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El Nath can’t hold Venus’ descent

Sunset reveals Venus ablaze high in the west, shining as bright as she gets at magnitude –4.7. And while the light of a planet is usually steady, but as the Evening Star nears the horizon, she begins to shimmer and dance as her light is refracted by Earth’s atmosphere. The planet is so dazzling that at first glance you could easily mistake her for a passing jetliner or even a UFO. Venus is in fact the Number 1 culprit behind reported sightings.     Like a fall from...

When in doubt, Hulk Smash!

Banished from Asgard by brother Thor, Loki (Tom Hiddleston: The Deep Blue Sea) is a god without subjects. So he takes a page from his brother’s book, traveling to Earth. Sadly, Loki is no God of Thunder. So instead of romancing winsome astrophysicists, the God of Mischief makes a deal with an alien nation to subjugate humanity.     All Loki has to do is steal a mysterious energy source held by the government and trade it for an alien army.     When an alien...

Neighbors help rewrite Maryland’s Amphibian and Reptile Atlas

“Why am I always stuck in the mud?” asked five-year-old Xavier Dailey. Xavier was one of the youngest in the group of rummaging herptile hunters on the annual pilgrimage, this year to Kings Landing Park in Calvert County in search of amphibians and reptiles.     When Xavier wasn’t mucking through the creek, he was exploring rotten logs and hunting herps with gusto in a search organized by Andy Brown, Calvert County Department of Natural Resources naturalist. It...

A 40-year-old treaty stands in the way of local LNG export

The biggest news in Chesapeake Country is hidden in plain sight at a bump on Calvert County’s long, otherwise smooth Bay shoreline.     Travel by water in the vicinity of 38 degrees 23 minutes north latitude and 76 degrees 23 minutes west longitude and, right off of Cove Point, you’ll see the tip of the iceberg. A mile and a quarter from shore is an enormous loading platform, mostly waiting nowadays for any 800-plus-foot tanker’s load of 30 million gallons of...

Naptown barBAYq returns with good tastes for good works

Come May 4, the air will be heavy with the smell of charcoal, smoke and slow-cooked meats as dozens of hard-core barbecue aficionados fire up their grills at the second annual Naptown barBAYq contest and music festival.     Hosted by the Parole Rotary Foundation, this year’s event kicks off Friday afternoon at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds and continues all day Saturday, culminating in the crowning of the Kansas City Barbecue Society Grand Champion.   ...

We’re happiest when we’re following a scent

Writing for newspapers is one of the best jobs in the world.     If routine, long hours and butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard — who wouldn’t rather be out fishing, or boating or gardening? — lull me into forgetting how lucky I am, I don’t forget for long. Every week proves that truth anew, and this week has stepped to the head of the proof class.     Mine is a job that lets — no, demands — me to follow my curiosity...

2000 dyslexic students relay-read for World Record

A couple of thousand students from 30 schools — including The Summit School in Edgewater — join in a historic celebration of literacy on May 10. From Baltimore to Honolulu to Cairo, they’ll be relay-reading a single book for pleasure, honor and conviction.     The book, The Sword of Darrow, is a fantasy novel that begins, beneath the image of a spooky spider, with these words: Evil: Within this simple word lies a vast collection of deeds.     ...

Please drive considerately

This time of year, you don’t have to join a herptile hunt to see Eastern box turtles (see Sandra Lee Anderson’s story: ). But you do have to drive carefully lest you squash one you didn’t see. Box turtles are crossing our roads — very slowly.     Habitat destruction is the primary culprit for the species’ decline. As once-rural areas continue to be developed and subdivided, automobile traffic increases on roads once less traveled.   ...

I was choked up from the moment the somber workhouse orphans marched onstage

Lionel Bart’s musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist has seen a lot of action in 50 years: 10 Tony nominations and five Oscars, including 1969’s Best Picture. It’s the tale of an innocent orphan among a den of thieves in Victorian London, a story I’ve seen and performed countless times. Yet Compass Rose Studio Theater’s production is in some ways the most memorable, the most heart-wrenching.     I was choked up from the...

Woody ornamentals need ­periodic rejuvenation to stay healthy and productive

It’s never too late to whack that buddleia down to the ground, even though it is flushing new growth. One of my butterfly shrubs was getting so large that in early March I cut the stump close to the ground with a chainsaw. Already the new growth is 18 to 24 inches tall with an abundance of young shoots coming from the roots.     While I was lecturing to a garden club, a member asked me how to prune buddleia. I told her to prune it back as close to the ground as possible....