view counter

Articles by Sandra Olivetti Martin

You’ve got too much to do, and it’s our fault

Oh my aching back!    
    I blame it on Bay Weekly’s Home and Garden Guide. Last week’s 16-page Guide combined with fine spring weather for a weekend of joyful outdoor labor at the Martin-Lambrecht household. Now we’re both moaning.
    As well as winter’s ravages, we had a quarter-century of our own mistakes to undo. So this year’s campaign for Yard Beautiful began with the arrival of a landscape designer. That’s the Guide’s fault, too, for without it calling on professional help might never have occurred to me. But with the designer came a plan beyond my fondest dreams.
    Saturday morning husband and I jumped right in. Wet heavy leaves were raked, bushes clipped, trees pruned, weeds dug, rocks carried, mistakes amended with shovel and saw — and all that and more just to get ready for one small section of The Plan.
    By Sunday dusk, we figured out that our Yard Beautiful plan detailed everything but the labor required to carry it out.
    Collapsed in a heap on Sunday night, I returned to the Guide. This time I was looking for the help I’d need to catch up on everything neglected and imagined, from a clean house to washed windows to fresh paint to a plumber. Not to mention many new shrubs and plants plus a few boulders and most certainly a spa for aching bones.
    In that reading, I learned what the Guide was missing. Where were the massage therapists? Where were the remedies for aches and pains? And where was dinner, for I certainly didn’t have the strength left to cook?
    Bay Weekly came to my rescue. Every one of those necessities I found in the rest of our pages.
    The new paper you’re reading now, thank goodness, has Maryland Disc Institute advertising on the back cover. Next week I expect to need Dr. Hodges’ services, for the weekend forecast is perfect for more lawn and garden work.
    That’s the trouble with a good newspaper: in it you can find everything but the time to do it all.
    In that sense, this week’s paper has way too many siren calls, in stories, 8 Days a Week and advertisements.
    Here’s the Pride of Baltimore II, reinforcing the siren song of the water. Heed the call of boating, as I’m just about to do on a much smaller scale, and there goes the time you’d devote to your home and garden. Here this very weekend is the Bay Bridge Boat Show, where — unless I resist — certain trouble awaits.
    Then, just next weekend, it’s opening day of the Trophy Rockfish Season, when much of the population of Chesapeake Country turns into fishing zombies.
    There’s more. Under your eyes and at your fingertips are upcoming Easter events, parades and egg hunts, religious experiences and feasts.
    There’s the Naptown barBAYq coming May’s first weekend. Plus SPCA’s Walk for the Animals that same weekend.
    With all these calls on your days far into the future, it’s a good thing spring’s sun sets early, for how else would you find time to see Colonial Players’ production of Bat Boy. Reviewer Jane Elkin reports it’s the most extraordinary theater experience ever to come to Chesapeake Country.
    Close your newspaper quick, before you’re tempted any further. If your life is filled with the pain of too many good things, blame it on Bay Weekly.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Expert advice at no charge — and expert help to restore your home and garden

If your home and garden look like mine, we both need help.
    Winter 2013-’14 has kept us on the defensive, fending off its blows. There’ve been drafts to keep out, fires to keep burning, limbs to duck, snow to shovel, salt to spread, ice to scrape, birds to feed, falls to heal, floods to staunch, floors to mop … and that’s just my list. I bet you can add a lot more.
    Keeping winter from knocking you down takes just about everything you’ve got. Progress is just keeping up.
    Then, when the glacier recedes, you see the mess it’s left behind. Paint scraped, trees gnarled, shrubs mangled, mud amuck, tire tracks embedded, pansies flattened, only the occasional crocus to color the scene winter’s made. Raking and renewing becomes a primal drive. Plans bloom like the coming spring. This, I tell myself, is the year of my ideal garden. No more false starts and wrong turns. This year I’m going to get it together. Call in the landscaper. Bring on the housepainter. Seek out the power washer. Who knows a tree trimmer?
    And that’s just outside.
    Inside, home has the damp, dim feel of a cave. It’s time to air and scrub, paint the walls that look so dingy in the light of spring and hang fresh curtains, store the furnishings of winter away and change the season, carry out the lawn furniture, fire up the grill and hope for warm days.
    Can you fit it all in your evenings and weekends?
    As you reclaim your home and garden from winter’s ravages, there are people who can help you.
    When you want help getting a job done, these Bay Weekly advertisers are the people I hope you’ll turn to.
    I say so for good reasons.
    First, they’re the people who bring you Bay Weekly. Without the support of their advertising, there would be no paper in your hands. Your business is the thanks we can give them together.
    The second good reason: They get the job done. They’ve been tried, tested and approved by many of us on the Bay Weekly staff.
    The third good reason: They’ve got answers, you and I have questions — and Bay Weekly knows the way to bring the two together. If you garden or even grow houseplants, you already know that Dr. Frank Gouin, the Bay Gardener, will answer any question you ask him. Expert advice at no charge is the third good reason to read on and make the acquaintance of the home and garden helpers featured in these pages.
    The deal is so good that I’ll say it again, repeating my introduction to Bay Weekly’s Home and Garden Service Directory, the special 16 pages inside this week’s paper:
    Through Bay Weekly, you can turn to these experts for answers to your questions.
    Whatever you want to know, ask. I’ll pass your questions along to the right expert for answers. Then I’ll send the advice to you. Finally, I’ll share it with all our readers in our next Home and Garden Guide.
    We’re waiting to hear from you: editor@bayweekly.com.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Shop New American Beagle ­Outfitters

Do you look like your dog?    
    Do you want to?
    French bulldogs, hairless Chinese cresteds, pugs and chugs may give their human companions second thoughts on cultivating the legendary cross-species resemblance.
    Dressing like your dog, and vice versa, may be a better option. That’s the apparent thinking behind American Beagle, the dress-alike campaign debuted this month by American Eagle Outfitters, the niche retailer of casual clothing for the 15- to 25-year-olds.
    “Your dog’s style is another form of expressing your own, and we are thrilled to bring American Eagle fashionable looks to our pups with the debut of American Beagle Outfitters,” American Eagle style director Preston Konrad was quoted as saying in a March 24 press release.
    American Beagle collection was released online modeled by 16 dogs in sizes small, medium and large. Styles are geared to men and women who are invited to “shop this look” to find matching human clothes.
    Beguiled shoppers awaiting the spring debut are invited “to sign up for the waitlist and receive 20 percent off American Eagle purchases, with $1 per order benefitting the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.”
    Viewers can also “show off your own #AEOstyle,” posting pictures of their dressed up dogs.
    An accompanying “dogumentary captures the inspiring journey of the doggy-human clothing line from ideation to creation.”
    See for yourself at www.ae.com/dogs.
    Or it is a mocumentary?
    Neither American Eagle nor American Beagle Outfitters returned Bay Weekly inquires about the new collection. Buzzfeed couldn’t get confirmation either.
    “New American Beagle Outfitters line is probably an April Fool’s joke,” reports The Consumerist, a blog overseen by Consumer Reports.
    Too bad for you, but your dog’s rejoicing.

Meet Helen Tawes and Dawn Lindsay

History months — whether February for Black History or March for Women’s History — strike me as being as much about the march into the future as the march from the past.
    That’s my excuse for commemorating Women’s History Month in our pages as March 2014 marches into history.
    I don’t know about you, but I find it easier to relate to the people of the here and now than people in the past. The great thing about my job is that it brings me into touch with so many real people. Each one has a story that opens a window on history, and I get to hear those stories. Sometimes I ask, for that’s my job, but just as often stories that want to be told come seeking me out. If I’ve heard your story, I remember it, and I cherish it.
    For this Women’s History issue, I sought Dawn
Lindsay, president of Anne Arundel Community College. I hadn’t met her and was curious to, as I’d interviewed Lindsay’s predecessor, Martha Smith.
    Part of the lure is that college president is not an accidental job. It’s a choice — as Lindsay will tell you in her own words, as you read our interview. Women of deliberate and notable achievement have prominence in Women’s History Month, whose point is the achievements we’ve made, often against the odds. The odds in their favor are why men, at least white men, don’t get a special history month: History was written about them.
    Just as much, however, I wanted to talk to Lindsay because I liked the flash in her smile as I’d seen it in pictures. She looked friendly, as she indeed seemed in our hour and a half together, where her energy filled the room. She also looks pretty womanly for a college president, attractive, fashionable and a center of interest in the we-can-have-it-all style pioneered by Michelle Obama.
    I had a serious subject, as well: jobs and living wages — the two big national issues of this decade, in my book — and the role community colleges play in helping people get there. That’s a story dear to my heart and one I know a bit of first-hand, as I began my career teaching writing in a community college.
    Still, it was the person I wanted to meet. The stories of women in the here and now, like Lindsay, are the bridge that makes me able to travel back in time to appreciate the stories of women who’ve been making history all these centuries. Living women give those in history back their vitality, showing them as people beyond their causes.
    Anne Arundel, our county namesake, became a wife at 13 and gave birth to nine children before her death at the age of 34. Her marriage to Cecil Calvert, our colony’s founder, made her name live on. The obligations of her short life make her story poignant, especially to women.
    Helen Avalynne Gibson Tawes, who you’ll meet
in these pages, also earned her fame through marriage, hers to a governor of Maryland rather than a colony proprietor. But her abilities, including in the kitchen, where writer Emily Mitchell introduces her playing politics, make us wish we knew more of her.
    My point is simple: Women stay women, complexly human, no matter what their achievements. That’s how I like to know them. Nowadays we’ve got a college president named Dawn. That’s quite an achievement.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

If it’s right, the EPA needs to hear from us

This week we celebrate Maryland Day.    
    It’s a great thing to live in a state that knows its past and keeps it alive in legend, song, story and opportunity.
    Our feature story, Time Out from the March of Time, guides you to dozens of ways to experience segments of Maryland’s 380-year history, right in the places where history lives on.
    We’re also a state that puts great thought into our future. Smart Growth, renewable energy, restoring the Chesapeake are all on our agenda.
    With such good intentions, detailed in so many plans and agreements, I’d like to think we were getting our future right.
    But every good idea has opposition that calls it bad.
    And every step forward is countered by steps back.
    What’s a person to believe?
    Often, knowing what to believe takes science, analysis and judgment beyond our reach.
    So we take the word of others, forming our beliefs on faith.
    When I make that kind of a leap, I feel safer when I follow link by link along a strong chain of reasoning.
    That’s how I felt reading the Citizens Bay Agreement.
    Even though the Citizens Agreement calls the EPA’s 2014 draft Chesapeake Bay Agreement “fundamentally flawed.”
    That’s a conclusion I’d rather not reach. Now that the EPA has the authority — conferred by the president — to set standards and sanctions for all of us in the Bay watershed, I want us to get it right.
    I was initially willing to consider the bad news of fundamental flaws because of my faith in the integrity and expertise of the environmental leaders making the claim. (Even if they are all men.)
    The executive council making the charge includes former Maryland senators and Bay champions Gerald Winegrad and Bernie Fowler; former governor Parris Glendening; former congressman Wayne Gilchrest; Patuxent Riverkeeper Fred Tutman; Bay scientist Walter Boynton; Bay chronicler Tom Horton; and Bay gadfly Howard Ernst.
    The guys also did their homework, analyzing not only what was in the draft but also what was not. Indeed, all the major problems seem to be omissions.
    “Together with other fatal flaws, the omissions of polluted runoff from farms and stormwater and the failure to even mention the major threat of population growth and sprawling development, sadly makes the current draft a nothingburger,” said Winegrad.
    The Bay Agreement a nothingburger?
    It’s pretty easy to pick holes. We editors do it all the time. The rest of the job is coming up with fixes.
    The Citizens Plan proposed by this executive council and seeking signatures of readers like you and me proposes a 25-step action plan. The steps are grouped in six categories based on the EPA’s alleged omissions: 1. Significantly reduce farm runoff. 2. Control development. 3. ­Protect forests / Plant trees. 4. Upgrade septic systems. 5. Clean air. 6. Improve wastewater treatment plants.
    Will it make as much sense to you as it does to me? You won’t know till you read it: www.bayactionplan.com.
    I hope you’ll add that intellectual investment in our shared future to your celebration of Maryland Day. The Citizens Plan is brief enough to leave you plenty of time to go out and enjoy Maryland Day fun this weekend, when the weather forecast is good. It’s deep enough that it will give you plenty to think about whatever the weather.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Are you listening?

If the unusually chill nights of February and early March 2014 kept you fireside, you may have missed the first peeping of spring. Last weekend’s warming temperatures opened human ears, frog throats — or both. The peepers are calling from a wetland near you. If you haven’t heard them yet, you soon will.
    Those tiny frogs are but one of our amphibian harbingers of spring. Wetlands are home to a host of frogs and toads, creatures that not only signal the welcome news of warming weather but also “act as environmental indicators for factors that could negatively impact ecosystem and human health.”
    Amphibian’s “important role in the health of ecosystems,” adds Rachel Gauza, is one good reason to join in the preservation of the creatures. For they are endangered, with “one third of the world’s amphibian species currently facing the largest mass extinction event since the dinosaurs,” said the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ education and outreach coordinator.
    As frogs and toads awaken from estivation, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ FrogWatch USA goes to work.
    With our abundant wetlands, we of Chesapeake Country are ideally positioned to join the Watch. As citizen scientists in the cause, we sharpen our ears, spend a few precious minutes listening near wetlands and report what we hear.
    You’ll register your observation site and enter data on a new web platform developed with the National Geographic Society where you can see your results alongside those of volunteers throughout the country.
    “Seeing your observations reflected online in real time and comparing them to others adds a whole new element to what was traditionally an outdoors-only program,” says Shelly Grow, the Association’s director of Conservation Programs.
    If you love what you hear, you can go further. Maryland has only three FrogWatch chapters — in Howard County, Ellicott City and Frostburg University. Anne Arundel and Calvert county are waiting for you.
    Start with learning more about FrogWatch USA at www.aza.org/frogwatch.
    Register for training at the Smithsonian National Zoo on Sunday March 16, April 6 or April 20. All training programs run from 3 to 6pm: neffm@si.edu.
    Get a preview of frog calls www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/Plants_Wildlife/herps/anura/fieldguide_OrderAnura.asp.

Read on; dreaming is ageless

For generations of kids, summer was what you wrote home about. For the week or two of camp — even the whole expansive summer for the lucky ones who lived on the water or traded inland homes for once fashionable boarding houses — you might as well have been in heaven, were it not for the sea nettles.
    Those times have never ended.
    This week, Bay Weekly shows you how, where and when the kids in your life can continue the tradition. With or without jellyfish.
    We created this week’s Summer Camps Guide in the spirit of seed catalogues. Whether you plant a garden or not, you can enjoy seed catalogues for beauty and variety. Whether you have kids or not, you can romp through these camps for fun, as writer Michelle Steel and I have, savoring the experience of armchair camping.
    It’s so readable that we’ve restructured this week’s paper so the Guide can be pulled out for future reference. Calendar has moved up to the front of the paper to accommodate it. Find Sporting Life, Bay Gardener and Sky Watch in the back of this week’s paper.
    Have kids? Read with them and dream. There’s so much to be made of this summer that you’ll wish you were the kid instead of the parent. Kids from toddlers to teens can learn to swim, sail and paddle; ride a horse or act like an Oscar winner; climb a rock wall, row a boat, sing a song or create a masterpiece. You can sharpen your brain, build your muscles or strengthen your game — in most any sport. You can train with midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy or go to college early at Anne Arundel Community College or the College of Southern Maryland. Field trips all over Chesapeake Country and beyond add to the fun at many camps.
    If you’re in the right age range, you can share in the fun no matter what your abilities or disabilities. We’ve made special effort to include camps for every taste and person.
    Wherever you live, you’ll find many choices within your commuting circle — on the Bay, on rivers and creeks, at yacht clubs and boat docks, in pools and at beaches, in parks and recreation centers and schools public, private and specialty. Our Camp Guide is organized by geography, so your dreams don’t take you too far from reality. A few camps offer bus service from local elementary schools; with those you can widen your dreamscape.
    Most of our listings are day camps, ranging from half to full days. But don’t shorten your dreams. You’ll also find overnight camps and camps offering both options.
    We’ve written each listing as a tempting overview. For prices and full details, check the camps’ websites. Some, especially city and county parks and recreation camps, are surprisingly affordable. One — Game Plan Camp sponsored by Mount Zion United Methodist and other Southern Anne Arundel County churches  — is free. For others, you’ll have to break open the piggy bank.
    In making this Camp Guide, we’ve tried to turn every stone. No doubt we’ve missed some; let us know for our Last-Minute Summer Camp Guide in May — for all who aren’t early birds.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Put in the right hole, our money — and effort — makes a difference.

As winter hangs on like a bad cold, my hibernating nature has sought no bigger decision than whether to devote the 9pm Sunday hour to Downton Abbey or True Detective.
    Yet in the wider world, big stuff — actual transformative change — is going on. So I’ve poked my head out of the burrow to take a look.
    Bob Melamud — who doesn’t make hardship weather a stay-home-from-work excuse — reports this week on promising news on oyster restoration. He tells us that findings in Florida and Virginia suggest we’ll get results from at least some of the money Maryland has poured into the Bay to restore our hard-working, many-skilled native oyster.
    His subject in “Maryland’s $6 Million Shell Pile” is the use of fossilized oyster shell to sustain new generations of oysters — not to mention their many lively associates — in Harris Creek on the Eastern Shore.
    Harris Creek is one piece in a big picture. An oyster sanctuary, it’s part of the 25 percent of Maryland’s productive oyster bottom now set aside for oysters to grow for the Bay’s sake rather than for harvest. Sanctuaries, too, are part of a bigger picture of oyster restoration.
    In other parts of the picture, people are making plans for native oysters’ future, a horizon we’d about given up on just a few years ago. Raising oyster seed. Raising oysters from seed on their piers to stock sanctuaries like Harris Creek or in their own communities’ waterways. Collecting empty oyster shell from packing houses and restaurants.
    And learning how to farm oysters as aquaculturists, helping create a new oyster economy and new oyster appetites while taking the pressure off wild oysters and adding their filtering power to cleaning up the Bay.
    All those separate actions and many others are painting a rosier oyster picture than we’ve seen in many years. Action by action, they’re adding up to the magic of transformative change, in economy and ecology. 
    It’s about time, as well, for reporting some good news about Maryland’s Watershed Protection and Restoration Program. All the bad-mouthing we’ve heard makes the Rain Tax seem like the worst thing that’s happened since the Flush Tax.
    Let’s hope we’re so lucky. Because of the dedicated funding source affectionately known as the Flush Tax, we’re working house by house and water purification plant by plant to keep toilet water out of the Bay.
    Under the Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, we take responsibility for our hard places — roofs and driveways and streets — by paying our share to reduce their bad effects on the Bay.
    County Executive Laura Neuman — who on taking office promptly vetoed the Anne Arundel County Council’s decision on how to make the plan work — is now putting our share of the fee to work by hiring the right man for the job. At South River Federation, Erik Michelsen captured stormwater in creative ways all over his watershed. Now his expertise is benefitting us countywide.
    At the same time, Neuman’s creating an advisory Stormwater Fee Committee of citizens “to have a seat at the table on issues that affect them.” That’s the best place we can be, and I’m rooting for my neighbor Mike Brewer, an environmentalist in practice and policy, to take one of those seats.
    Like restoring oysters and improving water purification, holding back the polluting torrent of stormwater is part of preserving our future. Don’t believe the naysayers. Making a difference is up to us, and we’re doing it.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Every love story has to start somewhere

Love is a quest we all have in common.
    But where to find it? Ah, that’s the question.
    Every story in Bay Weekly’s now 21-year-old annual Valentine’s Day perusal of life and literature’s great theme has touched on that question.
    Don’t look to this year’s pair of love stories to break the rule.
    The quest is the adventure of “Winking at Mr. Darcy,” pseudonymous writer Liz Bennet’s chronicle of her one-month trial of Match.com.
    Our second, “For Better through Worse,” is a story of love’s promise fulfilled. In it, writer Marilyn
Recknor chronicles the indomitable love of Mike Kinnahan for Debbie Gurley in their 16-year shared battle with her metastatic breast cancer. You’ll learn in passing, however, that they met at a support group for people newly divorced.
    For love to flower, disparate paths have got to cross. The intersection is often a point of shared interest — even obligation. The high school or college campus. The circle of friends. The church group. Best of all, a wedding.
    Nowadays, love’s intoxication pushes many seekers of love into the roulette of electronic matchmaking.
    Are the odds better? Who knows? Stories of matches made online are regular reading in the wedding pages of The Washington Post and New York Times. Early in this century, Bay Weekly’s Louis Llovio found Petra online, beginning a still-playing love story [www.bayweekly.com/old-site/year04/issuexii07/leadxii07.html].
    Those, of course, are only the successes. Our Liz Bennet is still looking for her Mr. Darcy.
    Maybe she needs to spend more time in bars.

Love over Cocktails
    Bars are where my story begins.
    Mother was a waitress in the Mark Twain Hotel in St. Louis when Dad made dropping by his routine. “Marry him,” her immigrant mother advised. “He’ll take good care of you.”
    They were married in a priest’s parlor and feted by Grandmother Olivetti with good Italian cooking and homemade wine. Their honeymoon was a car trip to New York, with a rider along to pay for gas. They’d found his ride-wanted note posted on a bus-station bulletin board. “This was 1941,” Mother explained. “And your father was like that.”
    For the next quarter-century, they made their lives and living in bars. When Dad served a couple of years in the Navy, Mother earned enough in the free-spending war economy to shuttle between St. Louis and Key West, where Dad spent an easy war as a shore patrolman. At the same time, she was supporting me and her mother- and grandmother-in-law. Some leverage from the GI Bill and a small inheritance helped them buy the Stymie Club in 1948 or ’49. Business was good, if marriage wasn’t.
    Divorced, they stayed business partners. At the Stymie or the other bars they and their crowd frequented, both met a succession of new partners, including a spouse or three.
    Some of those years we lived upstairs above the Stymie, a supper club and cocktail lounge, and I grew up with my eyes and ears open. Customers were regulars. The same small-businessmen who took a long drinking lunch every day stayed for afternoon cards and came back for dinner, with their family if they still had one. In the off-season, pro-football players doubled as bartenders, and the same winsome women with off-the-shoulder dresses and good perfume sat at the bar every night. The crowd was young — 20s to maybe 50 — and energy was high and hot and infectious, though I didn’t recognize the hormones at the time. I saw them all fall in and out of love, and I listened in on the women’s stories of intoxication, hope and broken hearts.
    Mother dated the handsome golf pro with Robert-Wagner hair but married the ex-Marine who had the looks and build of Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity.
    Dad had so many girlfriends he bought Christmas presents — one year it was alligator purses and shoes — in threes. But he fell hook, line and sinker for the hotel manicurist who happened in one night. “I saw him fall,” Mother said. “He was like a puppy dog.” That was not a description that would have otherwise suited my father. That marriage lasted. Mother’s didn’t.
    Mother’s great love, a short and stocky man she never married, had roots in those days. So did her third husband, “a clean old man” she accepted and took fierce care of after she’d given up hope of the kind of love that lights your fire.
    I never fell in love in our supper club and cocktail lounge. But my mother gave me my first wedding reception there. A month later, the Stymie Club closed.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Bay Weekly’s 17th annual Mid-Winter Movie Escape will see you through

A lot about February makes a person want to nestle with a good movie.
    The groundhog’s advice is good: Burrow deep, leaving temperamental winter to howl through its moods. In the era of Netflix, successor to Blockbuster, we enjoy our escapism in the comfort of home. Pisces stands between us and spring, and what can we expect from the winter water sign of the Zodiac but the full spectrum of wintry mix delivered in wet sheets of rain, bullets of hail, ice showers of sleet and feet of snow? Bring on the movies! Hence our 17th annual Mid-Winter Movie Escape.
    You won’t lose yourself entirely because this year’s movies are tagged to Dates to Remember. February 6, when the issue hits the streets, is the date the great game of Monopoly came into play in the year 1935. Hence three of this year’s movies — The ­Seventh Seal, Clue and Jumanji — feature great games, under the heading Do Not Pass Go.
    February 7 is opening day for the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. When your television is not tuned to the winter games, you can Go for Gold with three movies in the Olympic spirit: The Cutting Edge, Miracle and Cool Runnings.
    A popular day, February 6 was also wedding day for Beach Boy Brian Wilson. This year’s Good Vibrations category warms you up for Valentine’s Day with a heart-wringing trio of love stories: Casablanca, The Painted Veil and WALL•E.
    The little month of February has room for a couple more commemorations. We bow to black history month with three movies honoring the black experience: Carmen Jones, In the Heat of the Night and Love & Basketball.
    February is our month of presidents, too. The Buck Stops Here with three presidential movies: Dave, The American President and The Contender.
    Our final category remembers 2014 as the centennial of the beginning of World War I, the war to end all wars. The Great War has inspired great movies. Our three picks: Wings, The African Queen and Joyeux Noel.
    To guarantee you variety in taste as well as theme, the Mid-Winter Movie Escape is the work of no one person. Assisting movie critic Diana Beechener were film fans Dotty Doherty, J. Alex Knoll, Bob Melamud, Marilyn ­Recknor, Elisavietta Ritchie and Heidi Schmidt.
    As February is tough on fishing, Sporting Life columnist Dennis Doyle has joined in the fun, with recommendations for four fine fishing movies to watch when you can’t wet your own line: Captains Courageous, To Have and Have Not, The Old Man and the Sea and Salmon Fishing in Yemen.
    We’ve given you three weeks’ worth of movies to help you wait out winter. But as we all know, the groundhog promises six — not three — more weeks of winter. We hope we inspire you to do us one or two better in each category. Watchers all, writers and readers are waiting for you to help us fill out our winter nights. Send your picks to editor@bayweekly.com.
    For my Mid-Winter Movie Escape, I’ve set up a nest of pillows and blankets close enough to the fireplace to singe me, and likely the dog and cat, too. Left to my own devices, I’d not be going any place soon.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com