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However you play it, natural gas export is a high stakes game

Have fun even with a sizzling sun

An American in Annapolis

Our flowering gardens are butterfly way-stations

Blue crabs at quarter-century low

Lesson 1: From the ground up

Tim O’Neill talks with Bay Weekly about the restoration of Annapolis’ Capitol dome

Tim O’Neill of Severna Park is project manager for Power Component Systems out of Hanover. One of several subcontractors restoring the dome of Maryland’s State House — built between 1784 and 1787 as the second dome to top the 1772 Capitol — Power Component Systems has the job of stripping the top layers of paint from the Capitol’s dome. Bay Weekly    What’s it like up there? Tim O’Neill    I’ve been above the acorn...

Roadside advertising now brings a fine of $25 a sign

Winterizing! We come to your boat! must not have heard. Free advertising space is no longer free. Starting October 1, invasive signs posted along Maryland state highways were not only illegal but also fineable. Starting January 1, posters of invasive signs face a fine of $25 for each sign     The targeted signs are mostly commercial ones, said Valerie Burnette Edgar of the State Highway Administration.     “Placing signs in our right-of-way is not...

Blessing of the animals draws friends furry and feathered

Companion dogs and cats were this year’s dominant species among those receiving blessings at All Hallows Parish’s traditional Blessing of the Animals. Joining them were four exotics: Moonshine, a blue-and-gold macaw; Iggy, a four-foot iguana, and two baby potbelly pigs.     “They were all very well behaved,” said the Rev. Alistair So, rector of the historic Episcopal parish and companion to two dogs, a Siberian husky and a husky-Doberman mix.  ...

When conditions are rough, the catch is all the sweeter

The 20-knot northerly wind was supposed to have laid down by dawn. Of course it didn’t. Mike and I nonetheless launched at first light and, despite the snotty weather, were soon anchored off one of the western-side Bay Bridge supports and tossing chunks of weighted soft crab back into the structure.     My skiff was rocking and rolling, but we were determined. Our battle plan had morphed into simply getting four legal stripers as quickly as possible, then heading home....

Irene and Lee enriched your piles

Have you noticed how quickly your compost pile has shrunk now that the rain has stopped? The umpteen inches of rain between Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee provided uniform watering to exposed compost piles. This surplus water promoted rapid decomposition by microorganisms and encouraged earthworms to invade the piles.     The microorganisms accounted for the shrinkage. They need at least 50 percent moisture to function properly. Sixty percent is even better. So the...

Start looking for Venus and Mars

The recent Hunter’s Moon still dominates the night sky when it rises after sunset Thursday, with the piercing light of Jupiter to the moon’s right. While the waning moon rises later through the week, Jupiter rises earlier until reaching opposition October 28. At that point, the gaseous giant will be directly opposite the sun, rising in our east at sunset, shining at the sky’s apex around midnight and setting in the west at sunrise. There should be no mistaking Jupiter, as it...

Father and son come together over the clash of steel in this charming robotic boxing film

You guys, in the future Rock’em Sock’em Robots are intense. In the latest CGI opus from director Shawn Levy (Date Night), the year is 2027, when blood-and-guts boxing has been replaced by the more brutal sport of robot boxing.     Now trainers use remote controls to send eight-foot, 2,000-pound robots into the ring for nuts-and-bolts mayhem that doesn’t end until one of the bots is vivisected.     Think of it as the Roman arena for the iPod age...

Logistically challenging, Dignity Players’ attention to detail shows.

Sordid Lives, a black comedy about white trash, rode a wave of financial and critical success for over a decade, from L.A.’s theater scene to film and TV credits. Playwright Del Shores did it by playing on stereotypes that feed social discord, from homophobia to fundamentalism, from the country club to the trailer park. His characters are as big as Texas, comic diversions of tragic proportions. Underneath the honky-tonk hijinks is a sweet story about a family’s struggle for unity...

And are we in trouble ...

Avoid the occasion of sin. That precept of my Catholic education should, over the years, have kept me away from the U.S. Boat Shows, which occupy Annapolis October 6 though 16.     First the Sailboat Show, returning for its 42nd year, validates the city’s title as Sailing Capital of America. Yes, it’s a self-conferred title. But through October 10, it’s as hard to contest as Napoleon’s self-coronation as emperor of the French. As I write, hundreds of...

How Annapolis became America’s Sailing Capital

Look around Annapolis these two weeks, and you’ll see how the maritime industry helps the visitor industry thrive.     Recreational sailing and power boating are newcomers to this old city. We were a working seaport from colonial times through World War II.     So well known were Eastport’s skilled wooden boat builders that in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent the grand and famous schooner America here to be restored.     But...