That’s Countdown


Indabuff hipped me to this little piece of footage. Equal opportunity mocker Jon Stewart takes on the extremes of Keith Olbermann in a pointed “Commentary.” Olbermann has the good sense to respond with some agreement. I used to like Olbermann when he and Dan Patrick anchored “Sportscenter.” They were in their heyday, the best of the wisecracking anchor teams. I weaned myself off most of the nightly pundit shows after the Presidential election as they turned into name calling on all the channels with nothing ever really substantively discussed.

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Blizzard of ’77


Sure, it stunk getting into work this morning, then I got the reminder about this lovely storm from somebody who had the termerity to not be alive when it hit. 33 years ago today, I got a whiff of capitalism. Neighbors went to Florida two days before and hired me to shovel their driveway while they were away, figuring they’d pay me for a couple of passes. Can you say eight?? My best childhood chum and I went on a record purchasing bender at National Record Mart with our proceeds.

Till that storm, helping my dad with the snow removal largely consisted of staying out of the way while he ran our behemoth of a snow blower. Mom would say “perhaps you should help your dad.” I could sincerely reply “I am” while watching tv. This made sense as the snowblower was a big one and the last thing you needed while running it was somebody else “helping” at one end of the driveway.

This was mammoth snow and the blowing made things impressive until you had to move them. My childhood home had such an odd shape that a roughly eight foot wall formed outside the back door, but left enough of a canal to the garage that we could make it to the garage to access our “Battery of snow-fighting equipment.” It was a rare occurence as usually helping my Dad clear the driveway meant staying out of the line of fire (and usually inside), but I think even my brother was party of the relocation of the driveway campaign.

The winds made it a multiple day chore, but by the time the worst was over, I was an ace snowblower pilot and using that on those Florida bound neighbors, who are still stuck listening to everybody else’s Blizzard tales.

My longtime partner and crime used the almost two weeks off from school on some arctic architectural pursuits, constructing a snow fort still legendary in its expanse, two floors, complete with slide to get from the balcony level down to the mezzanine.

Even the neighborhood bully was impressed

“Starting in Goal…”


Buoyed by the re-airing of the Top Gear episode centering on the Winter Olympics, I’m looking forward to some things and cringing at others. During a recent Sabres-Leafs game, the camera panned the Leaf bench centering on Coach Ron Wilson. Given the way the Leafs were playing that night, I was suddenly a little afraid for Ryan Miller. The Olympic Hockey tourney makes for some fun games, but ever since the NHL populace has taken over, the excitement for me isn’t there.

The Sabres have shown some signs of life, mostly thanks to Ryan Miller. Pat Lalime’s recent streak shows that we really don’t have to sweat the occasional night off for Ryan. And he’ll need some as this year’s team MVP.

He is dressing for the occasion:

Looks suitably bad ass for the games, but I’m hoping he’s able to save some for the Senators, ya know.

Extreme Home Makeover….the episode


I’m a bad buffalonian

I took a little good natured guff about not being over the moon about the finished episode of the Buffalo edition of “Extreme Home Makeover.” I certainly to mean to be negative, I strive more for a sense of pragmatism. It was a great week, especially for an area that doesn’t see that many great weeks. You can barely see City Hall from Massachusetts Ave., and there is more than just a little metaphor for that.

I don’t begrudge the Powell Family at all. I think it’s great for that amount of light to get into a space where precious little was shown before. It’s terrific for the City to be national tv with nary a snow joke, but it, when all was said and done, a tv show.

More people have used the word momentum since the broadcast schedule was announced, like there is some great cosmic effect taking place. We had a beautiful week and the highlights made for a nice program, mercifully free of downtown talking heads who didn’t contribute anything anyway. Somehow, that never slows them down from getting face time typically.

I read all the sound bytes from City Leaders during the production and with the amount of smoke being blown, it’s lucky the Powells don’t need a humidor. “We can keep it going,” “We should build upon this,” and from a councilman who controls the purse strings for just such ventures: “We should do our own on the east side.” Yeah, sure, I’ll cop to being a bit of a Deputy Downer on this one. You betcha, we should do this on the east side. A former classmate of mine pointed out that it was November when this was done.

Understood, but hey momentum is momentum, you can plan a little. I’ll eat those words a little as David Stapleton, owner of David Homes, is rallying his considerable forces. That is great, laudable and impressive and that will work as Push Buffalo, Buffalo Reuse and Stapleton lead a considerable charge. He said he was going to make it happen and he backed that up. If he ran for office, I’d vote for him.

It came up in a discussion that we are stuck in a silver bullet mentality and it is true. From the casino, to Bass Pro, to new convention centers, and hypothetical headquarters for cable companies that have ceased to be, to the 42 year old newspaper that exclaims “Buffalo Waterfront ready to take off!” the photo ops have been a plenty and the results, not so much. You want the photo fine, but first find the scumbag who sold Mrs. Powell the place in such disrepair.

An area got a second chance at life and I’m looking forward to the sequel, but the work that was done that week was infinitely more important that any program will ever be. Sure a few narcissists got on tv for showing up, but they showed up and that is what was truly important.

I’m a bad buffalonian

All we are saying is give Chan a Piece


I seem to remember Marv Levy’s record not being anything to get excited about when he was hired in 1986 to replace Hank Bullough as the Head Coach of the Buffalo Bills. That seemed to work out alright.

Can you imagine somebody with Levy’s 1986 record applying in the Bills recent coaching search?

Lord knows there is a lot broken about the Bills at the moment.

I don’t know if Chan Gailey is the answer or if Ralph Wilson has checked out on Western New York completely, but I’m falling into the give the guy a shot camp. He built teams that did well. While I’m sure Jerry Jones is blowing a little smoke, he has some skills and we, as a region, shouldn’t punish him for not being Bill Cowher.

Some of the scuttlebutt had Cowher wanting a quarterback to work with, etc. If I have Bill Cowher’s money, I’d wait as well. But it sort of rings hallow in what you want as a coach. You want somebody to direct the team, somebody to make the team. Mr. Cunningham is probably still laughing about Charlie Weis. I still think Trent Edwards can be good provided he gets good coaching (remember 4-1 pre-concussion?) Given the Bills’ porous offensive line, I don’t think Joe Montana could have had success in that “Pocket.”

Chan brings that offensive background that we’ve been needing, along with a name us cheeky headline writers can mock. One more southern drawl though and the Bills should be about ready for Friday Night Lights

C.S.I. Halftime


It isn’t surprising for the Who to be the latest rock act to sign up for Super Bowl duty. This year’s game is on February 7, on CBS where the three CSI shows reside, all complete with Who songs as themes, so I’m betting on the setlist already is done. The day after the game I turn 46, a point brought homewhen this 25 year old version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” that is below came on the radio on the drive home tonight. It is Pete Townshend, solo with the Deep End band — a huge group that had David Gilmour sitting in on guitar. This was in 85, but Gilmour then looked like a stoic version of Top Gear’s James May with the hair. I remember seeing this on MTV and delighted when I found an LP of this show at flea market that my best friend and I listened to until the vinyl started to go gray.

Anyhoo, in twitter-ese, here’s some #MusicMonday to welcome a #FollowFriday

It’s on Itunes and well worth the 99 cents

“It’s the Tonight Show, starring…”


In a previous career, I did publicity work for a book publisher. Each Memorial Day weekend in the early nineties, I found myself at what is now called Book Expo and part of that weekend was inevitably spent in the company of Steve Allen, comedian, author, musician, founder of “the Tonight show.” He was our lead author for a number of years running. At the 1992 Book Expo in Anaheim, we were able to get a press conference to launch his latest book. These are tough gets and we knew this would help. He got all kinds of questions over the then current handling of Johnny Carson’s retirement from the Tonight show and the fiasco over the hiring of Jay Leno over David Letterman.

In person, Allen could be a little curt. Conversations with him always made me feel like a truant student in the principals office. He was always thinking, dictating, etc, but the final question about late night made him understandably explode with “It’s just a tv show!”

He was absolutely right. It is just a tv show. All the sound bytes and whatnot seems a little bizarre at the moment. It seems a little, well, odd, for late night comedy to occupy such a place in the news cycle. The barbs are entertaining and all. It is fun to watch NBC executives verbally paint themselves into a corner for mistakes of their own making, but really. And it has occupied an unusual amount of airtime, which I guess says a lot about the Tonight Show brand, despite the fact that it’s no longer the show of Allen, Johnny Carson or Jack Paar. The sheer volume of media has taken care of that. During the week, I’m in either reading or watching Stephen Colbert at that hour. Dave is still the best of the bunch and has the most reasonable take on the shenanigans.

A friend bought up the question of shouldn’t we be paying attention to Haiti instead of talk show non-developments. This, to me, seems a very reasonable question, but the other respondents to the poll took her to task a little bit about bringing news into something that wasn’t about news.

How dare she speak of something so “trivial” when the future of late night is at stake.