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Seizing life’s moments while dreaming of summer days at camp

Listen up to tease plot from prattle

Loaded with two charming leads, this movie doesn’t quite pull off its con

One man is the difference between life and death for creatures great and small

Oh, the creatures we’ve seen

Join the fight for dark skies

The waning crescent moon rises ever later in predawn skies this week. Friday it appears before 3am, and by 5am it is well placed above the southeast horizon, forming a tight triangle with golden Saturn to the right and red Antares, the heart of Scorpius, below. The ringed planet stands above the scorpion’s head, one degree of its uppermost, second-magnitude star Graffias.     By Monday the moon is a thin crescent low in the southeast at 6am. If skies are clear and you have...

A cacophony of noise and colors for youngsters

The secret to the harmonious life of the ocean town of Bikini Bottom isn’t friendship, love or understanding. It’s the Krabby Patty. The fast food treat is so addictive that the residents of Bikini Bottom can’t live without it. So when Mr. Krab’s (Clancy Brown: The Flash) secret formula for the Krabby Patty goes missing, the town falls into chaos. To prevent a Krab-induced apocalypse, fry cook SpongeBob SquarePants (Tom Kenny: Adventure Time) teams up with his nemesis Plankton (Mr. Lawrence:...

You’ll get feeling as well as fun in this play on why actors do what they do

The quality that 2nd Star Productions brings to its big musical productions is exemplified not only by sold out houses but also by recognition among its peers. 2nd Star last month received 21 nominations from the Washington Area Theater Community Honors, a local collaborative of amateur theaters that judge each other’s shows and present awards in March. Only one of those nominations is for a non-musical, A Soldier’s Story. The majority were for the highly acclaimed Hello Dolly and Children of...
Andrew Irwin Leventhal and I plunged into the 37-degree Potomac River while the air temperature was 38 degrees. We dressed in matching black Washington Capitals hockey jerseys as Andrew enjoys following the team.     Because of high tide, strong winds and recent rains, there was no beach to plunge from. The 200 or so plungers had a narrow entryway over boulders and muddy water.     I screamed the entire time.     After changing back into warm...

The Groundhog’s movie guide will get you through to spring

The seasonal turn we reckon by poking half-hibernating rodents to wakefulness has roots deeper than the groundhog’s burrow.     In the midst of winter, February 2 marks the season’s turning point. Light is advancing at dawn and dusk.     Life is stirring down in earth’s depths, where the groundhogs sleep.     But in this clime, the liveliest we’ll get for the next six weeks — when spring makes it official — is...

Six more weeks of winter? Let it snow.

At first it shone fresh in memory, the gold filigree earring formed on a redbud leaf bought for me by my husband on a book tour visit to Nebraska’s Arbor Day Farm, where good practical environmentalism pairs abundantly with good food. But in the cold days and weeks after I lost it — after I’d searched coat collars, scarves, carpets and car crannies —it faded into forgetfulness.     So its reappearance months later on the bulletin board of my post office...

Getting to the roots of woody plants

Did you know that when the stems of an oak tree are growing in the spring, the roots are not growing? Conversely, when the top of the plant has stopped growing and has stopped producing new leaves, the roots initiate growth. It’s the same with most woody plants. Most are unable to grow at both ends at the same time.     In the spring, the stems and leaves are elongating and unfolding, while the roots are busy providing them water and nutrients. At maturity, the full-sized...

Rabbits make a fine test for hounds and hunters alike

On a cold, crisp morning, ice crinkled underfoot in the brushy field. Clear, dense air carried the clamor of some 25,000 snow geese feeding on a field a half-mile away.     Then, over that waterfowl music, a hound’s howl broke out about 25 yards in front of me. My guess was that it was Junior, a five-year-old beagle that was part of my good friend Charles Rodney’s experienced pack of rabbit dogs.     Seconds later, Junior’s soulful wail was...

Lovejoy awaits at the edge of sight

Lovejoy awaits at the edge of sight The waning gibbous moon rises around 8pm Thursday, with Jupiter high above it. Between them is the blue-white star Regulus of Leo the lion. Sunday the moon rises around 11pm, with the white star Spica 10 degrees beneath it. As daybreak approaches Monday morning, the two are even closer together high in the southwest. That evening the moon rises just before midnight, and now it is the one trailing Spica. Before dawn Thursday the 12th, the now-crescent moon...

What would you do if you lost yourself?

Forget The Conjuring and Paranormal Activity. The most bloodcurdling movie of the last five years is a quiet drama about a brilliant woman slowly losing everything that matters to her.     Dr. Alice Howland (Julianne Moore: Mockingjay Part I) is a linguist, professor and sought-after speaker. The fiercely ambitious woman raised three children while climbing to the top of her field. She wrote the seminal textbook in linguistics, teaches a popular course at Columbia University and...