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The very thirsty Silvery Checkerspot

Summer after summer, you’d hear of some unlucky swimmer, waterman or shellfish eater. Then it happened to me

Antiques may yield arts center — someday

Dale Thomas, proprietor of Nice & Fleazy Antiques in North Beach for 42 years, is in the early stages of planning his exit from the densely packed store that’s a must-stop on every antiquer’s list.     “I have made it quite public for a long time that I think this would make a perfect center for performing arts,” says Thomas.     “But as for anything immediate, it is not.”     Thomas gives two reasons that...

In 2011, the terrier was king of the box office

If you want to stand out in movies, never work with dogs or children. This Oscar season, however, films featuring terriers are racking up the nominations.     First popular in screwball films of the 1930s, such as The Thin Man and Bringing Up Baby, terriers dropped back to the relative obscurity of television shows such as Fraiser and Wishbone.     Now, the breed seems to be making a comeback, appearing in three of the biggest award-season films of 2011. In...

Not in natives; Mother Nature knows what she’s doing

Several readers have expressed concern that the warm winter will cause plants to flower and grow. There is no need to worry about native plants in our climate initiating growth or flowering before spring.     Mother Nature took all of these factors into consideration when selecting plants that belong here. In our climate, native plants start preparing for winter in mid-August. Growth begins to slow, scales grow to protect the vegetative buds through winter, and spring-flowering...

From the movies to your own tales

Ah, we’ve already used up one of the irreplaceable months this no-longer-quite-so-new year gives us.     Which brings us to Groundhog Day, that frivolous-seeming cross-quarter day whose significance in the forward march of time hides behind a furry hibernating mammal.     We’re great fans of the frivolous. In the words of Jeff Thompson, “It is what it is; might as well have fun along the way!” (I’ll remind you who he is in a few...

Yellow perch are here

Daylight hours have been getting longer, yet most days, temperatures keep us in winter. But the yellow perch know that their springtime is here.     Moving now into the deeper water of the tributaries, they are forming large schools and staging. Yellow perch are the earliest fish to spawn in the Tidewater, and their run is the first trumpet sounding the Bay’s piscatorial spring.     Called yellow neds, ring perch or just plain neds, they are one of the most...

It’s all how you divide the year

The first week of February marks a seasonal milestone, as the sun hovers midway between its southernmost point above the Tropic of Capricorn on winter solstice and its position above the equator on vernal equinox. If you think of the year as a compass with the equinoxes and solstices the four cardinal points, then this cross-quarter day — one of four — represent the ordinal points, dissecting our seasons.     Cultures around the world from the earliest days of...

Liam Neeson proves old dogs can learn new tricks

There are movies like The Artist in which every shot is an exquisitely composed tableau. And then there are movies like The Grey, where Liam Neeson (Unknown) bare-knuckle boxes a giant Alaskan timber wolf.     My job as a reviewer is convincing you that both sorts can be enjoyable and worth your hard-earned money.     Neeson plays Ottway, who has the manliest job since gladiators went out of style: He is a professional wolf killer. Before I get a letter from PETA...

Superb casting, sumptuous costumes, stunning sets and whimsical dance can transcend even the flimsiest plot

Remember Nelson Eddie and Jeanette MacDonald singing Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, At Last I’ve Found You in their 1935 debut film, Naughty Marietta?     No?     How about Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein?     Ah, I thought so.     Now Opera AACC proves that a dated classic can overcome parody. I didn’t expect to like this contrived operetta, the overblown fluff of my mother’s classical record collection. I was...

Anyone who is human or has ever been in love finds themselves reflected in these characters

Twin Beach Players have staged Theater at the Beaches since 1997, when the traveling nomads in search of a home debuted with A Christmas Carol.     In 14 years, they’ve brightened life at the Beaches. All with never a home of their own. And at prices lower than you’d pay to see a movie.     This Valentine’s season, the Players want to exchange Valentines with you. Their Valentine to you: Love Letters and a Southern Maryland dinner. In turn, the...
   Azure          Fresh, local and sustainable have become bywords. But you might still be surprised to find native translations in a nationwide hotel chain: In that, Azure at the Annapolis Westin Hotel, takes the lead under the direction of chef James Barrett.     “I keep as local as possible,” says Barrett, a local guy who grew up on Chesapeake Bay in Fairhaven. “I buy with a touch of Maryland. That...