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July 2013

These doses of summer fun, taken daily, will cure even the deepest shades of summertime blues

I’m gonna raise a fuss, I’m gonna raise a holler About a workin’ all summer just to try to earn a dollar … Every time I call my baby, and try to get a date My boss says, ‘No dice son, you gotta work late’ … Sometimes I wonder what I’m a gonna do But there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues. –Eddie Cochran  

Masters of acrobatic antics

Snapping a spine under their thorax helps Eastern eyed click beetles turn right side up. It also gives them part of their odd name, which describes the loud click made by their flipping maneuver.     The eye in the name comes from the two white eyespots on the tops of their upper bodies. These eyes make the beetle look a bit like the head of a snake, to scare away predators. If that fails, it has a couple of other tricks.

Join in to be a part of history

You’ve proudly hailed the Star Spangled Banner by many a light, including the twilight’s last gleaming.     This summer you can get closer, as the revered 30-by-42-foot flag commissioned for Fort McHenry in the summer of 1813 is restitched in replica.     Stitching begins on Independence Day at Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine, where Francis Scott Key saw, through the rockets’ red glare, that our flag was still there.

Find him — and prizes — in Annapolis

The famous children’s book character in the striped shirt and black-rimmed specs is visiting Annapolis this month. He — and his look-alikes — are hiding in 25 local businesses. Spot him to win prizes.

There’s good science to my advice

My annual recommendation for lawns is cut it tall and let it fall. To understand why cutting height makes a difference, consider that each blade of grass is a factory.     A tall blade of grass contains more chlorophyll and is capable of manufacturing more sugars and other metabolites than a short blade of grass. When you set your lawnmower to cut your grass no less than four inches, each blade remains a bigger factory, capable of manufacturing more of what it needs for good growth.

It’s the dawn bite that pays off this time of year

July is here, and with it the heat waves that inevitably mark summer on the Chesapeake. Ninety-plus degrees with a blazing-hot sun will slow the fish. Even if it ­doesn’t, that sun can make being on the water after high noon uncomfortable if not unhealthy.

It’s not enough to break the heat

If you’re up Friday or Saturday morning before dawn, look for the waning crescent moon low in the east-northeast. Friday look for the bright star Aldebaran, the heart of Taurus the bull, positioned just above the two points of the thin crescent, while farther to the north are Mars and Jupiter just reemerged from behind the glare of the sun. Saturday morning, the dwindling sliver of moon is just a few degrees above the two planets.

Are you prepared?

Plan a parade in Chesapeake Country, and odds are it will be rained on.     How many times did you fall back to Plan B this weekend? Did your picnic stay al fresco? Did your crab feast rush inside? Did thunderstorms cancel your day at the pool? Keep your boating dreams high and dry?     Do fish bite in the rain?     Living as we do in the age of wacky weather, we’re getting used to settling down to Plan B.     In some areas of life, I’m well prepared.

How to be nine people’s favorite thing

[title of the show] is a musical about two men writing a musical about two men writing a musical. Think of seeing M.C. Escher’s optical puzzles dramatized.     At Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, you’ll see the clean version. Apparently there is also a racier adult version.

A gender-bending twist gives raunchy life to a buddy-cop comedy

Special agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) is good at her job. She’s a wealth of information, always on top of her investigations and can find stashed drugs faster than the K-9 unit. Unfortunately, what Ashburn boasts in brains she lacks in people skills. Half of the FBI wants her to fail; the other half avoids her.