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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

Pip, pip! Say what?

Buffalo is all abuzz over the NHL playoffs, and, while normally our Canadian neighbors share in our passion for all things ice hockey, they're consumed with another obsession: the royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton next Friday.

Canadian media is all atwitter over the impending nuptials -- and yes, they are tweeting on Twitter.

The Toronto Star seems especially excited.

It features a live countdown clock on its website -- down to the second! -- until the happy event.

What's more, that beacon of truth is also offering free wake-up calls early on Friday morning for anyone worried they might snooze through the latest wedding of the century.

(The ceremony begins at 6 a.m. in our time zone.)

"Sign up at, and we'll make sure your phone rings between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on the morning of the big day. Pip, pip!" the Toronto Star beckons on its website.


Celebrity look-alike

People have a strange way of introducing themselves to celebrities, especially when they're not sure he or she is who they think they are.

Take the waitress at the Hillview Restaurant in Depew who waited on Kathy Hochul, the Erie County Clerk running for Congress, last Sunday.

"You know who you look like?" she asked. "Kathy Hochul."

"I am," Hochul answered.

"That's what I thought," the waitress said.

"Nice to meet you," Hochul said. "What's your name."

"Holly," the young woman said.

"Are you a registered voter, Holly?" Hochul asked.

"Yes," Holly said.

"Can I get you something to drink, Holly?" Hochul smiled.


A Bush in the hand

Adam Karalus had a pretty good excuse for missing class the other day.

The 11-year-old student at Iroquois Middle School was in Dallas recently to hear a speech by World Bank President Robert Zoellick at Southern Methodist University.

Adam went with his aunt, Karen Karamanoukian, who was invited to the speech because she and her husband have contributed to the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

She brought Adam, who regularly watches Fox News, because he has a precocious interest in politics at his young age..

After the speech, Bush made a beeline for Adam and introduced himself.

Adam said he was nervous, but he had his picture taken with the former president and worked up the courage to ask Bush to sign a note excusing Adam from class for the trip to Dallas.

Adam, who also asked Zoellick a policy question after his speech, later showed Bush's note to his teachers.

"They were pretty amazed that I got to meet him," Adam said.

We won't be surprised to see Adam on "Fox & Friends," or in Congress, in a few years.


Paying dividends

At last week's M&T Bank Corp. annual shareholders meeting, a shareholder queried CEO Robert G. Wilmers about the bank's plans to repay its federal investment under the Troubled Assets Relief Program.

M&T will have $1.08 billion in TARP money after it completes its purchase of Wilmington Trust Corp. in Delaware.

The shareholder, who identified himself as a Buffalo News retiree, noted that M&T is unable to raise its dividend as long as it still has TARP money.

"It's important that we pay back the TARP so the executive committee can raise the dividend," he said.

"And I don't just speak for myself. I speak for Warren Buffett."

As the laughter subsided, Wilmers turned to the bank's corporate secretary, Marie King, and said, "Marie, would you get Warren on the phone?"

Written by Stephen T. Watson with contributions from Maki Becker, Phil Fairbanks and Jonathan D. Epstein.


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