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Music Director JoAnn Falletta is conducting the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra this weekend in an all-Shostakovich program, a concert that will be remembered for a long time. It starts with the Piano Concerto No. 2, with the irrepressible Michael Boriskin as soloist. After intermission comes the massive Symphony No. 13, featuring Russian bass Mikhail Svetlov and the men of…

Someone has a new pastime in our household, the first word of which has nine letters and begins with a “C.” Yes, the 13-year-old is getting hooked on crossword puzzles, like so many relatives before her.“What's a 'twistable treat' with four letters?” she asked the other night, sitting at the kitchen table mulling over the puzzle in that day's newspaper.“Oreo!” she quickly …

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People have different tastes when it comes to selecting serveware. Some like sleek, modern shapes. Others prefer traditional pieces, perhaps inherited. Some are platter people. Others get giddy over olive boats or cupcake stands.Whatever the style, serveware adds style to the tabletop. It keeps food moving at a family meal – pass to the right! – and people moving in the bu…

By this time of the fall, the question on the tip of everyone’s tongue is “Who are you voting for?” Whether you’re liberal or conservative, red or blue (or purple), election season raises some other issues just as lasting as the result of the election. Whenever any of us turn on the TV, it’s almost impossible not to see one candidate or the other being bashed or praised. T…

Food and Drink

In this country, the green bean is often relegated to wallowing in swampy mushroom-soup casseroles or swimming in vinegar as part of three-bean salads.Yet the green bean, one of several bean varieties prized for their immature seed pods, is arguably better the less it is cooked.Blanched in salted water and shocked in ice to retain its vibrant green color, green beans add f…

Even on the screen of a small mobile device, seeing and hearing poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko recite “Babi Yar” as Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 rises in the background brings chills, or maybe tears. Yevtushenko wrote “Babi Yar” before he was 30, but the 1961 poem, about a Nazi massacre targeting thousands of Ukrainian Jews and other “undesirables,” takes on new depth when it …

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Nobody expects to have to call 911 for a medical emergency, but every year, thousands of people do it, many for the first time.Callers are sometimes surprised by what it entails – from the amount of information the call-taker needs from them, to the number of tests and treatments paramedics and EMTs can perform on the scene.There are ways to be better prepared for the call…

When I hear the words, “What do you think of debt settlement?,” I cringe. I gird myself for a frustrating discussion with desperate debtors looking for a quick fix to a problem they’ve spent years creating.They want to get rid of their debts as easy as it takes to bake a potato in the microwave. They want the phone calls to stop. They want the letters to stop coming. They …

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Bank fees for checking accounts, overdrafts and ATMs continue to go up year after year, but there are still plenty of ways to avoid them.Average monthly fees for maintaining a checking account, the average charge for using an ATM and the average overdraft fee all rose in the first half of 2012, after a slight dip in the latter part of last year, according to MoneyRates.com…

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Brian Domon, 54, knows a lot about chain saws. He said his curiosity was piqued over years of cutting firewood. His interest in small-engine repair, meanwhile, came from his grandfather, who owned a shop in Forestville in Chautauqua County. It seemed only natural for Domon to start a similar enterprise.Woodcutters Headquarters was launched 30 years ago in a two-car garage …

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So much depends on the particular screen you're watching, according to David Thomson. He writes that, when he watched TV footage of the devastation in Japan after the March 2011 tsunami, “I saw an endless shot of empty automobiles carried in tidy, prim reverse on the flood, backing and turning corners in a multistory parking garage. I was horrified and helpless but I thou…

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Dana Saylor-Furman's career as a house genealogist began with dusty neighborhood records she found in the basement of the comfortable old house she moved into with arched brick windows and rounded soapstone mantels. Built after the Civil War, she figured there had to be a story in how 102 Prospect Avenue, with its garden and wide porch, got its share of the beauty and hist…

Q: My fiancé and I have been together for a few years, and our relationship is wonderful. We have our ups and downs, but I’m ready to have a family and spend the rest of my life with him. We’re both relatively young, in our mid-20s, and he was laid off from his good-paying corporate job four months ago. He has been looking for work without any luck. Our bills have been pil…

Lifestyles

In 1986, while awaiting the publication of my second book, “Finance and Empire, Sir Charles Addis, 1861-1945,” my friend, Erie County Legislator Joan Bozer, suggested that I prepare a study of export trade in Western New York. Although I was a historian interested in international business, I thought it was a strange suggestion. Who knew about exports in Western New York? …

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Some homeowners take ghoulish pleasure in decorating their yards with zombies, tombstones and fog machines for Halloween. Others take a gentler approach. Friendly ghosts staked in circles on the lawn. Happy monsters flying animated inflatable helicopters. Plastic pumpkins with clown wigs. It’s more Sesame Street than Nightmare on Elm Street – a peaceful place where the jac…