Saturday, July 24, 2021

Shiraz and Key Lime Pie


Key Lime Pie and Australian Shiraz
A couple weeks ago, while dining at a friend's for Happy Hour I experienced something unexpected. I enjoyed wine, as we usually do, but as we moved onto dessert we put together Key Lime Pie and a very special bottle of Australian Shiraz--Mollydooker The Boxer, 2016. 

I initially thought that this experiment was doomed for failure. How possibly could a fully bodied Australian red wine possible work with one of my favorite desserts: Key Lime Pie. 

But work it did. 

The pie and wine went together exceptionally well and it wasn't to just my opinion, but the opinion of everyone at Happy Hour. The deep rich flavors of the Shiraz blended perfectly with the sweetness of the Key Lime Pie and made a very pleasant and enticing dessert combination. 

I am going to save this combination for the future.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, July 23, 2021


Three Rabbits Posing
Elkridge, MD
July 22, 2021

 The yard is besieged by rabbits.

I walked outside last evening and there were no less than five rabbits in my yard. I was able to get a few of them into an image before they ran off.

There are three rabbits in this image. There were two others elsewhere in the yard, but I couldn't fit them all into one shot. 

We have too many rabbits, perhaps the fox needs to start hunting.

The rabbits are doing a great job of fertilizing the yard, unfortunately my dogs like the rabbit droppings. Ugh.

Summertime, but this is the most rabbits we have ever experienced. 

Maybe it will change, soon.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Stopping Traffic

Geese in the Road
Hanover, MD
July 21, 2021
The Parkway, my main route to work, was jammed yesterday. Fortunately, I can bail and take an alternate route to get to my place of employment--and so I did. 

I was excited that I made the traffic light, which is incredibly long at the first intersection after departing the Parkway--and the next intersection is a right turn and so not usually any delay there, but shortly I came across a definite stoppage of traffic--geese crossing the roadway in Hanover, MD.

It is clear why I enjoy taking this alternate route to work, as there is no traffic in sight. There was a car stopped next to me as we both waited for the family of geese to cross the roadway. They were taking their time and despite that I was in my usual hurry to get to work, I actually enjoyed the stoppage to watch these birds cross the roadway oblivious to the danger that was paused waiting for them to complete their journey.

I made it to work, but I was glad that I had enjoyed a brush with nature to start my day.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

To Space and Back

Blue Origin Liftoff
July 20, 2021
It is the stuff that from which dreams are made--walking up the gantry, launching in a rocket, flying into space and then returning safely to Earth.

Yesterday four humans did just that--to space and back in 10 short minutes. 

Jeff Bezos and three others went into space--the final frontier, in a rocket that he had built and tested--the Blue Origin. It was like a scene from an old Evel Knievel stunt where he flies his motorcycle over ten semi-trailer trucks. 

Except, this worked. 

And now space tourism begins--the opportunity to launch into space and become an astronaut. 

I watched hoping and praying that it would work. We need a hero right now. With all that is happening in the country and the world mired in a pandemic that will not quit--we needed some good news. And we received it. Space has become closer.

I remember watching with held breath 52 years ago yesterday as Neil Armstrong jumped off the Lunar Lander onto the surface of the Moon. It seemed that the promise of space and space travel had arrived. But, in reality, it had not. Getting into space requires extraordinary effort and since the end of the Apollo Program in 1972, no human has stepped foot on the dusty Moon. 

Maybe again someday soon. 

Maybe as of yesterday the dream is again alive and, hopefully, it will not be overtaken by world events.

Maybe, just maybe we can join with Buzz Lightyear and truly believe in "to infinity and beyond."

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Orioles Update After the All-Star Game


Is there hope in the land of the Bird?

It seems so, the Orioles have managed to win 3 of 4 baseball games since the All Star Break. Last night they beat the Rays 6-1 and now have managed a rare three-game winning streak. 

The starting pitching has shown up to play and the rest of the team has calmed down a bit after having a four-day break for the All Star Game. 

The stars of the team, as if a team residing at the bottom of the league had any stars, are producing hits and runs and even the much maligned Matt Harvey pitched six solid innings on Sunday.

There may be hope that the team can finish solid and provide some positives for next season. I am tired of looking to next season for the Os to do something other than play the part of doormat for the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox.

But maybe--just maybe. They did beat the Rays last night. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, July 19, 2021

Monday Musings - July 19, 2021


1. July has truly arrived and is now beginning the third week with the third Monday of the month. The Dog Days are upon us.

2. The heat broke a bit yesterday. It felt good to fall into the pool after riding my NordicTrack through St. Augustine, Florida. The air was cooler than the water.

Rex at Pool's Edge
Elkridge, MD
July 18, 2021
3. The end of dog watching week arrived. Over the course of the week we were responsible for eight dogs! And now there are two.

4. Summertime is truly here. It has been incredibly hot outside, but the afternoon rains are keeping most everything green as July begins slipping into August.

5. Chris and I were encouraged to see two bats dancing in the sky last evening.

6. I am amazed at how busy my schedule for the week is shaping up. Tonight I have a 90 minute massage planned to erase the tension of last week.

7. The Orioles actually won a series besting the Royals! They are still the worst team in the American League. With 70 games remaining this season it is possible that they will end the season with 50 wins. Far below my pre-season prediction.

8. Today in History. Although there is some debate about the exact date, on what was likely July 19, 1799, during Napoleon Bonaparte’s Egyptian campaign, a French soldier discovers a black basalt slab inscribed with ancient writing near the town of Rosetta, about 35 miles east of Alexandria. The irregularly shaped stone contained fragments of passages written in three different scripts: Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptian demotic. The ancient Greek on the Rosetta Stone told archaeologists that it was inscribed by priests honoring the king of Egypt, Ptolemy V, in the second century B.C. More startlingly, the Greek passage announced that the three scripts were all of identical meaning. The artifact thus held the key to solving the riddle of hieroglyphics, a written language that had been “dead” for nearly 2,000 years.

England Enters ‘Freedom Day’ With Prime Minister in IsolationEngland Enters ‘Freedom Day’ With Prime Minister in Isolation - The New York Times

Scorched, Parched and Uninsurable: Climate Change Hits Wine CountryScorched, Parched and Uninsurable: Climate Change Hits Wine Country - The New York Times

Days Before the Olympics, More Athletes Test Positive for Covid-19 - The Wall Street Journal

Hubble Space Telescope Is Back in Action After NASA Fixes Odd Glitch - The Wall Street Journal

Unruly airplane passengers are straining the system for keeping peace in the sky - The Washington Post

Disease experts see summer of covid freedom as premature - The Washington Post

Israeli firm's spyware used to target journalists' cell phones - Reuters

Russia says it successfully tested hypersonic missile praised by Putin - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

I think we can all agree that today our bipartisan coalition is becoming a strong and vibrant one. But I think we can also agree that we'll need this strength and vibrancy, because the challenges we must face together are by no means over. The struggle against government's irresistible urge to grow and grow is a continuing one. The fight to control the Federal budget is just beginning. But on this front, I think we can be very clear: There will be no falling back, no call for retreat.

We've stood together. We've fought together for what we believed was right. I know that we'll do so again. But today I wanted you to know how grateful I am to you and how grateful the American people are for your selflessness and your statesmanship.

Remarks at a Meeting With Congressional Leaders Following Passage of Federal Budget Reconciliation and Tax Reduction Legislation
- August 5, 1981

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Checking Out the New Cover


New Loop Loc Pool Cover Installed
Elkridge, MD
July 17, 2021

It is the middle of the summer and the dog days and to the question is, why am I putting the cover onto a perfectly good pool in bright sun and 92 degree temperatures?

Because I'm crazy?

No, because the replacement pool cover arrived during the week and it needed to be checked and installed to make closing the pool during September easier. It looks great and went on very nicely. Installing the tension springs was not as lot of fun in the bright sun and heat, but the promise of jumping into the pool after the project was finished kept me going. 

It was hot, did I mention that?

New new cover looks great and it will also help too reduce the algae growth in the pool that I face at the start of the season. The old cover had lost almost all of its UV filtering capacity and the final problem was that some of the panels started ripping out. 

This new Loop Loc Safety Dense Mesh Pool Cover will provide many years of service and hopefully will make pool opening easier in the springtime while also providing a safe protective cover for the pool during the off season. 

The cover is off now and I am trying to find a better storage situation. The company recommends hanging it, but it is pretty heavy. I have a few ideas, however. Another day, another project.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, July 17, 2021

I Had a Hosta

Hosta Converted to Rabbit Food
Elkridge, MD
July 17, 2021

Chris and I have a shade garden. It is nestled under the trees near the driveway. 

The other morning I noticed that my prized and beautiful hostas had become nothing more than rabbit food. It used to have big and beautiful leaves that were fun to look at and enjoy. It covered a very wide area of the garden right on the edge. 

It is gone now, having been repurposed as nothing more than wild rabbit food. As have most of the hostas in the garden. 

Chris had placed some netting over the hostas to protect them from the rabbits, but a couple weeks ago a good sized rat snake became entangled in the mesh and died--so since we prefer to snakes over rodents, we removed the netting and effectively sacrificed the hostas to protect other beneficial snakes. 

It is a balance. We enjoyed the hostas for a while and now the rabbits have also enjoyed the hostas. We noticed a fox in the yard yesterday which will likely be enjoying the rabbits thereby allowing the hostas to grow new leaves for us to enjoy them again.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, July 16, 2021

On the Edge of the Abyss--A Rant

 Well it is happening.

As a country are taking strides backwards into the abyss of COVID-19. 

It fascinates and upsets me that so many in the country did not see this coming or if they did, they did not heed the warnings. But, the warnings were true despite all of the posturing on one of the news networks--if we do not get vaccinated we cannot get rid of COVID-19. 

COVID-19 is real. People need to get vaccinated or they may get sick and potentially die. 

I think it is clear that more Americans have been vaccinated than have been afflicted with COVID-19 and that the consequences of getting vaccinated are that the COVID-19 infection rate is near zero and those who get sick form the vaccine are also very low as compared to the virus. The anecdotal stories to the contrary do not compare well against reality.

But no! For some strange reason people continue to avoid the vaccine opting instead to become a burden on society when they get sick from the new mutation of COVID-19. 

Loa Angeles County is mandating facial coverings indoors again. 

Let me be clear: I do not like wearing a face mask!

Please--get vaccinated if you can so that we can all help protect those who for valid medical reasons cannot be vaccinated.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Dogs and Water Creatures

Fascinated by a Leaf
Elkridge, MD
July 13, 2021

 The dogs are fascinated with water creatures, even if the water creature is a leaf.

It happened again the other evening--a leaf floated across the pool and the pack of dogs became agitated and barked at the leaf in an effort to convince it not to come closer.

They are funny to watch. I do worry about the noise when four of them start barking in unison. I am not used to having barking dogs in my yard and I do not want to disturb the neighbors. 

I must be leading a very boring life if this is the most exciting thing that I write about. But, it is something different breaking up the evenings. 

I could write about the clock we bought from Amazon that quit working because the hands got tangled up. The clock also has a humidity and temperature dial. The temperature hand was too far form the face and the hour hand collided with it. I was going to return it to Amazon, but I decided to return it on July 12th and the last day to return it was July 9th. So I fixed it in about five minutes. 

The dogs were far more interesting.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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