Wednesday, February 29, 2012


People are people after all.

We are a fickle as the light breeze during the dog days of summer.

It is often hard to understand why others cannot comprehend our true intentions when we are in the middle of a "situation."

I reflected on the relationships that I have the other day and realized that they are so numerous and varied that even I cannot fully characterize them all. They range from the most casual meeting in a store between customers in line to the deep intimate relationship that I have with my spouse. And all of the potential shades in between.

Consider the brief meeting between two drivers on the highway as one passes another and acknowledges their mutual presence on the highway. Brief, somewhat impersonal--but an important relationship since both are independently operating a motor vehicle which can cause, in mere moments. death and destruction when improperly handled.

Or the interchange between a father and a son. How this relationship changes as the years progress. Or how it should change. The way parents and children interact changes distinctly as years progress. It can be really hard for parents to move making every decision to a more hands-off approach as the children become adults.

Why do relationships go bad?

Relationships must grow to be vital--when they become static, dissatisfaction appears.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What's for Dinner

Riordan deciding whether he is the main course or not.

Insanity in Afghanistan for the sake of Anarchy

This is going to be a bit controversial, but I don't understand the violence in Afghanistan over the alleged defiling of the printed Koran. People are dying for a lie.

That's right. A lie.

Although the US and NATO are accused of defiling the holy word of the Koran by burning, in truth the books had already been defiled by the muslim believers who had written in them forcing the US and NATO to find a way to dispose of the defiled documents. I also do not understand why this is not being more widely reported.

Why aren't those, alleged believers, who originally wrote in the books and defiled the holy koran being punished in the same manner that they are calling for the base commander to be punished?

The Financial Times reported:

The Nato-led force has said the destruction of the Korans was unintentional. Officials said the burned Korans were among a batch of Islamic books that were designated for disposal after being confiscated from detainees who had written messages in them, according to the Associated Press. Afghan officials said about four Korans were burned, the news agency reported.

Anyone who understands the muslim view of their holy Koran, knows that the books were already defiled. The US and NATO forces were set up, again.

But then, lying and being deceitful is authorized by the Koran.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Musings - February 27, 2012

1. Believe it or not, there are only three days left in this month.

2. Sunny Sunday raking leaves. Yeah, it is February, but the leaves have to go!

3. So doesn't this seem funny? They delayed the Daytona 500 because of rain. I have to drive in the rain, why don't race car drivers have to race in the rain? They are driving cars, right?

4. We have a lot of channels on our TV--but we tend to watch only a few. Wouldn't it be nice to pay by the channel? And then maybe by the program for just those we want to see?

5. What do the Oscar's say about life? Do the movies being made and celebrated provide any insights into our society?

6. Baseball season is upon us. The first spring training games are next week.

7. Interestingly, Ronald Reagan was selected as the best of the Presidents since WWII. He was followed by Roosevelt then Kennedy. I think it was because they were the only presidents most of the people could remember.

8. Who knew NYC was so close? Easy by bus, frustrating by car.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, February 26, 2012

When the Evening Begins

The day is over and Chris is on her way back from the bus station. The wine

is poured and we are ready to catch up after a weekend apart.

Let's rock.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

End of the Season--Start of the Season

Yesterday was the last of the eight game youth basketball season. Ethan's team showed incredible improvement during the season and it was fun to watch them learn the game and grow as players.

I admit, at times it was really humorous (or frustrating) to watch the kids learning the game and doing some really funny things--like guarding their man while the ball is rolling free behind them.

But that is how we learn, isn't it?

Sometimes I could hear the frustration in the parents voices as children failed to put together seemingly simple concepts of the game--but the difference in experience was decades versus weeks.

In a few years (all too short years) some of these kids will be stars on their high school basketball squads--after they have gained experience, grown, and learned skills.

We aren't born with all of the knowledge and skills we need to do everything in life. Living is a day-by-day process of learning and acquiring skills to be successful.

OK--so basketball is over, now on to another new sport, lacrosse. Somehow I feel like Ethan will look a bit like an armadillo in his gear as he learns a whole new set of skills. At least I can take Makayla with me to the games.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Traffic Gripes, Part 2

I received a couple of additions in a comment on my Traffic Gripes blog from the other day and wanted to share them:

People who speed up as you turn left in front of them or as you are passing them on the highway.

And then the combo, people you nicely allow onto the highway by moving into the left lane but then who speed up so you can't get back into the right lane.

I also want to add---

Road hogs. People who drive in the right lane of a local four lane road precluding people from entering the road from the intersecting side streets.

Toll booth crazies. If you live in an area where there are no toll booths, you won't see this, but I just fear for the undecided or impatient driver who changes toll booth lanes without looking.

Bumper rider. I know they are impatient, and I would get out of the lane if I could, but positioning their car like a NAASCAR driver drafting the leader doesn't help the situation.

Road rabbit. Speeding and lane changing at high rates of speed scaring everyone else on the road but somehow escaping unscathed.

I look forward any others that may be out there.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, February 24, 2012

Litter, garbage, and respect

The other day, I saw a person throw a cup out their car window into a parking lot. I really could not believe that they felt that the world was their waste basket. What kind of people have so little respect for the environment and other people that they throw their garbage out of the car window?

Was it an accident? Did the cup accidentally fall out of the car? I think not. As it was cold outside, they had to roll the window down before ejecting the offending cup from the car.

And since then, I've witnessed at least three cigarette butts being tossed out of vehicles. Except at night, I had never noticed that before. What is the mindset of people who toss garbage out of moving vehicles and into traffic?

Why do we as a society have so little respect for things and places that are not ours. For instance the movie theater--people leave their garbage at their seats. And I saw the local flea market lot on Saturday after the market closed--garbage strewn everywhere.

Have we become a society where we believe that we are the only ones who matter? Do we no longer respect ourselves or others?

If we do not care for the shared spaces, soon we will be sharing them with rats. Rats love garbage.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Looking for Glory, Finding the Cross

I had some time last evening as I was driving home to hit the play button on my phone and listen to some music I hadn't listened to some of the music in a long time.

I guess it had been almost four years--right when the miracle baby Jackson came into the world to amaze me with God's grace and showed me that we needed to make changes in our lives and worship. And we did something incredibly hard by severing ties with our church and our friends in search of grace and truth.

And I started listening to the Rich Mullins song that started playing. It is off the 1998 The Jesus Record which was done after his untimely death. The song is All the Way to Kingdom Come

The chorus really hit me as I was driving. It was Ash Wednesday, after all.

We didn't know what love was 'til he came
And He gave love a face and He gave love a name
And He gave love away like the sky gives the rain and sun
We were looking for heroes, He came looking for the lost
We were searching for glory, and He showed us a cross
Now we know what love is 'cause He loves us
All the way to kingdom come

More lyrics:

And I realized that sometimes I spend too much time looking for heroes (or trying to be a hero) and searching for glory when the only thing I need to be doing is searching for Jesus and getting closer to him.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Traffic Gripes

Turning wide--drivers who cannot make a simple right hand turn into the closest lane are either lazy or need to have their licenses revoked. There is no reason to wait at the end of a street until both lanes of traffic are clear before turning right into the clear outside lane.

Not signaling--still one of my pet peeves. I spend a lot of time when driving trying to discern whether a driver is intending to change lanes because the lack of turn signal etiquette is so rampant.

Not allowing the "on" ramp room to enter--I love being stuck on the on-ramp, running our of road real estate attempting to merge. Everyone else on the road had to merge at some point. Why can't they provide a window of access for others?

Talking on the phone--Head down, gabbing and not paying attention. Dangerous and scary a lot of the time.

Frosted windows--on those cold mornings, it is really scary to see the number of vehicles impaired by lack of vision. They have become an accident looking for a place to happen. Scrape the ice!

I wonder if we become too complacent the longer we drive and begin to forget the things that make us safe drivers?

Time to do a driving inventory.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Stallion among the Nags

It apeared suddenly in my rearview mirror the other day. A red-orange, very low to the ground car speeding towards me in the outside lane.

I knew it was Italian. And fast.

It was a Lamborghini.

Not ever really thinking that I would see one on the highway, I really don't know which model or even year.

The driver slowed as the car passed me so that I could get a good look at the beauty in the lane next to me.

And drool.

The whine of its engine was inspiring as it began to accelerate.

I watched it speed off into the distance, effortlessly, probably at speeds easily topping 100 mpg on a road that police patrol very heavily. I felt the driver knew the road and where the county police routinely place their speed traps.

I was dreaming of power and horses and then I realized that as that car made its way past the other cars on the road, it was much like the thoroughbred stallion running in the pasture with a bunch of nags.

And I saw it turn onto the ramp to go out to play with the cars and trucks on I-95. I'm sure that many other people derived some pleasure from being on the same highway with such a fine piece of machinery as I had.

It was just fun to watch.

And dream.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Musings - February 20, 2012

1. Happy President's Day. Enjoy the continued drama of the election process.

2. I ran across two British Shows this weekend, Sherlock and Downton Abby. Good drama. Too bad US producers can't do shows like these anymore.

3. Why does my dog whine? All of the time it seems.

4. I have discovered a store that I actually look forward to shopping in--Corridor Wine Store. It joins Lowe's and Home Depot as my favorite stores.

5. I saw daffodils blooming during our walk on Saturday.

6. I highly recommend the article in Time magazine this week about North Korea's new ruler Kim Jong Un.

7. I've been watching the presidential sweepstakes--I am still hoping our next president isn't in the race yet.

8. We were watching the weather closely this weekend and we missed by a big storm. That is good news again. I hate shoveling snow.

9. Writing of the weather, I am looking forward to the last morning where the temperatures are below freezing. It should happen soon. The average low for March is 34 and March 13th is where the average low progresses up to 33 degrees!

10. Lacrosse--pads, sticks, helmets, and gloves. Another sign that spring is upon us.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Springtime At Last--Return of the Birds

You probably looked at the calendar and are preparing to respond that it is February and therefore still winter. Ah, but the calendar lies.

Baseball season has begun as pitchers and catchers have arrived for "spring" training. Therefore, despite the confusion with the calendar, it is officially spring.

Bring on the flowers, I saw daffodils in bloom yesterday, and cue the warmer temperatures.

The boys of summer are preparing to return to baseball diamonds around the country and bring the joy of baseball back into our hearts.

OK--so I do have a bit of an issue with ESPN rating the Orioles as the 30th best team in MLB. Even below the Astros. For those of you who don't fully get it, there are only 30 teams in MLB.

Nothing like being at the very bottom of the bottom five. At least the opportunity for success has the bar set low. Too low!

So despite the pundits, I have my hat with the new logo, I have my tickets to two spring training games in Sarasota, my tickets for opening day, and my partial season ticket plan.

Who wants to argue about whether it is spring?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Week Ago

I was in Fulshear, Texas, attending a wedding and enjoying time with my extended family.

It is amazing to think about how much things can change in a week.

We all looked so good together, ready to celebrate. Maybe I look a little stiff. I do so hate to have my picture taken. But at least I am standing with two beautiful women and two stunningly handsome boys.

In reflecting on the wedding, I have to admit the groom's cake was one of the most creative that I have ever seen. It looked like a cigar box. But it was edible.

And all of this was just a week ago. I wonder about next week.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, February 17, 2012

President's Day weekend 2012

Let the celebration begin. The celebration of the collective birthdays of the great presidents in the history of the U.S.

Washington and Lincoln are the key presidents we celebrate. But there are so many more who get forgotten.

I discovered on site that was conducting survey of the most underrated president. An interesting approach to the holiday. They stated that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were off limits.

I'm torn between Lyndon Johnson because of his social engineering and civil rights policies and John Adams for his work (albeit while vice president) in developing the rules of the senate and helping Washington get the nation off to a good start.

In terms of the most overrated president, if there were a category for that, I would choose John Kennedy.

It is an interesting question to ponder this weekend.

If you feel like it, let me know your thoughts.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sick Day, Really?

I did something mature yesterday. Instead of dragging my sick body to work and infecting the entire office with whatever crud crawled into my head, I took a sick day.

I slept most of the morning. When I was awake, I turned on some old westerns for background noise and relaxed.

I felt better as the day went on, but noted that I was still running at less than optimal once I started moving around during the evening.

One good thing that happened was that I was home to receive a shipment of wine. Although, if Makayla had not barked when the UPS man was at the door I would have missed it.

So for the entire day I did not leave the house, I was in bed mostly, and the place was quiet. I even canceled "E-day," which I didn't want to do but was probably in the best interests of Ethan.

There was only one nonsense phone call during the day--an amazing factoid.

I canceled my racquetball for the today in an effort not to overly diminish my strength and to continue my recovery. I never do that.

But, I do feel better.

Maybe I need another sick day!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Forgiveness in a Movie

I heard an interesting statement about forgiveness during a scene in a movie the other day. The scene was about a daughter talking to her Mom trying to understand why she stayed married after a situation of infidelity. The answer the Mom gave back to the daughter went something like: I stayed with him because of all the things he did right and did not leave him because of one mistake--I forgave him.

It caught me by surprise.

The movie was The Vow, and this statement really struck me. It is the essence of forgiveness. We need to be able to overlook one transgression especially when considering that the body of actions are far more good than bad.

It was strange to see that scene in the movie. More often, in movies, one transgression is enough to end relationships or start wars. So it was different to hear those words of forgiveness being spoken in a movie.

We need to speak them more in our lives.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wedding Memories

The weekend of the wedding is over, but the memories linger. The travel, which was incredibly smooth.

The hospitality of the parents of the bride.

Time spent with family.

Memories of the preparations, the ceremony, the reception, and the after party. Well, maybe I don't remember too much of the after party.

But one image that stuck with me was that of the church. The flowers strategically placed and the petals in the aisle adding to the ambiance.

It was a wedding of dreams and memories.

My prayers for Colleen and Patrick are for a great marriage and for many years head.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Musings - February 13, 2012

1. Valentines Day, tomorrow? Ugh. I may have forgotten something.

2. I proved a corollary to Murphy's Law this morning. My toast fell off my plate and landed jelly side down.

3. Is there something wrong when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says that she would not look to the U.S. Constitution if she were drafting a constitution in the year 2012? Maybe she is in the wrong line of work?

4. I saw some of the Grammy Awards last evening. Fortunately, it was the part with the Beach Boys--both the new band and the originals. I remember that I saw them in concert in Hollywood, Florida, on Easter Sunday 1975. We were all a lot younger then.

5. Opening Day for Orioles Baseball is on Good Friday this year. Who thought that one up?

6. I had an especially good flying weekend--all of my flights were on time and we even made our connection in Nashville yesterday with ease.

7. It is cold outside this morning at 21 degrees. I am ready for Spring, let's forget about the prediction of the rodent in Punxsutawney and have some warm weather.

8. I was looking at my weather forecaster and the ow for today is supposed to be 30 degrees, yet we are at 21 degrees. How does that work exactly?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chilling in the Spa

Sometimes we adults need to take our cues from the kids. Yesterday, as the emotions and craziness of the wedding day were consuming the adults, Ethan and Jax found respite in the spa.

In thinking about it, what better way to pass the time until the main event and to miss all of the preparation. OK, I admit, I enjoyed being the life guard for their mid morning activity.

Funny though, I was sitting outside with a coat on to stay warm.

It was a sunny day, but there was a definite chill in the air.

Inside--there was way too much estrogen--I lost count of how many women were there preparing for the main event of the day--the wedding.

In the end, it was a beautiful day, just a bit cool, and a beautiful wedding. Jax shone as the ring bearer, probably because he chilled out in spa.

A good lesson to remember.

-- Bob Doan, Fulshear, TX

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quiet on the Outside--Colleen and Patrick's Wedding Day

Wedding days are full of activity and hustle and bustle. Although the outside the house appears calm--inside it is a beehive of activity with people cycling through bathrooms and the bride and her attendants getting their hair prepared for the main event. Last minute instructions being given and people dispatched to ensure everything comes together.

Weddings are fun to attend, they are fun to be in, but they are a lot of work for many people to bring together this big party together. It is after all the celebration of two people pledging their lives to each other for the rest of their lives.

Two individuals becoming one new creation--stronger, better, more able to face the challenges of the world.

I am enjoying the opportunity to visit with family that I rarely see.

it is sad that it will be all too soon over, but the key is to focus on the joy of the moment and not the sadness of the parting.

Although the house appears quiet to those outside, inside the activity is everywhere bringing together the pieces and people to ensure a fun, joyful celebration.

Happy Wedding Day--Colleen and Patrick

-- Bob Doan, Fulshear, TX

Friday, February 10, 2012


She danced excitedly at the door aware that the car was being loaded for a trip. She loves trips and traveling. The driver side backseat is her spot. The place she always rests unless the front seat is open.

As each successive piece of luggage went out the door, her excitement grew. Her hope that the coming trip would be fun.

The moment came. It was time for her to join the rest of the family in the car for the trip.

But wait. The front door was closing and she was not going to the car.

As I closed the door and told her that we would be back soon, I could see the betrayal in Makayla's deep brown eyes.

She wasn't going on the trip. She had to stay behind, again.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Frustration of Excessive Packaging

Consider the plight of a parent who tries to free a new toy from packaging without a complete tool box of cutters and screwdrivers. Now consider that the child is in the back seat of the car in the lot where the toy was just purchased and wants to play with the item. How is that going to end?

Or have you tried to open a package of light bulbs lately? I wonder what would have happened had I actually been in the dark?

Why do I need a college degree in difficult packaging to obtain access to the products I purchased?

How much money and how many resources could we save by eliminating excessive packaging?

Just think of the ease of cardboard over polystyrene.

I bought some new razors the other day and found out that they were more secure than all of the gold in Fort Knox.


Check it out--too much packaging equals a lot of frustration. And the really sad part is that it all just goes into the recycling bin to help do it all over again.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pinning the Budget Deficit Rose on the Wrong People

For 2012, the US will spend $53 Billion to provide foreign aid to countries around the world, some of those countries are not our friends. See foreign aid escapes budget cuts.

For 2012 and 2013 together, the US will save a total of $26 Billion by freezing Federal Worker pay. See pay freeze.

The federal deficit for 2012 (see page 23) is still estimated to be $1.1 trillion.

What is wrong with this picture. The people of the country demand quality services from government, yet the government is unwilling to pay for them. And then wonder why people are complaining that the government is bureaucratically fat.

Many federal workers give up constitutional rights to be employed by the government (see the Hatch Act) and they are working for less money than they could get working for a contractor. Plus, they are subjected very stringent guidelines and very invasive income and investment reporting requirements.

I think it is like going to the tire store for set of new tires and only putting three tires on the car. It is not the fault of the tire store that the car doesn't drive right, yet they ultimately get the blame.

Congress and the DoD are also evaluating ways to reduce benefits to the military, active duty and retirees. That certainly does not send the right message to the veterans in our country.

So here is my rub--the government is willing to provide billions of dollars in stimulus aid to corporations and banks, but is unwilling to fairly compensate the people who are part of the engine of the recovery. It doesn't make good economic sense to me. Every fee and every tax that is levied on a company is ultimately paid by whom?

The consumer.

Think about it.

Taking money out of the pockets of consumers will cause the recovery to fail. Federal workers are consumers. And, unlike people receiving benefits in this country for doing nothing, federal workers contribute to the greater good and expect fair compensation for their work.

I believe that federal workers are being unfairly singled out by Congress as the cause of our economic distress. The relative pittance saved by not ensuring the continued prosperity of the civilian workforce is nothing more that a politically misguided effort to shift blame for our current economic woes away from those really responsible.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dark Side of the Super Bowl

Aside from all of the hoopla and the game, which really wasn't too bad, I noticed that there was a dark side to the commercials. I got thinking about it today after I read an editorial and realized that as a society we are becoming a bit dark and depraved.

In reflecting about the commercials I saw, I was reminded that there was a dog covering up the murder of the family cat for some chips, a boy peeing in a swimming pool and then smiling when his sister jumped in, and there was the half time show which was a poster ad for talent past its prime and sex.

David Zurwick in his article titled Super Bowl TV: Good Game, Nasty Ads, Pathetic Halftime Show makes a lot of good points.

Here is what he wrote, and I have to agree with him: "The ads are a barometer of our culture. And what they said to me is that we have become a truly dumbed-down, crass, trashy and even cruel society -- and somehow proud of it."

Here is how he viewed the commercials:

A dog having killed a cat and trying to cover it up was supposed to be funny in a Doritos ad. A little kid urinating in a swimming pool and laughing when his sister jumps in was the punch line for an online tax service. The joke in a brain-dead, apocalyptic Chevy Silverado ad featuring a group of survivors is that one of the group died because he drove a Ford. Is this where the Obama bailout money went?

But I think the ad that best summarizes how debased our excessive commercialism has made us is the Go Daddy commercial that features two women using another woman's body as a billboard on which to write and draw the Go Daddy brand. There is something especially calculating about having two women do it to another woman -- when you know the intended appeal of the ad is male voyeurism.

I have to agree with him.

And I'm not going to bore you with his review of the halftime show, suffice it to write, he was unimpressed.

These ads are about the worst in us and appeal to our dark desires and sick sense of humor.

I believe we need to spend some time listening to Clint Eastwood in his piece, It's Halftime in America.

America--we need to change our direction or pretty soon we are going to be building coliseums and watching the gladiators for Sunday afternoon excitement.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Musings - February 6, 2012

1. Today really is the morning after the night before.

2. The Super Bowl was a great game. I watched all of it and was impressed with the level of play. Congrats to the Giants for knocking off the Patriots.

3. It is hard to understand some decisions and late-changed plans--but in the end, they often make sense.

4. Super Bowl commercials did not disappoint this year. I enjoyed the Volkswagen dog with the Star Wars ending and the Matthew Broderick Honda commercials, but Clint Eastwood's "It's Halftime in America" was probably the best.

5. I'm still kind of upset at the groundhog for imagining to see his shadow last week.

6. It is less than two weeks to the start of baseball season. Orioles pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota on February 18th.

7. Check your tax bill--I have heard it said the the governor of Maryland never met a tax he didn't like.

8. I can't begin to express my frustration at another year of Federal Worker pay freeze, if only my costs to live were not continuing to rise. My idea to start balancing the budget--stop giving away money to foreign countries.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Making a Difference

An article in the New York Times on Saturday really touched me. It was about life in Maine during the winter living on a restricted income and unable to afford fuel oil to heat a home. The article titled, In Fuel Oil Country, Cold that Cuts to the Heart brought home the hard decisions that must be made by business owners when faced with needy and destitute people.

Although the article is about the hard decisions that the owners of a fuel oil delivery company has to make to keep his business solvent, it is also about how those hard decisions take a toll on him and those who work for him.

The real heartening part of the story though, is the last part where an anonymous donator has a standing agreement to provide 50 gallons of fuel oil for an emergency case.

I have heard of this before--a local auto repair shop told me of the generosity of one of my neighbors who anonymously pays much of the repairs for other more needy neighbors. This is the true nature of paying it forward. But it meets real needs far better than buying someone's dinner at the Fast Food window.

We really can make a difference.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Secret of Life

I do not often use the stuff from the countless chain emails I receive, but the other day a story was sent to me which at the same time made me cry--because I've been there; while also making me realize--yeah, that is so right! And so here is that story from my email--
A Dog's Purpose?(from a 6-year-old).
a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish
Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their
little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping
for a miracle.
I examined Belker
and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do
anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for
the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa
told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe
the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat
as Belker 's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the
old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was
going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty
or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death,
wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than
human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ''I know why.''
we all turned to him.
What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more
comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.
said,''People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life
-- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?'' The
Six-year-old continued,

''Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''

I love my dog--everyone knows that and now, I know why. She is an example for me to emulate.
-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, February 3, 2012

Groundhogs and daffodils

I was not amused by Punxsutawney Phil's prediction yesterday about six more weeks of winter. I think he was seeing things when he reported that he saw his shadow.

All things considered though, given the weather we are having, how can we be afraid of six more weeks of mild winter? I walked through the gardens yesterday and noticed that the daffodils were already budding--as if March were upon us already. I have also seen buds on some of the trees ready to burst forth and soak up some of the warming Springtime sunlight.

I expect the daffodils will be blossoming with their yellow blooms very soon.

Harbingers of Springtime despite what that rodent in Pennsylvania predicted.

Groundhogs--how did they become the predictors of the weather, anyway?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Famous Airplanes and their Names

As I reflected upon Sunday's visit to the Air and Space museum, it occurred to me that there are some very famous named aircraft which have made a significant mark upon history.

Often, I think in terms of series of aircraft--like the Boeing 707, the first successful jet passenger plane (the actual first jet passenger plane was the Comet); or a call sign, like Air Force 1; but there are some individual aircraft which were named and their names are a significant part of history and they need to be remembered.

Of course, one of these most famous named aircraft is on display at the museum and that would be the Enola Gay, a B-29. The Enola Gay is remembered for dropping an atomic bomb which caused wide spread devastation in Japan that hastened the end of WW2 in the Pacific and likely saved millions of American AND Japanese lives.

There are other named aircraft that I am familiar with, like the Pride of the Adirondacks, a B-47 bomber which used to grace the main gate at Plattsburgh AFB in northern New York. But that aircraft is not famous for doing anything other than being lucky enough not to be scrapped and being relegated to standing guard over a now closed Strategic Air Command installation.

As I thought about the names of famous aircraft, I was surprised by the relatively short list of less than 10 that I discovered.I wrestled with the number 1 position, but in the end had to succumb to the pressure that it was the aircraft which reliably ushered in the air age over 100 years ago. So here are my top named famous aircraft--in my personal order of precedence.

1. The Wright Flyer - the airplane built by Orville and Wilbur Wright,

2. Enola Gay. Nuff said!

3. Spirit of St Louis - which Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic.

4. Voyager - the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling.

5. Memphis Belle - the first B-17F to complete 25 combat missions over Germany during WW2. And it was a good movie, too.

6. Glamorous Glenn III - The Bell Aircraft Company Model X-1 that Charles Yeager flew faster than the speed of sound in 1947.

7. Spruce Goose - the airplane built of wood by Howard Hughes which was the largest aircraft of its time. Sadly, it only flew once, but it is a tribute to the power of thought and achievement. I'm not sure why this aircraft is so famous other that it is a relic to a genius who eventually lost himself.

So there they are--100 years and only seven named famous aircraft. But history, nonetheless.

I guess I have three additional spots--and there are some other's out there but somehow their comparison's pale to those on the list.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Out of Touch -- Legislators and Taxes

I read an interesting article in the Baltimore Sun the other day about a proposal in Congress to address back taxes owed by some government workers. I couldn't find the Sun article so here is the one from the LA Times titled Fire Them? Federal employees, retirees owe $3.4 billion in taxes.

It seems many of my federal co-workers are slugs (yes, I wrote it) and do not pay their taxes. This includes military personnel. I believe paying taxes is a responsibility that good citizens of our country need to accept--that does not mean that I like paying taxes, because I don't. But, as a citizen, I must accept the responsibility for doing my part to contribute to the operation of our government.

But here is my take on this emotional, election year issue. If they fire the workers who owe the taxes--which means they know who they are, then how do they reasonably expect the people to pay their back taxes--plus penalties and interest.

Yup, they owe the money. And according to the article we are talking about 280,000 people.

My answer is to take the money out of their wages and make them keep working until the debt is paid.

Why is that hard?

Hello, Congress!

Admittedly, the article says pretty much the same thing: "Critics of the legislation have said that firing employees who owe taxes would make it more difficult to collect the money. The unemployed hardly make for very good taxpayers, the Federal Managers Assn. said in a letter to lawmakers last year."

So if I can see the problem with trying to collect taxes from unemployed people (who then begin to receive benefits which may compound the problem) and the Federal Managers Association can see it, why is Congress wasting time trying to pass legislation that is counter productive to what they want to do?

Of course--we've been there before, haven't we?

Wake up and let's move on.

Next issue?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
My Zimbio
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