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September 2012

Discovery is half the fun in 2nd Star’s Bloody Murder

The marquee outside the Bowie Playhouse is only slightly exaggerating in promising You’ll Die Laughing at 2nd Star Productions’ season opener, Bloody Murder. This is far and away the best non-musical I’ve ever seen under this roof. A creative new show from a new playwright, it’s just the thing for audiences who like to think outside the box and appreciate brainteasers, puns and Brit-bashing.

Plants of the Chesapeake Bay
 

In Plants of the Chesapeake Bay, John Hopkins University Press has just published what I consider the most comprehensive and well-illustrated field guide. Lytton John Musselman and David A. Knepper’s 217-page book has outstanding color pictures and descriptions of wildflowers, grasses, aquatic vegetation, trees, shrubs and other flora. It also organizes the plants in communities within the Bay region.

The cocktail party conversation turned to local seafood snobbery. Several big-name restaurants highlighting seafood had opened and closed rather swiftly. McCormick & Schmick’s and Real Seafood (both in Annapolis) failed, it was decided, because they thought they could do seafood better than we can.

Saltwater visitors add to the fun

The autumnal equinox is not yet upon us, but fishing patterns are already changing. September 22 marks the date when the length of day and night are briefly equal, 12 hours each of sunlight and dark.     Because the earth’s axis is tilted in relation to the sun, the big bright orb will soon be transiting ever lower on the horizon and our days will be getting shorter, the nights longer. This will bring less of the sun’s energy to the northern hemi­sphere. Thus the chill of fall begins.

Gita is my recommendation

A Bay Weekly reader complained to me that she has not been able to harvest string beans all summer long.     First, I reminded her that saying string beans is showing her age. When I helped my mother prepare green beans for canning, I had to snip the end followed by pulling a long green string from the inner curve of the bean. Strings have not been a problem with green beans for the past 45 years, and the name was changed to snap beans.

The Milky Way is waiting overhead

The moon wanes to new phase Saturday the 15th. While you may be able to see a razor-thin cresecent low in the east before sunrise Friday, the moon won’t reappear until Tuesday, low in the west for less than an hour after sunset. But given the chance, you’ll want to catch it, forming a wide obtuse triangle with Saturn slightly higher to the right and Mars higher still to the left. The next night, the scene repeats itself, except the growing moon is now the highest point of the three.

Better living through science

Frank (Frank Langella: Unknown) has lost a few steps over the years. His body aches, his kids never visit and his memory is failing. He occupies himself by walking to the library to hit on the sexy librarian (Susan Sarandon: That’s My Boy) and wandering into a soap store that used to be his favorite diner. His son Hunter (James Marsden: Straw Dogs) is tired of dealing with his cantankerous old man.

Three novelties and one old favorite

Returning to school and work after the Labor Day weekend, you’d think food news would be about lunchboxes and crock-pot recipes. Not so in Chesapeake Country.     Food events this week are about novelties plus the return of an old favorite.

This $6 million, custom-built ­vessel from Anne Arundel ­County soon could be dodging pirates in search of giant marlin

We should hope that Mantra, the 88-foot sportfishing yacht from Weaver Boatworks, about to depart Tracy’s Landing for some of the world’s most dangerous waters, avoids the perils of the last Mantra.

Dunkirk tractor pull seeks 2K for Johns Hopkins

Pullers, start your engines.         Pullers from across the state, some farther, are rallying to that call on Sept. 15 for the sake of sport and to raise money for Johns Hopkins Pediatric Oncology.     Sport came before cause for the Chesapeake Garden Tractor Pullers, of Dunkirk. The sport: pulling 3,000 pounds as far as their garden tractors will let them.