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OFF MAIN STREET / The offbeat side of the news

Grandstanding in pulpit

The Rev. Joseph F. Moreno, pastor of St. Lawrence Church on the city's East Side, is known for cracking a joke before the final blessing, and this time his target was the diocese's new bishop, the Most Rev. Richard J. Malone of Portland, Maine.

Moreno welcomed Malone to Buffalo, but pointed out just one problem: the new bishop's choice of favorite baseball team.

"Wow, can you believe he likes the Red Sox and not the Yankees, God's favorite team?" Father Joe said at a service last weekend, according to an account mailed to Off Main Street.

Moreno wondered about his job security with a Red Sox fan at the helm of the diocese.

"I may have to apply for the butler's job at the Vatican," he quipped, drawing laughter.

Father Joe told us that he received an appropriate gift a few days later.

"A parishioner dropped off a butler's hat and gloves for my new job," he said, and a member of the church's staff added a Yankees logo to the hat.


Waxing philosophic

People from this area have strong opinions, and they're not afraid to share them in the national media.

Readers of Entertainment Weekly last week were introduced to Buffalo resident Sandy Germano, whose letter to the editor received prominent billing in the June 15 issue.

Which topic prompted her to write to the magazine? Chest hair.

To be more precise, Germano was complaining that the actors presented on an earlier cover had smooth chests.

The four hunks -- including Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum -- are starring in "Magic Mike," a movie set at a male strip club.

"While the men on the cover and foldout of this issue are good-looking enough, I grew up in a time when real men -- Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Tom Selleck -- didn't wax the hair off their chests. I miss that," she wrote.

The magazine's editors illustrated Germano's letter with photos of a bare-chested, hirsute Selleck and Redford.

We look forward to hearing her views on back hair next week.


No comparison

Niagara Falls, Ont., has a giant Ferris wheel along its bustling Clifton Hill tourism district.

Niagara Falls, N.Y., has a closed snow park amid streets that have seen better days.

The Canadian side has two casinos, 16,000 hotel rooms and a butterfly conservatory.

The American side has one casino, 3,100 hotel rooms and a long-closed museum called the Turtle.

Now there's another example of how we compare with our Canadian neighbors.

Canada got Ringo Starr.

We got his "official photographer."

Rob Shanahan hosted a signing Wednesday at the Hard Rock Cafe on this side of the border for his first book, "Volume 1: Behind the Lens of Music Photographer Rob Shanahan," with a foreword by Ringo Starr.

Meanwhile the real Starr and his All-Starr Band played the Fallsview Casino Resort on Thursday and Friday.

Hey, at least we've got the Sabres instead of the Maple Leafs.


Passing testosterone test

We never stop trying to find out where Buffalo ranks among the nation's cities. Are we stylish or unstylish? Fat or thin? Livable or unlivable? Is it easy, or hard, to find a date?

Now we have to wonder whether we're manly enough.

The latest version of an annual survey from Combos -- yes, the pretzel-cheese snack -- and Sperling's BestPlaces ranks Buffalo as the 33rd manliest city in America.

Manlier cities have more steak houses, home improvement stores and monster truck rallies, according to the MSN website, while "girly" cities have more nail salons, shopping boutiques and sushi restaurants.

Buffalo moved up one spot from last year -- we're getting more masculine! -- on the list of 50 cities, and we can kick some sand at No. 45 Rochester.

Written by Stephen T. Watson with a contribution from Scott Scanlon.