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The Buzz

>Pest control

The other night Buzz saw a big ol' rat running across our street, and we live in the City of Buffalo, and our garbage is neatly tucked into a tote, and we thought, no fair! None of which stopped us from laughing at the rat talk on "Hardline," Kevin Harwick's Sunday show on WBEN-AM. Normally, local types tend to understate problems. (Joel Giambra, a guest on the show, referred to the "county crisis, if you will," as if we imagined it.) But the rats loom large. People seem to think they're like ball bearings, that there's a certain fixed number of them, and if they leave one place, they have to go somewhere else, without diminishing in population. The rodents dominate the conversation, whatever the talk is about. "You say you're looking for a home outside the City of Buffalo," Hardwick told one caller. "Does that mean you miss the rats?"

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>Muddled up

Our friend Ari Silverstein, who graduated a couple years ago from Buffalo State and now sells real estate in Manhattan, appreciates the good life in Buffalo as people here all too frequently do not, and visits when he can. Last weekend, Ari came back for cabaret pianist Guy Boleri's gig at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. He also went to hear Dodo Greene at the Anchor Bar, caught the Sinatra show at Shea's, quaffed martinis at Cecilia's and, Sunday afternoon, bugged the bartenders at Cole's taking time out from making Bloody Marys to fix him an Old Fashioned. Which leads us to what surely must be one of the best things we've ever heard said in a bar. As the bartender mixed the fruit for the drink, he muttered: "You're making me muddle."

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>Close encounters

Buzz misses Caspar Weinberger. He and Ronald Reagan made the world less scary. Luckily, we have a personal connection to the man. In 1990, our brother George was in London, and he saw a poster saying Weinberger would be at a bookstore, signing books, for two hours starting -- then! George hurried to the store. Few people were around, and he recognized Weinberger. He said, "Mr. Weinberger, do you mind if I get my picture taken with you?" Weinberger, great diplomat that he was, graciously agreed. George was wearing his Buffalo Bills No. 12 Joe Ferguson jersey, and we still marvel that Weinberger, his mind no doubt on international affairs, resisted chatting about Buffalo or football.

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>March madness

What's worse than trying to lose five pounds? Having magazines trying to tell us how to do it. A list Ladies Home Journal sent has us ready to scream. "Take a 15-minute walk during lunch." We already walk! "Instead of French fries with lunch three days a week..." Who eats that? "Peel the pepperoni off your pizza." "Eat only the muffin top." "Eat only the filling from the pie." What pizza, muffin, pie? Plus, who could follow those suggestions? The worst is the stuff they think we're eating every day. "Replace your daily bowl of ice cream..." "Replace your daily chocolate bar..." "Instead of your daily two chocolate cookies..." What daily bowl of ice cream? What daily chocolate bar? What daily planet are they on?

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>The buzz

Raising the bar: Nothing is nicer than the reopening of an old tavern. Cheers, then, to the folks renovating sweet old Tinney's Bar, on Elmwood near Amherst Street. The vintage sign has been reworked to read "Vino's," the new name. It looks as if it'll be upscale. Buzz will keep you posted. ... E-mail in a colleague's basket: "Jessica Simpson Helping Orphans in Need." ... We can't wait till the drive-ins open, but meanwhile, there's Midnight Movie Madness at the Amherst Theatre. This Saturday at midnight, it's "Shaft." Who can resist?

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>QUOTE

"I just change out of one pair of pajamas and into another."

-- Hugh Hefner, asked by the Wall Street Journal about his morning routine

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