Long Story Short: Take your best shot
illustration by JP Thimot
Buffalo through the eyes of a barhound
Buffalonians love positive national press about our favorite subject—Buffalo. We gobble each morsel like a dungeon prisoner getting his first meal in a week.
National Geographic Travel listed Buffalo as one of its “Top 10 Food Cities” (based solely on the chicken wing). Buffalo ranked thirty-third out of the “100 Best Places to Live,” according to U.S. News and World Report. Travel and Leisure likes us; it really likes us. It ranked us as the third Best Food City in the World. That’s the world—which seems improbable, but we’ll take it. We got second best as T&L’s “Most Underrated City,” which is more plausible. But then it said we were “America’s Favorite City to Visit.” This might be the result of a reader opinion poll. Buffalonians love to vote for Buffalo in reader opinion polls. Otherwise, it’s hard to imagine people across the nation thinking, “New York, San Francisco, or Buffalo? Clearly, Buffalo.”
Rarely, however, does a travel writer come to town for an extended visit, and then write a glowing article extolling our city’s virtues with rapturous praise. Writer Matt Meltzer recently did just that. But what exactly was he extolling?
Meltzer is the Miami Editor for Thrillist, an online media brand covering travel and entertainment. He is also the author of An Insider’s Guide to Spring Break. Google his name and you find a variety of pictures of Meltzer in party mode, including one with the Campton Yard Beer Pong League.
Meltzer spent five days in Buffalo, and wrote an article entitled, “Why Buffalo (Yes, that Buffalo) Is America’s Most Underrated City to Spend a Weekend.” People in town seem to love it. Here are the CliffsNotes:
• Buffalo has a unique look, with few franchise restaurants, and comparatively cheap booze, sold in bars that stay open to 4 a.m.
• From 2006-2012 Buffalo saw one of the greatest increases of young residents in the country (yeah, I didn’t know that either).
• Thanks in part to the city’s glorious past, Buffalo has a philharmonic, ballet, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and world-class architecture. And lots of bars, with cheap booze.
• Grain elevators are cool.
• The Buffalo RiverWorks complex is “possibly the city’s greatest testament to reinvention.”
• Cheerios (produced on the waterfront) make the city smell homey.
• Buffalo has a party culture matched only by Miami and Las Vegas. (Meltzer mentions several bars by name.)
• Allentown is one of the “best drinking neighborhoods in America.”
• Buffalo has great dive bars and also swanky bars.
• “Hospitality” means “pouring you shots of Jager at 1:45 [a.m.] and saying, ‘In Buffalo, this is how we get the night started.’”
• Friendly Buffalonians will often pay for your food and drinks if you mention you’re from out of town (and happen to be an affable Marine Corps veteran, boxer, and Ironman triathlon competitor, writing an article about Buffalo).
If your idea of a great time is nonstop revelry, according to Meltzer, Buffalo is your town. He mentions the arts, architecture, Buffalo’s heritage, and the waterfront in glowing terms, but he seems to have spent most of his time here eating and drinking until 4 a.m.
When the spiritual meets the corporeal
This year’s flu season is shaping up to be the worst in almost a decade, with nearly one of four confirmed influenza cases in New York State requiring hospitalization. By this time of the year, instances of flu should start declining, but they are actually increasing. In terms of severity, we are in swine flu pandemic territory here.
The Catholic Church believes in healing the spirit. But sometimes you just have to get real, which is why Buffalo’s Bishop has temporally put the kibosh on some traditional church practices.
According to Catholic belief, during the mass, wine is transformed into the actual blood of Jesus through a process known as transubstantiation. Then, it is served to communicants. You might think that such a sacred fluid would be unadulterated, but it can actually carry flu virus. Bishop Richard J. Malone has ordered Catholic parishes in Buffalo to stop serving communion wine at services until further notice.
Also, ministers are cautioned to be careful not to touch anyone’s tongue while putting communion wafers in their mouth. Churches are also now supposed to drain the holy water and disinfect fonts regularly. There should be no hand-shaking during the exchange of the sign of peace—not even a fist bump.
The Bishop also wants to remind the faithful that if you’re sick with something contagious, you are not required to go to mass. Recent research has determined that humans don’t have to sneeze or cough to spread flu and other viruses. The little buggers float around on your breath, so you should stay three to six feet away from anyone who has a virus. (Which would make for sparsely filled pews.)
Good to know that the Catholic Church turns to science when it comes to the health of its parishioners. Do not—repeat, do NOT—depend on prayer to prevent the flu.
Greenhouse gas and other vapors
President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement last May. But Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was one of many policymakers across the country who pledged to meet the accord’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of what the climate change denier-in-chief was doing. Last week, Poloncarz triumphantly announced that Erie County government had met the Paris goals of a twenty-six percent reduction of greenhouse gases—more than a decade ahead of schedule!
The funny thing is that when Poloncarz was issuing his executive order last year, that the county would do its part to meet the Paris Accord, it had already done so. In fact, it had achieved the goals as stated by 2014. And a recent Erie County greenhouse gas inventory showed that much of those reductions were largely unintentional. So, essentially, the county government had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions to a level below what Poloncarz pledged to do, before he pledged to do it.
It’s a tenet of politics that you don’t waste a perfectly good accidental success, so Poloncarz held a press conference Tuesday to announce the achievement. The Buffalo News quotes Erie County Legislature Majority Leader Joseph C. Lorigo as saying, “It’s obviously a good thing that we’re lessening our environmental impact, but if it was lower all along, I don’t understand the point of the press conference other than to tell everyone he’s not Donald Trump, which is what he does everyday (sic) anyway on Twitter.”
Long Story Short would like to state, strongly, that there is no limit to the number of times or ways a legislator can or should declare that he or she is not Donald Trump. Hourly might be best to cover all presidential policy shifts as they occur.
County government accounts for only about 0.5 percent of Erie County’s total greenhouse gas emissions, but the unintentional reduction should serve as an example of what’s possible. Poloncarz plans to do more to reduce reliance on fossil fuels county-wide. As he says, he is not Trump.
Artist and educator Bruce Adams is a longtime contributor to Buffalo Spree.
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