Sunday, October 13, 2019

This is What I Saw


Sunrise over Route 100
Maryland
October 11, 2019
It was Friday morning early, just as the sun was rising in the East. I was driving to work on the road that I usually take, but because the sun is rising later, it was mostly dark. Too dark.

In the East, I witnessed the first light of dawn. Breaking over the horizon and framed by the road I was driving. It was an inspiring sight. The sky was clear and the colors of the morning were vibrantly greeting me as I made my way to start the last workday of the week. The reflection of the sunrise on the hood of my truck is something that I did not notice at the time I snapped this quick image. But, it highlights the beauty of the scene.

Fox at Crofton Country Club
Crofton, MD
October 12, 2019
I will follow that with what I saw while golfing yesterday. I enjoy seeing wildlife on the golf course and yesterday was no exception. As I was warming up in the chipping area, a fox ran across the grass and stopped to check me out. I was quick enough to grab my camera and snap an image of it, even while I was amazed that it was so close--within my comfort zone for a wild and potentially rabid animal. But, the fox went about its business and left me alone with to enjoy my ragged golf game. I need to play golf more often than every three months. It has been since July that I was on a course. 

Golf aside, I have been treated to some exciting views this weekend.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 11, 2019

A Darkness Descends


Under the Lights
GORC Park
Odenton, MD
October 9, 2019
I noticed how quickly darkness is descending while at baseball practice Wednesday evening. It used to be that darkness arrived about 8 PM, but now it is dark by 6:30. 

Having practice under the lights is becoming the normal way now. We are getting used to it, but during the summer it definitely was not the normal for practice. 

The season is definitely winding down. The grass is brown the fields are worn and the lack of rain has turned them into dust bowls. I remember the spring when we had to play around standing water and mud pits--now it is dust which gets into everything. 

And as darkness descends and the game goes on, we are squeezing the last bit of summer out of October. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Bucket Battle


Bucket Battle
The Gauntlet is Thrown
Odenton, MD
October 9, 2019
There was a humorous moment after baseball practice last evening. 

Bucket Battle 2
The Crowd Gets Serious
Odenton, MD
October 9, 2019
The team uses painters buckets, the big, 5 gallon plastic ones, to hold the baseballs that are used during practice. It is really nice that there are a couple dozen practice balls, but keeping them from becoming a ground safety hazard can be difficult and we use the buckets to corral them. That makes the balls confined and accessible for drills and batting practice. 

It seems that during practice a couple of the buckets got in the way of a drill and some enterprising team member stacked them together to clear the mess. That seemed like a good idea at the time, but it resulted in a post-practice scene where grown adults and boys attempted to separate the buckets--with no success. 

Bucket Battle 3
The Buckets are Winning
Odenton, MD
October 9, 2019
Over a short time, more and more people because involved in the bucket battle as time wore on, but to no avail. The stubborn buckets would not be separated. 

The best minds, and brawn, at practice last evening could not separate the buckets. AND, it is important to note that there are holes in the bottom of the buckets to help prevent just the situation that occurred. The holes allow air into the buckets and prevent the creation of a vacuum. 

As I left practice, the buckets had claimed victory and were being shuttled to a garage where tools could be applied to the situation. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Truth is out There


There was a popular show on TV any years ago. It was called The X Files. The show was about strange phenomena that seemed to point to the existence of aliens (as in from another planet) living among us in our daily lives. Each week as the new episode arrived in my living room, the opening credits would end with the phrase "The truth is out there" fading from my TV screen. 


I feel like I am living in an episode of The X Files. The grasp on the truth is rapidly slipping away from many in Washington D.C. Rumors, innuendo, bold faced lies seem to be the norm for too many. It has been going on for so long that it is almost impossible to separate fact from fiction.

I remember a joke that I used to tell--it was funny then, but is not longer funny because it is too true. The joke went: How do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving. 

In reality--we need to upgrade our political leadership. There is too much partisan politics. 

I was intrigued by a comment that Pat Robertson made yesterday about the President over the Kurdish issue: “And I believe — and I want to say this with great solemnity — the President of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen,” he concluded.  As quoted in USA Today.  I never thought about a president as having a mandate from heaven. 

So as I do not know what is really going on, because there is so much subterfuge, I am hoping that we as a nation survive this crisis of integrity.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

To Rain, or Not to Rain


Some areas of the region received rain yesterday. 

Weather Map for the Region
October 8, 2019
We did not. With the exception of one evening during early September, I cannot remember meaningful precipitation occurring at the house since the 4th of July. Things are brown and dying--except for those items that we have been watering. We were promised rain.

I remember writing earlier in the year that there was too much rain and it was a nuisance. Not so any more. I would welcome a good two-day drenching rain event to restore life to the landscape before the dark days occur in earnest. 

So I am looking forward to rain falling from the sky soon. Believe it or not, the evaporation from the heat and dryness has lowered the level of water in my pool to the point where I am considering adding water to the closed pool! Crazy! 

Maybe rain will fall to quench the earth today.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 7, 2019

Monday Musings - October 7, 2019




1. October has arrived. This is the first Monday in October. There are 85 days remaining in 2019. 

2. I saw Christmas decorations adorning the local Costco on Saturday. It is not even Halloween yet! That written, there are 78 shopping days until Christmas. 

3. The GORC Cooperstown 2019 baseball team suffered a crushing defeat yesterday, 19-0. But, there were many positives from the game. The team began hitting the ball. The problem was that the other team was hitting the ball where our boys weren't. We, on the other hand, seemed to hit it right to their boys. 

4. Family NFL results:

   Ravens defeat Steelers 26-23
   Redskins lose to Patriots 7-33
   Cowboys lose to Packers 24-34

Around the Fire Pit as Daylight Flees
Elkridge, MD
October 5, 2019
5. The low temperature on Saturday was 52 degrees cooler than the high on Wednesday. It must be Autumn.

6. Chris and I enjoyed an evening around the fire pit on Saturday night. It was cool and the mosquitoes were not active. The fire was hot and high and it was a beautiful way to watch the day pass into night. 

7. It has been dry--drought conditions. I think I may have to add water to my closed pool as the evaporation is lowering the lever farther than I would like to see it lowered. 

8. Today in HistoryOn October 7, 2003, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected governor of California, the most populous state in the nation with the world’s fifth-largest economy. Despite his inexperience, Schwarzenegger came out on top in the 11-week campaign to replace Gray Davis, who had earlier become the first United States governor to be recalled by the people since 1921. Schwarzenegger was one of 135 candidates on the ballot, which included career politicians, other actors, and one adult-film star.



Headlines


Trump Endorses Turkish Military Operation in Syria, Shifting U.S. PolicyTrump Endorses Turkish Military Operation in Syria,  - The New York Times

Second Whistle-Blower Claims ‘Firsthand Knowledge’ of Ukraine Dealings - The New York Times

Global stocks hover as weak European data, trade anxiety offsets U.S. jobs boost - Reuters

Taiwan says China is an 'authoritarian' threat in the Pacific - Reuters



Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect. 
  -- State of the Union Address, February 6, 1985


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Racing Across the Brown Grass


Ethan with Team Before the Start
Arundel High School
Odenton, MD
October 5, 2019
The regional drought continued yesterday. The grass is getting dry and brown in most areas. It was also very cool yesterday morning and that made it a great day to go attend my first cross country meet.

The JV Team Singing Sweet Caroline
Arundel High School
Odenton, MD
October 5, 2019
Ethan was running for the Arundel High JV team. 

It was great to be there to see the race. I decided that I like cross-country because it is over in about 25 minutes. Ethan ran a hard race and is showing significant improvement every week. I am learning that the time on the scoreboard is only a guide because each course is different and some are much harder than others. 

It was fun to watch the start of the race. I was lucky to have my iPhone at the ready to capture the start of the race. It is very impressive. I think seeing so many boys racing across the dry, brown grass is quite a sight. And Ethan is clearly visible towards the end.



-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Cold


It happened overnight. The temperature dropped into the 40's for the first time since early Spring. It was a rude greeting to Autumn! I expect the trees to begin changing in earnest and the leaves to begin piling up in my yard. 

It is real! After setting a record the other day at 98 degrees--perhaps Summer is finally over. 

I am not ready for summer to depart!

The departure of summer means that winter--and the dark season is not too far behind. It is already dark more than it is light. 

But the day is busy with cross country and baseball--it should be a nice day to be outside. I will try not to get to sunburned. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


Friday, October 4, 2019

Second Season


It is playoff time! Yes, baseball continues. 

And there is a local team actually in the playoffs-- the Washington Nationals. They won their wild card game and last night played the Dodgers in game 1 of the NLDS. For those who wonder about the abbreviation that is National League Division Series. 

OK, the Nationals got blown out 6-0. But they just need to get their feet under themselves. It is a five game series--so they could turn it around. History says that they won't--the team has a miserable record and has lost every post-season series they have been in except the recent Wild Card game that they won. 

It is sad that the Orioles are not anywhere near the playoffs. I was fairly close in my preseason prediction that they would wind 57 games--they won 54. I was hoping for a better performance. 

Baseball is into its October run, however, and there are some great teams chasing to be World Series winners. 

It will be fun to watch.

My prediction? Astros vs Dodgers with the Astros winning the World Series in 6 games. You read it here first.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Last Gasp


Summer does not realize that its run is over. Yesterday saw a new high set in Baltimore. The high temperature yesterday was 95 degrees eclipsing the previous high by 3 degrees. Summer is still here. It was the hottest October day since they began keeping records in 1872.

We enjoyed baseball practice last evening in the heat. While the boys withered a bit while working out, but I enjoy practice in the heat far better than in cold weather. I remember last April when the temperatures were in the 30's--it is hard to concentrate. 

The weather reporters are forecasting that Autumn is on its way. they are saying cod front is on its way and Saturday morning the forecast is for lows in the mid-40's. Now that is cold. 

I suppose that yesterday's temperatures are summer's last gasp. Today is supposed be in the 70's. Over 20 degrees cooler than yesterday's high. It is 77 degrees right now but the cold front is on its way and the temperatures will drop. 

On the weather front--we really could use some rain. But I am sure that will come and then I will complain.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum


A-12 on the Deck of the Intrepid
NYC
September 29, 2019
We took a lot of pictures during our two-day visit to NYC. It seemed harsh to share just four of them in yesterday's blog. So, I decided to do another day on the city and focus upon on specific stop.
Jax and Chris in Gemini Capsule Mock-up
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, NYC
September 29, 2019

Amidst all of the fun of walking around in the man-made canyons beneath the towering buildings, there were a lot of fun things to see and experience. We had a very busy schedule and there was almost no downtime. 


Today, I am going to focus on the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. I had never been to the museum before, but I will not miss it again. It is definitely on the stop for every visit to the Big Apple with people who have never been there before. First, the view from the ship of the skyline is stunning! But even more important, the aircraft carrier and its history is presented in spectacular form and the ability to wander around the carrier is a second-to-none experience. the museum represents probably the best nexus for sea, air, and space that I have ever experienced. 
Me and Jax
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
September 29, 2019


Regulus Cruise Missile
Cold War Nuclear Relic
USS Growler
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, NYC
September 29, 2019
The exhibits are in great shape and they are, most importantly, accessible. It is east to get close--but do not touch. There are many hands-on exhibits for the young people in your life. 

The tour of the submarine and the the space shuttle Enterprise hangar are highlights--but there are highlights around the entire complex. The museum is truly a gem in the heart of the city. 

It is a must see.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Conquering NYC


At Night from the Empire State Building
September 29, 2019
Reflection of the new World Trade Center 1
on another building
September 30, 2019
It was a whirlwind trop to the Big Apple for Chris, Jax, and me. 

We left Sunday morning and returned last evening. It was a trip to celebrate his promotion from 5th grade and into middle school. We could not have picked a better weekend for the visit and making use of a school holiday made it an even better trip. The weather was generally fantastic with only a few raindrops falling onto us as we disembarked from the oat which brought us back to shore from visiting the Statue of Liberty. 

The trip included a visit to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum, the obligatory visit to Times Square and dinner there followed by a nighttime visit to the Empire State Building--which was awesome. I had never seen the city from there at night. 

Chris and Jax at the Shuttle Enterprise
Intrepid Air and Space Museum
September 29, 2019
Statue of Liberty
September 30, 2019
Yesterday was a fast paced day. We began by going to Rockefeller Center and visiting some of the shops. We missed the Today Show by a few minutes. From there, after retrieving the car, we headed off to the World Trade Center Memorial and from there the Statue of Liberty. There is so much to do in NYC, a short overnight just does not seem to do it justice. 

But we had fun and squeezed in a much as we could. We drove this time and it was not too bad. I even did pretty good in the NYC traffic. It is not all that much worse the Baltimore traffic.

And now, we return to our regularly scheduled week.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


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