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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

>This guy is no Mesi fan

Whether Joe Mesi completes his comeback as a professional boxer or not, there's one guy out there he probably would like to punch in the face for free: Tommy Morrison.

Morrison rose to somewhere between mediocrity and prominence in the early 1990s as an actor/boxer, a kind of Tony Danza without the comedic timing. He is best remembered either as the guy who played the fighter who got his lights turned out by Rocky in the 1990 film "Rocky V" or as the actual boxer whose career was derailed by an HIV positive test in 1996.

Like Mesi, Morrison is back in the news because he wants the Nevada State Athletic Commission to overturn its ruling that bars him from fighting in the state. In an interview posted on the Web, Morrison was asked about some contemporaries in the fight game, and Mesi's name came up. He said his former promoter Tony Holden flew him to Buffalo to watch him fight and offer his opinion.

"I told Tony he doesn't have it," Morrison said. "He doesn't hit hard enough and he's too good looking. He's not tough enough for the sport."

Morrison goes on to say that Monte Barrett put Mesi into retirement. Actually, Mesi's last fight was against Vassiliy Jirov; he narrowly beat Barrett a few months earlier.

Of Barrett, Morrison said: "That guy couldn't crack an egg. Some people just aren't built for the game."

Joe, Don King is on the line. He might have a proposition for you . . .


>Stand-in doesn't get the gift

Amherst Council Member Bill Kindel can't win for losing.

Last week, Kindel was asked to fill in for Town Supervisor Satish B. Mohan, with whom he has had his differences lately.

It happened because Mohan and his deputy supervisor, Council Member Deborah Bucki, were attending the Association of Towns meeting in New York City. Thus, Kindel, the senior member of the Town Board, was asked to appear in place of Mohan at the East Amherst Fire Company's installation of officers.

Kindel said he was happy to act as a stand-in for the evening, and during his remarks, he told the fire company he was "honored" to represent the town.

The firefighters showed their appreciation by presenting a floral centerpiece to Kindel. But, just as he was admiring what he thought was his gift, the firefighters burst his bubble.

"They asked me to give it to Satish," Kindel said. "I didn't even get to keep the flowers."


>An offer you can't refuse

Ever thought of returning a book you read but didn't like?

The Rev. Mark Virkler of Elma says go ahead, if his latest book doesn't appeal to you.

Virkler is offering a money-back guarantee on "How to Hear God's Voice."

Since the January release of the book, the Christian minister has sold more than 1,000 copies for $24.95 each through his organization, Communion With God Ministries, and Web site,

Virkler, who founded a church in Arcade and now tours the globe conducting seminars, acknowledged the book isn't for everyone. But, he said, it rarely gets returned.

Does that mean readers are indeed hearing God's voice?

Virkler believes so. He's taught a class on the topic for years.

"We've had just constant success. That's why we can make the guarantee," he said. "It works. We hardly ever give money back."


>Parking at half the price

If you're tired of Buffalo's parking ticket blitz, there's a chance for a little payback near Ellicott Square.

There is a parking meter there, near the corner of Swan and Ellicott streets. Apparently its predecessor had been smashed, probably by a car, and was replaced from old stock.

At this throwback, you can park for a whole 30 minutes for a quarter, which elsewhere only gets you 15 minutes' sanctuary from the constabulary's eagle eyes.

At least there is one city meter that doesn't tick the motorist off.

Written by Bruce Andriatch with contributions from Thomas J. Dolan, Jay Tokasz and Burt Erickson Nelson.


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