Long Story Short: A thin green line

Special report: Stalking Celery


It was all over the TV newscasts and in print.  Radio stations covered it. It was on the interwebs. Everyone reported the same narrative: media darling Celery had won its final Buffalo Bison’s WCC race before retiring. But Long Story Short has learned the truth.


The details:

For the uninformed (and I was certainly one of those until recently), WCC stands for Wings Cheese Celery. They are Buffalo Bison mascots, and, of course, gastronomic favorites. For the record, there are actually two wings: Atomic and Chicken—both drumsticks—as well as a walking cup of blue cheese and celery stalks. At each Bisons’ baseball game, the mascots hold a footrace, which Celery has lost 449 times in a row. 


So the story was that this Pascal loser was going to retire after race number 450, and fans were praying the underdog would win for once—kind of like the Bills. And Celery did "win," and everyone reported the story without questioning the facts. "This is just a dream come true," Celery is quoted as telling the Buffalo News. "The crowd was amazing."



But in an exclusive story, reported here for the first time, Long Story Short has uncovered a shocking secret, a massive conspiracy involving the entire Buffalo Bison organization:


Celery is actually a human dressed in a foam rubber costume.


In fact, they all are. In retrospect, there were hints from the start: the frozen smiles, the protruding arms and legs, the scent of polyurethane. Furthermore, it’s now clear that the anonymous Celery player had thrown the previous 449 races to build excitement for the retirement grudge match, similar to the Mayweather-McGregor rivalry, only involving actual meatheads. None of the mainstream media outlets appear to have suspected this deception.


When confronted with the facts of our story, the Bison’s denied it. "We pretty much have a policy that no one ‘plays’ a mascot," says Brad Bisbing, Director, Marketing & Public Relations. "Buster [another human dressed as an American bison] is Buster, Celery is Celery." When pressed by email as to future plans for the Celery character (in light of this exposé), Bisbing stood by the green one: "Celery will continue to be a part of our gameday entertainment experience," he insists. "It will be in the crowd, meeting with fans as well as assisting in other onfield events. However, it will not compete in the WCC Race."  Of course not—because without Celery, it’s just the WC Race, unless they add carrots, as some restaurants do.


The takeaway:

Long Story Short does not shy away from the tough stories. We report the facts, no matter how obvious they are.



What’s up?


Hillary Rodham Clinton is embarking on her What the Hell Happened? tour, and she’s making a stop in Buffalo. The first woman nominated for president by a major US political party will be at Larkin Square, September 28, at 12:30 p.m. She’s coming specifically to sign copies of her new book, which is actually more concisely named, What Happened, a title implying that she might actually know. This is a highly subjective and personal view of her presidential campaign and its aftermath, in which she reveals for the first time what  was going on in her head during the whole nutty fiasco.


The scoop

When we say Hillary is here to sign books, that’s what we mean. There are no free passes to this literary pity party. You must have a ticket, and you can only get one when you buy her book from Talking Leaves bookstore. It might just be worth it. She admits that she "doesn’t have all the answers," though she has already publically offered many explanations for her loss. In the book, she writes about painful campaign moments that she wishes she could do over.


One such do-over wish is when candidate Trump stood directly behind her during a debate. "My skin crawled," she remembers, and she reflects on a spontaneous decision she had to make: should she remain calm and carry on, or turn to this renowned misogynist and say, "Back up, you creep!" She wonders if her decision to keep her composure was the right choice. We wonder how many people across the nation were screaming those very words at their TV screens.


"I knew that millions of people were counting on me and I couldn’t bear the idea of letting them down," she writes elsewhere." But I did. I couldn’t get the job done. And I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life."


So will we. Or at least for the next three years and four months.


The takeaway:

Here’s your chance to have your very own signed copy of Hillary’s recounting of election events from her view at the center of the storm.



Teslamania grips the Greater Niagara region


You have to admit, the phrase Tesla Festival rolls off the tongue. And you can’t beat The Electric Circus as the name for a party celebrating an electrical engineering legend and three-ring hype-master. With the irresistible tagline "Party Like it’s 1899," this bash has all the elements of a shockingly good time.


The details:

The people who brought you the popular City of Lights events are back with a three-day Tesla Festival,  September 22 through 24, in honor of Serbian-American scientist, Nikola Tesla. The highlight of the celebration is The Electric Circus, which takes place at the magnificently renovated Barrel Factory in Buffalo’s Old First Ward. Co-organizers Martin McGee and Dana Saylor, along with party curator Tara Sasiadek, promise an event packed with food, drink, Slavic fusion music, Tesla-inspired art/light/electricity installations, video, aerial dance, Victorian dance, and poetry. And both "Teslas" are slated to make an appearance—the man and the car.


So who is this Tesla guy anyway?

You cannot overstate the importance of Tesla to the advancement of electrical engineering and industry. Yet he is largely forgotten today, save for his cultish followers and wannabe Steampunks. There’s a statue honoring him on Goat Island in Niagara Falls (and of course a better one on the Canadian side), fitting for a man who harnessed the power of the cataracts. Oh, and they named a car after him.


It’s often said that there is a thin line between brilliance and madness. Tesla had no line. He was unquestionably brilliant in many ways. Convinced of his own genius, the talented lecturer and world-class narcissus became a master of self-promotion, constructing his own mythical narrative. There are two inventions for which he is fittingly acclaimed: the induction motor, and "polyphase" (AC) power transmission. The induction motor literally sped up the wheels of progress, and today they power every electric mechanical device you own: vacuum cleaners, blenders, power screwdrivers, turntables—that’s right—without Tesla we wouldn’t have disk-jockeys. And yes, they also power Tesla cars. 


AC proponent Tesla, and DC advocate, Thomas Edison, had dueling public-relation campaigns (in which Edison is often erroneously attributed with electrocuting an elephant ). AC power won out because it could be transmitted long distances with minimal power loss. It’s what your house runs on today. Tesla supervised the installation of one of the first commercial electric power stations, located in Niagara Falls. And that’s why he should be remembered.


Visionary crackpot

Unfortunately, after these inventions, the Tesla brain train ran off the tracks. He is noted for creating the Tesla Coil, which, outside of its value as a prop in Frankenstein movies, has no practical use. Then he exhausted his considerable fortune chasing grandiose ideas, which he lacked the ability or commitment to realize. Most are just wacky. That hasn’t stopped his cult of followers from proclaiming Tesla the inventor of practically everything. It’s like crediting H.G. Wells with the development of the airplane because he described the concept in When the Sleeper Wakes.


Of Tesla’s many dumb ideas, perhaps most noteworthy were his plans to transmit electricity through the air (or the earth; he kept changing his mind). If this were practical (it’s not), it would produce dangerous electromagnetic fields millions of times stronger than anything feared by today’s foil-hat-wearing electricphobes. But of course conspiracy theorists buy the popular myth that Tesla was prevented from developing free energy. Tesla also had myriad eccentricities—a fear of pearls for instance—and numerous other obsessive-compulsive behaviors.


The takeaway:

Scientists who behave loopy are likely forgotten by history, yet they are the very kind the woo-woo crowd tends to elevate to pop science sainthood. Still, as the quintessential reclusive mad genius at the close of America’s Gilded Age, Tesla is a great subject for a party.



Paladino watch


People are clamoring for Paladino’s seat. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d type. Sixteen applicants have expressed interest in taking the ousted board member’s place on the Buffalo Board of Education. That’s four more than ran for six open board seats last election. The existing board will announce who gets the job this Wednesday.



Bruce Adams is a longtime contributor to Buffalo Spree.


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