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Category: rant

08/15/10 06:49 - 80.ºF - ID#52455

Heckuva job, there, Brownie

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

–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.

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Permalink: Heckuva_job_there_Brownie.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/15/10 06:49


Category: music

08/10/10 07:46 - 79.ºF - ID#52410

Who's the Old Man?

Paul McCartney first graced these shores on February 7, 1964. Not being one to miss a big thing, I arrived a day later. 46 years forward, our paths finally crossed at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Monday night. You don’t a get a chance to see history walking around too often, especially when he has been so omnipresent in your collection as Paul has been in mine. John was always the popular answer to look cool when asked your favorite Beatle, but being a sucker for a good hook, more of my favorites were Paul’s works. We all go through that transition to where your music starts to grow up a bit as early teenagers and in late 76, I got Wings Over America and the Beatles Rock and Roll Music for gifts and I was off.

Flash forward to Monday night, in the company of my oft partner in crime, my lovely son, who is getting into some eclectic musicians and whose eyes went appropriately Tex Avery-like when this seemed like a possibility. Now, the Air Canada Centre is what the HSBC Arena would like to be when it grows up. Our tickets collectively were just shy of $130 for the pair. Pretty reasonable and we were in the building.

image

Okay, that’s in front of the building. Here, ya go:

image

About 18,000 people, as they didn’t sell the back of the arena and we might have been Paul’s guests at a cook out. He is that good. A crack band, all the songs you would expect (“Long and Winding Road,” “Let it Be”, “Hey Jude”), new stuff (“Dance Tonight”, “Sing the Changes”), stuff that flat out thrilled me (“Venus and Mars”, “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five”, “Let’em in”, “Two of Us”) as well as stuff that if you weren’t moved you need a check up (“Here, Today” and “Mull of Kintyre”), it was a great night. Even familiar stuff like “Live and Let Die” were a wonder with great players and some pretty impressive pyrotechnics. The capper of “Sgt. Pepper” with a little of Golden Slumbers medley from Abbey Road was perfect. It’s one thing to have that great selection of songs to work through, but the band was playing them, no going through the motions. The lengthy video montage to start the show was getting on my nerves a little as it went on forever.

But by not phoning it in, I was a happy guy as was my youthful cohort, savoring his first concert.

Well, the Toronto Star got better seats, but we were in the building. Insanely great time. It falls into one of those things I really couldn’t afford it, trying to live with in means and stuff, but sometimes you just have to say screw it and go for it.

The silly grins that my son and I kept exchanging were worth it.

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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/10/10 07:46


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
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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
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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
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 07/18/10 12:07


Category:

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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Last Modified: 07/05/10 06:18


Category: sports

06/29/10 08:38 - 61.ºF - ID#52053

Vuvuzela Blues

I’ve been paying casual attention to the World Cup and a couple things struck me.

The English soccer team is, as somebody already pointed out, like what Notre Dame is to college football, not nearly as good as advertised but they are there largely due to their own implied right to be there.

It’s not the horns that bother me, it’s the crappy officiating and blatant overacting. Some of the attempts at drawing penalties have been such blatantly bad theater you’d think Leonard Pimpf Garnell was doing play by play. Incredibly, the refs fall for it. I saw a guy get nudged in the chest and he covered his “eyes” in pained hysterics. Get up, jerk.

Not a fan, more of an appreciater, I wish there was a little ambiance for the English major leagues. I remember watching broadcasts on Channel 17 on Sunday mornings that inevitably my Dad and I would mock. If Arsenal got up too much, their fans would start serenading the opposition. Nobody says “You ugly!” like a chemically serene football fan.

It’s nice to see Papa Jakes and Cafe Aroma coming to life as different breeds of sports bars.

The US is out, but they gave it a good run, going deeper than ever before. Since they lost, there have been calls for the head coach, how he should be replaced, yada, yada, yada.

It’s a game, everybody should take a deep breath. It’s okay. The whole idea is to do your best. Isn’t that what we want to teach kids coming up. Shouldn’t we be happy that we made progress and our guys were among the best in the world? That’s a pretty good day’s work in my book. No shame in Ghana snagging one from us on the pitch as next time we see em on the ice, they are so our bitch.

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Permalink: Vuvuzela_Blues.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/29/10 09:01


Category: work

06/21/10 09:52 - 69.ºF - ID#51984

Cops is filmed on location

Well, just how you want to start a Monday...

I knew something was off, as I woke this morning feeling pretty good. Pulled out of the driveway with the car filled with a really nice version of "Bartender" by Dave Matthews coming from the cd player. Nice vibe for the short drive into my office.

The local gendarme has taken to parking a car at the exit of Delaware Park for some official reason, I think, mostly to garner some extra change.

I follow rules of the road and pull up at Amherst and Colvin and out of my side mirror see a police car jockeying for position, but it was unclear as to what he was doing. I turn into the park on Colvin and he fires up the lights, looking for me.

"Excellent!"

The kind officer wanted to know if I knew why I was stopped and I honestly couldn't tell him. Apparently, back at Nottingham and the Park's exit, it looked to him like I was on my phone talking.

My phone was resting my pocket, where it wasn't used since Sunday afternoon. After he discovered that, he asked me about hands free devices, told him I don't use any as I don't take calls while I drive.

With that I was free to go, without a ticket. I guess the lack of a ticket was his apology for wasting both of our time, embarrassing me (as my boss drove by during my bust) and of course, being wrong.

Heck of a way to start the day.
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Permalink: Cops_is_filmed_on_location.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/21/10 09:52


Category: fatherman

06/20/10 09:29 - 70.ºF - ID#51972

For Father's day


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Permalink: For_Father_s_day.html
Words: 2
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/20/10 09:29


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mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

joe said to grandma
OMG welcome!...

joe said to mike
New years resolution to top (e:strip)?...