Life & Times

Hairy woodpecker scaling bark

Signs of Winter

Monday, December 22, 2014

Signs of avian feeding are plentiful if you take the time to look for them, and many of these signs are created by species of …

‘Oh, the Wonder’: In Meriden Church, a Christmas Tree Reaches to the Heavens

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Meriden — About five years ago, as an appreciative new member of the Meriden Congregational Church, Shawn Rogers wanted to pitch in somehow. It wasn’t …

Nature Has a Tornado Detector

Monday, December 22, 2014

Los Angeles — Ornithologist Henry Streby was happy enough that a song bird weighing less than two nickels managed to carry a tiny electronic sensor …

Holiday Sleepover Solutions

Sunday, December 21, 2014

One of the nicest things about the holidays can be the chance to see friends and family from far away. In some cases, that means finding sleepover space in your home. Even those short on space can make guests feel welcome and comfortable, says New York interior designer …

Lyme’s History on Display

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Volunteers Laurie Wadsworth, left, and Jane Fant look through the Civil War archives in the Lyme Historians museum at the Lyme Center Academy building on Tuesday. The museum is open on Tuesdays, from 9-12. Valley News — Jennifer …

Children’s Author and ‘Clifford’ Creator Dead at 86

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Norman Bridwell, a soft-spoken illustrator whose impromptu story about a girl and her puppy marked the unlikely birth of the supersized franchise Clifford the Big Red Dog, has died at 86. Bridwell, who lived for decades in a …

This ‘Annie’ Isn’t Timeless

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Quvenzhané Wallis is an Annie for the modern age. She has the street smarts to navigate New York, sprinting across subway platforms and pedaling a Citi Bike, and the business savvy to find creative solutions to her financial predicaments. The title character in Will Gluck’s funny, but uneven …

Movie Review: ‘Secret of the Tomb?’ It’s Full of Dead Jokes

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The aptly-subtitled Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is a blast of dead air and mummified humor. Suitable only for children too young to remember the first two movies or too undiscerning to care about the level of wit represented by a urinating monkey, this tepid …

Movie Review: Lots of Battles, not Much Hobbit

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Hobbit is everywhere. In the run-up to the release of The Battle of the Five Armies, the final, Armageddon-like installment of Peter Jackson’s three-part film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s comparatively lean fantasy novel, Bilbo Baggins and Co. …

Movie Review: ‘Wild’ Heroine Is Hard to Approach

Saturday, December 20, 2014

In Wild, the stirring adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir, Reese Witherspoon delivers an admirably restrained, un-glamorous performance as the author, who at age 26 hiked 1,110 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from California to Oregon in a ritual of physical endurance, philosophical reflection and spiritual cleansing. …

Stephen Colbert Retires His ‘Report’ and the Host He Played

Saturday, December 20, 2014

New York — Stephen Colbert is dead. Stephen Colbert is immortal? Long live Stephen Colbert! Nine years of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report came to an end Thursday night along with its mythical presiding pundit, as the real-life Stephen Colbert bade the audience farewell. He was last seen …

Truth Was an Uncertain Territory in Memoir Long Before Lena Dunham

Friday, December 19, 2014

Best-selling author and Girls creator Lena Dunham is, by her own admission, “an unreliable narrator.” With her best-selling essay collection, Not That Kind of Girl, published this fall, she waded into memoir territory, where writers are held to …

On Prose: For a Writer, What Isn’t in a Name?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Editor’s Note: This is the first “On Prose” column from Lyme novelist, essayist and story writer W.D. Wetherell. Intended as a companion to Sydney Lea’s “On Poetry” columns, “On Prose” will appear semi-regularly on the Valley News Books page.  Let’s start things off with a surprise quiz. …