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Makes you wanna shout

Maybe it's the "Shout" song. Or all that hype over club seats. You know, the heated ones. Or maybe, just maybe, it's the game and all the lingo about offsides and personal fouls.

Whatever it was, two Buffalo Bills fans -- one man, one woman -- decided to uh, well, um, get extra close in the stands during last Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

It seems our amorous duo, a 35-year-old West Seneca man and a 33-year-old Springville woman, earned appearance tickets after being charged with misdemeanor public lewdness.

The case shouldn't be too tough to prove. Dozens, if not hundreds, of fans witnessed the . . . big event. They did have the decency to commit their sexual act in front of the smallest crowd of the season -- only 49,032 people.

Of course, it still rivals that celebrated happening eight years ago inside the SkyDome hotel room. Yes, that couple left the shades open but at least they rented a room.

First Flutie. Now this. What the Bills won't do to sell a few club seats.

Anyone can play

Like any good newspaper, we try to quench our readers' thirst for information.

Our Business Department, for example, takes written requests from people who play the stock market and want a specific stock or mutual fund listed each day in the paper.

Great idea, right?

Until last week, when a request came by mail from Sonyea. It seems our newest stock guru is also an inmate.

We'll spare you his name, but, suffice to say, he included his return address -- Groveland Correctional Facility -- and his inmate ID number.

Hmmm, makes you wonder how he came up with the money to invest.

Getting even

In City Hall's long and colorful history, it's hard to recall two guys who fought more often and more passionately than Jimmy Griffin and Jim Pitts.

They rarely agreed on anything, it seemed.

So when Pitts, the Common Council president, recently announced a task force to study the idea of moving and expanding the zoo, the last person we expected him to name was the former mayor.

"He's been out there, active with a lot of groups," Pitts said. "Sure, I'll appoint him."

Pitts said Griffin's involvement in the zoo issue makes him a likely candidate. Others suggest, maybe cynically, that Pitts' real motivation is rooted in his desire to torment Mayor Masiello.

Masiello wants the zoo moved. Griffin does not.

The sound you hear may be Pitts chuckling in the background.

Overdoing a bad thing

There are few parts of this civilized world where the art of writing takes a greater beating than in government.

Bureaucratese, whether it's using words that simply don't exist or relying too heavily on government acronyms, has become a language unto itself.

How bad is it?

Witness this recent excerpt from Buffalo's "Home Ownership Executive Summary:"

"BNRC will serve as the CBDO to facilitate use of a major portion of the EDI grant to write down the sales price on 300 or the 344 HOZO assisted units."


We haven't a clue. What we can tell you is that using four acronyms in a single sentence is bad enough. But when you add "facilitate," it makes you to want to rise up and . . .

Not a city father to be found

It's tradition for political types to cap election night with an appearance at Founding Fathers pub.

The idea is to lay down partisan swords and converge in the spirit of post-election camaraderie. Missing in action this past Election Night was City Hall. Save for a lone Common Council staff member, not one city politico was spotted at the late-night gathering.

It's no shock. City Comptroller Joel Giambra just changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, and Mayor Masiello similarly angered many Democrats by endorsing Republican George Pataki.

Perhaps wary of a frosty reception, neither showed -- nor did anybody who works for them.

"They're like men without a country," said one Democratic officeholder. "They're in a no-man's land."

Freedom denied

Former Erie County Sheriff Tom Higgins gave a stirring speech about the importance of freedom when he spoke to a group of new citizens recently.

Higgins also revealed that he had a brief taste of life without freedom while on a visit to Poland in 1988.

It seems Higgins had stopped to snap a photo of "a beautiful building" when military police officers surrounded him, poked machine guns into his chest and promptly arrested him.

Fortunately for Higgins, U.S. officials got him out of the mess quickly.

And why all that fuss over one little building?

"It was their Ministry of Defense Building," Higgins said.

Off Main Street is written by Phil Fairbanks with contributions by Gene Warner, Harold McNeil, Donn Esmonde and Dan Herbeck.