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Hot-selling bobblehead

From his recent admission that he smoked crack cocaine a year ago to his profanity-laced diatribe at a news conference Thursday, it has been a rough couple of weeks for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

The good news is that his bobblehead image sold like hotcakes this week. The official Mayor Rob Ford bobblehead went on sale for $20 each on Tuesday at Toronto City Hall as part of fundraiser for that city’s United Way campaign.

The mayor’s office reported that it didn’t take long for the 1,000 bobbleheads – dubbed the “Robbie Bobbie”– to sell out. As eager collectors queued up, Ford even made an appearance to sign several of the dolls bearing his likeness.

Guess it goes to show that “when you’re hot, you’re hot,” even if it’s for all the wrong reasons.

A smoking hot deal

In fact, Ford is so hot right now as a trending topic on the Internet that the discount air carrier Spirit Airlines is using the Toronto mayor’s current infamy to help sell cheap fares for its flights out of the Niagara Falls Airport to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“We’re not smoking crack,” reads the tagline on Spirit Airlines’ website touting the company’s one-way flights to and from “the Toronto area” that sell for just under $30 before taxes.

Well, we would certainly hope not.

Though, it does make one wonder what substances one would have to ingest in order to be convinced that Niagara Falls, N.Y., is a part of the Toronto area, as the Spirit ad claims.

‘Old Folkie’ wows union

Members of the Buffalo Newspaper Guild were in for a shock last Saturday with the announcement of a special guest during a conference at the Hampton Inn.

The meeting of about 40 union members from Erie, Detroit, Cleveland and as far away as San Francisco was interrupted for a surprise appearance by legendary folk singer Pete Seeger. He had just finished doing a sound check three blocks away for a Western New York Peace Center benefit later that evening, and had consented to drop by the Guild meeting in a show of solidarity.

The 94-year-old, zipped up in a winter jacket, walked in, stepped onto a chair and proceeded to sing, a cappella, the satirical “Newspapermen Meet Such Interesting People,” and later shared with the group his early aspirations towards a career in journalism.

When local folk singer Phil Knoerzer shared with Seeger that he had earlier in the day performed a song by folk icon Woody Guthrie called “Union Maid,” Seeger responded: “I was with Woody when he wrote that song.” We looked it up and, indeed, it occurred in June 1940 – a mere 73 years ago.

Reason to be doubly cautious?

When it comes to auctioning off impounded vehicles, Buffalo has had a good year, according to a city parking official.

The city has sold off hundreds of confiscated cars, Kevin Helfer, the city’s parking czar, told those attending a Citi Stat meeting at City Hall Friday. The average price for a vehicle has been around $500, although one did sell for $5,200, Helfer added. It sure sounds like a great deal for anyone in the market for a car, especially someone who also is car-shopping on a tight budget. That is, until one considers that most of the cars being confiscated and sold aren’t always in drivable condition.

And there is this additional caveat: If, after the sale, it turns that out any of the car parts have been stolen, the buyer has to return it – the stolen part, that is, not the entire car. In that case, such vehicles might be in demand only for parts. “It’s buyer beware,” Helfer said.

Written by Harold McNeil with contributions from Mark Sommer and Susan Schulman.

email: offmain@buffnews.com