Thursday, October 27, 2016

Frost on the Pumpkin

Yesterday morning arrived and with it, the first frost of the season. It was a light frost on the windshield of my truck, but it was definitely frost.

Freshly Mowed Late-October Yard
The presence of the first frost of the season changes so many things. It is a visible sign that autumn is slipping into winter and the fast approach of the season of darkness. 

The leaves dropping from the trees surrounding my yard created a blanket on the ground. Another sign of the passing season. I attacked them with my tractor yesterday and for a short while the yard was free of leaves--but the bare branches of the trees are clearly visible in the image I took of the probable last mowing of the year. 

I will likely use the mower to blow the leaves back into the forest as they continue to fall from the trees, but I doubt that the grass will grow much more. 

In honor of the season, I researched the poem by James Whitcomb Riley titled, When the Frost is on the Punkin. I had forgotten that it is written in the colloquial dialect of late-19th century Indiana, which makes it a very interesting read. 

For your enjoyment, here are the last four lines of the first stanza:

O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best, 
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest, 
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock, 
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock. 

When I reread poems like this one, I realize that in some respects our language has become too homogenized and that we are losing our regional character.

But, the frost is on the pumpkin and the day is getting gone.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

World Series Game 1 Reflection

The end of the baseball campaign is near. Game 1 of the 2016 World Series is in the books and Cleveland definitely looked to be the better team winning the game 6-0.

The defining moment in the game was the 7th inning when the Cubs had the bases loaded with no outs and could not score a run. All evening, the Cleveland pitchers controlled the Chicago batters except for the 7th inning rally. 

I felt the Fox network coverage of the game was barely adequate. The lack of using the pitch tracker for most of the game to document the inconsistent strike and ball calls was frustrating. There were discussions about balls being strikes and the pitch tracker would have helped to show the trends. Fox sports is going to have to turn their game up.

Losing game 1 is not the end of the series. The team that goes up 1-0 in the World Series is the eventual champion about 64 percent of the time. So there is definitely hope that the Cubbies will win. Tonight's game really begins to be important as a team that goes up 2-0 wins the series 80 percent of the time. There is an interesting article titled, World Series Game Situation Winning Probabilities: How Often Do Teams Come Back From Behind? if you want to see the probabilities associated with all of the possibilities.

On a side note, I already have the Orioles Spring Training schedule and am beginning to think about my March trip to Sarasota!

Play Ball!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Las Vegas Images

New York, New York Resort at Night
I had my trusty iPhone with me to document my weekend celebration in Las Vegas and I managed to take some interesting images.

Everything in Vegas seems to be larger than life. The resorts apparently duel to be the most spectacular or outlandish. I stayed in the Excalibur, which is a castle, but New York, New York looks like a miniature version the Big Apple all crushed together. 

TPC Las Vegas
I was very impressed with the stunning scenery surrounding TPC Las Vegas where I played a very enjoyable round of golf. Getting out of the city and away form the casinos and the crowds was a highlight of the trip. Getting to smack the little white ball around the course was an added benefit. It was the first time I had played a desert course and I admit to hitting a couple of balls into the canyons guarding some of the holes.

As I was walking through my resort, I happened upon a gift shop that just screamed Las Vegas--and I had to take an image of the sign. It was just a classic! I actually did not even go into the shop, but I enjoyed the lights of the sign. There were, of course, many more signs in Vegas, but it is a city that never seems to sleep, although at 6AM I could tell that it was slumbering.

Out my Hotel Window
October 24, 2016
My final image is from yesterday morning after a rare rainstorm passed through and made the sunrise special. The sunlight reflecting off the airport runways was especially interesting and the illumination of the hotel down the way made for a visually stimulating shot--and yes, it was right outside my hotel window! I was amazed at how the scene outside my window changed with the rising of the sun and the passing of the day. 

In retrospect it was a great trip and I have to confess that I did gamble. I won $5 while betting $2, so I was ahead for the trip, I guess. I am not a gambler, but I had to play at least one slot machine and I actually played two.

I did find that many of the cliches are true. But there is wholesome fun to be enjoyed, even in Sin City.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday Musings - October 24, 2016

TPC Las Vegas
October 22, 2016
1. My long weekend trip is nearly over. All I really have remaining is to travel home. A long day of travel through three time zones.

 2. I played golf at TPC Las Vegas on Saturday, it has some of the most stunning views that I have seen from a golf course. 

3. Vegas really never sleeps.

4. The Presidential election is now only 2 weeks away and early voting has started. America, it is time to make a choice.

5. I am excited that one of the two longest championship droughts in the MLB is about to come to an end. Chicago and Cleveland will make history no matter which team wins. And who would ever have thought we'd see Chief Wahoo in the World Series? 

6. Patrick made a time-lapse video of the sunrise out the hotel window. It is very impressive. He did a great job documenting a great sunrise.

7. A dark spot in imagery of Mars is likely the wreckage of the European Schiaparelli lander

8. New York City is close to opening a subway line that has been planned for almost a century! Sometimes miracles happen.

9. It was a difficult day in the NFL yesterday with all of the family favorite teams, that played, losing. The losers include the Ravens, Steelers, and Redskins. The Cowboys were spared because they were on a bye week. The Ravens effort was especially frustrating because they had 12 rushing carries for a total of 6 yards. 

-- Bob Doan, writing from Las Vegas, NV

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bloody Mary Drink-off

Bloody Mary at BWI
I know it seems a bit strange to be writing about Bloody Mary's, but I have seen some interesting interpretations of this breakfast drink during my trip to Las Vegas. 

Let me state right up front, I have NOT personally consumed any of these concoctions, but I have witnessed other members of my group enjoying these drinks.

Hotel Bloody Mary
The first Bloody Mary of the trip was at the airport bar in Baltimore. It was made with everything and contained shrimp, an assortment of veggies, olives, and bacon. The salt around the top of the glass was a nice touch. Sadly, for the people who ordered this beverage, it was delivered only about 15 minutes before we boarded the flight to Las Vegas. 

The second Bloody Mary was even more over the top. It was created at the hotel for members of our group that we met up with in the check-in line. It was astounding and even more over the top than the ones a few hours earlier in Baltimore. It was definitely breakfast and while there was no shrimp, it appeared that a whole side of bacon was included in the glass. 

Bloody Mary at TPC Las Vegas
The final entry in the Bloody Mary competition was at TPC Las Vegas where we played a great round of golf. This was a more classic and, frankly, less appealing version that some of the others; but it was appropriate for drinking from a moving golf cart. 

The winner was the Bloody Mary at the hotel. I may never see one like that again!

-- Bob Doan, writing from Las Vegas, NV 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Out the Hotel Window - Las Vegas

Out the Hotel Window - Afternoon
October 21, 2016
I have experienced two cities that never sleep during the month of October, New York City and now Las Vegas. 

I have two images out my hotel window, one in the early afternoon and one as the shades of the sunset were painting the sky. 

Out the Hotel Window - Evening
October 21, 2016
I have a good view of the airport, similar to when I was in Los Angeles. It is hard to believe the life that happens behind me, in the other direction. 

I spent a lot of time wandering around being amazed at the sheer numbers of people who come to Vegas. It is astounding. And there is a lot of fun to be had--for a price. Everything is very pricey and not the way I remember it from 30 years ago. I had a burger and a beer for lunch yesterday and it cost $40. I'm going to have to be a bit more frugal if I am going to survive the trip with my wallet in tact.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Las Vegas, NV

Friday, October 21, 2016

Under the Sky

Not my Photo of Stars
Last evening was likely one of the finals evenings outside around the fire pit watching evening fall clad in shorts and a tee-shirt. The warm evening air enveloped Chris and I as we chatted about the upcoming weekend. The fire danced and cast its changing glow across our faces.

Colder weather is coming to greet the weekend and as October continues slipping away into November, it is likely these evenings will continue, but we will be wearing coats as we cast off the pervasive chill.

I saw the stars come out, as well as they do in this area of too much ground light. It was a fitting end to the busy day.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Debate or Brawl

Debate night in America happened again last evening. It was another ugly dogfight on stage for the world to wonder how these two people, out of 300 million Americans wound up as finalists in the Presidential olympics.

The debate was, perhaps, the best of the three with issues getting more time than personal attacks. But, the debate still lacked a clear winner. I was left with the realization that both candidates have gaping holes in policy plans and ideas to run the country.

Some of the issues discussed during the evening included:

Second amendment. Should we return to the wild, wild west or is it possible to legislate the safe, responsible use of guns? Should we have a national right to carry?

Strong borders--getting rid of violent people or build a wall. How open should our border be? should be deport illegal immigrants even though it will cost taxpayers a bundle of money?

Supreme court. How do we want the future court to work? Which candidate has the best concept of the Constitution and how the Supreme Court can protect it. Frankly, I was dismayed by both candidates' approaches. 

Abortion--right to choice? Pro-life? This issue has continued for years and the discussions were designed to appeal to the base supporters for each candidates. There wasn't nothing new here.

Russia? Encourage espionage against Americans or defend our networks? Nuclear balance? There was a lot of finger pointing and this is a dangerous issue that was not properly nor adequately addresses. 

Expanding the economy through jobs programs. Raise the minimum wage? Women equal pay. Increasing access to college.

Taxes and jobs. Raise taxes or lower taxes? Stimulate the economy? Shipping jobs overseas? Buying steel from overseas and not supporting American workers.

Fitness to be President of the U.S. The continuing abuse of women issue versus the email controversy. The problems associated with the Clinton Foundation. 

Is the election rigged? Corrupt media, outdated voter roles, candidates with potentially criminal charges.

Whining before the vote. I think the President's remarks were right on. Don't start whining before the vote.

Moving in Syria against ISIS. The constant claim that ISIS was created by one of the candidates scares me because it demonstrates a profound lack of foreign policy understanding.

All-in-all, this was a much better debate.

And the winner is? 

No one.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Debate night

It is debate night in America again.

Which of the candidates will win? Or will they both lose, again?

I have so many questions.

There are serious differences in reality between the two. And I'm not sure either reality is the correct one.

Anyway, here we go for the last time before the election.

I will definitely be watching and listening.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Times have changed for clowns. 

I have been reading about the scary clowns in the papers and seeing reports about them on TV.

I remember, many decades ago when I was a kid, that clowns were fun and funny. I remember them in parades driving small cars and doing stunts to make people laugh. 

There was an interesting article in the New York Times the other day titled, What Do the Scary Clowns Want? The article discussed the current trend of scary clowns and traced their origins. I was surprised to learn that scary clowns go back into at least the 16th Century. 

Ronald McDonald
The current scary clown epidemic had caused one of the most beloved clowns to go into hiatus--Ronald McDonald has been placed in retirement. The Washington Post reports that Ronald McDonald is laying low until the current clown scare is over

I imagine that it is going to be a very interesting Halloween--I'm not sure whether scary clowns or creatures are going to be in the biggest numbers, although Target has halted the sale of clown costumes and masks

I guess the phrase "clowning around" may have a new and more sinister meaning.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

My Zimbio
Top Stories