Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Changed Forecast

It is hard to get used to the changed weather forecast. 

The region has been in a period where the forecast has been for dry, clear, sunny days. 

Not so anymore. I looked at the forecast for the coming 10 days and was stunned to see a lot of rain in the forecast. It is something that while the year began with too much rain, I had become accustomed to bright clear days and no rain, even though we were too dry. 

Weather Forecast for Baltimore
October 21, 2019

The weather forecast looks downright depressing. I even note that Thursday night next week it appears that we may have our first frost of the season and that it is going to be cold for Halloween. How coincidental that the first frost may occur on the last day of October just days before the end of Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, November 3rd.

And so the dark season begins. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 21, 2019

Monday Musings - October 21. 2019

1. Welcome to the third Monday of October. It is the middle of the month. We are headed into November in 10 short days. There are 71 days remaining in 2019.

2. It rained all day yesterday. That was good, except it took me over two hours to cross the Bay Bridge on my way home from a winery. 

3. Family NFL Report:

    Redskins lose to 49ers 0-9
    Ravens defeat Seahawks 30-16
    Cowboys defeat Eagles 37-10
    Steelers did not play

Great Shoals Cellars Tasting Room
St Michaels, MD
October 20, 2019
4. Chris and I did a day trip to the Eastern Shore yesterday to visit two wineries, Great Shoals Cellars and St Michaels Winery. We enjoyed our day; however, that almost two hours we were in traffic to cross back over the Bay Bridge were a bit excessive. Maryland really needs to do something about the bridge. 

Around the Fire Pit
Elkridge, MD
October 19, 2019
5. It rained all day yesterday. We need the rain, but is did put a damper on outdoors activity. We received a lot of rain--much needed rain. Saturday evening, however, Chris and I were able to enjoy a nice fire and some wine in advance of the onset of the storms. 

6. The GORC 12U Cooperstown team had a good practice on Saturday. We were fortunate not to have a game scheduled for Sunday--it would have been rained out. The team is off to Hershey, PA, for a tournament on Saturday. We are guaranteed three games. Two on Saturday and one on Sunday. We continue to play games as long as we win on Sunday. 

7. Today in History. On October 21, 1959, on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, thousands of people line up outside a bizarrely shaped white concrete building that resembled a giant upside-down cupcake. It was opening day at the new Guggenheim Museum, home to one of the world’s top collections of contemporary art. Mining tycoon Solomon R. Guggenheim began collecting art seriously when he retired in the 1930s. With the help of Hilla Rebay, a German baroness and artist, Guggenheim displayed his purchases for the first time in 1939 in a former car showroom in New York. Within a few years, the collection—including works by Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Marc Chagall—had outgrown the small space. In 1943, Rebay contacted architect Frank Lloyd Wright and asked him to take on the work of designing not just a museum, but a “temple of spirit,” where people would learn to see art in a new way.


As U.S. Leaves Allies in Syria, Kurdish Commander Struggles With FalloutAs U.S. Leaves Allies in Syria,  - The New York Times

Despite Failures, Boris Johnson Is in Striking Distance of Brexit SuccessDespite Failures, - The New York Times

 Qantas tests world's longest commercial flight from New York to Sydney - Reuters

North Korea says U.S., South Korea must present new solutions for conflict - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Some Americans think that Europeans are too little concerned for their own security. Some would unilaterally reduce the number of American troops deployed in Europe. And in Europe itself, we hear the idea that the American presence, rather than contributing to peace, either has no deterrent value or actually increases the risk that our Allies may be attacked.
These arguments ignore both the history and the reality of the transatlantic coalition. Let me assure you that the American commitment to Europe remains steady and strong. Europe's shores are our shores. Europe's borders are our borders. And we will stand with you in defense of our heritage of liberty and dignity.
The American people recognize Europe's substantial contributions to our joint security. Nowhere is that contribution more evident than here in the Federal Republic. German citizens host the forces of six nations. German soliders and reservists provide the backbone of NATO's conventional deterrent in the heartland of Europe. Your Bundeswehr is a model for the integration of defense needs with a democratic way of life, and you have not shrunk from the heavy responsibility of accepting the nuclear forces necessary for deterrence.
  -- Address Before the Bundestag in Bonn, Federal Republic of Germany, June 9, 1982 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 20, 2019

NFL: Are the Referees Deciding the Game

It is Sunday. That means that I get my weekly dose of the NFL. I am not sure whether the product being offered by the NFL is football anymore.

I am beginning to think that NFL stands for No Football League. 

Last week during one game, there were no less than six plays in a row on which flags were thrown. It was towards the end of the game and the flags thrown definitely affected the outcome.

How bad is it? Flags have been thrown on 10.25 percent of the 16,526 plays run in the NFL this season. That is an increase of 28.9 percent over 2009 when there were flags thrown on 7.95 percent of the 46,523 plays run by teams in the league. 

Now it is important that I am using the Flags Thrown statistic--which means a penalty was enforced, declined, or offsetting. I'm not sure if they track when the flag is picked up with no penalty. I ran across a pretty nifty website called NFL Penalties which has the stats back to 2009. 

So doing the math--that is about a 29 percent increase in penalties over a 10 year period.

And the worst part is that even with video review--they still get the calls wrong! But, that is a rant for another time. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Halloween Do-Over

Halloween House
Elkridge, MD
October 17, 2019
So I did a do-over for the photo of the Halloween house.

This is what it looks like without the streaks the lights running across the frame.

It is fairly scary. And complete. I wonder how many young children will avoid the place because of the decorations?

But it really is special. The current residents are the second couple who really get into Halloween--maybe it is something about the house, but it has been a Halloween spectacular for many years.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 18, 2019

15 Minutes to Install

I believe that most homeowners who attempt their own repair projects have been faced with the following phrase or one similar to it included in the instructions: 

Installation Time: 15 minutes

What does that phrase mean? 

Jeremy and I gained an understanding of the rich and full meaning of these instructions the other afternoon/evening as we determined to repair a malfunctioning toilet. 

The Bolt Connection the Tank to the Toilet
Finding a Place to Saw
October 16, 2019
In all fairness, the instructions were absolutely true! It only took 15 minutes to install the complete toilet innards replacement kit. It, however,  took two and a half hours, including three trips back to my house for additional tools, to get the toilet prepared for the installation. That is the missing part of the instructions--how long will it take to get the project ready for the installation. 

In the case of the toilet in question, the installation was the easy part because the bolts holding the tank to the bowl were badly corroded and could not be loosened. They had to be hacksawed. By hand. And even though there were only two bolts, the way that they were installed required three cuts to fully remove the bolts. The final cut had to be done with just the blade, removed from the saw because of the tolerances and the concern about damaging or breaking the porcelain tank. It was a slow and tortuous project as at times we were both crammed into a very small bathroom working together to remove the tank from the bowl to facilitate installation of the complete new tank system.

But we were victorious! The toilet finally was defeated and the installation went smoothly.

It is just strange that an expected 15 minute project took almost three hours. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 17, 2019


The season is upon us--that is the season of Halloween. The date is just two weeks from today.

Halloween Decorated House
Elkridge, MD
October 15, 2019
Some of the houses in my neighborhood have decorated extensively for the Halloween. I went out the other night to take an image of one of the houses. I thought that I had taken a nice image, but when I reviewed it, it seemed filled with a bit more of the Halloween eeriness than I had planned. I have no idea how I managed to get this weird image, but I did. 

The Halloween season has arrived and the leaves are falling from the trees. Yesterday's rains will ensure my lawn remains green for another couple weeks. It was good to have rain, finally, yesterday. And it was a nice soaking rain.

Maybe I will get a better picture of the decorations in the neighborhood this evening. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Those Amazing Nats

Amazing! Incredible!

The Nationals fans are celebrating this morning because their team us the first to punch its ticket to the World Series 2019 where they will face either the Astros or the Yankees. 

A couple of weeks ago, the team played a single-game elimination Wild Card playoff looking forward to facing the Dodgers, the team with the second best record in all of baseball, if they were victorious. Few believed they would survive a series against the Dodgers--but anything can happen in a five game series and the Nats were victorious and now have swept the Cardinals to be the first team into the 2019 World Series. The Nationals also win their first NL Pennant!

In the other series, yesterday the Astros defeated the Yankees 4-1 to take a 2-1 lead in their series. This is a series that I expect will go to at least 6 games given the strength of the teams. That is definitely a problem for the Nationals--sitting around watching rather than playing baseball. 

And so there are three teams remaining. Soon there will be two. I still like the Astros to take it all, but would not be disappointed to have a World Series trophy come to D.C. 

I checked Stub Hub this morning, standing room only tickets to World Series Game 3, the first to be played in D.C. on Friday October 25th, are starting at $750. I would need to start a Fundme page to go to the game. I am not too concerned about going to the game, however, because I will be at a tournament in Hershey, PA, with my very own GORC 12U Wildcats that weekend!

I love Baseball!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Holiday

It sounds like the title of a novel--The Holiday. 

Basement Bathroom
October 14, 2019
I wasn't disappointed with the holiday I enjoyed yesterday. I managed to get a number of things accomplished and I therefore made good use of the day off. It was an enjoyable, if not busy, three-day weekend. 

I have a list of things that I intended to accomplish during the time off and I can report that mostly accomplished them. One item turned into a larger project than I had anticipated--there is always, it seems, one project that is fraught with problems and pitfalls. 

This time it was caulking the basement bathroom shower. It seemed like an easy project requiring only a tube of caulk and about 30 minutes of time. Not so, grasshopper! I decided that the paint around the top of the shower stall was too flaky to be properly painted, so I scraped the wall thoroughly and smoothed it with plaster to rebuild the wall. Today I get to paint it and hopefully tomorrow I will finally be able to caulk the seam around the top. I like the plaster that is tinted pink because I tend not to let it dry enough before attempting the next step.

Always another project it seems.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 14, 2019

Monday Musings - October 14, 2019

1. It is the second Monday of October and we are celebrating Columbus Day. I have the day off from work.

2. We are in a period when we enjoy seven Federal holidays in a 5 month period from September through 
January. They are: Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day, and Martin Luther King's Birthday. 

3. Yesterday the GORC Wildcats U12 Cooperstown team had a baseball game. Who knew that it was going to rain. We did not complete the second inning before the game was called for rain. It rained hard! But we received no rain in Elkridge! I still had to water the lawn to nurture the grass seedlings we are encouraging to fill the empty spots. 

4. Family NFL Results:

    Ravens defeat Bengals 23-17
    Redskins defeat Dolphins 17-16
    Cowboys lost to Jets 22-24
    Steelers defeated Chargers 24-17

5. I wonder if they still teach the school children about Columbus and the jingle, "In 14 hundred and 92, Columbus sailed the ocean blue?" And then about his three ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria? I remember drawing pictures of the ships arriving off the coast of the New World.

6. The temperatures have been trending downward, I may have turn the heat on in the house soon. 

7. Despite the rained out baseball game yesterday, we still havre not received any measurable rain in Elkridge in two months and it is dry!

8. I noticed that colors are beginning grace the trees yesterday as they don their autumn finery for the final show of the season.

9. Today in History. U.S. Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager becomes the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. Yeager, born in Myra, West Virginia, in 1923, was a combat fighter during World War II and flew 64 missions over Europe. He shot down 13 German planes and was himself shot down over France, but he escaped capture with the assistance of the French Underground. After the war, he was among several volunteers chosen to test-fly the experimental X-1 rocket plane, built by the Bell Aircraft Company to explore the possibility of supersonic flight.


Abandoned by U.S. in Syria, Kurds Find New Ally in American Foe Abandoned by U.S. in Syria,  - The New York Times

Green Berets Feel ‘Ashamed,’ and Kurds Describe ‘Betrayal’ - The New York Times

Hong Kong violence is 'life-threatening', say police, citing crude bomb - Reuters

Saudi visit showcases Putin's growing Middle East influence - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

When our children turn the pages of our lives, I hope they'll see that we had a vision to pass forward a nation as nearly perfect as we could, where there's decency, tolerance, generosity, honesty, courage, common sense, fairness, and piety. This is my vision and I'm grateful to God for blessing me with a good life and a long one. But when I pack up my bags in Washington, don't expect me to be happy to hear all this talk about the twilight of my life. 

  -- Republican National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 15, 1988

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 13, 2019

This is What I Saw

Sunrise over Route 100
October 11, 2019
It was Friday morning early, just as the sun was rising in the East. I was driving to work on the road that I usually take, but because the sun is rising later, it was mostly dark. Too dark.

In the East, I witnessed the first light of dawn. Breaking over the horizon and framed by the road I was driving. It was an inspiring sight. The sky was clear and the colors of the morning were vibrantly greeting me as I made my way to start the last workday of the week. The reflection of the sunrise on the hood of my truck is something that I did not notice at the time I snapped this quick image. But, it highlights the beauty of the scene.

Fox at Crofton Country Club
Crofton, MD
October 12, 2019
I will follow that with what I saw while golfing yesterday. I enjoy seeing wildlife on the golf course and yesterday was no exception. As I was warming up in the chipping area, a fox ran across the grass and stopped to check me out. I was quick enough to grab my camera and snap an image of it, even while I was amazed that it was so close--within my comfort zone for a wild and potentially rabid animal. But, the fox went about its business and left me alone with to enjoy my ragged golf game. I need to play golf more often than every three months. It has been since July that I was on a course. 

Golf aside, I have been treated to some exciting views this weekend.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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