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Going back to the 1940s, riding a bison with no bull, and marveling at Van Miller’s greatest words

Black Rock boogie

Buzz admires a business with a unique spin, such as Hot Mama’s Canteen, the new tavern in Black Rock that everyone is talking about. Hot Mama’s has adopted a 1940s feel. The proprietor walks the walk: Last week, we found her sporting a World War II-era skirt and a double string of pearls. One of the waitresses was in polka dots. And a guy sitting at the bar, when Buzz went to buy our airline bottle of wine, called us “sweetheart.” As in: “Hey, sweetheart, is that your phone over there?” Add in the jazz standards Peggy Farrell was singing, and boom, there you were, in the 1940s! We toast that business plan, and, may we add, the business plan across the street, Millennium Fashion and Wireless. Who would think to put those two things together? No wonder Black Rock is booming.

On a roll

“Ride a Bison and You Get No Bull.” Buzz saw that classic slogan on a Bison Taxi. We never recalled seeing a Bison Taxi before, and the cab wasn’t beat up, which suggested to our alert reporter’s eye that the company was new. Intrigued, we found its website – and an even more charming slogan: “Ride a Bison Into the Horizon.” We were in love! We called. And things quickly became very confusing, but very Buffalo. The guy who answered the phone, Bill Rivera, it turned out we know him. Rivera – that’s what we have always called him – works for a different cab company, Nickel City Cab. The slogans were the brainchildren of his wife, Michelle, a kindergarten teacher at School 54. She has got to be the Cole Porter of slogan writers – or should we say the Cab Calloway? And even more impressive – how nice that Nickel City Cab would help Bison Taxi, a younger company, get rolling. Not only the City of Good Neighbors, but the City of Friendly Taxis. Fare isn’t foul. Not around here.

Buffalo, in the bag

Another thing to file under That is So Buffalo: Your gym bag is a Wegmans bag. Buzz was guilty of that one recent day, tossing our sneakers, exercise clothes and locker lock into one of those purple bags showing grapes and eggplant. Then we dared to take it to L.A. Fitness. Confessing our fashion risk on Facebook, we loved how nonjudgmental people were. “My gym luggage is from Premier,” one friend confessed. Another said, “You’ve got to use the Wegmans bag for something! Who remembers to bring it to Wegmans?” And we heard from pianist Joe Bellanti: “I used a Wegmans bag to carry music cables and mics for a while until my 11-year-old said I should get a case because the Wegmans bag was hurting my credibility.” Au contraire. This is Buffalo. It only enhances it.

To the wall

Hearing with joy how broadcast legend Van Miller was ushered Sunday onto the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame, Buzz has been reflecting on his greatest contribution. That is the phrase “the wheels have come off.” Miller applied it to all kinds of desperate situations involving the Bills, and Buzz has found that the phrase increasingly applies to our own everyday situations, as well. Whenever we utter it, we not only cheer ourself up, but we come off as tremendously witty. Thank you, Van Miller! And may we add, we are enjoying other people’s tributes. One fan comments: “I’ll never forget, as a kid, seeing him stroll into the Aud one night wearing a long fur coat and a girl under each arm. Boss.”

The buzz

Congratulations to Buffalo Mass Mob founder Chris Byrd on being quoted in The New York Times. Front page, too! Time magazine also sat up this week and took notice. Time’s headline: “The Surprising Trend That Might Get Hipsters To Go To Church.” ... Bring on the snow! On Elmwood Avenue, Buzz had to smile at two billboards, one on top of the other. One hypes “Brrrrr-falo” winter apparel. The other hawks Queen City Liquor.


“Candidates should have good people skills, be able to multi-task, and not get flustered easily.”

– Bison Taxi Service’s help wanted page