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Gardeners can't always do things by the book. Sometimes we're out of time, money or patience to do a job correctly - or we just don't have the tools. So we do what we can and hope for the best. The question is: Why do some gardeners get away with it? Their plants live, and their gardens look great, while others don't do well. The "green thumb" concept has existed for c…

My tape measure may be trusty, but I don't always like what it tells me. Namely, when things are either a couple of inches too short or a couple of inches too long.This happened recently when I dreamed up the idea of moving two 4-foot-wide bookcases upstairs to the guest room. They would be perfect up there, I figured. Why hadn't I thought of it before?Then I remembered. I…

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This summer marked the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. People around the world watched in awe as their favorite athletes participated in their favorite events, such as swimmer Michael Phelps and runner Alison Felix. However, people seemed rather thrown off guard when they heard that in a moment of triumph, eight women took home a gold medal for the United States in the wom…

The Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame will toast the former WADV-FM tonight for 50 years of broadcasting in Buffalo. Now WYRK-FM, the station with a mom-and-pop feel was the first stereo station in the city when it was launched by Dan and Nancy Lee Lesniak in 1962. "We didn't buy it. We built it," said Nancy Lee during a recent phone interview from her William…

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"Tell me what you eat," French culinary philosopher Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin famously said, "and I will tell you who you are." That's my mantra during the conversations I've been having with readers about where they should eat in Western New York.I'm not complaining. Before I became a professional restaurant critic, I was already that guy who sent strangers at parties…

Food and Drink

Since cooking over fire in your backyard started winning respect in the 1980s, the cookbook industry has released a forest of grilling tomes. Most repeat the same tips and techniques contained in the booklet that comes with a Weber charcoal kettle grill."Charred & Scruffed: Bold new techniques for flavor on and off the grill" challenges the orthodoxy of grilling technique …

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WASHINGTON - When New York Times columnist David Brooks appears at the podium Thursday as the first in this season's University at Buffalo Distinguished Speakers, series you might expect to hear a thoughtful conservative's searing analysis of the presidential campaign.Then again, you might hear a critique that would make any conventional conservative squirm.Or you might ge…

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While the holiday shopping season is months away, it's prime time for layaway shoppers to begin selecting gifts they'll pay for over a period of months. And national retailers are ringing in the season with special offers and expanded selection of eligible items to attract more customers to their interest-free installment payment programs.In recent years, layaway, the old-…

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Naomi Wolf, who launched a million interesting conversations 20 years ago with her thought-provoking best-seller "The Beauty Myth," has ventured boldly into delicate ground with "Vagina: A New Biography." In this exhaustively researched, if somewhat anecdotally written, readable and interesting book, Wolf paints a distressing picture of modern women, who suffer from not on…

Lifestyles

Chalk up another triumph for Title IX, further proof that female athletes have come a long way the past few decades. It's called "Solo," a tell-all memoir from star U.S. soccer goalie and recent Olympic hero Hope Solo.Solo isn't dissing male chauvinists (except perhaps for one coach) or top sports moguls for making life difficult for top-shelf female athletes. No, she's ta…

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Dennis Wisniewski, 52, studied architecture at Cornell University before becoming a framing czar. The owner of Avenue Art & Frame, he and his small staff handle a variety of art - from the truly bizarre to the wonderfully precious. Art intrigues this quiet man who donates his time and talent to a variety of causes in the Buffalo community. People who bring their treasures …

Q: I've been with my boyfriend for 2½ years. He's great in many ways - cute, funny, good to my kids, hardworking. Our chemistry is off the charts. However, one thing continues to bring me down. He feels the need to share SO much (everything ... even sexual escapades in a campground) about his past loves. If we go somewhere new to us, he wants to tell me all about his last…

Don Philip was nervous. Close to terrified, in fact.Ten years ago, he'd actually performed a duet with much-hyped new "X-Factor" judge Britney Spears. Now here he was on Simon Cowell's apres-"Idol" Fox show to see her again and to sing for her.Implicit in his nervousness was a very hard decade since they last met. No details were provided, but anyone with even minimal expe…

Evergreens are the shrubs and trees that stay green all winter. Some people call them "pine trees," but only a few of them are actually pines. Some call them "Christmas trees," but that can mean many kinds of evergreens. And some call them "green bushes for around the foundation." So let's start with the real terminology: Woody plants (trees and shrubs) are either "deciduo…

Don't pack away your walking shoes and idea notebooks yet. After a summer season filled with garden tours throughout the region, we find that other tours and events for home and garden lovers are in the works.For starters, the popular Secrets of Allentown tour will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. This is your chance to peek inside five private homes and three b…