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Letter from the Editor (All)

Plumbing the depths of change

“Our world changed yesterday,” I wrote on September 12, 2001. “Like you, we’ll be a long time plumbing the depths of this change.”
    Thirteen years later, the blue clarity of September 11, 2001 — before 8:46am — seems a farewell look at innocence. Adam and Eve might have seen just such radiance in the Garden of Eden as its gate shut them out.
    It’s a nice image, and there’s some truth in it. Certainly the new millennium seemed to promise a clean start. Certainly this absolute penetration of our defenses was not within our expectations. Certainly we have never felt the same since. Nowadays optimism is in scarce supply.
    Some truth, only. As a nation and as individuals, we had lost our innocence many times before 9/11 — in wars and faulty peace, in slavery and Indian oppression, at Pearl Harbor and Gettysburg, in depressions and assassinations.
    But still some truth. Before, we Americans started things — or we finished the work others were unable to complete. We took this land and settled it. We put our shoulders to the task. We invented and aspired. We lent our might to ending two world wars. We flew around the world and to the moon.
    Since 9/11, we have become a nation of first responders. Our dearest heroes are the firefighters and police who rose to the unprecedented occasions of that terrible day — and the soldiers who followed in their footsteps.
    Since that day, we have been mopping up mounting woes.
    In the Middle East, where outrage begets outrage, we wage our own wars and try to throw our weight on the side of justice — wherever that may be — in the wars of others. We’ve killed Osama bin Laden, but the sorcerer’s apprentices are rising up, lately the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Two American journalists beheaded is not the World Trade Towers. But it is enough.
    In the East, the ice left over from the Cold War is breaking. Russia’s hungry bear is reawakening. China is threatening us not with communism but with clever frauds and computer hacks.
    Here at home, nearly every aspect of life seems in turmoil: police armed for Homeland Security … the old economy trashed before a new one is created … cities bankrupt … infrastructure crumbling … schools leaving children behind … immigrants crashing the borders … health care in divisive crisis … waste — from nuclear to plastic — engulfing us … climate change threatening to drop the bomb.
    And now our America seems the only world force big enough to take on Ebola in Africa.
    So yes, some truth. For all we’d seen and done before 9/11, we still had innocence to lose and experience to gain.
    I read Hillary Clinton this past Sunday, writing in the Washington Post about the new book by her predecessor as secretary of state, World Order by Henry Kissinger.
    “There really is no viable alternative,” she wrote, speaking of “the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.
    “No other nation can bring together the necessary coalitions and provide the necessary capabilities to meet today’s complex global threats.”
    How much that role costs may be a lesson of each generation. Certainly it’s one lesson we’ve learned since September 11, 2001.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Policy for success takes more than good luck

Labor Day is just another day off — albeit the one that closes summer — unless we know our history. Our work-free first Monday of September is in fact “a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country,” according the U.S. Department of Labor.
    Dating back to 1882 when labor unions were gaining strength, the holiday was celebrated for many years with parades to demonstrate “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations.” Festivities followed.
    You don’t see many Labor Day parades nowadays, so Bay Weekly stages our own annual Labor Day Parade of Working People.
    Work brings us our livelihood, supports for our families, endows our futures and defines our identities, I write introducing the story.
    That’s what we like to think.
    If you’re among the 3.3 million Americans earning minimum wage, your truth is likely closer to the James Brown line in “Living in America”: Everybody’s working overtime.
    Federal minimum wage is $7.25. Lots of workers earn less. The minimum wage for tipped workers, for example, is $2.13 an hour.
    States can choose to pay more. Washington pays the highest minimum wage: $9.32, with inflation adjustments.
    Starting in the new year, Maryland’s minimum wage of $7.25 rises to $8, with staged increases topping off at $10.10 on July 1, 2018.
    That’s a big deal — except in perspective. At 1968 levels, $10.77 would be 2014’s minimum wage.
    Work a full-time year at today’s minimum wage and you’ll earn just over $15,000.
    At that level, Labor Day is black comedy.
    A bell-shaped curve made the prosperity this day celebrates. People of enormous earnings are one end of the flat base from which the bell rises. People who earn little or nothing are the opposite end of that base. The bell is the middle class — producing, exporting and buying our way to a strong economy.
    “How do we expand the middle class?” Congressman Steny Hoyer asked at a Women’s Equality Day lunch this week honoring the 94th anniversary of women’s suffrage. “A ladder of opportunity from poverty to the middle class.”
    Each of the 13 people you’ll meet in Bay Weekly’s Labor Day Parade climbed an opportunity ladder. Many built their own. Of these fascinating stories, my favorites are the two men whose work in good, stable jobs bring them livelihood and identity, support for their families and their futures. A good company, good luck and good contacts built their ladders.
    We love success stories, but a problem as big as our deflating middle class takes success policies. An almost liveable minimum wage is one part, and it depends on employers.
    Workers have their responsibilities, too, gaining skills that make them employable.
    Schools are also part, filling our minds, training our hands, then showing us how to use what we know and do. Encouraging creativity is another part of the curriculum for success.
    Good luck is a great thing; it helped many — maybe all — of this year’s parade of people find their work. Skilled creativity fueled by ambition is your part.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

The popular back-to-school cocktail doesn’t suit quite every taste
 


“Cooler evenings with earlier sunsets adjust our biological clocks ever so slightly as we sense newness in the air,” writes educator and student Kathleen Murphy, introducing Bay Weekly’s August 21 album of back-to-school reflections.
    You feel it too, don’t you?
    Our animal senses revive, making us as alert as dogs or rabbits, our ears and noses twitching. As well as earlier sunsets and cool evenings, we smell afternoon’s baked sugar rising from field and flower and hear the cricket chorus.
    Were Rip van Winkle to wake about now, he’d know the month if not the year. Awakening with him, perhaps, would be the sense of possibility linked in so many of our minds to a new school year.
    Or maybe not.
    Maybe Rip was the Huck Finn of his era, as my son Nathaniel was of his.
    My older son — Alex, the one who runs Bay Weekly — was the schoolboy parents and teachers love. He went to school eagerly, did most of his homework, got in only manageable trouble and now and again caught the passion for ideas a good teacher inspired.
    The younger, Nathaniel, was the schoolboy who brought parents to tears and teachers to prayer.
    It was Miss Manders, his kindly first-grade teacher, who prayed every night over the challenge of teaching Nat to read. As a supplement to prayer, she tried masking tape. At least that’s the story told by Alex, who found his little brother taped to his little chair at the end of one school day. Some parents might be put out by Miss Manders’ last-resort strategy. Knowing Nat, I thought masking tape was a pretty good idea.
    Had Nat ever read The Adventures of Huck Finn, he’d have understood Huck’s final words: I reckon I got to light out for the territory … because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it.
    Schooling and sivilization went against Nat’s nature. His family learned that lesson long before he arrived in Miss Manders’ classroom at Blackhawk Elementary School in in Springfield, Illinois.
    Nat made his first escape in his second week in daycare, scaling the wall of his crib and up and out the screened window above it. The climb down the outer wall of Cookie Monster Cooperative Day Care must have been a long one for a 22-month-old who stood under 30 inches tall and was still wearing diapers. But he looked none the worse for the experience when I next saw him in the arms of the policeman who’d found him strolling down the sidewalk of the city’s major southbound artery.
    Escape was harder in his next daycare, run by a firm but loving director who set watch and locks on all the doors and windows. Getting him there was harder, too. Most mornings he’d cling like a starfish to bed, toy chest, doorframe, car door. No sooner would I pry his fingers and toes off one hold than he’d attach them to another. He was far too young to stay home alone the morning I left for work without him. Once I was gone, he climbed out of the toy chest, fixed himself a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, poured a glass of milk and settled down with toys and television. He still remembers that day as bliss.
    Elementary, middle and high school for him were 12 years of resistance. He even got asked to leave a do-your-own-thing free school. Somehow, he learned to spell better than Huck and to write a good story, though not quite as good as Mark Twain’s. He grudgingly made it through high school, then lit out for the territories.
    Lots of us feel hope and nostalgia in this back-to-school season. But not all of us. Here’s to the exceptions: the kids (including, it seems, Alex’s son Jack), their parents and their teachers.
 

While you’re at play, Bay Weekly is minding Chesapeake Country

    Hello out there?    
    With everybody from the president to the financial planner on vacation, I considered printing this week’s paper in invisible ink in hopes of convincing you the stories were right below your eyes if you had the right stuff — lemon juice or infrared light — to see them. That idea fell to our watchful puzzlers, who showed me my ruse would be caught. Since last Thursday, call after note has come in admonishing us for printing clues that — for all the shoehorning in the world — won’t fit into the spaces provided with last week’s crossword puzzle.
    Now that I know you’re reading, I’d better give you the real thing just as we do every week.
    Even in a slow week, there’s plenty to do in Chesapeake Country, as you’ll see in 8 Days a Week. Make haste to buy your tickets for Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre’s Spamalot, reported by reviewer Jim Reiter as the best way to laugh your way out of summer. Mark your calendar for Irish band The ShamRogues on the lawn (weather allowing) at London Town Sunday, August 17 at 5pm. Look forward to Annapolis Art Walk Thursday, August 21, starting at 6pm.
    Just back from vacation, Madeline Hughes guarantees you’ll never go thirsty, reporting to you on her coffee-shop summer tour of Chesapeake Country.
    Fresh from a vacation of a sort nobody wants to take, contributor Elisavietta Ritchie describes how the nasty bug vibrio vulnificus gave her a week in the hospital.
    More attractive bugs return in Creature Feature, where you’ll meet the Silvery Checkerspot, and Your Say, where the Monarch makes a two-stage appearance, as beauty and beast.
    As a retiree, contributor Bob Melamud reports he’s always on vacation. So he’s stepped up this week with another of his occasional series on the environmental and human value we get for our tax dollars. Cleaning up the Bay One Family at a Time explains the Flush Tax at work in the Calvert County home of Navy aviation electrician’s mate Rob Pryke and wife Brandi.
    
Breaking News on Dominion Cove Point
    Tom Hall returns from vacation in Maine just in time to follow up our July 17 story on the controversial Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas export plan:
    A Calvert County judge ruled this week that the county’s 2013 waiver of local zoning rules for the export expansion constitutes an unconstitutional “special law” benefitting Dominion Resources.
    AMP Creeks Council, a local environmental group, successfully won a ruling that invalidates the county’s pro-Dominion local zoning amendment. Now county officials will have to regroup, deciding whether to appeal the ruling … or figuring out another way to proceed in accord with county zoning protections. The commissioners next meet August 19.
    Calvert County Attorney John Norris said the exemption granted Cove Point was not designed to expedite the project but to defer to the expertise of federal regulators like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Environmental Protection Agency.
    “I really believe the intent of the text amendment was to do no harm, and not to create any overlap or conflict of regulations,” Norris said. “I’m not sure any county in the state has the ability to analyze an extremely unique project like this.”
    Calvert is Maryland’s smallest county.
    Dominion Cove Point spokesman Karl Neddenien said the company is analyzing the ruling and confidently awaiting FERC approval. The company hopes to begin construction on the $3.8 billion export terminal later this year.
    “We don’t see any schedule impact,” Neddenien said.

It takes work to live together in a peaceable interspecies kingdom

Oh the trouble love brings!    
    Just about any time your heart runs away with you, you run up a debt you’ll be paying for day, hours, years. By a certain age, we homo sapiens are supposed to know (but do we ever?) about the birds and the bees. But a dog or cat can slip under the radar, fooling us into believing that all interspecies matches are made in heaven.
    When reality hits, you’d rather have a pie in the face than a foot in some of the messes that await you.
    This week’s Dog Days Pet Spectacular is a reminder of the ransom due to the reckless heart.
    “Dogs do what comes naturally,” Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Laurie Scible advises in this week’s feature, Good Dog! “Many behaviors we don’t like are things dogs love.”
    Rolling in dead fish, for example. Friend Sue’s dog has never met a dead fish he doesn’t love. My Moe ­doesn’t crave that perfume. But peeing over another dog’s scent? That’s an opportunity he never misses. As a youngster, before we’d persuaded Moe to learn house manners, he made covering some former dog’s scent a housewarming gift to a new neighbor. To everybody’s chagrin, the original dog had left his calling card indoors. It gets worse, of course, because peeing is only one element of housebreaking. There’s pooping, too.
    Why should we be surprised? Housebreaking is a learned behavior among animals of all species, even us.
    Of course we shouldn’t be surprised. Still, Scible’s pointers on housebreaking read as a wake-up call as shocking as a shrill alarm at 4:42am. It’s a serious, life-changing routine she prescribes. It punctures my willful notion that love means living happily ever after.
    I know I should have let that illusion go by now. It’s been ridiculed time and again by creatures of many species, dogs even more so than my first husband. But deep in my heart, implanted by my childhood reading of Albert Payson Terhune’s books about the valiant, empathetic Lad — the dog ideal holds indelible … despite the untellable failure of my dalliance with a collie. I’m still clinging to the notion that being my best friend comes naturally to a dog.
    That’s a popular fallacy. It can happen to you.
    On a weekend visit to St. Louis, I finally made acquaintance with Pal, the white-nosed brown dog adopted by my son Nathaniel’s family after falling under the spell of the mostly virtuous Moe on their visit here last summer. You may remember that I tried to warn them off, writing for that purpose (and all our reading pleasure) the story of the incorrigible Slip Mahoney, our family dog during Nat’s childhood.
    You can guess, by the name they’ve chosen, what Nat, Liz and Ada Knoll hope for in a dog. Indeed, Pal completes their circle. But healing the neuroses heaped upon that yearling in his formative weeks in a junkyard is a job for Dr. Vint Virga, the vet and animal behaviorist who, the New York Times Magazine reported in the July 3 issue, is devoting his life to Zoo Animals and Their Discontents.
    Animal psychology is a far more complex subject than we allowed ourselves to imagine. They have behavioral customs and social systems, even consciousness, just as we do. Living together in a peaceable interspecies kingdom means recognizing that now-obvious reality and adapting to it — just like my cats do when they train me.
    Bottom line: Slip Mahoney wasn’t incorrigible. He was misunderstood.
    Read on in this week’s Dog Days Pet Spectacular to learn the lure and lessons of interspecies company.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Here’s to one more summer of reading


     Call me anything but late to the table — unless I’m reading a good book. So I’ve often carried book to table.
    “I’ve spent my life looking over the breakfast table at a book,” my grandmother Florence Martin lamented. “Your grandfather. Your father and his brother. And now you.”
    Or as Florence’s daughter-in-law my mother Elsa would say, “Take your nose out of that book!”
    Both Elsa and Florence were good storytellers, but I couldn’t turn them on as easily as I could open a book. Nor did their stories sweep me away in the flood of sensory details — the color of the light, the rise of the hill, the degree of warmth or chill, the pattern of the dress, the darkness of the well, the despair of the loss. Books drowned me in the flood, tumbling me with thrilling metaphors that made my imagination swim like a fish.
    (I should have prodded more. Now mother and grandmother’s times of life are lost, and to write their books I would have to do a lot of imagining.)
    Out from behind a book, newspaper or racing form, my father told a story as thick with detail as humidity in St. Louis summers. Photographic memories have fallen into the category of improbabilities we’d like to believe. But when Gene Martin’s truculent objections were overcome — “How do you expect me to remember that? It happened 50 years ago,” he’d complain — his eyes looked back into time to report the past as if it were present.
    I’ve always loved the kinds of stories I coaxed from my family and their extended family of friends: How people lived their lives. So the writers I love best immerse me in the unfolding of ordinary lives. Circumstances ordinary or extraordinary; action consequential or trivial — I don’t care, as long as action moves the plot, characters live and sentences sing.
    I’m just as happy to peep in on the domestic dramas wrought by Alexander McCall Smith at 44 Scotland Street as travel exotically with Ann Patchett to the unnamed Latin nation of Bel Canto or the jungles of State of Wonder. I don’t need bombings, murders and the art theft of The Goldfinch to keep me in a book, though I certainly don’t mind page-turning action.
    But I do hate it — don’t you? — when I’m about to close the pages on characters I’ve loved. It’s as if I were closing their coffin, though I know the lives of literary characters last as long readers read.
    So I’m blissed to be spending this summer with the prolific Julia Glass. I discovered her in the New York Times’ Mother’s Day paper, for which she’d written a reflection on how far off her real-life raising of her sons was from her imaginings. She shaped a nice sentence and seemed a nice kind of woman, one who rooted for heart-expanding resolutions while acknowledging the downs, all the way to tragedy. I started with her first, Three Junes, the symmetrical 2002 National Book Award Winner. Then, to my delight, I discovered that some of Junes’ characters lived on in this year’s And the Dark and Sacred Night. Better still, some of these have history I’m now learning in 2006’s The Whole World. And that’s not all …
    This summer, when my husband’s cooking, he announces dinner in an old familiar way: “Are you going to put down that book and come to the table?”


Breaking News: Blue-Eyed Boy
    Julia Glass may have to cool her heels, for breaking news is that Annapolitan Robert Timberg, Naval Academy graduate and former journalist at The Capital and the Baltimore Sun, has just published his long-awaited memoir, Blue-Eyed Boy, about the hard years back to normal life after his grievous wounding as a Marine officer in Vietnam. Bookpage.com calls it “a fascinating look at how a tragedy that would make most men crumble instead drove the author to survive, and on many levels, succeed.”
    I know Timberg slightly, enough to know a bit of his extraordinary story. Now I’ll read more and report back to you — if you haven’t read Blue-Eyed Boy before me.
 

How far are you removed from the necessity — and pleasure — of eating local?

    Is Buy Local Week preaching to the choir?    
    If local foods are already a mainstay of your diet, you don’t need persuasion — though a chance for a basket of local goodies and free ice cream in Western Maryland might lure you to post your locavore photos at www.buy-local-challenge.com.
    If your corn comes out of a can, your potatoes out of a box, your year-round apples from who-knows-where and your burgers from anyplace, then what difference does this little-advertised promotion make to you?
    Fast foods taste good. A whole lot of science, consumer testing and marketing goes into the satisfaction quotient of burgers, sodas and fries.
    Convenience feels good. After shucking a dozen ears of corn — especially if I’m then going to cut off the kernels — I can understand why women welcomed first canned and then frozen corn. Me, I feel shucked out after one meal. They prepared three a day, often for big hungry families who’d been working their bodies for necessity rather than exercise. If they were country women, they had almost certainly planted, nourished, weeded and harvested the garden, with their children working alongside.
    The labor of providing plenty was a Genesis story in my maternal Italian family’s immigrant life. Braided onions and garlic hung in the barn rafters, bread baked for the table, wine and wine vinegar worked in wooden barrels. A few pennies worth of meat was a luxury.
    “We were never hungry after we got a cow,” mother told me. From the milk, her mother made cheese and butter. Born in 1921 weeks after her family’s arrival to Southern Illinois, my mother found life’s meaning in hard work. But standing in for her mother, Catherine Olivetti, during a few days hospitalization reduced the vigorous 20-year-old to tears. “I’ve never worked harder in my life,” she told me.
    How many generations are you removed from the necessity and pleasure of eating local? How far have you reverted?
    Does the taste of place make a difference to you? That’s what we’re hoping to recognize when we make a big deal of where our food comes from. Can you taste the locality of the tomatoes now ripening in our gardens? The eggs laid by chickens down the street? The corn, squash and beans grown in our own counties and brought to market by the farmers who planted and tended them to maturity? The beef and lamb raised on local grass or the pork and chicken fortified on table scraps?
    How do you calculate the balance of convenience versus fresh and local?
    Each one of us has our own scale.
    “Back then we had gardens; now we have Whole Foods,” Annapolitan septuagenarian Elizabeth Smith chided youngster Andrew Wildermuth in this week’s In Their Own Words.
    In July, I harvest tomatoes and cucumbers planted by my husband, often slicing them with onions he’s raised. This year’s crop of garlic will last a whole year, though my grandmother’s braiding skill is a lost art. For most else that rises from earth, I shop farmers markets.
    Mid-winter, I’ll certainly shop at Whole Foods, without so many scruples about what’s local. But I’ll want my oysters from Chesapeake Bay just as my crab was in summer.
    All year long I’ll gladly buy avocado, bananas and lemons, cheese and yogurt and spices, hoping I remember to be grateful for my diet’s world-round reach. We’ll order our coffee from Peets, olive oil from California and grapefruit and oranges from Florida.
    The food we eat tells our human story, the necessity and choices of generations, including our own. Eating local, I like to think, is taking a bite out of history. It’s a bigger lesson than you can manage in a week.

Not your game if you’re a Bay Weekly reader

     Monopoly, Sorry! and Chutes and Ladders: The games we play are the similes writer Tom Hall uses to explain how the nation’s biggest energy debate is playing out in Chesapeake Country.
    Monopoly, Hall says, is what the game seems like when an energy giant like Dominion Resources plays out its next move in your back yard.
    For the third time in 14 years, the sleeping giant on the Chesapeake at Cove Point in Calvert County is stirring. The first tremors were reopening, as a series of energy companies sought and gained permission to put the Liquefied Natural Gas depot back in business. Next, from 2004 to 2008, came expansion as Dominion Resources doubled the old plant’s capacity to receive natural gas from around the world. Now, in an energy economy turned upside-down, Dominion Cove Point is seeking to switch its impressive machinery to exporting some of America’s suddenly abundant natural gas to India and Japan.
    Such big business makes many citizens of Calvert — and climate change opponents throughout the state — fear they’ll be playing the game of Sorry!
    But, says Hall, a story with so many forces at play may be better explained as the maze of Chutes and Ladders.
    For all 14 years, Bay Weekly has reported this story to keep us from playing another game: Blind Man’s Bluff. We’ve explained the stakes, introduced the players, walked pipeline right of ways through citizens’ yards, watched environmental impact studies and refreshed memories with updated chronologies.
    This chapter of the story — with export approval seeming around the corner — is told by Tom Hall. Hall has the standing, experience and balance it takes to explain a local story with national import. A Navy patrol plane mission commander turned journalist, he’s reported on business for the Pensacola News Journal, San Jose Business Journal and Washington Business Journal and worked as an editor at USA Today, Gannett News Service and McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
    How did we get so lucky to add Hall to our contributors? Wouldn’t you know he loves the water!
 



Still Puzzling
    Sudoku is here to stay. We wouldn’t dare omit it. Voices sounding like The Godfather crammed our answering machine after last week’s accidental interruption of the five-year flow of number puzzles in Bay Weekly’s pages.
    It won’t happen again.
    Word puzzles are not provoking such passion. Not since the retirement of Ben Tausig, which moved Bay Weekly puzzle-solver Katie Sabella to her definitive assessment of the value of crosswords in “any periodical worth its salt.”
    Crosswords bring people great happiness. For me, they are a little daily treat that allow me to escape and keep my mind sharp. Supposedly doing them staves off neurological diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. … It’s a guilty pleasure, a little slice of bliss, but it’s important to me. I suspect many of your readers feel the same. Why not keep that element of joy as a part of Bay Weekly?
    Kris Kross is “okay,” according to puzzlers like Evelyn Newman and Bill Vance. Others hate it. I kind of like it, though it doesn’t give me the same thrill as wading through clues and puns to a good crossword’s multidirectional solution.
    Anagrams drive me crazy. I ought to be able to rearrange the letters — I claim to be a wordsmith — but I’m stuck in the rut of reading from left to right.
    With repeating letters, cryptograms are easier but not so rewarding if the revealed message is stale. The themed crosswords we’ve been running are frustratingly easy, making me miss my weekly struggles with the demonically minded Ben Tausig.
    What’s your say? Email me at editor@bayweekly.com

Theater and puzzles take us back to the ­kingdom of imagination


     Continuing Bay Weekly’s celebration of summer, this week we focus on child’s play.
    Nobody plays as wholeheartedly as a child. Do you remember your dedication when you were a child at play? How putting your hands on the simplest thing opened the universe of your imagination?
    I had three favorite talismans for entering the world of make believe: my dollhouse, paper dolls and my collection of horse statues. For my sons, the transporter was racing Hot Wheels and slot cars. For my grandson, it’s Minecraft. “Nothing else comes close,” says Jack’s father Alex. “Not even eating or sleeping.”
    The kids featured in this week’s paper take pretend beyond the realm of the imagination onto the stage.
    Every Saturday through August 2, Infinity Theater plays The Emperor’s New Clothes, which Jim Reiter writes in this week’s review, “gives young audiences as well as adults a taste of professional theater.” Adults — from company principals Anna Roberts Ostroff and Alan Ostroff to director/choregrapher Erin Gorski to the ones who bring the kids — make it happen. But upfront this is theater for kids and by kids, with four young Infinity interns dividing many roles.
    The Talent Machine’s talented pre-teens and teens are putting their shows on the boards this month and next. Bay Weekly intern Madeline Hughes, herself a teen, introduces you to the kids performing Peter Pan July 11 to 20. For them, putting on plays is make believe with real world dividends. “As actors,” she writes, “they learn to manage their time, to carry on when things don’t go according to plan and to work with different people. Most of all, they learn to believe in themselves, gaining confidence.”
    The Peter Pan cast are kids seven to 14. Next month, August 8 to 17, high schoolers take the stage in The Wedding Singer.
    Both of these productions are performed in local colleges: Anne Arundel Community College for The ­Emperor’s New Clothes; St. John’s College for Peter Pan.
    In Calvert County, Twin Beach Players’ Youth Troupe has just staged Harvey. “The teen actors playing grown-ups are mature in roles and dramatic skills. No one missed a beat — or a line,” wrote Bay Weekly reviewer Michelle Steel of their work.
    Now, more kids are preparing for their turn on stage. Twenty-five aspiring playwrights from elementary to high school created plays for Twin Beach Players’ annual Kids Playwriting Festival. Six winning playwrights are now preparing works for production — by kids — August 1 to 10.
    With so much talent, we recruited some for our pages. This week, you’ll read a one-act play by two young local playwrights — Anna Gorenflo and Jeffrey Thompson — who’ve had six plays produced in earlier Festivals. This play — Holmes and Watson Make the Best Summer Ever.
    Read on and see if that brilliant best friend of childhood still returns to you.



Playing at Puzzles
    For adults, puzzles are like Peter Pan, helping us return to the elusive, meditative and creative land of childhood. Among the 21 Reasons People Play Puzzles (www.conceptispuzzles.com): calming and challenging their minds. Like the kids of Talent Machine, we learn more than meets the eye from working puzzles: Puzzles teach us not to give up, help us form habits of behavior and reward us with repeated moments of accomplishment. Millions of Americans can’t start their day without taking on the crossword, Steve Kroft reported in a 2003 60 Minutes story.
    Throughout July, we’ll keep bringing you new and different puzzles. We depend on you to work them and to report your results and satisfaction: editor@bayweekly.com.
 

Where will summer take you?

School’s out for kids everywhere, including the kid in your heart who still thrills with possibility long after the 12-month work calendar has replaced the nine-month school calendar. What adventures lie ahead for you, your family — and your hosts of summer visitors eager to see the sights?
    By land and water, Chesapeake Country is full of wonders. Whichever way you turn you’ll find plenty to see and do, from ocean to Bay to mountains and lakes, from cities to the countryside, from farms to state parks and national wildlife refuges, from fairs and festivals to fun in your own back yard.
    To help you plan your travels, Bay Weekly writers share their favorite day trips and excursions.
    Starting off the journey are mother-daughter team Heather and Mackenzie Boughey, who’ve written a play to show us that No Place Is Far from Fun. Recalling last summer’s travels to the north and west, from Elk Neck State Park to the Garrett County Fair, they vow to do it all over again, this time on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
    If they — or you — need help in planning what to see after crossing the Bay Bridge, the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area has developed heritage tours in Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties. Find them at www.storiesofthechesapeake.org under the Visit Us tab.
    Wherever you go, writer Leigh Glenn reminds us, the best journeys are planned to the taste of the travelers.
    Photographer-writer Emily Mitchell visits the National Wildlife Center at Patuxent Research Refuge. Blackwater, Eastern Neck and Susquehanna River National Wildlife Refuges give you more Maryland options. My family loves to cross the state line to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
    Elisavietta Ritchie takes another approach to Patuxent sightseeing, suggesting ways into the water of Maryland’s all in-state river. Make the most of your water destination, as does Dotty Doherty, paddling quietly, looking and listening.
    Turn up the volume at the ballpark, where baseball groupie Diana Beechener invites you to see dem O’s play major league baseball. For just as much fun at lower prices with easier parking, go out to one of Maryland’s five minor league ballparks to see Cal Ripken’s Aberdeen IronBirds, the Bowie Baysox, the Frederick Keys, Hagerstown Suns or Southern Maryland Bluecrabs, who play in Waldorf.
    Or make a Washington Nationals’ game part of a trip to D.C., where — as intern Madeline Hughes writes — every visitor expects to be taken to see the monumental sights.
    Back home in Chesapeake Country, many pleasures are cut to a smaller scale, as writer Sandy Anderson’s visitors know, for she’s sure to take them treasure hunting at Chesapeake Marketplace in Lusby.
    As you travel, make time fly playing the Bay Game, reviewed by junior reporter Storrie Kulynych-Irvin.
    Me? I want to do it all.
    The stories you’ll find in this issue go beyond splendid sights to amazing adventures and general good times. As wonderful as Chesapeake Country is, place is only part of the story. The other part is what you bring to the places you travel: your eyes, your history, your openness, your willingness to get in the spirit of adventure.
    Where will you find your Chesapeake adventures?

Puzzle Alert!

    For brain-teasing mental vacations, Bay Weekly brings you puzzles. Throughout July, we’re auditioning new word puzzles to tease you in the wake of cruciverbalist Ben Tausig’s retirement. Send me your thoughts to help us choose a replacement: editor@bayweekly.com.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com