Monday, October 18, 2021

Monday Musings - October 18, 2021


1. Welcome to the 3rd Monday of the month. There are just 10 Mondays remaining in the year! Don't look now, the year is slipping away.

2. Family NFL results:

   Ravens (5-1) defeat Chargers (4-2), 34-6

   Cowboys (5-1) defeat Patriots (2-4), 35-29

   Washington (2-4) lose to Chiefs (3-3), 13-31

   Steelers (3-3) defeat to Seahawks (2-4), 23-20

3. I have a thought--the use of turn signals while driving in is a direct reflection of a community's consideration of others. 

4. The temperature outside as I woke this morning was 49 degrees. The high today is expected to be only 66 degrees. These are sure signs that Autumn has arrived. 

5. The leaves are beginning to turn and fall from the trees. I suppose that even though the lawn does not need mowing, I will have to get the leaves removed so that I an hold onto the last vestiges of summer just a bit longer.

6. Here is a thought for the day:

 Winning doesn’t always mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve done before.

Bonnie Blair

Speed Skater

7. Today in History. On October 18, 1867, the U.S. formally takes possession of Alaska after purchasing the territory from Russia for $7.2 million, or less than two cents an acre. Indigenous peoples settled the unforgiving territory thousands of years earlier. The Alaska purchase comprised 586,412 square miles, about twice the size of Texas, and was championed by William Henry Seward, the enthusiastically expansionist secretary of state under President Andrew Johnson.

Russia wanted to sell its Alaska territory, which was remote and difficult to defend, to the U.S. rather than risk losing it in battle with a rival such as Great Britain. Negotiations between Seward (1801-1872) and the Russian minister to the U.S., Eduard de Stoeckl, began in March 1867. However, the American public believed the land to be barren and worthless and dubbed the purchase “Seward’s Folly” and “Andrew Johnson’s Polar Bear Garden,” among other derogatory names. Some animosity toward the project may have been a byproduct of President Johnson’s own unpopularity. As the 17th U.S. president, Johnson battled with Radical Republicans in Congress over Reconstruction policies following the Civil War. He was impeached in 1868 and later acquitted by a single vote. Nevertheless, Congress eventually ratified the Alaska deal. 

Global Energy Crisis Shows Strain of Shift to Renewables - The Wall Street Journal

Group of 16 Americans and a Canadian Kidnapped in Haiti - The Wall Street Journal

As Manchin Blocks Climate Plan, His State Can’t Hold Back Floods - The New York Times

Analysis: Is the U.S. in a Cold War With China? - The New York Times

Denver museum to return artifacts to Cambodia - The Washington Post

Fully vaccinated travelers can come to the U.S. even if their doses are mixed, authorities say - The Washington Post

Sydney eases more COVID-19 restrictions as vaccinations pass key milestone - Reuters

Oil prices climb to highest in years as COVID recovery, power generators stoke demand - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Cold Autumn Rain

 The rain that fell yesterday afternoon was definitely a cold Autumn rain.

How do I know? I was out in it coaching baseball and I was cold and wet as the rain soaked through my shirt.

Although Severn Seminoles 14U managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in both games, we were able to complete the second game despite the rain beginning during the 3rd inning. The rain stopped and we were able to play the 4th inning. 

I mostly dried out and warmed-up by the end of the 4th where the Seminoles a 3-2 lead and were playing up to their potential.  The rain began again during the 5th inning after the opposing team had taken a lead. Unfortunately as the rain fell harder, the play of the team began to get as sloppy as the field. 

In the end we lost. The rain fell harder and the play got sloppier. I was wet and cold. When I finally got to my car and took my hat off it was dripping and created a huge wet spot on the seat. 

It is Autumn after all and we have been having some really warm and great weather. The low 50s temperatures of this morning and the rains were to be expected some weeks ago. 

Today is crisp and clear! Exactly the weather expected after a cold Autumn rain. All that is missing are the brightly colored leaves of Autumn.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Surging into Saturday

 I made it to the weekend. It was touch and go for a bit, but as I cruised through Friday the reality of the weekend was confirmed. 

I made a scary and stunning realization this morning. While there are 11 Fridays remaining in the year, I will only be working for 7 of them. Two Fridays follow holidays (Veterans Day and Thanksgiving) both of which I am planning to be off, and two more are, themselves, days upon which holidays are being observed: Christmas and New Years. 2021 is shorter than we think! Of the remaining 11 workweeks in the year, two are three-day weeks and two are four-day weeks. So of 55 scheduled work days, I will be working only 49, not counting if I take some time off for travel or, weather permitting, a golf outing next Friday.

Where is the time flying.

Well, if my Saturday is any measure, the time is flying because I am so very busy. Today the Severn Seminoles will, hopefully, return to their winning ways during the scheduled doubleheader. That is the bulk of my Saturday.  And then there is grocery shopping--the cupboards are getting bare so I need to replenish supplies. I have run out of strawberry jam to put on my peanut butter and jam sandwiches! I may be out of bread as well. And milk. And the coffee is getting low. But I have plenty of dog food, cat food, and litter!

A busy weekend to set up for a likely busy week ahead at work.

But--it IS the WEEKEND!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Thursday Night Lights

Severn Seminoles 14U Working Out
Severn, MD
October 14, 2021

 It was Thursday, also known as Friday Eve, and I was out under the lights of the baseball field with the team preparing for the Saturday's doubleheader. I realized that just a two short months ago it would have been daylight at 7:30 PM, but last night the cool evening air had already arrived and the lights were illuminating the field.

I used to enjoy practicing and playing games under the lights. It reminds me of playing high school football in and all of the excitement of a Friday night game. Lately though, it has become apparent that my contact lenses do not work well under the lights at night. I find it hard to see the ball, I remember thinking as a foul ball whizzed by my head.

But the workout last evening was good and the effort should result in some wins on Saturday during the scheduled games. 

At least the games are "day" games!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine

 I wonder about the real reason that the Texas and Florida governors are directing vaccine mandates not be enforced in their states?

Are they thinning the herd?

Are they callous to the suffering that COVID-19 is causing?

Vaccines have become a rallying cry for a vocal minority who have chosen, for some reason, this particular hill upon which to make their stand. I view this hill as being similar to the hill upon which Custer and the 7th Calvary made their stand--and only some of their horses survived.

The arguments do not make sense in the face of staggering numbers. The numbers are so bad that Florida's governor is trying to hide the figures--which we must remember represent people: fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.

This is not really about the virus--it is about saving lives. And not just the people who become infected with COVID-19--but the other people who need medical care but are finding in some places that the hospitals are appropriate care is unavailable. 

Second and third order effects!

Get vaccinated. The life you save may not be just your own!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Black Walnuts

Black Walnuts on the Ground
Elkridge, MD
October 11, 2021

 It must be a banner year for the Black Walnuts. They are everywhere in my yard and are going to be a real problem when I start my tractor and attempt to mow. 

The side yard has more than a bushel of the noxious nuts lying on the ground. The squirrels are happy and I hope they run off with more of them before I have to deal with removing them or trying to mow over them.  

I remember when we lived in Louisiana and the pecan trees dropped nuts all over the yard and the surrounding park. At least they were edible--although I remember my hands turned green removing the husks from the nuts. We gathered grocery bags full of them. 

While I was outside, I heard the nuts dropping from the trees. I bet they hurt as much as when a coconut falls on one's head. It would be a painful experience. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 12, 2021



Grasses After Cutting
Elkridge, MD
October 11, 2021

Grasses Before Cutting
Elkridge, MD
October 11, 2021

It is that time of year when the ornamental grasses that we use as a privacy screen around our pool need to be trimmed. Originally, I had thought it would be too wet to cut them, but unlike Sunday they dried out by about 10 AM and were ready for cutting.

It is quite a job, cutting the grasses and stacking them in the truck to haul to the recycling center at the landfill. Its takes two trips to get them all removed. All told, with the travel time, it is about a five hour project. And normally it is a two person project, but today, with Chris in New York with her sister, I did it alone. 

OK, I am tired and sore. I wore a short sleeve shirt for the first run, but as I broke out with welts I remembered that I am allergic to the grasses. So a little washing and Benadryl took care of that problem. 

I normally attempt to get the grasses cut on Columbus Day--so since I am not in Florida at least I was able to get a major project completed on-time for another year.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 11, 2021

Monday Musings - October 11, 2021


1. It is the second Monday of October. Two Mondays remain in the month and only 11 remain in the year 2021. 

2. Happy Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day.

3. I actually was able to get out and play some racquetball yesterday. It was good to be back on the court and I enjoyed taking my pent-up frustrations out on the racquetball. It was my first experience on a three-wall court and I had to learn the modified rules.

4. Family NFL Results:

    Washington (2-3) loses to Saints (3-2), 22-33

    Cowboys (4-1) defeat Giants (1-4), 44-20

    Steelers (2-3) defeat Broncos (3-2), 27-19

    Ravens (3-1) play Colts (1-3) tonight

My Florida Palm Tree
Tequesta, Florida
October 7, 2021
5. We need rain, but I have been trying to perform my seasonal ornamental grass cutting and it just does not work when the grasses are wet! Ugh! But, I don't know why I' m worried about it, I am not even supposed to be here.

6. My palm tree is still standing beside the drive at my Florida home. I took the picture to remind me of what it looks like when I'm not there. I miss it, although parking next to it can be a problem getting the car lined-up so the doors open fully.

7. Enjoy the day--it is the only one we have. 

8. Today in HistoryOn October 11, 2002, former President Jimmy Carter wins the Nobel Peace Prize “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”

Carter, a peanut farmer from Georgia, served one term as U.S. president between 1977 and 1981. One of his key achievements as president was mediating the peace talks between Israel and Egypt in 1978. The Nobel Committee had wanted to give Carter the prize that year for his efforts, along with Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin, but was prevented from doing so by a technicality—he had not been nominated by the official deadline.

The Massive and Costly Fight Against the Dixie Fire to battle the nearly one-million-acre blaze - The New York Times

U.S. Navy Engineer Charged in Attempt to Sell Nuclear Submarine SecretsU.S. Navy Engineer Charged in Attempt to Sell Nuclear Submarine Secrets - The New York Times

After the Taliban seized their school, Afghanistan’s all-female orchestra tried to flee. Only some escaped. - The Washington Post

In search for covid origins, Hubei caves and wildlife farms draw new scrutiny - The Washington Post

Oil Jumps Above $80, Turbocharged by Supply Shortages - The Wall Street Journal

China’s Property Market Faces a $5 Trillion Reckoning - The Wall Street Journal

Korea's Kim calls for improving people's lives amid 'grim' economy - Reuters

China rust-belt province warns of more shortages in energy crisis - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Winter must be close

Snow Blowers Ready for Winter
Columbia, MD
October 9, 2021
I had to make the obligatory weekend trip to Lowe's yesterday and what did I see? 


Lined up in front of the store where, the lawn mowers and tractors used to be, were snow blowers! Ugh!

Could Winter really be that close? It seems as if we only just said good-bye to Summer and are beginning to enjoy the early Autumn.

But the snow blowers were there, almost it seemed laughing at me since I was supposed to be on a beach in Florida and not frequenting a Lowe's in Columbia. 

I am still trying to get the Autumn chores accomplished. Today I will tackle the ornamental grasses around the pool and load the truck for an early morning drop-off at the recycling center. What a great way to spend a holiday weekend. But, at least I have a new battery for the hedge trimmer and it will make short work of the grasses. 

It seems to be a weekend for battery replacement. The truck battery on Friday and the hedge trimmer battery yesterday.

I just did not need to see snow blowers in October!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 9, 2021

I insult to Injury

As if  being back in Maryland after such a short time away was not enough, I had another surprise when I hopped into the truck to retrieve Makayla from my son yesterday. The battery was dead!


I put a trickle charger on it and drove the Jaguar to get the dog. It was a nice enough day to enjoy having the convertible top down and the car needed gas anyway. 

When I came back, the charger indicated that the battery should have been fully charged--but it wasn't. The voltage read just over 9 volts. Something bad had definitely happened. I suspected a bad cell--but the battery was only months old. Then I worried about the electrical system of the truck.

I removed the battery from the truck and returned it to the chain where it was purchased, receipt in hand. The battery had a 48 month warranty and it had been purchased in May 2021. Yup, 5 short months ago! 

The agent at the store was a very concerned when I set the battery on the counter and announced that ti was dead. As he retrieved the testing equipment he said it was probably low on charge and that I might have a short or that some small light that was left turned-on. His optimism about not having to replace the battery under warranty was soon dispelled as the machine very quickly showed the symbol with the words "Replace Battery." He was very nice and we discussed that it was only 5 months old and it was one of their more expensive batteries--running $200 (ok, $199.99 for the purists). He handed me the new battery and said, go on, I'll take care of the warranty paperwork. In the end, it was one of the easiest exchanges that I have done in a long time. 

I have a new battery that has 43 months left on the original warranty. I wish they would restart the warranty date when something is exchanged, but I guess that would actually be getting something for nothing. I'm just glad that I had the receipt.

So after wasting the better part of the afternoon, the truck was again up and running with a new battery. I would say that it was at no cost--but that would not consider the time and gas that it took for me to diagnose, remove/replace, and drive to get the replacement battery.

Nothing is free.

And to think, I could have been on a beach in Florida and not discovered the battery was dead until I was getting into the truck to go to work after returning from vacation! That would have been exciting!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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