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"Is it possible that gossip can be good for you? Yes. It's been very good for me."

- Gossip columnist Liz Smith, in prologue to her memoir, "Natural Blonde"

Birds do it, bees do it...

... buffaloes on the Alleyway Theatre's marquee do it! The theater, taking its name literally, drops down into the alley indeed with a new logo devised to accompany a series of short dramas called "Buffalo Quickies." Rendered exquisitely in black and white are two bison following nature's commands and wearing the two smiley-face/frown face masks associated with theater. Buzz admits, the picture had us roaring. But we're not going to be taking our mother to the Alleyway anytime soon.

That was Laura...

...but she's only a dream! Last week, we caught "Laura" at the Wednesday movie seminar at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center led by University at Buffalo profs Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian. It made us sigh for the '40s, when newspaper columnists were feared, detectives wore fedoras and called women "dames" and - sigh! - when a woman's character was judged by her brand of scotch. ("She never bought this cheap stuff," was a vital clue to solving the movie's murder.) In the discussion afterward, even Jackson was struck by the movie's glamour. What impressed him most? Laura's bathroom. "When I was growing up, someone was always saying, "Get out of the bathroom,' " he recalled, wistfully. "Now here was a bathroom with two armchairs, a bottle of whiskey. . ." We share your nostalgia, professor.

Statue of limitations

At the Buffalo Zoo, Buzz has noticed how the century-old statues were designed to thwart vandals. The baby elephant is hunkered down, trunk tucked under. Wrestling leopards strike a similar defensive pose, no legs sticking out. Buffalo is smart that way. That could be why our fiberglass bison are relatively lucky. Toronto's fiberglass moose, on the other hand, were designed with fragile antlers. So it didn't surprise us when a Toronto guy told us all the moose have lost them - even the government-sponsored beasts. (He casually called those "municipal moose," leading us to believe that's an accepted term.) Our buddy didn't think the thefts would hurt the moose's value when they're auctioned off for charity. He shrugged, "Everyone has gotten used to seeing them antlerless."

The game of sorry

With radio shock jocks littering the airwaves like rusty mufflers on the Kensington, there's only one truly shocking option left - and that's to be polite! Last week, the guy-and-girl team Mike and Max, morning co-hosts on the gospel station WUFO-AM 1030, ran a radio phone-in event the likes of which we'd never heard before - on how to apologize. People confessed situations in which they said they were sorry. Our favorite? One woman said, "I told my sister last week her trivia answer was wrong. Then I heard that she was right, and I apologized." What if we all worked so hard to fix such little things!

The buzz

Times we don't envy WBEN AM's Clip Smith his job: When Smith was soliciting memories of sportscaster Ralph Hubbell, a caller began holding forth on all kinds of other subjects. Smith, finally: "Do you have a memory of Ralph Hubbell?" Caller: "Uh, yeah... he was great. (Long pause.) Didn't he disappear, or something?" Click! ... For months now, we've been passing that building on Michigan Street labeled "Car Museum, Open Summer 2000." We're waiting! ... Some people can't wait for October to drink beer! That's why Six Flags Darien Lake is jumping the Oktoberfest gun. Saturday, Sunday and next weekend bring beer-sliding contests, music by the oom-pah bands like the Frankfurters and daily keg-tapping ceremonies "with dignitaries to kick off the daily activities." The cost is $9.99 for kids and adults. Interested? Thirsty? Call 599-4641.

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