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OLAF FUB SEZ: According to American author and screenwriter Ben Hecht (1893-1964), "There's one thing that keeps surprising you about stormy old friends after they die -- their silence." . . .

ON THIS DAY -- In 1558, Elizabeth I ascended the English throne upon the death of Queen Mary. . . . In 1800, Congress held its first session in Washington in the partially completed Capitol building. . . . In 1869, the Suez Canal opened in Egypt. . . . In 1973, President Richard M. Nixon told the Associated Press managing editors meeting in Orlando, Fla.: "People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook." . . .

Joy Within Us
It doesn't matter what you have

Or how much you've acquired

For gathering possessions

Leaves much to be desired

What matters more as life goes on

Are the things that you can't see

The feelings and emotions

That set your spirit free

-- Edie Suarez
NOW WE KNOW what to expect this coming winter, thanks to Erno Rossi of Port Colborne, Ont., celebrated author of "White Death -- The Blizzard of '77."

Rossi has checked with woolly caterpillars, wild beaver, wild black bear and the National Weather Service, and they all point to a mild winter. On the other hand, the positions of wild wasps' nests and the feet of snowshoe rabbits would indicate "lots of snow," says Rossi.

Conclusion: Rossi says there will be "lots of lake-effect snow during cold spells because of the open water of the lakes. But the snow will not last long because of the generally mild winter." Rossi, who will be signing copies of his still-in-demand "Blizzard of '77" books from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Waldenbooks in McKinley Mall, cautions that the so-called "summer" of 2004 was much like the summer that preceded the blizzard that devastated the area 27 years ago. He also will sign books at Waldenbooks in Walden Galleria from 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 26 and the Waldenbooks in Amherst's Boulevard Mall from noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 27.

Rossi, a retired history teacher, confided that the wild beavers usually are busy storing cedar bark this time of year if they expect a harsh winter. Not this year. Instead of showing worry, they are playing and just goofing off. That translates to "mild winter."

Wild wasps build their nests high up if they expect a lot of snow, and their nests are high. Snowshoe rabbits have more hair on their feet than usual. That also means lots of snow.

So, what we have learned from Rossi? Mild winter -- lots of snow. . . .

HAPPY BIRTHDAY -- Don Caruana, Jeanne Opalka, Keith Safe, Sheila Recktenwalt, Kathy Tibbits, Kathy Kronbeck, Samuel Cellino, Robert Forster, Don Tarapacki, Leona Drumsta, Michael Karpie, Steven Mueller, Jeff Mueller, Scott Wittmeyer, Taesha Stoudmire, Jerry Brandl, Cliff Platt, Roberta Yohn, Sheila Arquette, Michelle McCartan, Jennifer Gallagher, Beverly Nixon.

AND THURSDAY -- John Fritz Otto, Gladys Daughtry, Kathleen Darcy, Tim Panek, Karl Oesterle, Timothy P. Cellino, Diane McDougall, Carol Stacharczyk, Glenn Schenck, John Koelmel, Erica C. Scoma, Monsignor Francis Juchnowski, Andy Homrich, Dennis Printup Jr., Barry Printup, Lincoln Smith, Norine Burge, Donna Damstetter.


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