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Loony bin

Last week's lunar eclipse made Elmwood Avenue look like a scene from "Superman," with everyone gazing at the sky. Kuni was in front of Kuni's Sushi Bar with binoculars. A man set up a telescope. A few people observed the eclipse from beneath the heat lamps on Spot Coffee's patio. "If it's orange, it means there's a lot of pollution," said one twentysomething woman. But the moon was white! "Oh, wait," the girl said. "If it's not orange, that means there's pollution." "Well," said a painter, "we have pollution no matter what." The best pronouncement came from a man with a shopping cart. "The moon has finished its hike around the universe," he announced before trundling off down the street. "It means winter is here. I don't care what the groundhog says."

Vatican rag

This was a funny week for Catholics. First there was last weekend's gospel reading, about Zacchaeus, the tax collector who climbed a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus. We love how in the Bible the tax collectors are the bad guys, the scapegoats. Who would be the bad guys today? Would Cellino and Barnes climb the tree? Would slumlord Scott Wizig? You've got to giggle imagining Wizig up a tree -- Buffalo's oldest tree, perhaps, the one on Franklin Street, with the plaque. Ha, ha! Meanwhile, the Catholic Charities building on Washington Street displayed a curtain that read "Welcome Bishop Kmiec." But with the folds in the curtain, all you saw was "shop Kmiec." A passer-by laughed: "I thought it read 'shop Kmart.'"

The buzz

Burning down the house! Firefest 2004, the firefighters' bash for the Variety Club, takes place 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday at Sphere. Admission is $25 and includes dinner, live music including Junction West, the Hot Firefighter Auction -- and Randy Mantooth, star of "Emergency!" (Ever notice how in Buffalo, we still have the old-fashioned sirens, just like in that show?) ... Trinity White Elephant Hours might be extended by 15 minutes! ... Coolest Election Day wisdom came from drummer Danny Hull, who leads a weekly jam session at Bobby McGee's in University Plaza. He emailed people on Tuesday. Hear, hear! The egalitarian jam continues this Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. with singer Carolyn Ferrini.


"Whatever your hopes for the direction our country will be taking, please join us to celebrate both our differences and our unity. Whoever leads us, we are still one people."

-- Drummer Danny Hull, coolly promoting weekly 8:30 p.m. Tuesday jam session at Bobby McGee's in University Plaza