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Features:

Mayoral Survivor Contest: The BEAST Wants You to Run for Mayor!

Truth is Overrated: Why Does My TV Think Bush Won the Debate? - Al Uthman

Political Snickering: M&M/Mars' Campaign of Terror - Matt Taibbi

Big Brother Knows Best: Blockbuster Rents Bogus Fahrenheit 9/11 DVDs - Paco Alameda

Scary Little Man: Bush's Belligerence -William Rivers Pitt

Kneeling Before George: President Bush is a Serious Stud - Merry Dunce, the Beast's "Fresh Voice"

American Indian Museum Opens in DC, Promptly Stolen by American History Museum -Jake Novak

Reading the Blitz: Election Hacks Score Touchdown in Overtime Frenzy - Matt Taibbi

Freedumb: Zell Miller Echoes Militaristic Fallacy - Mark Golden




Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Notes from the Big House

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten

Brush with Greatness: I met Gretzky - Seamus Gallivan

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters




Entertainment:

Movies:

Kino Korner

Music:

Album Reviews: Tom Waits, De La Soul

Events:

Misfits Roadie's Haunted House -Ken Barnes

Beastivities

Sports:

High Quality Losers: Numbers Game Pays little for Bills -Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob The Angry Flower - Stephen Notley



Contact Us

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Archives--Old BEASTs

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2004 The Beast

I Met Wayne Gretzky

A Brush With Greatness

by Seamus Gallivan


For most of us, greatness is a carrot on a stick that's too far stuck. But on an unsuspecting corner - for an unforgettable moment - I held greatness in the palm of my hand.

The packed peninsula of Pinellas County faded further as I drove over Tampa Bay on the Howard Frankland Bridge, and the sight of Raymond James Stadium due northeast said that the mainland of Tampa proper was within reach. A generous baker's dozen of fog lights flashed frantically around the stadium into the clear late January sky - it was the eve of Super Bowl 35, and the sub-tropic town was turned upside down.

The cookie-cutter voice of "The Animal" - the idiotically named local sports radio station - said that the place to be was the Cuban Club in Ybor City, site of the NFL Player's Association Party. I knew Ybor would be the hotspot anyway - the bar-laden 20-block strip is a booming boozefest every weekend - so I breezed through downtown bound for Seventh Street. The madness was magnified by the fact that this was all going down at the same time as Gasparilla, Tampa's own mini-Mardi Gras that celebrates the right to drink and be immoderately merry in the middle of the street. After a pit stop for some Guinness tallboys, I cruised into my clandestine Ybor free parking spot, an abandoned collision shop at the foot of the strip, and geared up for some good time gawkin'.

Outside the Cuban Club was a line of limos and assorted call cars surrounded by three-piece suits and four-figure call girls. It was a dapper scene, and with the finest clearance rack shirt, shorts, and sandals, and pockets full of beers, I was happy to bring down the class of the whole affair. I stood among some of the toughest nails around, from Daunte Culpepper to Hacksaw Jim Duggan - surely Jimbo was somewhere inside. Even a few of football's pretty people were on display - Dan Marino appeared to have a fresh perm and manicure, and the home team's loudest jackass, Keyshawn Johnson, was standing chin up and chest out as if he had any clout. The thrill of elbow-rubbing wore off quick as the local yokels stroked "Me-shawn's" erroneous ego, the overrated receiver throwing his arms up to the chanting of his name. That was about all I could stand - I flew the coop in what turned out to be one of the greatest-timed departures of my life.

Approaching the next corner, I looked down the block and immediately froze still. Walking straight at me, unflanked, was one Wayne Gretzky - only the greatest hockey player who has ever lived! Growing up idolizing Mike Ramsey, I knew to stand tall and hold my ground when the Great One was drawing near. But he wasn't trying to get around me - he approached me with a indifferent look that suggested he had no idea that as a little tike I used to stay up way past midnight to watch him play on a tiny black and white TV in my room, the next day in the street trying to pull off the new moves I learned. It was a once in a lifetime moment - I had to say something.

After decades of adoration, the best I could come up with was, "Wayne, can I shake your hand?" He looked beyond me as he obliged, like I was some scrub rookie on a team he'd just swept in the first round of the playoffs. And just like for that rookie, it was still a thrill, a rush that made me want to jump into the air in celebration, even though I'd really accomplished nothing.

I kept walking, content that I'd had my moment without pestering the guy. But after a few steps, I turned around to see that the man was still flying solo! I began to turn around, dreaming up exciting scenarios of a night on the town with the Great One, full of V.I.P. rooms, crazy old-time hockey stories, drinkin' out of the Stanley Cup, and all kinds of knee-slappin' laughs. But just then, and just like in the old days, there came that salty goon Marty McSorley, with a bunch of no-good goon buddies, ready to break up any nonsense that any schmuck like me or Kenny Linseman tried to draw number 99 into. I wisely retreated.

But I'll always have that moment, and I'll always bore my friends with it.



 

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MAYORAL SURVIVOR: A BEAST CONTEST

ATTENTION BEAST READERS! The BEAST needs you to be the next Mayor of our dear city. That's right! We want you, a lowly loyal BEAST reader, to be the next Mayor of the city of Buffalo. WE ARE TOTALLY SERIOUS! We are launching a search for 16 contestants willing to run for the position of Mayor in 2005...


Truth is Overrated Al Uthman

It's been almost a week since the second Presidential debate, and I'm still baffled at the post-debate coverage.

Well, no, that's not really true. I remember turning to a fellow viewer as we watched Bush go to pieces and saying, "watch; they're gonna come on and call it for Bush."


Political Snicker-ing Matt Taibbi

The good folks at M&M/Mars and BBDO New York have combined recently to give the world one of the more uplifting cinema experiences of the year: a series of commercials in which hapless, ambitionless zeroes with terrible haircuts make improbable journeys from their couches to the throne of mankind after eating Snickers bars.


Big Brother Knows Best Paco Alameda

True story: After eagerly awaiting the DVD release of Fahrenheit 9/11, I take a bus to The Hamburg, NY Blockbuster and ask the first friendly clerk I see to point me toward the new releases. He walks me over to the Fahrenheit 9/11 display and being a very helpful chap, takes a DVD, hands it to me and says "Is this what you were looking for?"


Scary Little Man William Rivers Pitt

George W. Bush, still smarting from his embarrassing performance in the Florida debate, decided on Friday night in St. Louis that volume was a good substitute for strength, that yelling would be mistaken for gravitas. The result was an ugly, disturbing, genuinely frightening show.



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