Month: September 2020

Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes October 2020

By Bob Tagert It is now officially autumn and – like this year has run – as soon as Labor Day hit, the temperature dropped 40 degrees. It has stayed very pleasant with a few bouts of moisture generated by the hurricanes that hit the southern coast. With cool weather here and getting colder over the next few months, it may be a good time to head to St. Barth to attend the Caribbean’s Ultimate Rum Experience November 10-15. Check it out in Caribbean Connection. Also get the update on the BVI’s. Check out Doug Fabbioli’s article in Exploring Virginia Wines. The only category he missed was publisher in Cowboy Up. In Take Photos, Leave Footprints, Scott Dicken has rounded up some of the ways you can try and remain happy and healthy on vacation. Take his advice folks, he has been there, and done that. Lots of sun screen! In Open Space Lori Welch Brown puts into words what we have all been feeling as seen through her eyes. This is worth reading twice in these confused days. As you can tell by the cover, October is Virginia Wine Month. We have given you a double dose…Grapevine gives you a good idea of what to look forward, and what to expect this month in Wine Country. Our Road Trip takes you to a few of our favorite wineries and brings you back over the mountains. In Gallery Beat Lenny Campello sets the record straight, “my empirical experience had provided evidence that most people-at least when it comes to emerging artists-and collectors like to see (the art) it in person”. In From the Bay read about how Candida Garcia has lead the way for environmental action on the Chesapeake Bay. In Personality Profile see who screamed like a Banshee. If…

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Personality Profile

She Screamed Like a Banshee

Personality Profile By Serena Ó Longáin She Screamed Like a Banshee What is a Banshee? Banshee (Bean-Sidhe) means ‘Faerie woman’.  A Banshee is known in Ireland as a female spirit who wails outside a home to warn of the imminent death of a family member.  Often heard before she is seen, her wailing is so high-pitched that nobody would dare willingly attempt to witness this terrifying spirit. In Ireland, the Banshee does not bring or cause death. The ghost warns loved ones that death is near, giving the family a chance to prepare. Some myths say she acts as an escort to ensure that their loved one passes safely to the other side. Legends of the Irish Banshee Stories of the Banshee in Ireland have been passed down generation by generation for centuries. Some legends say the Banshee is the ghost of a young woman who was brutally killed. Her death was so horrible that she now watches families and loved ones warning them of impending death. According to Legend, the Banshee can also take on many forms. However, in Ireland, she has been most commonly seen as either a beautiful, young woman with long, flowing silver/white (sometimes red) hair or as an old woman in rags with dirty grey hair, long fingernails, and sharp-pointed rotten teeth. Both descriptions also give the Banshee eyes which are noticeably red from crying so much. Here are some appearances that the Banshee is said to take: ♣ An old woman dressed in black with long grey hair and covering her -face with a veil. ♣ An old woman with long white hair, red eyes and dressed in a green dress. ♣ A deathly pale woman with long red hair dressed in a white dress sometimes a shroud. ♣ A beautiful woman wearing a…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events

Alexandria October Events 2020

First Annual Oyster Week “Slurp, Swallow & Swill” Monday, October 12th through Saturday, October 17th. Old Town Alexandria is celebrating everyone’s favorite bivalve for 6 straight days! Sponsored by the Old Town Business Association and Guinness beer, this event should prove to be a fun one. Participating restaurants will be showcasing two or more Guinness products paired alongside an oyster recipe of their choice – all of which will be for sale. This gives you a chance to check out some restaurants you may not have frequented and to experience a variety of oyster delights as you sample Guinness products you may not have tried as well. For a list of participating restaurants check #OldTownOysterWeek or

Featured Post

The Witches Caldron

The Witches Caldron   “Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog” “Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing”   “For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and babble” “Double, double, toil and trouble, Fire burn, and caldron bubble”   William Shakespeare   Witches have had a long history with Halloween. Legends tell of witches gathering twice a year when the seasons changed, on April 30 – the eve of May Day and the other was on the eve of October 31 – All Hallow’s Eve.   The witches would gather on these nights, arriving on broomsticks, to celebrate a party hosted by the devil. Superstitions told of witches casting spells on unsuspecting people, transforming themselves into different forms and causing other magical mischief.   It was said that to meet a witch you had to put your clothes on wrong side out and you had to walk backwards on Halloween night. Then at midnight you would see a witch.   When the early settlers came to America, they brought along their belief in witches. In America, the legends of witches spread and mixed with the beliefs of others, the Native Americans – who also believed in witches, and then later with the black magic beliefs of the African slaves.   The black cat has long been associated with witches. Many superstitions have evolved about cats. It was believed that witches could change into cats. Some people also believed that cats were the spirits of the dead.   One of the best known superstitions is that of the black cat. If a black cat was to cross your path you would have to turn around and go back because many people believe if you continued bad luck would…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events

September Alexandria Events

4th Annual Orphans Car Show Saturday, September 19th 10 am – 1 pm The Lyceum Alexandria History Museum 201 South Washington Street Old Town Alexandria Packards Virginia and the Lyceum sponsor this FREE event bringing together many cars that are no longer manufactured – hence the term “orphan”. Such “orphans” include cars made by Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Hudson, Packard and Studebaker. On display will be vehicles primarily from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Up to 19 cars will be featured. For more information contact Packards Virginia at Among one of the Packard’s being shown is this 1933 Packard Model 1001 Coupe Roadster pictured here. It is one of only 10 known to exist and is rarely shown. It is fitted with a 320 CID, nine main bearing, straight 8 engine producing 120 hp. In the small body, this provides a fast, sporty ride. Wood door cappings, and dashboard with jewel-like instruments rounds out the design of this beautiful rare car. Photo courtesy of Packards Virginia. 18th Annual Alexandria Old Town Art Festival September 12th & 13th 10 am – 5 pm Admission: FREE* Formerly known as the King Street Art Festival this event has been moved from that location to John Carlyle Square just off of Duke Street in the Eisenhower Avenue development.  There are going to be safety protocols in place. These include the wearing of masks for all over the age of 2 years, using hand sanitizer and hand washing stations and avoiding casual touching of the art. Entrances and exits will follow one-way traffic and attendees are asked to practice physical distancing. For more information: *While admission is free you have to reserve a time slot via Eventbrite.

From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

The Seahorses of the Chesapeake

From the Bay By Kathy Reshetiloff/Bay Journal The Seahorses of the Chesapeake In the Lower Chesapeake Bay, a small horse moves through the underwater beds of eelgrass looking for food. No, it’s not a pony like the famous wild horses of Assateague Island National Seashore. It’s a lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus), the only species of seahorse found in the Chesapeake Bay. The lined seahorse inhabits a range from the northern point of Nova Scotia, Canada, to the southern area of Venezuela in South America. Locally, lined seahorses are usually found from the Lower to Mid Chesapeake, although in drier, saltier years they may move as far north as Maryland’s Bay Bridge. Seahorses are vertebrate fish belonging to the family Syngnathidae. Other family members include the sea dragon, ghost pipefish, sea moth and pipehorse. The lined seahorse is most closely related to the pipefish: Both share the characteristic elongated tubular jaw with a small toothless mouth at the end. A seahorse’s body is covered with a kind of bony armor of jointed rings. A dorsal fin, made up of 16–20 rays, beats so rapidly that it appears transparent. It also has an anal fin with three or four rays. The top of its head, the coronet, is almost as distinctive in each animal as a human thumbprint. Mature lined seahorses can reach a length of 6.7 inches. They range in color from pale yellow to black and are marked laterally with dusky spots and lines. The Chesapeake’s underwater grass meadows are the lined seahorse’s preferred habitat. It swims erect, pausing to curl its tail around strands of grass to stabilize its body, then stay very still. This skill, combined with the creature’s ability to quickly change its color, camouflaging its skin to match the surroundings, makes the seahorse an ambush predator. It…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

PROTEUS – Underwater Space Station Coming to the Caribbean

By CJ Staff PROTEUS – Underwater Space Station Coming to the Caribbean The “underwater version” of the International Space Station is coming to the Caribbean island of Curaçao. Renowned ocean explorer Fabien Cousteau has announced his plans for PROTEUS, a project that’s being billed as the “world’s most advanced scientific research station and habitat.” “As our life support system, the Ocean is indispensable to solving the planet’s biggest problems. Challenges created by climate change, rising sea levels, extreme storms and viruses represent a multi-trillion-dollar risk to the global economy,” Cousteau said. Surprisingly, despite the Ocean representing over 99% of our world’s living space, only 5% has been explored to date. PROTEUS, contemplated as the first in a network of underwater habitats, is essential to driving meaningful solutions that protect the future of our planet. The knowledge that will be uncovered underwater will forever change the way generations of humans live up above.” PROTEUS will be more than four times bigger than any previous underwater habitat; it will include everything from sleeping quarters to labs to a “moon pool.” Powered by hybrid energy sources including wind, solar and ocean thermal energy, PROTEUS will also have the world’s first-ever underwater greenhouse. The intent is to build an “effective, comfortable and attractive facility for researchers, and an exciting underwater structure that garners the same passion for ocean exploration as we have for space exploration,” said Yves Behar, the industrial designer who is conceiving the structure. It’s not the first underwater habitat project for Cousteau, who led a team of five “aquanauts” at a 400-square-foot station in the Florida Keys. The project continues a trend started by Fabien’s grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who built the first underwater research habitats in 1962. “We must dare to dream bigger and look to our ocean as part of…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Pasta- Sicilian Style

Let’s Eat By Charles Oppman Pasta – Sicilian Style Sicily, like many other cities and areas of Italy is a wondrous place.  It is geographically in the Mediterranean Sea – part of Europe and Africa, but arguably belonging to neither.  There is much evidence of rich cultures left behind by a plethora of conquerors.  As a result, Sicily has evidence of varied customs, languages, cooking, architecture, art, etc. The Romans ruled Sicily in the 3rd century BC.  They were followed by the Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Normans, Spanish, Phoenicians, Greeks, Arabs and French…not necessarily in that order.  There is evidence of many other conquerors from many other countries, but it would take pages to fully explore the impact they all had on Sicily.  In researching this article, I found the World Book and Encyclopedia Britannica reliable sources of information.   In addition to its unique history, the food of Sicily is exquisite.  Some Sicilians still eat the same food, and prepare it exactly as their ancestors did centuries ago.  That cuisine consists mainly of fish from the sea and home grown vegetables. I had a wonderful dish from Palermo that was made by a native Sicilian, now married to an Italo-American and living right here in Northern Virginia.  The recipe is a little unique because the only ingredient cooked is the pasta!  If you try it, I think you, too, will find that it is worth the time it takes to prepare this fresh food the Sicilian way. Sicilian Pasta 6 medium to large cloves of garlic, minced finely 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil for the sauce 6 medium very, very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into ½ inch chunks. Do not use canned tomatoes as it changes the taste and…

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Urban Garden

Fall Garden Tasks to Protect Your Landscape from Winter Wildlife Damage

by Melinda Myers As the seasons change, we adjust our gardening tasks and plantings to match. Animals also make changes this time of year, often changing their eating habits and dining locations. These adjustments can impact your gardens. Reduce the risk of damage by starting in fall to protect your landscape from hungry animals this winter. Take a walk around your landscape to evaluate plants and plantings for their susceptibility to animal damage. Look for pathways that animals use to access your landscape and areas of potential damage. Note new plantings, animal favorites and those special plantings you would hate to lose. Make sure these are protected. Check mulch around trees and shrubs. Deep layers of mulch and mulch piled around the trunk of trees and the base of shrubs provides shelter for mice and voles. These rodents like to gnaw on the bark of trees and shrubs in winter. Pull mulch off tree trunks and stems and spread out deep mulch so it is only two to four inches deep. Protect young trees and shrubs with a four-feet-tall fence of hardware cloth sunk several inches into the ground to prevent vole damage at ground level and most rabbit damage. Mature trees are usually only bothered during years where the vole and rabbit populations are high and food is scarce. Fencing around garden beds filled with animal favorites is another option. Make sure your fence is high enough, tight to the ground and gates are secure. You will need a four-feet-high fence for rabbits and at least five- to six-feet-high fence to keep deer out of small gardens. A fence of several strands of fishing line has proven to be successful for some gardeners. Repellents are another less obtrusive option. These use smell or taste to discourage animals from dining…

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Social Media Message

When Live Concerts go Silent

Social Media Message When Live Concerts go Silent By Ashley Rosson As I was driving home the other day listening to my Spotify news stream, the topic of live concerts and the pandemic came up in discussion. With most concerts cancelled until further notice, musicians are having to get creative, by streaming performances to stay connected with fans, and in some cases, bring in a little extra cash. Back in the day, I am saying 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, concerts were mainly to promote an artist’s new album. Most artist’s made most of their money by selling said albums, but then in the late 90’s and early 2000’s we had programs such a Napster and Torrent, that allowed illegal downloads of albums. This eventually led to artists having to tour more and make the concerts their main sources of income. So now that this form of profit is no longer viable while the pandemic rages on, what is an artist to do? Live stream from their homes, either for free and sell merchandise, or charge for the viewing. However, a number of industry veterans say that this isn’t a viable long term replacement for in-person performances. Streaming would not be anywhere near as lucrative for big name performers such as Elton John, Garth Brooks, or the Jonas Brothers, who sell out venues with thousands of seats where tickets can average a couple hundred dollars apiece. Dave Brooks, Billboard’s senior director of touring and live, says, “I don’t think streaming will replace concerts, I think streaming performances will become a category of what artists offer their fans.” That can mean bigger name performers could charge, in addition to their live concert, for exclusive online access instead of VIP encounters. Brooks also believes that only a select few performers, mainly small indie…

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