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Highway construction is a long and bumpy road

Solar, wind and energy-efficient upgrades on the way

You’ll have to be as high as Mike to enjoy this stoner comedy

There’s a lot involved in getting our kids to and from school safely

Joyless performances make for a bad day for moviegoers

As one who thinks Die Hard one of the best action films ever, I must with a heavy heart urge all fans of John McClane to skip this movie.     In 1988, off-duty cop John McClane (Bruce Willis: Looper) walked into an office Christmas party and became a terrorist-killing legend. Twenty-five years later, McClane has dispatched baddies in office buildings, airports, the burroughs of New York and the streets of D.C.     The fatigue is starting to show.   ...

Colonial Players’ two-person show Trying will surprise you in a good way

Trying will surprise you in a good way. Colonial Players is promoting this delightful two-person show as a work rich in history and contrasts, and it is. It is also a love story, refreshingly sweet and platonic.     Judge Francis Biddle, a national and international statesman, needed a personal assistant as he gathered his memoirs and responded to requests for information on the Nuremberg Trial, which he presided over, and the Japanese Internment of World War II, which he had...

As Anne Arundel replaces a flawed county executive, it’s time to rethink how we hire our top leaders

On a scale starting with your favorite Valentine chocolate and dropping to a shot of syrupy cough medicine, where would you rank county government?     Most of us, I fear, don’t place it in a heart-shaped satin box.     Certainly not many of us who live in Anne Arundel County, which is one of eight of Maryland’s 23 counties governed by an executive.     In the best of times, county government is medicine you’ve got to take. It...

What if the cure is worse than the disease?

In our world of Zoloft commercials, it’s become easy to believe that popping a pill will magically end your depression. What happens if those Prozac promises turn out false? What if there is no magic pill for your mental malaise? What if that magic pill makes you worse?     Emily (Rooney Mara: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is a fragile woman in need of help. She lost her friends, her husband and her accustomed life to an insider-trading scandal. Now that her husband is...

Bay Gardener helped found an ­industry on nature’s fertilizer

For every job, there’s an association. Every association has heroes lauded for having discovered how to do the job better. The Bay Gardener, Dr. Francis Gouin, has just been enrolled as a hero of the U.S. Composting Council.     This month, Gouin received Hi Kellogg Award in recognition of his outstanding service to the composting industry in research, teaching and promoting the use of compost by nursery and greenhouse growers and by home gardeners.     ...

In the literary economy, poetry is an art more in supply than demand. Nearly everybody writes poetry, or so it seems. But who reads it?     Little kids love its melody and meaning, but by high school it’s force-fed. Most of the rest of us take it, often in the form of Hallmark verse, to help us express emotions for which we seem to have no words of our own.     It takes a clever poet to sneak in under our defenses.     When a poem catches...

Our match was made, not born

“Count these records,” said Charlie after introductions.     The year was 1969. The records were five-inch vinyl-printed cardboard squares recorded by our candidate in the Northern Virginia district where I lived with my parents. The square records would be dropped off at every house to deliver his campaign message.     Hundreds were loose in each big three-foot-square box. I started counting. I was fairly nimble at age 26, but the older lady next to...

Good news: You can upgrade your love template

People seem friendlier. Colors are brighter. Food tastes better. The world is transformed with shimmering newness.     What causes the rush of good feeling we call romantic love?     Scientists have learned that lovers are literally high on drugs. Natural hormones and chemicals flood their bodies with a sense of well-being, as the brain releases neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin as well as endorphins and enkephalins. These produce a rosy...

Consider your space as you plan your vegetable garden

For the best harvest, plan before you plant. Crowded plants that have to compete for light do not produce a good crop and often have disease and insect problems. Here’s how I plant my garden to give each plant the best chance.     Sweet corn should be planted in blocks, not single rows. Four to five short rows of sweet corn sown six to eight inches apart in two-foot-wide rows will produce higher quality ears due to better pollination.     Such crops as...

Blue herons return for Valentine’s Day

The great blue heron’s return to Chesapeake Country and consequent mating occurs mid-February, bestowing these majestic birds the nickname, lovebirds.     “Their local nickname, along with love birds, is Johnny Crane,” said Mike Callahan, president of Southern Maryland Audubon Society.     Herons, however, are not cranes. Cranes fly with necks extended straight, for example, while the herons’ extended necks follow an S-curve. Heron stalk...