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Off Main Street (Sept. 17): Joust joking

‘Joust’ joking

The mock insults flew fast and furiously between NFL Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Joe Namath in the TV ad promoting Thursday’s matchup between the Bills and the Jets that aired on CBS.

The commercial, which played on the age-old rivalry between the two New York State football teams (one of whom plays in New Jersey), was heavy with “wide right” jokes, alluding to former Bills kicker Scott Norwood’s missed 47-yard field goal attempt in Super Bowl XXV that gave the championship to the Giants in 1991, as well as boasts about the Bills knocking the Jets out of the playoffs last year. Tough stuff.

In addition to the prominent display of Namath’s Super Bowl ring in several closeups, the commercial also features a cameo by actor Kevin James in a Jets cap and jersey, trying but failing to achieve his moment of zen before the game.

The stakes are raised when the daughters of the retired quarterbacks get in on the trash talk. The Kelly daughters, portrayed on a hunting trip with their dad, and the daughters of Namath – one of whom is pregnant – are shown on the golf links with their father as they verbally throw down via their smartphones.

A couple of takeways from the ad: Ol’ Broadway Joe is about to become a granddad, as one of the Namath daughters appeared to be in the late stages of pregnancy, and the Kelly daughters sure wear a lot of makeup to go hunting.

Oktoberfest oddity

Buffalo may not be the Oktoberfest capital of the country, but it shares the No. 1 spot – along with four other U.S. cities – for having the most pretzel shops per capita, according to a survey by WalletHub, which ranks the “Best Cities to Celebrate Oktoberfest.”

Buffalo came in No. 15 overall. Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore., took the top three spots. Buffalo had mid-rankings in such categories as highest percentage of residents with German ancestry, most German restaurants per capita and most breweries per capita. Even more sobering, the city did not rank high in a morbid category that measured the highest DUI-related fatalities per capita. But we’re still twisting ourselves into a knot trying to figure how Buffalo managed to share the top rank among cities with the most pretzel shops, along with Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Fla., and Scottsdale, Ariz.

Are there any proper pretzel shops in the Queen City, and how did Philadelphia not top the list?

Foreign exchange

Lancaster Deputy Mayor Kenneth L. O’Brien III took a bit of delight being in charge in the absence of Mayor Paul Maute from Monday’s Village Board meeting.

But instead of presiding over the meeting promptly at 7 p.m., O’Brien took a few extra minutes to kibitz with some high school students in the back of council chambers. This was all much to the chagrin of Trustee William C. Schroeder, who summoned O’Brien to start the meeting by seizing the gavel and rapping it on the board dais.

“I’m sorry. I’m busy right now,” O’Brien responded, prompting Schroeder to retort: “We’re waiting for the deputy mayor to stop politicking.”

Once the meeting was underway, he returned his attention to visiting students in the audience, noting that among them was a foreign exchange student from Ukraine who is studying at Lancaster High School.

“As a former foreign exchange student host, welcome to our Lancaster community,” O’Brien said to the young man, adding cryptically: “If you need anything, call my wife.”

Quacks like a duck

Only a few weeks ago, Buffalo boasted of having hosted a giant inflatable duck on its waterfront, but it turns out it wasn’t the first time.

Fifty years ago this week, another “oversized duck” channeled the Niagara River. Called a LARC, or Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo, the 100-ton vessel passed under the South Grand Island Bridges on its way, via the Erie Barge Canal, to Charleston, S.C., for delivery to the Army for use in Vietnam. The LARC traveled at a speed of 7 mph in the water and 22 mph on land.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with a contribution by Karen Robinson. email:

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