Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Random Pandemic Thoughts

Happy Bastille Day! Vive la France!

I note that the French are more effective combatting the coronavirus than we are. France has 209,640 cases and 30,032 deaths compared with the U.S. 3,364,547 cases and 135,615 deaths as of this morning from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center.  The seven-day moving average for new cases in France was 577 and the average for daily deaths was 16 as of yesterday, based upon New York Times reporting. The U.S,. by comparison has a seven-day moving average pf 60,521 new cases and 724 deaths, also from The New York Times. Just a thought--1 percent of the entire U.S. population has not been diagnosed with COVID-19.

I think the statement made the Florida governor the other day about schools is probably one of the most revealing for lack of understanding of how opening the schools is materially different from reopening the economy. 

"But I'm confident if you can do Home Depot, if you can do Walmart, if you can do these things, we absolutely can do the schools. I want our kids to be able to minimize this education gap that I think has developed." DeSantis. As reported by CNN on Friday, July 10, 2020

I am amazed that the governor did not see the huge difference between Walmart and a school. First off, wearing masks for an entire school day is going to be a tough experience for many kids and teachers. The spaces are closer together and physical distancing is tough to maintain. Additionally, a trip to Walmart is just that--a trip consisting of minutes. A day at school is just that--a day. We need to get the virus under control before kids can get back to school safely. 

Me in a Mask
Columbia, MD
April 4, 2020
This is a pandemic people--we need to get our heads-out-of-the-sand and take responsibility for ourselves and others. I do not understand the resistance to wearing masks. I think it is clear that states where mask wearing is mandatory are doing better combatting the virus than those where mask wearing is not enforced. That is one of the reasons that I am not in Florida this week--Floridians do not understand the importance of wearing masks. 

From all of the studies I have seen, there are no health issues associated with wearing masks, with the narrow exception of underlying medical issues like asthma or COPD. Some people have suggested that CO2 builds up--that has been patently dismissed as untrue. The worst part about wearing a mask? No washing it after use!

Take responsibility for yourself and stop blaming others!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, July 13, 2020

Monday Musings - July 13, 2020

1. It is the second Monday of July. Time is sweeping past quickly. Tax Day 2020 is in two short days. 

Refurbished Stairs
Elkridge, MD
July 11, 2020
2. I can confirm that the flooring project is complete and we also updated the stairs. The place looks great! Now onto the next project. 

3. The quote of the week is from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel: "We are seeing at the moment that the pandemic can't be fought with lies and disinformation, and neither can it be with hatred and agitation." 

4. Apparently, if you can't change the truth you need to stifle those who tell the truth. Seems the administration is trying to silence Dr Fauci.
New Reported Cases in the U.S.

5. How well is the U.S. doing in the face of coronavirus. See the graph from this morning's New York Times.

6. Playing racquetball on an outdoor court at 6 AM really adds a new dimension to the game. 

7. I want to go on vacation--but there is no where to go, safely.

8. Today in History. On July 13, 1985, at Wembley Stadium in London, Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially open Live Aid, a worldwide rock concert organized to raise money for the relief of famine-stricken Africans. Continued at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia (where Joan Baez famously kicked it off by telling the crowd "this is your Woodstock, and it's long overdue") and at other arenas around the world, the 16-hour “superconcert” was globally linked by satellite to more than a billion viewers in 110 nations. In a triumph of technology and good will, the event raised more than $125 million in famine relief for Africa.

Coronavirus Surge Challenges Struggling Food Supply Chains - The Wall Street Journal

Trump Aides Target Fauci as He Grows More Vocal Over Virus Surge - The New York Times

How Russia Built a Channel to the Taliban, Once an Enemy - The New York Times

Redskins to retire team name today - The Washington Post

China imposes sanctions on U.S. senators Rubio, Cruz over Xinjiang advocacy - The Washington Post

Exclusive: U.S. turns screws on maritime industry to cut off Venezuela's oil - Reuters

Fire aboard U.S. Navy warship in San Diego injures 21 people - Reuters

Taliban attack on Afghan government compound kills 10, wounds dozens - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Protecting the rights of even the least individual among us is basically the only excuse the government has for even existing.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Taxes Looming!

Tax day is almost here. 

It seems weird to write this statement during July, but coronavirus encouraged the government to delay the annual pain of settling up by three months. I have to admit, I have delayed paying my tax bill this year. The taxes have been complete since April, but I have been waiting until closer to the Day of Reckoning to submit them.

We experienced some changes during 2019 that resulted in Tax Day not being a lot of fun! I also fell victim to some tax law updates, ugh! I hate it when they change the rules in the middle of the game. But, we have made corrections and adjustments for 2020 to ease the pain of Tax Day 2021. It still bugs me that I pay more in income taxes that some Fortune 500 companies pay in taxes. And companies are able to pass their tax bills to their customers through increased prices on products and services. I, unfortunately, am where the tax bill hits the bank account. I cannot pass my tax bill onto anyone! I confess, I was secretly hoping that Tax Day would be canceled this year--that would have been the best stimulus package!

Later today or tomorrow I will press the send button in Turbo Tax and watch the money in my accounts be siphoned off to support our Republic. It is, after all, my civic duty!

I will be happy to have Tax Day 2020 in my rear view mirror. Sadly, however, the next Day of Reckoning is now only nine short months away!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, July 11, 2020

The End is in Sight

The Final Boards are Laid
Elkridge, MD
July 8, 2020
The end of the flooring project is in sight. Hopefully, today we will complete the project. All of the flooring was laid Wednesday and we spent Thursday evening beginning to install the moulding. 

Last evening, I had the night off to enjoy Happy Hour with friends. 

Today, I will be installing the moulding on the second floor and the doing a facelift for the stairs. This should bring the project to a successful completion. Finally! It has taken the better part of two weeks

Home improvement projects are enjoyed best when they are finished!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, July 10, 2020

Summer Friday

Welcome to the second Friday of July 2020. That is significant because we are in the second half of the year and it has now been a week since the Independence Day weekend which provided a means to escape the pervasive coronavirus presence. 

Last Friday I spent the day laying floors and preparing for the holiday. This Friday the summer is in full swing, except, I have no where to go. Just as it seemed that Chris and I would escape to Florida for a couple weeks--Florida became a coronavirus hot spot. 

Prudence dictated that our trip be canceled and as of yet it not has not been rescheduled. Were we afraid of contracting the virus? Not really, but flying and taking a Lyft or Uber does increase exposure chances. And then there is the shopping for supplies that has to take place. At least the beaches are open! We will try again in August and potentially drive the truck to ferry some larger things to our condo. 

Today, I will go to work and I am very happy to have a job. I will focus on my tasks while counting the hours until I can join friends to celebrate Happy Hour and the arrival of the weekend. At least there is a developing sense of normalcy in the upside down world. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, July 9, 2020

School Reopening - Crisis of Conscience

Whether to return to school, be they primary, secondary, or college, later this year has become another diversionary tactic by the administration. 

The president's statement yesterday, coupled with a nearly unenforceable threat to reduce funding, may be irrationally causing school systems to rethink their plans for Fall semester classes. 

The Wall Street Journal headline reads, Trump Criticizes CDC Guidelines for Reopening Schools

Schools are, and historically in the United States have been, community funded and managed. The president is using this flash-point to divert attention from a miserably implemented coronavirus policy which finds the U.S. as the most incompetent country in the world in dealing with the virus. Successful countries, for instance Italy, shut everything down. We are reopening too quickly, as seen by the recent spike in hospitalizations and ICU bed usage. Opening schools will likely cause the virus to spread even more quickly through the population. And while studies generally indicate that children are not as frequently affected or with the same dire consequences as adults what about the teachers and staff at the schools? And what about the transmission of the disease to parents and siblings and then through the social networks of the community? 

Reopening schools too quickly could be a recipe for disaster which might well ensure that no part of American society is spared the ravages of the pandemic.

Anyone who has been in a school knows that they were not designed with physical (aka social) distancing in mind. Look at the lockers, classroom loading, and cafeterias to name a few. Many school districts are wrestling with these issues. And an even greater concern, given some of the more recent reporting about the airborne nature of the virus, is the condition and quality of the air handling systems which could effectively make schools and school busses as well, petrie dishes for the virus. 

The irrational rush to reopen schools could well cost many more Americans their lives. 

A more measured approach to reopening schools and colleges is consistent with the needs of our society.  

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Flooring Project Update

Flooring at Jeremy's House
Elkridge, MD
July 8, 2020
The flooring project at Jeremy's house continues. 

We have been installing flooring every day for the past week. The house is transforming. 

The main level is nearly complete, we only have to install the trim. The materials for the trim should arrive today and then I will be having fun with my pneumatic nailer. On the upper level there is a small area in the hallway and most of one of the three bedrooms remaining. My knees are very sore, even wearing knee pads. I confess that I only worked three hours last evening as the light was such that I could not see the seams. We are being very critical about the seams and if they cannot be seen we cannot ensure the adjoining boards are properly joined. 

I have been making some complicated cuts around doors and into hallways. They take time to map out. I had one cut along an angled wall yesterday that was especially difficult because the wall was not at a 45 degree angle and I have go go back to basic geometry to figure out how to determine the angle. Actually, I finally remembered to just measure the length of the hypotenuse and it worked like a champ.  

While the coronavirus continues to rage across the country, this project is keeping us off the streets and busy.

I am hopeful of completing the project by Thursday night!

Next week's coronavirus project will be an adventure in deck staining! Oh joy! Anyone who knows me understands how much I dislike projects involving paint brushes and rollers!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Can I Get Away from it All?

The View from Jupiter Island Beach
Jupiter Island, Florida
November 6, 2019
I had planned to be on a Southwest Airlines flight departing Baltimore-Washington International Airport for Palm Beach International Airport this morning to enjoy a couple weeks in Florida and my condo there and escape to the beach. 

I canceled the trip due to the rise in coronavirus cases in Florida and specifically Palm Beach County. 

Coincidentally, there is a moderately comprehensive article in this morning's The Wall Street Journal titled,

Is It Safe to Travel Again? Your Coronavirus Questions Answered

Appropriately, the article features an image of a Southwest Airlines 737 in flight! 

Osprey Flying Free
Jupiter Island, Florida
November 7, 2019
The article appeals to those of us who want to get away from the new normal, whatever that has become, and attempt to find old fashioned escape-ism by collapsing on a beach somewhere and enjoying the sun, sand, and surf. 

Sadly, there are not many places open to travelers and even within the U.S. vacationers need to be mindful of quarantines and travel requirements. 

The opening paragraph of the article:

As countries begin to reopen, is there any place abroad where I can travel right now? 
Not easily. Many countries remain closed to nonessential travelers and non-residents. Some nations are gradually lifting their bans but only permitting in tourists from countries where the number of coronavirus cases is relatively low or steadily declining. The European Union lifted its internal borders last month and as of July 1, began allowing visitors from up to 15 other countries, including South Korea, New Zealand and Rwanda. But tourists from the U.S., where coronavirus cases are surging, are still prohibited from entering most European countries.
In fact, the Canadian border remains closed to non-official U.S. persons!

Also from the article:

Can I take a road trip? Are there coronavirus checkpoints at state borders? 
As more hotels and national and state parks reopen across the country, road trip vacationsare picking up speed. Only Florida currently has checkpoint, on Interstate 95, just south of the Georgia border, to screen travelers. Those visitors arriving from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are required to quarantine for 14-days. New Mexico has a checkpoint on US 64, leading in and out of Taos Pueblo, which is closed indefinitely to nonresidents. For other roadside travel restrictions, see AAA’s Covid-19 map at TripTik.AAA.com. And for more road trip guidance, including tips on how to safely get gas and food along your drive, read “Expert Advice for a Safe Road Trip.”
And so I remain in Maryland, hunkering down even though the state is slowly reopening. I long to be free to "move about the country" but I am smart enough to realize the now is not the right time. Yet.

Well, I have more flooring to install and next week I have a deck to stain. I am definitely keeping busy--maybe too busy with my full-time job and then my full-time projects. 

But, I'd really like to get away from it all, but safely and smartly.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, July 6, 2020

Monday Musings - July 6. 2020

1. The first Monday of July 2020 has arrived. The second half of the year is underway and we have already enjoyed the Independence Day celebrations. July is my favorite month of the year!

2. This week marks the third planned vacation that I have canceled this year due to the pandemic. Chris and I had planned to head to Florida for a two-week  getaway to check on our condo and enjoy some beach time. We canceled the trip due to the coronavirus explosion underway in Florida.

Calla Lily after the Rain
Elkridge, MD
July 4, 2020
3. Sometimes the flowers in our gardens are worth remembering. I enjoyed this calla lily after a brief rainstorm on July 4th. 

4. The work renovating the floors of Jeremy's house continue. The main level is complete and the upper level is about 50 percent complete. The hardest part has been the transitions between rooms. But it looks great, fresh, and clean!

5. Why do some people prefer to tear down rather than build up? 

6.  The hot weather has been great! I have been enjoying time in and around my pool--well, when I have not been busy laying flooring. I have been relearning the meaning of hard work!

7. The trees and grasses are green. It is an image that I indelibly fix in my mind to remind me of summer during the other seasons. 

8. Today in History. On July 6, 1957, Althea Gibson claims the women’s singles tennis title at Wimbledon and becomes the first African American to win a championship at London’s All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Gibson was born on August 25, 1927, in Silver, South Carolina, and raised in the Harlem section of New York City. She began playing tennis as a teenager and went on to win the national Black women’s championship twice. At a time when tennis was largely segregated, four-time U.S. Nationals winner Alice Marble advocated on Gibson’s behalf and the 5’11” player was invited to make her U.S. Open debut in 1950. In 1956, Gibson’s tennis career took off and she won the singles title at the French Open—the first African American to do so—as well as the doubles’ title there. In July 1957, Gibson won Wimbledon, defeating Darlene Hard, 6-3, 6-2. (In 1975, Arthur Ashe became the first African American man to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon, when he defeated Jimmy Connors.) In September 1957, she won the U.S. Open, and the Associated Press named her Female Athlete of the Year in 1957 and 1958. During the 1950s, Gibson won 56 singles and doubles titles, including 11 major titles.

U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Nears 130,000 as Infection Rate Surges - The Wall Street Journal

Global Stocks Jump, Led By Surge in Chinese Markets - The Wall Street Journal

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.
We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should. 
   -- Ronald Reagan Essay on Independence Day written during 1981 as published in Real Clear Politics
-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, July 5, 2020

There is no "I" in "We"

Yesterday we celebrated our nation's independence. It is my favorite holiday. But of course, celebrating independence or the creation of a country is not something done only by Americans. Most other countries in the world also celebrate their creation or independence. 

Canada Day, for instance, was on July 1st. 

Bastille Day, July 14th,  celebrates the beginning of the French Revolution leading to the creation of the French Republic. For those of you who know me, you know that Bastille Day is my second favorite foreign holiday. The French really know how to celebrate!

Independence Day Pool Celebration
Elkridge, MD
July 4, 2020
Our family celebration was subdued by comparison, but there was a lot of fun in the pool. It was a hot, humid day and the pool was refreshing and a fun place to celebrate. We also enjoyed fireworks launched being launched around the neighborhood as darkness fell.

We partied and remained within our family circle observing proper respect and distancing for coronavirus. Maybe we overlapped two family circles. 

Our celebration focused upon our country our country--not a person or a political party. The politicization of Independence Day is contrary to its meaning. Sowing seeds of divisiveness, especially for personal or political gain is anathema to the day. Shame on those who did so yesterday. Independence Day is a day for unification and affirmation of the founding principles of our nation. 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
  -- Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
  -- Constitution of the United States, 1789

There is no "I" in "We."

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
My Zimbio
Top Stories