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The offbeat side of the news: Untouched snow tools, ‘Sithy’

Untouched snow tools

Buffalo Place officials are ready to do battle this winter. They’re just not sure when, or if, the enemy will show up.

The nonprofit organization, which manages the downtown business improvement district along Main Street and other downtown streets, has snowplows and other machinery in place to clear the streets and sidewalks when the weather turns white.

So far, though, the tools aren’t getting much use, officials recently said the group’s monthly meeting.

“The snow fighting equipment is ready for use,” said real estate developer Paul Ciminelli, a member of the Buffalo Place board and chair of its Operations Committee. “It’s like the Maytag repairman. It’s nice and clean and shiny.”

Chairman Keith Belanger, an executive at M&T Bank Corp., asked if the responsibilities were clear for Main Street, along the stretches where car traffic has returned alongside Metro Rail trains.

“You mean, if it snows?” Buffalo Place Executive Director Michael Schmand joked. “Yes.”

To be clear, Buffalo Place will handle the driving lanes while the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority clears the train tracks for Metro Rail. Buffalo Place crews will also plow the mountable curbs and sidewalks up to the new bollards in place on the 500 block and Fountain Plaza areas.

A bit kitschy and ‘Sithy’

A year ago, the man formerly known as Eric Weich took the drastic step of legally changing his name.

These days, the small gym in Canandaigua shares the same moniker as that held by the fictitious Sith Lord and arch villain of “Star Wars,” Darth Vader. It certainly has got a kitschy ring to it, if also a tad dark in tone.

“I wanted to do something of my own,” the 43-year-old former Marine told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, recently. “I had no strong family ties to my name. I wanted a separation from my self and my past.”

Vader is, of course, a huge “Star Wars” fan, who sometimes enjoys dressing up as his namesake and flashing his ID to startled strangers in order to confirm that he is, indeed, legally Darth Vader.

No doubt, his new moniker is a hot property now, what with the hoopla surrounding the latest in the 38-year-old film franchise, “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” which Vader has already seen. Despite the fact that it wasn’t really all that difficult to get his name legally changed, Vader told the Democrat & Chronicle that he was, required to sign numerous legal documents confirming that he would not seek to use the “Star Wars” character’s likeness for his own profit.

‘Wherefore art thou,’ fans?

Buffalo Bills fans may not be able to claim bragging rights for their team bringing home a Super Bowl championship this season, but they have plenty of other attributes to distinguish themselves among other National Football League Fans.

A recent review of user profiles on the OKCupid data site revealed that Buffalo Bills fans are most likely to be fans of poet William Shakespeare. The review examined the profiles of 20,000 users who identified themselves as football fans, and determined that Bills aficionados are most likely to correctly interpret Shakespeare’s famous line “wherefore art thou.”

The site took its analysis a step further, deducing that football fans in the coldest parts of the country are more well-read than those in warmer climates.

And what did the study find Bills fans enjoy along with their Billy Shakespeare? A little cannabis, with the analysis showing that Bills fans are third-most likely to smoke marijuana.

So how does that profile stack up against fans of rival Miami Dolphins?

It appears Dolphins fans are most likely to have sex on the first date, with 51 percent saying they like to score that early on in a relationship.

“Turns out that Dolphins fans, like actual dolphins, are pretty frisky,” the report states.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions by Jonathan Epstein and Tiffany Lankes. email: