Buzz is picking up the pieces of our life, which Christmas crushed to shards like a candy cane. We binged on caffeine. Wine. Sugar. And "O, Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion," our favorite part of "Messiah." Plus, Midnight Mass at St. Joseph's Cathedral threw our sleep schedule -- regulated painstakingly last summer by Dr. Daniel Rifkin, Buffalo's sleep czar -- completely out of whack. What a Mass! We were up all night, we were so hyper. The best was a carol blasted forth in an arrangement that Mark DiGiampaolo, the Cathedral's tremendous organist, credited to a former organist at Radio City Music Hall. It was so bombastic that people couldn't sing and just stood openmouthed. The carol? "Silent Night." Silent no more!
The big time
It's not every day you get to tour with a Grammy-nominated artist. So on Friday, when Buzz had a rare day off, we used it to join Jerry Darlak as he made Yuletide rounds of East Side taverns. Born in Chicago, Darlak came here when he married a Buffalonian. The marriage didn't last, but the move did. Buffalo is much richer, we reflected as, starting at Arty's by the Central Terminal, Darlak tore through hits on his accordion. At Ulrich's, he honored our request, "Doing Our Christmas Shopping (At the Liquor Store This Year)." At the R&L Lounge on Mill Street, Genny-quaffing fans fit his name to the Mickey Mouse rhythm: "J-E-R, R-Y-D, A-R-L-A-K!" As they sang, the R&L's proprietor, Lottie, let Buzz cut fries using an ancient French fry press. It was almost like heaven! Except in heaven, there is no beer. We should know that by now.
Peace and love
Saturday, 4 p.m. Mass at St. Louis Church had already begun when a 40-ish couple walked in, in fitted his-'n'-hers ski jackets. They sat in the fifth pew, smack in front of the altar. His arm was around her, and it slipped down, and down, and -- "He's not going to feel her rear!" Buzz's friend gasped. But lo, it came to pass. Then the maverick Massgoer began stroking his mate's face and playing with her hair. Once, he tried to pull his arm away, but she gave him a look, and he had to grab her hand on the pew. (That detail comes from the people in Pew 7, who saw everything.) By the Sign of Peace, when the couple exchanged R-rated kisses, everyone was laughing. Before you multiply, aren't you're supposed to go forth? Is this church, or the end zone?
We get no kick...
At the same time church is turning into the end zone, the end zone is turning into church, where you're supposed to love your enemies. Is anyone else sick of those nuts who show up at Ralph Wilson Stadium wearing our foes' colors, and then kvetch when Bills fans are mean to them? In Monday's Buffalo News, a Patriots fan whined that Buffalonians threw stones at a port-o-john when he was in it. Another guy was supposedly sworn at because he wore a Dolphins jersey. What is with these people? They know how passionate Bills fans are. They dress to provoke. Then they gripe. Smite them, O Lord, and ... oh, dear. There goes our Christmas spirit.
Tonight, tonight, we'll hear the Thirds tonight! The beloved Buffalo trio -- Joe Head, Charlie O'Neil and Jim Brucato -- gather together for their annual reunion at 8 p.m. at Nietzsche's.
"After spending an evening with John Valby, audiences find themselves wanting more and more of him."
-- Club Infinity in Clarence, hyping Friday show by "Dr. Dirty," John Valby