Saturday, November 28, 2020

Ride on into Christmas--Full Speed Ahead


After surviving Black Friday with my finances intact, it is now time to charge into Small Business Saturday and then onto Cyber-Monday! These days both provide opportunities to separate consumers from their money during this "Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

There always seems to be more shopping to accomplish to get through the season. 

Well, it is time to get into the spirit of the season. The economy is depending upon us to rescue it from recession! Tis the season!

Christmas 2020
Elkridge, MD
November 27, 2020
And then there is the decorating. We are still getting the interior of the house decorated, or Christmasfied. The exterior lights were on for the first time last evening. The house is outlined and we are thinking that we need a bit more color. But, it is the season. I dearly with there was a palm tree in the front yard with lights wrapped around the trunk. That is one of my favorite Christmas decorations. 

Happy Christmas! I hope to hear a lot of that greeting this season and I hope that the arrival of the Christmas season will life the spirits of everyone and help us to refocus upon getting through into the new year healthy and safe. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, November 27, 2020

Black Friday 2020


It was different: our Thanksgiving celebration. And not in an entirely enjoyable way. 

There were some lonely periods as Chris and I sat at the eerily empty table first praying and then enjoying our over-stuffed plates which have become the tradition of the day. But the chairs around the table were empty and the house was quiet. Even the bottle of wine, vintage 2005, that I had saved for the day could not erase the feeling that we were missing something even as we were celebrating a great bounty. 

Zoom for Thanksgiving
Elkridge, MD
November 26, 2020
Our family strictly followed the advice of the doctors and the governor because we have been touched by COVID-19 and realize that the threat is real and ubiquitous. We did not congregate and we did not gather to celebrate the day or the meal. It was much like the Ravens football team--we just didn't show up. We did travel to the houses of our family to safely exchange portions of the meal: pies, wine, sweet potatoes, and dressing--but we did not tarry or linger. We enjoyed each other through Zoom, upon which we connected right after the meal. It is too hard to Zoom, talk, and eat simultaneously.

I was disappointed by the choices some of my extended family made regarding the holiday. They apparently do not take the the pandemic seriously and needlessly placed their families at risk by hosting gatherings. And the gatherings were larger than those allowed.  

But today is Black Friday. It is a day devoted to playing Axis and Allies--wait, we are not playing this year due to the pandemic. Resolving the 1942 world geopolitical situation and eating copious quantities of leftovers will have to wait another year. 

But today is Black Friday. It is a day devoted to shopping and malls and getting out with the crowds to ring in the official start of the Holiday Season--wait, no one is going out and there will be no crowds. We will ring in the holiday shopping season from the warmth of our sofa. 

But today is Black Friday. It is a day devoted to decorating the house for Christmas. Now this is something that we WILL definitely do to enjoy and celebrate Black Friday.  

Enjoy the day, if you have it off from work. Be safe and make new memories and traditions. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020


The holiday that kicks-off the Holiday Season has arrived!
Elmer, my Turkey
Ready for the Holiday

Thanksgiving is here. The Day of the Turkey! The time to give thanks for our blessings. 

Living under the pandemic has changed our holiday celebration. We will adhere to the advice of the doctors and scientists by celebrating the holiday with family via the best electronics available. I expect to Zoom most of the day. 

This will not be out first solitary Thanksgiving, while I was serving in the Air Force we celebrated many Thanksgivings separated from extended family. I remember many decades ago Chris and I even celebrated Thanksgiving in a restaurant somewhere in the midsection of the country as we were driving from Denver to Upstate New York. And so this will not even be the first Thanksgiving where it is just the two of us. 

We are resilient. The sense of loss of traditions and the change that we are experiencing will not overshadow the holiday or prevent us from remembering the blessings that have been bestowed upon us, even during this pandemic. 

I searched for an appropriate Thanksgiving prayer and discovered the following. It is not an actual prayer that Abraham Lincoln spoke; however, as I understand, it is constructed based upon his thoughts and ideals and written by a Lincoln scholar. Nonetheless, it speaks to what is in my heart as I write this morning.


SO, we must think anew,
And act anew.
We must disenthrall ourselves.
We are not enemies,
But friends.
We must not be enemies.
We cannot separate.
There is no line, straight or crooked,
Upon which to divide.
We cannot escape history.
No personal significance, or insignificance,
Can spare one or another of us.

The mystic chords of memory
Will yet swell the chorus of union
To every living heart
And hearthstone,
And again touch
The better angels of our nature.

  Read the Spirit - Prayer from Abraham Lincoln at Thanksgiving

May you find peace on this holiday. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Day of the Turkey


I wish this was my garage door
I am hopeful, being ever the eternal optimist, that the mood in the country is beginning to turn. Tomorrow is a time to celebrate and give thanks for the blessings that we have individually, societally, and as a nation. Yes, it will be a different Thanksgiving, we are living during a pandemic--but we should still give thanks and celebrate.

I am especially thankful that the divisive election is over and the healing can begin. I was reminded of something General George C. Patton said during his speeches to the Third Army: Americans play to win all the time. That is one reason this election has been so difficult get past: Everyone is playing to win. But now is a time to soothe the sting of loss and do what Americans have been doing for most of our history--come together and bring our diversity to celebrate our unity. After all  that is what E Pluribus Unum means. We can disagree with each other and still be friends.

I admit that our elected leaders need to demonstrate more bipartisanship, but if We the People show them how to come together and unify after a hard fought election season, then perhaps our expectations will be realized and America can reassume its leadership role in the world.

I was encouraged yesterday when I heard the president-elect say, "America is Back." I have come to understand that "America First" really means "America Alone" and we cannot, nor should we ever think that any form of isolationism will work better that what we experienced 100 years ago. As I watched the interview with President-Elect Biden on NBC last evening, I was struck by the difference in tone he projected. There was no vilification of dissenters and in fact there was a concentrated effort to be inclusive of those with competing thoughts and ideas. That is emblematic of the the abiding greatness of America. We do not have to agree--in fact hopefully from our dissenting views a better plan will emerge; but we must be civil and respectful to each other and all Americans no matter where they hail from. 

Enjoy the holiday. May you find peace. And more importantly, be safe. Don't let your guard down now after nine months and with a vaccine mere months away from being a reality. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Good News for a Change


When I turned on the NBC Evening News with Lester Holt last evening I was met with something rare--good news! And not just one piece of stunning good news.

How rare that leading off a national news program there was good news! I was ecstatic.

The good news?

The GSA Administrator has made a decision that will allow the transition of government from the Trump to the Biden Administration to officially begin! The results of the election have been obvious for at least as week now, but without the GSA go-ahead, the connections, intelligence  and authorization to communicate between the outgoing and incoming administrations could not occur.

The second piece of good news? More great vaccine news--continued strong effectiveness for vaccines and the availability will be widespread. And affordable. And early next year.

We have not turned the corner on the pandemic yet, the numbers are still tragically high in terms of deaths and infection rates, but I believe the corner is in sight. Do not misunderstand--the current administration apparently has absolved itself of managing the pandemic and the arrival of the promise of vaccines is a testament to free market business. 

We needed some good news heading into the modified Thanksgiving holiday. Many of us will not be participating in the usual festivities of the season in an effort to ensure that we do not become pandemic statistics.

I enjoyed the news which provided a ray of hope. 

Getting good news was a change from the steady diet that we had been receiving.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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. 

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

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