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The offbeat side of the news

Close Cuomo encounters

When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo comes around, other politicians don’t just want to be in the same room, or in the background of whatever photo will appear in the newspaper.

They fall all over each other to show the most affection. Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter.

One state legislator took the art of fawning over Cuomo to new lengths during an announcement this week in Niagara Falls.

“I’m kissing the governor on the cheek and whispering in his ear,” said Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, R-Lewiston, to nervous laughter. “So I’m the kisser.”

How that related to the topic at hand remains unclear. Ceretto seemed to be explaining how he and other elected officials try to persuade Cuomo to help the Falls.

And he wasn’t done.

“So it’s a new day in Western New York, everybody, a new day. Can you feel the excitement and the energy? Do you not love this governor?”

He then recalled meeting Cuomo nearly 20 years ago.

“I could see in his eyes at that time ... his eyes were the soul of his heart, and you could see the genuineness of the governor.”

Maybe during the next visit, for the sake of the public, Cuomo can appear alone.

Mayor makes the list

An alert reader caught Mayor Byron W. Brown’s name and home address on a list of people who have unclaimed property at HSBC Bank, published as a public notice in The Buffalo News.

Brown shrugged his shoulders as if to say, no story here.

“It’s 50 bucks, 150 bucks,” he said. “If it’s a million dollars, then I really want to know.”

Wife’s bitter memories

Rained out earlier in the month, a program of story, songs and displays called “Ghost Ships and the Flood: Remembering the Tewksbury Incident” will be held today to commemorate the disaster on Jan. 21, 1959, when ice floes shoved the lake freighter Michael K. Tewksbury into the Michigan Avenue lift bridge, destroying the bridge and flooding nearby homes.

The free event starts at 2 p.m. in Buffalo River Fest Park, 245 Ohio St.

In case of rain, the event will move to the Valley Community Center, 93 Leddy St.

When the Tewksbury incident was commemorated on its 50th anniversary in 2009, one of the visitors had a very personal connection to the case, said Margaret “Peg” Overdorf, executive director of the Valley Community Association.

“This little lady came in,” Overdorf said. “I asked her what her connection was with the Tewksbury. She said, ‘You know the guy who was supposed to be tending the boat that broke loose? That was my husband! He was up on land with the girlfriend!’ It was 50 years later, and she was as bitter that day as she must have been on the day she found out. She said she couldn’t stay, and she walked out. I never got her name, and I have no idea who she was.”

The physics of beer

Obviously, the University at Buffalo is a big research university, focused on such things as global warming’s impact on coral reefs, teen smoking patterns and finding a treatment for gonorrhea.

Researchers there also want to make sure we’re drinking our beer properly.

It’s just physics, really.

Wider mouths in beer cans, or cans with two holes, cut down on “foam and awkward gluggling” according to Hong Luo, chairman of UB’s physics department.

The UB News department helpfully lays out Luo’s expertise and ties it to football season, when the beer flows freely, in a release that promises the “secret to pouring a smooth beer.”

Anything to get a reporter interested, apparently. (It’s working.)

Luo is clearly serious about his job and committed to science.

And his research is in no way self-interested.

He’s allergic to alcohol.

Written by Jill Terreri, with contributions from Aaron Besecker and Anne Neville. email: