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Automatic knows everything about your car, and where you went

I'm testing a gadget that's right in line with all of the talk about using the big stream of data that is generated during our lives to give us valuable information. This little white plastic gizmo, about 2 1/2" long, plugs into your car's computer slot, down below your left leg, lower dashboard.  It's called Automatic, it calculates your car's engine speed, temperature and location, and what time you parked your car where. Despite the notion that this just slipped the towel off your last 0

A great day to fly over the Valley

Bruce's plane in his hangar, doing the pre-check before take-off. We taxied down the runway behind a Piper Brave, and after it took off we were ready to do the same. My friend Bruce, who I play music with, promised to take me up for a spin in his plane, so today, with perfect blue skies and light winds, we made it happen. I met him at his hangar where he keeps his 300 horsepower experimental tw0-seater sport plane at Northampton airport. The plane gleamed 0

Dr Gale Potee: a rich and full life, well lived

Dr Gale Potee Obituaries hold a special interest to me. I read them every day in the Recorder, and I'm always fascinated by how people are remembered and what gets included. These days, any long obituary that's not written about a famous person or someone in public life is paid for. So then I think about how much the very long ones must have cost--I wanted to publish an obit for my friend Joe Obeng when he passed away in 2012, but the cost was 0

Summer’s top trips

Summer’s top trips Block Island beach day. It's the wind down season and every year I think about how fleeting the summer has been. I was with my granddaughter Sofie last week, enjoying dinner on their deck, and I asked her what her favorite part of the summer was. Was it the visit to the Maine beach? Was it the horseback riding camp? Or was it the family reunion at Eagles Mere with all of your cousins? She was stumped. Never did give me an 0

Building the new rail crossing on Elm St., South Deerfield

I was told that instead of laying down a bed of gravel when they're building railroad tracks, they put the track down first. Then they dump this load of stones over top and lift up the track, so the gravel settles where it's needed in a uniform grade. 0

Caro Heller: a caring, loving and beloved Aunt, mother and grandmother, will be sorely missed

Caro Watkins Heller passed away last night. She was my god mother and she was a big part of my childhood growing up in Blawenburg, New Jersey. Caro and then-husband John Heller used to come down and visit us in the New Jersey countryside, and we would go and visit them often in Brooklyn Heights. Their kids were the city mice and we were the country mice, we used to joke.   There are many memories of Caro that I carry with me. She was someone 0

The big wedding weekend of 2014

Today I had to put down the duties of publishing for far more important work, with a much stricter task master. We are getting ready for a wedding. A big one. The daughter! And thus was there a list created and on that list were many things that would not wait just one more minute to be done.   Guests in my house get credit for being the reasons we clean, clean and clean like we should all of the time, when we know visitors are 0

Bill Bernhardt doesn't reveal he's a guide when he hires one

Bill Bernardt, a local fishing guide in Pittsburg New Hampshire. Our tour of New England's tippy top continued as we said goodbye to Pittsburg and made our way down blue highways out of the Granite state and up into Vermont's lakeside town, Newport, on Mephramagog. Before we left we Bill Bernhardt, a fishing guide with Lopstick Outfitters, who makes his living taking visitors out fishing in his favorite trout streams and on the First Connecticut and other nearby lakes. Movie star handsome with bronzed arms 0

In Coos County, a moose crossed our path

Dixville Notch, Coos county New Hampshire. When we met our host, Karl, here in New Hampshire's North Country, he told us about the many moose that live in these parts. But he didn't guarantee we'd see one, even though the sign on the highway warned that "hundreds of accidents" have resulted in people meeting moose with the fronts of their cars. As we drove down Route 3 searching for our elusive lodgings, WOW! we spotted two moose crossing the road, the big bull with gleaming 0

Other Desert Cities: a family's secrets come out at Christmas

Mom, Dad and Brooke Wyeth. New Century Theatre's latest production, Other Desert Cities, hits hard. It's like the worst of awkward family Christmas reunions, and from the very beginning it's clear that Mom's claws are still sharp and they can scratch you at any moment. Brooke Wyeth (Cate Damon) is out in Palm Springs, visiting her parents. It's clear that things are going to be tense, as we watch her and her brother, Trip, (Sam Gillam), a reality TV show producer, gird their loins as 0