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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

Mike Callahan’s Chesapeake Driftwood Tree

Mike Callahan was searching for creative ways to trim his Christmas tree this year. The president of the Southern Maryland Audubon Society wanted a unique, nature-themed tree that he created with his own hands. When a friend suggested using what Chesapeake Bay had to offer, Callahan hit the beaches, hunting and gathering for his creation. At home, he put his hands and mind to work.     Sticking with his nature theme, Callahan’s bird and owl ornaments are threaded with...

Time’s End? Or a New Cycle’s Beginning?

If you’re nervous about numbers, the combination coming up this week could give you quite a scare. So portentous is this once-a-century triple 12 that it might — or might not — coincide with the end of the world.     Or was it 122112 when time stopped on the Mayan calendar?     Cross-cultural shaman Paul Sivert of The Shamanic Healing Institute in Savage, Maryland, puts a more positive slant on that coincidence of numbers.     ...

Help map out long-term climate changes

Calling all wanna-be weathermen: You can help measure long-term climate changes with 11,000 wanna-be weathermen across the country.     The National Weather Service is looking for volunteers in Calvert County’s Dunkirk area to take daily maximum and minimum temperatures and measure rain and snowfall. The Service will train and equip you.     The Service has collected 120 years of data to help understand floods, droughts, heat and cold waves. The data you...

Get help with your bills as winter blows in

As the temperature goes down, utility bills go up. The Anne Arundel County Community Action Agency wants to help.     The agency helps eligible Anne Arundel Countians pay utility bills. The state is the ultimate source of funding, so you’d be getting a bit of your taxes back.     Cierra Fisher, the outreach coordinator, got so few applications from Southern Anne Arundel County that she did a little investigating. After a few trips down Rt. 2 to talk with...

Store-bought Christmas wreaths and roping may need resurrection

At a winter Saturday morning farmers market on Riva Road, a shopper approached me with a Christmas wreath problem. In a week on her door, a wreath she had purchased at a local big-box store was turning gray-green, and its needles felt dry.     I was not surprised.     Most of the Christmas wreaths and roping sold in big-box stores, grocery stores and many garden centers are made in New Mexico, North Carolina, New Jersey, the West Coast and Canada starting in...

Rockfish are biting, and you’ve got until December 15 to catch them

As December opened, we’d dropped anchor off the Hackett’s can in 35 feet of water. I set up the chum bag off our stern and had cut some pieces of fresh alewife, when suddenly everything started going right — and wrong — at the same time.     My friend Mo had already baited and set out one rod and was casting his second when his first outfit got hit hard. He had neglected to set his bait running clicker. When the fish took off against the free spool, it...

These long-distance travelers migrate from the Arctic for our mild winters

The swans have landed.         In November, tundra swans succeed osprey as Chesapeake Country’s big new birds.     The snow-white swans average four feet in length and weigh between 13 to 20 pounds.     Tundra swans travel over 3,000 miles from above the Arctic Circle in Canada and Alaska, where they make their nests and babies. Upwards of 95,000 tundra swans winter in the relative warmth of the East Coast, from New Jersey to...

Three planets and the moon greet the dawn

The waning crescent moon rises around midnight at week’s end and is high in the south come dawn. By the weekend, it rises in the wee hours of the night. Look for it just one degree below blue-white Spica before dawn Sunday. The next morning the moon rises later and is just a few degrees away from golden Saturn. Tuesday it is a thin crescent in the east, just two degrees below Venus.     The moon isn’t alone in the pre-dawn skies Monday and Tuesday, as it aligns...

Children of the revolutions, we make them out of bits and pieces

After the war was over, the Founding Fathers must have been at loose ends.     Winning your independence from the past is one thing. Creating a future from scratch is entirely another. Like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution’s laid out a map of lofty principles. But if every step of daily life had to be invented anew to conform to those principles, revolutionary life would have been very existential.     It’s easier to change our belief...

Thank your lucky stars that your friends and family don’t resemble the people in

Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper: Hit and Run) is going through a rough patch. An undiagnosed manic-depressive most of his life, Pat got his diagnosis when he nearly beat the life out of his cheating wife’s lover.     To get beyond this violent outburst, he is remanded to a mental institution. Pat is more interested in getting his wife back — and getting her to lift her restraining order — than getting better. Instead of pills and therapy, Pat decides he needs to...