Meckler v. Scalia

If the Supreme Court has a vacancy anytime soon, don’t expect Lawrence Meckler to be appointed. That’s if Antonin Scalia has anything to say about it.

Meckler, now the Clarence town attorney and Clarence IDA co-counsel, recounted being part of a group that years ago met the conservative justice during a visit to the Supreme Court.

As the group prepared to get pictures with Scalia, he stopped them: “What are you doing? You’re all lawyers, you’ve come here to Washington. Don’t you want to ask any questions about the Supreme Court and our policy, and how we work, and the intricacies? Doesn’t anyone have a question? I don’t want to just stand here and take pictures.”

No one responded – until Meckler finally raised his hand. Scalia, grateful, called on him: “Yes, thank you, what’s your question?”

“Are there any justices that will just take pictures with us?” Meckler said.

Case – or photo op – dismissed.

And what a parade it is

A few hundred attendees at this week’s Delaware North Cos. annual Food & Beverage Summit got more than just a discussion of the beer industry.

They got a free sample and a lecture on the finer points of beer from someone who would know: Jim Koch, the founder and CEO of The Boston Beer Co., maker of Samuel Adams beer.

It’s no surprise that this talk about “really good beer” featured – what else? – Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

Holding a full glass for all to see, Koch told the crowd to first look on the left side of the label, at the notched date, to be sure the beer is fresh.

“You would be better off buying a Miller Light or Coors Light or a Bud Light than a stale Sam Adams,” he said.

Then pour the beer and take a look at the color and clarity. “To me, this is a classic, beautiful, amber golden color,” he said. “It’s almost like looking into a candle flame.”

Then smell it. It should be primarily hops. “It’s sort of floral, there’s a little bit of spiciness, maybe spruce, pine, and it’s slightly sweet. That comes from the malt,” he explained.

Finally, taste it. “That balance in the structure of beer is a balance between the body and sweetness of the malt, followed by the spiciness and bitterness from hops,” he concluded. “In a really good beer, you can actually get all four of those, marching across your palate, in a three- to four-second parade.” He paused, while people sipped their beers. “Get that?” he asked. We think so, but we’ll need another sample to be sure.

He comes bearing gifts

The East Aurora School District is really pumped after its middle school was named a 2012 Blue Ribbon School, a federal distinction marking the school’s record of academic excellence.

At the most recent School Board meeting, President Daniel Brunson kiddingly told Mark Mambretti, the middle school principal, to say hello to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan during his trip to Washington, D.C., to formally accept the award.

Mambretti, who was traveling with other district representatives, replied: “I will. If you have a Roycroft gift certificate, I’ll give him one.” Brunson, a longtime Roycroft docent, quipped: “Yes. That’ll be one that never gets turned in.”

A song and dance man

R. Gil Kerlikowske left this area in 1998, after serving 4½ years as Buffalo police commissioner, but we still keep tabs on the city’s former top cop.

He’s served as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy – aka our “drug czar” – since 2009, and he opened up to the Washington Post this week for their “In the Loop” interview.

Kerlikowske divulged that he performed in “Singin’ in the Rain” while serving as Seattle’s police chief, his favorite TV show is “Barney Miller” and he longs to guest host the NPR quiz show “Wait, Wait ... Don’t Tell Me!”

Musical theater? Public radio? We can’t see Joe Friday or Dirty Harry Callahan sharing the same taste in popular culture.

Written by Stephen T. Watson with contributions from Matt Glynn, Jonathan D. Epstein and Karen Robinson.