The Arkansas traveler
U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson of Arkansas brought some distinctly Southern charm and whimsy to his time as a visiting judge in Buffalo this month.
There is, of course, the drawl and a penchant for telling good stories, like his impromptu lecture on the difference between mules, donkeys and horses.
We'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say Hizzoner should know. He's been known to tell reporters that being a federal judge is only his day job and that he's primarily a mule farmer.
He's also a self-described "glutton" who regaled the lawyers in his courtroom one day on his recent visit to the Anchor Bar.
Yeah, he liked the wings but gushed about the restaurant's chicken livers.
And then there was the story of an old friend in Arkansas who wanted to know if people in Buffalo put boiled peanuts in their RC Cola, a well-known Southern tradition.
"As far as I can tell," Wilson said with a smile and a sufficiently long pause, "all you folks drink is Perrier."
Sign of the times?
Council Member Darius G. Pridgen has waged a crusade against placing plastic signs in rights of way that advertise mattress and furniture sales.
Some signs appear homemade, by someone moving or holding a garage sale. But Pridgen takes every chance he gets to let sign-makers know he's on to them.
He held up the offending signs during a recent committee meeting, which started late because of a lot of talk about the Seneca Gaming Corp. in an earlier meeting.
"We have asked them not to continue doing it, but these folks ... continue to do it," Pridgen said.
License Director Patrick Sole told Pridgen he believes the city can fine the company for each sign illegally placed in a right of way.
"We can fine them for each sign?" Pridgen asked. "Well, then we don't need the money from the casino. We have enough coming from these signs. I'll keep on picking them up."
Disorder in the court
Decorum, like beauty, apparently lies in the eye of the beholder.
But who knew that Main Place Mall enforces a stricter dress code than the Erie County Courthouse?
A burglar with his underwear showing stood before a judge this week as he pleaded guilty to his crime.
In fairness to the judge, it is possible she could not see how low the offender wore his pants because his hands were handcuffed in front of him and may have blocked the view.
But those in the gallery, unfortunately, could see his pants droop below his waist, revealing the top five or six inches of his blue underwear. His pants almost fell to the floor when he leaned over to sign his waiver of appeal form.
A sign in the mall says security officers will enforce the wearing of pants and shorts properly secured and at the waist because of "the standards of public decency and professionalism our customers and tenants demand."
No such luck in the courthouse.
But here's a suggestion. When a shackled inmate with droopy pants has a hearing before a judge, slip one of the chains that wrap around his back through a belt loop or two.
And then prepare for the obligatory harsh-and-unusual punishment appeal.
What the doctor ordered
A lot of us are guilty of not eating enough healthy food.
So here's a chance to eat what the doctor ordered - and enjoy it!
Dr. Anthony Billittier IV, dean at D'Youville College's School of Health Professions, will serve his special and secret recipe for guacamole as a celebrity chef next week at the annual "Men Who Cook" fundraiser for Crisis Services.
"I like to play around with cooking in my kitchen," Billittier said in the release.
"Dr. B's guacamole is to die for," according to the college.
And if that process starts immediately, who else would you rather have around?
Written by Patrick Lakamp with contributions from Reporters Phil Fairbanks and Jill Terreri.