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New Year’s resolutions don’t work for me.

Really, it’s just that resolutions don’t work for me, whatever time I make them. I have resolved to lose weight many, many times, including every morning when I look in the mirror, and I still hover somewhere between chubby and Brobdingnagian.

I have resolved to finish at least the major projects that are hanging around the farm, but the shed still has a hole in its roof, the barn doesn’t have a wood floor and there are still a couple of trees down from a hurricane ago.

Like Harvey Keitel in “Bad Lieutenant,” I am weak and I admit it (though generally not while having hallucinations in a church).

So, to avoid any more disappointment in myself than I already have stored up from the time I came home from kindergarten with no pants, I have decided to make resolutions for the animals in my life.

My disappointment level with them is pretty high already, so not much damage can be done to our relationships, but because they can’t understand me anyway, the chance that they will actually perform what I resolve for them is low. Life is full of these little tradeoffs.

Cooper, the doofus border collie, needs to resolve to become a pacifist, and if not become a vegetarian, then at least restrict his meat-eating to dead things. We can’t afford another batch of chickens or better fencing so soon after the holidays, so Cooper must not kill any more poultry until we pay off the tractor, which also will allow us to put some money aside for sheep, which will partially solve his excess energy problems, anyway. ... You see the subtle, complex nature of modern agriculture financing? And city folks think we’re all just rubes.

Zeke, the Maryland french fry hound, must stop running away. When the animal control folks know your dog’s name, that’s not a good thing.

This is partially ameliorated by the fact that Zeke is such a nice dog that the animal control people like him and even return him home unticketed if they have time. The problem is they sometimes don’t have time. I don’t think there’s a limit on shelter visits, but they do get expensive, and Zeke hates spending time in jail.

Rhys, the sprightly rescued corgi, needs to take more time with his food. He spends about 40 seconds on each bowl and enjoys it thoroughly, throwing a little ritual pirouette of delight when the bowl of byproducts hits the floor in front of him. But he gets the hiccups, and then sometimes he barfs, which we have to clean up. It really is laughable that some people call pet owners masters.

We cracked up one time listening to an animal show on the radio when the so-called expert suggested serving your pet the amount of food he could eat in 15 minutes. If we let Rhys loose for 15 minutes with unlimited food, he’d plow through a whole refrigerator full and be looking for more when the 15 minutes was up.

Fred, the large orange cat, must resolve not to wake me up in the middle of the night. I know he means well and is just trying to show a little affection in his nocturnal waking hours, but it has to end.

My beautiful wife is a much sounder sleeper than I am and is immune to Fred’s Midnight Rambler proclivities, sleeping peacefully through any amount of chest-kneading, chin-butting and the like.

I am made of more atavistic stuff, still tuned evolutionarily to the prospect of the wandering cave bear getting a yen for a late snack of Cro-Magnon tartare, and it being my job to defend the tribe (though a more apt name for a herd of modern humans might be a “committee”). So, when Fred leaps up on my lower abdomen in the early morning hours, I awake instantly with an urge to cudgel something.

Well, I ran out of space before the rest of the beasts. Maybe I should resolve to include them next week.

Breakfast slated to honor King legacy

The 18th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 19 at North Point High School at 2500 Davis Road in Waldorf.

The guest speaker will be the Rev. James Michael Hilson of New Life Wesleyan Church in White Plains.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children younger than 12.

For tickets, contact Denise Barnes at 301-870-4787, Agnes Lilly at 301-396-3383, Ruth Proctor at 240-346-5129 or Robina Spruill at 240-441-8080.

Artists wanted for new exhibit

The Charles County Arts Alliance and the Charles County Public Library will present the second exhibit of local artists for the new gallery in Waldorf West Library at 10405 O’Donnell Place in Waldorf beginning Feb. 9 and running through June 30.

Visual artists in the county are invited to submit artworks for consideration by Jan. 25.

Only 25 to 35 artworks can be displayed. Charles County artists are invited to submit no more than two artworks electronically in .jpg files at for consideration.

The show is open to all county residents. Artwork must be original, two-dimensional, properly wired and ready to hang. There are no size restrictions.

Go to or call 301-392-5900.

College unleashes kids’ historical drama

The College of Southern Maryland will present “Unleashed! The Secret Lives of White House Pets” by Allyson Currin at 7 p.m. Feb.1 and 2 and 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at the theater on the La Plata campus at 8730 Mitchell Road.

Alastair, the newly elected first daughter, is thrilled about her upcoming four years in the White House until her jittery Chihuahua, Tipp, convinces her that the pressure will be too much for either of them to bear. With the help of a wise White House usher and a time-traveling buggy, Alastair and Tipp go on the journey of a lifetime through history, in search of reassurance from some of the most colorful pets that ever lived in the White House.

Tickets are $7 for adults and seniors and $5 for youth in high school or younger.

Spanish class for little amigos

The Waldorf West Library at 10405 O’Donnell Place will host a bilingual class for preschool kids at 6 p.m. the first Thursday of every month.

Kids will hear bilingual stories, songs and finger plays, and make a craft.

No registration is required.

Call Patricia Bowie at 301-645-1395.

County offers mobile version of website

Charles County announced that a mobile version of the government website is now online. Web users can access county information via their mobile devices, and the site provides citizens with another avenue for government information and services.

Go to from a mobile device to be automatically redirected to the mobile site.

Adopt a tree at Sotterley

The Sotterley Plantation Landscape Committee is seeking help to restore the site’s picturesque landscape through an adopt-a-tree program.

During Hurricane Irene, more than 170 trees were downed on the plantation site in Hollywood, some dangerously close to the 1703 plantation house, the original 1830s slave cabin and other outbuildings. As a precautionary measure, the committee opted for the removal of the remaining two trees that loomed over the rooftop of the plantation house.

Donations are being accepted to cover costs for the purchase and planting of 16 trees in the historic core. Individuals or organizations may choose to either adopt a tree or simply make a donation of any size to the tree fund.

Donations can be made out to Historic Sotterley Inc.; note “adopt-a-tree fund” in the check’s memo line. To donate by credit card or to learn more, call 301-373-2280.

Free War of 1812 speakers bureau

The Maryland Humanities Council announced that a special Star-Spangled Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and living history performances about the War of 1812, is available without charge to nonprofit organizations throughout Maryland.

Nine War of 1812-themed speakers programs bring America’s “second war of independence” to life in communities in the state. Scholars examine the stories of both pivotal historical figures and everyday Marylanders, explore the origins of the national anthem and study important Maryland battles, among other topics.

Programs must be free and open to the public, and take place between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2014. Detailed guidelines and an application form are available at

Contact Judy Dobbs at 410-685-4185 or

‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ to be presented

Join Prince Frederick library staff at 6 p.m. Feb. 6 for a discussion following the presentation of a romantic drama based on Audrey Niffenegger’s novel “The Time Traveler’s Wife” at the library at 805 Costley Way.

The film is the story of a Chicago librarian who suffers from a rare genetic disorder that causes him to time travel involuntarily. Despite this complication, he tries to build a stable future with the beautiful young woman he loves.

Light refreshments and coffee will be served. Call Robyn Truslow at 410-535-0291 or 301-855-1862.