view counter

Solving the mystery of Beethoven’s greatest work

      B — as in Bach, Beethoven and Brahms — is the most revered letter in music. One of the three great Bs, Beethoven, devoted five years to the works of another B composer, B as in so-so, like a B actor.        Prolifically ordinary Austrian composer-turned-publisher Anton Diabelli (Mark T. Allen) wrote a little patriotic waltz and invited his most famous peers to contribute variations for a self-promotional anthology. If Beethoven’s (Greg...

Research is what you call it when you’re not catching

      Thumbing the spool, I cast my lure just off a placid riprapped Chesapeake Bay shoreline. The morning had been perfect for surface plugging to cruising rockfish: The tide was in flood stage, there was little wind and the water was 66 degrees. Yet there were no fish.       Having just worked about 50 yards of rocky shoreside with my favorite popper, a black Smack-It, I switched to a Rat-L-Trap-type lure in gold, a sub-surface producer. The three-quarter-ounce...

Mulch now, and let the flowers form

     If you sheared your azaleas any time after August 15, expect very few flowers on those plants next spring. Flower bud initiation, which begins at the tips of the new growth, happens in late August into early September. Shearing the plants too near that time will not allow sufficient new growth for flower buds to develop. As daylight hours shorten, plants are shutting down to prepare for the cold winter months.      If your azaleas have a few wild shoots...

The innocence of childhood and the realities of poverty come together in this beautiful drama

     Six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince: Robo-Dog: Airborne) is a happy girl. She lives at the Magic Castle motel with her mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite in her screen debut) and spends her days exploring along Florida highways. The hotel has become temporary housing for poverty-stricken families, and Moonee watches fights, crimes and life dramas with fascination.      The girl knows how to scam ice cream from strangers, snatch prime donation items from the church...

What about yours?

     Everybody’s got a book in them?      Maybe so. Certainly we’ve all got stories. But the difference between a story and a book is getting it done.      Many, many hours at a keyboard stand between most of us and that destination. That’s after (actually, before and during, too) the spinning roulette wheel of all the stories that could be told stops on just one. Then you’ve got to figure out where that story starts. Then...
Local Businesses Guide to the Rescue Your guide to local business is a real treasure trove.  Having all this in one place is so much handier than the little ad clippings that clutter my fridge and desk. I’ve gone through and marked all the businesses I’ve used in the past and the ones I plan to use, starting with Dunkirk Kitchen and Bath, whocame out the week I called to help me solve my kitchen redesign. Do it more often. And I encourage more merchants to sign up! –...

Tested and true lures and bait

     Drifting to the edge of the channel in my skiff, I had my eyes glued to the electronic finder screen. A glance over my shoulder assured me that I wasn’t getting in the way of anyone navigating through the area, so I released a little more fishing line and felt the one-ounce sinker below continue its tap, tap, tapping contact over the shell-strewn contours. Perfect.      Watching the numbers increase as the bottom fell away, I tensed as it descended...

Mulch, mowers and weed wackers can be murder on trees

     I was recently called to diagnose the cause of death of some large dogwood trees. While visiting the site I also noticed that several maple trees and an ash tree were exhibiting dieback of branches. Closer examination of the stems near the ground indicated the bark had been destroyed.      When I asked the owner if he used a lawnmower to trim the grass around the plant, he assured me that he has never bumped the stem with the mower. He preferred using his Echo...
A clever premise and charming leads make the year’s best Halloween scare
      Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe: Tater Tot & Patton) has a terrible birthday. She wakes in a geek’s room after a night of drinking. She’s late to class. A glass of chocolate milk is spilled on her head. Then she’s brutally murdered.       Good thing she gets to wake up to try the day over. And over, as she dies each new day. Finally, she decides to stop her serial killer dead.      As Tree investigates the many people who...
SPCA to keep holiday tails wagging
     Lights on the Bay, the annual holiday display at Sandy Point State Park, has a new producer.      For 22 years, Anne Arundel Medical Center created the two-mile drive-through light show. Now Anne Arundel County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals takes the reins.      “We were just not giving Lights on the Bay as much time and attention as we wanted and as it deserved,” said Jan Wood, president of the Anne Arundel...