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Lend an ear for the D.C Baltimore Cricket Crawl

It’s a symphony out there. The players are crickets and their cuter green cousins, katydids.     Their instruments are their wings, specifically the tooth-covered stridulatory organ thereof, rubbed one against the other. Males play this instrument to attract females and repel other males.     Katydids, plant eaters, come in 6,400 species worldwide. Crickets, omnivores, are far fewer in species, with 900.     How many are playing near you we...

A comedy for adults masquerading as a horror movie for children

Young Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee: Dead Europe) isn’t very popular with the living. He’s obsessed with zombies and horror movies, awkward with kids his own age and an embarrassment to his family. But he can talk to the dead, so he’s never alone. He spends his days chatting with his departed grandmother, petting the spirits of road kill and waving to the many dead souls that line the streets of his neighborhood.     Norman lives in Blithe Hollow, a small...

Get a soil test, and I’ll write you a free prescription for what to do next

If your lawn is just so-so and you want to make it look like a professional lawn next year, now is the time to take action.     A soil test of the existing lawn is of utmost importance. A good lawn requires a pH of 6.2 to 6.8 with medium to optimum levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. If the appearance of your current lawn is uniform, then only one sample should be adequate. However, if the front lawn is better than the side or back lawn, submit samples for...

$2.9 million needed for commercial fishing checks and balances

Where’s the money going to come from?     Legislation passed this year (House Bill 1372) mandates that Department of Natural Resources’ program management costs for commercial fishing operations be covered by funds generated in that sector. Fishfinder   There is no good news on rockfish. When located, stripers are reticent to bite. Trolling is the best method with limits of middling rock possible, plus some bluefish in the 16- to 18-inch range. Croaker...

Can you track down Neptune?

Thursday and Friday offer the best chance to track down the only planet never visible to the unaided eye: Neptune, the most distant planet in the solar system since Pluto’s demotion to planetoid status several years ago.     Neptune comes closest to earth on the 23rd, while the 24th marks the planet’s point of opposition, when it is opposite the sun, as seen from our skies, with earth smack-dab in the middle. That night, Neptune rises in the east at sunset, peaks...

A World War II B-17 seeks passengers for flights over Baltimore

This is what flying feels like.     I’m soaring 1800 feet above Chesapeake Bay in a plane that 70 years ago housed soldiers — and 50 years later actors.     The Liberty Foundation is touring with the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 built in World War II. Restored to replicate the original Memphis Belle, it’s one of 13 B-17 still flying.     The Liberty Foundation travels from city to city, raising awareness for World War II veterans...

When ­disaster strikes, these dogs are ready for work

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 earthquake hit the capital city of the poorest county in the Western Hemisphere, dumping 19 million cubic yards of rubble and debris on Port au Prince, Haiti, and its people.     Two-year-old German shepherd Racker, of Eastport, rushed to the disaster, along with search-and-rescue dogs from France and Mexico.     Racker worked at night over deep voids traversing a bridge made from a wrought-iron scroll fence. Search-and-rescue dogs like...

Resources for companion animals and their humans

Volunteers make Anne Arundel and Calvert Counties animal- and people-friendly communities. Here’s where to go to rescue an animal, find affordable care for your pet or help out. Anne Arundel County Rude Ranch Animal Rescue Center     This no-kill shelter’s mission is to find loving and permanent homes for any adoptable animal, to rescue feral cats and to help with low-cost spay and neutering. 3200 Ivy Way, Harwood 410-798-9559; www.ruderanch.org SPCA of Anne...

Pups pose and plunge for the cause at family-friendly festival

Mindy Nelson admires the spirit of the thousands of charity-minded fundraisers who cast their warm bodies into the frigid waters of the Bay for Special Olympics every January.     “I thought, wouldn’t it be fun if dogs could do that?” says Nelson, fundraising and event coordinator for Anne Arundel County’s own Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.     But she preferred warmer weather for the dog day and family festival that...

To bring Teddy home, this old dog had to learn new tricks

My pledge never to have another pet didn’t last a year.     My favorite dog died of congestive heart failure last July. No more pets for me. My heart can’t stand the loss, I pledged. I still shed a tear when I remember Damien, my black Pomeranian.     By February, an empty feeling invaded again. Time for another pet. This time I pledge to save a life.     Never having had a rescue dog, I visited the library for books on dog ownership....