Bipolar Winter

A weather forecaster actually said that Buffalo isn’t used to this snow the other night. I nearly did a spit take on this. Yes, snow in January is pretty flipping unique and certainly noteworthy in Western New York (please tell me that sarcasm was evident as you read it).

Sure, it hasn’t been a traditional Buffalo winter and I’m okay with that. Change is good. We got no break at all last year, which made the season stretch to the point where Spring might have been offended had we had one.

It cracks me up to read things like “Now it looks like January” or “Where’s ours?” when a storm does come through but picks on other portions of the region, like it’s a threat to our collective manhood that we don’t have driveways full of the stuff.

Now, I don’t have a particular interest one way or the other. I like all the seasons just fine, but I’m not feeling gyped by how often I have to clean off my car. In fact, it was nice to know that the sounds of windows being scraped on Monday didn’t include me (as my car was nestled in the garage).

When we do get walloped, it seems like the Buffalo mojo is a little askew in recent winters. I don’t the snow over the weekend seemed to confound people like the forecaster. I don’t know if the Thanksgiving storm in2000 permanently warped us, but to open my facebook list and see people bitching about temperatures in the 50s does make your head shake.

My winter coat got the day off. That is a good thing.


And now, some shameless semi-self promotion

Cold Winter's Night

Head to downtown Buffalo for Polar Bites, the annual fundraiser for the Buffalo Zoo. The event will take place Thursday, February 16th from 6 to 9 p.m., upstairs at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center on Franklin St. The event showcases some of the area’s top restaurants, wineries and breweries while helping out the Zoo.

Among the area vendors lending a hand to help out the Zoo are Bravo Cucina Italiana, Long Trail Brewing, Pizza Plant, Lebro’s, Johnson Estate Winery, Global Group and Rich Products Catering. These vendors will be competing for awards including best beer, best entree, best booth decor, best of show and rookie of the year. The event also features silent and basket auctions.

Tickets for Polar Bites are $35 in advance and $45 at the door; this is a 21-and-over event. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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Ticket to Ride

I went to my first rock concert in 1978. The tickets were bought over the counter by standing in line. This dawned on me on how simple it was watching how getting access to a major event is something the internet hasn’t made easier. In fact it might be a little more messed up. If you were a kid of the burbs, you could walk up to the National Record Mart (remember them?) and get tickets from somebody who acted like a rock star because he worked in record store, making minimum wage.

Inflation does what it does. Remember when a souvenir t-shirt was under $10? but the idea of if you can get through the Ticketmaster,, or Live Nation sites when a major show is announced, order your two seats and pay a “Convenience” fee tantamount to buying a third ticket? That is a little nutty, when the convenience means your printer at home, your toner, their lack of an actual person aiding your purchase. Who they paying with that fee? The electric bill? The good folks over at Kleinhans Music Hall have been hosting concerts of all colors once again and that is a great thing as the place is perfect. I had to laugh a little when a poster on twitter lamented how they were just using their box office staff instead of a “robust ticket selling website like Ticketmaster.” The same robust site that crapped out on numerous Springsteen and Roger Waters hopefuls earlier this week.

Give me a robust busy signal for a few minutes or a short line to wait in for the real deal over the computer freezing anytime. The net ain’t there yet.

Tramps Like Us

Gonna procure tickets for the umpteenth time to see Bruce Springsteen tomorrow. Since the first time I’ve done that the world has certainly changed.

The first instance was my best bud and I cobbling together our allowances, giving them plus the unspoken you’re going to give us a ride surcharge, to his older brother for the whopping sum of $10 for two tickets. Two years later, my mom cued up at National Record Mart and got us the tickets. I had a test, so Mom came up home with two in the first row of the upper golds of the aud (she got a cool story out of it and much respect from my school crowd) We rode with his brother again and might have spent the towering sum of $20.00 for two tickets. Got a chance to tell that to the man himself during a brief exchange of hellos in 1994.

Those were the days, no service charge and the souvenir shirts that you HAD to have were all of eight bucks.

It tells you something that the economics have shifted where you look at a concert ticket and think a $75 price tag ain’t terrible. But the evil ticketmaster will mess with us all to be sure. Stories of the computers freezing up between Live Nation and other shows going on leaving mostly the working folk out in the cold peering into the windows of StubHub.

And that $20, that is still around, as the “convenience charge”  for printing at home.

Been at this awhile…Got a feeling this will be for my age bracket what say, the Foo Fighters show was in September for a slightly younger crowd, you start going to the Sportmen to fit in better than at the Old’ Pink.

“In the arms of the Sabres”

Out of a twitter conversation Saturday Night, following the Buffalo Sabres‘ loss to the St. Louis Blues, came the notion of things being so bad that pretty soon Sarah McLachlan will be filming a sad song (does she sing anything upbeat at all) commercial about our hometown team. You can almost see it, instead of orphaned puppies, a series of shots of orphaned pucks and empty nets. The camera cuts to the attractive Ms. McLachlan with Nathan Gerbe on her lap: “Won’t you please help?”

I mean even the Buffalo News feature columnists have noticed. The guys in sports can’t keep the badness contained, it’s spilling over into other departments. The tough part is that with Mr. Pegula and his wallet arriving, the level of optimism got wratched up in well, June, but the cast didn’t change dramatically. Now, we could smile for the first time really since 2007, but the true soul of the team got exposed during the long, overly examined loss to Boston in November and the boys in blue and gold haven’t been the same since. That is most problematic as the promise of some success usually was the balm for wounded football fans drowning in the Bills‘ madcap escapades.

Now, Mr. P doesn’t want to rush to judgement, but as the Walrus said, the time has come. The season is swirling around the proverbial drainpipe and the status quo ain’t working. I wonder what this current stretch could do the young folk like Gerbe or Myers. The promise of the first few weeks of October is a distant memory

“In the arms of a Sabre, skate away from here
From this dark, cold dressing room, and the scorelessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your losing streak
You’re in the arms of an Sabre; may you find some goals here”

This team is bad, scary, bad

It makes you wonder….

-What the problem was with letting the Acropolis complete its second floor bar area. It’s one of the great mysteries to me why when Bank of America bought Pier One they had to fake a second floor for neighborhood standards and with the Acropolis want to make a working second floor that would affect only the people utilizing it, the owners get told no. I don’t get it. It’s the city and a little music isn’t a bad thing, perhaps somebody forgot to charge a licensing fee that seems to be attached to anything and everything.

-if a group of ECC students will get listened to. Governor Cuomo wants to put a health sciences building in the vast disconnect that is ECC’s North Campus. The student group protested that it should go downtown to better take advantages of being nearby to the Buffalo Medical Campus. This concept is quite unusual as it makes a great degree of sense, might even attract more folks to the downtown campus, and I bet they bring their wallets with them, too.

-if the muddleheaded thinking about the Food Trucks will subside with the upcoming law. This reoccuring theme popped in my brain as I perused ArtVoice at lunchtime while successfully not spilling any of the tacos I picked up for Lloyd’s for lunch. The famed taco truck was very busy despite the 14 degree temperatures. Make good stuff and people come out. Aside from the Rocket Sauce laden goodies being just the ticket for me, hopefully the classy attitudes exhibited by the truck owners will be contagious and the debate over 100 feet to 175 feet and licensing shenanigans will fall by the way like they should have long ago, and the brick and mortal guys can get looking for government assistance and make good food (which, guys, as a secret, is what gets people to come to your place, just saying).

-if the good vibes us hockey junkies felt can come back. It isn’t a lot of fun at the moment in Pegulaville. I’d start looking forward to the baseball season, but as a Mets and Blue Jays fan, the magic numbers exceed 162.

-why the School District does pay teachers for plastic surgery.

-when this will become clearer to me. The buddha of my youth is putting out a new record soon. The first single came out and I don’t hate it, don’t really embrace yet either, perhaps a few more listens.

But when the tickets go onsale for the rumored April date, I’ll be there.

What Kind of Day Has It Been?

Fun watching all the Republican candidates basically devour each other. My mom used to sport a “newt happens” t shirt back when he was a regular in the headline the first time. I thought of this as the Today show (in between celebrating its birthday) showed clips of him in South Carolina berating how much of a conservative Mitt Romney is. I can be impartial in this instance as it is like playoff football, my team isn’t there, but any voter who casts their vote based on one candidate’s assessment about how much of a conservative another is needs their flippin head examined.

Just once it would be cool to see somebody campaign based on why they should get the job, not why other people shouldn’t. Pity Jon Huntsman doesn’t stand a chance.

And Newt can’t take the President in a debate, find a new talking point, Dude.

Addled thinking, the same misbegotten thought that put Kool and the Gang and Van Halen on the same concert bill for March. I’m betting that probably won’t be like the Chicago and Earth, Wind, and Fire show that pops up on MSG…oops…that used to pop up on MSG.

That bothers me two cable companies slugging it out over dimes that neither needs. In terms of who is to blame, it is sort of choosing between the Joker and Riddler. Both are villians, but who is guiltier. In this case, I think more fault likes with the kids at MSG. What is even tougher is that the Sabres and Buffalo are merely a footnote to a larger squabble as per usual. The trouble of changing providers really isn’t worth it unless you own a bar as the same slapfight will get played out with those other providers at some point. Perhaps if the Sabres haven’t been playing like they were using double-runners over the past few months, I might have a greater sense of urgency.

I was reading along with Jeff Miers’ chat on the Buffalo News website, okay rereading it over Saturday coffee and the idea of a permanent fixed stage at the waterfront where the temp one was last year has merit in what is left of my mind, the place did well with the paid shows and small stage productions that came last summer. Thursday in the Square shows did well, and even the modestly priced Tragically Hip show did well. Let’s just keep Live Nation back at Darien Lake with their surcharges. The current folk found a nice mix, a little something for everybody.

Hey Time Warner, toss the Fuse Channel back when the dust settles, the actual level of music on tv, beyond Palladia is a little lacking.

And yeah, it snowed, in Buffalo, in January, imagine….

Happy Now?

There was an awful lot of whining going on about when are we going to get ours in terms of snowfall? I really wanted these people to shaddup because if in Buffalo you ask for snow, chances are it will still be in here in APRIL! It’s less charming then, in fact, after the holidays, I’m sort of whatever. But some things are certain, death, taxes, the Mets sucking, Snow in Buffalo? Settle, it came.

So, it never ceases to amaze that there is somebody driving down Elmwood, with a few inches of snow covering their car, windshield barely defrosted, no lights on.

I don’t mind the snow, just what can happen mind sets. Having four wheel drive is the key to NOTHING and there are few folks in the city who think having a four drive car has given them the powers found usually with residents of Krypton.

It’s the little things that make it even more interesting.

The traffic light on my street took on disco light flashing, which brings an even busier intersection that much more of a mess as we all forgot the four way stop rule they teach you in driver’s ed.

There isn’t that much snow as I write this but somehow folks are already in the streets.

It is what makes the “Where is our snow” facebook status updates and tweets sort of laughable.

“It’s here!”