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QUOTE "Death has never been more popular." -- St. Martin's Press, hyping a new novel called "The Joy of Funerals"
My big fat ...

"Kick, step to the left, crouch, crouch, crouch, kick, step to the left, kick! Again! Kick! Turn, turn, turn, kick, step to the left! Turn! Again! Crouch!" That's a tiny slice of the directions to the big fat Greek dance Buzz tried in vain to do at last weekend's Hellenic Festival. (You could not go through this year's fest without thinking, constantly, "My big fat Greek" etc. You could not.) Less stressful was the big fat Greek garage sale to the right of the fried cheese stand. A pile of used records featured "The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom" cheek by jowl with "South Pacific." Our kind of sale! "We've been very busy," said proprietor Barbara Kelly. "It's been a big hit."

Just warming up
OK, so the city's $487 million in debt. So it took us decades to move our battleship 300 feet. So what. Summer's coming. We know, because at the Steer on Saturday night, drinking peach schnapps (the bartender, tellingly, didn't blink at our order) Buzz witnessed the ultimate sign of the season -- a guy being carried out of the bar, horizontally, by five or six of his friends. Happy days are here again!

Cookin' with gas
You know what they say: The way to a man's heart is through Malczewski's Poultry in the Broadway Market. Friday, Buzz went and bought a duck to cook for a gentleman friend. We had bought a rabbit there, we said, and that had been a hit. The butcher appraised us, solemnly. "I can see why he likes you," she said. "You're a good cook." Then she told us how to handle the duck. Put apple slices inside it to soak up the grease, she said, and roast it at 450 degrees. After half an hour, apples come out, stuffing goes in, temp drops to 350. We were to serve the duck with potatoes and a sauce of brandy and apricot jam. "And," the butcher said, conspiratorially, "you cut the duck in half, and put an entire half on his plate. He will love it." Buzz felt thrilled, as if we were suddenly part on an ancient East Side tradition of women capturing their men's hearts with their skillets.

Everyone's a critic
The Wall Street Journal is obsessed with Buffalo. Last week, they devoted a front page to the Buffalo Spammer, responsible for tons of junk email. This week, their Catalog Critic, rating mail-order birthday cakes, took aim at our Schroeder's Bakeries. Though the staff was friendly, the critic writes, the cake was "mediocre" and arrived with the icing slid to one side. (A picture shows the damage.) We blame the post office. Foul! No goal!

The buzz
At a recent garage sale on Bernhardt Drive in Snyder the sellers were giving out onions. "Take one," a sign said. Just wait till zucchini season. ... No. WNED-FM cannot, cannot already be promoting Garrison Keillor's August appearance in Buffalo. It's too early, guys. Even commercials would be better than this.


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