Tim O'Shei
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Tim O'Shei

Tim O'Shei is a features reporter for The Buffalo News. He's been a journalist for more than 20 years, covering pop culture, business, sports, politics and more. He's also the author of more than 60 books for children.


Junaid Zubairi is bright and meticulous. He is a computer scientist, with a doctorate from Syracuse University, and a full professor at SUNY Fredonia. In other words, he is a smart man. For the last several years, Zubairi has been pouring that intellect into a project that could save millions of dollars — and maybe lives. Last month, he was granted a United States…

ANGOLA — Tommy Alberts was standing at the edge of his beach bar’s patio, sweat beading on his cheeks and forehead and soaking in splotches around the neck of his red Mickey Rats T-shirt. It was a luminous, hot Sunday afternoon, the type they call “Sunday Funday” around this slice of the Lake Erie waterfront. The type that, for 44 years, has helped the Mickey Ra…

It starts with the directions to Gregory Lamberson’s house on the Buffalo-Cheektowaga border: Two stories. Got it. Red roof. Nice touch. Political sign on the lawn. Fine. Johnny Gruesome decal on the car. Oookaaay…? When you realize what Lamberson does for living, the sticker makes sense. He’s a horror writer and filmmaker, and “Johnny Gr…

NEW YORK CITY — Every year for the last 16, George Pataki has visited this spot. The former New York governor knows what he will see – and what he will feel, and remember – when he returns each Sept. 11 to the former site of the Twin Towers. “You can’t help but have this horrible feeling of loss,” said Pataki, who was in the second of his three terms as gov…

Western New York won't be claiming the next Miss America. Gabrielle Walter, the 24-year-old Clarence resident and University at Buffalo law student who is Miss New York, did not make the semifinalist cut Sunday night during the Miss America competition in Atlantic City, broadcast live on ABC. Walter won the Miss New York crown in May in Staten Island. Since then, she…

Where was our superhero? Sixteen years ago, we needed one. We needed a powerful force, someone or something that could stop those planes from crashing into those buildings. Nearly 3,000 lives were stolen on Sept. 11, 2001. It’s the day all fantasies ended, the day we accepted a reality that we long suspected: No superhero will ever swoop in. The superheroes need to…

When Gabrielle Walter delivers her DreamUp America workshop to children, she faces them, locks her blue eyes with theirs, and asks a question: “What’s your dream?” When she does this, Walter brings the silvery jeweled crown she received in June when she became Miss New York. It’s the same crown she has in Atlantic City, N.J., this week as she competes against 50…

William Fichtner ambles over. He wants to chat. Or, at least, he feels like he should chat. It’s difficult to truthfully tell whether Fichtner, who plays roles for a living, wants to talk about the movie he is making. Maybe he does. Or maybe he’s just playing the role of good host. “I’m not going to have many moments to talk,” Fichtner said. He’s stan…

ROCHESTER — When Steve Kaplan talks about beer making, it sounds a little like a survival game. Barley does a job for a bit, but then gets tossed aside. Sugar is vital, though some of it will be “left behind.” And yeast? That single-celled, fungi-family organism is an indisputable “rock star” — and one with many lives. [Gallery: Take a tour inside t…

Buffalo is important to the Arkells, and not just because of its quick distance from the band’s hometown of Hamilton, Ont. Buffalo is one of the first American cities to give the Canadian rockers a shot. When the Arkells play Artpark in Lewiston on Saturday, Aug. 19, as Part Three of Edgefest, it will be another in a line of Western New York shows the band has had …

The rose-colored lenses seem fitting: A circa 1980s band. One with a fluctuating lineup that, until just recently, was devoid of a key member. The one that is emulated by curly-wig-wearing, black-top-hat-donning, sunglassed fans throughout the crowd. The band with vocals that scratch the high end of the heavy-rock range. When you are Guns N' Roses, you get something of …

If you ever find yourself in a career rut, one of the simplest fixes is changing the way you ride to work. (Check it — creativity experts will affirm it.) That tiny switch, the type that kicks your routine just enough to refresh your day, works fine if you have an office job. But when you’re a major music act – say, Lady Antebellum – taking an alternate route…

JAMESTOWN — Kelly Carlin’s father, the late comedy icon George Carlin, taught her a lesson. She, in turn, has been teaching it – and exploring it, and pushing it – this week. “My dad taught me that the comedian’s job is to find the line,” Carlin said, “and cross it.” Carlin shared that morsel – one of 10,000 or so that her dad left behind – one …

Before every show on his summer tour, Brantley Gilbert plugs a set of tiny monitors into his ears. They feed him the audio from his band, but those in-ears also pump in noise from afar. Gilbert, who is bringing his rock-driven country show July 30 to Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, has microphones throughout the crowd. So while you can hear him, he can hear you. And…

This was supposed to be over a long time ago. Years. Decades, even. In the late 1990s, the three guys who made up the boy band LFO lodged themselves in pop-culture history with the song “Summer Girls.” The radio and MTV smash was wrapped in sugary raps and bouncy vocals and references so random that you couldn’t help but remember them: Chinese food (it “makes me…