How Cool is That?


Okay, nobody knows what the next couple of months holds football-wise, but isn’t this fun? As somebody who lived through Super Bowl years and is almost nostalgic for the Wade Phillips/Doug Flutie years, this is the enjoyably slap happy September in these parts in sometime.

If this is dreaming, I’ll stay asleep for awhile.

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Silence is Foo!


Like any Western New York trapped in the trevails of the Buffalo Bills, it was great fun to watch the New England Patriots and their head coach come a little unglued after blowing a big lead and eventually lose to the Bills for the first time in a long time. As CBS kept reminding us, it has been awhile, so hopefully when the teams meet later this year, the announcers will have to come up with something else to talk about.

I’m not thinking place offs yet, but this is fun. Good looking uniforms, good looking second halves, this keeps up, we’ll move up on the television food chain in terms of who calls the games.

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Short lived euphoria for this observer. My moonlighting gig at the downtown sports facility eased me into an usher’s jacket for the Sunday Night Foo Fighters concert, which aside from a little customer service issues was no big whoop. Where the sour note occured was in the return to the parking lot.

Nothing fills you full of dread in an emptying parking lot quite like the sight of a couple staring at your car with a mix of pity and amazement. It turned out that a pickup truck parked next to mine tried to leave his space a little too quick and nearly took part of my grand am with him. He couldn’t do it right the first time. Thankfully, my two new friends hung in there and got his plate number so that should make all the requisite fun go a little smoother, but as much fun as it is to test a Nissan Sentra by turning everything on to watch it glow, I miss my hoopty.

Nice concert though, makes me look forward to Further however, that crowd might be less intense on their exit.

Truckin’


The food truck battle in Buffalo reinforces some ridiculousness that I foolishly thought was disappearing. We spend so much time thinking about what might happen, almost nothing ever actually does.

The notion that the downtown restaurants “are sick” of the food truck “invasion” is rather nutty. It reminds me of the anuerysms that coffee shop owners had when Starbucks entered the region. Those shops made good product and everybody was fine. There has yet to be a food truck park right outside the Ellicott Square Building or right in front of the local pizza chain, but apparently that has to be guarded against. I guess my question is why. The acclaimed taco truck does lunch time business at the corner of Main and Mohawk, an intersection served mostly by the occasional homeless guy. The others go to spots where there aren’t much in terms of alternatives.

It amuses me that one of the leading squawkers is a former tea-party less government is better candidate for state office. It’s interesting that some of us want less government except when it comes to lazily protecting a bottom line. The Truck Owners are meeting the Brick and Mortar guys more than half way. The Festival Buffer Zone seems silly to me, because that should apply to the trailers some of the dealers bring out too. Parking lot restrictions? Please, much of life in the city is finding a place to park. It is a little hypocritical to be hiding under zoning restrictions that don’t apply to who could set up next door as long as they are inside. Step up your game, not your lobbying.

I can’t help but think that if people are walking past reheated pizza slices to stroll a couple of blocks for a freshly made lunch, perhaps those screeching should look at their own operations instead of screaming for regulation.

If people aren’t buying your stuff, maybe your stuff needs to improve. If you are worried about people continuing to buy your stuff, maybe you need to find a reason to keep them buying your stuff.

Reading about the permit process that the Ice Cream Bicycle dudes had to go through when nobody else was vending was mind boggling and we haven’t evolved any further when one truck got ticketed for a law that didn’t exist yet. Um, what??

Things get unnecessary hard when paranoia has people staking turf out instead of trying make something that doesn’t suck.

This is a battle riddled with inconsistencies as a local brick and mortar pizza chain had no problem dragging a trailer next to the food trucks at the Music is Art fair. That’s all well and good, and I hope everybody made money and a grand time. My son ate pizza, I had a nice burger from the truck next door and we were happy.

Choice is good, folks.

Short Attention Span Theater


For a little extra cash (and to not work overly hard), I’ve taken up ushering, first at the stadium and the arena/center downtown. Last night was the first time I ever helped oversee a studio audience as the biggest professional wrestling corporation staged a show, primarily for cameras but the assembled masses seemed happy.

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Part of what fascinates me is seeing what goes into actually staging an event of this magnitude, being part of a large event as it comes together. The variety of reactions and interaction is fascinating stuff.  The WWE was something to behold, turning the entire First Niagara Center into a tv studio. What are usually nondescript hallways were suddenly sets.

An interesting transformation, although still a little scary to what crowd reaction, but as you could imagine, the people watching was pretty choice.

A Funky Goo Time


While us who follow the Sabres are understandably enamored with goings on orchestrated by Ted Black and Terry Pegula, I spent the afternoon basking in the efforts of another prominent Buffalonian as Robby Takac put on the latest edition of Music is Art on the Shakespeare Hill in Delaware Park.

Literally something for everybody, but if you haven’t heard “We’re Not Gonna Take It” or “I’m Too Sexy for my Shirt” done Polka Style then you haven’t lived dear friends.

Kind of ironic to note that we’re at the height of the food truck battles, one of the complaining entities pulls up their trailer next to the Roaming Buffalo, an entity you should visit.
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And as my son shows, getting VIP treatment is pretty cool too.
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A great event, something for every musical taste.

School Daze


My lovely son received a certificate from the school district honoring his participation in the spring school play. While the document is very nice, the honoring of his taking on a “lead roll,” and yes, that is how it was spelled, is pretty symptomatic of some fundamental problems in the district. While you never want to overly generalize about an issue, like all charter schools are great or all public schools stink, it is imperative to be on top of things. Both my son’s lovely mother and I come from long lines of troublemakers, so sticking our noses in our children’s school business is second nature.

While our recently departed superintendent and the head of the public schools teachers union were both fond of saying they are “working for the children” when nothing could be further from the truth, good things do happen and I don’t regret the choices we’ve made over the years. You learn things like the self appointed crown jewel of the high schools isn’t as good as US News and World Reports says it is, but mostly you learn to stay current with what is shaking.

It used to be so you could affect change for the school, know the teaching staff, get your kid in the best possible place to learn and be one with the environment. Now, I know that sounds a little hippie-esque, but it’s how I roll. When my guys started, the magnet schools were chugging right along and doing district wide measurable good work. There were specific focused programs that had enough luster that multiple schools had waiting lists! in the city.

And then, No Child Left Behind came. Lord god, what a flawed concept. If it takes a village to raise a child, the next village over should be all over the goofs who came up with anything beyond the title for this legislation. The upshot is that law introduced a slew of evaluative testing with such frequency that instruction is getting cramped, lessened, and successful programs have gotten denuded.

While the building where all three of my kids attended from age 3 through 8th grade is still a good school, and the recent upgrade is fantastic, we should be aiming higher than Lord of the Flies with smart boards. You don’t do well on one of the metric tests, suddenly you can go from a group you’ve known all your life to the middle school version of the sweathogs.

I know, by now, you’ve probably stopped reading, if you even got beyond the title, but something that has been sticking in my craw about some of the discussions I’ve had this week. It’s like schools are almost being run by accountants. Don’t get me wrong, I think all schools should be palaces and good teachers should be making six figure salaries, but reducing individual achievements to a balance sheet mentality isn’t the way wither.

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No other sport celebrates its history better than baseball. It was a great sense of relief after 9/11 and you’d think Major League Baseball would have seen the 10th anniversary of those events in a more sensible light than it did. Now, while Keith Olbermann can be overbearing, I think he has this one spot on.

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Really, Selig, Really?