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Turning a pop phenomenon into challenging life lessons

Highway medians become home to the birds, bees, butterflies

My guests were not who I expected

Billed as a smart and energetic musical comedy with a pop rock score and immensely likable story, this show delivers

A waterspout may get you if you don’t watch out

Reflections on heroes and superheroes

Thanks to Dad, I’ve checked and refilled oil, changed spark plugs and batteries, tightened wires, satisfied in the knowledge I could do it

My father, Marlow Hankey, came back from the Army in 1952 after a few years in Korea. While in the service, he learned to like the work of fixing cars and engines in the Motor Pool. His later-life tag of Mr. Fixit stemmed from that time.     I remember him working on his cars, changing the spark plugs, the oil and filters. Most of the cars were Fords. When I was 16, I remember him buying a 1956 Ford Fairlane — but at that age I was not very interested in cars....

Bernie Fowler’s Sneaker Index measured 44 inches — the best in the annual Wade-In’s 28-year ­history but a long way from the days of his youth

Ninety-one-year-old river warrior Bernie Fowler added some new followers at his 28th annual Wade-In to measure his beloved Patuxent River’s clarity by Sneaker Index.     Chesapeake chronicler Tom Horton flew in on water taxi. The Patuxent Voices sang a tribute, adding a capella artistry to Island Girl Deanna Dove’s folk hymns and bridging the gap opened by the 2010 death of Chesapeake bard Tom Wisner, Fowler’s inspiration in the now-famed ritual.  ...

The SPCA wants to make your pet a star

Certainly your dog — even your cat — has the makings of a supermodel. With the help of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Anne Arundel County, your best friend’s full glory can be revealed.     Through July, the SPCA is searching for 13 pets to be featured in the monthly pages of the SPCA’s 2016 Posh Pets calendar, out this October.     Getting your cat or dog into the picture starts with a phone call. Linda McCarthy...

Tribute strikes a chord

Think of the music of Johnny Cash, and many hearts respond to his evocations of love, faith, family, tragedy and redemption. Think of Johnny Cash himself, and we remember a fallible and gifted man who wrestled throughout most of his 71 years to overcome powerful personal demons. There’s not one without the other. Music and man are intertwined, as they are in Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, Annapolis Infinity Theatre Company’s first and latest mainstage production this season...

When you’ve found a Chesapeake beach, you’ve found a treasure

From shells to polished pebbles to driftwood to fossils, Bay beaches aren’t just for sunbathing and fishing.     To dip into Bay waters in Anne Arundel County, start at 786-acre Sandy Point State Park. As well as the big beach (with lifeguards at prime hours) and great views, including Sandy Point Shoal Light House, there’s room to picnic, play, fish or crab and launch a boat. No camping — except June 27-28 for the Great American Campout. No dogs in summer. 6am...

Let’s give the guy a little respect

Parenting is a job that leaves nobody satisfied. Children, like Freudians, lay the blame for all sorts of neuroses at their parents’ feet. Spouses bash one another for inherited faulty genes and difficult personalities. Parents censure with themselves, even — or maybe especially — those who’ve read a book or two on the developing human body, mind and emotions and whose kids give behavioral testimony to their parental units’ having done a pretty good job....

With only one flounder in the cooler, it’s a good thing we could count on it for four fillets

Feeling the undulations of the sandy bottom telegraph up my graphite casting rod, I kept a cautious thumb on the reel spool. Our day drifting live bull minnows for summer flounder was starting slow. My son Harrison, his girlfriend Jerica and I had hoped to score enough fish for a family dinner. We hadn’t yet risen to the challenge.     The fishing boats we had encountered had all given us the thumbs down when we inquired as to their luck, so we had redoubled our efforts....

There are better ways than mulch

Do you think the only method of controlling weeds is mulching?     If so, you’re likely to add another layer of mulch every time you see weeds growing through the last layer. From there on, mulching becomes a habit.     Mulches control weeds by suffocation and by shading the soil, thus denying the weed seeds the red waves of sunlight. The red wave band of the sun’s spectrum stimulates weed seeds to ­germinate.     But...

Earth’s 23.5-degree axis gives us summer, winter and everything between

As evening twilight settles Thursday, look to the western horizon for the nascent crescent moon. Above it are Venus and Jupiter. The bright star Regulus is up there, too, forming a line with Venus and Jupiter, each roughly a dozen degrees from the next. Keep an eye on the two planets as they inch closer together over the next two weeks before a spectacular end-of-month conjunction when they are within one-third degree of one another.     Friday and Saturday the moon, Venus and...

Pixar explores the mind and emotions of a girl on the brink of adulthood

Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler: Parks and Recreation) was the first emotion Riley (Kaitlyn Dias: The Shifting) knew. Joy wasn’t alone long, 33 seconds after popping into Riley’s mind, she’s joined by Sadness (Phyllis Smith: The Middle), Anger (Lewis Black: Let Freedom Laugh), Fear (Bill Hader: Trainwreck) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling: The Mindy Project).     For 11 years, Joy led the team, controlling Riley’s responses to the world and safeguarding her memories...