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December 2012

AACo connects families in need to people who want to help

What if you could see the child’s face light up when you drop off a new toy? Or watch the worry slip off the faces of a family when you deliver a Christmas dinner they weren’t sure they were going to have?     The Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services’ Holiday Sharing Program has been matching people who want to help families and seniors during the holidays for 32 years.

These tropical plants demand warmth and sun

A tropical plant that originated in Mexico, the poinsettia is very susceptible to chilling temperatures. If you purchase your plant on a cold day, wrap it completely before moving it from the store to your car. Place it in a sleeve stapled at the top to prevent rapid heat loss and to keep cold air from blowing onto the plant. As soon as you start the car, turn on the heat to a comfortable temperature.

Barking up the Christmas Tree

As a field of expertise, Christmas trees — like medicine — has generalists and specialists.     Generalists decorate their trees with the collections assembled over lifetimes by inheritance, early childhood artistry, gifts and outright purchase.     Specialists prefer a theme.

Don’t get fooled by the email scam

Don’t let the emails fool you. There is no deadline to register your cell phone number to the national Do-Not-Call registry.     Every few years, an email comes around saying, “A directory of cell phone numbers will soon be published for all consumers to have access to. This will open the doors for solicitors to call you on your cell phones …”

An asteroid spawns the Geminids

Thursday’s new moon provides dark cover for this year’s Geminid meteor shower, which peaks that night and into the wee hours Friday. The Geminids are perhaps the best of the annual meteor showers, but because of December’s chill, many people haven’t truly appreciated them.

The Bay offers good action nearly year-round

Yesterday a cold rain fell for hours. Wind followed. Today came with heavy fog and a chill that banished any thoughts of getting out on the Bay for one last fling at the rockfish. As Jim Morrison phrased it, “This is the end, my friend.”     But it has been a good, even a very good, season. The 2011 winter of no winter segued nicely into an equally mild early 2012 season. It was a bit windy, but lack of rain and warm temperatures made early season fishing comfortable.

With lines straight from Charles Dickens’ own hand, Twin Beach Players’ third adaptation of A Christmas Carol is its most realistic performance yet, according to director and producer, Regan Cashman.     It’s also the most endearing, as Ebenezer Scrooge’s tale of redemption is told through the eyes — and mouths — of children. As the all-kid cast learn their lines, they consult with adults in the company to understand Dickens’ meaning and language.

By November 25, almost two weeks before opening night, Colonial Players’ musical A Christmas Carol was sold out. That amazing feat speaks to the power of Charles Dickens’ classic and to Colonial Players’ place in the traditions of its community.     Colonial’s homegrown Carol — with play and lyrics by Richard Wade and composed by Richard Gessner — debuted in 1981. This is its 29th incarnation.

The Master of Suspense would have made a ­better movie …

Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins: 360) was a great filmmaker with a lot of issues. He ate too much. He was pathetically dependent on his wife, Alma (Helen Mirren: The Door). Though their marriage was devoid of passion, he obsessed over the nubile blondes he directed. And, if Hitchcock is to be believed, he identified fully and had imaginary conversations with serial killer Ed Gein (Michael Wincott: A Lonely Place for Dying).     So Norman Bates has company.