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Our best family night at the theater — ever

Not all Christmas trees are equal

He has many faces; here you’ll see some

Where will he be on Christmas Eve?

Spoiler alert: Don’t let the kids read this

Venison is benison to area food banks

Three steps to keep them happy indoors

Some houseplants have to be repotted every six months, while others can stay put for two or three years. Frequency of repotting also depends on container size, quality of care, productivity of the rooting medium and frequency of nutrient applications. Annuals — such as grape ivy, begonias and marigolds — have very vigorous habits of growth and should be repotted at least twice yearly. Foliage plants such as ficus, schefflera and crotons tend to grow slowly and can be left alone for...

Give yourself plenty of options for catching stripers this time of year

I knew exactly what I wanted to do. With ice in my cooler, a couple of bottles of water and a box of surface lures, I headed out just before sundown for the mouth of a nearby tributary. Planning a top-water assault to repeat a recent evening’s triumph, my hopes were high.     Everything was perfect: low light, high water, moving tide and no wind. The only missing element was the fish. I worked up and down the shallow shoreline to no avail. Finally, searching in my boat bag...

Three destinations to enjoy mild days while you can

At Halloween, we passed the halfway point, 45 days from past the autumnal equinox, 45 days until the winter solstice. Halloween, you’ll remember, shortens All Hallows Eve, the lead-in to All Saints Day and All Souls Day, feasts of remembrance and reverence for the dead, borrowed from Roman Catholic liturgy. These are the Days of the Dead, as they’re celebrated in Mexico.         Another old story tells us what we’re in store for: Persephone,...

A poignant look at one man’s struggle for self-acceptance

There’s something wrong with Little (Alex R. Hibbert in his screen debut). His mama (Naomi Harris: Our Kind of Traitor) and the kids at school see it. He walks funny; he’s soft; he ain’t no man. Mama calls him names, and the boys at school chase and beat him. There is no place he feels safe.     With Juan (Mahershala Ali: Luke Cage), a local drug dealer, he finds acceptance. Juan teaches him that being a man is more than going hard and showing off. Being a man...

Shakespeare makes a thrilling return to the Dark Ages

This month Annapolitans celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary with not only his First Folio on display at St. John’s College’s Mitchell Gallery but also a fine production of Hamlet at the Compass Rose Studio Theater.     Surely you remember Hamlet, that gloomy prince of Denmark on a crusade to avenge his father’s murder, the author of those immortal words to be or not to be? Indeed this play, generally recognized as The Bard’s greatest, contains...

Spirits of the ­Rising Sun Inn

Had I never lived in Crownsville’s historic Rising Sun Inn, I’d have scoffed at folks who believed in the supernatural. But once my brother and I rented the Inn and moved in, peculiar things started that we couldn’t quite explain away.     Take the day our buddy’s girlfriend fled our housewarming party, screaming in terror.     There was something in the Inn’s kitchen that day, a practical joker perhaps, innocent of malice or ill...

Enroll in the Calvert County Citizens Academy

Who knew back in high school civics class that you’ve got to know how government works to make government work for you? Now’s your chance to re-learn how government works as an inaugural student in the Calvert County Government Citizens Academy.     The free program features site visits and discussions with county staff that will give a unique insight into the daily work that goes into local government. Subjects include building codes, public safety, recreation, road...

Study your ballot at www.vote411.org

Who’s on your ballot?     This year’s contentious top-line race has obscured who’s who — and who stands for what — in the down-ticket races. Yet from local government on up, the winners in these elections have far more immediate say on how we live our daily lives.     Cram for the November 8 election with the Maryland League of Women Voters’ online Voters’ Guide. You’ll find information in the candidates’...

Maryland ghost-chasers shed light on hauntings

The modern ghost hunter, also called a paranormal investigator, has many tools to help detect a spirit. These include infrared cameras, electromagnetic field detectors, thermometers, recorders and spirit boxes.     However, common sense and your senses remain your greatest tool.     “In most cases, smells, cold spots or seeing and hearing things are the first signs of paranormal activity,” reports Bill Hartley, founder and lead investigator of the...

Their night flights bring us treats, not tricks

Winging its way through the eerie gloom, the bat is a potent symbol of Halloween. Far from its menacing reputation in seasonal lore, bats’ contributions to the natural world are many and essential.     In tropical and desert ecosystems, bats serve as pollinators for plants such as bananas, mangoes and the agave plant used to make tequila.     Bat pollination is strictly a fly-by-night operation. Come sundown, these furry creatures take to the air in search...