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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

The real Bubble boy

It turns out there was a legend in our midst during the World Junior Hockey Championship, but he wasn't skating at HSBC Arena.

Kenny Dubois of Massachusetts was part of a winning tandem at the World Bubble Hockey Championships, held at the Fan Fest early in the World Juniors.

Dubois is a bubble hockey superstar, but because he has two young kids, he has not been at tournaments recently, said Aaron Petritz of Innovative Concepts in Entertainment, who directed the Buffalo event. Clarence-based ICE makes the Super Chexx game.

"There was a definite buzz in the crowd when he showed up, as the other guys haven't seen him at an event in three or four years," Petritz reports. "He had to play about 50 extra games just from guys wanting to take on the best player in the world."


On the other hand ...

For all of you still harrumphing about the kid who called Buffalo a "ghost town" during the aforementioned tournament, we give you Toronto Star hockey columnist Damien Cox.

Cox wrote a piece listing five things he likes about Buffalo, including our people, our history and our passion for sports.

"It's not Paris. We get it. It's not even Vancouver, which joined the NHL at the same time as Buffalo four decades ago and has gone in an opposite direction from the Western New York city ever since," he wrote. "But I like hard-hit Buffalo for what it is, warts and all, and I don't even really like chicken wings. It's got personality. It knows what it is."


Sword? What sword?

A little concealed protection may be standard gear on the mean streets.

But the eyes of court officers bugged out when an elderly woman with a cane triggered a metal detector alarm Wednesday at Police Headquarters in Niagara Falls.

Inside the cane was a sword -- as in Zorro.

The woman, who was detained briefly, said she was unaware the cane contained the sword. Police confiscated the weapon, and no charges were lodged.


The Bills and the bills

As noted in Friday's business section, when it comes to demonstrating financial prowess, Buffalo Bills fans rank in the bottom half of a leader board being maintained by Visa.

The stats are being kept for an online game called Financial Football, in which players advance down the field and score by correctly answering personal finance questions.

It's been a lackluster season so far; as of Friday, Bills' fans ranked 18th out of 32 NFL teams. That's better than the 27th place of previous days, but we're still way behind the teams at the top -- including New England, of course.

"Bills fans can still catch up," said Jason Alderman, senior director of financial education at Visa, in a news release. "The Financial Football season isn't over, and there is still time to become financial literacy MVPs."

Or we could all keep making bad money decisions and maybe we'll get a higher draft pick.


One more thing ...

Niagara County Legislature Chairman William L. Ross opened his State of the County address Tuesday by telling his colleagues that he was making a New Year's resolution: to stick to the script.

"I have a tendency to go off on tangents, to meander and to ad-lib at times," Ross said.

How well did Ross succeed? He opened his speech with a two-minute riff that wasn't in the prepared text and went on as usual to use the text only as an outline. The speech text was 16 pages of large type. Ross spoke for 47 minutes.

At the 35-minute mark, Ross said, "I think I'm doing a pretty good job at sticking to the script."

When he sat down, Ross offered a capsule review of his own speech.

"I know a lot of it's repetition, but it's hard to come up with new stuff unless I go into a song and dance," he said.

"We're satisfied with what we got," replied Vice Chairman Clyde L. Burmaster.

Written by Bruce Andriatch with contributions from Matt Glynn, Nancy A. Fischer and Thomas J. Prohaska.


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