Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday Musings - September 26, 2016

Makayla in Glasses
1. The first 2016 Presidential Debate is tonight--watch it. It is important. I read that one of the candidates is not preparing for the questions.

2. The Orioles swept a series against the Diamondbacks this weekend. They were also eliminated from the division race and can only make the post-season via the Wild Card route.

3. Makayla, my Keeshond  was trying to imitate my look in glasses yesterday. It worked pretty well. 

18th Green
Walden Golf Club
Crofton, MD
4. I need to say thank you to my family for the great birthday celebration. Of course, it was made a bit better because the Baltimore birds (the Orioles and the Ravens) both won their games.

5. Early morning golf yesterday. It was very cool! I had to wear a light jacket. Another sign that autumn has arrived. 

Geese at Walden Golf Club
6. There were a lot of geese on the golf course yesterday. And they were also flying around honking and generally being a nuisance.  

7. I was saddened at the announcement of the death of Arnold Palmer

8. We were invited to dinner at, a really good German restaurant right near us--The Bavarian Brauhaus. I don't know how we missed it all of these years.

9. There is rain in the forecast, finally. We are very dry. I am actually looking forward to seeing my lawn green up a bit before winter arrives.

10. It is hard to believe it, but the MLB regular season will be over by this time next week and it will be the Post-Season.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Take: The Debate

The first Presidential Debate between two of the candidates running for the nation's highest elected office is scheduled for tomorrow. I wish the top four candidates had been included; however, it will have to do with just two.

What am I looking for from the debate?

Leadership, integrity, context, details.

I actually can sum up my four wants in four words--but they are big words.

Leadership--one of the candidates needs to be a leader. Not a backbiting slanderer, but a leader who can rise above the muck slinging and take the shots and jabs while not responding in kind to ensure that their voice is heard as a voice of a leader amid the cacophony around them.

Integrity--this one seems to be the toughest. I am already biased that neither candidate has the integrity necessary to be the leader of the free world. Hopefully I will be surprised, but at every turn both sides have shown a propensity for fact twisting and deception.

Context--too many phrases are stolen from context to remake the world into an imaginary image. The candidates need to provide correct context for their remarks and not just make emotionally appealing or repulsive statements. 

Details--the time for the broad generalizations for programs is over. It is time to indicate how the next President will work with the Congress to enact legislation. Presidents do not pass laws and do not fund programs--the Congress does. Both candidates need to provide details of the programs and the plans to have them enacted.

It is crunch time. The polling places in some states are already open for early voting. 

My Take: It is time for this campaign to become about real issues and plans and stop focusing on the peripheral and incidental problems.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Around the Fire Pit

Around the Fire Pit
Nothing screams autumn like sitting around the fire pit in the back yard with our friends on a Friday night at the end of a long week drinking wine.

It is autumn at its best. Before the bone chilling cold sets in and while the leaves are yet green on the trees, although falling at an incredible rate because of the drought-like conditions.

Granted, there was some bug spray involved to preclude becoming dinner for the still viable mosquitos, but the evening was perfect, the conversation stimulating and the wine enjoyable. 

I even tried to get everyone to play a memory game, One Hen, two ducks; also called the Announcer's Test, that I learned in Boy Scout camp a few decades ago--the only problem was that I forgot what came after six. I had to look it up this morning.

A perfect evening. Thanks to my friends who made it that way.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 23, 2016

Weather Changes

Leaves on my Pool Cover
The first full day of autumn, today may be the last gasp of summer for the region.

The anticipated high of 86 degrees and the low of 60 are the last of the summer-like temperatures for about the next two weeks.

Beginning tomorrow the highs will top out in the 70's (and some days are forecast to be exactly 70) and the lows will consistently be in the 50's. Autumn's weather is arriving. 

Sunset over Baltimore
September 20, 2016
The leaves are already falling as those adorning on my pool cover attest. The trees are still mostly green, the leaves are falling because of the dry weather.

The sunsets have been glorious. I imaged one during my most recent visit to Camden Yards, which likely will be my last this season since the Orioles have rendered themselves irrelevant in the playoff chase by being swept in a four game series at home. 

The changes are coming almost daily. I would say it is fun to watch, but I'm not very excited about the end result which is winter.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Autumn's Arrival

Today at 10:21 AM EDT is the seasonal end to summer.

It is over.

Those lazy, hazy crazy days are a memory until next June, although we usually herald summer's arrival during May. 

As I looked at the autumn images, I noticed that the characterization of the world seems to change from green to orange and red during autumn. And then the trees go bare.

There is a Washington Post article titled Fall begins Thursday: Five questions and answers about the autumnal equinox that goes into some of the interesting and fun facts about the start of the season.

The increasing darkness has already made its presence known. The table shows the average daily loss of light by latitude (or city). I'm glad that I am not in Alaska! But the days are shortening to the point where trying to get in a round of golf after work is impossible. I'm lucky to get nine holes in, although in reality I haven't been able to get to a course after work for a few months. Losing about 2m 30s of daylight per day means that I won't be playing evening golf again until May.

Yesterday I arrived at work during darkness and soon, I will be going home in darkness.

Another year is heading to a conclusion. I can already feel the cold winds of winter waiting just off stage to make their presence felt.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Staggering to the End

Last evening Chris and I went to see the Orioles play the division-leading Red Sox. 

It should have been a great game, except that it wasn't. 

The Orioles have dropped three games out of the division race since last week and look listless on the field. Last evening they again could not mount an effective offense and the pitching failed at all of the wrong times. 

I had to suffer through another David Ortiz homer, a three-run shot that put the game out of reach. 

Trey Mancini
I enjoyed seeing the Orioles Trey Mancini hit a homer in his major league debut. His was one of the few bright spots for the team.

The stadium was not full and wild as I would have expected for a match off between division rivals vying for playoff spots. It is as if the listlessness of the team has taken over the fans as well.

How do I define listless? The Orioles have scored two runs in each of their last four games and are 1-3 during that time. 

The hitters are not getting the job done. Case in point--last evening Adam Jones came to the plate in the 7th inning with two on and two out. The Orioles were down 5-2 and had already scored one run during the inning. Instead of working for a single that would score another run, Jones swung for the fence on a 2-0 count and while he gave the ball an exciting ride, it became the third out and crushed the rally.

The season is not over. There are 11 games remaining, but being 5 games out of first is beginning to make winning the division seem out of reach. The Orioles still possess one of the wild card spots and so, hopefully, there will be Orioles post-season baseball this year.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Life with Dogs

Makayla after a Hard Day of Work
I love my dog. I can't imagine not having a dog and sharing life with a dog. (I wonder if that double negative makes sense?)

My dog, Makayla, like all of my dogs since I've been an adult, is a full fledged member of the family. Sometimes maybe too full-fledged. She makes her needs known and even forces me to get some exercise as I walk her around the neighborhood. 

Chewbacca -- Waiting Patiently
I wish I could take her with me to more places when I am out shopping or dining. She is calm and well mannered. I would enjoy taking her to restaurants where she would wait for the morsels from my plate that I enjoy sharing with her when I eat at home. She has become and expert at eating spaghetti and corn-on-the-cob. Whenever I get to the last corner of a sandwich or piece of bread, I share it with her. 

I read an article titled The Speakeasy Underworld of the Dog Bar in the New York Times this morning. The article describes how more restrictive laws are forcing establishments to exclude dogs from inside areas while at the same time allowing more dogs at outdoor tables. The article describes the reporters undercover work "sniffing" out bars which defy the health code and allow dogs with their owners.  I applaud those establishments.

I remember traveling Europe and seeing dogs more freely allowed in eating establishments. 

I believe well mannered dogs should be freely allowed to accompany their owners in all establishments. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Musings - September 19, 2016

1. Autumn begins on Thursday this week, let the leaves fall where they may!

Maryland Wine Festival
September 18, 2016
2. Chris and I went to the Maryland Wine Festival in Carroll County with Patrick and Tina yesterday. Fantastic! We enjoyed the festival. It was a beautiful day. Maryland wines are growing up!

3. What happens if there no one is medically suitable to be the next President of the US?

4. An interesting article in the New York Times describes how the Chinese are buying tech companies. Given that the Chinese own a massive amount of U.S. debt, all I can think is that it is just our tax dollars at work.

Patuxent Greens Golf Course
September 18, 2016
5. Pre-dawn on a beautiful Sunday on a golf course with Jeremy. We had a great round together.

6. There is rain forecast for today! Yay. The region is very dry. Although there were some sprinkles yesterday, there was no meaningful or measurable rainfall. Officially we have had 0.09 inches of rain fall during September. How do you measure less than a tenth of an inch?

7. I got up this morning and wondered how many leaves I would have to take out of the pool. And then, I remembered that I had closed the pool.

8. I can begin to see autumn in the weather forecast--there are no 90's or even high 80's in the 10 day forecast and some of the daily highs are in the 70's.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Heralding Autumn's Arrival

Chris Preparing to Help Place the Cover
Although autumn does not officially arrive until later this week on September 22--or Thursday, it arrived at my house yesterday. 

The pool was closed yesterday for the season and that marks the beginning of autumn for me. Why did I close the pool early this year when I normally keep it open until the last week of September or the first week of October? The dry heat caused me to close early.

Pool Ready for the Dark Season
It does seem a bit strange that dry heat would cause me to close early, but the arid conditions have caused many of the trees to start dropping their leaves--many of them still green and I could not keep up with the maintenance on the pool. My pool is a collecting point for leaves.

I always gauge closing the pool with the numbers of leaves falling to the ground. I mowed the lawn yesterday not because the grass was long, but to remove the leaves from the yard. Its sad that summer is ending so abruptly. I had hoped for a smooth slide into autumn.

While it was sad to place the cover and say another long good-bye to summer, I hate to admit that it was time. Pool season has effectively ended with morning temperatures in 60's the water temperature is getting to cold to be enjoyable. 

On a good note, we moved the fire pit into the yard to begin to enjoy the autumn evenings on a more personal basis! 

That is a lot like trying to find a silver lining in a black storm cloud.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sitting by the River

Along the Magothy River
This time if year is perfect for evenings outside as sunset arrives.

Even last evening on the Magothy River. We enjoyed a great Friday evening with friends at a restaurant in a marina watching the evening fall. The clouds arrived and blotted out the sun before the sunset. 

Too soon the weather will be too cold to allow for enjoyment such as this on a Friday night. 

I enjoyed the moment! Along a river on a Friday afternoon as the day is ending and night is falling with friends. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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