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It’s a big production

When the days are too hot, try the hours before midnight

Women finally get their hero in this ­triumphant DC Comic adaptation

Amazons have thrived for centuries on the island of Themyscira, content to train for battle and broaden their minds with language and philosophy. This matriarchal society follows rules: no men and no leaving.     But Diana (Gal Gadot: Keeping Up with the Joneses) chafes. Banned from combat training by her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Neilsen: Stratton), Diana learns the art of war in secret from her aunt, the famous general Antiope (Robin Wright: House of Cards). With super...

Practically Perfect in every way

It’s always dangerous to take on a classic; the chances of disappointment are so great. Who could ever compete with Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews as Bert the Chimney Sweep and Mary Poppins? Popular brother-and-sister team Nathan Bowen and Emily Mudd, that’s who.             And what about this new script (2005) with its added plot twist and songs? Won’t the audience revolt? No. They gobble it up like a Spoonful of Sugar...

Lily Fisher-Flaherty is the first woman jousting champ in 55 years

Kicking up dirt, a girl and her horse gallop hard through three arches in a dusty field. The girl’s lance, six feet long and chiseled to the point of a needle, is aimed at a ring that may as well be a dust speck.     The girl is Lily Fisher-Flaherty, a 19-year-old college student who lives in Lusby. Her horse is Sunny, a spirited palomino American Warmblood. Together, they are the winners of the 2016 Maryland State Jousting Tournament.     Fisher-Flaherty...

My first days as a senior Peace Corps Volunteer

I have a view of Mount Ararat from my bedroom near Artashat in Armenia. The peak dominates the landscape, flat land that doesn’t see much rain. The mountain, the national icon of Armenia, is now in territory claimed by Turkey, but people here still consider it their own.     Every day in Shady Side, I was awed by the beauty and size of the Bay. In this landlocked country, I look out upon another wonder of the world: Noah’s mountain, the peak where the Ark is said to...

Harriet Elizabeth Brown portrait puts a face to the name that helped earn equal pay for teachers of all races

Equal pay for Maryland teachers across the races was a battle quietly fought and won in Calvert County 80 years ago, thanks to the efforts of a young, determined African American teacher, Harriet Elizabeth Brown.     We all know the name Thurgood Marshall, the lawyer who helped her prevail and went on to great things, including the U.S. Supreme Court.     After winning her landmark Fourteenth Amendment challenge, Brown went quietly back to teaching in Calvert...

He’s keeping the species alive

It’s a dark and stormy night, the moon is shaded by clouds. The only light streams from our headlamps and the revolving beam of a nearby lighthouse. The rain is pelting sideways, and the water is above our ankles. Tired and cold but hopeful, our trio trudges down a Calvert County beach at 3am, scanning the turbulent water for a prehistoric monster.     Suddenly in the surf, someone spots a dark silhouette, like a rock … we draw closer, anxious with excitement. It is...

Careless use of pocket lasers is dangerous and potentially criminal

For a couple of hundred dollars, you can buy the world’s most powerful handheld laser. “It’s stunning to behold, magnificent to wield and absolutely wicked to own,” according to its online advertisement.     What would you do with such a tool?     According to the manufacturer’s website, you’d wonder “how can you use this power in the most awe-inspiring way imaginable?”     Something like power and...

With your help

Has the world ever looked more beautiful? Probably, in some pristine past, but in the eye of this beholder, these late days of spring sparkle with perfection — and when the sun doesn’t come out they give us moody skies reflected in shady green.     Who doesn’t want to be out in times like this?     Somebody who does is the Eastern box turtle. That beloved little fellow with the high domed shell crawls out of the leafy cover of the forest floor...

While not a beautiful swimmer, the channel catfish provides the sweetest flesh a seafood fanatic can hope for

Pulling on my weather gear, I headed out in the morning gloom to hook up the skiff. The forecast was poor, but I had cabin fever and had to get out on the water.     The white perch were up the trib shallows, I felt sure, and there is no better cure for poor weather than the promise of a good perch fry that evening. Now all I needed was the fish.     Taking my lightest rods and an ample supply of Rooster Tails and Captain Bert’s spinner baits, I splashed my...

Biosolids are safe for food ­production; here’s why

Since I became involved in composting biosolids in the early 1970s, technology for processing wastewater has undergone major changes. Back then, most wastewater treatment facilities had only primary or secondary treatment technology. At the same time, industries were dumping all kinds of waste into sewer systems.     The Clean Water Act promoted by president Lyndon Johnson led to major changes that now enable us to convert solid waste into usable products while returning more...