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Dan, Dan, why so bitter?

Maybe Dan Marino carries a little bitterness toward Buffalo because he was on the losing end of so many games against the Bills.

Whatever the reason, the now-retired Miami Dolphins quarterback took a shot at our fair city when one of his co-hosts on HBO's "Inside the NFL" asked which city has the meanest pro football fans.

Buffalo fans are the worst, Marino responded.

"I mean, that's what they live for in Buffalo," he added. "Because truly, nobody wants to live there."

That remark, which aired Oct. 13, prompted an avalanche of e-mails from Buffalo residents to HBO. And this week's episode began with a "standard apology" from the network, which lauded Buffalo for three cultural contributions: NBC's Tim Russert, punk funk founder Rick James and O.J. Simpson.


Obviously, the boys were having some fun with Marino at Buffalo's expense.

Marino, now on the defensive, responded by saying Buffalo must be OK because one of its residents is his good buddy Jim Kelly, whom he referred to as "like the governor of the city."

Marino's contorted political title prompted gales of laughter from Bob Costas and co-hosts Cris Collinsworth and Cris Carter. An overcome Collinsworth fell out of his chair.

After the co-hosts composed themselves and offered a few kind thoughts about the dedication of Buffalo fans, Marino ate a final slice of humble pie.

"There's a lot of good people there," he said. "I'll never do it again."

Jinx-thinking can be healthy

There are some in Buffalo who believe we are generally cursed, but particularly so when it comes to sports. That's why footballs drift away from goal posts, why skates drift into creases and why basketball teams drift away.

This baseball curse in Boston that is getting so much attention these days is much more specific, obviously. A region that owns two of the last three Super Bowls, five Stanley Cups and a truckload of NBA titles cannot claim to be jinxed in the way Buffalo is.

So leave it to a Buffalo guy to help people understand the whole black-cloud concept.

Phillips Stevens Jr., a University at Buffalo associate professor of anthropology who studies the origins of cults and superstitions, was quoted last week in a Washington Post article about hexes that vex us.

"We like to think that logical thinking is the hallmark of our society, but in reality there's a universal desire to find a blame for something that is beyond reason," Stevens said. "Actually, having a curse to blame for misfortune can be psychologically beneficial -- at least, temporarily -- as it relieves people of a sense of failure."

But whether real or imagined, Boston's curse could be gone for good in a few days if the Red Sox win the World Series. We should be so lucky.

It bears repeating

Some remarks are worth repeating.

And that's what happened recently during the installation ceremony for President John B. Simpson at the University at Buffalo.

It seems former UB Chancellor Samuel P. Capen has made a lasting impression on those at the university.

First, Susan Howe, a renowned poet who holds the Samuel P. Capen Chair of Poetics and Humanities at UB, quoted some of Capen's ideas on the job he held from 1922 to 1950.

Next up was David M. Brooks, the student representative on the UB Council.

Brooks, reading from prepared remarks, also quoted the words of Capen.

The same words.

The president's job "is an opportunist's job," Brooks said. Being president means confronting the "unknown and the unknowable." It often means "making the best of a bad job."

By now, Capen's words were sounding familiar. So Brooks broke from his speech to acknowledge the repetition.

"That's a very important quote," he said.

Thankfully, the two didn't wear the same outfit.

Written by Patrick Lakamp with contributions from Bruce Andriatch, Stephen Watson and T.J. Pignataro.

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