Monday, May 29, 2017

Are We All in? Or All out?

Great Barrier Reef
Climate change is a fact. Look at the deterioration of the Great Barrier Reef and the increasingly devastating storms for proof.

A collection of letters to the editor in the New York Times this morning titled, The Risks of U.S. Inaction on Climate Change, lays out some of the concerns that common people have about the situation. 

The United States is a global leader but our inconsistent approach to climate change threatens the continued existence of the planet. OK, maybe I overstated the case a bit, but our consistent inconsistency is disturbing. 

One letter writer wrote: The United States, as the second largest polluter in the world, after China, must reassert its leadership. 

The U.S. must be all in to save our climate. The idea that we can decide that climate change is a non-issue and withdraw from international agreements is wrong.

The U.S. must be all in and taking the lead to protect the planet. We need to get over the short-term gain thinking that is popular right now.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Weekend

The weekend arrived suddenly. It almost caught me by surprise.

Rose in the Garden
The weekend actually began about noon on Friday and by 12:45 PM I was playing golf. It was fun to be on the course on a Friday afternoon. It almost felt like I was playing hooky from school, except, not!

Saturday began early and ended late. I was on the golf course again before 8AM and the day continued rolling from there. It was awesome. The afternoon was devoted to getting some tasks accomplished around the house. The evening was spent with family. 

Now, I am sitting on my computer watching the dawn  break. The green has fully returned, the pool is open and stable, and the Memorial Day Weekend is not the washout that the weathermen predicted. 

Enjoy the day. I plan to enjoy the entire weekend, what remains of it. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend

The unofficial start of the summer season is upon us.

The pool is open, yet I have not been swimming yet. The temperatures have been too cold. I am hoping that 80's show up soon! If they do, I will light the fires of the pool heater and get the summer started.

Until the summer actually shows up and the rains end, I will remain trapped in the house wishing for the heat.

I'm sure it will come soon. 

Regardless, I will enjoy the coming three-day holiday weekend and whether I have a huge picnic or not, I will remember why we celebrate Memorial Day and respect its meaning. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Society Under Attack

The terrorist attack at the concert in Manchester, England, earlier this week is raising many questions about the fabric of society and the motives of a group that would focus an attack on children.

A New York Times op-ed piece titled When Terrorists Target Children, discusses the possible motives for the attack and one thought is particularly chilling: 

"Meanwhile, as hard as it is amid the shock and the mourning, it is important to recognize this attack for what it is: an attempt to shake Britain — and, by extension, the rest of Europe and the West — to its core, and to provoke a thirst for vengeance and a desire for absolute safety so intense, it will sweep away the most cherished democratic values and the inclusiveness of diverse societies."

Inclusiveness and civility are the intended victims of the attack. 

I was encouraged, while listening to the news last evening, that many performers are keeping to their original concert schedules despite the significantly increased terrorist threat. Protecting the fabric of society, especially when reacting to terrorism is critical. 

The article this morning goes on to write: 

Understanding is critical. The quickest way for open societies to lose the freedoms they enjoy and the Islamic State seeks to destroy would be to whip up divisive ethnic, racist and religious hatreds. 

We must stand strong. The forces of anarchy and hatred want to bring civilization to their level and we must resist. We must protect our freedoms and inclusiveness.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rain Again

It is raining again!

It seems as if it has been raining for a very long time. Everyday is wet.

And cool.

We were treated to some hot temperatures a couple weeks ago, but alas, it has gone away and been replaced with cool, wet weather. 

The good news is that today may be the end of days with highs in the 60's--highs in the 70's and 80's are in the forecast. 

But the rain is going to persist and drown out the Memorial Day weekend, sadly. 

The first, unofficial, weekend of summer is looking as if it will be a washout. 

I guess I will save on propane that will not be warming my pool water.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Around the Fire Pit

Saturday, after a busy day of working on the pool and around the house, Chris and I decided to relax in the yard around our week old fire pit. 

It was a nice evening. The temperature was just cool enough to make the warm fire inviting. 

The relaxing fire and and good time we had just talking made for a time that we didn't want to end. 

Some days are like that. A hard day of work and activity can be topped with a relaxing fire, a glass of wine, and stimulating conversation around a warm inviting fire.

I'm glad we have a retreat in our yard for that kind of activity.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday Musings - May 22, 2017

1. The cicadas are coming! The cicadas are here!

2. The movie recording the construction of the Mother's Day fire pit with the help of Patrick, Tina. and Corey is pretty neat. Patrick made the video.

Sand Filter Unit Missing
3. Changing the sand in the pool filtration system was years overdue--and now it is complete. the picture shows the filter unit is missing. It took almost all day. There was water and sand everywhere. Chris and I got it done.

4. It was a cool day on Saturday. Sadly, our baseball game was canceled, again.

5. I played a disappointing round of golf yesterday. I guess I am not playing enough golf. But I still love the game and being on the course. It was only one round.

6. The deer have been leaving our plants alone. I think it is because Chris is using a commercial product which smells like coyote urine to scare them off. It also makes me go inside as well.


Trump Softens Tone on Islam but Calls for Purge of ‘Foot Soldiers of Evil’ - The New York Times

Republicans Watch Their Step in a Slow Retreat From Trump - The New York Times

So, let’s say Trump gets impeached. Then what? - The Washington Post

Quote of the Week

"America will reach its potential only if you and other young people are willing to strive to reach your potential."
Ronald Reagan

Remarks on Greeting the National Spelling Bee Finalists, May 30, 1986

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Butterfly and the Bugs

It was a contrast of flying insects yesterday. 

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
May 20, 2017
Chris and I were working on the pool and there was an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly enjoying some time in the grasses that ring our pool area.

Cicadas on the house
May 20, 2017
The butterfly was just relaxing and every so often would shake its wings, but did not seem to mind my presence in the area. It was a few moments where I could just enjoy watching the butterfly and escape the work. As I was doing some research on the butterfly I was able to determine that this one was a female because of the iridescent blue on the tail.

Alternatively, the cicadas are emerging in full force. Fortunately the day was cool so they were quiet. But they are everywhere and the holes in the soil from where they are emerging are doing a good job aerating my lawn. 

Reports say they are 4 years early. They are smaller than I remember from the last emergence. It is funny to look at the bug and realize that it is 13 years old although only recently in its current form. I don't think of bugs as being old in terms of years. I feel bad for the ones that fly into the pool and drown. But I guess losses are to be expected. They are everywhere and they do not fly with any great precision.

The butterfly and the bugs. Flying insects headed in different directions.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Limping Home

Amid the backdrop of the circus that has become Washington, D.C., and the current administration the Orioles had limped back home after a disastrous road trip that saw them lose 6 of 7 games. All of the losses were by one-run and the Orioles had a lead in nearly each game. 

The pitching could not hold a lead although the batters in many cases gave them multi-run leads.

Orioles Catcher
Wellington Castillo
Last evening was more of the same. The Orioles took an early lead which was squandered and then came back to tie the game 3-3 before winning with a walk-off two-run homer in the 10th inning after a rain delay. Wellington Castillo hit that two-run homer, which was his second two-tun shot of the game, just before midnight. 

At least the Orioles are back in their winning ways where they have the best home record in baseball. And amazingly, they remain only a half game out of first place in the American League East Division with a 24-16 record. 

Good things can still happen because it is a long season.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 19, 2017

Summer of the Cicada

Cicada Nymph Skin
While we were digging the Mother's Day fire pit, we saw some larvae or nymphs that I misidentified as grubs. I did this because I knew that a cicada emergence was not expected. 

I was wrong and I was right.

I was right because a cicada emergence was not expected. It is four years too early. The next big emergence is not expected until 2021. I was wrong because they were, in fact, cicada nymphs. 

They're back, four years early!

A Baltimore Sun article, As cicadas emerge four years early, scientists wonder if climate change is providing a nudge, answered my question. 

Let the sound of summertime begin. The cicadas are loud--louder than a jet. 

I actually saw a hatched cicada the other day and failed to take a picture of it. But now that I know they are coming as soon as the soil temperature gets a bit warmer, I will be prepared for the emergence.

It sounds like a bad movie title, "The Emergence."

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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