He found his calling

Here’s one guy who should have signed up for the do-not-call registry.

Transit Police Chief George Gast told Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority commissioners this week that after a blind woman reported a cellphone theft at the downtown bus station, witnesses told transit officers the thief might be boarding a Metro Rail train at Seneca Street.

So the officers halted the train, boarded the suspected car and promptly called the cellphone number. And when the stolen phone began ringing in the crotch of the suspect’s pants, the jig was up.

“In our business,” Gast said, “that’s called a clue.”

Gone but not forgotten

In between questions about Metallica, New Yorker magazine cartoonists and plant-eating dinosaurs, participants in the Buffalo’s Smartest Company trivia contest – a Cradle Beach fundraiser held Wednesday in Salvatore’s Italian Gardens – had the chance to win cool raffle prizes.

Emcee Todd Callen, a local recruiter and radio announcer who does games for the Bisons and Niagara University men’s basketball broadcasts, rattled off the items one by one before calling out the name of each lucky contestant.

Most raffle winners snagged restaurant gift certificates or bags of swag, but one prize stood out when Callen announced it: a Jason Pominville jersey, donated by BlueCross BlueShield.

The one-time Buffalo Sabres star, of course, was traded to the Minnesota Wild earlier this month, relegating anything with his name on it to the discount rack at a sporting goods store.

As people in the crowd chuckled and made jokes about the jersey, Callen quipped, “It’s already a throwback.”

Is illness ever foreseen?

Psychics can’t predict everything.

Prominent psychic Sylvia Browne was scheduled to appear tonight in the Seneca Niagara Casino, but she became sick and had to postpone her performance until July 13.

We laughed when we read the casino’s news release, which blamed the rescheduling on, ahem, “an unforeseen illness.”

Tony Astran, a public-relations rep for the casino, said this phrase came from Browne’s camp. But he understands why it raised a few eyebrows.

“A lot of friends in the media chimed in after I sent that out,” Astran told us.

Rock on, Part 1

Booking the members of the rock-and-roll senior tour, as Artpark does each summer for its Tuesday night concert series, can be a risky business.

George Osborne, Artpark president, this week announced an expensive lineup of bands that were huge during the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations.

Counting the costs of putting on the shows, Artpark is investing more than $2 million in groups such as Chicago, Bad Company and Blue Oyster Cult.

Some of the bands will pull down more than $100,000 for their one night in the Lewiston amphitheater.

But Osborne acknowledged that he takes care to make sure the performers can still bring the heat.

“I won’t hire any band that I haven’t seen live myself, or on a YouTube performance in the past year, to make sure they still sound good,” Osborne said. “You don’t want to find out the lead singer croaked, or they’re playing soundtracks half the night.”

Rock on, Part 2

Over in Lockport, the talk at Wednesday’s Common Council work session also turned to classic rock, as Mayor Michael W. Tucker told the Council he can’t comment yet on this year’s lineup for the city’s Friday night concert.

But Tucker said he knows one band that won’t be booked for the series: the CRS Band, a cover band led by 1st Ward Alderman John Lombardi III.

The name stands for “Classic Rock Songs,” although some locals say it stands for “Conservative Republican Singers,” “Can’t Really Sing” or other phrases too rude to print.

By Stephen T. Watson, with contributions from Robert J. McCarthy and Thomas J. Prohaska.