Saturday, May 25, 2019

Traveling North

Route 15 North of Williamsport
May 24, 2019
Yesterday was a travel day. Chris and I headed north to Ithaca for the holiday weekend. Traffic was heavy most of the way until we finally made it to the northern mountains of Pennsylvania. Then the green covered hills became the centerpiece of the trip and the numbers of cars drastically reduced.

Along the way we saw the remains of two terrible accidents that closed I-83 south in separate places and we exited the roadway before coming upon a closure for the northbound travelers like ourselves. It was not a good day for traveling on I-83 in Pennsylvania.

People get impatient and do crazy things on the highway. We also observed numerous traffic officers with motorists pulled to the side. I am not a fan of traveling during holiday weekends, but sometimes it has to be done.

We arrived alive and are happy to see everyone.

To those of you still planning to travel, be careful. Enjoy the scenery while you are stopped in traffic. It is better than the alternative.

— Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY

Friday, May 24, 2019

Orioles Baseball and Rain

Entering OPACY
May 23, 2019
I made my first sojourn to OPACY yesterday. What is OPACY? Orioles Park At Camden Yards. 

View form the Seats
May 23, 2019
It was my first trip to see the O's in person. I was remarking that normally by this time of the season I have attended at least five or six games. But, not so this season. The Orioles remain on track to post at least my predicted 105 losses and watching them if more exasperating than fun. The math is showing 113 losses are definitely possible. Last year's edition of the team made it to 15th on the Worst Baseball Teams of there Modern Era list with 115 losses. 

Yesterday ended in frustration as the Yankees took a 5-1 lead by the 7th inning and then the Baby Birds (as they are called) managed to tie the game, but ultimately lost 6-5. They lack the Orioles Magic which just a few years ago saw them wim many more now run games than they lost. I attended the game with 30,000 of my new best friends. Sadly, the Orioles continued to disappoint. I ma not sure when, or if, I will again visit OPACY, but I continue to be an Orioles faithful fan.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Bias is Crippling Our Society

I read an article the other day which adds more data points to my hypothesis that Americans are becoming more biased, but not more discerning. From an article in the Independent, I provide the following.

A survey by Civic Science, an American market research company, asked 3,624 respondents: “Should schools in America teach Arabic numerals as part of their curriculum?” The poll did not explain what the term “Arabic numerals” meant.

Fifty-six per cent of people say the numerals should not be part of the curriculum for US pupils, according to research designed to explore the bias and prejudice of poll respondents.

Wow, that is a lot of people--but even more telling is the actual number of people who felt that Arabic numerals should be taught in American schools. The study reported:

Some 2,020 people answered “no”. Twenty-nine per cent of respondents said the numerals should be taught in US schools, and 15 per cent had no opinion. [color and emphasis added]

Only 29 percent of the respondents felt that the numerals should be taught in American schools! Astounding. I believe that 100 percent of American schools teach Arabic numerals as part of their curriculum! And they teach the numerals from Kindergarten onward!
Seventy-two per cent of Republican-supporting respondents said Arabic numerals should not be on the curriculum, compared with 40 per cent of Democrats. This was despite there being no significant difference in education between the two groups.
“They answer differently even though they had equal knowledge of our numerical nomenclature,” Mr Dick said. “It means that the question is about knowledge or ignorance but [also] something else – prejudice.”
So what are Arabic numerals? 

The digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are referred to as Arabic numerals. The system was first developed by Indian mathematicians before spreading through the Arab world to Europe and becoming popularised around the globe.

The very people advocating against teaching Arabic numerals would not be able to do simple math, manage their bank accounts or even make a telephone call without the numerals. The alternative? Roman numerals?

The Big Bang!
I found the article to be very interesting. There was another interesting question in the survey which also highlighted the bias in our society.

Another poll question was worded: “Should schools in America teach the creation theory of Catholic priest George Lemaitre as part of their science curriculum?”
Seventy-three per cent of Democrats answered “no”, compared to 33 per cent of Republicans – with some respondents on either side presumably assuming Lemaitre’s theory was related to intelligent design.
In fact, the Belgian priest was also a physicist who first discovered the universe was expanding and proposed its origins lay in the explosion of a single particle - an idea that became known as the Big Bang theory.

Finally, the last paragraph of the article simultaneously sad and funny:

Civic Science's research is reminiscent of a 2015 survey that found 30 per cent of Republicans supported bombing "Agrabah", the fictional city where Disney's Aladdin is set.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Back on the Winning Trail

It was a beautiful evening for baseball last night. The GORC 12U Haslup Wildcats had an away game in Crofton which brought the best out in the team as they pulled together to win the time-shortened game in five innings. 

Jax Behind the Plate
Crofton, MD
May 21, 2019
The game began with the Wildcats stranding a runner at third after a lead-off single. With Jax on the mound and due to a few defensive miscues, the Wildcats surrendered three runs during the opening frame. The Wildcats bats finally heated up a bit during the second inning, but during the bottom-half they surrendered and additional 3 runs and were trailing 6-2 at the end of two innings. From that point on, it was all Wildcats as they outscored Crofton 10-4 for the remaining three innings. 

Brian repeated his 3-3 at the plate performance from Saturday's game with a single, double and a triple. He scored three times and had two RBI's. Jax was 2-3 at the plate with 1 RBI while scoring twice. He did circle the bases on a single assisted by three defensive errors. 

From a pitching perspective, it was a team effort. Four pitchers combined for the victory: Jax, Martin, Michael (who made his pitching debut) and Sawyer. While they combined to surrender 12 walks, they also struck out 7 batters and allowed only 2 hits.

The game ended on an extremely weird play. With two outs, the bases loaded and clinging to a tenuous two-run lead, Sawyer was on the mound and fired a 3-2 pitch which the batter thought was going to hit him and went down to the ground, but the ball hit the bat falling into fair territory in front of the batter. The catcher picked up the ball, after some encouragement from the dugout, and tagged the prostate prospective baserunner out to end the game. 

It was a gritty win! But a win!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Saying Good-bye is Hard

Weeping Cherry
April 19, 2015
I think sometimes I get too attached to things, like trees.
Weeping Cherry
May 19, 2019

This weekend we said good-bye to our weeping cherry tree that during the 19 springtimes we have lived in our house has provided some of the most stunning displays of flowers to announce the end of winter and arrival of warmer weather. 

The tree did not survive the winter. As I cut it down on Sunday I understood why, the heart was rotting and infested with carpenter ants. It made me sad. The tree has been the centerpiece of our lawn for all of these years. It was "really most sincerely dead." It had to come down, and now all that remains is a stump that I will be removing during mid-June.  

Thankfully, I have some great pictures to remember the tree and we will be replacing it, although not in the same place in the yard.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 20, 2019

Monday musing - May 20, 2019

1. For those of us trying to hide from the passage of time, it isn't working. Today is the third Monday of May and we are rapidly closing out the fifth month of the year. 

2. The weekend weather was fabulous. Chris and I worked hard around the house and then, in a moment of great inspiration, cooled off in the pool yesterday. It was our first foray into the pool for the year and the water was great. 

Pool Timer
May 18, 2019
3. The number of small jobs which need accomplishing seems to increase dramatically every day. This weekend I replaced the timer for the pool pump, I rebuilt the pump, I fixed a ground fault in an outlet, and I cut down a tree. 

4. Memorial Day weekend is cruising towards us! It is the first holiday since February!

5. Gas prices are finally falling a bit after rising! I bet they will jack the prices up for next weekend.

6. What are your summer plans? Vacation? Work? It seems that summer is finally upon us! My favorite month of the year is not far off. Bring on July!

7. The Orioles managed to lose 10-0 to the Indians yesterday. Nuff said!

8. It is graduation season. Congrats to all those who have completed their studies this season be it high school or college!

9. Today in History. On this day in 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and Reno, Nevada, tailor Jacob Davis are given a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, marking the birth of one of the world’s most famous garments: blue jeans.


Deutsche Bank Staff Saw Suspicious Activity in Trump and Kushner Accounts - The New York Times

Why Working Till Whenever Is a Risky Retirement Strategy - The New York Times

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we're too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We're not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope.
  -- Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Bone Crushing Defeat

Yesterday was Saturday, and Saturday means baseball. It was a beautiful day for baseball with clear skies, no rain, no wind. Temperatures were in the 80's. 

The GORC U12 Haslup Wildcats played the other GORC U12 team in the Anne Arundel County League.

In short, we the game resulted in a loss 13-8 and the record fell to 4-4-1. It was a depressing loss because our boys are a really good team, but yesterday their lack of energy made simple plays seem difficult. Of course, it is hard to catch up when the team spots the other team fours runs and doesn't begin scoring until the third inning. 

There were highlights! Brian, the catcher, went 3-3 with a double and a triple and 3 RBIs. Cole, a utility player, was 1-1 with two walks and a homer!

Pitching Box Score
May 18, 2019  GORC U12 Haslup Wildcats vs GORC U12 Dispenza

The pitchers did better as a group, getting the walks down to 8 and striking out 9. They also played their position well recording outs at first and at the plate.

It was a difficult loss to take, but it will be growing experience filled with teaching moments.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Breaking the Streak

My Green Lawn
Elkridge, MD
May 16, 2017
While the lawn appreciates the rain and it has become lush and green, I am not a fan of the continual precipitation that the region has been receiving.

It had been fifteen consecutive Fridays in a row with measurable precipitation in the Baltimore region dating back to January 25th--until yesterday dawned. And the streak is broken by sunshine and warm temperatures! Things are actually going to begin drying out, finally. 

The Pool
Elkridge, MD
May 16, 2019
And then there is the pool! The pool has finally achieved clear status and is prepared to host swimmers--well, when I get the temperature above 55 degrees!

I am feeling there onset of summer-like weather! And it is awesome!

Sitting outside with friends last evening I was even attacked by flying insects--and bitten. But, it means that the weather is finally turning warm and dry and that outdoors activities can begin! Cue the sun, the blue skies, and the fun!

It is time to party--OK, well not too much because I have a lot of outdoors projects to accomplish now that the rain has stopped.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 17, 2019

Watching and Waiting

Staring out the Bedroom Window
May 16, 2019
Last evening I arrived home before Chris and conducted my usual activities. I let the dogs out and gave them treats before heading to the bedroom to change. As I was changing from work clothes into leisure clothes, I turned and noticed Finnegan perched upon a pillow looking intently out the window.

I wondered what had captured his interest. 

I looked out the window and saw nothing of great interest and then I realized what had captured his attention. Chris was away from the house and her faithful dog was staring out the window in anticipation of her imminent return. 

She did not disappoint him as she arrived a few short minutes later. It was then that Finnegan began whining and barking began as he prepared to greet her.

A dedicated dog and a faithful friend!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Bright Orb in the Sky

The bright orb in the sky returned yesterday. Finally. It was a day with no rain, or little rain and I was able to enjoy a brilliant blue sky as I walked into work. IT was cold, 43 degrees, as I went to work, but the bright sun made up for the unseasonably cold weather.

The bright day raised my spirits and ended with a glorious sunset which I could not photograph because I was driving--but it was beautifully stunning. 

Not everyone is happy with the sunshine. 


Some people like the dark gloom, but I prefer sunlight. I was able to complete mowing the lawn which Chris had started. The tractor and mower deck worked like a champ. The new blades made the lawn look fantastic. 

I look forward to more good weather today. It is supposed to be full of more sunshine! And warmer temperatures. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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