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OFF MAIN STREET/The offbeat side of the news

Good government

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo stopped by Classics V Banquet and Conference Center in Amherst on Monday to deliver a budget address, and the speech gave Cuomo and the state legislators who introduced him an opportunity to pat themselves on the back over how well Albany functions these days.

Assemblyman Ray Walter, an Amherst Republican, kicked off the self-congratulations, noting how far state government has come.

“For years, Albany was the capital of gridlock. It even made modern-day Washington look normal,” Walter said.

At that point, Walter must have noticed Rep. Brian Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat who previously served in the Assembly, sitting with the VIPs at the speech. Without skipping a beat, he said, “Sorry, congressman. You’re excepted from that comment, I’m sure.”

That line drew chuckles from the audience. It also caught Cuomo’s attention, and he referred back to it when he name-checked some of his guests.

“We have our really great congressman Brian Higgins, who is a little envious of state government now that he’s in Washington,” the governor said, prompting more laughter. “We just want you to know, Brian, you’re always welcome back whenever you want.”

Out of control

Bumping into walls. Tripping over clutter. Falling down stairs. Stepping into traffic.

These aren’t a list of hazards of being a toddler or an adult under the influence of alcohol.

No, these are what can happen when you text and walk.

“When texting, you’re not as in control with the complex actions of walking,” said Dr. Dietrich Jehle, an attending physician at Erie County Medical Center and professor of medicine at the University at Buffalo.

Texting and driving results in more severe injuries, but injuries from texting and walking occur more frequently, Jehle said.

Keep those eyes on the road. And the sidewalk.

Silver linings blog post

The harsh winter has dismayed even the most committed Buffalo boosters.

Austin, Texas, blogger Lauren Modery, who recently converted to Buffalove in a post titled “Hipster City Travel,” has some consolation for us.

“The man-made weather apocalypse is coming soon anyways; why not live in an interesting city while you still can?”

Thanks for the pick-me-up. We’ll take what we can get.

The cold is getting old

We hoofed about downtown during the extended morning rush hour Thursday and came upon a man standing on Seneca at Michigan. His face was bright red from the bitter snow and wind, but he was dressed for the weather.

“I see you have your Carhartt overalls on,” we said.

“I’ve been wearing them a lot this winter,” he responded.

“You may end up wearing them out.”

The reddened face managed to crack a smile, despite the torturous winds.

A few blocks south at the Roastery coffee shop, a boisterous group of office workers arrived for their morning fix of caffeine, with one regaling the others of a text sent from a tardy worker.

“He sent a text to the whole office saying he’s on the Route 33 and sitting there in park.”

Other workers, the coffee hound said, began texting back, observing how people forget how to drive in winter’s bad weather. One worker, in fact, sent the stuck motorist a picture of a steering column’s gear selector in “D” to explain that in order for the car to move it needed to be in drive.

Farther west in the lobby of the Rath Building, a worker assured a security guard that “this will be the last blast of winter.”

“That’s what I been telling myself all winter,” the security officer answered.

Finally, inside the halls of Buffalo Police Headquarters, a supervisor said, “Well, at least the sun is now shining.”

“Small consolation,” another supervisor responded.

Written by Jill Terreri, with contributions from Lou Michel and Stephen T. Watson. email: