Magnanimity of the season

Perhaps the joy of the holiday season kindled longtime Buffalo School Board member Florence Johnson’s inner warmth toward newcomer Carl Paladino.

They may not be enemies, but they tend to quarrel a lot during meetings, sometimes prompting board President Barbara Seals Nevergold to bang the gavel to get them both to simmer down.

So when Johnson spoke up for Paladino at Wednesday’s School Board meeting, many were caught by surprise. Before the meeting, Paladino had relayed that he might be up to 1½ hours late because he was hosting a Christmas party for Ellicott Development Co. employees.

Eventually, it seemed clear that Paladino would not make the meeting.

So Johnson made a motion to officially excuse him from the meeting.

“I want it to be noted that I did something positive for him,” she said.

Cougar encounter

When the Independent Health Foundation last week unveiled its First Night Buffalo lineup for New Year’s Eve, Jeff Musial of Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics trotted out a show-stopper.

Nakita, a 6-month-old cougar, will eventually grow to be around 125 pounds and have enough strength to do some damage, even when playing.

Musial learned the hard way after hanging out in the cage of an adult cougar he owns.

“I turned my back – which is one thing you’re never supposed to do. She hit me like full bore, like I got hit by a Buffalo Bills player. I hit the ground.

“She grabbed my neck and started purring, and she’s like, ‘I just mock killed you. That was so cool,’ ” Musial said.

That playful tap sent Musial to a chiropractor, who inquired how his left leg became three inches shorter than his right leg.

“I said I was hit by a cougar, and he said: ‘A woman or a cat?’”

Musial assured the chiropractor that he was struck by an actual cougar – and not an amorous, older human female.

The chiropractor inquired how he ended up in a cougar’s cage.

“I said, ‘Long story. Just crack my back and we’re good to go,’ ” Musial replied.

The chicken wing alibi

What dastardly criminal mastermind would dare to think of using the humble chicken wing as subterfuge to cover up a crime?

Well, we can report it was not anybody from around these parts, where the wing is generally accorded a modicum of respect.

The Associated Press reported this week about an Auburn man who, back in May, started an apartment fire that he originally blamed on a grease fire caused from cooking chicken wings.

Daniel Van Luven, 44, eventually admitted the blaze was touched off while he was cooking methamphetamine, which, while foul, is most assuredly not fowl.

He pleaded guilty this week in Cayuga County Court to manufacturing meth and faces a two-year sentence.

Buffalo boosting goes too far

We’re all for boosting Buffalo whenever and wherever we can.

However, we’re not sure we can get behind a T-shirt depicting a sketch of the Eiffel Tower with the message: “It’s OK. But it’s not Buffalo.”

Talk about being over-enthusiastic about our native assets. We might suggest using a less-iconic symbol to take pot shots at, other than Paris’ magnificent Eiffel Tower. Maybe the CN Tower in Toronto or the Gateway Arch in St. Louis?

Big ambitions should not be delusional, after all.

Written by Harold McNeil, with a contribution by Deidre Williams.