Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Race is On


The announcement by the Democratic presumptive nominee, Joe Biden, yesterday of his running mate for sets the sides for the November election. 

Kamala Harris
After next week's Democratic convention, we will finally be able to drop the word presumptive when describing the Biden-Harris team.

For me, I was happy that there is at least someone in the field who is not an old white guy. Kamala Harris is 55 years old. I realize that Vice President Pence is also a youngster at 61 years old, and that is reassuring because both of the presumptive (yes, Trump is presumptive until the convention as well) presidential nominees are in their 70's.  

Well, as they say--the race is on. I can tell the race is heating up because the dirt is beginning to fly across the internet. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

I'd rather not be on the list

 Making the list sometimes is not good. 

Maryland is currently on New York's quarantine list! I think it was a mistake to include Maryland, which has been stable for weeks with only a small bump, on the quarantine list with Florida, Texas, and Arizona along with a large number of other states. 

New York has certainly posted some very impressive results in its quest to control coronavirus. I believe that they may have figured it out. 

But being on the list is a real problem especially since Chris and I have so much family in New York. While we are not precluded from visiting family in New York, we are required to quarantine when we arrive which effectively means no activity away from the residence. 

Here is the guidance from New York State regarding a short term visit with family:

I am a resident of a designated state and will be visiting family in NYS for less than 14 days. Will I have to quarantine in NYS for the full 14 days?

While in New York State, you will need to maintain quarantine for 14 days from the last day you were in a designated state(s). If you are in New York State for less than 14 days, you will need to quarantine for the entire time you are in New York and, to protect the public wherever you are, you should complete the remainder of the 14-day period quarantine period in your home upon return to a designated state.

It means that, in my case, no visits to wineries to stock up on fantastic New York white wines or anything else. While I understand the requrement. Maryland never exceeded the 10 cases per 10,000 residents prescribed to be on the list. Maryland has consistently been below 5 cases per 10,000, so inclusion on the list was seemingly arbitrary. 

Sometimes it just is a pain to make the list.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, August 10, 2020

Monday Musings - August 10, 2020

1. The month is racing past. This is the second Monday of August 2020. There are five Mondays this month!

2. The Orioles have through some magic achieved a .500 record for the year and were thwarted by the Nationals yesterday in achieving a winning record due to the ineptitude of the grounds crew to install the tarp on the field. Believe it or not--had the game been stopped in the same place because of rain--it would be a win for the Orioles. As it is, the game was suspended and will be continued on Friday night. The Orioles are tied for 6th place in the American League with two other teams.

3. Chris and I spent Saturday with friends at a Virginia winery--and it was fantastic. We are beginning to get out and do some of the things we enjoyed B.C. It is not hard to do if we are conscious of physical distancing and respectful of others. 

4. Florida is in sight! We have selected dates for our first trip to the Sunshine State of 2020! This will be the second planned trip of the year. We canceled the first due to coronavirus. 

5. We have received enough rain of late that the lawn is continuing to grow despite the heat. Usually about this time of year I can mow on a biweekly schedule--but not this year. 

6. The last presidential primary of 2020 occurs on Tuesday--Connecticut. After that, next week, the Democratic Convention and we will be finally in the run to the election on November 3rd.  This all started almost two years ago. If they are always running for office, when do our political leaders ever do real work? 

7. Here is hoping that the COVID-19 numbers begin to show improvement this week. 

8. Does anyone else find it weird that the nation's two largest foreign competitors (China and Russia) cannot agree on who should be the next president? They are as confused as our allies.

9. Today in History. After a decade of debate about how best to spend a bequest left to America from an obscure English scientist, President James K. Polk signs the Smithsonian Institution Act into law on this day in 1846. In 1829, James Smithson died in Italy, leaving behind a will with a peculiar footnote. In the event that his only nephew died without any heirs, Smithson decreed that the whole of his estate would go to “the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Smithson’s curious bequest to a country that he had never visited aroused significant attention on both sides of the Atlantic.

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

History tells us that 56 men signed the original Declaration of Independence in '76, pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. By the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, some had given their lives, most had given their fortunes, but all had preserved their honor.

We Americans today are not often asked to make such sacrifices. Most never have known the kind of winter that our forefathers suffered through at Valley Forge. Nevertheless, it will take new determination, new resolve, to preserve the treasures of our Revolution.

We live in a precarious world threatened by totalitarian forces who seek to subvert and destroy freedom. The peace we enjoy is maintained only by our strength and resolve, and it's our duty to fortify both.

Remarks on Signing a Proclamation Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the British Surrender at Yorktown, Virginia September 14, 1981

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, August 9, 2020

It Doesn't Seem so Long Ago

Happy Anniversary

This morning, as I sit here in the chair where I write most of my blogs, I am looking at a dozen long-stemmed yellow roses and the card that I gave to my bride to celebrate our anniversary.

It is a BIG one--one of the ones that end in a "5" or a "0" which always have special significance. 

We should be on a cruise somewhere exotic to celebrate the four-and-a-half decades of married life that has seen us live in nine states and overseas in Germany. But, as we are all too painfully aware, the coronavirus is running unchecked through the U.S. and none of the cruise lines are operating. So we will hold the trip in abeyance until a more appropriate time. 

On this day, and it doesn't really seem so long ago, two kids got together in a church with family and friends and started a marriage that grew into a family. 

Over the years the family has grown with the addition of children and then spouses, and grandchildren and close friends who have crossed over from being friends to family. We have seen some of the members leave and others arrive--but that is the way of life. Most importantly, however, we are fortunate that our family is close. 

During these past decades, we have learned that the Richard Bach statement about family is true. And we cherish and welcome each family member regardless of their parentage.

And, as they say, it is all because a girl met a boy!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Something had to be said

Yesterday I wrote about the unfounded libelous statements that the president uttered at a rally.

By not responding in kind, the target of those statements, Joe Biden, took the moral highroad--something which we have not seen often lately. It seems that our leaders have lost civility. For some reason verbal exchanges are usually 
laced with invectives.

And so, I was encouraged yesterday when I read how the Democratic presumptive nominee responded to the despicable remarks made about him. His eloquent response gives me hope that should he be elected some measure of honor and civility will be restored to the Office of the President and also to our nation.

We should not elect people to office solely on their words or phrases, but understanding the difference between fact and fiction, real and imagined, and then being compassionate for the people of our great nation certainly is a good start.

Here is the response that Joe Biden made to the president's allegations:

"Like so many people, my faith has been the bedrock foundation of my life: it's provided me comfort in moments of loss and tragedy, it's kept me grounded and humbled in times of triumph and joy. And in this moment of darkness for our country — of pain, of division, and of sickness for so many Americans — my faith has been a guiding light for me and a constant reminder of the fundamental dignity and humanity that God has bestowed upon all of us," Biden said.
"For President Trump to attack my faith is shameful. It's beneath the office he holds and it's beneath the dignity the American people so rightly expect and deserve from their leaders," he added. (Biden calls Trump's 'hurt God' attack 'shameful' - CNN)
It is important to take a deeper look at some of what the president said in his remarks. One allegation that caught my attention was "Hurt the bible, hurt God."  Only a person who uses the Bible for decoration would say something like that about another person. It is an allegation with eternal consequences. And why did the Second Amendment to the Constitution come up again? Is it because the president still believes that only people excising their Second Amendment rights have First Amendment rights? 
Yet, these inflammatory statements resound with many in the electorate. I do not approve of thuggish untruths. But, apparently that is just me.
Something had to be said and something needs to be done--in November!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, August 7, 2020

Did he really say that?

Some of the things that people say, I wonder if they think before engaging their vocal cords. 

Even so, I have been unimpressed with some of what I have heard lately. 

For instance, I heard the president remark about the number of COVID-19 deaths: "It is what it is." Really? 160,000 Americans have died from inept action and that is what the president says?

I would like to think that he meant something else--but I am not sure. It was too pragmatic a statement without any hint of compassion. I watched the interview--the president is more concerned about being blamed for the debacle that is the U.S. response to the coronavirus than he is the toll on Americans and their families. He still doesn't realize that it is his fault. 

I know if this were TV, they would be able to edit the remark and make it better--but it was real life. Real life does not allow for do overs. 

Then yesterday the president said about Biden:

“He’s against God. He’s against guns. He’s against energy, our kind of energy. I don’t think he’s going to do too well in Ohio," Trump said. (Playing electoral defense, Trump claims Biden opposes God)

Really? He's against God? Show me the evidence. Are we talking anti-Christ here?  How can someone say that of a devout, practicing catholic who openly relied on his faith when his son died of cancer? And it was alleged by a man who doesn't know which way is up for the Bible, who has not been in a church since Inauguration Day, and who wouldn't know the truth if it was in front of him that said someone else is against God? Wow! 

I have an idea--Let's make lies wrong again!

Sadly, he didn't say that. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, August 6, 2020

75 Years Ago Today

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Seventy-five years ago today at 8:15 AM local time in Japan, the first atomic weapon to be used during conflict detonated above the city of Hiroshima, Japan. 

On this day seventy-five years ago, the United States became the first, and thankfully so far, the only country to use these most powerful weapons that mankind has been able to produce. It devastated the city of Hiroshima and three days later the second atomic weapon devastated Nagasaki, Japan. Many of us know even the names of the weapons that caused the widespread devastation and destruction-- Little Boy and Fat Man. 

In remarks at the ceremony, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan delivered a cautious statement in which he vowed to gradually work toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.

“As the only country to have experienced nuclear devastation in the world, this is our unchanging mission to step by step and steadily advance the efforts by the international community for a world free from nuclear weapons,” he said. He added that nuclear and non-nuclear states should pursue “common ground” to address severe security challenges.
(Hiroshima 75th Anniversary: Preserving Survivors’ Message of Peace - The New York Times, August 6, 2020)

We should remember the devastation of these two bombs and continue to work to ensure the world can be free from the threat of the use of nuclear weapons. The explosion in Beirut yesterday, reminds me that devastation of our society and planet is always close at hand as long as nuclear weapons continue to proliferate. According to one article, the explosion in Beirut yesterday measured 2.75 kilotons. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was estimated to be between 12 and 15 kilotons. 

Take a moment on this anniversary of the devastation of Hiroshima and pray for peace. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Resilience with an Attitude

Over the past few days, I have discovered two butterflies, well, OK, technically one butterfly and one moth, that have displayed the signs of the dark side of nature. 

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Elkridge, MD
August 1, 2020
First was an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail I found flying around the yard on Saturday. 

If you look closely at the trailing part of the right wing--it is missing. This butterfly had been in some altercation and survived. Somehow. The butterfly demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity and continued to dance around the yard enjoying the wind and freedom. 

Common Gray Moth
Elkridge, MD
August 3, 2020
Then I discovered this probable common gray moth relaxing on the garage door on Monday morning. This moth definitely had seen better days, but like the butterfly it was still living and preparing to live. Its entire lower left wing is missing. I do not know what it tangled up with, but the moth lived to fly again.  

Resilience, that is what life is about. No matter what gets tossed at us, we need to find a way to cope and thrive. Despite coronavirus, the bad news, and the uneven/ineffective leadership from D.C., we each need to have resilience with an attitude!

The sun is coming up today. Are you ready to greet it?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Starting Off August

Well, it is August after all. 

I note that the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are cooler. I am seeing some lows in the 60s in the forecast--which is a sign that Autumn is lingering on the horizon. 

Periodically Funny Chemist

A friend sent me the link to the above image. I thought it might be nice to begin August with a bit of humor. 

Lights Reflecting in the Pool
Elkridge, MD
August 3, 2020
Last evening as I was preparing for my second encounter with Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaias, the first being my condo in Florida, I looked out at my pool and found the reflection of the lights in the rain to be interesting.  

We have colored lights on the pool house and white lights on the fence. I found the reflection in the water interesting, at least for a few seconds. 

The colored lights are a good way to celebrate, well at least note, that yesterday the U.S. had the smallest daily rise in coronavirus cases in weeks. Perhaps, as a country we are beginning to turn the corner. That would certainly be good news! And we definitely need some good news. 

Maybe August will be the turning point?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, August 3, 2020

Monday Musings - August 3, 2020

1. It is the first Monday of August. Wow! Where is the year going?

2. How about the Orioles? They currently have the third best record in the American League! I never saw that coming! Maybe there is hope for the rebuild.

3. Did you note the the two astronauts deorbited yesterday and landed in the Gulf of Mexico completing the first water landing for U.S. astronauts since 1975!

4. The hurricane passed over our condo in Florida with relatively little damage. Our recently installed new hurricane shutters were successfully used for the first time. Now, the rain and winds are headed our way!

Dawn over the Beach
Ocean City, MD
July 30, 2020
5. I enjoyed a sunrise on the beach last week while visiting Ocean City, MD. There is something that excites me about looking out at the dawning day and thinking of the possibilities. Of course, on that day I went to play golf, but the golf course played me. 

6. Although the summer continues for another 50 days, I have already begun to notice that the sun is rising later and setting earlier. 

7. I enjoyed a five hour drive yesterday and my take-away is that a discrete subset of drivers are determined to ignore safety and speed as fast as they can. I am not a slow driver and at time I felt as if a Formula 1 car was passing me on the racetrack.

8. Today in History. On August 3, 1958, the U.S. nuclear submarine Nautilus accomplishes the first undersea voyage to the geographic North Pole. The world’s first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus dived at Point Barrow, Alaska, and traveled nearly 1,000 miles under the Arctic ice cap to reach the top of the world. It then steamed on to Iceland, pioneering a new and shorter route from the Pacific to the Atlantic and Europe.

Birx Warns That U.S. Epidemic Is in a ‘New Phase’Birx Warns That U.S. Epidemic Is in a ‘New Phase’ - The New York Times

‘Thanks for Flying SpaceX’: NASA Astronauts Safely Splash Down - The New York Times

Microsoft Aims for a Deal to Buy TikTok’s U.S. Business - The Wall Street Journal

Luxury Department Store Lord & Taylor Files for Bankruptcy - The Wall Street Journal

Changes Coming to Baseball’s Health Protocols After Outbreaks - The Wall Street Journal

Isaias scrapes Florida, set to unleash heavy rain along East Coast - The Washington Post

The Lincoln Project’s plan to save the union: Drive Trump out of office by driving him nuts - The Washington Post

Singapore to make travellers wear electronic tags to enforce quarantine - Reuters

Divisive Trump nominee gets new Pentagon post, despite snub by Congress - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

The choices this year are not just between two different personalities or between two political parties. They're between two different visions of the future, two fundamentally different ways of governing -- their government of pessimism, fear, and limits, or ours of hope, confidence, and growth.
Their government sees people only as members of groups; ours serves all the people of America as individuals. Theirs lives in the past, seeking to apply the old and failed policies to an era that has passed them by. Ours learns from the past and strives to change by boldly charting a new course for the future. Theirs lives by promises, the bigger, the better. We offer proven, workable answers. 
Remarks Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas, August 23, 1984

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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