Trouble Me

I’ve always had a soft spot for newspaper films. “Spotlight,” “The Paper,” “All the President’s Men,” “The Post,” whenever these pop up, my remote control stops. Maybe it’s the story of the pursuit of ideas, the continued chase for what is really happening that they resonate with me so solidly.

Out of the recent round of commercials put together for the Super Bowl, the one that resonated with me that I can even remember it was the one produced by the Washington Post.

Check it out here:

Predictably, many internet folks aren’t seeing the forest for the trees, hitting the Post for buying Super Bowl space instead of hiring journalists. Or my personal favorite complaint that it is just a “leftie rag” or other such cultural  nonconstructive criticism.

The need for journalism has never been greater. One of the missions of the current administration has been to discredit reporting from the very first day. The screams of Fake News, the general atrophy of attention spans and a social media induced malaise about information seems to have resulted in a fear of ideas and information and a preferred stage of propaganda induced and narrative confirming subservience that renders most into baseless name calling on Facebook.

We seem to be scared of having our notions challenged, to the point where accusations come in case to threaten those notions. You hear “fake news’ and it is pretty fair to say the yeller of same has just heard something they don’t like.

While there are more avenues for transmitting and receiving data, our ability to process has been getting more and more muddled.

Blind Faith is a dangerous thing. So is looking for gossip ahead of information and that seems to be how many are digesting their informational mcnuggets.

A good friend and good journalist posited on his facebook page, admittedly opening a can of worms, asking “what we’d expect from the President’s State of the Union?” Aside from the usual waggishness including my own, there were a number of responses that took shots at the network his station is affiliated with and that just seemed weird.

I get wanting to defend “your guy” but such blind subservience reminds me about the late 70’s “Afterschool Special,” that mused how Germany evolved in the 1930s.

Learning new things, getting actual information, finding out more. These are all good things. They might not always be pleasant but they are worthy pursuits. It could reveal that some leaders aren’t who you think are, but you might have a more honest assessment of who they actually are. That is good.

Don’t be afraid.




As a long suffering fan of the Buffalo Bills, I watched the hoopla surrounding the New England Patriots unfold. I don’t have much in terms of special feelings toward the Patriots or Tom Brady, just a worldweariness of watching Brady beat the Bills at the time. It’s a sort of oh, geez feeling when you get to that part of the schedule. Folks looking for edges is nothing knew in sports. Hell, Gaylord Perry kept the Cleveland Indians interesting with his twisting of the rules in the 60s and 70s (and that wasn’t that easy).

How many defensive backs coated themselves in stick’em to annoy receivers before that was outlawed.

I think the thing that gets most of us isn’t that Tom Brady and the Patriots cheated. They did. They didn’t need to, as they are pretty good, but they dieI think the aloof, above the law arrogance and noncooperation is getting the rise out of people.

Brady and the Patriots basically kicked the Indianapolis Colts all over the playground during the AFC Championship game and they would have been them without any help, but….

It’s a game and ultimately isn’t going to matter one iota want anybody thinks. All the commentators in the word can vilify Brady, Belicheck and company and it won’t matter as they have drown out everybody by putting their superpower rings in their ears.

I’m enjoying reading all the give and take. There was cheating going, but I’m sure the Patriots aren’t the only ones looking for edges, they were just dumb enough to get caught.

But we’ll let Brady have the last word.


Holiday Leftovers

So, I passed on Black Friday nonsense, and on Thankgiving? I celebrated with a couple of stops laden with good food and laughs that are more valuable than any flat screen sale.

I heard the argument made that since movie theaters and restaurants opened on the holiday, why couldn’t retail stores? It was the big box folk who did? And one depressing watch of the news saw people fighting, pushing, shooting, brawling over stuff we don’t really need. One talking head from one of the major chains said something that 15,000 people came to his place over 11,000 who showed at midnight the year before, so that justifies it. Bizarre. If they are open, people will go, even though tv deals are probably a little better closer to the Super Bowl. One day, you’d hope people would realize that being the first to get something doesn’t really come with a prize. Preferred the good times of my non retail laden Thanksgiving.

Elsewhere, fanmageddon (Leaf fans visiting the Sabres) occurred to highlight Black Friday. Neither team is going much of anyplace this season, but there is always atmosphere when the two meet up. The Sabres prevailed with a good game, and mostly because they dressed better (normal jerseys). I worked as an usher for the affair in the Student Surge section where a few students were surrounding by an affable section of chemically serene Leaf fans. One of whom spent the latter portion of the third period talking to me. I sort of like that as you are just talking, it’s okay to be a bit of a hockey nerd. Even though he went home disappointed, we fistbumped in our brilliance as we discovered what the Buffalo Bills need to do in Toronto. If we are going to play there, let’s open that roof. The stadium up there has a retractable dome, so retract it, and let’s get some football weather in the room. Might feel more like Bills home game with some Bills wind chill up in that joint. Genius, right?

Anybody notice, a big box credit card is the sponsoring entity of Small Business Saturday?

Going out to one establishment, but bringing my cash as I’m thorough like that.

Might stop by the real job on the way back because two valued colleagues are celebrating a special occasion.


They’re one!

Have You Got Any Castles?

Well, it’s a few weeks later and I still don’t care that Beyonce sang along with herself at the Inauguration. Pretty much every Super Bowl or Inaugural  performance has a tape recording in the can to guard against anything silly happening. I don’t recall anybody giving Yo-Yo Ma playing along with himself (careful typing there) a few years ago. Good for her for showing the Super Bowl press corp up in a clever way.

We do tend to get fixated on bizarre things. A few years ago, John McCain mentioned Chuck Hagel as a good possibility to be Defense Secretary. This week, he decided to slap Hagel around in front of the cameras. Can’t we just do something because it is a good thing to do, not because of how it might play before the cameras?

Glad Hillary Clinton called shenanigans at the political theater that was the house hearings on Benghazi.

It makes you wonder.

Some sports fans I know are in a lather about Bills WR Stevie Johnson not killing himself in February with workouts. WHY? But then again, it’s sport talk radio, so the bar is considerable lower than the socratic round table of wisdom that is regular talk radio. Can’t argue with the results.

Wonder if Alex Smith would be a good fit throwing to him next season?

I’m glad pro hockey is back. It would be nice had the Sabres had a better week than they did, but there something particularly nice about beating Boston. I wonder given how on fire he has been, if Thomas Vanek has morphed into the guy that other teams need to worry about regularly. The Sabres haven’t had one of those in awhile. On the upside, it was doubly entertaining to listen to a few Bruins whine after getting dumped 7-4.

And now, a politically incorrect cartoon:

Does the SAFE Act apply to Super Soakers?

Ready for some Football?

Actually did something last season the Buffalo Bills can’t seem to do. I snagged a Football title, a fantasy one, but it was a league winner nonetheless. My other team went belly-up, so I conducted a mid-season firesale and enjoyed the trash talk. So, I guess that long dreamt about career as a GM ain’t happening, as it apparently still better to be lucky than good. It does however feel a little more manly than my dungeons and dragons trevails.

I’m hoping the Bills do something more significant than improve their uniforms. While that was a step in the right direction, I’m hoping for at least a fun season. To pretend they are going to make noise in the playoffs seems kind of silly. Lee Evans might, but you know why. So, my goals are modest, let’s have a fun season at least, fun as been absent for awhile now. It’s come close periodically, but the Dick Jauron coached years seems to have sucked any potential mirth out of the place.

My very first experience was going to a Bills game when I was seven. My dad took me along with an across the street neighbor who brought his 18 year old son. I remember having a great time. The mothers involved scolded both fathers to make sure “Michael didn’t get lost.” They apparently weren’t specific enough as the 18 year old (also named Michael) managed to get misplaced. I just remember a sea of Bills being dragged to the locker room as the Johhny Unitas led Baltimore Colts just pummeled the Bills. I think this was the 1-13 season. I don’t remember who they beat, but it must have been something akin to the Washington Generals. But, I was hooked.

Obviously the Super Bowl years are long ago, but I’m getting kind of nostalgic for the Wade Phillips/Doug Flutie era. At least it was fun.

One of the local radio talking heads thinks a sale is in the winds, and that might very well be as the Bills are really under the salary gap and seemingly regard hiring experienced offensive line help as eating Prime Rib, only do it once in awhile.

While summer is sliding away (dammit, as it has been a pretty good one), I find while I want this to be fun, I’m more anxious for hockey to start.

Got it started

Glad the Packers won the big game as they haven’t in some time. I don’t possess any particular anti-Pittsburgh feeling, other than sick of hearing about Ben Rothliesberger’s tough year and his season of redemption. Boo-flippin-who.

The Fox announcers seemed to go out of their way to lionize somebody who certainly didn’t merit it. He’s a gifted quarterback to be sure, but that isn’t license for anything including getting loaded at a Dallas karoake bar earlier in the week.

The Packers did make a person worry a little, nearly going to pieces in the third quarter, but they did right themselves which was good. Maybe it was the injuries to their defense, maybe the technical troubles the Black Eyed Peas suffered (Nobody could test the V?), but it seemed to take the Pack a little bit to get back into the game in the second half.

I supposed while the audio mixer for the Peas had the worst night (I mean, did anybody hear any sound from the trumpets on stage or from Usher?), Bud Light seemed to have the best. While all the pre-game buzz was around the deservedly cool Volkwagon-Darth Vader ad, Bud was very clever from the product placement spot to the dogs hosting the party.

If only I drank the stuff…..

I wonder

I wonder:

Winning cures a lot and sells a lot of merchandise. As a long suffering Sabres fan, I’m eternally grateful to Larry Quinn for going out and finding Tom Golisano and saving the franchise. That was a remarkable thing. But the shortsightness in the long documented contract botchings of Chris Drury, J.P. Dumont, Daniel Briere among others is still baffling to me. Perhaps you do have to draw a line in the sand in terms of salaries and whatnot, but I think the eventual Cup win that team would have had would have sold enough merchandise to make up the differences. Remember all the many trips we all took to Trench printing outlets during the Bills Super Bowl years? I wonder what Terry Pegula’s first actions will be for a team that has been more consistently interesting off the ice than odd, hopefully before more of Ryan Miller’s prime goes completely to waste. It wasn’t so long ago that the Arena was a tough building to come into and play, like a mystique was in the making.

But alas

The Kids are Alright

I thought they did fine. It’s an impossible venue to please everybody. I thought my man Bruce did great last year, but avowed Springsteen fan Jeff Miers didn’t think so. For me, the medley concept is what gives me the willies. I think the last group to do three complete songs instead of snippets was U2

Not bad for AARP recipients.