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OFF MAIN STREET

Clinton, Schumer quote the raven

Less than a month on the job, and already Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is eating crow -- or is it raven?

Clinton joined Sen. Charles E. Schumer in a public display of humiliation last week, the result of a Super Bowl wager with Maryland Sens. Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski.

With a media horde, about 12 TV cameras and 30 still cameras, looking on, the New York senators made good on their bet by reading Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven." The Baltimore team is named after the macabre 108-line poem.

Clinton ad-libbed a few references to New York's vanquished Giants; Schumer mopped his forehead with a faded Giants T-shirt from the team's last Super Bowl win, in 1990.

Even in defeat, the two Democrats talked trash. Schumer and Clinton noted that although Poe died in Baltimore and is buried there, he wrote "The Raven" in New York.

Mikulski, wearing a Ravens hat, flapped her arms when Clinton reached the poem's first reference to the raven and later chastised New York for sending "a dainty team" to the championship game.

"To quote the raven," Clinton and Schumer said together, "nevermore."

And Clinton has a bad hair day

If that weren't bad enough, Clinton endured another slap in the face last week -- a New York Daily News story on, believe it or not, her new hairdo.

"The polished, glamorous look of the first lady has given way to a more workmanlike Senate look, with flat hair, a minimum of makeup and noticeable bags under her eyes," the Daily News reported.

The paper says the blame rests solely with the senator, who apparently is spending a lot less time with top hairstylist Isabel Goetz. Goetz, by the way, said she did Clinton's hair about 300 times last year.

Not surprisingly, Clinton spokesman Jim Kennedy refused to comment on what he called a "hair-brained story."

Holy Buffalo?

Seems like Joel Giambra's letter to the New York Times -- about the wonders of Buffalo -- ticked off at least one reader of the downstate newspaper.

Some guy named Ben Calderone of Levittown sent the county executive a scrawled postcard after Giambra's letter appeared in the Times.

"You Buffalonians are truly favored by the gods," Calderone wrote sarcastically. "You don't 'cower' like Carolinians, mudslides are not part of your sacred lives, you don't experience the 'dark terror' of Texas floods, nor do you fall victim to Seattle's 'misty gloom.' Plus, you clear the streets of snow even before a flake hits the sidewalk.

"Ah, to live in Buffalo, rather than endure our miserable lives anywhere else," Calderone concluded. "Holy Buffalo must be a preview of heaven."

Sounds like Mr. Calderone is just a tad defensive. Hey, that's supposed to be our gig.

Off Main Street is written by Phil Fairbanks, with contributions from Charity Vogel and the Associated Press.

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