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November 2011

The saga continues, but the jury is still out

You never know.         We never know, either, what’s going to catch your eye, invade your thoughts and, best of all, goad you to action.     This week it’s the mystery critter.     Which, you told us, may not be so mysterious after all.     We have been chuckling at your responses all week.     They came short and with certainty:

Road by road, broadband Internet is snaking your way

What are they doing on the side of the road?         They’re cutting trees and bush-hogging to clear a path. They’re trenching a couple of feet into the earth along roadways. They’re feeding bright orange conduit into those trenches. They’re threading fiber optic cable into the conduit. They’re bringing the world to your door, those men and women working inches from your speeding car.

The Kniskerns’ yard is a sustainable smorgasbord

The fifth of an acre where James and Mary Kniskern live in Arnold was about what you’d expect for a suburban dwelling: grass, azaleas, daffodils in the spring, pachysandras year-round. As you’d expect, it required the drone of a mower and sweat non-equity to keep it in shape.     “I didn’t like to mow,” says James.     But what was the alternative?

I can’t resist South Dakota’s 7 million pheasants

We hadn’t gotten a dozen yards into the thick growth bordering the harvested cornfield when the first rooster burst out — behind me. I whirled, shouldering my model 12 Winchester (circa 1929), swung through the bird and fired. The ringneck dropped like a stone.

If you want big blooms that last more than one season, you’ll need to dig deep

This is bulb-planting time. But if you plant tulips following the package instructions, the plant will reach its full potential only in the first year. That’s because those instructions were written for growing tulips in cooler regions. Here in Southern Maryland, tulip bulbs should be planted at least two inches deeper than recommended by the distributors.

Every so often, the planets align

This week is your last chance of the year to spot all five naked-eye planets, although it’s not easy pickings against the light of Thursday’s full moon.

Memorials and stories preserve our memories

Pilgrimages to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., are final journeys for many of the long-lived veterans of World War II. These elderly men and women from around the nation come every day of the year, but the days surrounding Veterans Day bring them in great numbers. The weather has been good to them this year, so they linger to ponder in comfort, seeing sights and refreshing memories beyond the imagining of one who has not shared them. Still, the atmosphere of the solemn place is charged with their presence, and history lives palpably.
In Take Shelter, Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire) plays Curtis, a blue-collar man who works hard to take care of his loving wife and deaf daughter. This tranquil life is shattered when Curtis begins having disturbing dreams about a coming storm.
Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In casts aside subtle drama for the glory of colorful, twisting melodrama. At its heart a mad-scientist story, the film follows Dr. Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) as he dives into obsession and insanity.

An ode to panache*

Cyrano, an original adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 classic, is given a new staging by the Theatre at AACC. The set, costumes, incidental music and minimalist staging all covey timelessness to the well-known story. Guest director Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski adds strong moments and concepts.