Ramble On

Sigh, you go away for a few days….

The Lloyd’s Taco Truck guys go to a stop in Amherst that they’ve been at before (by invitation) and suddenly get invited to leave in violation of a law that doesn’t apparently exist. This is a little bumfuzzling to this disinterested observer as don’t you have to have the law first, then the breakage of same? While $100 isn’t huge, it smells like some of the restauranteurs are looking for a little protection, since they don’t move. I mean, they (the brick and mortar folk) should concentrate on making good food. That is what folks go to the trucks for. Affordable good product is a good thing. Make that and people will come to your table.

While I’m on the subject, one of the episodes of No Reservations dealt with a veritable food court of trucks in, I think, Portland that gave a place of residence. An idea for large gatherings here. If the Truck-ers have to jump through hoops, the fixed spots should too. None of this crying because the trucks can work in a lot. It’s funny to me as nobody gets upset with the Ice Cream trucks and they play that same damn song over and over, practically ruining “The Sting” for me. That is something to be disgruntled about, not this other foolishness.


I’m not taking credit for it, but I wrote about it back in June. The “It” is the possibility of turning a portion of Gallagher Beach into something swimable, giving Buffalo a city beach and the kind of thing that people might actually come to the city to use. https://mikespub.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/beachin-and-hopin/ is the blog entry and if one of the seven people who read it works with the powers that be, then good for both of us. It’s Buffalo, give people some water to fall into, when they stand up, they will want to eat something.


The high school version of me is happy that the late middle age version is going to get a new Led Zeppelin album. We can all see of the reunion of a few years ago was really a thing,


In wandering around midtown Manhattan last week, I happened across the NHL Store (no, it wasn’t closed), but it did offer proof that it is possible to buy a Buffalo Sabres windbreaker for $90. This is something I chose NOT to do, but I half expected the commish to show up and say they weren’t charging enough. The Sabres, by the way, should have been one game into their preseason schedule as I write this…….groan.


When your presidential candidate does comment about windows on an airplane rolling down, shouldn’t you at least question the timing of the attempt at humor?


Instead of tearing down the Skyway, can’t we just paint the pillars to match the Canalside chairs (my dad’s idea)? It’s cheaper, would look nice and fills the gap of what do you replace the skyway with?


Still jazzed over this:


“I ain’t here on business…

only here for fun!” It’s hard to think of a two year old football stadium as hallowed ground, but the new Giants Stadium was pretty much that last weekend. My younger sister and I took in night number #2 of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band‘s stand at the veritable concrete bowl and had the expected fantabulous time with a great, great show. It’s fun to see your favorites in their natural surroundings

We were invited/privileged/astonished to watch a tailgate party come together with military like precision in the parking lot beforehand. The grill came out and with what seems a rapid fire succession of carnivore laden delights hit the flames. It made me think of Anthony Bourdain‘s line about how “sides are for suckers, you need that real estate.”

Sausages whose names probably ended in wurst led the hit parade. When the inferno below hit the grill, I was informed that the 6 inch by 19 inch foil collective was bacon. Okay, if you say so, sir.


Good sense says to look away, but you just can’t. The sight of corn on the cob following that made me laugh, like checking your vegetable karma before things got serious. A few of us stopped as we had to get a decent space for the show.


My sister has become a junkie for being on the floor during a Springsteen show. That’s funny because  she sort of resented hearing the River through the second floor of our childhood home, but osmosis won her over. Given the picture above, it’s not hard to see why you’d want to be in the midst of mostly kindred spirits. I’m slowly losing my tastes for huge stadium shows because things get cartoony, like bands overreaching to fill the big space.


I didn’t get that sense, perhaps being maybe 30 yards from the stage helps. I have to imagine the folks on the upper decks were basically watching the video screens, but it was an amiable mess of a good time.


Enjoyed myself immensely as always, thanks Bruce (and Kate), but as a palate cleanser here you go. With Bruce holding down Jersey, we balanced the weekend by heading to the northern most portion of the isle.




You can almost forget you are in NY at that point.

Shut it, Hockey

I think I’ll be the Christmas rush and start being annoyed with my favorite spectator sport now. It seems to me that the NHL and the NHLPA knew they had a deadline. They knew this for more than an afternoon or two.

Yet, the squabbling over how to divide more than a billion dollars in revenue has them at an impasse of not returning each other’s phone calls like they are petulant eighth graders (my apologies to actual eighth graders, almost all of which have better adjusted priority systems). The phrase 50-50 might be a good leaping off point. I’m sure somebody will point out that “it’s not that simple.” Yeah, well, it isn’t that complicated either. For a system so “broken,” there have been a lot of high profile, big ticket signings lately.

Instead, fans are going to get screwed with their pants on again. There are those of us pocket an hourly wage that will miss some income while these guys don’t schedule meetings. It’s too bad as the local team found out, that it isn’t the noise makers that make for atmosphere, it’s winning hockey. When the Sabres came back in the last game against the Maple Leafs, it was like VJ Day, with high fives and hugs abound.
So far, the only thing missed is the deadline. But can you imagine the foreign born, foreign playing guy who might lose his spot on his team because an NHL star is coming home to stay in shape for when this ends.

The whole thing about “nobody wants to play more” rings a little hollow when you consider both sides have known that the current collective bargaining agreement was going to expire over the weekend….for, I dunno, eight FLIPPIN YEARS!

There is a good article in today’s Buffalo News that outlines the other venues that get effected by the spat. It hasn’t really gotten underway yet, and I’m already weary about the parade of press conferences announcing nothing in particular.

Here’s my proposal to both sides, get yerselves in the same room and no soundbytes from either side till we have something to say. Get it done without pandering to the networks.

Till then, Go Amerks

Live from New York

I’m borrowing this from crookedtimber.org blog, but I don’t think they will mind. We’re all thinking 9/11 thoughts today and this was a particular eloquent one.  For the original post, visit http://crookedtimber.org/2003/09/11/live-from-new-york/


This is the monologue from the Late Show with David Letterman on September 17, 2001, his first night back on the air after September 11th.


(cold opening and applause)

Thank you very much.

Welcome to the Late Show. This is our first show on the air since New York and Washington were attacked, and I need to ask your patience and indulgence here because I want to say a few things, and believe me, sadly, I’m not going to be saying anything new, and in the past week others have said what I will be saying here tonight far more eloquently than I’m equipped to do.

But, if we are going to continue to do shows, I just need to hear myself talk for a couple of minutes, and so that’s what I’m going to do here.

It’s terribly sad here in New York City. We’ve lost five thousand fellow New Yorkers, and you can feel it. You can feel it. You can see it. It’s terribly sad. Terribly, terribly sad. And watching all of this, I wasn’t sure that I should be doing a television show, because for twenty years we’ve been in the city, making fun of everything, making fun of the city, making fun of my hair, making fun of Paul… well…

So, to come to this circumstance that is so desperately sad, I don’t trust my judgment in matters like this, but I’ll tell you the reason that I am doing a show and the reason I am back to work is because of Mayor Giuliani.

Very early on, after the attack, and how strange does it sound to invoke that phrase, “after the attack?”, Mayor Giuliani encouraged us—and here lately implored us—to go back to our lives, go on living, continue trying to make New York City the place that it should be. And because of him, I’m here tonight.

And I just want to say one other thing about Mayor Giuliani: As this began, and if you were like me, and in many respects, God, I hope you’re not. But in this one small measure, if you’re like me, and you’re watching and you’re confused and depressed and irritated and angry and full of grief, and you don’t know how to behave and you’re not sure what to do and you don’t really… because we’ve never been through this before… all you had to do at any moment was watch the Mayor. Watch how this guy behaved. Watch how this guy conducted himself. Watch what this guy did. Listen to what this guy said. Rudolph Giuliani is the personification of courage.


And it’s very simple… there is only one requirement for any of us, and that is to be courageous, because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior. And I believe, because I’ve done a little of this myself, pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing. He’s an amazing man, and far, far better than we could have hoped for. To run the city in the midst of this obscene chaos and attack, and also demonstrate human dignity… my God… who can do that? That’s a pretty short list.

The twenty years we’ve been here in New York City, we’ve worked closely with police officers and the fire fighters and…


…and fortunately, most of us don’t really have to think too much about what these men and women do on a daily basis, and the phrase New York’s finest and New York’s bravest, you know, did it mean anything to us personally, firsthand? Well, maybe, hopefully, but probably not. But boy, it means something now, doesn’t it? They put themselves in harm’s way to protect people like us, and the men and women, the fire fighters and the police department who are lost are going to be missed by this city for a very, very long time. And I, and my hope for myself and everybody else, not only in New York but everywhere, is that we never, ever take these people for granted… absolutely never take them for granted.


I just want to go through this, and again, forgive me if this is more for me than it is for people watching, I’m sorry, but uh, I just, I have to go through this, I’m…

The reason we were attacked, the reason these people are dead, these people are missing and dead, and they weren’t doing anything wrong, they were living their lives, they were going to work, they were traveling, they were doing what they normally do. As I understand it (and my understanding of this is vague at best), another smaller group of people stole some airplanes and crashed them into buildings. And we’re told that they were zealots, fueled by religious fervor… religious fervor. And if you live to be a thousand years old, will that make any sense to you? Will that make any Goddamned sense? Whew.

I’ll tell you about a thing that happened last night. There’s a town in Montana by the name of Choteau. It’s about a hundred miles south of the Canadian border. And I know a little something about this town. It’s 1,600 people. 1,600 people. And it’s an ag-business community, which means farming and ranching. And Montana’s been in the middle of a drought for… I don’t know… three years? And if you’ve got no rain, you can’t grow anything. And if you can’t grow anything, you can’t farm, and if you can’t grow anything, you can’t ranch, because the cattle don’t have anything to eat, and that’s the way life is in a small town. 1,600 people.

Last night at the high school auditorium in Choteau, Montana, they had a rally, home of the Bulldogs, by the way… they had a rally for New York City. And not just a rally for New York City, but a rally to raise money… to raise money for New York City. And if that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the… the spirit of the United States, then I can’t help you. I’m sorry.


And I have one more thing to say, and then, thank God, Regis is here, so we have something to make fun of.

If you didn’t believe it before, and it’s easy to understand how you might have been skeptical on this point, if you didn’t believe it before, you can absolutely believe it now… New York City is the greatest city in the world.

(lengthy applause)

We’re going to try and feel our way through this, and we’ll just see how it goes… take it a day at a time. We’re lucky enough tonight to have two fantastic representatives of this town, Dan Rather and Regis Philbin, and we’ll be right back.

(to commercial)

Dome on the Range

After years of craning our necks at Blue Jays games at Exhibition Stadium, my dad and I took in a game at the Rogers Centre a few years back. While its corridors are posh by ballpark standards and there are some pretty amazing feats of engineering, the place and words like pretty, beautiful, and the like don’t often enter the conversation. The last memorable photo for me was when Joe Carter hit that homer to end the 93 baseball season. But I don’t know who the photographer was, but this picture from last month’s concert by Bruce Springsteen (yeah, I know) was worthy.

Can We Just Vote Now?

I’ve had my fill of rhetoric, bloviating, misrepresenting, pontificating, obfuscating, facts obliterating, patronizing, insult-flailing, empty chair parodying, misspent funds, half truths and generally being expected to take focus group tested soundbytes as gospel.

Now, my folks raised my siblings and me to pay a little attention to the world around us and it is a habit I maintained and part of that is keeping an eye peeled on the national political conventions when the time comes. I don’t think they’ve really mattered in a long time, beyond being glorified pep rallys. No big platform fights, candidate revelations or things of that ilk have come along in a generation or more.

But occasionally you get those moments that are fun to watch, just for the sake of watching. In the early years of the West Wing tv show, there was a great scene where fictional communications director Toby Ziegler was battling with network chiefs about how to cover the now predictable conventions. Ziegler got the best line about “what can be better than our leaders talking to us.” Far too often they’ve been talking down to us, insulting voters short term memories with just one “fact” or conveniently forgetting the easily proveable reality.

The real winner in cases like that aren’t the voters, but guys like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert who probably got more than a week’s worth of material from Tampa and likely reaping the motherload from the shenanigans in Charlotte.

People are sniping over stupid things like the move of the President’s speech from a nearby Football stadium to the convention hall, from what Paul Ryan did and didn’t say correctly, what the President said about getting stuff done when he was first elected to whatever point Clint Eastwood was trying to make with the empty chair.

About the only thing abundantly clear is the decline in our listening skills.

These pep rallies aren’t getting much actually accomplished, but as was pointed out Tampa plays Carolina on Sunday. Think the winner is predicting the election?

Can we just vote now?