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All the world’s a school for service dogs in training 

The cats in my life keep upping the ante

Where to frolic with your four-legged friends

Where to turn for help and to help

Is it domestication that brings us together, or mutual adaptation?

The title’s a metaphor; this play’s a triumph

We hear a lot these days about relationships. There’s the romantic kind, and then there are other kinds: husband/wife, brother/sister, parent/offspring as well as the illicit kind, among others, some of which migrate from one form to another. In Bay Theatre’s fine new production, Lips Together, Teeth Apart (we’ll discuss the title later; stick with me), we see relationships that are stretched to the breaking point. Two married couples are spending a holiday weekend at a beach...
Dear Bay Weekly: The September 30 issue of Bay Weekly had two articles that contradicted each other in a rather profound way. “Pulling Pennies from the Air” sung the praises of wind power. The very next article “The TALL Price of Power,” lamented the installation of 75-foot-tall utility poles in Huntingtown to maintain electric distribution stability. Wind power is generated by wind turbines. According to Wikipedia, a typical commercial wind turbine is 130 to 300 feet...

What fascinates us comes to define us

What fascinates you? I’ve built a career of getting people to tell me their answer to that question. Over the years, I’ve learned that people are fascinated by many things, often things you or I might call odd. Like stretch-and-sew sewing. That was the short-term fascination of one dear old friend whose obsessions, I’m glad to say, changed frequently. I’m glad because I’d hate to sum up Sue’s life by saying she hand-made T-shirts.  Because what...

An upstart horse owner rocks the racing world in this capable equine sports drama.

Penny (Diane Lane: Nights in Rodanthe) is a Denver housewife returned to the family’s Virginia horse farm by her mother’s death. She means to stay just long enough to set the stables in order. But Penny’s equestrian id returns full force, and her passion flares when she’s gifted with the prize foal that will become Secretariat. She’s hooked. Soon — with the help of trainer Lucien (John Malkovich: Jonah Hex), plus a few friends — Penny finds herself...

From Zeus’ paramour to Arthur’s kingdom

The waxing moon reaches first-quarter on the 14th, appearing due south as the sun sets, well before 6:30 this week, and setting around midnight. Each night the moon appears 15 degrees farther east at sunset, and each evening it sets almost an hour later. The night of the 19th, the gibbous moon passes six degrees north of brilliant Jupiter.  Jupiter, brighter than any star, beckons low in the east-southeast as darkness settles. Look for him high in the south around midnight and edging...

2010 was a very good year for Maryland grapes

It’s been a wild weather year — record winter snowfall followed by record summer heat followed by record daily rainfall.  Weather that’s been inconvenient for most us has been terrible for Maryland farmers who grow conventional crops like corn and soybeans.  But for Maryland grape growers in all corners of the state, 2010 has been a very good year.  “A good year is an understatement,” Rob Deford, president of Boordy Vineyards in Hydes, Maryland, told...

Don’t miss this burnished Dignity Players’ production

Many of us studied The Crucible in high school. Arthur Miller used the Salem Witch Trials of America’s 17th century to tell a pointed cautionary tale about Red Scare fears and McCarthy Hearings of his own America in the 1940s and 1950s. The Crucible proves itself resilient for our times as well. In our world, Internet gossip leads to suicides, lies trade as fact in politics and false accusations lead to job dismissals (remember Shirley Sherrod?). We seem not to have progressed very far...

If you’re on the water, the fish may come to you

The sun was getting low in an overcast sky, night was rapidly falling — and still there were no fish. Conditions were perfect off the shallow-water point, the tide was up, there was good current, a chilly wind was lying down nicely — and only one other boat was present. But no fish.  Fish Are Biting Better weather and cooler water temperatures have jumped the fall bite into the red zone. Nice rockfish are schooling at the mouths of all of the major tributaries and are...

For the honorable knights of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, every charge is aimed for the win — knocking the other rider off his horse

“A piece of armor may fly into the crowd. If this happens, please do not be harmed,” says Sir Barchan of Dinglebury, who comes armed with a sense of humor and over 90 pounds of 14-gauge stainless steel to introduce his fellow jousters. As champion of the Maryland Renaissance Festival’s home field, Rebel Grove, the 60-year-old knight loves this contact sport.  The self-taught champion leads the Ren Fest knights into battle against the new era. With no high-tech gadgets,...

When not getting his hands dirty in the soil, the Bay Gardener keeps busy restoring old boats and making new ones

Wife Clara claims that my desire to build and restore boats can be traced to Viking genes in my blood. I remind her I am of French Canadian descent with Algonquin heritage. Her rebuttal is that Vikings invaded northern Europe where my French ancestors lived.   In the 20 years we’ve lived on Rockhold Creek in Deale, I have built two boats, with a third under way, and restored two more — plus a 1949 John Deere B tractor and, now, a 1939 Allis Chalmers B tractor. Clara is still...