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October 2012

Yes, it’s scary. My nails prove it.

Twin Beach Players works Gothic magic recreating Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in North Beach Boys and Girls Club’s gymnasium. On opening night, the 14-year-old community company sent a full house back in time to 1816, into Dr. Frankenstein’s madness and Arctic ice.     From the front row, I watched every detail, biting my nails. I’d have none were it not for Tyschka’s hilarious Grandmother, a welcome relief from the sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat dramatics and horror.

Add witches broom to your ­Halloween hunt

A Bay Weekly reader asked if I had seen an odd-looking pine tree growing on the west side of Rt. 4 about a quarter-mile south of the Patuxent River Bridge.     It’s a witches broom, and I have been admiring it for at least 10 years. The tree is some 20 feet tall and grows on the edge of the woods about 100 feet from the side of the road.

Not by my math

By now I’m sure you’ve heard the news. The 2012 rockfish spawn was a disaster: the lowest on record.     Last year’s warm winter followed by unusually low rainfall and high water temperatures in the spring set the stage for a .90 Young of Year count. That number means almost no yearling rockfish survived from this year’s spawn.

No goody bag needed

As the sun sets Friday, see if you can spot Mercury dangling low against the southwest horizon before it too sets within a half-hour. While fleeting, this is Mercury’s best evening apparition. At this point, Mercury is at its greatest eastern elongation, meaning that, as seen from Earth, the innermost planet is its farthest to the east of the sun, in this case 24 degrees. Even at its best, Mercury is a tough target, often easier to spot scanning the horizon with binoculars.

Skip Smith has been makeup man for presidents and celebrities. But ­monsters and ghouls are his passion, which he shares in Twin Beach ­Players’ ­production of Frankenstein

“This is all you get,” Skip Smith tells me, drawing the gauze-covered prosthetic from the Walmart bag. Dark and empty sockets stare at me for the second before Smith re-seals the bag. To see the mask Smith had created for Twin Beach Players’ Frankenstein (now playing in North Beach), I had to brave the little shop of horrors of his St. Leonard home.     Monsters are Smith’s favorite subjects to work with, above even Audrey Hepburn and U.S. presidents.

Grants and historians revive this old conflict

At two centuries distant, the War of 1812 is unlikely to sweep away your sons, sink your boat, burn your barn or your nation’s capital. It will, however, invade your consciousness. It’s inevitable.     With $1.5 million in Star-Spangled Banner bicentennial grants, war memorials will be popping up all over Chesapeake Country. Twenty-two projects in 14 counties (and two statewide) will use the matching grants to enroll the War of 1812 in our memories.

If you can’t wait to know more about 1812, you’ll have your chance at month’s end, when skirmishes at Herring Creek are commemorated.

Spa Creek Conservancy treats to get your business

Water running off your roof, downspouts and parking lots into the roadways and storm drains is bad for the Bay. So bad that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ranks urban runoff and storm-sewer discharges as Public Enemy Number Two for America’s estuaries.     Stormwater runoff could be bad for your business, too.

Green Annapolis collects at Boat Show

Annapolis looks less like a circus now that the U.S. Boat Shows — and their tons of waste — are packed up.     This year was the first time that recycling routed waste. At 25 ecostations across City Dock, visitors found greener choices for recycling. At each station, a green 50-gallon bin collected paper, plastic, metal and glass while a red bin collected trash for the landfill.

Open this winter as remodeling is postponed

There’s lots to love at Calvert Marine Museum.