view counter

Help push our Maryland Day Celebration into the future

St. John’s College grad Ahmet Ertegün made good — very good

Vote bracket by bracket for the Live ­Science champion

Shoes and books for two good causes

Pickerel don’t mind the weather

Mars and Venus together at dusk

An ever-so-thin sliver of moon appears low in the west at evening twilight Thursday briefly before sinking beneath the horizon. The Evening Star Venus blazes above and to the moon’s left, with much fainter Mars just above Venus.     Sunset Friday finds the two-day-old crescent moon within two degrees of Venus and Mars, all so close they easily fit within the eyepiece of binoculars and modest backyard telescopes.     Come Saturday evening, the moon is...

It’s the most important link between you and your fish

Working at sports stores has given me a long-term look at a critical and often overlooked item of tackle: monofilament fishing line. Taking your line for granted can lead to very unfortunate results.     Monofilament fishing line was developed more than 75 years ago by DuPont Chemical Company as a spin-off of nylon, the first synthetic plastic. Those early efforts produced stiff, springy lines that had too much memory, tangled easily and were brittle.     Braided...

Some bloom only in short days; ­others, only in long days

Did you know that in many plants, flowering — and bulbing — is based on the number of hours of exposure to light?     This fact of plant biology explains many mysteries. Understand it, and you’ll be a smarter and more successful gardener.     If you expose a chrysanthemum or poinsettia to more than 11 hours of light each day, it will never flower. The triggering mechanism that forces these species into flowering is exposure to no more than 10...

These spies could use some sensitivity training

There aren’t many gentlemen in Eggsy’s world (Taron Egerton: The Smoke). His stepfather is an abusive criminal, his friends are petty thieves and his mother refuses to let him leave home. When a stolen car and a high-speed chase through London land Eggsy behind bars, the outlook is bleak, until Harry Hart (Colin Firth: Before I Go to Sleep) shows up.     Hart has the pull to get Eggsy sprung and charges his dropped. Hart, it seems, has always felt the need to repay...

These romantic dishes are like love itself — delicate, intimate, complex, daring

Valentines Day is an opportunity to luxuriate in romance and fine dining. Romantic dishes are often much like love itself — delicate, intimate, complex, daring. Both, properly nurtured, can result in sumptuous rewards.     These recipes for Valentine Day dinner derive from French dishes that feature elegant ingredients and rich flavors. Many of the ingredients have special significance in the language of love. Preparation is for two.     Each amply rewards...

This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count needs your help

The drakes are displaying, showing off their splendid colors, their best dance moves. Cardinal and Carolina wren pairs cavort; the chickadees are singing. Love is in the air.     You can learn about the birds, if not the bees, this Valentine weekend in the 18th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, February 13 to 16. Citizen scientists all over the world help the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada by counting birds in back yards, fields,...

Kids draw natural gas hero Captain Mercaptan

Three methods are most likely to turn on the light bulb in the minds of elementary school youngsters: Use cartoon characters. Enlist the kids on projects. Reward their results.     To turn the light on safe use of natural gas, Baltimore Gas and Electric — the oldest gas utility in America — is waging a trifecta.     “BGE has a long-standing commitment to ensuring public safety and supporting educational initiatives in our communities,”...

Start with a little resveratrol, add tryptophane …

My mother was not always right.         But in hitting the nail on the head, she had far better accuracy than I credited.     A woman who believed she could do anything, she invested even more of her capital in cooking than she did in looking good. And she looked very, very good.     The way to a man’s heart is his stomach, she advised.     Ohhh mother! I scoffed, for that was back in the day when I believed...

Turn that manure into compost instead of applying it to fields

The new governor of Maryland has made a major error in allowing poultry farmers to continue applying their phosphorus-laden chicken manure on land that is already overloaded with phosphorus.     What the chicken farmers and the governor are ignoring is scientific evidence that clearly identifies excessive levels of phosphorus in soils as the cause for phosphorus-induced trace element deficiencies, lower yields, lower nutrient values and Bay pollution.     The...

Yellow perch are climbing the rivers

The yellow perch run is on. It may seem early, but small male yellow perch have been caught in a number of locations around the state for over three weeks. That can only mean one thing: The bigger fish will show up any time — if not already.     These yellow neds are on the move, swimming to the headwaters of Bay tributaries to spawn.     Driven by increasing daylight and temperatures, the scent of their natal waters and mysterious Mother Nature, this...