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Category: mike rants

07/31/10 01:29 - 75.ºF - ID#52341

“Mmmm, that’s great Bass!”

So, Bass Pro isn’t coming to Buffalo.

As my idea of roughing it is Room Service closing early, I didn’t really have a vested interest in the outcome per se. The Canalside development is making positive inroads along the water with the Central Wharf and the surrounding area. Things are showing signs of progress. I don’t think Bass Pro was a deciding factor in well much of anything, but is indicative of a seemingly endless quest on the regional leadership for the “If we can get (fill in name of fictional attraction here), everything will be great, good beer will flow from hydrants, Crystal Beach lollipops will sprout from the trees” and so on.

It would pretty obvious that Buffalo was going to be dropped like the blind date with the nice personality for some time now, even before Congressman Higgins drew his politically motivated line in the sand. While it was long past time for B.P. to shit or get off the pot, the announcement was tantamount to telling us what we already knew. The complaint about toxic attitudes about Bass Pro among the populace rings a little hollow to me. They were offered 35+ million dollars from an area that really can’t afford it, choices of locations, etc. About all we didn’t promise was to still respect them in the morning. Given that ludicrous press conference to celebrate the memorandum to begin to consider to start thinking about possibly contemplating a potential store in 2001 and 9 years of nothing else publicly, while all the while building a number of stores including in Toronto and Auburn, can they really be surprised that the rank and file population was a little full for the shenanigans?

I mean, if I am running Dick’s Sporting Goods or Gander Mountain and have to watch verbal tap dancing, I couldn’t help but wonder “what the hell? Nobody’s subsidizing me, shooooot”

If you take a walk down the marina, and get close to the water, and are generally unplugged from everything, one of the most universally soothing, peace inducing sounds is that of the water lapping up to the land. If you look at the genial populace doing their level best to make the best out of what water access there is, that solves what needs to happen there. One of the truisms to the success stories in and around the city, is that the best regions like Elmwood, Hertel and now sections of Grant become what they are through lots of little things, not because Joel Giambra wanted Waterworld, or Joel Rose doesn’t want anything, Anthony Masiello donning Camos, and Bryan Brown wants to cast aspersions on anything.

The canalside folks are on the right track and turn Benderson’s savviest recruiters loose by all means, but some things seem be slipping under the radar a little bit. Think of the folks squeezing themselves onto the Marina. Can you imagine the populace if they could actually touch the water? Grant Park in Chicago doesn’t have an anchor tenant, but the citizens can get their toes wet and when dry, they want to buy stuff. A city beach be the anchor? That’s crazy talk. Walk through Waverly, Crystal, Sherkston and some of the Canadian beaches and count the New York license plates.

If you build it, they will come, even if the it is a sand castle.

Shops would multiply like rabbits, which could inspire growth of the great programming already taking place at the Central Wharf. Take some of that BP incentives and lock a loyal Buffalo firm like Phillips Lytle or HSBC into some of the new space and you have an instant year round populace to go along with the potential merchants and residents. It’s a crazy thought, but could be a thing.

For years, my dad goes to the attic for the Christmas decorations, some of which are wrapped in a newspaper headline from the Buffalo Evening News, with the line about “Buffalo’s Waterfront ready to take off!” The exclamation point commemorates the 1967 construction of the marina. So, let’s quit mourning the decade long dalliance with B.P. and move on.

There is progress happening and I think will continue be, even without the city lifting it’s collective skirt, asking national chains if “they like to party.”
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Permalink: _Mmmm_that_s_great_Bass_.html
Words: 730
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 07/31/10 01:29

Category: work

07/29/10 01:48 - 73.ºF - ID#52328

Not in my original job description

We had one of our biggest benefits last night. A couple days worth of prep work left me feeling all my years this morning after a couple of 15 hour days as a quasi-crew chief, foreman, fix-it dude, bouncer, drill seargant and over all wing man.

In readying for 2600 guests, 3 stages of entertainment, 56 vendors, you find yourself in some odd situations. I've been sifting through some of the email feedback we got this morning and it makes me tired all over again.

I spent the day dragging stuff, doing laps over the property getting tables set up, spreading table clothes & skirts, vendor supplies and generally becoming a hot mess. The event kicked off at 5 with VIP ticket holders coming through. Another gentleman who also acted as a prep monkey/mule and I had to greet them with goody bags, champagne and catch their tickets.

Never got home to clean up so you do the best you can. After a day of cajoling. berating and apparently scaring the members of our volunteer board, I got ready only to continue melting to the point where my name badge and property keys were outlined on my shirt.

It was a whole day to make you wonder. The party ended with myself and our security team breaking up a fight amongst some youngins and immediately thought they never told me about that in marketing & public relations school. The true cherry on the cake of my day.

We had to lower some of the tents that were put up, and of course, after all the rain it was only a matter of time before one tent had some fun with somebody. Just wish it would have been somebody else. If I made a lion smile, I guess the impromptu flashdance recreation was worth it.

Yelled at a disc jockey who wouldn't shut up at closing time. Apparently explaining that if the music is still going, we can't get rid of anybody.

Yelled at a chain smoker to take that stuff out from the animals, after he yelled first.

Yelled at a banker, because, well, he needed yelling at.

Not grousing, just some of the things they don't teach you in marketing/public relations school.
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Permalink: Not_in_my_original_job_description.html
Words: 368
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 07/29/10 01:48

Category: random

07/18/10 12:07 - 75.ºF - ID#52221

Troubled Bridge over Indifferent Water

There is something about the South Grand Island bridge that makes my chest tighten and fear a little for the vehicle I’m driving across. Perhaps it’s the inescapable feeling that it seems like they have never finished building it.

No road sissy I, I’ve taken on the Beltway, I95, the Henry Hudson Parkway and even the 401, going into Toronto, in my father’s car, with him helpless trapped in the car ahead of me (If that doesn’t prove your manhood, I don’t know what will). Maybe it is the see through gate in the driving lane, but tonight it was the repaving project that bore the bridge’s surface raw, exposing every nook, cranny, industrial stapler that may me question the wisdom of my journey.

My initial plan for tonight was simple enough. On the relative spur of the moment, head up to the falls. Avail myself of free parking at the casino and stroll down Old Falls Street for the Hard Rock Cafe Show.

I encountered that fixture of Western New York Summers, the construction induced traffic jam. Where the I90 and the 190 became one traffic was a stand still. Nearly threw in the towel, almost wish I did as I passed through a booth stuck on go, to trek out on to the Bridge. Six lanes of heavy traffic trying to distill itself to two. I look to my left and see some space, which is a good thing as I look to my right and see a semi within inches of my door. The road of the bridge is a collection of mismatched segments designed to make you suck in your breath each time you had the bad fortune to cross a seam.
You reach the Apex where the construction ends and the Civic in front of me rides the break down the entire second half of the Bridge. Your brakes, moron, but are you FRIGGIN KIDDIN ME???

Doesn’t anybody know how to coast anymore.

I was halfway across Grand Island before I was breathing normally again.

Thanksfully, the Hard Rock, Old Falls Street, the Scott Celani Band and the Philharmonic threw a nice block party. That street proved to be a nice impromptu ampitheater. Only sour note was the BPO should have advertised a night of Progressive Rock as the advertised Pink Floyd only amounted to a few songs. As an advertiser myself, I like a little more truth in my advertising, but I really liked the plentiful refreshment vendors.

Nice night, didn’t even mind the bridge on the return
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Permalink: Troubled_Bridge_over_Indifferent_Water.html
Words: 431
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 07/18/10 12:07


07/08/10 10:56 - 85.ºF - ID#52123

Tonight’s forecast: Dark

“…with continued dark raging until the morning”

Apparently my landlord never caught the forecast from Al Sleet. In light of the cost of five flourescent light bulbs burning in our parking garage, he went through the expense of putting in three sets of glass block windows in the back to allow for natural light to light up and save expense. Only one small problem with that theory. Night. The windows let in the dark too.

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Permalink: Tonight_s_forecast_Dark.html
Words: 75
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 07/08/10 10:56

Category: holidays

07/05/10 06:18 - 85.ºF - ID#52106

Holiday Road

The holiday gave rise to a whole collection of random notes. Bear with me as I clean out a few mental pockets.

I’m fond of joking that my lovely former spouse and I are in the three phases of parenthood: With the youngest, we can still solve the occasional issue with a hug and a kind word. With the lovely middle child, we are the loveable buffoons who occasionally have the money. With the eldest, we are the fucking idiots with the money. And so it goes. Funny what you note and when you note it. We sent the mighty middle child west with her best friend and the friend’s parents on the fourth to spend time in Las Vegas followed by a canyon tour. Being all of 15 (and about to turn 16, as she would want me to add), her mom and I got over our fears of our child two time zones away and went on a charm offensive to get her at peace with the idea. The tragical history tour left last night and about 9 we got a call from chicago. “Did you like the first flight?” “No” was the curt reply. Apparently, she was really jazzed, but we were never going to see that.

I awoke to a text saying “I’m on a monorail.” So, I guess mission accomplished. Considering when her older sister turned 16, she was briefly in a bar with me in Williamsburg and now she is in Vegas. Either, we are either irresponsible or the coolest parents ever. I’ll opt for the latter.

While all this was going on, amazing number one son and I were watching a little tv and decided at the last minute to head down to the Central Wharf downtown to check out the fireworks. Got to say to Buffalo Place, well done. All the parking spots were open and reasonably priced. I slide into a space by the arena at 9:45 and we walked over the bridge to the strains of Lance Diamond turning somebody’s mother out in short order (although Lance may want to consider the turkey burger at Louie's, now what I mean?). The wharf wasn’t overly crowded and we caught a neat little show without working terribly hard. Not going to lie about the appeal of that. Nice half hour of pyrotechnics to cap a day, that sort of lost track of the holiday a little.

A friend of a friend lost his house saturday night and I started Sunday at a funeral for another. A little recentering was in order and Buffalo Place did the trick.

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Permalink: Holiday_Road.html
Words: 436
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 07/05/10 06:18



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