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Puff, puff

That smoking ban in bars leaves Buzz with mixed feelings. On the one hand, we worry less about secondhand smoke. On the other, we catch a lot of colds. At Mohawk Place, there's a back exit door right next to the stage, and during a recent happy hour, smokers took the liberty of gathering right outside it while they smoked. Good for them: They got to smoke while enjoying the heating system, not to mention the scorching blues of Willie and the Reinhardts. But bad for us: Everyone in the bar was freezing. Hmmm. The band could go with the slogan: We play our butts off while you freeze your butts off! Or they could just be subtle and play "Nine Below Zero."

Morbid matters

People die, but what if the hearse dies, too? A while ago, a hearse conked on the Kensington ramp going to Mount Calvary Cemetery, stalling the entire procession. What a situation! What would you do? Push the hearse? Make the pallbearers carry the casket? Now we have a new morbid curiosity. Seen on Bailey Avenue near Dingens: a billboard for a firm called Kleen Scene, advertising: "Homicide/Suicide Cleaning." We phoned to ask how business was. "It's streaky. It comes and it goes," said a guy who sounded too normal to be in such a dark business. "It depends on what's going on. Mostly, we stay very busy." You heard the man. Who says Buffalo's not the land of opportunity?

Commander Tom's cabin

Being a grown-up is fun. You get to mess up your own house, choose what's in your fridge and even bounce on the bed if you want. And yet. And yet. There's this nagging something that's missing in our life that was there in childhood, and that's Commander Tom, from Channel 7. Who among us doesn't miss him? Buzz misses him, and we weren't even allowed to watch TV. Don't you wish you could have Commander Tom in your life again, asking how you're doing, offering gentle encouragement? Well, miracle of miracles, you can! The Commander now has a Web site, You can e-mail him, and read his personal message to you (the current installment deals with snowbirding, grandkids and lawnmowing). Could a videoconference be next? We pray, and wonder.

Tree hugging

Speaking of blasts from the past, Marlo Thomas has a children's CD out called "Thanks & Giving All Year Long." We don't give thanks, though, for the fine print: "We don't have to cut forests to make paper anymore. This CD booklet is printed with soy inks on Deja Vu matte coated paper made from 10 percent tree-free fibers hemp and flax, 40 percent post-consumer waste, 20 percent pre-consumer waste and 30 percent certified sustainably harvested wood." Please, the holidays aren't even technically here. Isn't it too early for priggish messages?
The buzz

"Come and party like we did in the '80s, at places like September's, Sinbad's and Wise Guys," challenges Rock and Roll Heaven, and that is an invitation no Buffalonian can refuse. The bar's second anniversary bash happens Friday night, starring That '80s Hairband. ... Nostalgia rules! On Nov. 27, the World's Largest Disco at the Buffalo Convention Center zaps us all back into the '70s. ...

"This isn't exactly what people expect when they think they are coming to sunny California. It was more like Buffalo, N.Y."

-- Erica Stuart of California's Madera County Sheriff's Department, quoted in a recent Newsweek, after the National Guard rescued more than two dozen hikers from a snowstorm