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The stories behind the restaurants — and the people who make them

This old west melodrama could do with more bullets and less monologues

Is there a smarter way to package our takeout?

Now at home in Maryland Zoo

Should we give up plastic bags?

Make a habit of carrying out lunch, and you’ll be as bad as Jonas

Lothian home shines into space

Sometime in November, Carmella Hangsleben’s family starts thinking about lights. By Thanksgiving weekend, their Lothian home is probably bright enough to see from space.     Carmella, husband Alan and their son Eddy spend nearly a month stringing up 1,500 strands of Christmas lights. That’s 75,000 bulbs of glowing cheer.     “When we were growing up, we would always drive to Washington to see all the lights and the displays,” says...

Fire engines lead seven convoys through Annapolis neighborhoods

“We’re going to need more bags!” said 14-year-old Zac Binnix as we pulled into Arundel on the Bay on this year’s Santa Run.     People had been friendly and collections good at each of our three stops since leaving Truxton Park an hour and a half earlier. But Arundel on the Bay was taking it to a new level. Cheering our arrival, some 120 neighbors had piled three picnic tables high with gifts as donations.     Binnix is used to Santa Runs...

Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel rises from endangered to thriving

It’s another win for the wildlife. One of the first animals on the endangered species list, the Delmarva fox squirrel is now a conservation success story.     Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the squirrel from the list after 48 endangered years. The animal is no longer at risk of extinction thanks to a half century of federal protection and conservation, such as closing hunting and expanding its habitat.     The fox squirrel’s...

A wonderful triple illusion worth your time and money

You know It’s a Wonderful Life, so you know what you’re in for: Ordinary guy George Bailey has endured so many setbacks that he makes a good mid-20th century stand-in for Job. We can count ourselves lucky if we’ve been saved the perfect synchronization of expectation with denial George suffers. But who ­hasn’t had setbacks, more than a few?     What Wonderful Life has that ours may not is heavenly intervention. Prayers for George’s well-being...

Control winter weeds now, as they’ll be bigger come spring

Winter annual weeds tend to sneak up on you.     Have you looked at your garden lately? When you do, don’t be surprised if you see a green carpet being woven by winter annual weeds. Annual bluegrass, chickweed, cranesbill and henbit are pretty small now. But if you don’t get out there and control them, they will be much larger next spring.     It takes more than hoeing to bring them under control. If you simply hoe them out of the ground and leave...

Believe it or not, winter’s here

As the sun sets, look in its wake for Mercury just above the southwest horizon. Binoculars will help. Mercury is on its way up to a fine showing through Christmas and New Year’s.     Before dawn, Venus, Mars and Jupiter stretch above the horizon in the southeast. A little below Mars is Spica. Saturn rises just before the sun and is far to the lower left of Venus, so low that you may need binoculars to spot it.     Tuesday at 11:48pm EST, the sun reaches its...

Just what a Star Wars film should be: silly, exciting fun

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away millions of Star Wars fans were despondent when George Lucas offered them three prequels that ruined the mythology of the beloved originals.     Fans can rejoice, for now there is another.     Taking over the franchise under Disney after its purchase from Lucas, director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) proves the force is strong with him. He has produced a miracle: an entertaining new Star Wars film.     Set decades...

You don’t have to be a financial whiz kid to understand incompetence

Michael Burry (Christian Bale: ­Exodus: Gods and Kings) is always on the lookout for a new investment.     Investigating the housing loan market, Burry discovers that its bottom is about to fall out. Predicting a collapse, he uses his fund’s money to short the housing values. In essence, he bets against the lending system that has been the bedrock of American banking.     Burry’s theory gets the attention of investor Mark Baum (Steve Carell:...

Trains live on in more than our memories and our hearts

Trains are just another form of transportation to some folks, no more interesting or glamorous than the bus that takes you from long-term parking to the airport terminal.     But if you’re one of the countless train lovers, like me, read on to discover three local ways to bring to life your train fantasies. See the Trains Indulging train fantasies is a labor of love for model railway fans, and they delight in creating elaborate layouts. After creating the next pleasure is...

Have a toy ready to give when he visits your neighborhood

This Sunday, Santa chooses a shiny red fire truck over a red-nosed reindeer and sleigh. The reindeer are getting a break as Santa needs more horsepower this year to carry the load of presents from generous neighbors.     On the annual Annapolis Santa Run toy drive, Santa makes 57 stops, to collect rather than give — though candy canes reward givers. Later this month, the toys you donate are delivered to kids in need throughout Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.  ...