…funk for the old soul…

Posts Tagged ‘buffalo’

Bowled Over

Posted by crowbiz on February 22, 2012

It’s an inauspicious return, I realize.  But after struggling with username and password for several minutes after 18 months of disuse, what better way to defibrillate the blog than with:

Bowling Haiku !

Bowling is like golf

It’s not outside, but still rocks

You use bigger balls


Polyester pants

Shoes that someone else had on

Must be Kenmore Lanes


“Dead wood on twenty”

Loudspeaker calls for some help

Another delay


You bought your own shoes

Towel, monogrammed bag, too

What, some kinda pro?


Kids play in lobby

Grabber game keeps giving treats

Wow, best glitch ever


No smoking inside

They huddle like puffing birds

Fuckin’ cold out here


Oh, seven ten split

Keep your eyes off the gutter

Whoops, maybe next time


It’s called Thruway Lanes

Because it’s near the Thruway

So you can find it


More than one hundred

Is a score I’ll never roll

I don’t bowl so much


Tendonitis hurts

Eight pound ball does not help much

Twelve pounds would kill me


Knights of Columbus

Ten frames and good french fries

God will guide your spare


Check the lost and found

Wally left his coat last night

Thought it was Lane 12


Voelker’s Bowling Lanes

Hear the mighty crash of pins

Elmwood at Amherst


Posted in Life In the Mod Podge Lane | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Buffalo Snowy Day

Posted by crowbiz on January 28, 2010

Home Snow Home

Depending on your experience with winter, file this under either “So What?” or “Oooo.”  Much as I dislike winter, I’ve been waiting for a good old-fashioned snowy day for a couple weeks now, if for no other reason than to justify life in this cold, windy, forsaken land.  It was only several inches, but still, it was good for covering up the dirty crap.

The boys were off at 7:40 am.  The bus was on time for SonToo, and SonWon decided to walk with his buddy (a one mile slog ; we ain’t raisin’ no wimps).  I got to shoveling out Mr Crow’s car and carving a little path out of the house.  Notice the cheerily blue sky; it’s nature’s ruse, as we’re set to get another five inches by dinnertime.  As I write this one hour after the photos, the skies have darkened and wave #2 is coming in, and will likely reach its worst exactly when I’m out running errands.

People think the life of a world-famous blogger and entrepreneur is a whirlwind of expense account lunches, fast-paced production sessions and prepping in the green room for my monthly appearances on the Today Show.  Not so – there is unglamorous work to be done!  I chose to out myself before I end up on one of those “celebrities without makeup” websites, so here I am in my $16 Target snowpants (Girls’ Dept.), the requisite Sorels and assorted winter gear carelessly grabbed from the front hall.

Someone visiting Buffalo once oohed and aahed over a measly few inch snowfall and asked “what it means” when we get, say, a foot of snow.  I thought for a few seconds (it would have been shorter, but I was waiting for her to say more… like, a foot of snow in three hours) and said that getting a foot of snow in a day means that you might be five minutes late to hockey practice.

Dig it!

This begs the question: "Do these $16-Target-girls-snowpants" make my butt look big?"

Lexington and Richmond

"I'm Queen of the Drift!"

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Tales of the Seedless Rye

Posted by crowbiz on June 11, 2009

Thanks to Mr Crow’s encouragement, I’ve decided to somehow squish some disparate experiences into one post.  A couple weekends ago, our friends urged us to attended a roller derby match (meet?  I dunno, I’m a philistine in the roller derby world) with them at the Rainbow Rink in infamous North Tonawanda…

Queen City Roller Girls

Now then, the roller derby could be a couple posts in and of itself, and that’s where I thought I was starting.  It all turned left somewhere, but you can’t casually mention “roller derby” then just glaze over it.  I’ll put my most important statement first:  If you haven’t gone to see a roller derby, you really should.  We caught the Queen City Roller Girls (Team QCRG) versus the Philly Roller Girls (Broad Street Butchers team).  Knowing less about the derby than I do about particle physics proved to be no handicap to a night of fun.

Before arriving, I had jaded expectations that the scene would be plagued by hipsters in search of blog-worthy irony (you know that type – lord, how we detest them!) There may have been a few, but the mix of subcultures was vast and interesting.  Campsters, kitschsters, lots of supportive friends and relatives of the teams, and a goodly portion of local Chevy-plant types.  Refreshments were cheap tap beer and various Jack Daniels malt liquor products such as the imitation jack-and-cola concoction that I couldn’t pass up (warning:  sticky-sweet and headache inducing).  After further thought, I determined that it’s really rather hard to be all that ironic in Buffalo, and the ones busting their guts and congratulating themselves on enjoying the local “irony” are typically college sophmores from out of town. 

As someone who cannot even execute a passable cross-over on skates, I found a lot to admire in the roller teams as they made their way around the flat-track.  Mostly, I loved the player names, like “Leggs Benedict” (who wears a bloodied apron), “Stormie Weather,” “Mexicali Bruise,” and “Tara Newone,” so much so that I was often dreamily distracted from the action while trying to come up with my own handle.  I decided I’d go the sweet route (a la “Lamb Chop”) and become “Sunnyside Up” and my short-shorts would have an appliqued fried egg on each butt cheek.

During the halftime break, a rockabilly band provided a musical interlude while helpers rolled out pallets stacked with loaves of Al Cohen’s seedless rye bread to throw to the crowd. Here’s where the night’s meaning began to crystallize.  Not knowing the protocol, Mr Crow and I half-heartedly stuck out our arms to catch a loaf – we like rye, after all – but we couldn’t hold an elbow to the regulars as they jockeyed and jostled to pluck a loaf from mid-air.  Some were high lobs, some were low grounders, and suddenly, a loaf came whizzing so fast past Mr Crow that his grabbing it was a lucky afterthought.  By this time we had drinks in hand, jackets to hold and now the bread, so the logical thing to do would be to get a 25-cent rink locker for our loose belongings – if only every bar or concert venue had this amenity!  Mr Crow selected Locker 52, and we were free to watch the second half.


Makes great toast

Makes great toast

The match ended too soon for me, but alas, we had to go.  As we retrieved our things and turned to join the departing stream, a woman cried out in panic, “My bread! Someone stole my bread!”  The next half minute turned into one of those slo-mo episodes in which you can sort of see what’s coming, but are doubting it too much to do anything.  Some big guy, the type who must insert himself at the slightest whiff of dissention, probably hoping for fisticuffs or at least shoving, stepped in to assist with an assertive, “Who took it?!”  The woman’s wild eyes flashed at Mr Crow and his legitimately-obtained loaf as she shrieked with certitude, “Him!”  All surrounding heads turned toward the action and people actually – actually! – stepped back to form a small open circle, the kind where the two playground contestants are expected to settle their business.


The big dude was about to rev up his “alright buddy…” routine on behalf of the breadless woman, but Mr Crow protected his loaf like a running back cradles a football, while strangers hands made their way toward him for a bread-tugging contest.  With a perfectly staged, outraged near-falsetto, he stopped everyone dead with, “This is my bread – I just got it out of my locker!”  His arm shot up to identify trusty Number 52, with its key probably still warm from his pocket.  

It seemed likely that everyone involved wanted to laugh from the get-go, but the need to serve justice superceded any leeway for outright yuks.  Just saying “mine” really proves nothing, but I guess the idea of a middle-aged man indignantly referencing a roller rink locker was enough evidence for the crowd.  A guy wouldn’t lie about that kind of thing.

Turns out, the errant loaf had been picked up by our friend, who rightly recognized it as a stray on the bench in front of us – we’d all seen it sitting alone.  When he turned around to see the near rye-scuffle, he offered it up with apologies to the woman, who gathered it to herself like a lost toddler.  Later he commented in his sanguine way, “The bread was left unattended; I wasn’t going to just leave it there.”  Which is really all there is to say.

Of this episode, one could quip, “Only in North Tonawanda!” but that would be way off.  That scene could have played out in Cheektowaga, the other Tonawanda,  Sloan, anywhere in Buffalo, and most of the Southtowns…well, most of Western New York.  I’d except East Amherst from this, but then, I’d except East Amherst from a whole lot of things – and that’s another post for when I feel a suburb-slam coming on.

Posted in Life In the Mod Podge Lane | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Old Things, Corny Things, Good Things: Part 2

Posted by crowbiz on May 12, 2009

Today’s recommendation:  AM radio stations that play musicRock-n-roll Radio

The enormous warning that I’ll throw up front is that I do NOT mean any stations doing talk radio.  Talk radio should properly induce dry heaves in any sentient being.  Furthermore, those programs are common and I regard them as I do so many tattoos on so many college students, since they share many of the same properties;  they are enjoyed by the less independently thinking masses, are almost never original, are typically not well-executed, often reflect amateurish taste, and do not age well.

Back to the music.

Who actually listens to the radio at all?  In this age of extremely portable and convenient music technology and highly idiosyncratic musical preferences, radio listenership should by all estimates be dead by tomorrow afternoon. Sure, we can find a few reasons you might run into radio now and then:  the workplace where everyone must agree on a common auditory denominator, or the retail location that is too cheap to buy into a demographically specialized playlist for its clientele.  House painters and roofing crews usually employ one.  But otherwise, why the hell would anyone tune in to hear songs programmed by someone else interspliced with what must be the world’s most annoying form of advertising?

Serendipity.  Control can be overrated.  Don’t you get sick of being master of your universe every moment?   It’s exhausting.  You spend 12 minutes dictating the exact specifications of your morning coffee to the barista-du-jour, agonize over paint swatches, choose from 84 varieties of deodorant (good god, what if you make the wrong choice?), and organize your iPod into dozens of moment-specific playlists (“Dinner with Close Friends Mix” versus “Dinner with People We’ve Known For Less Than a Year Mix” versus “Driving Home from Work on Thursday Mix” versus “Ball-Scratching Beer Blast Mix”…  OK, so a little separation is alright…)  Can’t you %&*#  loosen the grip here and there?   Give it up, turn on the AM – if you can find a radio – and see what happens.

Note that I mean only AM radio, because it’s the last hold-out of any independence on the air.  The FM band is almost entirely corporately-owned by a few media giants.  Dismiss it and move on.  Some AM stations are still locally owned and produced, which makes them the airwave equivalent of local cable access television stations.  Saying they are not slick is laughably unnecessary, and that lack of sophistication is a perfect antidote to a culture that has made irony a religion.  The advertisements that are produced in-house are paragons of earnesty.  A recent one I’ve heard is an announcer-narrated recitation of a local restaurant’s sub and take-out menu, peppered with stock phrases like “truly satisfying” and “great value.”  Behind the narration is the instrumental part of the “Laverne and Shirley” theme song.  It made me want to eat there.

Another joy of AM is that you can discover ethnic programs, sometimes in the native language.  Polonia hour, the Native American beat, the Portuguese program…. dial around and explore, my friend.  Adding to the effect is the tinny, unpredictable quality of AM transmission, particularly for the smaller, independent stations.  Having to shift your radio around to get better reception shows your commitment.

As far as the music you may find, well, that’s best left for you to discover.  Below is a sample of what recently transpired over the course of an hour cobbled from a couple stations I visit now and then.  These are in no particular order, which is the point:

“Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra

“Muleskinner Blues” by The Fendermen

“Trains and Boats and Planes” by Dionne Warwick

“Bongo Rock” by Preston Epps

“At My Front Door (Crazy Little Mama)” by the El Dorados

“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

“When The Red, Red Robin Comes a-Bob Bob Bobbin’ Along” by Al Jolson

“Tammy” by Debbie Reynolds

“Brown Eyed Handsome Man” by Chuck Berry

Rather than view this as an embarrassing indictment of my musical tastes, I see it as a showcase of the possible.  You could spend hours scouring your digital trove and not come up with that mix, though it’s extremely unlikely you’d have any of the raw material in the first place.  It’s a gamble – you’re not supposed to know if you’re going to like what’s coming.  If you can’t give that a go, then you deserve to waste hours of your life making espresso decisions.

A few AM stations available in the Western New York region to check out:

1400 Solid Gold Soul (does not stream – link is just to the website)

1440 WJJL (does not stream; priceless, and perhaps the last of its breed anywhere)

AM740 (streams; out of Toronto; was good before being taken over by corporate interests, but what the heck; has some good specialty programs such as the 40+ year running “A Little Breath of Scotland”… come on!  Beware – lots of mattress and hearing aid ads) 

Toronto has many specialty and ethnic stations, but they are difficult to pull in, so best wishes.

If you have any other suggestions, add them in comments.  The world needs more AM.

Posted in Old Corny Good Things, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Wait – I wanted more than 15 minutes

Posted by crowbiz on April 30, 2009

As mortifying as our fame-craving culture is to me, I take great glee in providing you a link to my latest venture into the airwaves.  Because, you know, it’s always fun to deride something until it happens to you.  Then you want to ride it like a mechanical bull until you run out of change.

This news story focuses on the relative health of mom-n-pop stores in my city neighborhood, the Elmwood Village, in Buffalo, NY.  This was aired on our public station, WBFO, run out of the University at Buffalo.  Quite handily, the reporter had scads of leftover audio from a previous interview which aired on NPR’s Day To Day in March.  If we’re lucky, maybe we can cut and paste another five interviews out of it, and I won’t have to risk stepping into any more oratory poop piles.

People have been kind enough to send sweet hurray notes to me, butpage31a this expose has not been without its critics.  After I sent the link to Mr Crow, he replied via a terse email: “Awesome plug…I can hear your cough on air.”


Dig it!  CrowBiz speaks!

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