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Buffalo in Briefs

 

Back With A Vengeance -
Things aren't looking so rosy around here anymore. With all the rain everything looks pretty and green, but the rivers are running high and there is menace in the air. The Bible tells us we must reap what we sow and it appears the Great Flood threatens us once again. And where is our Noah, a wise one who might bring some sense to our government and save us from ourselves? Is it some sleazy politician? A local rich businessman? A faceless bureaucrat? No, there is no room for saviors, only self interested assholes blocking change from whichever positions of power they hold. Beaten of all hope, dreams, sweat, and sacrifice, desperate for something we have a sinking feeling no one will ever live to see called sound local government, we've decided to get mad about this state of affairs. Not a rational reaction to most everyday situations, but anger is a powerful biological emotion animals backed into a corner cannot help but feel deep down in their bones when their existence is threatened. That time is upon us, friends, the Apocalypse of Buffalo, total meltdown, windows smashing, sewers spraying, fires blazing into the night. That's how mad people ought to be, instead they joke about the crooks we elect over and over and their misdeeds which have ruined us spiritually and financially. Maybe it's a problem of perspective, so think about it this way: If it were you personally, you'd be so completely broke and in debt that sleep would be the only escape from knowing every person you meet during the day has a legal right to kick you in the balls as hard as they can: banks, creditors, neighbors and strangers all lining up for a shot. You wouldn't be able to wipe your ass without begging the credit card company for a fresh roll of paper and the worst two words you hear every meal are Ramen Noodles. You'd take the bus to some shitty job with weird hours and the vultures would rip apart your paycheck before it ever arrives. A vision of Hell? Quite possibly, except the above describes most of our daily existences. Not that of rich politicians, connected businessmen or any of the other leeches on Buffalo, but the people here on planet earth, the suckers who keep paying out. The city shrinks, everything gets more expensive, that's the kind of math you learn in the real world, and just like Algebra it doesn't make any sense. We're a sorry bunch of domesticated cattle, following whoever promises us fresh grass just over the next hill. Only there's nothing but hard packed dirt over the next hill, and the one after, and so on until one day the herd goes over the cliff. The only way Buffalonians will ever graze on fertile land is by building on what solid ground we have and that is so fundamental as to be forgotten by our shifty "leaders". The game of politics is pathetically simple around here: promise everybody the sky to get elected, continue talking big about sweeping issues without providing any actual specifics while you hook up as many relatives and friends with business and jobs, basking all the time in sweet kickbacks and graft. This is the easiest way to get rich in Buffalo; seasonal work with tons of vacation time. And here we are, like sheep in a pen, wary but docile, trusting of the hands and their knives which shear our wool and slit our throats, consuming us entirely for their existence. All you have to be is some stupid asshole who sucks enough political party cock to run around high and dry like a modern prince. Is there not one single, sane, rational, honest man or woman who dares challenge all the shit that is Buffalo Politics?

Art or Anthrax?
Forgive the EMT's, police, FBI and local HazMat teams for being a mite suspicious a while back when a UB art professor became the subject of a terrorist investigation, inciting the inevitable international headlines. Questions arose immediately for Steve Kurtz when he went through the formality of informing authorities he had come home to find his wife dead in their Allentown home. Medical teams and police officers freaked when they saw the professors' true passion, some strange form of art slash chemistry. Within a short time the street was shut down and the house was sealed off. Helicopters flew overhead while TV news crews descended upon the scene, capturing officials in full biological suits sweeping in and out of the house, carrying off suspicious substances in medical jars. A local gallery owner familiar with this cutting edge art form described it as "maybe vatrines [as far as we can ascertain, these are display cases museums use, in this instance hopefully ones which are hermetically sealed] with objects that are crafted as art objects, but look very scientific or technological...". Whatever that means it pretty much describes a lot of modern art. Trained professionals thought the shit in the basement looked like a chemical warfare lab and acted accordingly, which tells us there aren't a lot of progressive art majors going into the FBI. Government and medical research labs keep this stuff under lock and guard, so when someone casually displays biotoxins as art, the powers that be will run you through the wringer whether or not your wife just died unexpectedly.

Insane Bitch Who Should Die-
In a sign of the times (i.e. Four Horseman, worldwide turmoil, Apocalypse), 36 year old former Mother of the Year Kristen Vanderlinde made headlines by bashing her seven month old baby daughter to death in front of horrified rush hour traffic on Kenmore Avenue. She held her little girl by the ankles and repeatedly slammed her head against the sidewalk before witnesses wrestled her to the ground. To hear of such a sick, depraved act makes us want to kill with our bare hands. Or a crossbow. Even gasoline and matches, the punishments are obviously endless. Maybe mom just decided she wanted to go through life with the nickname Babykiller, it really makes you wonder what the fuck is wrong with people. Psycho bitch is currently locked down in ECMC undergoing the obligatory mental evaluation, so don't expect this spectacle to go away any time soon. A dead baby tears at your heart and makes big headlines, the crazy mom angle is the sinister hook which sucks you in and the media prod the community to rally around a symbol of some nightmare nobody ever wanted anything to do with in the first place as evidenced by this tragic loss of life. Just remember, God works in mysterious ways, and if anyone's going to Hell it's this fucking bitch.

More Dead People -
The Grim Reaper struck the area hard over Memorial Day weekend, here's a brief sampling: A van chock full of God's own faithful from New York City speeding towards the Canadian entrance of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge clipped a concrete barrier, spun out and slammed into the median before flipping over, killing four and leaving the rest thoroughly shaken, not stirred. How's that for a church outing? We suspect foul play, God would never do something like that, those shifty Canadian bastards must be planning something while our military is indisposed over in the desert. The day before two motorcycles collided head on out in Wheatfield. What the hell are the odds of that happening? Astronomical, but too late for the two bikers who were pronounced dead at the scene, no sirens on that ambulance. A passenger on one of the bikes barely survived and is in the hospital with twisted legs and scrambled brains. It must have been one hell of a ride, though, late at night, flying down a dark country road into some ear shattering, bone crunching explosion of blood and death. Let this be a lesson, motorcycles look cool but they aren't toys, when you crash on one of these things you generally get shredded, so be fucking careful! Speaking of being careful, city kids need to be reminded not to swim in any of the "ponds" out in Amherst near UB. An 18 year old from Buffalo got sucked down into the sludge of one of these things and never resurfaced during a birthday party at a nearby house. Divers recovered the body within an hour but the kid couldn't hold his breath that long. It was raining that entire day and it wasn't really even hot out, so what were these kids doing? Learning a valuable life lesson.

City Budget War -
We told you there'd be trouble in Buffalo with the Control Board clamping down and our shifty Mayor having to turn in a real budget. This is the first budget outsiders will have the final say on in city history and it is a desperate time for Masiello et al. It seems the idea of taking over 180 city parks isn't proving such a popular idea in the County Legislature which blows gigantic holes into the meticulous cutting and pasting which is our budgetary process. Then the Buffalo Firefighter's Union decided it wouldn't accept a single health care provider which the city is switching to in order to save a hefty $7 million dollars. We won't even even discuss why this wasn't done, oh, say ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, we'll just concentrate on the present and this highly intelligent move to rationalize city expenses. Union President Joe Foley may have shot himself in the foot on this one, all the other unions did the right thing and pitched in, proving they want to help, but not the firefighters. They're mad because of all the changes coming down on them anyway, mass firings, layoffs, and station closures, but their stance has ominously accelerated the process, Masiello is threatening to do it all now. It's a stalemate and it needs to be resolved by June 10 when the Control Board votes on the budget and at this point it looks bleak, the budget may not even be there to get voted on. Of course the State budget still isn't done which doesn't help, but let's be honest, the cornerstone of any good business is cutthroat budgeting and when honest professionals are in charge of the process things get taken care of well in advance of deadlines. What really sucks is that houses will burn to the ground in Buffalo because of the upcoming cuts and these guys are your best friend when those pesky smoke alarms shriek for real. We are poor and critical services must suffer. Just wait until the sanitation and sewer departments get cut!

State Budget Crisis?
One month and counting and still no State budget. What exactly have our legislators and our Governor been up to for the last 30 days during this crisis? It is a crisis, isn't it? Well, it used to be a crisis, now it's just a fucking joke, and it's on all of us. It's such a great joke Pataki is running around promising to increase state education aid by a whopping $8 billion over the next five years. First of all, how high are you going to raise our taxes to get that kind of dough? Second, does this five years mean we have to vote for you again? And third, what's your cut, sir? It's like dealing with a car salesman who throws out tons of numbers but never the exact, final price you actually need to know to make an informed decision. Pataki shouldn't even be out making speeches, he ought to be locked in a room with these other assholes getting the budget knocked out. Leadership is a top down thing; if the guys at that level act like nothing's wrong what does that tell us? Not much, suckers.

Goodbye, Good Riddance and Hello -
The rock world was hit hard by a double whammy of break-ups in the past week. First, pseudo-Grateful Dead heirs Phish, who kept the party going longer than it ever had any right to go on, announced they were calling it quits after the summer tour. Talented musicians, all of them, but complete failures in the mainstream recording industry where people aren't listening to them on psychedelics and think they're having a true spiritual experience. Bandmembers are sitting on piles of money right now, but their album sales will never sustain these Phish, so call it a hiatus because they will be back when the coffers start running low. In other rock news, Creed is gratefully dead. If you're in any way even moderately upset by this, punch yourself in the face right now. Maybe there is a God after all. 103.3 held a weekend-long tribute to Creed which was immensely tedious, forcing us to switch over to the refreshing 107.7. It's strange, a new local radio station which doesn't play the same predictable old shit over and over and over again until you wish Al Qaeda terrorists would come cut your head off. Disgruntled sports fans aside, let's hope this lasts.