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

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Independence Day - 2020

It is July 4th! 

Where are the bands, the parades, the fireworks with which Americans celebrate the founding of this nation?

They are muted and canceled. 

Unlike most other July 4th's excluding the Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War--America's homeland and its citizens are under direct attack on multiple fronts. The mood of the nation is gloomy.

Despite attempts to call it fake and a democratic hoax, coronavirus is attacking Americans everywhere. Despite the bravado displayed by our leaders attempting to reassure us that the virus is under control the rising numbers of cases, hospital admissions, and dangerously low supply of ICU beds tell a different tale. They tell of failed policies that were too late, too little, and too disorganized to be effective. 

Let's face it--when American interests are under attack we usually swiftly, forcefully, and effectively respond. Coronavirus, however, is thwarting the meager, disjointed, and predatory responses of the government. States and counties are being left to fend for themselves because of the vacuum that is the response of the federal government. The statement attributed to Benjamin Franklin upon the signing the Declaration of Independence: "We must all hang together, or we shall surely hang separately," is clearly true in dealing with the coronavirus.

"Make America Great Again," has made America the laughing stock of the world. European countries will not allow U.S. travelers to visit, for instance Italy denied five Americans admittance.  Despite this, the bravado and deception continue as evidenced at Mount Rushmore last evening where thousands gathered without proper spacing or face masks to hear, as one agency reported, Trump Uses Mount Rushmore Speech to Deliver Divisive Culture War Message.

On this July 4th, America is under attack on multiple fronts: disease, divisiveness, and deceit. Citizens recognize this and our Independence Day celebrations will smaller. 

But there is patriotism deep inside my heart that brings optimism believing that tomorrow will be a better day. As long as the sun rises I can make tomorrow better than today. 

Thomas Jefferson
Third President of the U.S.
Primary Author of the Declaration of Independence
For some words of encouragement, I went back to one of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, who like myself was a big fan of Independence Day. 

"The fourth of July, the epoch of American independence, is a day when the heart of every American must glow with pride and gratitude. No village, however sequestered, no citizen, however obscure, forgets the celebration of the anniversary of his country's liberty! Through all the land, from the shores of the Atlantic to our mountain-tops, the sounds of gratulation are heard; the roar of cannon, and the peal of bells, announce the auspicious morn, and people of every rank hasten with their festive offerings round the altar of liberty."
  -- July 4, 1809

Do not not despair, accept the ability to effect change and critically evaluate what is happening in our country. The power is in your vote and your emails to elected representatives. Through it all, we must also celebrate that we have power--the power to make our voices heard and to effect change.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, July 3, 2020

Changing Skyline

Final Image of the Dead Ash Tree
Elkridge, MD
July 2, 2020
While I was laying flooring yesterday, the final and largest dead ash tree bordering my property was removed. This particular tree was the one which most threatened our home and although it once provided welcome shade during the summer, it had since become a threat. The home owners association bordering my property which owned the tree had removed other large dead ash trees a couple weeks ago, but the size and location of this particular tree exceeded the limits of the crane. 

After the Dead Ash Tree was Removed
Elkridge, MD
July 3, 2020
The tree was not felled in the traditional sense. I use the word removed because the tops were cut from the trunks and moved my the crane to a location where they were rendered into chips. The trunks of the formerly majestic and still massive trees remain standing up to about 30 feet in height.

The sightline from the house, the "skyline," is now free of dead trees and presents a lower and greener view. There is one remaining much smaller dead ash tree that we can see from the porch and I will fell that tree in a few weeks--when I get the nerve. It seems to be leaning in the direction that I want it to fall into the wild and unimproved area behind my house. 

For today, my Independence Day celebration will be laying more flooring. My objective is to complete the kitchen!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Flooring Installation

Welcome to July!! I have determined that projects are a valid way to make it through coronavirus. 

The Flooring Project Begins
Elkridge, MD
July 1, 2020
My life seems to have no shortage of projects. I was supposed to be straining the deck this week; however, Jeremy, my oldest son, determined it was a good week to update the flooring in his house. This is not a small task! 

Brothers at Work - Jeremy and Patrick
Elkridge, MD
July 2, 2020
We determined that there are about 1100 square feet of floor that need to be done on two levels. That is a lot of flooring! 59 cases!  I know, I helped move everyone of them. 

Patrick came over last evening to lend a hand and I have to admit I really appreciated his help. We made like a tag team and I tagged-out to go home, decompress, and relax after a hard 11 hour day. 

There is still so much to do it is a bit overwhelming, but we will take it one day at a time and get as much done as possible. Somehow today I need to get the mower deck back onto the mower after the welder fixed it the other evening and of course mow the lawn. And then there is the routine pool maintenance. Pools always need something.

And so the day begins. Project day #3.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Return to the Soviet

Vladimir Putin
President for life? It appears that the Russian people are voting to essentially give Vladimir Putin the chance to be just that. 

A Wall Street Journal Article titled, 

Russians Set to Approve Radical Overhaul That Could Keep Putin in Power Until 2036 details the vote and the probability that the change will be approved. 

The election move hearkens back to the days of the Soviet Union. The Russian people are voting to allow additional terms for their president which would give Putin the opportunity to hold the office until 2036. 

Putin Shirtless on Horse
The Soviet Union was effectively ruled by the General Secretary of the Communist Party. They continued in office until they were deposed, resigned, or died. We know some of the greats and infamous, for example Stalin, Brezhnev, Khrushchev, Gorbachev. 

Putin was elected to the first of his four terms during 2000. With the exception of four years between 2008 and 2012 when he served as Prime Minister, he has been Russia's president since 1999 when we was appointed as acting president. He was reelected in 2008 for his third term. His time as president may rival Stalin's 30 years and 7 months of leadership. If Putin is reelected for the additional terms he might possibly be President for 33 years. 

I am not sure that the world needs that much Vladimir Putin. 

I am very thankful that our Constitution has clear term limits for the president.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Crazy Cat

Riordin Inspecting a Bag
Elkridge, MD
June 23, 2020
Chris and I have two cats. 

Riordin in a Bag
Elkridge, MD
June 23, 2020
One of them, Louis, is mostly a lump. The classic cat that just lays around and makes me wonder why I have a cat.

The other one, Riordin, is more of a dog than a cat. He loves to sit on my lap when I am reading or watching TV. He has a very extroverted personality and does some really interesting and crazy things. He keeps life interesting, especially at about 2 AM when he decides to join me in bed and sleep next to me. I am allergic to cats!

The other day he decided that an empty bag on the counter needed a closer inspection. A very close inspection--from the inside. The bad was on the counter and he just needed to be deep inside of it. He never panicked, but he did try to move around d. We had to save him from falling off the counter at one point. After a few minutes we pulled the bag off--he actually went back into the bag and we finally had to put the bag on the floor for him to enjoy at his leisure. 

I know why the saying that cats have nine lives exists.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday Musings - June 29, 2020

1. It is the last Monday of June 2020. The year is one day from being half over. 
Dad, Chris, Mom
Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY
June 26, 2020

2. Because some asked, here is the image of Chris with Mom and Dad at Letchworth State Park on Friday afternoon. I am behind the camera. 

3. Coronavirus still grips the land and the U.S. has become the example for the world of what not to do. Apparently one of the only countries which will accept U.S. travelers id Mexico--how weird is that?

4. Traveling to upstate New York was made a pleasant experience because there were few cars and trucks on the highways. 

Masked Moose
Rest Stop near Tioga, PA on Route 15 South
June 28, 2020
5. Why is gasoline 15 cents per gallon cheaper in New York than Maryland? Why is gasoline almost 50 cents per gallon more expensive in Pennsylvania?

6. Saw this at a rest stop in Pennsylvania driving back to Maryland yesterday. Although they are promoting face mask use in PA, they do not seem as committed as either New York or Maryland to enforcement. 

7. Independence Day is Saturday! The biggest holiday of the summer is upon us. I am saddened by then umber of fireworks displays that have been canceled. 

7. I have been engaged in discussions about face mask use and effectiveness. The CDC has a page devoted to Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings which goes into some detail about the use and effectiveness of the face coverings. I also have found studies that convincingly state that face masks cannot cause CO2 poisoning. I think a lot of the "science" people use concerning health reasons for not wearing face masks is similar to that about not getting vaccinations. People looking for studies to confirm their own beliefs.
9. Today in History. On June 29, 1995, the American space shuttle Atlantis docks with the Russian space station Mir to form the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth.
This historic moment of cooperation between former rival space programs was also the 100th human space mission in American history. At the time, Daniel Goldin, chief of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), called it the beginning of “a new era of friendship and cooperation” between the U.S. and Russia. With millions of viewers watching on television, Atlantis blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in eastern Florida on June 27, 1995.

Florida’s Covid Cases Up Fivefold in 2 Weeks: ‘The Numbers Are Scary’ - The New York Times

Mississippi Lawmakers Vote to Retire State Flag Rooted in the Confederacy - The New York Times

Gunmen Wage a Deadly Battle at Pakistan’s Stock Exchange in Karachi - The New York Times

Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops, intelligence assessments say - The Washington Post

Pence urges mask-wearing as cases soar - The Washington Post

Intel doesn’t back up NYT on Russian bounties to kill US troops: Trump - Fox News

Chicago man kills 2 teens after they asked him innocent question: cops - Fox News

Stocks hit two-week lows, oil slides on virus surge - Reuters

Oil drops on sharp uptick in coronavirus cases globally - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

For just a moment, let us listen to the words again: "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.'' Last night when we rededicated Miss Liberty and relit her torch, we reflected on all the millions who came here in search of the dream of freedom inaugurated in Independence Hall. We reflected, too, on their courage in coming great distances and settling in a foreign land and then passing on to their children and their children's children the hope symbolized in this statue here just behind us: the hope that is America. It is a hope that someday every people and every nation of the world will know the blessings of liberty.

-- Address to the Nation on Independence Day, July 4, 1986

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Fly Away Day

Young Wrens
Ithaca, NY
June 27, 2020
I missed the departure of the robins from the nest at my house, but I was able to see two wrens exit their home for the great big world yesterday. It rained all morning, but as the skies cleared during the afternoon it was time for these two wrens to exit their nest. They hopped across the yard to a tree where their parents were urging them to go, but not yet being able to fly they huddled together at the base of the tree deciding what to do next. My job was to ensure that no predators arrived to take advantage of the earthbound birds. It was fun to watch their parents trying to demonstrate how to fly. I departed the area to allow the birds to work together without worrying about a human being too close.

Chris and I were concerned that Finnegan would be a bit too interested in playing with the birds and we kept him well away from them. He does enjoy chasing the rabbits that hop into our yard and he has learned that the robins are too fast for him. But, earthbound wrens would likely be too hard to resist. 

Within a few minutes the family of wrens departed for new locales and a it more ground cover than the recently mowed lawn.

Finding something new to amuse myself on a rainy coronavirus day. 

— Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Escape from Coronavirus

Dad, Me, Mom
Letchworth State Park
Castile, NY
June 26, 2020
Chris and I made our escape from coronavirus yesterday. The timing seemed right for us to complete the trip we had planned and subsequently canceled during mid-March into the wilds of upstate New York to visit my parents. 

The drive was easy due to the bright and sunny day as well as the low traffic volume. It has been some time since I have driven through the rural countryside and mountains of central Pennsylvania and upstate New York. The green hills and open farmlands are welcome change from the densely populated Washington-Baltimore region.  

But, this was a day to visit with Mom and Dad. We arrived without incident and spent a great afternoon with them. We actually enjoyed lunch in a restaurant! Yes, inside. We were the only people in one of the rooms of the Glen Iris Inn at Letchworth State Park in Castile, New York. It was a marvelous lunch surrounded by the natural beauty of the falls which Letchworth StatePark highlights. I had never been to this park before and it is another of the wonderful natural beauties which adorn upstate New York. 

The visit with Mom and Dad was great. To actually see and touch them after so many weeks of Zoom-ing.  We gave Dad his late Father's Day gift. It was late because we had originally planned to visit them last weekend and deliver it in person early, but a last minute change forced us to delay a week. 

For a day we escaped from coronavirus. We wore our face masks as required, but since we were mostly outside or seated at our table in the restaurant, the only time we had to don them was when we actually walked through the facility to be seated or to depart. 

I realized that yesterday marked my first trip outside of Maryland since February. With the cases of coronavirus on the rise, it was good to get away. 

Chris and I made a promise to make these trips more frequent.

— Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY

My Zimbio
Top Stories