Drive – mental mcnuggets from a lengthy commute

When you have a lengthy commute to work as I do, it gives one plenty of time to sort out a myriad of issues that might creep into the cerebral cortex and not leave…

I notice Amazon isn’t taking the bait from the President. I think he is attacking the company because the owner also owns the Washington Post.  The Post covers news. The President is frequently is in same. He doesn’t appear to like that. Maybe he shouldn’t have run. Pretty sure that when a public figure runs down a public traded company that it is a form of securities fraud.

Different towns in Western New York have decidedly different approaches to snow removal. When you cross through a variety of townships, the care and patterns do shift a bit. I guess that is a good thing, keeps me alert during the drive.

Everytime one of our weatherforecasters has said a storm is “nothing we can’t handle,” I see multiple evidence the next morning that we apparently cannot. From spinouts to rollovers, this winter has seen them all.

Is there a right way to protest? That seems to take over debates than the actual matter being debated. A tv show host busts a student advocate about getting rejected from colleges instead being at all concerned that he got shot at. He’s too wrapped up in her and is losing site of his original cause, noble as it was. I say was because it sure looks like nothing is really going to change, except for Stoneman Douglas will take a few elements of high school that are already prominent in many urban schools already.

What should change? Hey, glad you asked. Make all gun transactions the same. Make background checks universal. Let ATF databanks be electronic so they digitally track potential trouble spots so it can be a little more difficult for a whackdoo to be an armed whackdoo. That’s a pretty decent objective, no? The fact that we might never completely eradicate doesn’t mean we need to necessarily not try anything. Responsible gun owners lives don’t change at all. And, oh yeah, let the appropriate agencies full enforce what is already there on the books. That would be good. See, simple, let’s move on.

Good of the guy in graphics to be on top of what we truly need to know.

Last guy to perpetuate such a relentless and pointless press attack was Nixon. That worked out well.

We have become so touchy about issues, especially ones involve political figures or ideology that we don’t necessarily agree with. When Roger Waters and U2 played shows in the region, people groused on Facebook about those acts “turning political.” It makes me wonder what they’ve been listening to as both artists have always had a concern in the political arena.

The restart of “Roseanne” has people talking about politics and of all people, Kareen Abdul-Jabbar has it right. Check out his article on what is really playing out:

If you are taking your cues from a sitcom character, that might be an issue. That’s never been good, be it Roseanne or Archie Bunker. Can they spark debate and thought? Sure, and we can certainly use more of that.

I wonder if more folks are going to the final home Buffalo Sabres’ game for the Dominik Hasek bobblehead than the actual game. They are and always will be my team, but my team is broken.

The Cuban flag dates back into the 1800’s and is not symbolic of Castro and Communism. It needed to be said.

I really liked the NBC production of Jesus Christ Superstar. It had a few flaws but as a whole was pretty great. I enjoyed Alice Cooper as King Herod, but a friend of mine posited how cool it would have been to see what David Bowie could have done with that assignment. That would have been something to see.

This was pretty good, however.

So a local congressman is afraid to meet with students out of fear they might not agree with him? What a world. That’s how you win over voters, by showing up. That’s how a grownup behaves, or do those kids not matter until they are donors?

Social Security and Medicare? We’ve been paying into them all our working lives. Left to their own devices, the programs are self-maintaining. Don’t be fooled when they are talked of as entitlements. It’s a misleading word. These are programs that literally have been funded by taxpayers, our money that is getting mismanaged and is under assault by those who don’t represent us.

I wish the Sabres weren’t so terrible.

Time for a walk.



Drive, he said


There was an article published recently that talked of how lousy western New York drivers take to the roads.

That came into my mind over a recent errand into Canada for work. It’s a different world for border crossings in recent years obviously enough and the worst thing to do is get unnecessarily worked up as that solves little. In returning from the errand via the rainbow bridge, a predictably long line filled the bridge and the near by side streets. It was a nice day and little to do but roll down the windows and be patient. Most folk took that in spirit, people let each other in, except one grouch in a Lexus, who cut people off, changed lanes like it was important that he and he alone make it to America with his purchases. For his trouble, he got an extended chat with the good folks in customs,

This popped back into my mind this morning negotiating the highways that envelope Toronto. This is not for the squeamish. A lot of things happen, all at 75 to 90 miles an hour. There’s a reason the Canadians go slower on Buffalo roadways as the pressure is off. My gps couldn’t draw the directions quick enough to keep up with the vicissitudes of the 401 to 400 to 427 highway exchange,

That said, driving isn’t the mad max movie that is Wny highways. While walking from my hotel just now, I did see the aftermath of an accident where the participants said a rare thing to each other


Have a Paczki

We need to pause, perhaps, stop and contemplate the world over a pastry. I used to have to go a meeting every few months, that were vicious, stomp on your esteem crushers. It got decidely more civilized when I bought baked goods from Russ’s

So, the Superintendent of Schools would leave our fair city if he has to take a pay cut and get by on just $175,000 a year? Boo-flippin-hoo! It’s funny how everybody speaks of sacrifice until they actually have to do it. The teacher’s union chief won’t talk about cost saving measures without formal contract re negotiations, heaven forbid somebody need some important elective facelifts prior to sitting down at the table.

I suppose a good barometer of everything is that if somebody comes to the press and says “they are working for the children first,” as both of these folks have, there is a good chance that they really aren’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I think schools should be palaces, good educators should be getting six figure salaries. Highly touted places like City Honors should be the rule, not the exception. But as it has often been pointing, usually with much futility, this thing of ours is broken.

That knowledge seems to escape the folks empowered to doing something about it. Licensing bicycles? That is not even an original stupid idea. Apparently we have to import our insulting concepts, as patronizing ideas can’t afford to be gestated here now.

The downstate assemblyman who thought this was a valid concept? Yikes. I have absolutely no problem paying my fair share, don’t get me wrong. You would like to see it used well, as that would be refreshing. At the heart of that is some ignorance of both his and my part. I don’t pretend to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the inner workings there, but to keep coming up with new taxes and new revenue streams to sustain things that plainly aren’t sustainable seems a little suspect to me.

I hear this concept is being withdrawn, but I don’t believe my big wheel is safe yet.

Newt? Really? On the bright side, he is smarter than that reality tv star from Alaska.

McConnell and Boehner (the comedy team that bloviates the same) need time to decide to meet with the President on a matter they supposed wanted dialogue on. What?? If I’m a constituent for either of these guys, I would like to know what they stand for, before another vote gets cast. And they have to tell me without the use of pronouns.

The buffoon of an actor from the decidely average formula sitcom has obscured the goings on in both Wisconsin, Libya and the potential government shutdown. No easy trick, that.

Say what you will about Mobarek, but he was fired, he quit. Khadify thinks he still has a desk. Although we don’t much oil from Libya, like 4% at best, so why did prices go up so far? I want the speculators power for just one day,

Perhaps not everybody merits a microphone, all the time.

Have a Paczki and chill

Greetings from Buffalo, Ontario

Remember the scene in Family Guy where Peter and Brian were landing in Ireland, debating about the irish drinking stereotype, while their plan lands in a sea of empty beer bottles? I couldn’t help but wonder if the Canadian hockey fans leaving HSBC Arena waded through a sea of Molson Canadian cans as they skulked to their cars and hotels for the trip back north.

While wading through the happenings of this week, I just wanted to congratulate the new speaker of the house as the first person of color to hold that position. I just didn’t think orange would be first, but I’m sure his constituency of oompa-loompas are quite proud.

Do all white house press secretaries go stale after two years?

I was reading some of the articles criticizing the Albright Knox for hosting the “Forty” exhibit. After careful consideration, I think the critics should put a sock in it. The Knox family were principles in both the gallery and the hockey team and if the hockey team can indirectly get some more folks interested in the real work of the gallery, that is a good thing and what really matters. If hockey fans help the gallery avoid a lean time financially, then there is a second bonus. Sometimes being a purist is just annoying, ya know?

Besides, I enjoyed it immensely. There was a nice pleasure in telling the gallery work that “I have already seen it” when she asked if I wanted to see the Stanley Cup.

Back to the folks chanting “this is our house” at HSBC Arena during the Canada vs. US and the Canada vs. Russia games, the worry about this shouting is kind of silly. I think we’ll get our deposit back next time the Maple Leafs come to town.

Speaking of which, can the Sabres play them soon. It seems our home team has been a lot more interesting off the ice than on lately. Personally, I’d like to see that trend reversed.

Interesting watching the tweets after the Bills’ final implosion for the year, kvetching about draft order. It doesn’t matter. When you are suffering from bullet wounds, picking out just one band-aid is only stop so much bleeding.

But, I won a Fantasy Football championship, which is just slightly about emerging triumphant from a Dungeons and Dragons tourney. T’was satisfying in an odd way. Fought the temptation to order the commemorative trophy from yahoo.

Happy 12th Day of Christmas

I pay dead people (the week’s crib notes)

–So, the city is paying millions to people too deceased to say thank you. We just can’t get out of our own way.

–All praises to IKEA for doing the City of affording Buffalo the dignity of a quick no, not 9 years of hemming and hawing. To think the Aud got torn down on a hand shake and a lame press gathering. I think what Montreal did with their old Forum, it makes you wonder. The time for the Aud was obviously 1997-98 to get cranking on something, but it does make you wonder.

–Anybody notice there isn’t one monolithic Anchor Tenant on the waterfronts of Baltimore, Cleveland or Chicago. There are lots of little things. Didn’t we learn anything from bending over backwards for Kmart on Broadway to see how fast you can wind up with a big empty building. Create some reasons to come and access to the waterfront and the shops will be lined up looking for space.

–An interesting to site to emerge from the Rogers Centre in Toronto and note that it was indeed Spot Coffee across the street from us.

–Can you imagine getting a field facing room in the Renaissance Hotel in Toronto (The Hotel part of the Rogers Centre) and not being a baseball fan? Nothing worse than wanting to pound on the wall, tell people to keep it down, and the 55,000 people on the other side pay you no heed.

–Back to our silly city for a moment, McCarley Gardens is one of those housing complexes that work. It was planned and executed right and UB needs that exact space for their city expansion. I’m all for UB expanding their city presence, but does it have to wreck a functioning neighborhood to accomplish that? I think not, think a little harder, folks.

–And you have the time thanks to the derailment of 20/20.

–According to a number of sources, the Taliban have been partially funded by factions in the Pakistani government which receives considerable amounts of aid from the U.S. government. So, one of our biggest enemies in the war on terror is apparently….us.

–I don’t have a particular issue with the Sabres and the Tim Kennedy debacle, but I do have to wonder what they are doing aside from wasting the prime of Ryan Miller. You could watch Darcy Regier speak through practically clinched teeth which indicated to this observer that it wasn’t his call. All this buzz killing moment did was to ensure that the Sabres have to pay Kennedy a pretty hefty severance for his taking a chance. The team didn’t get any better, still has to pay him and basically told the fans not to expect any moves that matter going into this season. Hope I’m wrong, but to raise a stink over $200,000 when they have wasted millions on other guys who weren’t worth it seems to scream fire sale as they wait for 40th anniversary sweater sales. Darcy, if you disagree, take a stand, dude!

–Not too sure why everybody is all excited for Pat Kane to lug the Stanley Cup all over, it’s been here before. I got to it before he did.

–In praise of East Side Mario’s in Toronto, the Sleeman’s tap at the bar was a reassuring site.

–The New York Mets torture me so. For every 1985-86, there are seemingly loads of 2010s.

–I have yet to go 3000 miles since my last oil change but when I went to my Valvoline station for a top off before my recent Canadian sojourn, the little weasel said he’d do but I was two months over due as that is their policy. Stated where, exactly? Aside from some obvious Dale Carnegie needs in regards to talking to customers, he needs to think about the car a little bit as it clocks miles driven not the changing of the calendars. Schmuck.

Helen Wheels

I made an interesting discovery a number of years ago about driving. You know you are going to do okay as a driver if you can successfully manipulate your dad’s car through the unholy nexus of the Queen-E to the 401 to the 427 in and around Toronto. This happened in 1986 for me while my poor Dad was helplessly strapped in the station wagon in front of us. The fact that we were both going around 80 to keep up with traffic added to the drama. I don’t know know if he was watching me or worried that Mom was driving him. All I know is that when we stopped north of Toronto for a breather before making the final assault to cottage country, the color returned to his face at an impressive clip.

That occurred to me as I drove my current car into Toronto for the Monday Paul McCartney show. With a short commute, I don’t really have to “put my foot down” too much and I was curious how my grand am would handle the craziness that is the Canadian highways. The answer was happily “What else you got?”

I learned that BMW owners don’t like getting overtaken, so I did it a second time. Years of journeying to or through Toronto kick in and I seamlessly navigated onto the Gardiner Expressway and across traffic to Front Street and our base camp, across the street from Spot Coffee ironically enough.

I guess my point in all of this is that it is good to have a car that can handle it. In my car owning years, I’ve been burdened with more than my share of hooptys and who’d a thunk that General Motors would be the one to reverse that trend. It’s a nice feeling to know we can get there, especially when you have this sitting outside your hotel window.

That was a little eerie, to look out your window and see a 50,000 empty room like that, but the proximity to the Blue Jays press box gave us wi-fi to go along with a night of great music.

Pop Tarts and Ovaltine

It’s the end of the week and this is what I have lingering in my mental pockets:

Refusing help with the BP spill? Sounds odd, but check this out

If somebody has an idea, it seems like help would be a good thing as the folks at BP are looking like Oil Executives in headlights. The never-ending news cycle has folded into name calling between Brits and some Americans and that seems silly. If the Belgians have an idea, bring it on.

C’mon Aaron Schoebel. I respect wanting to be close to the family. If you still want to play, but closer to home, say so. If you don’t want to be a linebacker here, say so. The mealy mouthed “It’s in the Bills’ hands” rings a little empty, like somebody is watching over a bonus payment.

Pulling into work this morning, I got to see first hand the after effects of the Corporate Challenge, you know that race celebrated with lots of beer and bratworst? Given the high population of Sea Gulls scaling the mound of trash bags on either side of the ring road, it looked like the Challenge was sponsored by Alfred Hitchcock.

That amount of birds does make you think twice about where you park your car.

My employer is holding a creative black tie dinner tonight and in my email I got an inquiry from a business associate wanting to know how to dress.

Found tickets for Paul McCartney in Toronto. Seems like a good show to break in my Beatles appreciating son into, I mean, who’s first rock concert is a Beatle? Hard act to follow.

Remember how the new Peace Bridge was supposed to be done around now? The legal funds of the few blocking the needs of the many.

Good for the Blackhawks and their Stanley Cup win. I didn’t have a side in that series, but as hockey playoffs go, that was a great series and all praises to Pat Kane. He’s adjusted to life in the spotlight pretty well recently and looking for family and remembering where he came from were great notes to end an exciting game.

Allentown Art Festival starts tomorrow and I can’t help but wonder when the art gets in. All the soul is in Allentown west area where some great music and actual craft takes place. Don’t need to stand shoulder to shoulder up Delaware for the sake of looking at largely generic sofa sized offerings.

Think Pete Carroll timed things just right?

Partook of some LaNova pizza for the first time in ages last night and circumstances lead to pizza induced bliss. My stomach was in its happy place for the rest of the night.

Where is the Save the Gulf telethon? The ineptness of BP’s response has wrecked the area for untold years even if all the oil magically disappeared as you read this?

Got to get to the store (hence, the title)

Vagabound Ramblings, Part II

Some notes in no particular order as the sun is actually shining.

I know we are getting some snow soon and the weather is about to change, not because a talking head told me, but because a sinus headache has arrived to foreshadow the big fun.

That said, I’m up for tubing down the Skyway on Sunday at the Powder Keg Festival. That is ironic as I’m usually not comfortable driving my car down the Skyway.

The word is NHL teams can start hold practices today and some wags suggest that is good because Lindy Ruff should be available tomorrow. Ryan Miller was sensational, but I hope the experience doesn’t drain him for the Sabres stretch run. I think the Sabres are a player or two from making a deep run, but hopefully Lalime can find his form of earlier in January and they can continue to represent, yo.

Nice of NBC to finally join the party by televising the USA Men’s Hockey team today after relegating the USA/Canada matchup to their channel that even leftists are getting tired of. Rachel Maddow is easily their best show at the moment and I couldn’t help but wonder if she shouldn’t replace Bob Costas who doesn’t sound like he is at all comfortable talking hockey. There can’t be any further miracle on ice, but if Canada and the US do face off again, it would be fun for Al Michaels to be at the mic.

Till then, this viewer is watching CTV. They may be homers, but they know how to show a game.

Back to the weather, feels like everyone is in some degree of funk. I know I am. Mine started earlier in February. I think the lack of sunlight is a definite mood changer.

I’m chasing sponsors for work and most have done a good job of going underground. Nothing like a little extra stress to welcome my old friend, insomnia back for a late winter visit.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up…..