that special time of year again, and time to celebrate the
familiar sights, sounds and smells that tell us summer is
If you live in the ‘burbs, it might
be an independently owned ice cream truck, one with a particularly
warped jingle, which seems to circle your block all damn day
until you can hear it even when it’s not around. But
in the city, it’s the Harleys, the Harleys, goddamn
the fucking Harleys. I don’t care how small your penis
is; it’s no excuse for making your motorcycle sound
like a B-52 with a broken muffler. If my car sounded like
that, I’d get a ticket every damn night. Because of
assholes on Harleys, you can expect to miss crucial pieces
of dialogue on the TV during the day, and to jolt awake at
4am when they all exit the bar and rev their engines for 15
minutes before finally leaving.
And then there’s other type of noise-pushing
city jerk, the one who is willing to permanently damage his
eardrums and his car’s undercarriage by playing crappy
R&B at volumes that no human could possibly enjoy. Listen
guys: rolling down the windows and blasting a tune loud enough
so people can hear it is okay. But pointing a giant PA system
out of your trunk is just pathetic and desperate. The first
thing you need to know about being cool is that trying too
hard just isn’t. You suck; you diminish the quality
of life wherever you go. Why? I don’t know, but I’ve
been collecting rocks, and not because I think they’re
Seasonally Inappropriate Dress by the Homeless
The intensity of the sun has begun to redden the extremities
of your arachnid form, and the ground level heat and humidity
is brutal and inescapable. You begin to think about camping
on the concrete floor in your basement; the notion that exile
in Buffalo means preferring winter to summer taunts your fragile
psyche. That is when you have your first sighting. He stands
in the summer swelter uninterested in shedding his layers.
He smoothes his thick dirty beard while examining a creased
beer can. He is wearing old work boots, long dirty pants,
a wool sweater, a greasy winter parka, and a ski cap. He moves
little – like the summer bison of Delaware Park. And
while the rest of us suffer, he seems perfectly comfortable.
Summer is the season for home improvement projects and the
accompanying rise in fly-by-night contractors who have a tendency
to cut and run. Does the deal sound too good to be true? Perhaps
it is. Here are 10 things that may tip you off:
10. A trucker cap that was never intended
as a fashion statement
9. Any item associated with the State of Florida
8. Skin tanned to rawhide brown
7. Attempts to light a broken or wet cigarette
6. Severe dental problems
5. A beleaguered, bored pregnant woman in
the front seat of the truck who seems to know it’s just
a numbers game
4. An unbuckled child riding in the center
3. Power tools that lack serial numbers but
have conspicuous sandpaper scars
2. A truck equipped like it came from the
set of “Sanford and Son”
1. Unusually low estimates accompanied by
unusually high pressure for a deposit
The Tonawanda Canal Fest
Do you routinely fake injury for workman’s
comp? Does your 10-speed have a set of snow chains for all
season use? If yes to either, you already have July 17-24
penciled in your calendar. For the rest, get ready for the
Tonawanda Canal Fest, the area’s annual celebration
of all things dirt bag. Celebrating white trash heritage for
it’s 23rd year, this year’s festival promises
to deliver all the cheap beer, foul language, and skin tight
Levi’s you can handle. They have a car cruise, parades,
live music, and a good ol’ fashioned tug o’ war
lined up. Just make sure you leave your anti-war, liberal
views at home, unless you want your face squeezed through
a sewer grate like a soft potato through a fry-slicer. Sure,
you can cannonball from a brown paper bag on the canal’s
bank any day of the year. During Canal Fest, you can bring
it to the streets.
Cornfest: Riots and Hippie Rape
What happens when tie-dyed campers invade
a small town in Upstate New York? If it’s 1969, a peaceful
music festival that will be rehashed ad naseum as a pop culture
touchstone. If it’s more recent times at the Eden Cornfest,
running battles between the cops and rural ruffians. The Eden
Gestapo got tough with the drug-crazed loonies last time and
commenced banging heads, and you can be sure they’ll
be ready for them this year.
Last year’s four-day event featured
eight Methodist-sponsored BBQ’d meat events, six “Beer
Barn” activities, five Civil War demonstrations, the
“Festival Queen Pageant,” an auto show, and a
riveting performance from the Liberty Cloggers. But that’s
just white noise. Go for one of two reasons: to swallow some
Sunshine, or get muddy and clothesline a cop. Either way,
it’s good times!
The Legacy of the Crabb Brothers
Laws require that all signs in Canada be bilingual.
Therefore it is now “de rigueur” to wear denim
to the beach on Lake Erie. The fashion can be traced to Crystal
Beach, where the Crabb brothers were rolling wet down the
dunes and stealing wallets from unsuspecting Americans on
holiday during the early 1970s. They were never prosecuted
and their reign of terror lasted many years, but they have
since settled into a quiet life running a Beer Store in Ridgeway.
Now it’s their many waifs walking the sand, boomboxes
in hand, blaring Def Leppard, denim dripping all the way.
And that is “chic” in any language.
Landscapers on the Loose
You feel the tension first, and as you twist
around to face it, a hoarse voice yells, “Hey, baby!
Can I get a burger with that shake?” You glimpse their
grins as a truckload of landscapers rolls by. A young woman
walking on the sidewalk pretends she hasn’t heard, but
of course she has, and so has everyone else, which is why
they are gaping. Hoots and a drowning Rebel yell are the last
sounds as the truck rumbles away. It is summer, and the plows
have been removed from the pickups. Leering, shirtless men
are now in the back. They have come for your women. Not even
God can save them!
Zoar Valley Death Toll
“Dude, it’s like so high up here
on these cliffs. I mean, I’m like really stoned. Dude...
where’d you go?” Thus another teenager falls to
his death outside Gowanda. It’s a classic coming of
age tale. Terrible!
It is common sense that you shouldn’t
hold lit fireworks in each hand, because what are you supposed
to do with your beer then? To avoid the hospital this Independence
1. Don’t throw lit firecrackers at your
friends, no matter how funny it seems. Bottle-rocket wars
2. Don’t try to light a cigarette with
the flaming wick of your explosive device. You may really
be jonesing, but this can go bad very quickly.
3. Roman candles make excellent wands of destruction,
until they get into someone’s hair.
4. Wait until after you’re almost out
of fireworks before you break out the hard liquor.
5. Do not pour the hard liquor on the fireworks
while lighting a cigarette.
If you pay attention, you can actually smell
summer coming to Buffalo: basically, it smells like untreated
sewage. The hotter it gets, the stronger the stench emanating
from our sewer drains and manhole covers. It’s worse
than usual this year, in part due to a hopelessly incompetent
sewer authority. Then there’s also that nice algae smell
and taste the tap water takes on…mm-mm! You can even
taste it through the Kool-Aid powder!
Last but not least, summer is the time of
year we get to do what we really want: watch semi-nude women
sweat. It’s good to have a porch or balcony to do this
from, but a sidewalk patio will do in a pinch. Let yourself
go and spend some time attending to your inner lecher; you’ll
be glad you did. Just try not to vocalize too much; the “hey
baby” approach is surprisingly unsuccessful, considering
how many men try it on a daily basis. If you’re really
looking to score, try our patented technique: get her drunk,
It just wouldn’t be summer without Kirk
Cameron telling us how we’re all going to hell. This
year, some intrepid folks are going costumed to this 4-day
Christian fest to, shall we say, challenge the faithful. Too
bad they have to listen to that music.