Monday, November 23, 2020

Monday Musings - November 23, 2020

 



1. It is the next to last Monday of November. Thanksgiving is on Thursday. December begins next week. There are just over five weeks remaining in the crazy year that is called 2020. I believe that most of us will be happy to see it depart.

2. Family NFL Results:

    Steelers (10-0) defeat Jaguars (1-9) 27-3

    Cowboys (3-7) defeat Vikings (4-6) 31-28

    Football Team (3-7) defeat Bengals (2-7-1) 20-9

    Ravens (6-4) lose to Titans (7-3) 24-30

Squirrel Eating Pumpkin
Elkridge, MD
November 21, 2020
3. Squirrels? Why do squirrels love Halloween? Pumpkins! Chris, Finnegan, and I came across this squirrel eating a pumpkin during our walk on Saturday. 

4. I had an enjoyable round of golf yesterday at Crofton. I posted my best score for 18 holes there. I can, however, do better. I still had a couple of "blow-up" holes.

5. This is a big holiday week. Whatever you do, be safe. Our family has significantly modified Thanksgiving based upon our recent COVID-19 experience. 

6. After the Day of the Turkey, then the Christmas decorations can fill our senses with holiday escapism.

7. Holiday shopping this year will be very different. I will do the majority of my shopping form my chair.

8. COVID-19 has canceled a family tradition. There will be no Axis and Allies game on Black Friday.

9Today in History. On November 23, 1936, the first issue of the pictorial magazine Life is published, featuring a cover photo of the Fort Peck Dam's spillway by Margaret Bourke-White.

Life actually had its start earlier in the 20th century as a different kind of magazine: a weekly humor publication, not unlike today’s The New Yorker in its use of tart cartoons, humorous pieces and cultural reporting. When the original Life folded during the Great Depression, the influential American publisher Henry Luce bought the name and re-launched the magazine as a picture-based periodical on this day in 1936. By this time, Luce had already enjoyed great success as the publisher of Time, a weekly news magazine.




Trump Continues to Challenge Election as Options Dwindle - TheWall Street Journal

Trump Exits Open Skies Treaty, Moves to Discard Observation Planes - The Wall Street Journal

Biden Team, Pushing Quick Stimulus Deal, Prepares for Renewed Recession - The New York Times

Along Russia’s ‘Road of Bones,’ Relics of Suffering and Despair - The New York Times

Biden to unveil first Cabinet picks on Tuesday, envisions scaled-down inauguration - Reuters

Biggest Australian states reopen borders as coronavirus cases ease - Reuters

Dominion rep on Trump campaign claims: 'It’s physically impossible' to switch votes - Fox News

Pompeii ruins unearth 'master and slave' remains - Fox News



Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Well, in just a few weeks, we Americans are once again going to show the world the one thing that, more than any other, is the source of our strength. We'll go to the polls, and as a free people, we'll vote. This year we'll be casting ballots in many States for Senators, Governors, and other officials; and everywhere we'll be voting for a new House of Representatives. But just as important as how we vote is that we vote. Every vote cast on election day means that we the people have taken a hand in shaping our nation's future. Every time we vote we're grabbing a hold of a lifeline that's 3,000 miles long and more than two centuries old and, with millions of others, helping to pull America forward into the future. Yes, every time we vote we're standing up, side by side, with the Founding Fathers, with the men of Valley Forge, with patriots and pioneers throughout our history, with all those who dedicated their lives to making this a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people. Every time we vote we help to make America stronger.

I'm sure you've heard friends say, "Oh, my vote won't matter.'' Well, the next time someone says that to you, I hope you'll remember that time and again, over the years, elections have turned on a handful of ballots. In 1960 President Kennedy was elected by a margin of just one vote in each precinct around the nation. In 1976 the Presidential election turned on two States: one was won by six votes a precinct; the other by only a single vote a precinct. And in the last 26 years more than 50 U.S. Senate and House races have been won by fewer than a thousand votes. But even when elections aren't that close, your ballot counts, because in voting, you're accepting your part in the greatest decisionmaking body the world has ever known, the American electorate. And as someone who's stayed up late on many election nights waiting to hear how the American people had decided, I can tell you that from where I sit -- whether elections are close or not -- every vote is important.

    Reagan Address to the Nation on Voter Participation, October 18. 1986



-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Serene Sunday - November 2020

 

Today I will take a day off from publishing provocative blogs and write about yesterday's activity. Of course, today is Sunday and that means the NFL will be playing and distracting many people--in a good way, I hope. 

Snow Village 2020

Yesterday was a particularly nice day to work outdoors. Chris and I got the remainder of the outdoors Christmas decorations set up and worked a bit on the Snow Village. This year will be the first for the Snow Village in a number of years. We are setting it up in multiple scenes. 

Makayla
Elkridge, MD
November 21, 2020
While we were working outside, Makayla decided to sit in the yard a be pretty. She was definitely worth a picture. She enjoyed being outside on a beautiful day and she stayed right in the area. I believe that, more and more, she just wants to be with us.

We also managed to go for a walk and went out to do some shopping. We actually drove the Jag for the first time in a while. We kept the top up, but enjoyed the drive. It needs to stretch its wheels every so often. 

I am looking forward to golfing this morning and stretching my legs on the links, but the weather is more gray and cooler than yesterday. 

It is the weekend during a pandemic, however. So stay safe whatever you do.


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Fabric of Democracy is Holding

 

I heard a statement yesterday, it was "the fabric of democracy is being scratched, but it is holding."

It is a scary but true statement. The person who accused the democrats of stealing the election is, himself, trying to do just that. The strategy has moved from court cases trying to allege fraud, which doesn't exist, to outright trying to encourage unconstitutional activity by "buying" the Electoral College.

Sadly, the person working to preform these unscrupulous acts is none other than the president. Sworn to uphold the Constitution, he is becoming an enemy of democracy. 

Article II, Section 1, Clause 8:

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

One reporter describes what is happening this way:

After a string of legal defeats, President Donald Trump has moved on from attempting to invalidate specific ballots in his loss to President-elect Joe Biden. Instead, he is now seeking to persuade Republican state officials to ignore the popular will and overturn the results of the election entirely, a strategy without precedent in American presidential history. (Wake-up to Politics)

There is one person, however, who I believe has the power to stop assault upon our democracy and, believe it or not, that person is none other than Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader. I believe that if Senator McConnell would say that enough is enough, then the election would finally be over and we could get on with reconstructing our country and society. As a nation we could finally confront the pandemic head-on in a coordinated manner and resurrect the economy at the same time. 

I wrote Senator McConnell last evening urging him to take action. I urge you to consider doing the same via his website. Write to Senator McConnell.

We the People can preserve democracy, if we try.


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


Friday, November 20, 2020

Let the Healing Begin

 

The in-between week is coming to a close with the arrival of the last day of the workweek. And what a week it has been.

Yesterday, I watched a man who I once respected sell his soul for 15 minutes of fame. Rudy Giuliani contributed to the ever widening circus that has become the Lame Duck presidency of Donald Trump. 

It is a scary time for our country as I watch a man who has no moral scruples cling to a lie that is quickly dissolving into the truth that cannot be denied. Sadly, the facade that has been created has duped millions of well meaning people to join what can only be described as a cult. I know these are hard words, but one of the definitions of the word Cult is: a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.

From the start I wrote that Trump did not have the temperament to be president. President's are servants of the people, not kings or dictators. The president has proven that he is a terrible judge of character--just look at the body count of people who have been in his inner circle and in cabinet positions and who have been fired. One similarity they all have, when hired they are the best, most intelligent, and greatest; but on their departure they are almost less than human. 

And now Rudy. His performance yesterday was masterful at attempting to divide America further by fostering the untruths that the president continues to push. The president is dividing America and creating divisions that will be difficult, if not impossible to heal. Rudy has sold his soul to Trump and tarnished his reputation in a manner from which he will never recover. The light is shining brightly into the dark corners of the Trump presidency, and sadly a formerly respected man has been caught in the web of lies and deceit.

And it was lies and mistruths he was spitting. As I listened, even I could see through the facade. At one point he alleged that people from out of state were voting. And I believe he was correct. But, he made it seem sinister and never touched upon a plausible, legal reason: military voters can vote in their home states no matter where in the country or world they are stationed. 

If you want to know more check this out:

Fact checking Giuliani and the Trump legal team's wild, fact-free press conference

Of course there are too many will say the fact checking is erroneous, but let me share a fact that is not subject to interpretation: 51.1 percent of the American people voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. At this point that is nearly a 6 million vote advantage for the Biden-Harris ticket over the president. We the People have spoken, resoundingly! It is the mandate that the president never had.

If the president wants to "Make America Great Again"--then he has to accept the results and the voice of the people. He lost by almost 3 million votes in 2016, and that total has doubled in this election. If he truly wants to put "America First," then he needs to put himself second, admit defeat and let the healing begin.


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 19, 2020

A Quarter Million

 

I could not let this tragic milestone pass unmentioned. 

It is important to remember that 250,000 of our fellow Americans have died from COVID-19. I know there are those out there who try to refocus the number and make it seem like it isn't as bad as it could be, or use some other tactic to make the tragedy seem like a blip on the TV News channels, but I know that there is a name and a family attached to each one of those 250,000 who have died.

Every name was a person who was a son or a daughter. And that is the tragedy--when we reduce it all to numbers, we lose the faces. We hide the pain. We minimize the suffering, not only for those who died, but the suffering of the families, the friends, and the healthcare workers. 

And our leadership is silent.

Our Congress has failed to pass a relief bill to reduce the suffering that systemic failure to act in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. 

And I heard that there are people dying who still believe that COVID-19 is a hoax. 

Take a moment to remember those who have passed and redouble your efforts to stay well. 

Be safe.


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

It's the Holiday Season

 

Imagine for a moment your most enjoyable Thanksgiving. The turkey was on the table and the family and friends gathered around for the feast. It may have been as recently as last year. An NFL was game blaring on a television somewhere and children or youth were actively gaming on their personal electronics. The house smelled of food and cooking and there may have been a few bottles of wine, partially consumed, on the table. 

Now, remember the basketball games, the concerts, the trips, the holiday partiers and pig-ins we used to enjoy. 

That was so last year.

The year we get to enjoy holidays in a new way--under the threat of pandemic. It has been this way since Easter. Hopefully we have become used to the solitary celebrations by now. 

So now, as life has changed we need to hold fast to these memories and work towards making 2021 better than what we thought 2020 was to have been when the year began. 

It is the holiday season--we must not let the anguish and concern about the pandemic rob the season from us. Yes we are going to do things differently this year, but next year, hopefully, we will enjoy the holidays even more as we are freed from the pandemic and the train wreck that is our national leadership.


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Need a Little Christmas

 

There is a song, We Need a Little Christmas from the movie Auntie Mame where amid the depression after there great 1929 stock crash, the family gathers and sings about how they need a little Christmas. Of course, as I remember it, it is July and things look glum, but the Christmas spirit rescues the day and provides a moment of joy amid the pain.



I have noticed Christmas decorations are already adorning the streets and sidewalks in many neighborhoods. It is as if the season of the turkey isn to happening and as a society we are ready to head into the Christmas season. The Christmas season is magical. It is a time to create joy and peace amid the bustle and hardship of life.

During this time of pandemic, election upheaval. transition, and economic downturn people may be looking for something to take their minds off what is happening around them. 

So, haul out the holly and get a head start on the "most wonderful time of the year" and escape the constant drone of depressing news if it will help. We need to change our minds.


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, November 16, 2020

Monday Musings - November 16, 2020

 



1. This is the third Monday of November. The month is half over and Thanksgiving is next week. This is the in-between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving week.

2. The election is over, but the counting continues. January 20th is coming.

3. Family NFL Results

    Steelers (9-0) defeat Bengals (2-6-1) 36-10

    Football Team (2-7) lose to Lions (4-5) 27-30

    Cowboys did not play

    Ravens (6-3) lose to Patriots (4-5) 17-23

4. I am appalled that the current administration continues to sow seeds of discord regarding the election. They are being un-American by not conceding and getting on with the business of transitioning power.

5. I enjoyed watching The Master's golf tournament yesterday. I have rarely been able to see most of a day of golf on TV. I am happy for Dustin Johnson.

Big Cork Vineyard Viognier
Rohrersville, MD
November 14, 2020
6. I have really noticed a reduced load in my email since the election is over. My email is nearly back to a manageable level.

7. I enjoy walking through the vineyards. The idea that wine in the vine is everywhere around me is exciting and intriguing. 

8. I still get excited when I see Americans launching into space from Cape Canaveral! Way to go SpaceX.

9. Today in History. On November 16, 1532, Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish explorer and conquistador, springs a trap on the Incan emperor, Atahualpa. With fewer than 200 men against several thousand, Pizarro lures Atahualpa to a feast in the emperor’s honor and then opens fire on the unarmed Incans. Pizarro’s men massacre the Incans and capture Atahualpa, forcing him to convert to Christianity before eventually killing him.




Covid Is Resurging, and This Time It’s Everywhere - The Wall Street Journal

Biden Turns Up Pressure for Administration Recognition - The Wall Street Journal

Trump’s Yearslong Plan to Make Losing Look Like a Win - The New York Times

SpaceX NASA Live Updates: 4 Astronauts Launch to Orbit Successfully - The New York Times

Medical costs of discharged German COVID patients 50% above pre-admission levels: study - Reuters

British PM Johnson self-isolating after COVID-19 contact - Reuters

China says U.S. should stop unreasonably suppressing Chinese firms - Reuters

As Trump’s efforts on Iran falter, Biden will face a more assertive Tehran - The Washington Post

The ending of Trump’s presidency echoes the beginning — with a lie - The Washington Post



Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week




-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Escaping the House

 

Viognier Grapes
Big Cork Vineyard
Rohrersville, MD
November 14, 2020
Syrah Grapes after the Harvest
Big Cork Vineyards
Rohrersville, MD
November 14, 2020
Looking to get out and escape the house, safely, while enjoying the outdoors on a beautiful late autumn day, Chris and I headed out to some wineries. It was a way to escape the confines of the house while maintaining physical distancing and also enjoying something that we love doing. There is going to be enough time this coming winter to be stuck in the house.


Of course, we made our way to Big Cork Vineyards in Rohrersville, Maryland as a beginning. But, we were sure that we would visit at least one other winery and we did! We also visited Hiddencroft Vineyards in Lovettsville, Virginia. 

It was a beautiful day to be out in the vineyards and then around a fire pit chatting with other oenophiles while enjoying a glass or two of wine.

One of the hard parts about visiting a winery during the pandemic is that most are not doing tastings except by appointment. But, most wineries are offsetting the lack of tastings by increasing socially acceptable activities, like outdoor games.

Sometimes we just need to escape the house because the pandemic feels as if it is closing in on all sides. I believe that wineries are great places to visit because it is generally easy to maintain physical distancing while there. Chris and I were able to stroll around the actual vineyards yesterday to enjoy the autumn colors and see the grapes that remained after the harvest. Those grapes are not lost as they continue to feed the wildlife that can get to them.

If you need to escape--do it safely!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Dicotomy

 

It seems there is a difference in reality depending upon whether the words are being spoken by the outgoing or the incoming administration.

The outgoing administration would have us believe that COVID-19 is going away, despite the numbers which are higher every day. The head in the sand approach doesn't work. 

What should the current administration do? Accept the pandemic for what it is, be transparent with the American people, and start mobilizing equipment, supplies, and personnel as was done at the beginning of the pandemic in March. Telling Americans that it isn't that bad and its going away is not productive.

The incoming administration is already planning to do just those things. They are embracing science. Why, I ask, should we have to wait 70 days for the new administration to get the weight of the government behind fighting there pandemic and winning? 

We can jaw all we want about how there is no way to control the virus, but without trying that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. And from the "yes it can be controlled" argument--look at South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. 

I offer this headline from the Washington Post:

Australia has almost eliminated the coronavirus — by putting faith in science

Argue all you want--but facts is facts. 

Remember, every number is a name!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


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