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The shells reminded me of the Star ­Spangled Banner. But these bombs were not bursting in air; they were hitting ships.

New mascot replaces PFD Panda

Telltale signs, and how to fight back

To experience our past, I had to travel to Argentina

Embrace the madness

Storm-displaced pelicans make themselves at home in Port Republic

Beyond tree branches and driving rain, Hurricane Sandy delivered flying surprises that prompted avid birders to describe her severe weather and blustery gusts as a productive storm.     “It is as if the entire Northeast were a giant snow globe that has been lifted up and shaken, with a variety of bird species being found far from where they were before Sandy’s arrival,” the website ebird.com reported.     I am forced to agree. Waking up to a...

You’ll need an airsick baggie for this one

When SouthJet Airlines flight 227 falls from the sky, some miraculous maneuvers from the captain save most of the passengers from death. Captain Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington: Safe House) is thrust into the spotlight as the media clamors to learn more about the hero.     The National Transportation Safety Board is more interested in finding out what caused the plane to take a nosedive in the middle of a seemingly routine trip. Especially of interest are toxicology reports...

Whet your Thanksgiving appetite this weekend at Whole Foods in Annapolis, where an array of traditional holiday dishes will be showcased on Saturday noon-2pm. There is no charge and no registration. Show up and enjoy samples of turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, corn pudding, pies, dips, relish and the like. Of course, you’ll be in the right place to start shopping for all those yummy dishes once you’ve been inspired.     Also at the Annapolis Towne Centre at...

Washington Writers’ Publishing House wants to give you $1,000

Writers and poets of the greater Bay Weekly area, here is your chance to see your best work as a book.     Storm Sandy pushed the venerable Washington Writers’ Publishing House annual deadline to December 1. Fiction writers and poets living within a 75-mile radius of the U.S. Capitol — in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia — thus gain an extra month to prepare manuscripts for entry in two annual book competitions.     Some writer-...

More Bugs: Soft-shell scale, mealy bugs, spittle bugs, spider mites and cyclamen mites

A number of insects feed unnoticed on houseplants until perplexing changes alert you. Yellowing leaves are often seen as an indication that the plant is hungry and needs a dose of fertilizer. Yellowing leaves can also mean soft-shell scale insects are feeding on your rubber tree, crotons, philodendrons or related foliage plants. In sufficient numbers, these insects can cause leaves to turn yellow and appear deficient in nutrients.     Look for scale insects on stems, veins in...

Look for Andromeda while waiting for meteors

The moon wanes through morning skies before reaching new phase in the nether hours between Tuesday and Wednesday. Before then, look for the waning crescent near brilliant Venus before dawn over the weekend. By early morning Sunday, a thin sliver of moon is just five degrees below the dazzling morning star in the east. If you have a clear view of the horizon, scan it for Saturn, reemerging from the sun’s glare. Monday before dawn, the ringed planet is a half-dozen degrees below the razor-...

You’ll welcome the light after two dark hours

Nostalgic for mudslinging yet? If so, you must see Colonial Players’ production of Sunlight, a thoughtful and well-acted tale of academic and family discord over post 9/11 foreign policy.     In essence, Matthew (Timothy Sayles), a university president, abhors the government’s stance on torture of political prisoners as interpreted and taught by the dean of his law school, Vincent (Jeff Sprague), his protégé and son-in-law. So enraged that Matthew allegedly breaks...

Plenty of gore and breathtaking power, but at 2¾ hours, it demands staying power

The online gore-ometer measuring gallons of blood spilled in The U.S. Naval Academy Masqueraders’ production of Titus Andronicus reached five gallons after opening night. With nine onstage murders, one rape, six dismemberments and one incidence of cannibalism, the midshipmen were determined to milk Shakespeare’s bloodiest play for every drop.     On Halloween weekend — as the players competed with the Academy’s annual Halloween concert and new Haunted...

It will make good memories for the months the company revamps

With Crimes of the Heart, Dignity Players closes a season devoted to love conquers all and adds a new dimension to its billing as “theatre for change.”     After wowing audiences for eight years without technical smoke and mirrors, Dignity Players is upgrading its theatrical infrastructure. Crimes of the Heart, a family drama, makes good memories to carry through the six months when the theater goes dark.     Beth Henley won a Pulitzer Prize for her...

New menu rates members of ­Congress on food issue votes

Marylanders we send to Congress are accustomed to getting sliced, diced and rated by the likes of the National Rifle Association and an array of business and labor groups.     But who is watching how members vote on vital food policy issues, such as hunger, access to nutrition, farm subsidies and, perhaps, the wisdom of wide-scale conversion to genetically modified crops occuring silently in our midst?     A lot of groups, but not until now are they pooling their...