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In its 4th year, the Annapolis Irish Festival draws an ever-larger crowd seeking Celtic music and heritage

Two past winners illustrate the magic of make-believe

Creativity comes out to play in Twin Beach Players’ Kids
Playwriting Festival

Talent Machine’s young actors are rehearsing for life

Summer’s darlings, winter’s pests

Fish recipes from the Chesapeake

Hot-blooded Marylanders hoping for icy reception

The frostbite swimming season began January 1 with barely an icicle.     At 43 degrees, Chesapeake waters were cold. That was the common report from plungers at North Beach’s New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim.     “It was so cold I could only go up to my waist,” reported Lizzie Woolsey, newly of Huntingtown. “Brian stayed in 10 minutes,” she said of her soldier husband. Six-year-old Mayhem James waded in up to his knees.  ...

Bird artists flock to 2012 competition

Duck stamps have been preserving marsh and wetlands for waterfowl since the Great Depression, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the federal Duck Stamp program to support the purchase of land for national wildlife refuges.     Maryland adopted that good idea in 1974. In 38 years, our state Migratory Game Bird Stamp Design program has earned around $5 million from the sale of the stamps to hunters and collectors. This year’s $9 fee buys hunters the right to...

Out with the old, in with the new

Winter has been kind to us. I said farewell to the old year drifting under the Bay Bridge in calm and temperate conditions, catching (and releasing) a few fat five-pound rockfish.     Our weather was so unusually mild during the last of 2011 that the water temperatures in parts of the mid-Bay rose three degrees. Judging by the 10-day forecast, into January I can still hold off on winterizing my skiff.     A white perch fish fry may still be possible. But one...

Heat and steam mean the microbes are working

The temperature in the middle of my compost pile ranges from 90 to 120 degrees. I measure using a compost thermometer with a 14-inch stem. The height of the pile has been shrinking rapidly, with the center sinking faster than the edges. Temperature and shrinkage tell me that the microbes are feasting, changing those leaves, weeds and grass clippings into compost.     Heat is a by-product of composting, as is carbon dioxide and water vapor. Dig into your compost pile on a cold...

Would you believe it’s our shortest season?

Thursday brings two celestial milestones: it marks the latest sunrise of the year and it marks perihelion, earth’s closest point to the sun.     Intuitively, you might expect the closer to the sun we are the warmer the weather. However, the three million miles difference between perihelion and aphelion — our farthest point from the sun in July — is not near enough to account for the changing seasons. Instead, earth’s 231⁄2-degree tilted axis brings...

A New Year’s lesson

When the clock struck 12, pushing Saturday, December 31 into Sunday, January 1, in that moment it was thinkable that a new you would rise from bed and into the world on New Year’s Day. Not too early that day.     A lot of energy rises from that possibility.     That’s the kind of energy that propelled three or four hundred people into the 43-degree Bay at 1pm sharp New Year’s Day for North Beach’s Polar Bear Swim. I say 300 in this week...

How many dysfunctions can you cram into two hours?

To say that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a dark film is like saying Ted Bundy was a bad date.     Rape. Beatings. Sexual sadism. And that doesn’t even cover the murder mystery at the heart of the film.     A close adaptation of author Stieg Larsson’s equally graphic and disturbing mystery novel, director David Fincher’s (The Social Network) Girl shows you the bowels of humanity in every one of its darkly beautiful frames. Fincher’s...

A new approach to winter cheer

The writing in Becky’s New Car is very funny, the Bay Theatre actors very talented. Still, it’s all in service of making adultery funny and survivable with no damage done.     Becky — wife, mother and car dealership office manager — juggles work, family, a college son still at home. She’s content except for wondering if there’s more to life. One late night at the dealership Walter enters her life. He buys nine cars on the spot, assumes Becky...

And the winners are ...

For 12 years now, we’ve asked you, dear reader, to weigh in on your favorite things here in Chesapeake Country and determine the Best of the Bay.     By no means a scientific study, this readers poll is more a reflection of your passions. You cast thousands of votes, and after long hours tallying the ballots, intern Rose Anderson had the winners.     What the ballots couldn’t reveal, however, was the thinking behind your votes — What makes these...

C’est magnifique

In 1927 a new fad was sweeping the film industry: Talking Pictures. You may have seen one or two if you’ve been to a movie in the past 84 years.     With the advent of the new technology, an entire industry fell to the wayside. Silent film actors and actresses became the cassette tapes of their times, cast into obscurity seemingly overnight.     In French film The Artist, director Michel Hazanavicius (OSS 117) chronicles the rise of talkies in a black-and-...