view counter

February 2012

Our sister planets are at peak display this week

This is a week for watching the planets. Mercury is emerging from the glow of twilight in its best appearance of the year. Higher above, Venus and Jupiter are drawing together on their way to an incredible conjunction. Mars reaches opposition and is at its largest and brightest for the year. Saturn’s there, too, a golden sentinel visible from 10pm until dawn.

Fortune favors the relentless

The fish were big and fat: two limits of golden-yellow perch that barely fit into a large bucket. What a haul! Beautiful, healthy fish, most over 12 inches and a few that exceeded 14. Unfortunately they weren’t ours.     Angling friend Ed Robinson and I spent the day chasing that gold and just missing it. Starting out fishing from the Millington shoreline on the perfect cusp of a flood tide beginning to fall, we were told we should have been there yesterday.

This root is easy to grow, but ­processing it is tearful, hard work

If you’ve been smart enough to plant horseradish, your reward is at hand. Now that the tops of the horseradish plants have died back to the ground, it is time to dig up the roots and make horseradish with a kick. Add fresh homemade horseradish to cocktail sauce, horseradish sauce or your favorite baked beans, and you’ll feel that kick.

There’s a thin line between straightforward and uninteresting

Modern thrillers are typically bogged down with fantastical plots, unnecessary twists and red herrings. Gone avoids most of these pitfalls with a simple thriller plotline that’s easy to follow. In doing so, it becomes a boring potboiler.

Scary forces fight for souls, all in elegant bodies

A tonic to warm up the blood would do good in these heavy days of Pisces, where we’re stuck till the first day of spring. You’ll find it at Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s double feature, The Firebird and The Scarlet Letter, this weekend only at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.     Don’t do ballet? Dianna Cuatto, artistic director since 2003 of Maryland’s only professional ballet company, gives you reason to stretch out of your comfort zone.
When we last checked on The Volvo Ocean Race, the 15-ton, 70-foot-long boats were safely in Abu Dhabi — after hopping a stealth freighter to avoid pirates in the Indian Ocean. Leg 3 begins with the usual in-port race in Abu Dhabi, home of the boat in second-to-last place, and continues to Sanya, China, home of the boat in last place.

But proposed registration increases need tweaking

Fishing and boating on Chesapeake Bay are among Maryland’s great attractions. But you’ve got to pay to play.     The list of what needs doing is long and constant:

If you say no new taxes, what are you willing to give up?

Where’s the money coming from?         If you haven’t asked that question this week, you’re in the 99 percent.     And here come Uncle Sam and Uncle Peter, reminding us that tax day is just around the corner.

Teen Ania Kelly knows how to handle herself in the big show

At 16, Ania Kelly has already mastered the art of the leash. The Dunkirk teen took top prize in the Junior Showmanship competition at this year’s 136th Westminster Dog Show, pairing with her English cocker spaniel Wizard to best over 100 competitors.     A five-time veteran of Westminster, Kelly is a third-generation handler.

These contests need writers

You have a story to tell. It’s the image that stays with you, whether you want it to or not. It’s that anecdote you tell at parties that makes people say, you ought to write that down.     Your story could be a winner in more ways than one. Maryland is fertile ground for budding authors, and writing contests abound.