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Unsung hero of the ­Annapolis July 4 Fireworks

A lot has changed since I last saw the Stones on July 4, 1972

Osprey and falcon chicks thriving, with a little help

Beyond pomp, parade and fireworks to shared heritage

July’s two full moons are prime viewing times

No need for fireworks here

These spies could use some sensitivity training

There aren’t many gentlemen in Eggsy’s world (Taron Egerton: The Smoke). His stepfather is an abusive criminal, his friends are petty thieves and his mother refuses to let him leave home. When a stolen car and a high-speed chase through London land Eggsy behind bars, the outlook is bleak, until Harry Hart (Colin Firth: Before I Go to Sleep) shows up.     Hart has the pull to get Eggsy sprung and charges his dropped. Hart, it seems, has always felt the need to repay...

These romantic dishes are like love itself — delicate, intimate, complex, daring

Valentines Day is an opportunity to luxuriate in romance and fine dining. Romantic dishes are often much like love itself — delicate, intimate, complex, daring. Both, properly nurtured, can result in sumptuous rewards.     These recipes for Valentine Day dinner derive from French dishes that feature elegant ingredients and rich flavors. Many of the ingredients have special significance in the language of love. Preparation is for two.     Each amply rewards...

This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count needs your help

The drakes are displaying, showing off their splendid colors, their best dance moves. Cardinal and Carolina wren pairs cavort; the chickadees are singing. Love is in the air.     You can learn about the birds, if not the bees, this Valentine weekend in the 18th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, February 13 to 16. Citizen scientists all over the world help the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada by counting birds in back yards, fields,...

Kids draw natural gas hero Captain Mercaptan

Three methods are most likely to turn on the light bulb in the minds of elementary school youngsters: Use cartoon characters. Enlist the kids on projects. Reward their results.     To turn the light on safe use of natural gas, Baltimore Gas and Electric — the oldest gas utility in America — is waging a trifecta.     “BGE has a long-standing commitment to ensuring public safety and supporting educational initiatives in our communities,”...

Start with a little resveratrol, add tryptophane …

My mother was not always right.         But in hitting the nail on the head, she had far better accuracy than I credited.     A woman who believed she could do anything, she invested even more of her capital in cooking than she did in looking good. And she looked very, very good.     The way to a man’s heart is his stomach, she advised.     Ohhh mother! I scoffed, for that was back in the day when I believed...

Turn that manure into compost instead of applying it to fields

The new governor of Maryland has made a major error in allowing poultry farmers to continue applying their phosphorus-laden chicken manure on land that is already overloaded with phosphorus.     What the chicken farmers and the governor are ignoring is scientific evidence that clearly identifies excessive levels of phosphorus in soils as the cause for phosphorus-induced trace element deficiencies, lower yields, lower nutrient values and Bay pollution.     The...

Yellow perch are climbing the rivers

The yellow perch run is on. It may seem early, but small male yellow perch have been caught in a number of locations around the state for over three weeks. That can only mean one thing: The bigger fish will show up any time — if not already.     These yellow neds are on the move, swimming to the headwaters of Bay tributaries to spawn.     Driven by increasing daylight and temperatures, the scent of their natal waters and mysterious Mother Nature, this...

Join the fight for dark skies

The waning crescent moon rises ever later in predawn skies this week. Friday it appears before 3am, and by 5am it is well placed above the southeast horizon, forming a tight triangle with golden Saturn to the right and red Antares, the heart of Scorpius, below. The ringed planet stands above the scorpion’s head, one degree of its uppermost, second-magnitude star Graffias.     By Monday the moon is a thin crescent low in the southeast at 6am. If skies are clear and you have...

A cacophony of noise and colors for youngsters

The secret to the harmonious life of the ocean town of Bikini Bottom isn’t friendship, love or understanding. It’s the Krabby Patty. The fast food treat is so addictive that the residents of Bikini Bottom can’t live without it. So when Mr. Krab’s (Clancy Brown: The Flash) secret formula for the Krabby Patty goes missing, the town falls into chaos. To prevent a Krab-induced apocalypse, fry cook SpongeBob SquarePants (Tom Kenny: Adventure Time) teams up with his nemesis Plankton (Mr. Lawrence:...

You’ll get feeling as well as fun in this play on why actors do what they do

The quality that 2nd Star Productions brings to its big musical productions is exemplified not only by sold out houses but also by recognition among its peers. 2nd Star last month received 21 nominations from the Washington Area Theater Community Honors, a local collaborative of amateur theaters that judge each other’s shows and present awards in March. Only one of those nominations is for a non-musical, A Soldier’s Story. The majority were for the highly acclaimed Hello Dolly and Children of...