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Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. and younger brother Rudy used to listen to the rickety wooden roller coaster and the screams of riders from Fontaine Ferry Park. Louisville's amusement park was within walking distance of the boy's house, and they would stand at the fence looking in. But that's as close as they could get growing up in the separate-and-unequal South, where the …

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Photographer Wayne Geist has a cool name for the weekend house he built in Portland in Chautauqua County: Turtle Rocks. The three-bedroom house sits on a 4-acre, cliff-side, forested lot on the shore of Lake Erie. It was completed in February. Its name is derived from the limestone formations on the beach at the bottom of the cliff. Geist described how the home came to …

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Holy Angels Church, which has towered over Porter Avenue since 1875, was built to last. The church's organists are, too. Robert Chambers, Holy Angels' current organist, has been on the job for 70 years. In October, he announced his retirement, effective at the end of this year. But his fellow parishioners have been trying, with some success, to persuade him to rethin…

Business

The holiday edition of Queen City pop-up is a great place to shop for Christmas gifts. The program, administered by the Buffalo Urban Development Corp., hosts a handful of emerging retailers in vacant commercial space in the city. The temporary brick-and-mortar location lets merchants test the waters in hopes of opening permanent shops downtown. What I love about it is …

Lifestyles

  Western New York Unit 116 will hold its annual meeting and game next Saturday, Dec. 2, in the Main-Transit Fire Hall, 6777 Main St., Amherst. Lunch is at noon, followed by the meeting at 1 p.m. and the game. Tickets must be purchased from board members by Tuesday, Nov. 28. For more info, call Carol Bedell at 633-5680 or Denise Slattery at 602-8629. *  *  * The …

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There always seems to be a faux fur trim loose in one of our closets, one that can be easily reattached to the hood or collar of the coat or parka to which it belongs, if the wearer so chooses. Faux fur trims on winter outerwear are nothing unusual. Neither are the faux fur pillows and throws that accessorize many home interiors these days. Still, as the temperatures…

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For at least one day colorful gourds have a prominent place at the table. They are associated with harvest. Maybe they spill from cornucopias at the Thanksgiving table or harvest dinner, or they hang on autumn wreaths on the door. These plants have history and many uses, well beyond the decorative crafts you’ll find on Pinterest. They’re all worth growing for next season, …

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“Why Write? Collected Nonfiction 1960-2013” Library of America, 452 pages, $35. Here in 1973 is Philip Roth describing with conspicuous art a 1924 photograph of Franz Kafka, taken at what was Roth’s age at the time, when a sick Kafka was 40 and approaching death. “His face is sharp and skeletal, a burrower’s face: pronounced cheekbones made even more conspicuous by the …

Books

NONFICTION The Bug House: The Poetry, Politics, and Madness of Ezra Pound By Daniel Swift Farrar Straus Giroux 297 pages, $27 This short work of critical nonfiction by Daniel Swift has more to say about Ezra Pound’s influence on Modernism than A. David Moody’s three-volume biography where every aspect of the poet’s life is given equal billing. “The Bug Ho…

Lancaster Garden Club will be at Westwood Park from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 26 to help children decorate ornaments. Members will prepare Visions of Sugar Plums-themed decorations at 9 a.m. Nov. 27 for the Victorian Christmas event at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site.  The club will decorate the Lancaster Public Library at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29. Hamburg House…

Books

NONFICTION Radio Free Vermont By Bill McKibben Blue Rider Press 224 pages, $22 Everyone loves Vermont. Really, what’s not to like?: The gorgeous Green Mountains that give the state its name. The tiny state’s reputation as a progressive and environmental giant. Its small, clean cities; rolling countryside; and front-row view of  an almost-Great Lake. Ben &…

Books

DIARIES The Vanity Fair Diaries 1983-1992 By Tina Brown Henry Holt 437 pages, $32 The first and greatest correspondent on journalism's Vanity beat was, of course, Ecclesiastes, who memorably reported to all of us (in King James' majestic translation) "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." All time pride of place after that belongs to John Bunyan, one of his…

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When Jim and Kate Shotwell decided to find the right house for the next stage of their lives, they knew what they were looking for. After doing some updates in their Amherst residence, they are feeling right at home. Kate Shotwell, a retired teacher from Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda schools, shared this description with The Buffalo News: “We moved to our current home ab…

Lifestyles

  The Airport Bridge Club will offer the ACBL-wide Charity Game at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, at no extra charge. Winners will earn extra points on the district level and there will be booklets with hand analysis. *  *  * Unit championship games with extra points will be played today, Saturday, Nov. 18, at noon at the Bridge Center of Buffalo and the Airport Bri…