Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Orioles August Blues

OPACY August 29, 2016
The Sun Setting on the Orioles Season
I can almost feel the successful baseball season slipping away. 

I witnesses another lackluster hitting performance by the Orioles last evening which squandered some outstanding defensive plays and a solid pitching performance in a 5-1 loss.

It was good to be at the park, although at times the most exciting thing happening was happening with my Pokemon Go.

It almost looks like the Astros visit to the OPACY two weeks ago all over again. The pitching staff responded admirably with 11 strike outs against a Bluejays team that is definitely gearing up for the post-season, but the hitters were largely ineffective at the plate. 

Box Score for Middle Five Hitters
Bluejays vs Orioles
August 29, 2016
The vaunted offense was stifled with only 4 hits--two by JJ Hardy including the lone Orioles run, a solo shot that food its way out of the stadium. The five big guys in the middle of the order were 0-16 with a walk. It was painful to watch as the Orioles slipped to four games out of first.

September is almost upon us and here's hoping for a resurgence of the power that I witnessed earlier in the season. The playoffs are in sight, but the vision is fading. 

It is definitely go time!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday Musings - August 29, 2016

1. It is the last Monday of August 2018. The eighth month of the year will come to an end later this week leaving us at the mercy of September.

Sunrise at Renditions in Davidsonville, MD
August 28, 2016
2. Early morning golf, just at sunrise on Renditions in Davidsonville, MD. It was a beautiful morning and I do enjoy watching the world wake from the serenity of a golf course.

3. I just learned that although Maryland has a 6 percent sales tax rate, and a separate 9 percent tax on alcohol, it also has a variable tax on other items, like golf courses, up to 10 percent. Based upon cost of living computations, Maryland residents are the 7th most taxed in the country, ranking 44th out of 51. 

4. The Zika panic is spreading across the country after cases have been discovered in Florida. Could it come here? With the exception of Wyoming, it already is, although Florida is the only state, so far, where the virus is being caught from local mosquitoes. 

Little League World Series Winners
Maine-Endwell, NY
5. I love the Little League World Series. I enjoy watching the boys play baseball in its nearly pure form. And I enjoyed watching a team from near where I grew up win it all this year. Congrats to Maine-Endwell, NY

6. I remember reading an interesting assessment of the most dangerous, to humans, animal in the world. It was the mosquito.

7. After giving up 25 runs in their previous two games against the "team whose name shall not be spoken" from up north, the Orioles clawed out a stirring 5-0 victory yesterday. Sitting at 3 games out of first place in the division, and with the division leaders coming to town tonight--this series could be for the division lead!

Preparing to Blend a Bordeaux Style Wine
Pearmund Cellars, VA
8. If you want to have some fun, try this test from the Washington Post--try naming 10 national parks just by looking at their maps. I did OK (7 of 10). 

9. Had fun blending wine with friends this weekend at Pearmund Cellars. A different approach to blending great wine. We even got to bring some of our blend home. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Crazy Drivers

I think too many drivers have been watching the scenes from adventure movies and are adopting some of the poor driving practices in their own lives.

That makes driving dangerous for everyone.

Within a five minute span yesterday, I was faced with two dangerous driving situations which should never have happened.

The first was a white SUV driving in the wrong lane--not just one wrong lane, but coming towards me in the right turn lane of a three lane road. The other two lanes were full of people stopped at the traffic light. I'm not sure why this person decided to use the lane, at first I thought they were going to turn into the gas station, which is near the corner--but no, they drove the entire distance almost to me and where the traffic opened before they zipped across the other two lanes and into the proper lanes for the direction in which they were traveling. 

If that was not enough as I was entering I-95 on a long ramp with a blind curve just a few minutes later, just as Chris urged me to slow a bit a minivan came into view driving in reverse in the middle of the ramp. Reverse! There was no where for me to go, although I had a plan as I laid on the horn--I wished I had a bigger horn. For some odd reason, the person driving the minivan stopped, put their vehicle in drive and then proceeded to enter I-95 and I have no idea what was happening--except another very dangerous driving situation.

Be careful out there! It is a jungle!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Making Trucks Go Slower?

I read an article in this morning's Baltimore Sun about how some brilliant person in the government wants to impose mandatory speed restrictions on trucks--supposedly in the name of safety. 

As I did my research on the topic, I found a lot of information especially in BigRig Blogger

Obviously, I do not have access to any scientific research on the matter, however, I my observation is that most truck accidents involve an automobile. Clearly, there are the single truck accidents where the accident can be attributed to too much speed--but even so, it is likely because the operator was traveling too fast for conditions--like sliding off a slippery road or flipping while traversing a cloverleaf.

The problem, in my mind, with trucks is not that they go too fast, but rather they travel too slowly and that causes automobile drivers to do dumb and dangerous things to get around them which contribute to the accidents. When trucks become blockers the speed demons on the highway's start driving aggressively to get around them. 

Limiting the maximum speed of a truck to 68 MPH, as proposed, might increase dangerous driving activities and possibly increase truck-auto accidents. There are places in the country where the speed limit on the highways is 75 MPH or higher! We tend to be myopically focused upon the east coast and extreme west coast areas.

The bigger problem, I believe, is to create situations where the trucks do not become blockers. Improve the highways so that the trucks do not block faster traffic--especially in hilly areas as they lumber at 60 MPH us a long hill with a 70 MPH speed limit. 

Installing speed limiters in trucks is not the answer, in my mind.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, August 26, 2016

Falene Wanders By

Falene in the Garden
June 2016
The fawn that I photographed sleeping in our flower garden earlier in the year wandered through the edge of the yard yesterday. 

Falene and Mother
25 August 2016
My how she has grown--but remains under the watchful eye of her mother.

They were not particularly concerned about my presence, in fact, the doe made a gesture that I interpreted as almost wanting to come to me for food. We have not been feeding the wild animals. But, they understand that our yard is relatively safe space. Makayla is very good about not chasing the deer, although she was the one who alerted me to their presence in the yard yesterday. 

It is fun to watch the small, seemingly helpless fawn grow into a deer. Life continues. Even in our relatively small community. 

I hope we have a mild winter.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, August 25, 2016

O's v Nat's

The annual beltway series between the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals is underway. 

The MLB schedulers certainly have come up with a good plan by ensuring that these two teams face each other in a four game 2 and 2 series each year. What does that mean? They play four games with two games in each stadium. 

The O's are doing well this year having won the first three games, with the last game to play tonight.

Last evening was a significant game, however, because Zach Britton's Orioles record of over 43 appearances without being scored upon was broken as the Nats scored a run late in the 9th inning. At least he got the team out of the wild 9th inning that saw the Nats score 5 runs to make the final score 10-8.

But it is a win! 

The O's are now only one game behind the tied division leading Bluejays and Red Sox. 

As the season slides closer to September, every game becomes that much more important. An ugly win is still a win! And to get into the post-season, the team needs wins!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cool Evening

Not My Feet!
I walked outside last evening, barefoot, to get the mail. I noticed the cool evening air, in the 70's, and low humidity. I was struck by the contrast of last week's unbearable temperatures with stress indexes in the 100's. 

But last evening was markedly different. I could feel the summer season beginning to pass right before me. I enjoyed stepping onto the still warm pavement of the driveway as I walked the hundred or so paces to the mailbox. 

It was an exciting feeling--the coolness of the evening air and the warmth of the pavement beneath my feet.

I see more 90 degree days in the immediate forecast, but I know that they are becoming less prevalent. It is August, after all, the transition month from the ecstasy of the summer to the dark times of winter. The arrival of September brings changes as leaves fall and frosts arrive to paint colors onto the canvass of the scenery.

I did enjoy the coolness of the evening air, just as I enjoyed the 60's of this morning as I let the dog out. But I miss the dog days, which by some reckoning ended on about August 11th. Summer is slipping away!

How did it pass so quickly?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Troy Whittemore Classic - 2016

Sunday, I played in the Troy Whittemore Classic Golf Tournament at the Trumansburg Golf Course in Upstate NY.

It was the third annual offering of the event designed to remember my very special nephew and fund the scholarship established in his name.

I really enjoy the weekend, remembering Troy and his special humor and life along with many of his friends that I have come to know. 

Best Dressed Golfer?
The tournament is a lot of work and I know it is a labor of love for one of Troy's best friends--Mike Kasel, and we all appreciate the hard work that he puts into getting everyone off on time. While this year's tournament included a drought ending rainstorm--it was a drought ending rainstorm, however, which was a good thing. It did not dampen the spirits of those who attended.

The rain, however, did cause some fun on the course. Once I donned my rain jacket, which did not go well with my outfit, I was an interesting sight. I ran across another golfer similarly attired. Which one pulls the look off the best?

Thanks to the golf course and thanks to Mike and his family and friends for all of their hard work. I am already looking forward to next year's tournament.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Musings - August 22, 2016

Troy Whittemore Classic
Trumansburg Golf Club
August 21, 2016
1. I experienced a drought-breaking rainstorm in Central New York yesterday. Unfortunately, it happened while I was in the middle of a golf tournament. And it all began so peacefully.

2. I did get to play 36 holes of golf over the weekend.

3.  The Orioles are suffering through a mid-August drought of their own. They are 1-5 in their last 6 games!

4. I did finally get a good image of a hummingbird in flight at my Dad's feeder! I successfully stalked the hummingbird.

5. School is beginning in some Maryland counties. Drive safely!

6. Hate is unacceptable and often directed at the wrong people. An article in the Washington Post made me very upset that people can be so shallow!

7. The Olympics are over. Congrats to the U.S. team! They represented us well by bringing home 121 medals.

8. Want to know your trash score? How eco-friendly you are? Check out the quiz from the Washington Post.  

9. It is good to be home again. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Stalking the Elusive Hummingbird

I find hummingbirds to be fascinating. They are so quick at everything that it is hard to get an image of them. Chris and I have been unable to consistently attract them at our house.

I sat in my parents back deck this morning trying to get a good image of a hummingbird at the feeder. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. They seemed to know when I looked away and then swooped I. To feed. By the time I took the image, the hummingbird was gone.

I did manage this one image of a hummingbird trying to decide whether to feed. I wouldn't call it spectacular, but it was the only one that I managed to obtain during over 30 minutes.

It was a beautiful and clear morning. Hopefully it foretells another fantastic day.

The hummingbird stalker was mildly successful.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Danby, NY
My Zimbio
Top Stories