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No-respect marketing

The NFTA's Rodney Dangerfield approach to marketing mass transit is proving popular.

The "I don't get no respect" campaign began last month with a radio ad featuring comic "Airborne Eddy" Dobosiewicz poking fun at Metro Rail, more commonly known as the train to nowhere.

Happy with the results, the NFTA followed up with a TV spot featuring executive director Lawrence Meckler heckling Airborne Eddy at a downtown night club. The ad ends with Meckler the Heckler on stage by himself.

"I'm Larry Meckler," he says. "Take my Metro. Please."

Even more TV ads may be coming. Imagine the possibilities, like this new twist on an old Dangerfield joke:

"I remember I was so depressed I was going to jump in front of the Metro Rail. My priest said, 'On your mark.' "

Rare hockey sighting

With talks between the National Hockey League and its players frozen, and games gone unplayed, Buffalo sports fans have to take their hockey moments where they can find them. Case in point: Thursday's Turkey Trot.

As Buffalo Sabres Coach Lindy Ruff, an annual Turkey Trot runner, looked on, Sabres national anthem singer, Doug Allen, belted out the "Star Spangled Banner," complete with his signature "point" at the end, as part of prerace festivities.

Our sources saw a runner sporting an ancient Perrault jersey get misty-eyed as visions of dropping pucks danced in his head.

We doubt the trot will do anything to break the ice between NHL management and the player's association. But at least it warmed the hearts of more than a few Sabres fans who are still hopeful the 2004-05 season can be saved.

A staffing lesson

It was orientation week in Washington, D.C., for Congressman-elect Brian Higgins recently, but he wasn't alone in learning some lessons.

Staff members Megan Corbett and Chuck Eaton also are making the move to Capitol Hill.

Flying back to Buffalo from Reagan National Airport, Corbett and Eaton received additional orientation on the workings of the Transportation Security Administration. Laden with bags of paperwork and trinkets given to them, Eaton passed through security without incident, but Corbett was instructed to step aside.

As several TSA officers surrounded her, Corbett was ordered to remove her shoes and was patted down. There were murmurs about a weapon.

The offending article was a congressional letter opener that was among Corbett's goodies.

Hunters take a gamble

Call them a new caliber of hunters.

They head down to the Southern Tier on opening day in droves with visions of venison dancing in their shotgun sights.

But what happens when the sun sets?

You think they're back at camp cuddling by the wood stove?

Odds are you'll find many of them firing up the slot machines at the Seneca Allegany Casino in Salamanca.

With the recently opened casino, hunters are enjoying the night life of the great indoors, according to Clarence hunter Larry Muchow, who ambled into the Native American gambling parlor last week after sparing a young doe earlier in the day.

"Come back when you're older," he told the youngster.

At dusk, he lucklessly sauntered out of the woods thinking he might have better luck at the casino.

Muchow said he spent a couple of hours in the casino and was surprised to see so many fellow hunters taking a shot at winning. The hunters weren't wearing their bright orange garb, but Muchow knew they were his kinsfolk by their jeans and heavy quilted shirts.

"I didn't win anything, but I had a good time," he said.

We're betting the deer won't mind if more hunters start drifting into the Las Vegas style casino during the daylight hours of hunting season.

Written by Patrick Lakamp, with contributions from Sharon Linstedt, Phil Fairbanks and Lou Michel.

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