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Smokey the Talking Dog and other tales from the land of loganberry


Shag carpeting, talking dogs, grizzly bears and Emilio Pucci commercials. Jim Nolan has encountered them all and survived.

These stories, most of which first aired on WBFO Public Radio in Buffalo, relate how his love for his hometown and family was able to overcome the obstacles they set in his way, for example, his father's scrambled eggs and offer to reveal "the secret of math."

Warm-hearted and hilarious, Smokey the Talking Dog and other tales from the land of loganberry captures a city and era full of eccentricities, hidden dangers and the best local food east of Kansas City.

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  • A collection of humorous essays including my parents' experiment with going over Niagara Falls in a 30-foot Chris Craft cabin cruiser; my father's inexplicable outbust that led to a major fast food chain going out of business; a brief introductory explanation of why you would be happier in Buffalo, as was Dr. Samuel Johnson; and how I modeled my moves with the ladies on our randy French poodle, Sir Oscar of Burbank, with little success.

  • Here revealed once and for all is the secret of math, or my father's version of it; advice to recent high school graduates from the Buffalo Central High Class of 1912; my father's recipe for vulcanized breakfasts; and 1960 Halloween strategies.

  • The penultimate episode of this humorous podcast series considers the world's greatest outlawed yard game, the author's unfortunate run-in with Cujo, and why Emilio Pucci, like Windsong perfume, stays on his mind.

  • The last and final podcast of Jim Nolan's humorous Buffalo stories, including the history of the world's coolest barbeque (seen only in Buffalo and atop skyscrapers), an encounter with a grizzly bear and MAD Magazine's Al Jaffee (not in the same venue) and why we should welcome the inevitable arrival of our Canadian overlords.

  • Mamma Mia! that's a bad movie. My take on England's most popular flick ever; and a celebration of Buffalo's international champion barbershop quartet from the 1950s, the Buffalo Bills. They starred on Broadway and film in Meredith Willson's The Music Man.

  • In which I discuss my wife's longing for A (Bath) Room of Her Own; and my mother's devotion to an unusual children's birthday game called "Bang the Pot" (which is not unusual in Germany). You can also see a film of the latter at youtube.com/jimnolan3

  • In which I try to unload unwanted heirlooms on the rest of the family, including the life-size portrait of Uncle Elias; and describe the time I drove a snowmobile through a barbed wire fence, but not on purpose.

  • In which I describe the perils of the rope tow, exceeded only by the T-Bar; and examine a 1946 newsletter from Pratt & Lambert Paints in Buffalo, NY, where my grandfather worked for 40 years.

  • In which I describe "My New Mentor, Sir Topham Hatt" of Thomas the Tank Engine fame; and bemoan the nightly "Battle of the Blankets" soon to begin again with the commencement of cooler weather.

  • In which I describe "A History of the World in 1 Object," with apologies to the BBC and British Museum; and remember the gustatory joy the neighborhood dogs once experienced on garbage day, in "Al Fresco."

  • In which I discuss my "Bittersweet Memories" of defoliation; and my concerns about my children's deathly nicknames for me, in "Dad, By Any Other Name."

  • In which I admit to occasionally--okay, frequently--lying to my children, in "Pants on Fire"; and take great pride in my "Three Typewriters."

  • Listen to "May 28, 1917," an essay about my uncle, Lt. John V. Curry. He died in the first big U.S. engagement in WWI, the Battle of Cantigny. Then hear about how his mother went to visit his grave in France on a Gold Star Mothers Pilgrimage in 1930, in "Sara Curry Is Grateful."

  • Think the recent Virginia earthquake was interesting? Then listen to Shirley Blankenship describe what it was like to live through the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded, Alaska’s 1964 Good Friday Earthquake, in “The Big One.”

  • In which we learn about my grandmother’s scrapbook from 1929, now falling apart, in “Scrapbooking, 1919”; and explore my father’s metal box of slides from Hawaii in 1957, in “Kodachrome Treasure Box.”

  • A special podcast for those who, like me, believe the holidays can never come too early: “Reindeer on the Roof” and “Happy Holidays from Me and Elvis.”

  • In which we learn about my grandmother’s scrapbook from 1929, now falling apart, in “Scrapbooking, 1919”; and explore my father’s metal box of slides from Hawaii in 1957, in “Kodachrome Treasure Box.”

  • In which I recount the pain of losing to my son in “Madden 12, Dad 0,” and discuss my unabashed passion for potato chips, except for those sold in the U.K., in “Hello, Mr. Chips.”

  • In which I recount my favorite sounds in “Now Hear This;” my not-so-unique talent for snow removal, in “Shovel Ready;” the importance of a flowing mane in “A Man’s Hair Is His Glory;” and a description of my two other God-given talents, which are for parallel parking and estimating prices on Antiques Roadshow, in “What Makes Me Special.”

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