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An extraordinary man must rise to extraordinary circumstances

Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor: Dancing on the Edge) was a man of fortunate birth. He wasn’t rich, or noble, just a black man born free in the time of slavery.
    12 Years a Slave begins with the family enjoying a normal life in Saratoga, New York, where Solomon takes odd jobs and his wife works as a cook. Known in the community, they believe that they have nothing to fear from whites.
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Even a partial eclipse can be blinding

The last day of October marks the mid-point between autumnal equinox and winter solstice, one of four cross-quarter days in the passage of the earth around the sun. The day has been recognized for millennia, celebrated as Samhein, The Day of the Dead and All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween.
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Every rockfish is good; now and again, one is extraordinary

When I planted the skiff’s Power Pole anchor on the remains of an old submerged jetty wall that snaked well over a hundred yards out from the shoreline, my face was numb from the chilled air and the fast run. My electronic finder said the water was four feet deep under the keel. But just off the rocks, it would read closer to seven. Not too much farther away, the bottom fell to 20 feet.
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Meet her at Barnes & Noble

Fans of award-winning author Lisa Scottoline have a treat this week. She’s coming to Annapolis for a reading and signing of her latest book, Accused.
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This week: installment one of three on ­striking out hunger

Reading Learning to Care and Give, Bob Melamud’s story for this week’s paper, kindles a spark of envy in me.
    Six-year-old Katie Asher is just beginning to understand the meaning of caring and giving, Melamud writes. Every morning she drops a can of food into the collection boxes at Davidsonville Elementary, where she is a first-grader.
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Despite excellent conditions, the Young of Year Survey is disappointing

Despite excellent conditions this past spring with plenty of rain and cool temperatures, the Young of Year Survey of rockfish reproduction success for 2013 is a very disappointing 5.6, well below the 60-year average of 11.7.
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With fewer tree nuts than in recent years, squirrels are going crazy

I’m under attack. Everywhere I look, squirrels are scampering up trees, toting nuts in their mouths, scurrying across my yard and darting in front of my car.
    The word squirrel was borrowed by the Romans from the Greek word skiouros, which means shadow-tailed. Ancient Greek naturalists found their bushy tails remarkable.
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Bakers Thomas and Pam Storm of Great Harvest Bread Company

What inspires you?
    We love all kinds of baked goods but particularly enjoy trying traditional breads from around the world.

What’s your culinary background?
    Thomas owned an ice-cream store in downtown Annapolis for 25 years before switching to bread.

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How many geri-action stars does it take to escape from prison?

No prison can hold Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone: Bullet to the Head). He’s literally written the book on prison security, breaking out of dozens of super max facilities to prove his point.
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The brightest Evening Star

Sunset finds Venus ablaze low in the southwest before setting by 8pm. There is no brighter planet or star, and so close to the horizon Venus can pulse and shimmer as its light is distorted by our atmosphere. Traveling close to the sun, Venus appears for at most a few hours either after sunset or before dawn. This led early civilizations to believe that the evening star and the morning star were two distinct objects....