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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

Bingeing in Buffalo

Some comedians make jokes about Buffalo, but we’re no punchline to Marc Maron, star of the new IFC series “Maron.” He had a three-night stint last week at the Helium Comedy Club.

Maron raved in his popular iTunes podcast about his stay here, including his stay at the restored former flophouse Hotel @ the Lafayette, which, he opined, “had the same personality as a heroin addict who no longer did heroin.”

Maron also recounted his trips to Duff’s for wings, Ted’s for charbroiled hot dogs and the “slightly comforting haunted house” Schwabl’s, where he tried roast beef on kummelweck.

“By the time I got to Anderson’s Frozen Custard, I was so consumed with self-hatred that I don’t know if they’d really experienced someone like me,” he said of his shameful binge-eating.

Prior to flying out, Maron tweeted to his quarter-million followers: “I had a great time in Buffalo. The weather was perfect and it’s a sweet city. #serious”

Inflated faded foodstuff

In the fall of 1998, boxes of Flutie Flakes flew off supermarket shelves.

Doug Flutie was the red-hot backup quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, and fans snatched up more than 1.5 million boxes of the frosted cornflake cereal. A box cost $2.29 for those using a Wegmans Shoppers Club card.

The next summer, after he led the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Finals, captain Michael Peca was big in private-label marketing. Peca’s Impeccable Pickles hit the shelves at $3.29 a jar. Neither athlete won a league championship in Buffalo, but the prices of their faded foodstuffs soared. An autographed box of Flutie Flakes and a jar of Peca’s kosher dills recently were spotted on a shelf at Arundel Antique Village in southern Maine.

The asking price: $25 each.

The pen and penmanship

You can call Carl A. Zimmerman a drug dealer, but don’t criticize his handwriting.

Recently in Niagara County Court, Judge Matthew J. Murphy III accepted a guilty plea from Zimmerman for selling cocaine in Niagara Falls last summer. Before entering a judicial diversion program for court-supervised drug treatment, Zimmerman had to sign a contract locking in the terms: a plea reduction to a misdemeanor and probation if he succeeds in treatment – but prison if he fails, with no appeal.

Murphy looked at the document and asked Zimmerman, “Is this your signature on this contract?”

“Yes, Your Honor,” he replied.

“It’s just a little squiggle,” said Murphy.

“That’s my squiggle, Your Honor,” said defense attorney Rodney A. Giove.

“I was going to make fun of the defendant, but I’ll draw back,” Murphy said.

Kane’s star rose early

People who saw Patrick Kane play hockey when he was a kid knew he would be a star, including Rep. Brian Higgins.

Kane, who this week added the Conn Smythe Trophy as NHL Playoff MVP to his resume, was in the eighth grade when his name first appeared in this newspaper.

In 2002, this column ran an item about the 13-year-old South Buffalo phenom scoring six goals – one between his legs – during the annual Higgins Thanksgiving Eve pickup game at Cazenovia Park. Higgins, then an assemblyman and a friend of the Kane family, remembers the game well and the fact that Kane made him look silly.

The item appeared at a time businessman Mark Hamister was trying to purchase the Buffalo Sabres. With the collection of over-the-hill pols on the ice, Off Main jokingly noted Hamister did not “rush to Cazenovia Rink … to scout talent for his hockey team.”

Too bad. Maybe they could have tried to draft the 13-year-old.

Written by Harold McNeil, with contributions from Joseph Popiolkowski, Janice Habuda, Thomas Prohaska and Bruce Andriatch. email: