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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

A team player

An otherwise sleepy work session on Buffalo’s capital budget was rolling along when Coca-Cola Field came up.

The capital budget calls for $750,000 in improvements to the ballpark.

Council Member Darius G. Pridgen asked Public Works Commissioner Steven J. Stepniak if the city can do more to stir activity at the place.

Stepniak said the field must be protected, which limits events. He confirmed the revenue the city receives from the ballpark falls short of what the city spends to maintain it.

Pridgen said the stands look empty; attendance last season was the lowest in 25 years.

That’s because the Mets stink, interjected Council Majority Leader Demone A. Smith.

The New York Mets had been the Buffalo Bisons’ parent club. The Bisons recently signed a new deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

“The Mets had no minor league anything,” Smith said.

Andy Rabb, a Stepniak deputy, sat quietly in back of the room. He once worked for the New York City Parks Department and is a Mets fan.

“I’m keeping my mouth shut this whole conversation,” Rabb said.

Everyone’s a critic

Here’s how a critic might describe movie reviewer Michael Calleri’s exit at the Niagara Falls Reporter:

“A riveting, insider’s account of a life in journalism and his ultimate betrayal. An electrifying drama, a haunting story of escape.”

OK, so we don’t expect anyone to bring Calleri’s life to the big screen. But his post on Roger Ebert’s website ( has led to a national dustup over his former boss’ views on women in Hollywood. Calleri said he was to be interviewed today on “CBS This Morning: Saturday.”

Why all the fuss?

In the blog, Calleri disclosed an email he received from Frank Parlato, editor and publisher of the weekly, in which Parlato said, “I don’t want to publish reviews of films where women are alpha and men are beta, where women are heroes and villains and men are just lesser versions or shadows of females.”

Calleri wrote that his relationship with the paper “ended because a guy who has no professional journalistic experience, and a warped view of humanity, does not like strong women.”

“I would like to make clear that I was not condemning ‘power women’ but ‘degenerate power women,’ a point wholly missed by Calleri,” Parlato replied in his publication.

Parlato went on to condemn the “violence, vulgarity, gender bashing, moronic sex acts on the screen, racial bashing, violent women, violent men and promiscuous men and women” now the common fare of Hollywood.

Parlato said Calleri “churned out a weekly column of drivel.”

Forget thumbs-up or thumbs-down. They’re thumbing noses at each other.

Numbers don’t lie

Nice try. But the numbers don’t back up the boast.

College basketball brings out the creativity in rival students. At Tuesday’s Canisius vs. University of Buffalo mens’ game at the Koessler Center, Canisius kids got in the faces of their UB counterparts sitting across the gym.

During one break, a cluster of gold-shirted Griffins dissed the blue-shirted UB faithful by chanting the academic put-down, “Safety School, Safety School.”

Sorry, but Off-Main calls a foul on Canisius. UB may indeed be a safety school – a school that applicants are reasonably assured of getting into – for many high school seniors. But the numbers reveal that applicants can place an even safer bet on admission if they apply to – you guessed it – Canisius.

According to the college information website, the median SAT score of incoming freshman at UB is 1160 (out of 1600). That’s better than Canisius’ 1100.

More selective? UB wins again. It accepts 51 percent of applicants; at Canisius, 75 percent are accepted.

The Griffins, however, got the last laugh Tuesday, beating UB, 71-64.

By Patrick Lakamp with contributions from Jill Terreri and Donn Esmonde.