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Best of the Bay 2014

Put these tools — not useless ­garden gadgets — under the ­Christmas tree

I hope you had a laugh over my column on useless garden gadgets two weeks back. This week I’m turning serious, suggesting useful tools the gardeners on your holiday shopping list will want and use.     The Garden Bench and Kneeler is great, especially for us older gardeners. Getting down on your knees is easy; getting up is hard. The Garden Bench and Kneeler pad is easy on the knees, and the handles are a great help in getting up. I have had mine for years. When you get...

The Geminid meteors are unique

This week’s celestial highlight is the annual Geminid meteor shower, which peaks late Saturday and before sunrise Sunday. This coincides with the rising waning moon, which just shy of last-quarter still shines quite bright. Fortunately, the Geminids are some of the brightest “shooting stars,” and given patience and a dark spot away from urban glare, you could still expect to see one or two meteors each minute. Plus the Geminids generate a fair number of meteors for several...

Fishing in a chill rain is better than not fishing

As my cast settled, the streamer curved down and across the dark current. As the line straightened out at the shadow line, an unseen rockfish slammed the fly hard. I struck back and lifted. My nine-foot rod bent all the way to the cork handle, and my line came tight to the reel. “They’re here,” I informed my friend up in the bow, “or at least one of them is, and it’s a good one.”     The night had turned cold, a lot colder than I expected....

Silly humor and puns abound in this animated fowl comedy

Penguins who came to prominence as the wisecracking sidekicks in the Madagascar movies are now headlining their first feature film. Bored by the laws of nature, the four set out to find adventure. Voicing the birds are Tom McGrath as Skipper; Chris Miller as Kowalski; Conrad Vernon as Rico and Christopher Knights as Private.     The quartet fancy themselves secret agents of sorts, and after escaping the confines of the New York City Zoo, the feathered friends set out on their...

How to get to know our ­regulars and seasonal visitors

At the tip of Thomas Point in Annapolis on a windy November morning, Linda Davis sees buffleheads, horned grebes and a loon diving in the Bay’s chop.     “I am just learning my birds,” says Davis, of Shady Side. “I had surgery last winter, so I put up feeders outside the window where I sat and saw all these birds I didn’t even know existed. Then I began photographing birds, and now it’s all I want to do.”     Winter is...

November 12, 2005 – November 29, 2014

Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side to light, to guard, to rule and guide.     I never expected the guardian angel of grade school prayer to be corporeal. Certainly not a dog.     The stiff fur of a yellow Labrador retriever covered 125 pounds of vibrant muscle. His chest, where the fur whirled in vortex, was broad and deep. Foot pods were thick and black, indifferent to ice and stone. Lower legs...

Join Maggie Sansone for Cold Frosty Morn at historic Christ Church
 

Since 2002, Shady Side musician Maggie Sansone’s Celtic Christmas concerts have filled historic Christ Church in West River with the tingling sounds of hammered dulcimer, harp and fiddle. Inspired by a visit to Ireland to study early Christianity, then-rector Sandra Cordingley invited Sansone’s collaboration.     There’s a bigger connection. Western celebrations of Christmas have roots in ancient Druid rituals tied to the Winter Solstice (think Stonehenge). And...

Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race

The first leg of the Volvo Ocean race is really five different races rolled into one. The seven boats left warm and sunny Alicante, Spain, heading west across the choppy Mediterranean before sailing through the Straits of Gibraltar and out into the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Next they turned south along the coast of West Africa in moderately steady winds until they neared the equator. Then it was time to sail west across the spooky equatorial area of wind-sucking storms known as the Doldrums, over...

Fill his bag with toys for those in need at SoFo December 6 or throughout Annapolis December 13

Once again this year, Santa will be making special deliveries to families in need. In more than a decade, the Annapolis Santa Run has helped over 7,000 children wake up to a brighter Christmas morning. Santa makes his run courtesy of Annapolis Firefighters Local 1926. But the elves providing the toys are the citizens and businesses throughout the Annapolis region.     This year, SoFo, the businesses of south Forest Drive, joins the long list of elfish contributors: Annapolis...

Three nights to make gift-buying fun

Shopping is more fun at stores that want your business. To lure you in, New York City stores fill their windows with scenes as highly produced as a Broadway show. Annapolis throws three after-hours parties. The festivities are good enough to win the city Travel & Leisure magazine’s vote as one of America’s Best Towns for the Holidays.     The parties start Thursday, Dec. 4, with Midnight Madness I; continue Thursday, Dec. 11, with Midnight Madness II and all new...