Imagine being an American serviceman on leave in, say, Kuwait. You wander into a local watering hole (bar, that is), that you assume is friendly toward Americans (it's openly serving alcohol, after all). The locals are respectful, if largely indifferent, to your presence, and you soon settle in, standing at the bar, drinking weak Kuwaiti beer, casually reconnoitering the scene.

            Then you notice --- to your profound shock, if not awe --- a framed portrait of Osama bin Laden hanging in a place of honor behind the bar. The bearded, airbrushed holy man is depicted in a reverent light, like a swarthy Jesus with a big nose, smiling the vague smile of the enlightened.

            Clearly, the owner of this place and everyone in it are sympathetic to the terrorist's cause, if not devoted to and involved in its realization.

            So, what do you do? Open fire? Go back to Camp Jersey and report it to the sweaty CIA liaison, that chubby guy who keeps eyeing you in the shower?

            I'll bet this much: You're not going to give that evil barkeep another one of your precious American greenbacks. He might funnel it.

            Now you can understand why I, a lifelong devotee of our Buffalo Bills, didn't hang out long at Tipsy McStaggers, a Dolphin bar on West Henrietta Road.

            Tipsy McStaggers. The name makes you laugh.

            But why?

            Sure, it's silly. But as Freud would point out, it also embodies the stereotype of the drunken Irishman, and laughing at the Irish is an acceptable way to release repressed, ethnic-based tensions. Assuming, that is, you're not in the company of a full-blooded Irishman, especially if he's hammered (kidding, kidding).

            But seriously, why hasn't a group like the Ancient Order of Hibernians laid siege to Tipsy's yet? The Hibernians. I picture a rag-tag mob of Irish warriors, clad in animal skins, throwing rocks and jabbing spears through the windows. Now, that's really silly.

            Tipsy's may as well be a bar in Kuwait City. Rather than being surrounded by a hellish wasteland of flaming oil fields, it sits in the midst of acres of cars, row upon perfectly parked row of factory-direct vehicles, each one expertly engineered to burn as much of the planet's exhaustible supply of precious dinosaur gunk as possible --- with decadent, flagrant inefficiency. What's the difference?

            Granted, I was depressed when I walked into the place. It brought back bad memories of a night I spent up the road at The Klassy Cat two summers ago.

            Stumbling out of the strip club at closing time, our bachelor party realized the limo driver we'd hired had ditched us. It soon also dawned on us that he'd taken off with the beers we'd left chilling in the vehicle just for this moment, not to mention several Stones CDs.

            While my friends howled threats and curses into their cell phones --- a barrage of violent (and illegal) harassment that wouldn't be heard on the limo service's voice mail system for many hours --- I surveyed the paved carscape in despair. We were stranded in the middle of an American marketplace with rides home all around us. But we didn't have the right keys, and the girls who'd just sat on our laps with their bras off were all leaving with their defensive boyfriends.

            Girls take their bras off at Tipsy's, too. The management hangs 'em from the paneled ceiling.

            Tipsy's is a sports bar --- beer pong, video games, NFL Ticket --- but like I said, the owners love the wrong team. There's a picture of them mugging around a distracted, tanned Dan Marino, probably at some boring charity function, displayed in a place of honor above the bar.

            After seeing that, the bras may as well have been burkas to me. I'd no sooner subsidize a Finnish bar than General Franks would toke on a hookah with Osama.

            God bless America. God bless the Bills.

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