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BuffaloIn Briefs

Mad Cow Madness - According to niagarabuzz.com, 69-year-old Joanne Gerber of Lockport died June 15th of Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease, the human version of Mad Cow. The diagnosis was made via spinal tap at Millard Fillmore Suburban before her death. The rogue prions riddling Gerber’s brain are considered indestructible and infectious, prompting a neurosurgeon to refuse to perform an autopsy. Niagara County Health Dept. officials would neither deny nor verify the diagnosis, citing privacy law. One item from the story had BEAST editor Al Uthman spouting conspiracy theories about manganese poisoning being the real cause of Mad Cow [see “Swallowing the Bull,” BEAST #40], namely that the Health Department reportedly asked the victim’s family if she “had been exposed to any chemicals, or if anyone close to her was in the landscaping business. One of her sons owns a landscaping business.” Manganese is a component of many fertilizers and plant foods, according to our paranoid editor, but then maybe ground-up “downer” cattle is too. At any rate, it’s a panic-inducing story, but don’t “drop the Gordita” just yet—one relieving factor in the story is that several of Gerber’s venison-eating Pennsylvania farm clan have also died of “brain cancer,” so there’s a good chance the deer back home were the source of the brain-wasting disease she contracted. Still, those Tempeh burgers are starting to look better and better.


Not In My Back Yard, Damnit! - Delta Sonic came under fire when suburbanites recently learned the carwash giant plans on moving in at the corner of Main Street and Union Road ASAP. People unloaded on Williamsville Mayor Ray Hazlett at a recent public meeting and he promised to look into their concerns. Sure, right after he gets his car washed. The media went wild, like it’s Wal Mart muscling in on a small town, and they need to be reminded: it’s the suburbs, you idiots! There needs to be something on every corner, a fast food shack, a gas station, donut joint, strip mall, whatever, and it’s got to have big fucking signs all over the place and a massive parking lot in order to attract people and traffic like the proverbial flies on dogshit. What sort of neighborhood Nazis wouldn’t want clean cut, nice kids washing, waxing, and drying every car in Williamsville? Well, anyone within earshot of one of these monstrosities, inhaling dirty cars all day and shitting out a constant flow of shiny, happy people. It’s like living next door to a Nascar race—only worse, it’s yuppies in sports cars and SUVs. Protesting big companies is certainly in vogue right now, but let’s face it, Williamsville is hell, just get it over with. Let the developers pave every inch under and slap up their slick little housing communities, shopping malls and office buildings and turn the land into a free flowing, hardened gunk of concrete, steel, glass, and plastic until every deer, fox and wild turkey has been flattened under Hummers full of doughy crackers.


Age Old Torture - Lori Thomas, an elementary school teacher in Rochester was suspended with pay for the rest of the school year for washing a ten-year-old boy’s mouth out with soap after he made a “nasty” sexual remark to a third grade girl. Apparently Ms. Thomas took the boy to the nurse’s office, put “a single drop” of liquid soap on his lips and “immediately” rinsed it out, enough discipline to keep the little animal cowed for the rest of the day. Ms. Thomas goes on summer vacation early this year, and hopefully won’t subject herself or the school district to a frivolous but winnable lawsuit. Here’s a little advice for any of you college kids going into public school teaching, three simple rules that will carry you through to retirement: Never turn your back on the kids, keep the number for security handy at all times, and don’t ever try to teach little vermin something they should have learned at home; it’s a police matter by the time they get to you.


Allentown - We go every year, and every year it’s the same thing, hot sun, cold beer, and lots of people looking at a lot of junk between tiny oases of the real McCoy, depending on who’s beholding what. This year’s big seller was a parrot-head signpost with colorful little pointers to the Tiki Bar, Margaritaville and so on; a vile piece of pop-art crap we saw way too many buffoons lugging home. Maybe that’s because we can only stomach about six seconds of a Jimmy Buffett song before looking for a window to jump through. We’re not there for the art, though, we’re there for the women and the booze and they were both plentiful. The cross-dressers were out in force too, only they weren’t fooling anyone (next year try and shave or something, fellas). Bums were everywhere, especially if you were standing on a corner guzzling can after can of beer—they were quite the charmers, and none too shy about garnering the cans. What sucks is that we got more attention from the bums than the ladies, why is Fate (alcohol) such a bitch? Late on Saturday afternoon a pair of Jesus Freaks came down Allen Street with banners, screaming something about sinners repenting. It was pure comedy; they couldn’t take two steps without being accosted by drunken Buffalo art fans. Let’s hope one of those guys wasn’t the actual reincarnation of Jesus, because we said some really nasty shit to them about how we dug all the violence in The Passion of the Christ.


Art Or Anthrax Again - Well it’s pretty clear by now Steve Kurtz wasn’t brewing bio-weapons in his basement, but that didn’t stop government prosecutors from hauling him and seven other teachers and artists before a Federal Grand Jury. Aside from beakers and petri dishes, what alarmed authorities most was that Kurtz had put together “a mobile DNA extraction laboratory for testing food products for possible transgenic contamination,” as an art exhibit for the Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art. Kurtz belongs to the Critical Art Ensemble (CAE), “An artists' collective that produces artwork to educate the public about the politics of biotechnology,” according to their website. It’s heavy shit and they like to use human DNA and E.coli as a form of creative expression. CAE is currently raking in huge worldwide donations due to all the publicity, which is getting even bigger with six of them refusing to testify. It’s a great story to loosen up pocketbooks: the US government clamping down on artists and teachers in its rabid War on Terrorism, trampling all over the Constitution in order to keep us free. It’s driving people in other countries crazy with hate and there should be tons of dough left over after paying the lawyers. We’d like to get in on this action if possible, maybe it’s time we write an Urban Terrorist Manual; that’s sure to land us in front of a grand jury. Nobody was making weapons or weapons delivery systems so no one’s going to jail; the issue is not whether their art is really art or advanced chemistry. Despite international attention, there are no pictures of anything any CAE artists have done on TV, in the paper, or even on their own website. If it were Picasso, his work would be slapped all over t-shirts, coffee mugs, and bumper stickers, instantly recognizable to anyone. Guess you’ll just have to peek into a university lab or watch “CSI” to get an idea what this stuff looks like. Hey, as long as Wegman’s has one of those contamination things in back checking the chicken, it’s all good with us!


Giambra vs Naples - It’s great when politicians go to war, even better when one of them gets a taste of their own medicine. Joel Giambra rose to power as Buffalo Comptroller, a mad dog fighter willing to take on any person or department where he uncovered fraud in his crusade to bring honest, responsible government to the city. We all know that was just an act now, but Giambra was earnest and convincing back then, he fooled us and he fooled us good. Too bad for him karma’s come round full circle. In criminal-speak, there’s a lot of “heat” on the Giambra administration right now, and “heat” is not good. On top of the Highway Department scandal, County Comptroller Nancy Naples blew the whistle on Giambra’s half million dollar kickback to buddy Jim Spanos at Buffalo Office Interiors, prompting an ongoing investigation from State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer. Giambra hates her with all his heart and then some. Then Jack Quinn decided not to seek reelection to Congress, and who better than the inquisitive Naples to fit the bill? Republicans are falling all over each other to get behind her, all except the County Executive. The former Democrat’s party affiliation depends on who he’s pissed off at, and in this case Giambra’s made it loud and clear he’d back a Chippewa transvestite before the ballbuster trying to ruin his career. Of course she would like his endorsement, Naples said, she is, after all, only doing her job making sure nobody steals public money. Speaking of which, the county is borrowing and spending money at a freakish rate. Naples warned county spendthrifts they’re blowing through the Tobacco Settlement money at an alarming and possibly illegal rate. The Tobacco Settlement of 1998 gave the county a little over $220 million dollars with the stipulation (but not a mandate) that it be spent on healthcare. That money was invested and expected to grow to $256 million by 2009, but, surprise, surprise, 87% of it’s been spent (in the form of loans on the principal). Guess what? It didn’t go to health care, it went to other things, so-called “long-term betterment projects” like new buildings, remodeling, “infrastructure”, computers and, of course, overpriced furniture. So over the last six years, $222.7 million got pissed away in a preposterously shortsighted manner, the same way pigs squeal over slop and never stop feeding until it’s all gone. One place the money never went to is those Medicare costs Giambra’s been whining about for so long, and isn’t that odd? Or did he spend so much on healthcare we have to mortgage ECMC? It’s a big shell game with this guy. When the Giambra years are behind us the true financial horror will come to light, and we’ll have only ourselves to blame. The tobacco settlement was one of the greatest scams in history. $4 billion to New York State alone, and the only thing they’ve done besides steal it is tax cigarettes to the sky and pass a ridiculous smoking ban. Oh well, no big deal; we just owe a shitload now on free money. That’s what happens when you trust politicians, they nail you good. Which brings us back to the issue at hand; Giambra would be smart to at least make the gesture of supporting Naples—he won’t like it, but she can’t investigate him from Washington and that’s good for his business. Then again, he’s finished in local politics, nobody in their right mind would elect him anything but lawn boy anymore, and his ego could force him to go out like a real son of a bitch.


Buffalo Business 101- Back in April we wrote about Carl Paladino and his “unnamed downtown businessmen” suing the Seneca for running off to Cheektowaga after being shown ridiculous sites in Buffalo for their casino and told take it or leave it. The Memorandum of Agreement they signed gave the Seneca an option out which they wisely used, otherwise they wouldn’t have signed it, but our partisan judicial system is pretty predictable. We can only assume Judge Joe Makowski was reading the serial numbers off stacks of treasury notes and not the actual agreement which clearly states the Seneca could veto Buffalo for any reason (e.g. our politicians had their thumbs up their asses, peddling crap a used car salesman wouldn’t touch). The good judge issued an injunction against the Seneca from proceeding on their plans in Cheektowaga and nobody is smiling bigger than Paladino. He owns lots of abandoned buildings and warehouses down around the HSBC Arena; the only logical place besides the waterfront off Fuhrman Boulevard to locate a casino in downtown Buffalo that could be set up to handle the traffic. It’s worth it for him to hire an expensive law firm and sue before a friendly judge in order to force the Seneca to either buy his land or greatly increase its value. A guy like Carl Paladino doesn’t own vacant buildings for nothing; Ellicott Development prides itself on occupancy rates and paying customers, not uninhabitable shitholes. Mayor Masiello said he was “very happy” with Makowski’s decision. He would have preferred a game of one on one with Ricky Armstrong to decide the issue, but a State Supreme Court ruling will work. All this has done is “completely [alienate] the Seneca Nation,” according to Armstrong. You’d think Indians would be used to having guns pointed at their heads. This whole thing is about ego and dollars; Paladino has invested a lot of time and money into this scheme. He’s greased many a politician to get to this point and they all have a huge stake in the deal. The question is, is there any way the Seneca might be induced to build a casino in Buffalo after this?


Britney Spears Bust- It’s not her rack we’re talking about, although those beauties are on our mind an awful lot. The little vixen totally dissed the region by canceling her June 26, concert out at Darien Lake, blowing our plans to get some great footage for clandestine internet porn sites. Britney apparently blew her knee out and now we won’t have a chance to rub elbows (or other body parts) with hot little girls showing as much skin as we see regularly over at the Colonie Lounge. We had everything planned, the beer, the weed, the GHB, it was going to be so goddamn perfect and now it’s all ruined. Local perverts can be found mourning at the nearest adult movie store, feverishly thumbing through the Barely Legal titles for a fresh face. In less disappointing news, rock hag Courtney Love blew off the lame-o ArtVoice street festival, which was conveniently located in the Chippewa district far, from our thankfully quiet and unmolested neighborhoods. Love was too busy chugging painkillers, doing lines and assaulting women with flashlights to show up for her well-promoted headlining spot at our paper of recoil’s annual suckfest. Look on the bright side, AV; Love’s absence probably made all of the Nirvana-wannabe bands at your festival breathe a little easier. At least she hasn’t “accidentally” left Frances Bean on top of the tour bus yet.


Goodbye Olmstead - Ahhh, finally, the deal is struck! Plenty of back and forth maneuvering enabled 72 workers in the Buffalo Parks Department to be absorbed by the county or shuffled somewhere else in the city’s bloated workforce, thus saving the Almighty Budget. We no longer have to worry about administering a hundred and some pesky parks anymore, even if it was a much-touted system of green spaces designed by a landscaping legend, which the Masiello administration poured millions of dollars into sprucing up. You can rest easy, however; the parks will still be run the same way they’ve always been run: by lazy, cigar chomping, fat guys who spend half their day either taking a dump or building one up. We can’t help but be underwhelmed and here’s why: as dedicated city hackers, Delaware Park is our home golf course; it’s cheap, wide open, and you can take your shirt off, perfect for our game. Two Sundays ago we went out and the above mentioned cigar-chomping fat guys were all over the course, mowing, making tons of noise, running to the Port-a-Potty, and really fucking up our pathetic game. The course is in the best shape it’s ever been in, astonishingly enough, with actual grass on the tees as well as brand new benches and ball washers with markers at every hole (except for #14 where some punks ripped out the bench). It’s really symbolic of Buffalo and why we’re in such a financial mess: there’s no money for it, but they’re still running up overtime and spending like there’s no tomorrow. We shouldn’t complain, but come on, somebody has got to get realistic about this kind of shit.


Buffalo Baby’s Brain Battle - “Baby Joe” Mesi’s last fight was much worse than we originally thought (and we originally thought the last four minutes were horrific). In little more than one round, his opponent managed to connect enough head blows to cause three separate subdural hematomas on his brain, along with the trace of a fourth, according to an MRI taken less than a month after the match. Yikes! Can anyone actually imagine what it’s like being punched that hard in the head? No, we can’t, because we’d be dead. “Baby Joe” may have gotten knocked on his ass three times by that Russian bastard, but he did not stay down; he dug deep into himself, deep into his heart and soul, and he got back up. He danced with that Russian, and he hung on till the final bell. He won the fight! He won it for himself, for his family, for his Italian heritage, for his friends and his neighbors, for Buffalo, for New York, for the United States. Joe Mesi hung in there and persevered like a true American against that commie scum, and now he’s finished as a boxer for refusing to submit his medical reports to the Nevada State Gambling Commission. It’s a damn shame, because his brain shriveled back to normal within three short months of the beating, and let’s face it, the guy’s gotta make a living. Just thinking about him stepping into the ring makes our brain weak. The Mesi camp is pushing forward, looking for a way to get the suspension lifted and is distressingly unavailable for comment. Don’t kill your meal ticket, guys; he’s still good for free drinks and blow down on Chippewa.

 

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