With the call, here’s RJ


There are certain folks who just have a way with words. You know what is happening and are forming a mental picture based on their description. By way of example, I have never seen a “coffee-colored cadillac.” I know what it looks like from the way Chuck Berry sings about it.

Certain broadcasters have that gift. Outgoing Buffalo Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret has that gift. As he closes the book on an incredible run of 51 seasons, I am very appreciative he hung in there. The team is showing some signs of life, but the decade of meh hockey squandered time from one of the great enthusiastic voices. Both he and Ted Darling deserve eternal gratitude for their roles in building out Sabres hockey. Both fostered enthusiasm, belief, joy and fun.

Long before even he knew that mama hid the cookies on the top shelf, he spread the news.

When television was still a bid of an oddity and Sabres games were televised maybe a dozen times in the year, RJ painted an amazing picture and you saw it, you saw the expression on the face of the fictional kid from Peterborough who caught the puck as it went over the glass.

They used to have the regular sunday night starts and my clock radio brought many an epic battle onto my mental tv. You can take your pick.

I get that perhaps there might be some who might not be a fan, but the joy of the call of this one lives like it happened a few moments ago.

and got to have your cookies.

One of the best wastes of money I ever spent was dropping $10 for a copy of “Roll the Highlight Film” a cd filled with the best calls to that point by a seriously gifted broadcaster. I placed the contents on an ipod and now my phone as it is a treat to hear a song, then RJ describing a Gil Perreault led rush then back to the music.

His enthusiasm fed ours through great times, amazing times, even through the past decade where being a hockey fan wasn’t always very easy.

Thanks, RJ, it really has been fun.

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The Division Bell


An old acquaintance of mine wrote on that screed of the uninformed, Facebook, that “the Obamas divided us.” That really struck me that as per usual for such statements, no evidence was offered as to how this was done.

Donald Trump didn’t divide us. Despite his attempts to actually do so, Mitch McConnell didn’t do so either. The media hasn’t divided us. Social media isn’t guilty. The Pandemic (which, I don’t know who needs to hear this, ISN’T OVER) isn’t even guilty.

It seems to me that the division has always been bubbling underneath and the trick has always been to be able to overcome that, instead of blaming anything and taking responsibility. When George Floyd was murdered, a lot of well-meaning people hopped online with quotes from Martin Luther King. That’s a nice thought I’ll grant you, but as a few folks I know pointed out, he wasn’t the only black man to turn a phrase. I keep thinking of James Baldwin and his writings of the idea of America, the promise of America, praising those things while contrasting them with the reality of America, that the social contract isn’t the same for all its citizens.

Mr. Baldwin was absolutely correct. People of color are and have been marginalized. It isn’t anything new.

I think while on the leadership side, things took a turn during the battles between President Clinton and Newt Gingrich, along with the rise of Fox News. Through court cases deciding the 2000 election, the tea partiers, Mitch McConnell’s well documented edict to block anything President Obama sent to the senate to President Trump’s screaming law and order in every medium all the while flouting the laws he is not above and is supposed to abide by, but doesn’t.

Now, as the Boss once said, “Blind Faith in anything, in your leaders, in anything, will get you killed.” But it seems we are at a point that power (without it even being absolute) corrupts absolutely. People like Jeff Flake and Susan Collins warned that the President probably should not be engaged in certain activities. Yet despite being in positions to put stops on those things, they refused to do.

While the President didn’t create the divide between parties, between science and luddites, between races, between media and audiences, he manages to exploit them to his benefit as our collective attention span doesn’t drill down for details.

We used to be thinkers, well-informed instead of seekers of our preferred narrative. But the President cut through regulation to slash spending – there are people who yell “great” as that does sound good, until some of the regulations kept our water clean, protected land, fed children and maintained offices for the study of infectious disease and pandemics. That last one might come in handy during the course of this year.

Instead everybody is blaming. He’s taking a victory lap over blocking flights from China, ignoring that Italy was fighting the same thing and Italy is a lot closer to New York all the while lambasting the W.H.O. and the C.D.C. and a litany of experts in the field because they aren’t telling him what they want to hear. He is more interested in golf than fighting Covid. Remember all the GOP senators in a dither (incorrectly) about Benghazi. Apparently when the numbers get to high we no longer keep score when you get past 180, 000.

But that is another blog post that I already wrote.

Division…a facebook poster I know a little bit objected to NFL players putting messages about needed social change and victims of police violence on their helmets, complaining that we were no longer “one”. If it was worth it (and that’s a big if) to wade into a Facebook argument, I’d point out that the likelihood is that we’ve never been “one,” that we’ve talked about it, but we have never delivered on that promise. Those for whom “:one” has been talked of, but really weren’t included. That “oneness” is the goal, but it hasn’t been the case. To make that transition, to bring about that “oneness” requires an acknowledgement that we haven’t been truly there, that the circle needed everybody and throughout our history, it has been closed off to too many.

The promise sounds great, but the execution has been flawed and enough people aren’t silently accepting that anymore as well they shouldn’t. The thing has never really worked, but to get there isn’t insurmountable. For everybody who screams All Lives Matter, they should stop and realize that the whole point is that that is a nice goal, but it hasn’t been proven true and that not all lives are treated like that. That’s what this is all about. We’re not dividing, just never been completely united.

In reading some posts and feeds this weekend, I again saw a poster blaming social media instead of advocating taking responsibility for what he posts. Another decried that when Herman Cain passed, Cain was accorded the reverence afforded to Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I have no idea about what drew that gentleman to that conclusion, but Facebook didn’t make him stupid, he apparently already was that dumb. Justice Ginsberg was a committed advocate for making the world a better place, to serving the people even ones who didn’t agree with her. Cain smiled as he dove into a petri dish of Covid 19 to later catch Covid 19.

This thing of ours remains a great blueprint, but it isn’t working for all. People are  left behind, marginalized, shunned, attacked, killed and we shouldn’t be okay with any of that as it has been going on long before there was any social media to cry “where’s the media” on. People are still searching for that preferred narrative and social media didn’t cause that, just capitalizes on that.

I think the my way or highway schism on the political spectrum has its roots in Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton and has been spiraling out of control ever since and everybody has the keyboard to spout from and when confronted by actual issues, it is easier to hide keyboard-eque (he said from behind a keyboard, but hey I admit it). The buddha of my youth and midage once opined about how blind faith can get you killed.

Same source offered up this truism, Nobody wins unless everybody wins. And that means everybody.

He’s right in both instances. I still remain convinced that if we place the energy in spouting off with making the tent bigger and all-inclusive, realizing that we are all people who need each other, nothing is impossible.

 

 

Final Jeopardy


Prior to this dude, Cliff Clavin might have been the best Jeopardy contestant ever. From Yahoo: The actual best Final Jeopardy! answer of all time came from Cliff Clavin on “Cheers,” when he responded to the clue “Archibald Leach, Bernard Schwartz, and Lucille LeSueur” with “Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?”

Sunday Papers


Some stuff that caught my attention before my ten articles were up.

Got to wonder if the CIA spy sex scandal is being greeted in papers around the world with a collective “So?” For my part, the one thing that I’ve noticed nobody talking about is the fact that the one agency that supposed to be covert, stealth, couldn’t swing a cover-up.

Special gifts? Really, Mitt, really? Not classy.

Ready to be led? John? Honestly. Wonder if the Fiscal Cliff leads to a bridge for us to be tossed over.

Ready to leave, Papa John, good grief…

Despite not much changing after the election…

 

In other news…

 

I really like the way the Toronto Blue Jays uncharacteristically took the Miami Marlins to the cleaners with the actual blockbuster trade that got announced today. The Jays might be pretty interesting in this first year of life with the Bisons. It’s great and been awhile. I do wonder what good the state of the art, eco-friendly stadium on the sight of the former Orange Bowl will be in 2013 with Triple and Double A level baseball being played in  it at major league prices. I can see the ad campaign now: “This weekend, come on down to Marlins Stadium and watch the Cardinals beat our boys like schoolyard bullies. Friday is brown paper bag mask night.”

One other baseball note from this long suffering Mets fan, nice to see R.A. Dickey pick up the Cy Young. At times, ESPN was over the top in praise during some Mets telecasts, but the guy had an awesome year, seems genuinely thrilled and thoughtful about getting the nod. It’s not a huge deal when publicists are a-plenty, but it’s just nice to see.

I seem to be on a sports theme in this collection of tidbits. I wish we denizens of Buffalo wouldn’t give a hoot when some overcompensated jock whines about his room service or view. Such blioviating really doesn’t merit a microphone, but I had to laugh when watching my former intern mentor Ed Kilgore mention that “Reggie Bush will play tomorrow nite despite spraining his mouth w/ the stupid comment about B’lo women.”

Nice one, but is anybody outside of Buffalo and Miami gonna watch?

The guys who decided the categories in SongPop were the same folks that thought Jethro Tull was the best heavy metal band at the one Grammy ceremony, as the categories are a little fuzzy. The Name that Tune game on Facebook is fun but aside from Karaoke versions of songs they couldn’t get the rights to doesn’t throw you off, some other factoids are a little disorienting. Apparently, Seattle is in part in Canada, Barry Manilow is a crooner.

“Treated” myself to a cup from Tim Horton’s the other day, and there was a very small picture of the man himself still in the place. That was pretty cool to notice since the hockey legend’s family sold the coffee/doughnut biz sometime ago. A friend checks and I never thought to look until the other day.

One last note, while the modern day NHL continues to annoy those of us who go to work on a regular basis, it was a lot of fun to see this game get replayed on tv the other night.

First time I ever heard my mom call Jerry Korab a name.

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.

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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.

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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,

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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.

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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?

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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?

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Still jazzed over this:

Media McNuggets


I’m not sure who does the public relations for NBC but they might want to rethink their transitional strategies. It’s pretty laughable that the network wants to dump all their Today Show ratings woes’ at the foot of Ann Curry. I don’t have huge sympathies for either party as all are making out pretty good. But a couple of weeks of bad leaks, followed by an awkward handful of moments for  the anchors of your money making machine for a valued employee? Strange. The producers who deigned cohost segments with Sarah Palin weren’t reassigned. At a time when we need actual news and less cooking segments, did it ever dawn on the masterminds at “Today” that maybe it is the show that needed some re-examining. It’s no wonder Kathie Lee and Hoda are tipsy so early. Make a good news show, people will watch.

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Ever notice how one decision by the Supreme Court turned all of Twitter and Facebook into constitutional scholars? I find myself wishing that those in Congress who don’t like the Affordable Care Act quit looking for higher authorities and put that energy into addressing the flaws of the bill. As Leo McGarry once said, those who aren’t in power “has to take a seat.” The pouting over something getting passed would be allowable if you were working on something to better it with, but this just makes the Speaker and others look petty. Doesn’t do a thing for “the people” to whom they are always referring.

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I sat down to watch the Mets and Yankees have at it on Sunday Night Baseball last weekend as two great pitchers went at it: C.C. Sabbathia for the Yankees and R.A. Dickey for the Mets. Dickey’s start is a great story, and true be told, he had the inevitable off-night which happens, especially when your knuckleball doesn’t knuckle. From ESPN’s announcers assigned to the game, you would have thought he was the second coming until the second homer was hit off him sending the blathering Orel Hersheiser scrambling to say something nice about Sabbathia. Got to prep for both teams there, Orel. Paging Jon Miller, Gary Thorne…..