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Cold comfort

“Could we please stop talking about the mercury plunging?” a colleague protests. “They haven’t used mercury for years.” And they don’t make Mercury cars, either! So, no mention of the mercury, just of the pleasures of the extreme cold we’ve been seeing. Observed a friend: “Best part about this 5 degree weather: The beer in the basement is perfectly chilled.” Buffalonians kept posting this one picture on Facebook of someone shoveling a mountain of snow, trumpeting: “We don’t get hurricanes! We don’t get hurricanes!” There was that feeling of accomplishment you get from battling the elements. As one gentleman put it: “Paths have been dug, driveway has been cleaned, scotch has been poured.” Finally, no matter how cold it gets, this being Buffalo, you will see someone in shorts. Watch for it!

Caught the bug

Buffalo photographer Phil Pantano is saying cheese, because he is the cover story in this month’s Shutterbug magazine. The headline is “Power in Black and White: Portrait Location and Street Photography.” The story, by Buffalo writer Jim Corbran, focuses on Pantano’s exhibit “The American Worker,” which Buzz praised last summer, observing that Pantano really captured the heart of weary, working, precoffee Buffalonians, including a few people we knew. Approached by Buzz to comment, Pantano expressed modest, workingman’s sentiments. “All I ever wanted was for people to see this series,” he told us. “It’s a tribute to workers, and now more people will be able to see it.” He added: “I feel embarrassed by this stuff.”

Potty mouth

The Metropolitan Opera Auditions on Saturday at Nichols School, were so dramatic that they were, well, operatic. A typical exchange went like this. Judge to contestant: “Perhaps we could hear a bit of Handel.” Contestant, aflutter: “Should I start with the recitative?” Judge, lofty: “That might not be a bad idea.” Such pressure! It sure felt good to be in the audience and not up on stage with our future hanging in the balance! But even the Met judges are human. We learned that when it came time for the first intermission. “Perhaps,” one judge declaimed, “it is time for a potty break.”

The buzz

And the real winner of the Met auditions was … Buffalo! A Toronto couple, here to cheer on the many Canadian singers auditioning, could not stop praising our city. “We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves,” they wrote, in an email forwarded to Buzz. “A lovely day of singing, bracketed by two nights at a splendid B&B (the Parkside) and excellent meals at Hutch’s and Ristorante Lombardo. Buffalo is on our list of long weekend getaways now.” Hear that, tourism folks? Opera brings ’em in. … Ill-Advised Cocktail o’ the Week: The Oatmeal Cookie, seen on the menu of Tokyo II for $7.95 and described as Bailey’s, Goldschläger and butterscotch schnapps. Would we even survive it? … Got them Down Dog Blues! Gruvology plays jazz at Shakti Yoga, 133 Grant St., at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Quote

“Cow Skulls: Unpainted, Clean. Perfect for Man Cave! $28.”

– Ad in Buffalo News Thrifties section