Monday, March 25, 2019

Monday Musings - March 25, 2019

Willow Springs Golf Course Hole #3
From the Tee Box
March 24, 2019
1. It is, believe it or not, the last Monday of March 2019. Where has the month gone? The first quarter of calendar year 2019 is about to come to a close.

2. Chris and I managed to break away yesterday for a 9 hole round of golf. It was nice to get out in the warm afternoon weather and enjoy some time not the golf course. Some of the holes were very soggy from the rains, almost swamp-like.

Blue Sky up the Drive
Elkridge, MD
March 23, 2019
3. Chris and I are packing and preparing for our trip. We depart Wednesday for Florida with a stop along the way to see friends. We are actually driving this time! The last time we drove was during 2017.

4. Blue skies! I want to live somewhere that I grow tired of seeing a blue sky every day. They happen so infrequently that i take pictures looking up my driveway of the blue sky to remind me what it looks like on a typical gray and rainy day. We were lucky in that there were blue skies for both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Sadly, though, Sunday ended with the typical gray overcast.

Lowering the Pool Water Level
Elkridge, MD
March 23, 2019
5. We have received so much rain that I had to remove water from the pool for the second time this year.I lowered the water level a good seven inches in preparation of April's showers.

6. The temperatures finally warmed into the 60's yesterday and Chris and I were able to celebrate the weekend and the ending of the day around the fire pit with our trusty dogs in attendance.

7. I am finding that I enjoy watching the news less and less lately. The same themes keep coming up: murder in Baltimore, ineffectiveness in Washington, fires and flooding, and the Mueller investigation. Well, maybe the Mueller Investigation will fall out of the top three finally. 

8. Traffic in this region on Sunday's is more noxious that traffic on a normal weekday. At least on a normal weekday everyone seems to know where they are headed and how to get there. On Sundays everyone seems lost on the highway. 

9. Today in HistoryIn one of the darkest moments of America’s industrial history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burns down, killing 146 workers, on this day in 1911. The tragedy led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of factory workers.
The Triangle factory, owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, was located in the top three floors of the 10-story Asch Building in downtown Manhattan. It was a sweatshop in every sense of the word: a cramped space lined with work stations and packed with poor immigrant workers, mostly teenaged women who did not speak English. At the time of the fire, there were four elevators with access to the factory floors, but only one was fully operational and it could hold only 12 people at a time. There were two stairways down to the street, but one was locked from the outside to prevent theft by the workers and the other opened inward only. The fire escape, as all would come to see, was shoddily constructed, and could not support the weight of more than a few women at a time.


Mueller Finds No Trump-Russia Conspiracy, but Stops Short of Exonerating President on Obstruction - The New York Times
‘A State of Emergency’: Native Americans Stranded for Days by Flooding - The New York Times

'Flashing amber': Global stocks tumble, bonds rally on U.S. recession risk - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

    Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.

  • (Reagan during his gubernatorial campaign in 1965)

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Leaving it Blank

Driving home from baseball practice yesterday, I passed a sign in front of a in church in Odenton that caught my eye and made me think.

Usually the sign has some interesting statement or Bible verse on it which I believe relates to the weekly activities or the message for the Sunday services. 

I wish I had stopped to take a picture of yesterday's sign. 

I typically look at the sign,  note what it is trying to tell me and drive on thinking no more about the message.

Yesterday, however, it was very different. 

The sign said: "This space intentionally left blank."

That got me thinking. I have seen that phrase, or a similar one, "This page intentionally left blank" in a lot of places.

Here's the rub--if it says that it was intentionally left blank, and the words are written there, is it really blank?

I think not!

If it were really blank, then the page or sign would have not words on it. It would be, well, blank.

What a concept.

So the sign if the sign in front of the church was trying to be blank, but wasn't really blank, then what was the sign really saying? 

Perhaps it was trying to tell me that nothing is really ever blank as there is always something there, we need only to discover the substance. 

Deep. Very deep.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Blue Skies and Cold Giving Way to Political Heat

The weekend dawned clear, bright, cold and windy!

It sounds like a recipe for fun. But, I will shortly sojourn outside to begin work around the house. I actually need to drain the pool again. The water level has become critical due to the continuing excessive rain. Yes, excessive. We received another roughly two inches this week alone. 

The excitement in the country has risen with the completion of the Mueller Report. It is nice to have that behind us and ready to move forward, finally. We will see, finally what are the true contents of this much expected report. I anticipate the volume of political rhetoric will increase to drown out the sound of jet engines before the weekend is through.

I wish we could get past the election behind us and get on with running the country. There are too many hanging "chad" issues out there. We are, as a nation, rapidly becoming irrelevant in the ever changing world because of our political logjam. 

So the blue skies and cold to start the weekend may give way to excessive political heat!

Ride the wave and let the fun begin!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, March 22, 2019

Spring Training Update

I freely admit that my excitement level for the upcoming Orioles season is far below usual for this time of year. I am one of those people who enjoy the start of the MLB season because anything can happen and there is always a World Series in the possibility as the umpires call "play ball" for the first time.

The Orioles have done well this Spring Training season. They are currently in the middle of the pack with wins and losses at  12-13. I've long since lost track of the ties, I know there were at least two. But their record is very respectable for a Spring Training campaign. The team has shown moments of excitement--but there are still some glaring problems, also known as elephants in the room. 

Chris Davis has picked up where he left off the regular season last year by posting a .148 Spring Training batting average and Mark Trombo is not far behind with a .200 average. Davis is the most egregious with 27 at bats while posting 4 hits, 6 walks, and 15 strike outs! Ouch!!

On the pitching side, Dylan Bundy has posted a 7.98 ERA in 17 innings pitched.

The highest paid players are definitely the bottom feeders of the club right now. It must be nice to have guaranteed contracts so high that the club can neither trade nor cut the lowest performers. 

The one encouraging statistic is stealing. The Orioles have 35 attempts for better than one attempt per game. They had 103 stolen base attempts during all of the 2018 campaign for less than one attempt per game.

Well, opening day is next Thursday in New York City. As I predicted, the Orioles will either arrive on Baltimore for the home opener on April 4th at 0-6 or the best could be 2-4.

Let the season begin!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Bright Spots in a Dreary World

Tete-a-tete Daffodils
Ellicott City, MD
March 20, 2019
Happy first full day of Spring! The world is about to undergo a transformation.

The dreary colors of the Winter are about to give way to rebirth and the colors of life. 

Chris and I were out last evening celebrating the arrival of Spring and we came across this small group of Tete-a-tete Daffodils in a garden. We had just ushered in Spring's official arrival at a local wine bar when we came across these small, bright flowers. They were celebrating in their own manner the arrival of the season of rebirth.

There are many things happening right now that celebrate the season's arrival--baseball has begun, daylight saving time has arrived, temperatures are warmer--although still cooler than we desire. There are still many milestones to come such as MLB Opening Day which is next week and pool opening day which is now only 47 short days away. 

It is time to enjoy the transformation of the world as the sun's return warms the earth and the colors of springtime arrive.

Enjoy the day despite the rain!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Jeep Mudding

Jeep on the Street
Elkridge, MD
March 18, 2019
While out walking the other day, I spied an older Jeep that looked as if it had been involved in a lot of fun over the weekend.

Yes, it is covered in mud! I remember a few years ago Jeremy and Patrick took their Jeeps, which were new at the time to a Jeep weekend near Ocean City. We had a blast and their Jeeps looked very similar to the one on the street the other day after the weekend of riding through mud pits and traversing an obstacle course. 

Unlike my neighbor, however, we took those Jeeps to a car wash to remove the layers of mud. My neighbor washed his Jeep in his driveway yesterday. I am convinced the mud that came off the Jeep will be slowly going making its way down the street and into the storm sewer system that runs near my backyard for a very long time. 

There is something freeing about getting out and doing some mudding!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring - Leaf Buds
Elkridge, MD
March 18, 2019
After working yesterday, Chris greeted me with the offer to go for a walk with the dogs.

It was a much cooler day, but the sun was shining and the sky was blue. We were treated to a police helicopter circling the neighborhood for most of the walk. We have no idea what was happening, but the helicopter orbited above us for some 20 minutes before flying off. We never heard sirens or any corresponding commotion so we continued our walk with the dogs.

The nice thing about the day was that the signs of Spring were everywhere. The trees are budding, the daffodils are about to bloom and there may even be a hint of color on the forsythia. 

Spring begins at 5:58 PM EDT tomorrow!!!!! 

Today is the last full day of Winter. We will finally be able to throw off the shackles of the dark season and enjoy life outside--of which we have already had a taste.

We actually crossed over 12 hours per day of sunshine on St Patrick's Day. Bring on the season!

Cue the sunshine and flowers. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, March 18, 2019

Monday Musings - March 18, 2019

1. It is now one week since Daylight Saving Time began. I think I have fully recovered from the loss of the hour of sleep. I hope that everyone else has similarly recovered. There were some pretty groggy people last Monday.

Golf Carts at the Ready
Crofton country Club
March 17, 2019
2. What a fantastic weekend. I played golf for the first time in Maryland this year. It was 18 holes in Crofton and the exciting part is that I made a pretty neat birdie on a 30 yard chip shot during the round! I don't get that many birdies so I got pretty excited. OK, so that was the highlight of an otherwise average round, but I got to play!

3. The 78 degree temperatures of Friday really spoiled me for the weekend when the temperatures just crested 50. I am longing for the return of warmer weather. It is coming. I can feel it.

3rd Fairway
Crofton Country Club
March 17, 2019
4. The baseball team I coach posted six hours of practice last week. I don't think that happened at all during last year's season due to the rains. Here's hoping for another good week of practice this week.

5. Who knew that you can get sunburned during March in Baltimore? Well, you can!

6. Traffic is an amazing thing, a trip that takes 20 minutes early on a Sunday morning can take 35 minutes or more on a Friday afternoon.

7. My chainsaw is enjoying the Springtime weather. It is sawing as much wood as I can feed it. 

8. The blue skies and sun are encouraging me to be outside more and more. It is awesome to be in the sun after such a gloomy stretch of weather.  Next, cue the warmer temperatures.

9. Today in History. Nearly 300 students in Texas are killed by an explosion of natural gas at their school on this day in 1937. The Consolidated School of New London, Texas, sat in the middle of a large oil and natural gas field. The area was dominated by 10,000 oil derricks, 11 of which stood right on school grounds. The school was newly built in the 1930s for close to $1 million and, from its inception, bought natural gas from Union Gas to supply its energy needs. The school’s natural gas bill averaged about $300 a month. Eventually, officials at Consolidated School were persuaded to save money by tapping into the wet-gas lines operated by Parade Oil Company that ran near the school. Wet gas is a type of waste gas that is less stable and has more impurities than typical natural gas. At the time, it was not completely uncommon for consumers living near oil fields to use this gas.


Trade Fight With China Enters Overtime, With Tariffs a Costly Sticking Point - The New York Times

No sign of imminent North Korea missile launch: South Korea defence chief - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

I believe we can embark on a new age of reform in this country and an era of national renewal. An era that will reorder the relationship between citizen and government, that will make government again responsive to people, that will revitalize the values of family, work, and neighborhood and that will restore our private and independent social institutions. These institutions always have served as both buffer and bridge between the individual and the state and these institutions, not government, are the real sources of our economic and social progress as a people.

  -- Election Eve Address A Vision for America, November 3, 1980

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, March 17, 2019

And the Streak is Broken

Happy St. Patrick's Day

May all of your days be green and warm!

Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad. 
But never forget to remember 
The things that made you glad

It was much colder yesterday, but despite the weather, which saw temperatures about 25 degrees below Friday, the day was spent mostly outside.

There were many lawn chores to accomplish, gardens to clear, rubbish to remove, and yes, even the tractor made its first appearance on the yard for 2019! I used it to help remove the winter debris and get the yard greening up a bit as warmer temperatures continue to be expected for the remainder of the month. The yard really looked good after the small sticks and leaves were removed. 

At the Batting Cage
GORC Wildcats (Haslup)
March 15, 2019
I also was able to do some car maintenance and changed the cabin air filter in our new (used) 2006 Camry. It looked as if it had not been changed in many years. The new filter will definitely contribute to a cleaner in car air environment.

And then, of course, there was baseball practice. Another almost three hours of fun in the sun. Despite the colder weather, the sun shone brightly and I got a bit of a sunburn, believe it or not, in March! The boys on team Wildcats worked hard and we are getting them ready to begin the spring campaign, which could be in as early as two weeks!

As the day came to an end, the temperatures dropped into the 40's and the wind picked up. We decided to forego sitting by the fire pit and remain in the warmth of our home to watch the sunset. That meant that our streak of consecutive days celebrating around the fire pit was broken. And so the day ended.

It was a full Saturday of activity! And now, onto Sunday! 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Portending Summer

Jackson at Baseball Practice
Odenton, MD
March 15, 2019
As I walked though the workplace yesterday morning, I noticed something different, most everyone seemed a bit more enthused about the approaching weekend. Of course it probably helped that I wore an extremely bright Aloha shirt to help get into the weekend mindset, but I am convinced that the positive energy and mood due to more than my shirt. I believe that it may have been the favorable weather forecast coupled with the great week that was rapidly moving behind us.
Chris at Jeremy's Fire Pit
Elkridge, MD
March 15, 2019

Yesterday the temperature soared to about 78 degrees. Although rain had been predicted for the afternoon, none arrived until almost 9 PM. It was a great evening. I coached Jackson's baseball team practice until about 8:00 PM. It was glorious afternoon and the boys turned in a great practice. 

And then a magical thing happened. When I arrived home, I suggested that we enjoy head into the yard to enjoy the fire pit and the warm temperatures.  Chris and I decided that it was a bit late to start a fire, but Jeremy must have been reading my mind and invited us over to enjoy some fire pit time with him. So, we drove to Jeremy's and made it six days in a row around a fire pit. Although the rains arrived shortly after we settled in, we did enjoy some quality time with Jeremy. 

Friday portended the arrival of summer. Cue the sun and heat! Pool opening is a mere 52 days away!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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