"I get so excited when I meet a gal who plays golf. I say this to the ladies: 'Listen, you go out and take lessons now! All a guy wants to do is hang out on that golf cart all weekend.' "
Michael Douglas, in Los Angeles magazine.
The ice man
How to escape our cold weather? Go try out someone else's cold weather! That's what Cheektowaga's Michael Zanghi is going to do, now that he has been chosen the lucky winner of the third annual Molson Ice Polar Beach Party. On Nov. 7, Zanghi will fly, courtesy of Molson, to Churchill in Manitoba, Canada, which bills itself the Polar Bear Capital of the World. "He and a friend will party with the polar bears and enjoy a private concert with the Georgia band Collective Soul," Molson's proudly announces. "They will also go on a polar bear-watching tour, traveling in Tundra-Buggy vehicles." Russ Schleiden, senior brand manager for Molson's, raves, "They get to party in Nanook's backyard." Nanook lives in Churchill, Manitoba? Gee, and all this time we thought he lived on the North Campus.
Buffalo isn't that weird when you consider the rest of the country, as we did while driving around the South last week. In Biloxi, Miss., we saw the Jefferson Davis Shrine -- people tiptoe around it, venerating relics like a pillow cover embroidered by 350 Southern women and sent to Jeff Davis when he was in prison. In Kentucky, we hiked through Mammoth Cave. It must have been a sexy place in the 1850s, when reverent tourists explored it with torches, but is less so now, filled with locals squawking things like (this is an actual quote, now), "Brooke, you give me that camera afore you bust it against a rock and I got to bust your head." But the sight that really hit us where we live was that of Buffalo native Lucky Peterson starring at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Ark., defying the sweltering sun by wearing a green polyester suit. We used to think he was a long, long way from Sycamore Street. But it's a small world after all.
Part of the fun of the highway, right up there with loading the car stereo with six straight hours of Big Joe Turner and wasting all the hot water at the Motel 6, is eating at Waffle Houses. Whatever decade Waffle House belongs to, it's not this one. The menu pictures plates adorned with brand names: a tuna sandwich set off with a packet of Kraft mayonnaise, a burger with a prominent bottle of Heinz ketchup, toast graced by packets of Kraft grape jelly. Even the bathrooms toe the corporate line! A sign reads, "Employees Must Wash Hands with Safeguard, Antibacterial Soap With Moisturizer, Before Returning to Work."
We welcome deejay Tom Shannon back to Buffalo, and congratulate him on his gig at Oldies 104. But (as Pee-wee Herman said, everyone's got a big But) something is bugging us. Over and over, in various ads, we're promised he'll provide "the inside track on oldies." What inside track could there possibly be on "My Boyfriend's Back" or "Crimson and Clover"? And even if there were one, would it be that thrilling? (Once, in Toronto, Buzz met the woman who was supposed to be the Rhonda from "Help Me, Rhonda." We were still able to drive home OK.) Please, Mr. Shannon. Forget the inside track on these guys. Just tell us when they're putting on their next free show at the Buffalo Raceway.
Blazing saddles: We're elated that the Buffalo Raceway, having recovered from its fire, opened its season yesterday as scheduled. ... Saturday at Nietzsche's, Tom Stahl celebrates his new CD, "Hang On." He'll have a tough time topping his last one, the magnificently titled "I Wanna Be Ignorant." ... Seen among the Halloween tombstones on a front lawn on Starin Avenue, Town of Tonawanda: "R.I.P. Billy Joe Hobert 1997-1997."