Tag Archives: Buffalo

Bland leading the bland.

We saved all our marriage money and spent it on a down-payment for a house in North Carolina, like thousands of other newly cemented couples. Imagine, if you will, thousands of couples like us. White. Educated. Professional. Some, like ours, had a decidedly weak link in the chain of responsibility, income, qualifications. That was me. In fact, the wyfe left it to me to send resumes to all the hospitals in the region, and I misspelled “laboratory” on the cover letters. Something someone who had probably written that word a trillion times in her life had worked out pretty firmly. How mortifying that was. Still, her experience, dedication and work ethic overcame this.

So, we were all descending upon cities like Raleigh. When we got here, it was difficult to find good food, good culture, any sense of place. Any depth and breadth of…experience. When you live in Buffalo, Cleveland, Rochester, Detroit, Albany, Erie, I imagine Cincinnati as well, and travel south, you imagine yourself, like we did, ready to assimilate a new way of doing things. A new cuisine. A new feeling of community. A real sense of place. But those things didn’t happen.

There’s thousands of people moving into these thrown-up apartment complexes, the likes of which I had never come across up north. Immaculate, luxuriously appointed, even though they were pretty pricey for their size, some with handball courts, some with pools and gyms. But all the same. All the same. When we were planning our move, we tried to differentiate between them but it really was impossible. It was bad luck again when she got a job 25 miles and some horrible traffic away from our first apartment in Cary. However it was right in her wheelhouse, as it were. She has but one wheelhouse, but it’s quite the fucking wheelhouse, professionally speaking. I have wheelhouses up and down this world, but they’re all tiny, I’m afraid.

We moved to Hillsborough, a house that we could have two of in Buffalo for the same money. And again, since everyone who moved here COULD afford to move here, those people who had enjoyed Buffalo’s hospitality and history brought with them stories but nothing more. Every “yankee” I met then, and every one I meet now (one just yesterday) laments this. There’s no food here that even approaches real Buffalo chicken wings, pizza, Avenue Subs, the theater scene isn’t as gritty, the music scene, a selling point at the time of our move, was even more incestuous, even less welcoming, even more dictated by one or two powerful reviewers than my home town. We all brought memories of the culture of Buffalo, but the culture itself did not travel with us, since we could afford to imbibe, but only as an audience and not a creator. We could all afford to move. Those people who could afford it were not the ones who made the place what it was, and it stands to reason that the wave of northerners who came here from the 90’s to today have had virtually no impact on the culture. Only the economy, and only for a while. It all collapsed in the “dot com collapse“. And now it’s just…hot. Hot as fuck. Or as the kids and I say, “hotter than a monkey’s diaper.”

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I tell them that my job is two-fold. To keep them alive and to say “no”. “No” is an impulsive response after a while. They ask me for something. I want them to have that thing. And yet I still say “no”. Then I turn around and say “ok”. And Olivia gets her Hank Williams Jr. Brand BB Gun. It’s my means of having empowerment without, say, smashing my kids in the mouth or grabbing their necks.

I still hear the word “no” every day. Unanswered job applications, unaccepted demos, unresolved friendships. “No”. Every day, a few times. Sometimes I get messages on my phone before I roll out of bed. “No”. “We’ll keep you on file.” “Please respect the restraining order.” And I’m not going to lie. It still stings. Thinking about an email I just got wherein my song was rejected for consideration for this or that.

Some people never see or hear a “no”. I imagine a handsome man or pretty girl with an appealing decolletage learn pretty early that a certain use of these assets can turn a “no” into a “yes”. It is, I imagine, second nature after a while. I don’t blame people like Madonna or the guys in Color Me Badd for using this skill. The word “no”, whether spoken or delivered through the proverbial smoke signal, is something we instinctively avoid, like a fake punch. We pull back.

I think that this is why so many of my good, talented friends have, for lack of a better word, resorted to either playing other people’s music or treating their own compositions almost as something for which they should apologize. And unruly guest. Not my brother’s keeper. All that shit.

People who never hear “no” in their adult lives, like Keith Moon, Jim Morrison, the great Chris Schenkel of ABC,  athletes, any sort of celebrity really, can turn to substance abuse and suicidal tendencies. I think of Kurt Cobain in this regard. It’s unnatural to hear the word “yes” all the time. There’s nowhere to fall. You cannot know what is real and what is fake. Does the woman love you? Does the friend merit trust? Does the prostitute take Best Buy card? I think that’s why so many people off themselves when they’re famous. It’s not that they’re sick of fame. I think they’re sick of “yes”.

And if the world should smile on me someday and treat me with favored-fatty status, if my next CD or any of my songs come into the public eye, if I “blow up” as the kids these days say, I’m not sure I would handle it any better. But I will tell you this. It would be nice to hear “yes” some day in a professional regard without paying someone to “say”it. If you know what I mean. And I think you do. Why would you be here otherwise?

Ninety-nine. One thousand.

And one. Two. Three. Shit….

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Who dunnit? Answers.

So let’s see here:

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(After meeting you on a blind date) I’ve decided to stay with my boyfriend.

That happened! She was one of these BPO women. We connected via my phone solicitation and the “action” quickly went to my apartment (phone) where we shared many bawdy stories. Very, very bawdy. Needless to say, her boyfriend was on his way out and she and I should get together and do…stuff. When she opened the door to my teeny tiny apartment and saw my silly wardrobe and ill-groomed countenance, her eyes sort of dropped back into her skull like mine would when Scott Norwood missed. We had an awkward drink at some Buffalo bar, she dropped me off, no kiss, no fantasies that we had discussed would be acted out, and three days later (we spoke every day for a week leading up) I called her to give it the old college try…again…but she was going back with her boyfriend. The one that hit her.

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I have made a pledge with myself and my god to remain a virgin until I’m married. Even so, I am not attracted to you.

This happened! A devout catholic who’s snark and intellect would seem to be a dream match but that’s just a theory. A great gal. I remember going out on a date with another couple. I was asked to tell the story of how we met. I blabbed on like I was Shakespeare or Gore Vidal. Romance this. Chance that. And on the way home, all happy with myself for being so damned eloquent, she blindsided me with the line above. Does oral count? It doesn’t matter. She tapped my shoulder like I was being shelled by the Yankees.

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I have invented a paint that changes color when you look at it, and the government is after me to steal it. Also, I want to remain a virgin. I really like being a virgin.

This happened! Whoa nelly!!! I asked a stunning girl out in 1989 or so. she worked at the Towne Restaraunt in Buffalo. She had a delightful bodice, nerdy glasses, and random braids of random colors. Sweet poppa chongo I loved that gal. Or at least the idea of her. When she said yes to a date I was three feet off the floor and full of flippy floppy!! So we went to dinner and a movie. She sat down a seat from me, which really crushed me. I feel like I wrote this before here. Did I? Well, we went on a couple more dates, each one providing more solid evidence that no, she was not going to prance around in a silk camisole for me, and no, we were not going to act out pages from my own adaptation of the Kama Sutra, and no, I would not be getting a boyfriend discount on souvlaki. The kicker came when she told me about the paint she had invented that changed colors when you looked at it, according to your mood. And the government was out to get it, and her. I swear I told you all this before. Anyhow, even a horny fool knows when to bow out gracelessly.

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I must stop seeing you because your dirty apartment reminds me of my mother.

This happened! Dave and I were looking for something to do in Buffalo on a Friday night. And I needed to go to the Wilson Farms next to my apartment for some smokes, so that’s what we did. I made nice conversation with the gal behind the counter, and she agreed to meet us at the Towne. She was a little pedestrian, which is probably why she kept having to avoid cars on the road when they couldn’t see her, but she was also very attractive in that Buffalo girl way. I couldn’t tell you her name. But she dumped me over the phone with the line you see here after spending a few evenings in my apartment.

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I cannot date you because I am training for the Olympic Archery team.

When I was working at Ingram, I had a crew that I would go to lunch with on a regular basis. When I was with them, my cocksure ego overrode my normally shriveled self-esteem. Everything I said, it seemed, was funny. Every time a pretty girl was waiting on us, the charm got turned on. And so it was at one of those delightful pizza places on Hertel Ave. I couldn’t tell you what she looked like now, but I thought she was diggin’ my rap. So I asked her out. She gave me her number. I waited the requisite two days and called her. She told me that she was too busy. She was training for the Olympic archery team. Too busy. Sorry. I think I may have called the National Olympic Committee to check if her name was on any roster that they knew of, but the answer they gave escapes me, as did/does common sense.

See, when there’s a barista or a waitress or a service industry worker of any kind, they’re PAID to be friendly. They are friendly because that’s how they make more MONEY. It never occurred to me that her pleasant demeanor and tepid acquiescence to my flirtations were a means by which she would be able to get more cash out of me. How stupid was I?

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Your hygiene is terrible.

If anyone ever thought this of me while I was either smooching them, trying to manually close the deal that my other parts could or would not, or getting out of my fast-food wrapper-carpeted Chevy Spectrum smelling of repeated, un-showered layers of Pierre Cardin cologne in the phallus-shaped bottle from my mother for the 5th straight Christmas because once I said it smelled nice, they never said it. So congrats, one person who guessed this.

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Porcine Drone’s Loverman Credentials.

Hey, the best thing about marriage is the fact that there’ll be no more dating. In fact, while I can laugh about it now, there have been some terrible, terrible experiences “out there”, and you’re no different, I’m sure. So for a little self-indulgent fun, I thought I’d put up this little quiz. The better you know me and my history, the better the chance you’ll get it right. I also invite you to post your own stories in the comment section, because misery loves company. Abstinence makes the fond grow harder. A bush in the hand. All that. Let’s PLAY!!!!

There is one correct answer.

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That old “perfect world…”–Riffing on a Saturday—full of lamb shank.

Overlooked, and almost taboo for a long time, was the great role that Germans and Russians played in building my home town, Buffalo, NY.

In a perfect world, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened. Why DID it happen? Please provide proof.

In a perfect world, there would be no illegal immigration. Why IS THERE illegal immigration? In a perfect world we could just round them all up and send them all back and tell them to get in line with the other good folks who are filling out the right forms and shit. I can totally get behind people being deported for breaking the law. However, we must first discover the “why”. I think the answer has everything to do with the fact that this country has only thrived in earnest when there’s been a modicum of slavery endorsed. Nay, encouraged. Without slaves, we don’t get to be a world bully…er…power. And without illegal immigrants making next to nothing to support their families, prices on almost everything would skyrocket, just like with the first influx of immigrant labor and child labor during the “golden age” of the late 19th century. Yeah, I know I’m no historian, but it seems like there’s always been a class system driving things in regards to this economy. There’s always been an underclass. First it was slaves, then women, then immigrants, then children, then the middle class finally took off with the advent of the unions. Coincidence?

And now you can hear a pin drop when the tea-baggers rev up their Sturm und Drang regarding illegal immigration and then you turn the mics on the politicians on the left and (mostly) the right. They and their constituents (the tea party has no constituents at the moment, just fans) aren’t so keen on that noise because they know how the modern slavery drives their economies as well.

We’ve always had slaves, don’t you know? We’re the “greatest country on Earth”, and we’ve always had disposable people. When people tell me that unions have run their course and that they’re too top-heavy to survive and too corrupt to last, I feel like they’re essentially ignoring their own government’s sins.  Name an industry or business or bank as big as the unions once were that DON’T have corruption and unwieldy infrastructure. Then go to Walmart and find something that wasn’t made in China or Honduras. Then give your money for it. You can wave all the fucking misspelled signs that you want, but until you all start voting en masse with your wallets, nothing’s ever going to change.

My point today is that the unions were the one thing that were powerful enough to build a middle class and eradicate the tendency for big business to treat people like disposable diapers. If you bought that Reagan-era bullshit, you’re willfully blind or tragically stupid. The rise of the unions was the last great revolution in this country. We need it again. A little more economic jingoism wouldn’t hurt, either. Oh wait. Protectionism. Dirty word. So we asked for this problem. By glutting ourselves on cheap labor and produce and beef and chicken. It’s too late to turn back now. We need to offer amnesty to everyone in the country, legally or not, and start over in regards to immigration policy. Not one terrorist has ever entered the USA via the Mexican border. Not one. Ever. Aren’t there other things we need to take care of?

We also need more atheists in political office. Why is that so far-fetched?

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