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Flowers, Vegetables and Grasses for Fall and Winter

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How to freeze your rockfish

A season’s worth of sitcom plots in two hours

So far, every issue of 2011 has moved you

It’s been a good year. True, 2011 is less than two weeks old. But I believe in counting my blessings while they’re fresh. (Apparently, I also believe in musical clichés, as I’ve used two in 21 words. Eddie Fisher crooned Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep) into my teenage consciousness, where it stuck. Frank Sinatra did the same with A Very Good Year. Both are thick with syrup. So is the Ray Charles and Willie Nelson [!] Very Good Year version on my iPod, but I can’t...
Dear Bay Weekly: Thirty years ago, while living in West Berlin, I went on a shopping trip to East Berlin. Although I speak some German, I am not truly fluent. I call it survival level. In the train station where I had to make the mandatory exchange into East Marks, I also made a visit to the ladies rest room. Of course there was a line. By the time I was second in line, the lady ahead of me was arguing with the restroom attendant. When she moved on and I was first, the attendant told me that...
Dear Bay Weekly: My sister was in a very serious car accident where another driver hit her head-on about 20 years ago. She and her five-year-old daughter were both critically injured. My sister was also five months pregnant and lost her unborn baby in the accident. After recuperating from many broken bones and surgeries, my sister has donated (and continues to) gallons of blood to the American Red Cross to pay them back for helping save her life from that dreaded car accident. What my sister...

Pay it forward in 2011

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted –Aesop The truck driver approached the tollbooths on the Bay Bridge, laboring to maneuver his big five-axle rig into an open lane. Heavy traffic made it a tough job. An elderly couple approaching the toll lanes behind him saw his predicament and slowed, waving the trucker into their lane, directly in front of them. Catherine Noone, toll collection manager at the Bay Bridge toll plaza, has seen many people pay it forward —...

With the year comes new hope. Grab it now before it ages.

“You Catholics think you can do anything and then go confess,” said my Lutheran-reared husband as we watched the connivances in The Crime of Padre Amaro, a Mexican-made Academy Award finalist of a couple years back.  If you think I have anything more to say about religion or movies, guess again. Except to say that the New Year brings us all a bit of the kind of relief confession grants Catholics. I’d be going too far to imagine it’s the grace of God that washed over...

Even at their best, we can never see the full face of Mercury or Venus

While winter has just begun, we’re already in the process of reclaiming daylight, and Saturday marks a milestone when the sun sets at 5:00. Over the next month, the sun sets roughly one minute later each day. That same Saturday, daybreak arrives at 7:25, but alas, through January, it will come just a few minutes earlier each week.  Sunset reveals Jupiter in the south. Look for the waxing moon less than 10 degrees to the east of Jupiter Sunday night and to the west Monday night. By 10...

Discovering the truth behind everyday curiosities

A Gaggle of Geese What do a flock of political geese, an American flag and an uprising of religious symbols have in common? They’re all visible from Aris T. Allen Boulevard and all products of Jerry Blackwell’s creative self-expression. The flag, cross, crescent moon and star are nothing new. Bay Weekly begins 2011 with a series dedicated to explaining life’s little conundrums: the strange sights you pass on your way to work … bizarre lawn decorations that must have...

The Latest Addition to the National Zoo Has a Nose for Trouble

Born on the seventh of December, the latest addition to the National Zoo has already caused a fuss among the zookeepers. The giant anteater pup was found lying outside his mother’s cage with a dangerously low body temperature. The month-old cub was rushed to the vet, then given the all-clear to go back to his mom. “We’re not sure what happened,” says animal keeper Leigh Pitsko. “But he pulled through like a trooper.” He’s also learned his lesson. This...

With these plain English answers, you’ll know as much as the experts (Of course nobody knows if it will work)

There have been a lot of headlines lately about how we’re finally going to start cleaning up Chesapeake Bay. Most feature the non-word TMDL. Q What is this TMDL thing that everyone keeps talking about? A TMDL stands for Total Maximum Daily Load. It’s a fancy phrase for measuring and establishing limits on what’s polluting the Bay, specifically nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment. The primary sources of nitrogen and phosphorous are sewage treatment plants, farms and stormwater...

Good — and sometimes great — fishing in a cleaner Bay

One of America’s wryest philosophers, Yogi Berra, once noted that predictions were difficult to make, especially about the future. Despite his sage warning, I feel compelled to make some Tidewater prophecies for the New Year.  Fish Are Biting At last! A slight warming spell has freed many of the ice-bound tributaries, and the pickerel and perch are on the move. Lip-hooked minnows on a shad dart under a bobber will tempt them and relieve your winter doldrums — at least until...