Category Archives: technology

David Pogue Spaces Out

The “06880” tagline is “Where Westport Meets the World.”

Today, Westport went beyond. We met outer space.

Let David Pogue — our Westport neighbor/tech guru (New York Times, Yahoo, Missing Manual books)/Scientific American writer, PBS “NOVA” science and tech correspondent, and (most importantly for this story) “CBS Sunday Morning” reporter — tell the tale.

David Pogue , reporting.

Reporting for “CBS Sunday Morning” is the best gig in TV journalism, hands down. The stories are long enough (6 to 9 minutes) to really develop them. There’s enough budget to travel, and shoot multiple interviews for each story. And you can pitch your own segment ideas.

In my 19 years as a “Sunday” correspondent, I’ve been to some exciting places and met some fantastic people. But nothing was as thrilling as making the story that aired this morning.

The idea was to report on an important milestone for the International Space Station: 20 years of continuous occupation by astronauts and scientists. Would NASA help us tell the story?

Yes, they would. They offered to make a 35-minute guided video tour of the station, conducted by Colonel Mike Hopkins and Commander Victor “Ike” Glover. And they offered me an interview with Mike and Ike, in space. A video interview. From my living room in Westport.

When I was 6 years old, my parents shook me awake one night so I could run to the TV to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing. Shortly thereafter, President Nixon, in the White House, made a phone call to Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. That technological, improbable feat left a powerful impression on my 6-year-old self. He made a phone call to the moon?!

And here I was, about to do the same thing — but over Skype! (Yes, NASA uses Skype. Not Zoom. I’m sure they have their reasons.)

There was a lot of prep. The audio would be 2-way, but not the video. I’d be able to see Mike and Ike on the station, but they would not see me. A couple of days in advance, my producer Alan Golds and I joined NASA for a practice call.

I was determined to make the most of my 20 minutes. I didn’t want to ask questions the astronauts had heard a thousand times. I didn’t want to waste time with queries whose answers anyone could find with a quick Google search. I asked my Twitter followers for suggestions (they came up with great ones). Not so much “Is it fun to float in zero gravity?”; more like “Is there any reason to wear shoes?” and “What do you miss most from Earth?”

I didn’t sleep much the night before the shoot. I really, really wanted to nail this interview. OK, sue me—I’m a space nerd.

Just another day in Westport: calling the International Space Station.

On the day of the shoot, CBS sent a camera crew to the house, to film my end of the conversation from 3 different angles. On the Space Station, they’d have only one fixed camera.

NASA requested that we place the Skype call a full hour before the conversation was to begin—and to place a cellphone call simultaneously, on speaker, as a backup. The interview would be limited to 20 minutes — not because that was all the time Mike and Ike could spare, but because the Space Station orbits the earth once every 90 minutes. Beyond 20 minutes, they’d be out of range of the satellite that beamed their signal back to earth.

NASA had also sent me a script as a Word document, indicating how to begin the call. Every audio or video call to Station begins with this exchange. (Yes, NASA refers to it as “Station,” not “the Station.”) Following the script ensures maximum efficiency and clarity:

Capcom: Station, this is Houston. Are you ready for the event?

Astronauts: Houston, this is Station. We are ready.

Capcom: “CBS Sunday Morning,” this is Mission Control Houston. Please call Station for a voice check.

Pogue: Station, this is David Pogue with CBS “Sunday Morning.” How do you hear me?

Station: (reports voice quality. If acceptable…) We are ready to speak with you.

Finally, at 1:25 ET, Capcom said the magic words — “Please call Station for a voice check” — and that was it. Mike and Ike appeared on my computer screen, and they began the interview.

FROM SPACE!

The delay was about one second; it reminded me of making phone calls to Europe back in the day. But jokes still worked, and the conversation flowed nicely. In what seemed like a couple of minutes, it was time to wind it up.

I had just placed what must be the world’s first Westport-to-space video call. I still feel high as a kite.

(Watch the resulting six-minute “CBS Sunday Morning” story and full 20-minute interview below.)

Library Partners With Major Recording Artist

The Westport Library’s Transformation Project turned a great building into an amazing one.

The Forum, new stage, upgraded MakerSpace and welcoming café drew most of the attention.

But the Verso recording studios — with state-of-the-art recording equipment and spectacular post-production technology — is one of the revamped library’s most impressive features.

Part of the Westport Library’s Verso Studios.

And it’s about to get more impressive.

A major — and I do mean “major” — recording artist has just signed a contract to use the studio for an upcoming album.

“It doesn’t get bigger or more exciting than this,” says Library executive director Bill Harmer. “Trust me. This is huge.”

I am not allowed to use his name in the body of this story (apparently, to avoid it being picked up by search engines). But here are a couple of clues:

  • He lives in Weston.
  • In the 1960s, he could not “get no satisfaction.”
  • Yet he did have some “sympathy for the devil.”
  • And though “wild horses” couldn’t drag me away to write his name here, I am allowed to link to it. Click here to see.

Roundup: Leaf Blowers, Paper Source, Cable Monopoly …

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Leaf blowers — those must-have yet most-hated suburban scourges — are the subject of a proposed Representative Town Meeting regulation.

The RTM Ordinance Committee meets March 25 (7:30 p.m., conference call). They’ll discuss these rules:

  • Summer (May 16-October 14): Gas-powered leaf blowers not permitted; electric/battery-powered leaf blowers allowed.
  • Fall cleanups (October 15-November 30): Gas- and electric/battery-powered blowers allowed.
  • Winter (December 1-March 31): Gas-powered blowers not permitted; electric/battery-powered blowers allowed.
  • Spring cleanups (April 1-May 15): Gas- and electric/battery-powered blowers allowed.

In addition:

  • No leaf blower of any kind may be used before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m.
  • No more than 1 leaf blower (regardless of power source) may be used simultaneously on any site less than 2 acres in size.
  • No gas-powered leaf blower may be used on any state or federal holiday.
  • Exceptions: If the 1st Selectman declares an emergency, then gas-powered leaf blowers and/or electric/battery-powered leaf blowers may be used as necessary.

Fines (property owner is responsible):

  • $100 for 1st offense (after a warning)
  • $200 for 2nd offense
  • $500 250 for third or subsequent offense.

The public can call in to the meeting: 646-876 9923. The meeting ID is 850 4769 6393. The passcode is 788806.

 

 

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Paper Source — the Chicago-based stationery store chain — closed 11 stores in the past year.

The downtown Westport shop — between Bank of America and Barnes & Noble — remains open.

It is corporate owned. A recent story on the Well-Appointed Desk blog notes that headquarters “bought a bunch of product from small makers, declared bankruptcy so they would not have to pay the bills, then sell it in the stores for 100% profit.”

It’s great to shop local. But caveat emptor: Supporting this Westport business may mean complicating situations with its corporate owner. (Click here for the full story.)

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The weather’s nice. Time to get the kids moving!

The Joggers Club has opened a group for youngsters. Led by experienced runners, the focus is on form, endurance and fun.

It “runs” Sundays, 2 to 3:15 p.m., April 4 to May 2 at the Staples High School track.

Space is limited to 20 children, grades 3 to 8. The cost is $50 per child.

The Venmo account is “TheJoggersClub-Westport.” Questions? Email thejoggersclub@gmail.com.

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This evening Wednesday, March 10, 6:45 p.m.), Congressman Jim Himes hosts a “telephone town hall.” He’ll discuss the American Rescue Plan. Audience members can ask questions during the call. Click here for the link.

Congressman Jim Himes, at Bedford Middle School.

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Looking for another COVID test center?

There’s an under-the-radar spot right under our noses. Yale New Haven Health operates a drive-through operation at 140 Mill Plain Road in Fairfield, just off I-95 Exit 21.

Hours are by appointment only. Click here for more information, or call 833-275-9644. (Hat tip: Carol Waxman)

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Westport’s MaryGrace Gudis is one of 4 new members of Norwalk Hospital’s board of directors.

Director of the Norwalk Hospital Foundation Board since 2011, she has spent more than 1,000 hours researching and compiling the hospital’s history.

Active at Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, MaryGrace is also involved in initiatives providing college educational assistance to disadvantaged students.

The Southern Methodist University graduate has held senior communications positions in the financial industry, including director of public information and senior liaison to the board of directors at the Federal Reserve Bank. Her husband Mark is on the board of directors for Nuvance Health, Norwalk Hospital’s parent company.

MaryGrace Gudis

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Last month, “06880” reported that the Tristate Coalition for Fair Internet Service is working on legal challenges to Optimum/Altice through the New York State Attorney General’s office, and promoting alternate providers. They’re also collecting data on customer experiences with the longtime cable service.

That survey data was lost when Google disabled the account without the group’s knowledge. They’re appealing. Meanwhile, they created a new survey.

They ask people to complete the Optimum/Altice survey, even if it was already done before. Click here for the link.

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The Webb Road goose is ready for every holiday. Next up: St. Patrick’s Day!

(Photo/MaryLou Roels)

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And finally … exactly one year ago today, COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

You know: WHO.

Collective’s Virtual (And Very Cool) Art Gallery Opens

When the pandemic struck, Westport’s many artists kept creating. Stuck in their studios, they produced some astonishing work.

The downside: Stuck in their studios, they had little opportunity to showcase it. Galleries shut down. Auctions ended. Art shows stopped.

Sure, they could post images on their websites. But art is 3-dimensional. Technology is only 2.

Fortunately, our artists think in many dimensions. Longtime Westporter and Staples High School graduate Trace Burroughs developed an interactive 3D gallery space, to show his work. It won an innovation award from the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County.

Since the Artists’ Collective of Westport — a lively, hard-working and fun group of 150+ — could not have live exhibits, Trace’s brother Miggs Burroughs suggested they hire him to create their own 3D gallery.

Working — virtually, of course — with a programmer in the Netherlands, they made it happen.

The Burroughses and Susan Fehlinger created a members’ Call for Entries. Nearly 90 responded.

Of course, digital files are not canvases or prints. There were new details to work out — font and image sizes, gallery lighting and shadows, decor and more, and to simplify things all images are square — but Collective members figured it all out.

Enter the 3D gallery …

The artists are thrilled. And the public — anyone, anywhere, around the world — who wants to appreciate (and buy!) Westporters’ art can now do so, 24/7/365.

No masks or social distancing required!

Click here to enter. For the best immersive experience, use a desktop computer. 3D graphics are robust, so it may take a few seconds to load.

… and then click to view individual works. This is by Jay Petrow.

 

Ian O’Malley: Hear, Hear!

Ian O’Malley is a noted Westporter. A 30-year New York radio personality (currently on Q-104.3) and a realtor with Compass Group, he’s on the board of directors of Homes with Hope. Many “06880” readers remember him for raffling off a bottle of single malt for Experience Camps.

Ian speaks frankly about his hearing loss. Yesterday was World Hearing Day. To celebrate, he sends along these thoughts:

If I can positively affect even one person by writing this, it will be worth it.

An old adage about music is: “If it’s too loud, you’re too old!” That’s a bunch of nonsense.

Ian O’Malley

During my long tenure in radio and TV, I’ve been exposed to “loud” a lot. It’s primarily from the constant use of headphones, whether for radio shows, voiceovers, or privately listening of music.

Yet without question the real culprit for me is concerts. I’ve never counted how many I’ve attended, but it has to be north of 1,000.

Much of the music I love doesn’t have excessive volume, such as big band/swing, classical or even blues. But my love of rock, and even more so heavy metal, definitely does.

Until I met Debbie, I had never worn ear plugs to a concert. I now realize that was pure insanity, with a price to pay: significant hearing loss.

Lack of proper hearing is something I’ve dealt with forever. My go-to relief was simply to turn things up. When I couldn’t do that, I suffered through whatever situation I was in.

I got adept at reading lips, leaning in during conversations to try and hear what was being said, and/or frequently asking someone to repeat themselves.

This could be especially nerve-wracking when meeting with potential real estate clients. Retaining information during an interview is our number one priority.

Yet especially in a restaurant or setting with plenty of background noise, I might as well have been trying to listen Charlie Brown’s teacher. It got to where I just made a point of laughing when the person speaking across from me did. They could have been saying “Ian, you are such an idiot.” I would have replied “Yup!’ and laughed along, completely clueless and not hearing a word.

My wife Deb finally got me to bite the bullet and get my hearing tested. She had repeatedly urged me to. Half was genuine concern for my well being. The other half was for her sanity.

Even though husbands are genetically predisposed to tuning out their better half on occasion, clearly I was not hearing her much of the time.

I finally got tested at the Audiology & Hearing Center in Fairfield. Though not as bad as Brian Johnson of AC/DC — whose doctors told him he could never be near concert amplification again unless he wanted to go completely deaf — my own hearing was very damaged.

Brian Johnson of ACDC, rocking on (and loudly).

Was I a candidate for hearing aids? I asked.

Yes.

Like the vast majority of folks, I always associated hearing aids with the elderly. I’m no spring chicken at 56 years old, and knew I would have to pony up for all those Van Halen concerts eventually.

Still, I was guessing more along the lines of 75 when I would have to come to terms with things.

Linda, a lovely and smart audiologist, suggested I try on a demo pair, use them for a week and get back to her with my thoughts. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I said sure. She put the hearing aids on me (which are all but invisible) and pressed the “on” button.

There was a wonderful video on social media a few years back. It shows a deaf baby getting fitted with hearing aids for the first time, and the reaction when they are turned on. The kid’s eyes go as wide as pie plates, and he  smiles. The same happened to me.

(Another analogy: It’s like the first time watching your favorite TV show or sport on HDTV.)

Back home, I walked into the kitchen where Deb was standing. She talked to me without knowing I had the hearing aids in (unless you’re inches from my head you can’t see them). I immediately got weepy. I’d honestly never heard her voice properly before.

She could tell they were tears of joy and relief. Realizing my hearing was now assisted, she said, “You idiot, I told you to get these years ago!”

Deb and Ian O’Malley, with their sons. (Photo/Xenia Gross)

For the next 10 minutes I stood on our porch, listening to the true sound of wind rustling through the leaves and birds chirping. It was like living in a whole new world. Not an hour goes by still without a “Wow!” moment.

My ego, pride and fear got in the way of something that clearly needed to be addressed. I’m so glad I did.

I probably could have said nothing about wearing hearing aids, and no one would have noticed. But I know that someone reading this is either like me, or knows someone suffering like I was for so long.

You don’t have to suffer. If your sight was headed south you’d go get glasses, right?

Maybe the term “hearing aids” has a stigma. Kind of like suggesting that if it’s too loud, you’re too old….

Meanwhile, if anyone has any questions, please reach out to me (ian.omalley@compass.com; 646-709-4332).

I’ll hear you loud and clear!

Roundup: Albert Pizzirusso, Sidewalks, Optimum,

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Albert Pizzirusso, a longtime Westport resident and owner of A&S Fine Foods in Westport and Stamford, died Sunday. He was 46

The Yonkers, New York native graduated from The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park. He became chef at legendary restaurants, including the Rainbow Room, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and others. 

At the Rainbow Room he impressed Julia Child with his dedication. He was the only person in the kitchen who did not stop working when she entered. She noted that that commitment and focus proved he had what takes to go into business for himself. She was right.

Albert combined his love of Italian culture, great food and old school “let me make you an espresso” traditional service in his businesses, with quality of service and offerings from a bygone era.

He added value to his community through great generosity to local charities and organizations.

He is survived by his wife Patricia, with whom he ran A&S Fine Foods for 2 decades; parents Agnes and Angelo; brothers Mario (his twin), and Michael; sister-in-law Laura; nephews Matthew and Eric, and his beloved Yorkie, Eddie.

Due to current restrictions, services will limited to family and close friends. A lover of celebrating just about anything, a Celebration of Life will be held in his honor in Westport this summer.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Connecticut Humane Society in Westport.

Albert Pizzirusso

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On Sunday, Carole Schweid noted that the Treadwell/Riverside/Saugatuck Avenue intersection in front of Riverside Barber Shop had not been shoveled.

That spurred Robbie Guimond — owner of Bridgebrook Marina, across the street — into action. He was happy to help.

Ta-da! Here’s what the sidewalk looked like yesterday. Thanks, Robbie!

(Photo/Carole Schweid)

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For years, Optimum/Altice has had a monopoly on cablevision services throughout the area.

A new group — the Tristate Coalition for Fair Internet Service — is working on legal challenges through the New York State Attorney General’s office, and promoting alternate providers. They’re also collecting data on customer experiences with the longtime cable service.

Click here for details.

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Connect-Us Academy is a great Bridgeport-based after-school program that helps young people ages 16 to 21 cultivate professional business skills.

This Thursday (February 18, 4:30 p.m.), they welcome a new class. Students will share their experiences, and their excitement at what’s aheda.

Westporter Rich Eldh — co-founder emeritus of SiriusDecisions will deliver a keynote address. Click here to watch via Zoom.

Richard Eldh

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Valentine’s Day is gone. But love remains in the air.

And in cyberspace.

Play With Your Food’s performance of “Love Notes” — an evening of thought-provoking play readings and stories — is available online for a limited time.

Click here for the selections: “I Was Fine Until You Came Into the Room,” “My Life in France,” “Bar Mitzvah Boy,” “Love Poems for Married People” and “The Diaries of Adam and Eve,” followed by a talkback with the director and cast.

For more Play With Your Food information click here; follow on Facebook (@PWYFood) or Instagram (@playwithyourfoodct), or call 203-293-8729.

The Play With Your Food cast.

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As we slog through mid-February, Lou Weinberg provides a burst of color — and a reminder that spring is only 32 days away:

Female cardinal (Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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And finally … on this day in 1923, Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

David Pogue’s Primer For The Planet

For years, every climate change story has mentioned “the greenhouse effect”: how radiation from the atmosphere super-heats the earth’s surface.

But how many Americans have actually been in a greenhouse to understand the analogy?

How about this: “the dog-in-the-car effect.” Everyone knows exactly what happens when you leave Fluffy inside, even for a minute.

David Pogue has many talents. One is the ability to explain abstract concepts like climate change in ways everyone on, well, the planet can understand.

Many Westporters know Pogue as our neighbor — the clever, talented host of Westport Library variety shows.

David Pogue, in a Westport Library promotion. (Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

The rest of the country knows him as a tech guru (New York Times, Yahoo, “Missing Manual” books); “CBS Sunday Morning” science and tech correspondent and PBS “NOVA” star. I’m missing a lot, but you get the idea.

Pogue writes books the way you or I write emails. He’s lost count of the number — 50 or so (130, including updates). They range from self-help to life hacks; he’s even written novels (because, David Pogue).

But his most recent work is different. “How to Prepare for Climate Change; A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos” is special.

It’s one thing for Pogue to explain how to get more out of our iPhone cameras.

It’s a bit more important to tell us how we can all live to see the rollout of iPhone 20.

Simon & Schuster explains “How to Prepare” this way:

You might not realize it, but we’re already living through the beginnings of climate chaos. In Arizona, laborers now start their day at 3 a.m. because it’s too hot to work past noon. Chinese investors are snapping up real estate in Canada. Millennials have evacuation plans. Moguls are building bunkers. Retirees in Miami are moving inland.

Pogue walks readers through what to grow, what to eat, how to build, how to insure, where to invest, how to prepare your children and pets, and even where to consider relocating when the time comes.

He also provides wise tips for managing your anxiety, as well as action plans for riding out every climate catastrophe, from superstorms and wildfires to ticks and epidemics.

Yes, ticks. Shorter, warmer winters do not kill them off. The result: more Lyme disease than ever. Pogue does not miss anything.

“How to Prepare for Climate Change” does two things simultaneously. Pogue wags his finger sharply — warning, for example, that oceans will take decades to cool down, even if we enact changes today —  while also throwing a life buoy as we drown.

(FUN FACT: Seven of the 10 most flooded states are not on a coast. Damage comes from rain, swollen rivers, and broken dams.)

Sure, governments can build seawalls. But what can we as individuals do? His advice — on reinforcing our homes, choosing where we live, suggesting how to talk to our kids — makes sense, in an often-senseless world.

Why should we listen to Pogue, who is many things but not an expert on climate science, agriculture, investments, or any other topic he discusses?

He’s simply distilling the advice of 55 experts into plain, understandable English. That’s one of his gifts: helping us make the leap from a dog in a hot car, to all living things on a hot planet.

We’re all in danger. But — this being “06880,” and Pogue being a Westporter — I asked: “What about here?”

“We’re in the line of fire for hurricanes and sea level rise,” he says. “By 2050, we’ll have lost a lot of coastline.” (NOTE: That sounds far away. But it’s nearer to us now than 1990.)

We’ve already seen the effects of extreme weather events, like Superstorm Sandy and Tropical Storm Isaias. (They were not even hurricanes!) His section on flood insurance is, well, priceless.

Will the right people read this? A Yale study showed that 37% of Americans believe that climate change is not caused by humans, but rather part of a natural cycle.

Of course, Pogue says, “It doesn’t matter what you think. You still need to get ready for hurricanes, floods and wildfires. And ticks.”

Which means every American needs to read “How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos.”

(PS: When I said that Pogue books as easily as the rest of us write emails, I was not kidding. His climate change book was only one of 3 published on the same day last week. The other 2 — “Mac Unlocked” and “iPhone Unlocked” — are guides to the Big Sur and iOS 14 operating systems, respectively. Even for David Pogue, that’s impressive.)

David Pogue puts complex concepts into plain language. As a “NOVA” host, he stood behind a periodic table “table.”

Roundup: Sound App, Y’s Men, More

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There’s an app for everything. Including remote audience and applause sounds.

Westporters Mark and Faith Sargent have developed iCrowd. It allows anyone — by themselves, or with just a couple of people — to make the same crowd sounds as if they were attending an event in, well, a crowd.

You can applaud with different levels of enthusiasm, boo, groan or make other crowd sounds.

The sounds selected by all of the users are transmitted to the cloud, then combined using the Sargents’ proprietary algorithm to form an aggregate crowd noise, which is transmitted back to each user.

Each user hears a combination of the sound they selected, and the combined crowd sound.

The crowd sound can be played over speakers where the event is taking place, so athletes, performers or others can hear the sound of the remote audience.

There’s also a chat for each event. So members of the remote audience can comment on the sound — or anything else — in real time.

The possibilities are endless. It’s great for sports events, plays and music performances (even those done virtually, like Facebook Live), or a TV show watch party. Politicians can use it for speeches too. Family members celebrating an online birthday can add applause and cheers when the cake is cut. Office workers can react to the boss’ presentation.

And if COVID knocks out our annual “06880” party again this summer, we can use iCrowd to make some noise.

To learn more, click here.

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The Y’s men continue to hike — COVID, age, and gray skies be damned.

On Friday, a group of septuagenarians covered 14,500 steps and over 6 miles, despite the weather.

They were socially distant, of course. But close enough to talk about the coronavirus vaccine, and how to get it.

Interesting in joining the hiking group? Email mhehen@gmail.com.

From left: Brian Fradet, Peter Eyes, Mike Johnston, Sal Mollica, Chris Lewis. (Photo/Michael Hehenberger)

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And finally … Howard Johnson died last week in Harlem, following a long illness. He was 79.

A tuba player (among other instruments) and arranger, his work transcended jazz, rock and pop.

He played with Charles Mingus and McCoy Tyner; contributed arrangements and horn parts for John Lennon and Taj Mahal, but was best known as an original member of the “Saturday Night Live” band.

And you’ve gotta Howard Johnson’s joyful work with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream.”

FUN FACT: It was written in 1927 by Howard Johnson — but a different Howard Johnson. And neither of those 2 are related to the Howard Johnson who later created the restaurant franchise that boasted 28 flavors of — yes — ice cream.

Roundup: Churches, Safety App, GFA Athletes, More


For many years, Saugatuck Church collected baby gifts during their 5 p.m. Christmas Eve pageant. They were donated to women and children, through the Domestic Violence Crisis Center in Norwalk.

Tonight, that worship is online. However, the church continues its tradition of gathering gifts to benefit women and children in crisis. And you don’t have to be a parishioner to help!

Just stop at the white church downtown (245 Post Road East) between 4 and 5 p.m. today. Pop your trunk; a volunteer will retrieve your gift.

This has been a very tough year, for women, children and the DVCC itself. Items needed include supplies and pajamas for babies, as well as crafts for older children.


Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup noted that Tony Award-winner Kelli O’Hara is starring in a PBS holiday special.

She also did a much more local performance, at (and for) Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. (Her daughter Charlotte is a junior chorister there.)

You can enjoy Kelli — and many others — starting at 6 p.m. tonight. Just click on the CHT YouTube channel or Facebook page.

Kelli O’Hara at Christ & Holy Trinity Church.


M13 has led a $1.8M seed round in Prepared, a company building technology to keep school campuses safer. It was co-founded at Yale University by Staples graduates Dylan Gleicher and Neil Soni.

Prepared’s 1-touch mobile alert system enables administrators to instantaneously alert both the entire campus and 911 dispatchers to an emergency. Click here for a full story.

Neil Soni and Dylan Gleicher


Three Greens Farms Academy student-athletes from Westport have committed to colleges, to continue their academic and sports careers.

Connor McDonald will play tennis at Boston College; Piper Melnick plans to row at the University of California-Berkeley, and Mark Roszkowski heads off to Tufts University’s baseball team.

Congratulations to all 3 Dragons!

From left: Connor McDonald, Piper Melnick and Mark Roszkowski.


And finally … as always, The Band is there:

And Now We Pause For Techno Claus

Each year at this time we all gather ’round
“CBS Sunday Morning” — Techno Claus does expound
On gifts that delight, excite, awe and thrill
They are light-years away from mere run-of-the-mill.

For all these are tech-y, hip, neat and way cool
The kind of a present that makes us all drool
Like a special Zoom lamp and self-heating mouse
And a tiny Alexa for all parts of the house.

So why, you must ask, is Dan shilling this show
On his all-about-Westport “06880”?
Well, the great Techno Claus has gone North Pole rogue
In fact he looks just like our own David Pogue.

So wherever today’s special TV show reaches
From mountains to mesas, and cities to beaches
The whole USA sees ol’ Claus jogging down
The street that he lives on in our little town!