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Regulars

How to buy and treat your tree

      A fresh-cut Christmas tree is not necessarily a safe Christmas tree. An evergreen tree loses water from its needles as soon as it is cut. It will lose more water after you tie it to the roof of your car and drive 50 miles per hour. If you don’t care for that tree properly after you arrive home, it can rapidly become a fire hazard by the time you bring it indoors and decorate it.

Grief makes monsters in this funny, savage film

     In the seven months since Mildred Hayes’ (Frances McDormand: Hail, Caesar!) daughter was murdered, no progress has been made in the case. Furious, Mildred decides to shame the corrupt, small-town police department into action. She uses her meager savings to rent three dilapidated billboards on the lonely road to her home. 

Into gifts that can change lives

     I hope that you are among the fortunate who counted and credited your blessings in the company of family and friends all anticipating digging into the Thanksgiving feast.      I hope your dinner was rich with food and fellowship and wine, the latter if you’re so inclined.      I hope your harvest was good, whether gathered by hand from fields and Bay or from resources of later invention.

Watering to keep your plants happy 

     More houseplants are killed by improper watering than by any other practice. Here are three faults to avoid in growing indoor plants year-round or over winter.   Fault 1: Too little water       If you add only enough water to wet the surface of the soil, the soil in the middle and at the bottom of the pot will be as dry as the Sahara dessert.

Still playing after all these years? That’s relevance

   There are many reasons that theater classics are classics. In most cases, the reason can be described with one word: relevance. No matter how long ago a work of art was created, its relevance to the human condition makes it timeless. Such is the case with George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, in a funny yet sobering revival at Compass Rose Theater.

Good health or the Lemming Effect?

Charging into a nearly freezing body of water in the middle of the winter is a tradition for people around the world. Frequently, the plunge is made on New Year’s Day.     The first New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge is credited to Coney Island, New York, in 1903. Founder Bernarr Macfadden believed that a dip in the ocean during the winter could be “a boon to stamina, virility and immunity.” The Coney Island Polar Bear Club takes ocean plunges every Sunday from November through April, with the largest on New Year’s Day.

It all goes back to Hansel and Gretel

In one form or another, gingerbread has been popular since at least mediaeval times.     “Gingerbread was a favorite treat at festivals and fairs in medieval Europe — often shaped and decorated to look like flowers, birds, animals or even armor,” according to Smithsonian Magazine. “Several cities in France and England hosted regular gingerbread fairs for centuries.”

Where will he be on Christmas Eve?

Santa Claus is amazing. As you’ll read in this week’s paper, he can wear many faces and be in many places, all at the same time. So you’ll have plenty of opportunity to meet with him from now to Christmas Eve. Then Santa gets down to business, and where he’ll be when is of intense interest to every girl and boy.     It’s up to the North American Aerospace Defense Command to track his progress.

Coyotes yes, bears no

The region is home to many types of animals, but not many large predators. Historically, bobcats, cougars, bears and wolves lived in Chesapeake Country.     Coyotes are newcomers. The western species wasn’t seen in Maryland until 1972. Since then, they’ve expanded their territory to all Maryland counties. They’ve thrived in part because they don’t face much competition from other predators as we have no more of similar size.

In creating her business, Krista ­Sermon broke more than one ­tradition

Krista Sermon’s desire to cook simmered all through law school and beyond. She wanted to further her culinary skills, but she felt pressured to practice law. So for three years she kept at it, working one year in debt collection, a second in family law and a third in social services in Baltimore.     During her first pregnancy, she decided to listen to her heart.     “I saw that life was short and that I should spend mine in a way that I enjoyed, not just watching the clock,” Sermon said.