Thursday, June 30, 2016

World's Oldest Twinkie

I remember Twinkies!

Apparently there was a science class in Maine, 40 years ago, that was studying the effects of  preservatives in food. They unwrapped a Twinkie and documented the changes as the popular snack item was exposed to air.

The Twinkie still lives. 

40 Year Old Twinkie
According to first hand reports, the Twinkie is mostly unchanged from the original out-of-the-package look, except for some dust.

The preservatives work.

I wonder if that is a good thing or not?

The Twinkie survives despite all of the publicity and the retirement of the teacher that began the science project. It is under glass for all to see. 

Note to self--Twinkies are definitely not health food.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

As the Sky Changes

The sky has shown some stark beauty and ferocity during the past few days. 

Denver, CO
June 28, 2016
Last evening, for example, as I was leaving the restaurant where I had dinner, there was both a thunderstorm and a beautiful sunset in the sky. I tried to capture it, but it just doesn't look the same in an image. 

The lightening was actually very close, causing me to head for the car instead of trying for another, better, image.

I had thought about attending the Rockies game, but in a strange moment of mature thought, I looked at the weather and decided against going into Denver. The start of the game was delayed for almost three hours as it turned out. I made a good choice.

Baltimore International Airport
June 27, 2016
I was also amazed at the dawn sky in Baltimore the day that I was departing. The deep colors were amazing, however, the lights reflected by the terminal make the image less appealing. 

If you look deep into the image, you can see my reflection taking the picture.

It was much more beautiful in person.

The sky--I love the cyan of a clear day, but the morning and evenings also lend themselves to a fantastic show.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Denver, CO

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Out the Hotel Window - Denver, June 2016

June 27, 2016 - Denver, CO
The picture out the window is fairly nondescript. The difference from last evening when I arrived until this morning is in the lighting and the angle that I shot the image. 

June 28, 2016
Denver, CO
It is good to be back in the Denver area again. I guess. I am not at my usual hotel and I had hoped the images out the window would have been better, but alas, it was not. 

The weather has been nice--it is supposed to creep into the high 90's today and that will be a true burst of summer. 

I made a trip to Colorado Springs yesterday and looked up to Pike's Peak. It is still magnificent.

Well, as I wrote, the view out my window is not spectacular, but the sun is up and it is another day.

I wonder what adventures are in store for me.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Denver, Colorado

Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday Musings - June 27, 2016

1. I saw a dead black bear along the highway yesterday in Northern Pennsylvania. I had never seen one along the road before.

2. The best afternoon is one where I wind up on a floatie in the pool with a glass of wine.

3. Every time I take an early morning flight, I ask myself, why?

4. I remember I used to like driving for the sake of driving, now I just drive to get somewhere.

5. Did you notice that the Orioles have opened up a 4 game lead in the division? Let's go O's!

6. The best part about traveling is getting back home.

7. On this date in 1967, the world's first ATM was installed--in England!

8. I noticed how green the mountains were yesterday on the drive through Pennsylvania. They were very pretty and I much prefer that color to the gray of winter! 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Graduation Party

Graduations are huge events. They are significant life events that foretell change. They mark endings and stand at the precipice of new beginnings.

I had the opportunity to celebrate Trevar's high school graduation over the past few days. I enjoyed golfing with him and watching him walk across the stage to the cheering of his adoring family and friends. Yesterday was the blow out party that saw four generations of family gather in celebration.

And now comes the hard question, what next?

It doesn't need to be answered right away, but the opening sentences in the next chapter are being written.

The morning after the party isn't the time to write too many words of the dawning chapter of life, but after the celebration is over life begins again.

It is the way of life. The ending of one chapter is the beginning of the next.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Route 15 near Mansfield, PA

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Everything goes better with Coke

Ginger with Coke
After a long and stressful day full of visitors and unusual activity, Ginger, the chocolate lab needed some alone time to consider life and have a Coke.

Everything goes better with Coke! Well that's what the ads say.

It was actually humorous because she nabbed the partially full Coke bottle from Chris and took the top off before chewing it up. We are not sure what happened to the liquid, but as she has a history of doing this to water bottles and we expected her to have a reaction when she tasted Coke instead of water.

She liked the Coke. Note to self, don't leave my Coke bottles lying around.

I wonder if she likes Diet Coke, too?

-- Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Evenimg

Trevar Teeing Off
June 24, 2016
Newman Municipal Golf Course
Ithaca, NY
Sitting around after a busy day playing some lawn games. It is a idyllic day. I played golf in the morning with the recent (last evening) graduate Trevar and am spending the evening with family and games.

It is nice to be able to get away from the grind and enjoy some time off.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Return of the Mudslinger(s)

After what seemed like a too short respite, the political mudslinging has returned.

Yesterday was particularly vile with multiple attacks form both sides on the other candidate.

There was also the side-show in the House of Representatives as some Congressmen staged a 60's era sit-in. I was a bit appalled, has our government been reduced to sit-ins and demonstrations when votes should be taken and tabulated?

The political section of the New York Times reads like a report from the front lines of Afghanistan with one candidate taking shots and the other returning fire.

It is artificial drama!

While some talk about the race to the White house, it seems more like a school yard brawl.

I wish the personal attacks would cease and some real plans be put on the table to discuss. 

Bottom line? It's business as usual in D.C.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

When the Weather Turns Ugly

The Baltimore region experienced some ferocious thunderstorms which included a tornado yesterday. 

The normally balmy weather turned ugly and the power of the storms was clearly evident.

House Damaged During Storms
June 21, 2016
An EF-0 tornado touched down in the western part of the county causing a lot of damage. Trees were felled, one into a house. The owner of the house, however, put it in perspective by relating that two of his children were in the house at the time, one of them in a rooms that the tree fell into and they both escaped without injury. That was what was really important. The damage was secondary, the safety of his family was primary. 

Keeping loved ones safe is critical.

For my part, I expected the pool to be a mess, but it really was not too bad. The area of the county in which I live seemed to escape the worst of the storm. Yes there were leaves everywhere, but not the kind of damage experienced elsewhere. 

The storms were a reminder of the raw power that they contain. They deserve respect.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

My Take: Who Will Speak Up?

I have been shocked by the apparent mood in America which would condone discrimination and the exclusion of particular identifiable classes of people from the protections of The Constitution.

There are some in the country who want to build a wall, exclude certain religious classes of people from entering the country, and limit other classes of people from access to public services.

This concerns me and as I was turning these proposals over in my mind, I was reminded of a statement that I learned many years ago. 

The words are from by Martin Niemoller, an outspoken protestant pastor.  

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

My Take: There are parallels to America today.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Musings - June 20, 2016

1. Summer arrives today! Finally. It seems like my favorite season took an especially long holiday.

2. Cleveland has its first champion since 1964. That is a long time to wait. Congrats to the Cavaliers for coming back and winning the NBA championship. 

3. I hope all the fathers had a great father's day. I certainly did. Played golf, watched golf, watched baseball and was introduced to Oculus Rift. 

4. The end of year party for the staff at Chris' school was a smashing success.

5. Is it just me? Or did we just have a weekend without political sniping dominating the news? I did not see other one of the presumptive nominee's names on the front page of the New York Times this morning.

6. The lingering effects of plutonium exposure are detailed in New York Times article this morning about the 1966 accident in the skies over Palomares, Spain and the subsequent clean-up and cover-up by he Air Force. 

7. The Orioles remain atop the AL East after 10 consecutive games against key rivals in the division! 

8. The US Open was a couple of long days of golf. Congrats to Dustin Johnson for overcoming adversity and the officials to win the championship.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day 2016

For all the Dads out there--this is your day. A day to be remembered for the long nights and the patient hours it takes to be a Dad.

For all the kids out there, I hope you had a loving Dad like I have.

As a Dad of my own, I recall some highlights of being a Dad(in no particular order, just stream of consciousness).

Midnight feedings and diaper changes.  

Making two trips every evening over tight German roads to got to and from basketball practice. 

Looking at the twinkle in my daughters eye as she worms some new dress or other object out of my heart and wallet. 

Being a band camp parent dragging two coolers of sodas, or during the cold season hot chocolate, to the home AND away football games so that the band was well taken care of.

Racing out on a Christmas Day to find a new power supply for a computer.

Walking my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

Officiating at Patrick's wedding.

Hearing Jeremy recount how the delivery room cracked up at the mention of the words, "Luke, I am your father."

Fixing whatever was broken. Finding whatever was lost. Trying to smile when I wanted to scream.

Teaching kids sports, instruments, and math.

Crying when Chris and I left them alone at college.

Rejoicing with my kids, crying with my kids, and being there for them whether by changing brakes for an afternoon on the car or going to a ball game.

Being a Dad is a calling and it is not for everyone. It is a tough job and it never ends. It just gets better when the relationship matures from parent to coach to friend.

And then to grandparent. But that's a story for another day.

So to all the Dads, and to all the kids, and to all the wives and mothers who put up with the Dads and the kids--here's to you.

Happy Father's Day and Thank you for being you.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, June 18, 2016

End of School Year Party

Ready for The Party
June 17, 2016
The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) school year ended yesterday. 

School is out for the summer. 

Chris and I hosted the end of year party for the staff of Line Kiln Middle School. A chance for the teachers and staff and their families to gather around our pool and decompress after the trials and tribulations of the  school year past.

I enjoy hanging out with them and hearing the stories and getting a reality check about life and working conditions in a place other than where I work. 

The party was a great success. Hosting the party gave Chris and I a deadline to complete many projects. And we did! The pool was pristine, the lawn neatly mowed, and I even ensured that the hole in the wall where the new faucet had been installed was completely repaired.

I have to admit, when all they wished each other a good summer as they departed, I was a bit sad--I have to work! I don't get seven weeks off to reconnect with life outside of work. 

But, then, I don't have to put up with kids every work day. 

Happy summer vacation! Enjoy it. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, June 17, 2016

Promotion Fly-up

State Senator James Rosapepe Addressing the
Waugh Chapel Elementary 5th Grade Class
June 16, 2016
I attended the 5th grade promotion fly-up ceremony for my grandson Ethan yesterday who is leaving the halls of Waugh Chapel Elementary School and transitioning to middle school after summer vacation. It is hard to believe that he is now a middle schooler and moving so quickly into the next realm of growing up and his education.

Ethan Receiving his Certificate of Promotion
It was a surprisingly touching and well planned ceremony to acknowledge the completion of the elementary curriculum.

I was very impressed that a State Senator gave the opening remarks and that the assembled family and friends. The teachers worked their way through a myriad of awards and I was happy that Ethan collected quite a few awards recognizing his attendance and contributions to the school. 

I took a quick video of Ethan's arrival for the ceremony. I found it interesting that he was the next-to-last student to be seated. But at least i could keep an eye on him during the proceedings. It was fun to watch the look on his face, almost in disbelief, as he was announced as a winner of the President's Award for Educational Excellence. It was priceless!

It was an exciting day and I was happy to be included. Everyone deserves to have days devoted just to themselves to recognize their accomplishments and yesterday was Ethan's. 

Congrats Ethan! I am looking forward to celebrating many more achievements with you!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Disney does China

It has been all over the news--Disneyland Shanghai opened today! Well, it has actually been open doing the pre-full opening work-ups for a few days.

My sense is that the park is huge both in terms of size and cost. Theres are confirmed by the Wall Street Journal article about the opening earlier today. 

I have read stories about how Disney made huge concessions to the Chinese government to get the project accomplished.

The happiest place on earth comes to one of the most unhappy countries on earth in a clash of cultures. I find it fascinating that Disney has worked hard to translate their products into a culture where they are virtually unknown. 

I will never, likely, visit Shanghai Disney but I am happy that maybe through the monolithic company, and despite the efforts of their government, we can begin to change Chinese culture one smile at a time.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

An Independent Press

It is in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. It is pretty clear.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
I guess the amendment refers to Congress and not the President. Oh, right, the President cannot pass laws! Don't forget that, but the President is sworn in as follows

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

One candidate certainly does not seem to have a grasp of the Constitution or the amendments added thereto. This candidate believes that is it OK to restrict the press because they disagree with his particular views. The press helps to ensure transparency in government.

I am have seen the abuses of the press as the harangue people to the point of insanity, but I am convinced that a free and independent press is essential to protecting our freedoms. And not just for the Federal government--but even more importantly at the State and Local levels as well. Too many representatives, it seems, once elected place their personal biases and views above those of the electorate. Without a press to allow these views to be discovered and discussed in open forum, who knows along what path our government would proceed.

We must watch carefully during the next few months. Decisions affecting our nation and the world as well as our personal freedoms and our lives will be made in the polling booths.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Take: Spewing Hatred

The reaction by Americans and the world to the massacre in Orlando has been widely reported.

Some prominent politicians, typically, have chosen to pursue their goals of achieving The White House in November by publishing and speaking about their views and reactions. I found it interesting the The Washington Post managed to be uninvited to one candidate's rallies after publishing a series of stories about his lack of empathy for the victims. He even continues to profess policies that are clearly unconstitutional.

I have a news app on my iPhone that searches and returns headlines for my review. The number and variety of articles about Orlando is truly amazing and more than one writer has pointed out the nexus of three volatile topics facing our society: terrorism, guns, and homosexuality. 

From the articles and commentaries that I have read about Orlando, it is clear that these topics surely have struck a chord.

One of the worst and most disturbing comments about Orlando have come, sadly no surprise, from a reportedly Baptist minister in Arizona. This "pastor" was spewing the most virulent of attacks and lack of empathy for the victims. He truly gives Christians a bad name for their narrow-mindedness and lack of grace and mercy. I would quote his statements, however, I am appalled that such insensitive words could come from the mouth of a person professing to be a Christ follower.

The victims are people. Our brothers and sisters. They need love, support, and empathy because their lives and relationships have been shattered. Whether we agree or disagree with lifestyle choices, spewing virulent hatred is not helpful. Nor is using the hurt and anguish of the victims to pursue political gain.

My Take: Why does there always need to be an angle other than to love one another?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday Musings - June 13, 2016

1. I am appalled at the massacre that happened in a nightclub in Orlando. My prayers and thoughts are with the victims and their families. 

2. Congratulations to the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. It was a long season and they were the last team standing. Congrats also to the Conn Smythe Trophy winner Sidney Crosby for being the MVP during the playoffs.

3. Hot sunny weekend days are awesome, especially when there is a pool in the backyard.

4. I played a round of golf on Saturday and was confused for the whole weekend because I usually play on Sunday. In my mind I enjoyed a weekend of two Sundays. 

Dog Tired Keeshonden
5. During the weekend we watched three extra dogs, just for fun. After the smaller and more excitable pair had departed, the keeshonden were exhausted and crashed in the family room. 

6. The Orioles did not play well over the weekend losing three in a row to Toronto. Maybe they can regroup after a day off today. They remain tied for the lead in the AL East, however.

7. It is funny how a weekend can turn in just a few minutes. All of the plans and projects can become afterthoughts and shelved. Oh well, there is next weekend, I guess.

8. It is the last week of school for many here in Maryland. Here is to the teachers, instructional assistants, and educational staff who have made it though another year of preparing the future leaders of our country and the world. As the week ends, take a moment to celebrate--I know that you have earned it.

9. Summer vacation is upon us! Well, not me, but many. Have fun and be safe.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Home Repair Follow-up

Home repairs can be problematic. 

The Aftermath of a Home Repair
The faucet repair from Friday took a nasty turn. Ultimately, both faucets will be replaced, but one received a interim (hopefully 5 years or more) fix while what was expected to be the easier repair turned into a protracted complete faucet repair including an nice new hole in the basement. 

The faucet looks great on the outside of the house--the follow-up, not so much. There was a preexisting cover for the water cut-off, but some brilliant person ran a 2X4 right across the spot where the faucet enters the house from outside. That meant a new cut, as shown in the image, to access and replace the faucet. 

The end result? More fun with home repair. Repairing one thing has a cascading effect and requires more repair.

It reminds me of the children's song about the old woman who swallowed a fly

A classic story about one thing leading to another. I wonder if children still sing that song?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, June 10, 2016

When Home Repairs Go Bad

Friday has arrived and I am home waiting for a plumber! I hate it when home repair projects go awry. I do not often have to call in professionals.

One of the Troubled Faucets
Both of out outdoor (hose) faucets leak. Badly. Seriously badly. 

I checked out the YouTube videos about how to repair them and successfully made the problem worse. One of them not only leaks, it is like taking a shower when it is turned on.

The cost for my inability is a plumber's visit.

I hope they can be repaired inexpensively. I had thought that the problem was with the seals and washers. But, I am afraid the problems may be more severe than that.

Both faucets are old enough that neither Home Depot nor Lowe's carry parts. Ugh!

Hopefully by the end of the day they will be repaired and fully functional.

Another day, another project.

It never seems to end.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Brawl-timore Reflection

OPACY, June 7, 2016
Royals vs Orioles
I was at the baseball game on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 between the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles.

This game has been in the news because of the brawl that broke out during. I watched the proceedings.

I was part of the crowd showing our support for Manny Machado, our all-star third baseman, now shortstop, who was hit by a 99 mile per hour fastball thrown by the Royals pitcher during the fifth inning.

It was a beautiful evening for baseball, although the wind was cool, the sky was clear and the evening warm enough for short-sleeves, shorts and sandals. 

I saw the high and inside pitches that the opposing pitcher had delivered during Manny's previous two at bats. As I recall, Manny was the only Orioles player to receive the head-hunting pitches.

Brawl at OPACY
June 7, 2016
During the fifth inning, the Royals pitcher, in my estimation, deliberately hit Manny with a 99 mpg fastball. That is what percipitated the ensuing brawl between the teams. 

Deliberately hitting someone with a 99 mg fastball is the same, in my mind, as assault with a deadly weapon. While I do not condone thuggishness behavior in any sport, including hockey, I understand the emotion of the situation. The the two principals involved were the only ones who actually threw punches. 

Major League Baseball will be handing out fines and suspensions for the brawl, but I hope they review the build up to the event. Sadly, the Orioles could be without Manny for 3-8 games. 

Was Manny justified in charging the mound and throwing two punches at the pitcher? Maybe--the guy just threw and hit him with a 99 mph fastball. That makes it an emotional thing it is hard to walk away. I hope the pitcher gets suspended for at least as many starts as Manny. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My Take: When did We Stop Being Great?

I received a telephone call from one of the Presidential candidates asking me for money to help make America great again.

When did we stop being great?

When did we stop having the most powerful and flexible military in the world? 

When did we stop having the premier economy in the world?

When did the dollar stop being used for almost every major international transaction around the world?

I am tired of the implication that we have lost something.

We still have the mojo. And I am concerned that we are going to lose greatness by persecuting specific ethnicities. That is not the America that I envision and to which I am committed. 

The campaign has already turned ugly. Right now, the main difference that I see between the presumptive nominees of each party is gender. They are equally as extreme and both use the same political tactics.

Neither is trying to build America and both are trying to destroy the opposition.

My Take: If the candidates would focus upon their vision to govern this diverse democracy in an inclusive manner, the character flaws of the other candidate would soon become evident and the electorate would finally see a clear choice. As it is now, they are too much alike.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sitting Together

Chris and Makayla
Last evening as I arrived on the deck for happy hour, two of the ladies in my life were sitting on the patio sofa together waiting for me.

It was an neat image and I'm glad that I captured it. The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed a great evening outside. It is funny how Makayla will never look at me when I have a camera in my hand. 

I was beginning to think that with all of the rain, we would never be able to enjoy an evening outside again. The air was still and humid, It was truly a pre-summer evening. 

But then the mosquitos arrived!

Well, things can't just be perfect all of the time, then we wouldn't appreciate them.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 6, 2016

Monday Musings - June 6, 2016

1. 72 years ago, the D-Day landings on the Normandy Beaches by Allied Forces marked the turning point of World War II in Europe.

Timbers at Troy 2nd Fairway
June 5, 2016
2. The weather forecasters predicted rain for yesterday--it did finally arrive, but not before I enjoyed a fully busy day.

3. I managed a round of golf Sunday with Mike, despite the ominous weather report. I played one of my best rounds ever. Mike took a nice shot of me right after I said my chances of hitting the green were zero. And I put the ball on the green.

Patrick with the Brakes
4. Changing rear brakes on a Honda turned into an all day job that required two trips to the auto parts store. But Patrick and I got it done! All new and ready for the highway. It was another two hour job that took all afternoon. But getting it finished felt good.

Faline in the Flower Bed
5. The fawn returned for another day of fun with the family. She returned to the very same spot and we were surprised at how much she had grown in a week. And yes, we believe it is a "she" based upon some of the gender identification techniques we read about on line. She has been named Faline, for obvious reasons. She was a bit more skittish this week and made notice of our presence. 

6. The political posturing in the Presidential olympics has taken reached new levels of absurdity. 

7. I noticed the leaves on the trees again. I love looking at them. I remember writing about the bare branches not so long ago and it is good to have to solitude that the trees provide.

8. I have been frustrated lately by drivers who do not give consideration to others by pulling to the left side of the lane on side streets when waiting to make a left turn to allow other drivers (lime, me!) to pass.

9. And writing of driving consideration--does anyone remember what the lever on the left side of the steering wheel is for? Yes, that's it, turn signals. Use them!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The All Star

GORC Coach Pitch National League
All Star Team
June 4, 2016
Jackson played in the GORC Coach Pitch league all star game yesterday, having been selected as one of the two players representing the GORC Pirates in the annual event. 

It was fun to watch the best kids in the league compete after coaching the season. Unlike professional all star games which can be boring, this game let all of the kids who are at the same baseball level come together and showcase their abilities.

Jax at the Plate
All Star Game
June 4, 2016
It was a truly different game from the regular league games. Balls that would have been hits in a league game were outs in this game and unlike the regular season, the outfielders were very busy.

Jax in the Field
All Star Game
June 4, 2016
Jax did very well. He had hits and played balls and made outs in the field. Both of the players representing the GORC Pirates played very well, and during one stretch of two innings the two of them were involved in 4 of the 6 outs posted against the opposing team.

Did I mention that the National League team (Jackson's) defeated the American League team 17-11 in a seven inning affair?

Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Water Feature

Water Feature in the Pool
Chris has wanted a water feature in the pool since we have lived at our current address. 

The was one attempt a few years ago that was less than satisfactory. 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago--we ran across an inexpensive fountain in a pool magazine and this week it arrived and I installed it.

Chris is very happy. Two of her longer term projects have been completed: a new sink and now, a water feature in the pool. 

I was concerned about the flow of water around the pool and the impact on the chlorine levels, but everything seems to be good. The fountain does not use all of the returning water and there is still a sufficient current in the pool to encourage small leaves and debris to wind up in the skimmers.

The water feature is in place.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Tournament

Jeremy at the Crypto Cup
June 2, 2016
I took a day of leave yesterday to play golf in the 15th Annual Crypto Cup Golf Tournament which raises funds for the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation.

It is a fun day on one of the closer courses to me, Patuxent Greens. The weather was good--a bit cloudy in the morning, but the sun broke through in the afternoon.

Jeremy joined me for the day and we were teamed with another player and attacked the course as a threesome.

Mother and Juvenile Woodchuck
We did very respectfully, finishing solidly in the middle of the pack of 30 or so teams. I think if we had had our original team, two guys couldn't do the rescheduled date, that we would have done much better, possibly competing for prizes. 

Golf courses provide home for an assortment of animals and yesterday there was a woodchuck and its baby on the course. They provided some comedic relief as we waited to take a shot. 

I am finding that playing in tournaments like this one are not so much about the scores as they are about meeting people who, like me, are taking a day away from the routine of life to enjoy a round of golf while raising money for a good cause. 

Do I wish I was a better golfer? Sure. But do I have fun and still make some nice shots and putts? Definitely. 

My next tournament is the 3rd Annual Troy Whittemore Classic in August. It should be a nice day in the sun as well with family and friends.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, June 2, 2016

My Take: Unfavorable Candidates

The "presumptive" nominees for President from both the Republican and Democratic Parties are carrying historically high unfavorable ratings CNN reports in an article about the topic. 

I have been reading and hearing about the possibility of a third party candidate. Perhaps the poor ratings of the leading candidates gives viability to a non-mainstream candidate. But then I worry that such a candidate would be unable to get Congress to do anything. I guess that is no different than the current situation.

There have been many potentially viable candidates stepping up to the microphone lately. I am concerned because a conservative third party candidate will likely not win and only makes it probable that the Republican nominee will not win which almost assures the Democratic nominee of the Presidency according to an article titled. Could an Independent conservative Candidate Really Compete in the 2016 Election

A poll in Florida Politics suggests that 55 percent of Americans want a Third Party candidate to run this year. The problem, however, is that the deadlines to qualify to be on the ballot in many states is coming already or (as in the case of Texas) has passed. Since the Republican and Democratic conventions are not until next month, why are the dates to qualify to be on the ballot so early?

All of this begs the question--should the the bloated and expensive primary system which nominates candidates with incredibly high unfavorable ratings be changed? 

I think the answer to that question is self-evident.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Out of the Nest

Blue Jay on Pool Edge
May 31, 2016
Last evening, after the Jax's GORC Pirates won their final game of the season, I was checking the pool and I noticed a small visitor sitting precariously on the edge. 

It was something I had never seen before--a juvenile, fresh from the nest, Blue Jay.  Chris has been feeding the Jay's and I guess they like it here because one of the newest members of the species was hanging out on the pool deck. It didn't even have a towel.

It seemed ready to spend the night there, but out in the open with the potential of drowning in the pool didn't seem like a good choice for its first, probably, night out on its own.

It was very docile and did not mind having its presence documented for posterity. 

The bigger question was, "so what do we do with it?" 

Blue Jay on Pool Net
May 31, 2016
We determined that using the pool net to relocate it to a more suitable area was the best approach. The young Jay was very accommodating and jumped onto the edge of the net while I carried it, no small distance, around the pool and out to the yard. Determining that it needed cover for the night, we attempted to put it in a tree, but the was the one time the small bird objected. It did not want to be in a tree. 

It hopped off the net onto the ground and seemed comfortable there. Both Chris and I were a bit concerned about the local fox finding it, but the young Jay hopped into the underbrush seeking cover.

The number of juvenile animals around the house continues to increase. We have had a fawn spend the day, we have seen multiple baby rabbits, two juvenile wood chucks, and juvenile snakes of multiple varieties.

I wonder if our gardens can support all of them.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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