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Turning a pop phenomenon into challenging life lessons

Highway medians become home to the birds, bees, butterflies

My guests were not who I expected

Billed as a smart and energetic musical comedy with a pop rock score and immensely likable story, this show delivers

A waterspout may get you if you don’t watch out

Reflections on heroes and superheroes

Lothian Ruritan Club celebrates 60 years helping the community

Andrew Dennis of Shady Side knew he wanted to go to college. He didn’t know how he was going to manage the costs. As a senior at Southern High School thriving in his welding class, Andrew went on the hunt for scholarships. He found his way to college with the Lothian Ruritan Club, which awards $8,000 in scholarships evenly to eight graduating seniors every year.     Andrew earned the John Hiser Scholarship, which helps seniors wanting to go into culinary or vocational...

You meet them in newspapers and boatsheds, street corners and museums

It is a good thing that we live in Chesapeake Country, not Pagford. Muggles muddle into miserable messes in the scenic village of J.K. Rowling’s first novel set outside the world of wizardry. A teen antihero whose only value is trying to live authentically gets into particularly nasty trouble.     Maybe living authentically is not one of those things you can achieve by trying. If you trust the lessons of fiction in general or, in particular, Rowling’s Casual Vacancy...

Not even death can stand up to the power of love and a few thousand volts

Young science prodigy Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan: Blue Bloods) has one friend in the world: his faithful pup Sparky. They spend their days together making movies, hanging out in Victor’s attic workshop and playing ball in the yard.     Victor is content, but his parents worry that he doesn’t have any human friends. They want Victor to befriend bipedal creatures, maybe even take up a sport. Their worst fears come true when Sparky is run down by a car and...

The consequences of a moment last a lifetime

Remember the worst thing you ever said, the words you wish you could take back? The worst thing you ever, the act you wish you could undo? Of course we do, which is why Athol Fugard’s award-winning Master Harold … and the boys is so riveting.     The tragicomedy is an autobiographical dramatization of a moment the playwright was “trying to exorcise from his soul.” Under Richard Pilcher’s direction, this moment of decision has consequences so potent...

From festivals to pancakes, this squash delivers

The Dish this week features the orange orb belonging to the squash family, not Linus Van Pelt’s mythical creature. Useful both for food and fun, the pumpkin is an icon of fall and a symbol of the end of the harvest.     Pick your own at a patch such as Knightongale Farm in Harwood, where owner Joel Greenwell commits 10 percent of his 90 acres to pumpkins.     “People don’t realize the amount of work involved in growing pumpkins,” Greenwell...

Compost needs air and water

I heard a garden advisor on radio tell his listeners to compost their leaves in plastic bags rather than placing them on the curb for pick-up by the municipality. Put the leaves in the plastic bag and dump in a pitcher of warm water with two to three packages of bakers yeast dissolved in the liquid, he advised.     I hope no one listened.     Composting is an aerobic process. The organisms involved are bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes. There are no yeasts in the...

A thin crescent straddles either edge of darkness

The moon wanes in pre-dawn skies  through the weekend. Friday and Saturday the last of the crescent moon hovers just a few degrees below brilliant Venus. Even without the moon, you should have no trouble finding this morning star, as it is the brightest light in the sky besides the sun and moon. The next-brightest object is the star Regulus, the heart of Leo the lion, within 10 degrees of Venus, although the two are fast pulling away from one another.     With the new week...

Sometimes it’s catching

It was a few minutes past sundown, but the failing light still burnished the water’s surface, making it glow like molten metal. What little wind there had been had died, leaving the water flat. Conditions were perfect for top-water fishing. But it was late. If the fish were going to show, they had better come soon.     I had been missing the surface bite so completely that I felt as if I had become a Jonah. I had stopped partnering lest I subject friends to the same fate....

Farr Yacht Design’s Patrick Shaughnessy on creating the boats that sail round the world

Sailing legend Bruce Farr’s career began long ago and far away in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand. By the 1970s, Farr — then in his 20s — had established a reputation for designing fast, cheap boats that were easier to build and sail than most of the competition. His designs won one-quarter, one-half, three-quarter and one-ton world championships.     Seeking a presence in the northern hemisphere more accessible to the market, Farr opened an office in...

Southern signs on to Preservation and Innovation, with a party

It’s not your grandparents’ high school any more. Or your parents’. Or your big sister’s.     In Anne Arundel County’s 12 high schools, Signature adds a new level of specialization to the way teens learn.     Signature is the newest addition to a menu of choices county students can make in shaping their education: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math; International Baccalaureate; Advanced Placement; Applied Technology; ROTC;...