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Commentary: The weather outside is frightful

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The weather outside is either frightful or delightful, depending on, perhaps, the implied comparison with other weather you have known.

And while unlike columnist Gene Weingarten (who has made it to my short list of writers to have coffee with sometime), I am unlikely to pick up the phone and chat with experts about a hunch in that regard, I am apt to check on the internet to see if said hunch has any merit.

So I wasn’t surprised to find that my ancestors came from latitudes that were closer to the North Pole than Buffalo is.

Vilnius, which one of my great-grandfathers and his family left to come here, is a bit more than 54 degrees north latitude. Kiev, where my ancestors on the other side of my family lived, is a bit more than 50 degrees north latitude.

Buffalo, on the other hand, is only slightly less than 43 degrees north latitude. They must have thought it was paradise.

The devil is in the details? Nah. The devil is there when there aren’t details enough.

For more about the importance of details, try this:

The clear only if known fallacy

Linda Chalmer Zemel also writes the Buffalo Books column. She teaches in the Communication Department at SUNY Buffalo State College. Look for her new book, Cousins, on or Barnes and

Contact Linda at



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