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‘Tis the season to spread tidings of comfort and joy. If the cold weather – or the election – leave you craving comfort, we’ve got a few Comfort Movies to suggest on the Midday Monthly Movie Mayhem.

Our Movie Mavens, Ann Hornaday, chief film critic of The Washington Post and Jed Dietz, founder and executive director of the Maryland Film Festival, join Tom in Studio A to discuss the end of the year releases that tug hard at the heart strings.

From the out-of-this-world Arrival; to Loving, the profoundly moving story of interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving who married in 1958 in segregated Virginia; to the visually stunning documentary The Eagle Huntress; Hornaday and Dietz weigh in on which year-end flicks – and which Yuletide films – shouldn’t be missed. If you’re wondering what to see this weekend, look no further.

The US Chamber of Commerce ranks Maryland as third in innovation and entrepreneurship. As defined by the Brookings Institute, “Innovation Districts facilitate the creation and commercialization of new ideas and support metropolitan economies by growing in ways that leverage their distinct economic attributes.” Joining us today for Why Baltimore is Richard May, Chairman of Innovation Village.

The priest who would become Pope Francis impressed his Jesuit superiors in Argentina from early on, taking on more responsibilities, sure of himself - until it became apparent that he had divided the Jesuit community - and he was sent away to a kind of internal exile that lasted two years. Mark Shriver, nephew of President John F. Kennedy, head of an international lobby network for children, former Maryland state legislator, discusses his new biography of the 266th pope. It's titled, “Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis.”

Sheri Parks

Much of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign was premised on antipathy towards immigrants and promises to build a wall along the US- Mexico border. As we now know those sentiments resonated with a lot of voters. Some analysts and critics have speculated that the President-Elect’s rise was fueled by xenophobia and the fear of increased diversity. It is a fact that the country is becoming more diverse. According to the Pew Research Center by the year  2055, the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority. The Washington Post found that black and brown people are moving into towns and cities in the rust-belt and Midwest  that have traditionally been predominately white. How will this influx of diversity shape the electorate in the coming years, and how will it affect the presidency of a man whose campaign was premised on the fear of immigrants?

In the 10 days after the election the Southern Poverty Law Center received almost 900 reports of harassment and intimidation from across the nation. Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success.

Rousuck's Review: "Schoolgirl Figure" at Cohesion Theatre

Dec 1, 2016
Cohesion Theatre Company

Midday's theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck returns to Studio A with her weekly review of local area productions. Today it's Cohesion Theatre Company's production of Schoolgirl Figurenow onstage at the United Evangelical Church in Baltimore. Set in a high school, this edgy comedy examines the tragic complexities of body image in today's vanity-obsessed culture. The darkly disturbing play was written by Wendy MacLeod. It's  directed by Jonas David Grey, and stars Emily Sucher and Tatiana Ford, among the cast.

Jacob Stewart/Flickr via Creative Commons

When you cannot sleep, the middle of the night can be a harrowing spot. Insomnia is all too familiar for many of us. Dr. Emerson Wickwire, director of the insomnia program at the University of Maryland Medical Center, joins us to talk about the causes of this maddening affliction and how best to summon the snooze.

Let them eat dirt

Nov 30, 2016


H. L. Mencken conspires with a fellow reporter and drinking buddy to take some liberties while reporting the news in Baltimore. The life of kings, indeed! 

In a laboratory at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland, zoologist Rob Aguilar examines bottles containing preserved specimens of an astonishing array of different varieties of aquatic life.

“We have speckled swimming crabs, long finned squid, jackknife clam, ponderous arc,” said Aguilar, scrutinizing a thick mussel with a serrated shell.  “This is a fish-gill isopod.  And this is a big marine leach that prefers to be on skates and rays.”

Aguilar is engaged in a project to study the genetic codes of numerous species in the Chesapeake Bay. He and colleagues record them in public databases called GenBank and the Barcode of Life Database, so that researchers around the world can use the information to identify fish and other critters.


photos courtesy Monica Reinagel; The Elephant Restaurant

It’s time for another monthly installment of Smart Nutrition here on MiddayToday, a conversation about navigating the twists and turns of holiday party-going, and holiday party-giving.  Is there a better way of preparing those partridges in a pear tree than soaking them in lard and serving them with thickly buttered bread?  And what about the guests we invite to our parties who arrive with a list of food allergies, preferences and prohibitions that’s taller than the tree in Rockefeller Center?  Is there a way to be both naughty and nice when it comes to nutrition at this time of year?  

Joining Tom in the studio to help us sort it all out is the Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinagel.  She’s an author and a licensed nutritionist who joins us on Midday every month, and who blogs on food, diet and health issues at nutrition over easy.com.  Also with us to talk about the holiday's culinary challenges  is Andy Thomas, the Executive Chef at The Elephant Restaurant in Baltimore.

Tom and guests take your calls, comments and suggestions for good Yuletide eats on this edition of Smart Nutrition.

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