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Turning a pop phenomenon into challenging life lessons

Highway medians become home to the birds, bees, butterflies

My guests were not who I expected

Billed as a smart and energetic musical comedy with a pop rock score and immensely likable story, this show delivers

A waterspout may get you if you don’t watch out

Reflections on heroes and superheroes

Turning a pop phenomenon into challenging life lessons

Clark Kent emerged from a phone booth as Superman. Sean Darling-Hammond, 30, sheds his suit to become an American Ninja Warrior.     In the 1930s, when Superman was debuted in DC Comics, not every Sean, Chris and Tony could be superheros. Nowadays, it’s a wide open field. Anyone can become a ninja (I was one for a day and could have stayed one if I had put in the work). You can, too — if you’re willing to travel to White Marsh, north of Baltimore.  ...

Highway medians become home to the birds, bees, butterflies

The tiniest employees of the Maryland State Highway Administration are hard at work while we sit in traffic. Glance out the window to see them buzzing about their daily routines. In exchange for their work, MSHA provides room and board — in the medians of state highways.     Important work is happening in these often overlooked parcels of land: over 100 acres along Maryland highways are now wildlife habitat for pollinators.     Medians along interstates and...

My guests were not who I expected

At Ivy Neck Farm in Cumberstone on the shores of Rhode River, we have a dock and a very nice boat with a swim platform. We also have a considerable number of river otters who catch fish and oysters and seem to enjoy the swim platform on the boat as a convenient place to eat dinner. They leave an awful mess.     To see who came to dinner, I set up my game camera on the dock. My bait was an old rockfish carcass nailed to the pier to keep the river otters from...

Our beautiful swimmers are starting to run

Dennis Doyle’s cautious Sporting Life report that crabbing finally “may be improving” is seconded by commercial crabbers, who are notorious pessimists. Better still, we’ve seen chicken-neckers pulling in crabs at local piers.     Chicken-necking for Chesapeake Bay blue crabs requires you spend a quiet morning or afternoon alongside the Bay or one of its rivers. It gives you the fun of catching wily crustaceans. Then you get to eat them.   ...

Billed as a smart and energetic musical comedy with a pop rock score and immensely likable story, this show delivers

With Baby, Infinity Theatre Company surpasses the high expectations raised over five years of bringing professional New York City productions to Annapolis each summer. This show delivers on its billing as a smart and energetic musical comedy with a pop rock score and immensely likable story. If you last saw it in the 20th century, you’re in for some surprises. The 1984 Tony-nominee was reworked in 1999 with new songs and significant plot twists that make it less idealistic than the...

A waterspout may get you if you don’t watch out

I focused on drifting the edges of a Bay Bridge pier, where I was hoping a big rockfish would inhale the chunk of soft crab I was presenting below. Conditions ­couldn’t have been much better, with overcast skies and a slack tide. Then my cell phone buzzed.     I cleared my line and fumbled with my shirt pocket. Finally, freeing the phone, I heard a familiar voice, my neighbor Capt. Frank Tuma, who was fishing a party just to the north of me.     “...

Reflections on heroes and superheroes

Mayhem at the Deale Library, I feared, on seeing the Batman logo on its window and remembering that stylized bat, projected by searchlight, was Gotham City’s cry for the superhero’s help.     No, librarians explained. Anne Arundel and Calvert are among the Maryland libraries using the national theme Every Hero Has a Story to encourage kids to keep reading all summer long. Hence the bat logo and, hand-painted on the library door, the question Who’s your hero?...

Big Eye keeps the birds away

For years I have covered my blueberry plants with bird netting just before the berries start turning blue. The netting was suspended from wires stretched on top of eight-foot-tall piles.  After harvest, the netting had to be removed and returned to storage. This was a demanding job that required most of a day. Despite my best efforts, mocking birds and robins always managed to eat the berries. They entered the cage on their own, but once in they were stuck until I freed them. ...

Can you spot the International Space Station?

As darkness deepens Thursday, you’ll find the first-quarter moon high in the south-southwest with the bright star Spica seven degrees to its lower right.     Friday night the moon has pulled eastward and is equidistant from Spica to its right and Saturn to its left. Even closer to the left of the moon is the faint star Zubenelgenubi, which marks the fulcrum of the celestial scales Libra. Train binoculars on this star, however, and you’ll see that it is actually a...

This isn’t your mother’s romantic comedy

Amy (Amy Schumer: Inside Amy Schumer) is living the dream. She has a spacious New York apartment, writes for a men’s magazine and goes home with a different guy every night.     Amy learned from her father at an early age that monogamy doesn’t work. Her father, now in a nursing home, eggs Amy on in her rejection of relationships, domesticity and kids. He encourages her to make herself happy even at the expense of others. Amy mercilessly mocks her sister Kim (Brie...