Business as Usual: Stalling in Sudan - Al Uthman

Chris Hitchens Digs Deep - Matt Taibbi

Rods From Gods: Reagan's Legacy - Bob Fitrakis

Learning from the Help- Matt Taibbi

Interview w/ Perry Rogers, Video Captain- Ken Barnes

From the Desk of Vin Diesel

Ask a Chronic Pot-Smoker

I Hate You

Powell Goes Nuts- Josh Righter

BEAST Staff Forces Publisher to Run for Congress


Buffalo in Briefs


Sports Blotter - Matt Taibbi

Celebrity Math

[sic] - your letters

Pusher - Distro Watch - Seamus Gallivan


Unbalanced Load - Darren Longo


Kino Korner


AudioFiles: Uncle Sam's Jam, Retro Schlock


Archives--Old BEASTs

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© 2004 The Beast



The Budget Void - We are dumb suckers, those of us out working our asses off while the yahoos in Albany play games, party, and, oh yeah, go on summer vacation without a state budget. It’s illegal for any municipality in New York to end its legislative session without a budget, but it’s perfectly okay for your state representatives to hightail it out of the capital and go home wringing their hands about how it’s not their fault and you owe them re-election so they can go back and “fix” the problem. Yup, it’s the same jokers year after year causing this needless nightmare and you helped elect them, probably by not voting. You might want to take note who your Governor, state senators and representatives are and the next time you see one of their names on a ballot make sure you spit on it and pull the other crank. There was plenty of time during the final session to rush through emergency funding bills (which wouldn’t be necessary if there were a budget), pork, and who knows what other nonsense, maybe an outdoor smoking ban or a cell phone surcharge, something that will undoubtedly cost you more money next fiscal period. This isn’t even government by crisis, it’s government by avoidance. There’s either a war between the executive and legislative branches or a Grand Collusion, and there’s nothing you can do about it but keep working hard and paying exorbitant taxes on everything while the politicians get rich without doing their jobs, leaving everything for some as yet undetermined future generation to deal with. Too bad us regular incompetent folks can’t get elected to office; it sounds like a wonderful life!

Atkins Backlash - Congratulations are in order to the good dead Dr. Atkins whose low-carb diet program is changing the way Americans eat! Bread is now equated with evil, despite the fact nobody would even be living in a city anywhere on the planet if our ancestors didn’t discover the secret of this most basic of basic foods some 50,000 years ago. The fast food joints are all screaming about their “Atkins friendly” menu additions in hopes of gaining back lost business, but bakeries are going out of business right and left. That includes Kaufman’s Bakery, a 67-year-old Buffalo institution, which recently closed down, leaving over a hundred employees screwed. Apparently the plant on Fillmore Avenue is too old to produce low-carb rolls and buns in a cost-effective manner, so it’ll all be Stroehmann’s from now on. In other Kaufman’s related news, all the orange step vans have been converted into mobile crack and meth labs; flag them down and experience a really thin person’s lifestyle.

Man’s Inhumanity to Deer Part II - Back in April there was outrage when a Town of Aurora employee used a Hi-Lift to off an injured deer instead of having the cops shoot it. On June 21st, a Buffalo Police Officer shot a deer on Federal Avenue and there’s outrage all over again. Which do you people prefer, shooting or running over? How about a bow and arrow, is that more humane? Actually this deer probably didn’t need to be exterminated, but what the hell, we’re superior beings with an awful lot of expendable firepower to go around. Initially, three deer were running around the Laidlaw bus parking lot on the East Side early in the morning when a panicked worker called 911. By the time police arrived two of the deer had found their way out, but the third broke free upon being cornered and ran into a residential neighborhood where there was no choice but to gun the wild animal down like a homicidal street gangster. Neighbors shouldn’t complain; it had to be more exciting than Good Morning America, but still, we wonder who’s hoarding all the tranquilizer guns.

Hot For Teacher - And who wouldn’t be? Debra Beasley Lafave is a scrumptious reading teacher in a Tampa, Florida suburb. Well, she was, until police arrested her on lewd and lascivious battery charges for having sex with a 14-year-old student at her home and in various cars around town. She’s been teaching two years, married only a few months, and living in  Florida. The stress must have been killing her! It’s disgusting when male teachers take advantage of their students, but when a women do it it’s just plain hot, especially when they look like her. These relationships never work, though, because any kid tagging his teacher is going to blab about it big time; we bet everybody at school knew what was going on by lunch hour. Is she as psychotic as Mary Kay Letorneau out in Seattle (a seriously disturbed ex-teacher, who’s still in jail and has six kids, the last born in prison and fathered by her then 13-year-old lover)? We hope so. Mrs. Lafave could wind up selling a lot of newspapers--and Playboys, dare we suggest?

Bass Pro Deal - Give Tony Masiello some credit—his knees have been working overtime since 2001 to get Bass Pro to move into that pile of rubble in-waiting called the Aud. It’s his only hope of hitting a grand slam home run which will magically revitalize downtown Buffalo, because he’s not a farsighted guy (despite being three terms into his reign as Mayor). Why get five or six little things going when one big one will do? That’s the overriding mindset of our local politicians who can’t see further than eight hours ahead and don’t understand that the more shots you take the more goals you’ll theoretically score. The problem is we have no money in the city bank account, so Masiello has to beg the boys downstate, who say (but haven’t promised) they’re going to kick in $100 million in incentives for Bass Pro to sign a deal. That much money could draw in or start so many new businesses it would make your head spin (if you counted on the government spending it wisely). Anyone who passes up that kind of an offer would be crazy, right? Unfortunately for us, Bass Pro just opened its first store in New York State down in Auburn, a place that makes Buffalo look like a thriving metropolis. That tells us Bass Pro is less than enthusiastic about this pipedream Masiello and co. have cooked up, but $100 million in bait is awfully attractive. They’ll probably bite, hell, if the store’s a bust they can always pull up the lines and go fishing somewhere else like so many others have before them. It reminds us of the Adelphia deal, lots of promises and excitement at the beginning turning into acrimony and ending with indictments, a complete waste of time and energy. If Bass Pro doesn’t work out we should take that $100 million, throw it in the city bank account and all our financial problems are solved. It’s either that or authorize the City Treasurer to play Mega Millions and hope the dream comes true.

The Ratings Game - EVERYBODY QUICK, COME SEE, BUFFALO, VIOLENT GUN DEATHS, EAST SIDE, THREE DEAD, TEN WOUNDED OVER FOUR DAYS, RUN FOR THE HILLS! Oops, sorry to shout; we can’t get all the media hype out of our heads. That’s the only thing that happened in the city over the weekend if you go by the television or newspapers’ screaming accounts and that’s a real disservice to Buffalo. They make it sound like city dwellers cower in concrete bunkers and blown out buildings while an occupying force ravages the town, contributing an endless soundtrack of machine gun fire to our daily existence. This is the kind of irresponsible news programming which terrifies suburbanites and assures that whole generations of people living within 20 miles of the city never step foot in it if they don’t have to. Buffalo has a lot of problems, and one of them is highly competitive local news channels that use murder, robbery, and rape as entertainment vehicles to suck in viewers, most of whom don’t even live in the city. We know people in West Seneca who think traveling to Buffalo is like venturing into the Old West. Most people here are friendly and inviting, especially the street hookers, drug dealers and bums. You do have to keep your wits about yourself if you come down at night to party hard, but the odds you’ll get robbed or shot are practically nil. You might get your ass kicked, arrested, or both, but that’s not as bad as it sounds. Okay, yeah that is bad, but at least you’ll still be alive, only thoroughly ashamed. So thirteen people got shot over a few days—so what, that’s bound to happen; it’s summer and the gangs are fighting turf wars all over the East Side, don’t worry about it. You’re not involved. The cops are on the job; they live for this shit. You’ve been fed pure paranoia –if you really think it’s bad here then get on your satellite dish or the Internet and tune in the local news from Baltimore or Tampa; it’ll make Buffalo’s murder rate look downright civil.

Art or Anthrax Yet Again - This shit is infectious! Hooray for artists who were formerly unknown now basking in the international spotlight and the recipients of a massive influx of cash! The Critical Art Ensemble must have read the last issue when we called them out on their lack of art samples and released some truly unimpressive stuff. It’s been almost two months since Steve Kurtz got arrested and what they slapped together looks worse than shitty Artvoice advertisements. These guys are way too caught up in the cerebral science of biotechnology and not the visual representation of their point of view. The sample we saw in the news is an ad for a fictional bio-company, a picture of a petri dish next to a close up of some purple cells taken through a microscope, extremely gripping shit which reminds us why we closed that chemistry book in ninth grade and never opened another one again. The other sample is a photograph from a work by “performance artists” in lab coats offering a science quiz in front of some fictional piece of assaying equipment and then deciding whether or not to release some new genetic organism or something. Fun, wow! A chick in a lab coat standing in front of a silly Star Trek prop is tedious and annoying. Now Kurtz is being indicted for mail fraud, which is largely being ridiculed by misguided free-speechers. The truth is that Kurtz used an intermediary at the University of Pittsburgh, Robert Ferrel, to order and then send him controlled bacteria, which he couldn’t get himself because, in his own words (as quoted in the indictment), "[t]he bad news is, that I can't get anything from ATCC. I need a lab, a biosafety report, and scientists for references. I don't know how to get around that." Ferrel did, however, and Kurtz got his microscopic goodies anyway. We know the guy wasn’t going to kill anyone, but there are good reasons these laws exist. “Artistic license” is not a legal argument. Kurtz is busted fair and square as far as we can see.

Eh-lection - Well, lots to report on Canadian politics. They just had an election, and the Liberals held ground against Conservatives but lost enough seats that for the first time in 25 years a minority will rule the country. Most of Canada lives in Toronto and in the Dominion the most populous region dictates the course of government, although they no longer have a majority of votes in Parliament. The Bloc Quebecois, from the province of Quebec, duh, gained seats and will continue advocating separation from Canada (always a great idea, when you have no currency, no army, and no natural resources besides hydroelectric power stations that the rest of the country paid for. How French). God knows we’d want to defect if we were Canadian; the food sucks as bad as the music. Our buddies to the North have entered into a highly unstable form of government, which should implode shortly and call for a new election in the very near future. Hmmm, wouldn’t it be nice if we had a parliamentary form of government in Albany? We could easily kick all their asses out of office at will. Maybe those hosers are onto something. Well, they did have our American form of democracy to use as a cautionary example.

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