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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

Don’t get fooled by the email scam

Don’t let the emails fool you. There is no deadline to register your cell phone number to the national Do-Not-Call registry.     Every few years, an email comes around saying, “A directory of cell phone numbers will soon be published for all consumers to have access to. This will open the doors for solicitors to call you on your cell phones …”     The rumors started in 2004, when the wireless phone industry considered publishing a...

An asteroid spawns the Geminids

Thursday’s new moon provides dark cover for this year’s Geminid meteor shower, which peaks that night and into the wee hours Friday. The Geminids are perhaps the best of the annual meteor showers, but because of December’s chill, many people haven’t truly appreciated them.     The Geminids put on a great show, often delivering 60 meteors an hour under dark skies. But in 1996, another year when the shower coincided with new moon, skywatchers with clear...

The Bay offers good action nearly year-round

Yesterday a cold rain fell for hours. Wind followed. Today came with heavy fog and a chill that banished any thoughts of getting out on the Bay for one last fling at the rockfish. As Jim Morrison phrased it, “This is the end, my friend.”     But it has been a good, even a very good, season. The 2011 winter of no winter segued nicely into an equally mild early 2012 season. It was a bit windy, but lack of rain and warm temperatures made early season fishing comfortable...

With lines straight from Charles Dickens’ own hand, Twin Beach Players’ third adaptation of A Christmas Carol is its most realistic performance yet, according to director and producer, Regan Cashman.     It’s also the most endearing, as Ebenezer Scrooge’s tale of redemption is told through the eyes — and mouths — of children. As the all-kid cast learn their lines, they consult with adults in the company to understand Dickens’ meaning and...

By November 25, almost two weeks before opening night, Colonial Players’ musical A Christmas Carol was sold out. That amazing feat speaks to the power of Charles Dickens’ classic and to Colonial Players’ place in the traditions of its community.     Colonial’s homegrown Carol — with play and lyrics by Richard Wade and composed by Richard Gessner — debuted in 1981. This is its 29th incarnation.     At a scant 75 minutes, with 11...

The Master of Suspense would have made a ­better movie …

Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins: 360) was a great filmmaker with a lot of issues. He ate too much. He was pathetically dependent on his wife, Alma (Helen Mirren: The Door). Though their marriage was devoid of passion, he obsessed over the nubile blondes he directed. And, if Hitchcock is to be believed, he identified fully and had imaginary conversations with serial killer Ed Gein (Michael Wincott: A Lonely Place for Dying).     So Norman Bates has company.     ...

Lessons from Build-A-Bear to the magical Chesapeake Christmas tree

When its lights went on, the Christmas tree seemed suspended above the Bay like magic. The suspension was an illusion. The tree stood on the solid base of the Fairhaven community swim platform in Herring Bay. But the magic was — and remains — real.     This season marks the 30th illumination of Ed Becke’s and Mark Manders’ Herring Bay Christmas tree, which began with a real tree to light up the last Christmas in the life of a neighbor, Tommy Hoyle. The...

Craig Shelden is a believer

Craig Shelden’s two-car garage is his refuge from the world. From this lair, he runs his spare-time robotics business, Shelden Robotics. The two family vehicles are parked outside the double doors.     Inside is neatness and order. A garden rake, trash can and recycling bins are the only clues to a family life beyond the closed door. Blue and red electric tape strategically stuck to the floor in circles and rectangles measures robotic achievement.     As a...

Students compete at the Battle by the Bay FIRST LEGO League robot tournament

atch robotic teams in action — applying science, technology and quick thinking — at the ­Second Annual Battle by the Bay FIRST LEGO League robot tournament on Saturday, December 8, in the Center for Applied Learning and Technology at Anne Arundel Community College.     Students and their Mindstorm robots compete from 1:30 to 3:30pm with awards at 4pm.     An international program founded by LEGO and technology entrepreneur Dean Kamen, inventor of...

Make the Cookie Connection at Skipper’s Pier

Cooking and baking are holiday rituals. We take sweets as gifts and uphold tradition with family recipes as family bonding and tradition.     If you fear you’ll come up short this busy season, Skipper’s Pier in Deale offers an alternative.     Owner and pastry chef Jessica LeCronier will do the work for you. On Saturday, December 22, she invites you to fill a tin or basket at Skipper’s first annual Cookie Connection.     “...