker is put outside, he always madly chases them, but as of yet, has never caught one of them.
It is humorous how the squirrels not only seem to bait him, but also bombard Walker with black walnuts from up in the tree while he is in the backyard, including once in a while when he is assuming his poo position. The squirrels also target Walker when he is outside with us when we are cooking out.
Last night, Val and I were cooking out, and we brought Walker outside, as he all but begs us to do. Only one or two squirrels actually sent black walnuts his way, but you could hear them eating very loudly and moving about in the tree.
I wouldn't be surprised if Walker is planning his next squirrel operation right now.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I Lost My Car?

As usual, I was in a bit of a hurry to get to work after parking my car yesterday, but I haven't had this happen before.
I parked in the pay lot adjacent to the Family Court Building on Franklin Street yesterday just before 8 a.m., and hustled to get to my office kind of on a diagonal from it. I parked in the usual area I park, and basically in the same one of three to five parking spots.
On the way to my car after worked ended, a little after 4 p.m., I was climbing up the stairs to the level I parked on, because it is only a few flights and better exercise and actually faster than waiting for and taking the elevator. As I passed the third floor, I looked out and got a strange, familiar feeling as I went to the fourth floor, the floor where I parked my car.
Or so I thought; I walked to the right side of the lane, the side I parked on, and didn't see my car, and first I noticed that some larger vehicles were in positions to block the view of my car. I walked up and down the aisle, and did not see my car anywhere on the right side, and checked the left side, in case I had goofed, and still, I did not see my car.
Panic slowly started to set in, as I feared someone had taken my car; reason tried to fight its way back into my deliberations, because I have no idea why someone would steal a maroon 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier with more than 72,600 miles on it and only an AM/FM cassette radio that was playing both sides of the cassettes at the same time way too frequently inside.
I calmed down a little and decided to go back down to the third floor of the parking ramp and check; of course, as soon as I got there, I saw my car parked in exactly the place on the right side of the lane as I had expected.
Yes, I know.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Another Gift From Mother Nature

I drove home from some political volunteer work starting at about 8 p.m. Monday, and Mother Nature put on a pretty good show.
Sunset in particular was amazing; with very, very few clouds showing, the orange, pink and purple of sunset blended to take up the entire horizon. Because I was driving mainly on the I-990, I-290 and I-190, there were not too many tall buildings and not much background of the city in general, even as I entered Buffalo in Black Rock. Looking out at Lake Erie was breathtaking; the light shimmered off the water.
Driving in and seeing so much of the sky taken up by a clear night and all of these colors actually made the long drive from northern Amherst to the West Side of Buffalo tolerable, as did knowing I was finally getting home to Val and Walker Evans.