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"My husband and I are both Christian, although he was raised Catholic."

- Caller last week, explaining problem to Dr. Laura

The Empire strikes back

About the closing of the Empire Brewing Company, there's no use crying over spilt milk. But lager, well, that's a different story. Remember the Breckenridge Brewing Company, which occupied the same address, and the beer that was spilled down the sewers when it closed? The trauma! The pity! Please, Empire, we urge (in the same uncompromising tone in which Ronald Reagan said "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall," and Bill Clinton said, "I did not sleep with that woman") - don't dump your beer. Donate it to Michael Meldrum's Monday night open mic. Dole it out to impoverished concertgoers at the U2 concert. Stage "100 Bottles of Beer On The Wall: The Musical." Distribute cheer at the City Mission. Or... well, Mardi Gras is Tuesday. Why not have a citywide blowout?

Scared silly

Rough town, Tonawanda. In February alone, the police blotter of the Tonawanda News has been enough to keep us up at night. One chilling excerpt (not for the nervous): "Police are investigating reports of several individuals carrying suitcases going into an apartment at Raintree Island. The people appear to arrive in groups, police were told." Can we stand to read on? Here's another one: "Officers were dispatched to a Delaware Avenue residence Feb. 1. A resident said someone slid a note under her door and she was afraid to open it. It was just a note and some money from a neighbor who owed it to her." Brrrr! What if it had been a Valentine?

Go get them, sister

Sister Mary Beata Gerrity, who plays the Shannon Pub this weekend, is known as "the Singing Nun." But comedy was her first love. She grew up in Brooklyn doing routines with comedian Morty Storm. "I'd be his straight person, and he'd bounce things off me," she says. "Then I'd sing songs. It was a nice show." At 17, she joined the Sisters of Mercy, and for years, Sister Beata told Buzz, her vocation and avocation didn't mix. In the '70s, though, the church relaxed. Now Sister Beata - who's known mostly for Irish music, though she sings Broadway and classical too - has appeared with everyone from Tony Bennett to the Chieftains. Buzz heard music in the background. "That's my accordion player's album," Sister Beata laughed. "He's not coming with me." Joined by her piano accompanist - a former student, of course - Sister Beata plays Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Shannon Pub. Call 839-0002. And put that gum away.

The big chill

As we exult in every degree over freezing, it irks us that one party in Buffalo would actually prefer that the cold and misery continued. That would be WBEN-AM, still thumping its chest as it declares itself "our winter weather survival station." "Buffalo's weather can change in an instant," the announcers chant hopefully, obviously still dreaming of one last great blast. Laughs one listener: "Maybe they're going to keep doing it all summer long."

The buzz

Stephen Manes, perhaps the only classical pianist in Buffalo whose concerts sell out even on sub-zero nights, plays a romantic all-Brahms recital Saturday at 8 at UB's Slee Hall. Tickets are $5. Call 645-2921 or take your chances at the door. . . . A jewelry store can't spell "jewelry"! The Whitehall Co. at the Galleria Mall had this hand-lettered sign: "Jewelery Cleaner." ... Orengue (rhymes with "merengue") a "tropical party band," has sprung up like a big sub-equatorial poppy. Led by trombonist Oren Hollasch, the octet includes a Senagalese master drummer who will attend when he can. (These Senagalese drummers can be pretty busy.) Orengue rocks the Pearl Street Brewing Company Friday at 10 p.m.

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