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C’est magnifique

In 1927 a new fad was sweeping the film industry: Talking Pictures. You may have seen one or two if you’ve been to a movie in the past 84 years.
    With the advent of the new technology, an entire industry fell to the wayside. Silent film actors and actresses became the cassette tapes of their times, cast into obscurity seemingly overnight.
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Bay Weekly’s pick of 2012 wall calendars

In the language of old movies, falling calendar pages symbolized the passing of time. Years could go by in seconds, just as 2011 surely has done. Now December is about to top the pile of the last 11 months. So it’s time to choose a new calendar.
    Most of us still do that, you know. Or have a calendar chosen for us, as calendars rank high in holiday gifts exchanged among acquaintances.
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Finding — and giving — refuge from the storm

The deaf cat, a skinny princess getting on, could not hear her own purrs, nor our learned conversations above her head, at a festive gathering in a lovely house on St. Leonard’s Creek beyond Jefferson Patterson Park.
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An entertaining investigation heavier on brawn than brains

The master of deduction Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.: Due Date) has been dealing with a lot of loss of late. His romance with Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams: Midnight in Paris) is untenable. He’s at a stalemate trying to foil the plans of arch nemesis Dr. Moriarty (Jared Harris: Mad Men). Worst of all, his best mate and sleuthing sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law: Hugo) is getting married.
    Holmes isn’t taking it well.
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Feast your eyes on the heavens above

Of the naked-eye planets, Mercury is the most overlooked. That isn’t for lack of brightness, as it outshines both Mars and Saturn. Nor is it a result of distance, given that it’s closer to us than is Mars. But so near the sun, Mercury never strays far from its blinding glare.
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A Hound’s Jolly Humbug!

As I decked the halls with boughs of holly

I put a Santa hat on this dog to be jolly.

When down to the dog park we went to play,

The strangest things my dog had to say!
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Otherwise winter’s chill will wilt your Christmas blooms

Keep Christmas in bloom by shielding your poinsettias from sudden drops in temperature. Remember, poinsettia are a tropical plant, so a sudden chill below 40 degrees can cause the plant to quickly lose foliage, including the red or white bracks.
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It was a mostly great year

The rockfish season this year was, on the whole, great. It didn’t start until June because spring was a three-month mix of heavy rains, high winds, muddy water and low temperatures. While that early scenario was disappointing for anglers, it was fantastic for the fish, because just about every species that reproduces in the Chesapeake had a very successful spawn.
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One great story calls for many others

Editor’s note: I write out of my Christian tradition on December 21, which is the Winter Solstice as well as, this year, the first day of the eight-day Jewish celebration of Chanukah. Whatever tradition we come from — Jewish, pagan or Christian — this time of year we celebrate, and tell our stories about, the coming of light into our world.

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With cold weather here to stay, warm up with these Chesapeake authors

The sights are great, world travelers report. But, they insist, you only really get to know a place through its people.
    All around us are people who are the keepers of untold treasure.
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