Friday, September 30, 2016

Twists and Turns

The political winds continue to blow and swirl after the "debate" and it is interesting, if not a bit scary, to watch the assessments and fallout.

The discussion/argument (I hesitate to dignify it by calling it a debate) on Monday evening highlighted two very different approaches to leadership: the prepared versus the wing-it.

In my opinion, the more prepared person on the stage was the winner, although, one writer indicated that she didn't lose.

It was a terrible example of a debate. There was no debate. 

The fallout has been instructive.

Trump has blamed his microphone and also indicated that he won the debate based upon polls. It seems that he has a problem with reality. If he cannot understand when his bellicose approach fails, then I am truly afraid of how his apparent lack of preparedness will translate into poor and uninformed decision making as our nation's leader.

Clinton, in my estimation the winner, has actually begun focusing on plans and details and programs since her evening in the spotlight on the stage.

The problem with the "debate" was that it became all about one candidate and not about ensuring the future prosperity and security of the United States. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Enter Rain, Good-bye Drought

Into every life a little rain must fall.

Finally, anyway, we are getting some much needed rain. It has been dry.

Too dry.

The amount of rain that we have received has been somewhat steady and beginning to add up. We received over 2 inches in the past 24 hours.

I remember earlier in the year when it seemed that the rain would never quit. And now, I am rejoicing at the raindrops falling form the sky.

I guess that it is a matter of perspective. I want the rain to end too, however, because I have a golf outing planned and I don't want the course too wet.

Look at me--thinking that just because I have an outdoors activity planned that the rain might hold off for a few hours.  

I wondered how many raindrops it would take to fill an 8 oz glass with water? I found a website, Bedtime Math,  that gave me an answer, although it must be stated that raindrops are not all the same size. The answer was about 7,200. Which, by the  way, would take hours. 

And so the rain continues pounding on my roof. It is going to be a long, slow drive to work today.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wednesday Orioles Update

It is Wednesday, and five MLB regular season games remain for the Orioles. Based upon their lackluster performance last evening, they are continuing their September slide which likely will find them outside the post-season looking in at the players.

Currently, the Orioles hold a 1 game grasp on the second Wildcard spot in the American League, but they are 4-6 in their last 10 games which include being swept in a four-game series by the Red Sox and barely managing to split a four-game series against the bottom-dwelling Rays. The Orioles have scored three runs or less in 9 of their last 10 games! There is no offense. The pitching has allowed 5 runs (exactly) in 6 of their last 10 games. 

Although the sweep of the Diamondbacks to complete the home portion of the season raised their post-season projected chances form 44 percent to 73 percent--the next five games are against the Blue Jays (2) and Yankees (3). Scoring 2 runs per game against these teams is not going to get them into the post season. And then, even if they do manage a Wild Card spot, their game would be in Toronto (in all likelihood) against the Blue Jays. Not a recipe for success. 

The Blue Jays close their season against the Red Sox and Detroit, who are chasing the Orioles, are playing the cellar-dwelling National League Braves. 

It is crunch time! 

Go O's!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Take: The First Presidential Debate

How many times did I hear "It was the worst thing ever?" And it was. I also heard "surreal" used in the post debate discussions.

I heard Trump flip-flop on the tax return situation? He went from  "No" to "If she does, I will."

There were a lot of statements made during the debate. Many false, some true based upon the political fact checking site Politifact. The New York Times also published an article this morning fact checking the debate. 

I felt that Lester Holt had great questions, but it was clear that at least one of the candidates never took a debating class in school. He was thuggish and talked over top of the others when they were speaking, while there are some who appreciate that approach, it is not conducive to addressing the issues.

In my estimation Trump generally overstated facts or just made statement that had no basis in fact, like the following statement he made about Hillary and ISIS, from the New York Times:

On Mr. Trump saying Mrs. Clinton had been “fighting ISIS your entire adult life.” 
In reality, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, began as an Al Qaeda affiliate that sprang up in Iraq as the Sunni insurgency amid the power vacuum created by the American invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003. It was largely defeated and pushed into Syria during the Obama administration’s first term, when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. It eventually split from the original Al Qaeda and rebranded itself as ISIS, sweeping back into Iraq in 2014, when she was out of office.
—Charlie Savage
I was looking for four things during the debate: leadership, integrity, context and details. Here are my grades for the candidates based upon what I heard:

                                      Trump            Clinton

Leadership        -                 +

Integrity         -                 +                   

Context           -                 -

Details           -                 -

In terms winner or loser? Neither candidate clearly won, but Trump was the bigger loser. His grasp of context and basic facts highlighted his lack of preparation and his "I'll just wing it" approach to something as important as the debate. He apparently believes that debates are a performance and not something materially important to the process of selecting a President.

One statement which clearly demonstrates his failure to grasp context was the statement about the $14 million loan he received form his father to start his business. The New York Times fact checker details it as follows:

On Mr. Trump’s loan from his father.
Mrs. Clinton said it was $14 million in loans from Mr. Trump’s father that helped him get his real estate business off the ground. Mr. Trump said it was just a “small” loan. A recent Wall Street Journal article notes a series of loans and gifts that Mr. Trump received from his father, citing a casino disclosure document from 1985 showing that Mr. Trump owed his father and his father’s company about $14 million.
—Steve Eder

Seriously, someone who can call a $14 million loan small lacks context. 

Trump also said, in the Spin Room, after the debate: "I'm smart for paying no taxes." So a man who would be President believes he is smart for failing to pay taxes? 

Who won and who lost? 

My Take: Chuck Todd, the moderator of Meet the Press, said it best--there was a big loser tonight and it was the American people.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday Musings - September 26, 2016

Makayla in Glasses
1. The first 2016 Presidential Debate is tonight--watch it. It is important. I read that one of the candidates is not preparing for the questions.

2. The Orioles swept a series against the Diamondbacks this weekend. They were also eliminated from the division race and can only make the post-season via the Wild Card route.

3. Makayla, my Keeshond  was trying to imitate my look in glasses yesterday. It worked pretty well. 

18th Green
Walden Golf Club
Crofton, MD
4. I need to say thank you to my family for the great birthday celebration. Of course, it was made a bit better because the Baltimore birds (the Orioles and the Ravens) both won their games.

5. Early morning golf yesterday. It was very cool! I had to wear a light jacket. Another sign that autumn has arrived. 

Geese at Walden Golf Club
6. There were a lot of geese on the golf course yesterday. And they were also flying around honking and generally being a nuisance.  

7. I was saddened at the announcement of the death of Arnold Palmer

8. We were invited to dinner at, a really good German restaurant right near us--The Bavarian Brauhaus. I don't know how we missed it all of these years.

9. There is rain in the forecast, finally. We are very dry. I am actually looking forward to seeing my lawn green up a bit before winter arrives.

10. It is hard to believe it, but the MLB regular season will be over by this time next week and it will be the Post-Season.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Take: The Debate

The first Presidential Debate between two of the candidates running for the nation's highest elected office is scheduled for tomorrow. I wish the top four candidates had been included; however, it will have to do with just two.

What am I looking for from the debate?

Leadership, integrity, context, details.

I actually can sum up my four wants in four words--but they are big words.

Leadership--one of the candidates needs to be a leader. Not a backbiting slanderer, but a leader who can rise above the muck slinging and take the shots and jabs while not responding in kind to ensure that their voice is heard as a voice of a leader amid the cacophony around them.

Integrity--this one seems to be the toughest. I am already biased that neither candidate has the integrity necessary to be the leader of the free world. Hopefully I will be surprised, but at every turn both sides have shown a propensity for fact twisting and deception.

Context--too many phrases are stolen from context to remake the world into an imaginary image. The candidates need to provide correct context for their remarks and not just make emotionally appealing or repulsive statements. 

Details--the time for the broad generalizations for programs is over. It is time to indicate how the next President will work with the Congress to enact legislation. Presidents do not pass laws and do not fund programs--the Congress does. Both candidates need to provide details of the programs and the plans to have them enacted.

It is crunch time. The polling places in some states are already open for early voting. 

My Take: It is time for this campaign to become about real issues and plans and stop focusing on the peripheral and incidental problems.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Around the Fire Pit

Around the Fire Pit
Nothing screams autumn like sitting around the fire pit in the back yard with our friends on a Friday night at the end of a long week drinking wine.

It is autumn at its best. Before the bone chilling cold sets in and while the leaves are yet green on the trees, although falling at an incredible rate because of the drought-like conditions.

Granted, there was some bug spray involved to preclude becoming dinner for the still viable mosquitos, but the evening was perfect, the conversation stimulating and the wine enjoyable. 

I even tried to get everyone to play a memory game, One Hen, two ducks; also called the Announcer's Test, that I learned in Boy Scout camp a few decades ago--the only problem was that I forgot what came after six. I had to look it up this morning.

A perfect evening. Thanks to my friends who made it that way.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 23, 2016

Weather Changes

Leaves on my Pool Cover
The first full day of autumn, today may be the last gasp of summer for the region.

The anticipated high of 86 degrees and the low of 60 are the last of the summer-like temperatures for about the next two weeks.

Beginning tomorrow the highs will top out in the 70's (and some days are forecast to be exactly 70) and the lows will consistently be in the 50's. Autumn's weather is arriving. 

Sunset over Baltimore
September 20, 2016
The leaves are already falling as those adorning on my pool cover attest. The trees are still mostly green, the leaves are falling because of the dry weather.

The sunsets have been glorious. I imaged one during my most recent visit to Camden Yards, which likely will be my last this season since the Orioles have rendered themselves irrelevant in the playoff chase by being swept in a four game series at home. 

The changes are coming almost daily. I would say it is fun to watch, but I'm not very excited about the end result which is winter.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Autumn's Arrival

Today at 10:21 AM EDT is the seasonal end to summer.

It is over.

Those lazy, hazy crazy days are a memory until next June, although we usually herald summer's arrival during May. 

As I looked at the autumn images, I noticed that the characterization of the world seems to change from green to orange and red during autumn. And then the trees go bare.

There is a Washington Post article titled Fall begins Thursday: Five questions and answers about the autumnal equinox that goes into some of the interesting and fun facts about the start of the season.

The increasing darkness has already made its presence known. The table shows the average daily loss of light by latitude (or city). I'm glad that I am not in Alaska! But the days are shortening to the point where trying to get in a round of golf after work is impossible. I'm lucky to get nine holes in, although in reality I haven't been able to get to a course after work for a few months. Losing about 2m 30s of daylight per day means that I won't be playing evening golf again until May.

Yesterday I arrived at work during darkness and soon, I will be going home in darkness.

Another year is heading to a conclusion. I can already feel the cold winds of winter waiting just off stage to make their presence felt.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Staggering to the End

Last evening Chris and I went to see the Orioles play the division-leading Red Sox. 

It should have been a great game, except that it wasn't. 

The Orioles have dropped three games out of the division race since last week and look listless on the field. Last evening they again could not mount an effective offense and the pitching failed at all of the wrong times. 

I had to suffer through another David Ortiz homer, a three-run shot that put the game out of reach. 

Trey Mancini
I enjoyed seeing the Orioles Trey Mancini hit a homer in his major league debut. His was one of the few bright spots for the team.

The stadium was not full and wild as I would have expected for a match off between division rivals vying for playoff spots. It is as if the listlessness of the team has taken over the fans as well.

How do I define listless? The Orioles have scored two runs in each of their last four games and are 1-3 during that time. 

The hitters are not getting the job done. Case in point--last evening Adam Jones came to the plate in the 7th inning with two on and two out. The Orioles were down 5-2 and had already scored one run during the inning. Instead of working for a single that would score another run, Jones swung for the fence on a 2-0 count and while he gave the ball an exciting ride, it became the third out and crushed the rally.

The season is not over. There are 11 games remaining, but being 5 games out of first is beginning to make winning the division seem out of reach. The Orioles still possess one of the wild card spots and so, hopefully, there will be Orioles post-season baseball this year.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Life with Dogs

Makayla after a Hard Day of Work
I love my dog. I can't imagine not having a dog and sharing life with a dog. (I wonder if that double negative makes sense?)

My dog, Makayla, like all of my dogs since I've been an adult, is a full fledged member of the family. Sometimes maybe too full-fledged. She makes her needs known and even forces me to get some exercise as I walk her around the neighborhood. 

Chewbacca -- Waiting Patiently
I wish I could take her with me to more places when I am out shopping or dining. She is calm and well mannered. I would enjoy taking her to restaurants where she would wait for the morsels from my plate that I enjoy sharing with her when I eat at home. She has become and expert at eating spaghetti and corn-on-the-cob. Whenever I get to the last corner of a sandwich or piece of bread, I share it with her. 

I read an article titled The Speakeasy Underworld of the Dog Bar in the New York Times this morning. The article describes how more restrictive laws are forcing establishments to exclude dogs from inside areas while at the same time allowing more dogs at outdoor tables. The article describes the reporters undercover work "sniffing" out bars which defy the health code and allow dogs with their owners.  I applaud those establishments.

I remember traveling Europe and seeing dogs more freely allowed in eating establishments. 

I believe well mannered dogs should be freely allowed to accompany their owners in all establishments. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Musings - September 19, 2016

1. Autumn begins on Thursday this week, let the leaves fall where they may!

Maryland Wine Festival
September 18, 2016
2. Chris and I went to the Maryland Wine Festival in Carroll County with Patrick and Tina yesterday. Fantastic! We enjoyed the festival. It was a beautiful day. Maryland wines are growing up!

3. What happens if there no one is medically suitable to be the next President of the US?

4. An interesting article in the New York Times describes how the Chinese are buying tech companies. Given that the Chinese own a massive amount of U.S. debt, all I can think is that it is just our tax dollars at work.

Patuxent Greens Golf Course
September 18, 2016
5. Pre-dawn on a beautiful Sunday on a golf course with Jeremy. We had a great round together.

6. There is rain forecast for today! Yay. The region is very dry. Although there were some sprinkles yesterday, there was no meaningful or measurable rainfall. Officially we have had 0.09 inches of rain fall during September. How do you measure less than a tenth of an inch?

7. I got up this morning and wondered how many leaves I would have to take out of the pool. And then, I remembered that I had closed the pool.

8. I can begin to see autumn in the weather forecast--there are no 90's or even high 80's in the 10 day forecast and some of the daily highs are in the 70's.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Heralding Autumn's Arrival

Chris Preparing to Help Place the Cover
Although autumn does not officially arrive until later this week on September 22--or Thursday, it arrived at my house yesterday. 

The pool was closed yesterday for the season and that marks the beginning of autumn for me. Why did I close the pool early this year when I normally keep it open until the last week of September or the first week of October? The dry heat caused me to close early.

Pool Ready for the Dark Season
It does seem a bit strange that dry heat would cause me to close early, but the arid conditions have caused many of the trees to start dropping their leaves--many of them still green and I could not keep up with the maintenance on the pool. My pool is a collecting point for leaves.

I always gauge closing the pool with the numbers of leaves falling to the ground. I mowed the lawn yesterday not because the grass was long, but to remove the leaves from the yard. Its sad that summer is ending so abruptly. I had hoped for a smooth slide into autumn.

While it was sad to place the cover and say another long good-bye to summer, I hate to admit that it was time. Pool season has effectively ended with morning temperatures in 60's the water temperature is getting to cold to be enjoyable. 

On a good note, we moved the fire pit into the yard to begin to enjoy the autumn evenings on a more personal basis! 

That is a lot like trying to find a silver lining in a black storm cloud.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sitting by the River

Along the Magothy River
This time if year is perfect for evenings outside as sunset arrives.

Even last evening on the Magothy River. We enjoyed a great Friday evening with friends at a restaurant in a marina watching the evening fall. The clouds arrived and blotted out the sun before the sunset. 

Too soon the weather will be too cold to allow for enjoyment such as this on a Friday night. 

I enjoyed the moment! Along a river on a Friday afternoon as the day is ending and night is falling with friends. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 16, 2016

Flying into the Sunset

Chris and I went out on a date night last evening to Annapolis. We decided to enjoy dinner at Cooper's Hawk Wine Bar and Restaurant which recently opened. 

Flying into the Sunset
We chose to sit outside to enjoy the evening. It was a beautiful late summer evening. One of those times when the heat and humidity of the summer begins to give way to the dryer cooler evenings of the autumn.

Cropped Version of Image
Dinner was great but the transition from day to night was occurring as we ate and I had a ring-side seat to observe evening arrive. 

The restaurant is near the approach patten for BWI airport and every few minutes another plane would fly into view. I could not hear them as they were still a good distance away, but the clouds made it appear the the planes were flying into the sunset. 

I imagined, for a moment, my own travels returning home at sunset and flying the same route. I wondered how many people looked at the jet that I was on and thought similarly.

The scene provided a canvass of reality which stimulated our conversation during a pleasant dinner for two. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Stop for the Bus

There is a problem in our area, and perhaps, across the country. The problem is that people are not respecting stopped school busses. 

An opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun, titled School bus danger ahead, describes the incredible problem of people not stopping for school busses on-boarding or discharging passengers. 

I was amazed at the sheer numbers of people who ignore the flashing lights and risk injuring a child. In Baltimore County there were 1,002 incidents on one day!

I admit, I get impatient around school busses. The numbers of children getting on or being discharged from the busses can be quite large and it takes a lot of time. If I am stopped by a bus in my neighborhood it means I am already late leaving for work and the last thing I need is to be slowed further by a bus making four five minute stops going down the street.

Regardless--I stop. Kids are unpredictable and busses have a lot of blind spots. Ignoring a stopped bus is dangerous.

Stop when the lights are flashing.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Barely Staying in the Race

It has been a frustrating baseball week. 

Last week the Orioles had clawed their way to within a game of the AL East Division lead and this week finds them two games out with 18 games left to play. 

The Orioles have been flirting with disaster at almost every turn. After making it to one game out of first the O's have fallen as low as three games out on two occasions during the week. At some point they will need to get the wheels turning again. 

Looking to the future, the O's still have 5 games remaining against the division leading Red Sox, four at home; and 3 games against the Blue Jays in Toronto. The remaining games are against Tampa, 4 at home; Arizona, 3 at home; and finishing the season on the road with 3 on the road against the team whose name shall remain unspoken.

Last night's 6-3 win over the Red Sox game was a model for success. Take an early lead and depend upon solid pitching to get a 1 in the win column. They will need that tonight as they face a 20 game winning pitcher.

This is the final push to the playoffs--and I'm expecting a division championship not just a play in wild card spot.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Keeping the Old Phone?

I reviewed the details of last week's iPhone 7 release. 

Usually when Apple releases a new iPhone, I get excited and try to determine how soon I can get the new model. I confess that I have had at least 3 iPhones (4, 5, and 6) and have adapted to the phone's peculiarities which integrates very well with the electronics in my home.

I'm not as excited about iPhone 7. 

The advertisements have not created a need for me to spend hundreds of dollars to replace my perfectly functioning iPhone. 

I even found an article which encourages keeping the old phone alive and working!

That's where I am. The commercialization of my life has not made me a willing consumer for an upgrade. I, at least right now, am content and even though my phone is over two years old, it is my phone and it works great.

It is a liberating feeling not to be enslaved to a technology upgrade. I think Ill wait and see what the iPhone 8 has to offer in a couple more years.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday Musings - September 12, 2016

Sunset in the Sky
September 11, 2016
1. It is the second week of September already. Unbelievable.

2. I played golf at Eisenhower Golf Course yesterday and enjoyed teeing off just after dawn. I also enjoyed the fast 3 hour 30 minute round. I also enjoyed making birdie on a par 5.

3. Chris and I went for a walk last evening and were treated to a beautiful sunset sky. It was fun to walk and watch the sunset deepen and the stars come out.

4. Our family celebrated opening Sunday of the NFL by gathering for a great party. Riordin was excited about the party as well, he decided to guard the Doritos. 

5. The Orioles had a good weekend and remain in the hunt to win the AL East Division. They remain only two games out of first place and are currently tied for the first wild card position. There are 20 games left to play.
Standings After Games of September 11, 2016

6. We took Thursday's happy hour on the road and made Chewbacca, Patrick's dog, very happy.

7. I thought that the 9/11 observations were very tasteful. It is hard to believe that it has been 15 years.

8. There are a number of good movies that seem to be hitting the theaters right now. I want to see Sully and Pete's Dragon--yea I'm a sucker for a boy meets dragon story.

9. With the arrival of Autumn on the horizon, the pace of life will significantly change.

10. September baseball decides which teams will be playing late in October for a chance to be World Series Champions.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Saturday Sports and Events

It was hot here yesterday. The stress index was over 100 degrees and the actual temperature climbed to 96 degrees.

Jax #8 Ready for the Play
Football happened, the deconstruction of the unused swing-set in the back yard happened, and time in the pool happened.

Life continued despite the heat. We just took it easy and drank lots of liquids. 

Washer Motor
Jax's football team finally scored, in their third game of the season, but sadly still fell to defeat 12-6. The other team had one play that the boys just couldn't seem to stop reliably. 

In other action, Chris and I decided to dismantle the swing-set which had been unused. As we were deconstructing it, we realized that it was definitely at end of life.  Now the pile remains in the yard waiting for a trip to the landfill.

Did I mention that I wasted  another four hours on the washing machine? I believe the problem is in the wiring and I have ordered a new wiring harness. After that the washer is declared dead and we will replace it!

A busy Saturday. Right now, I am heading to the golf course to relieve some of yesterday's stress!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Football Arrives

With the game between the Broncos and the Panthers on Thursday night, the NFL returned and moved back onto my weekend calendar threatening to push aside all of the wholesome things I used to do on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Our family is a huge NFL family with many different teams being represented as fan favorites. A quick survey finds that members of the clan root for the following teams:

Baltimore Ravens
Dallas Cowboys
Pittsburgh Steelers
Washington Redskins
Denver Broncos
Jacksonville Jaguars
New York Giants

A true mixture of rivalries. 

I wish that football would wait until the baseball season is over, but that seems unlikely since baseball continues until October. And then the NHL (yes Hockey) season gets going. 

We have a robust family Fantasy Football League and we are all vying to be the League Champion! I guess it is just that time of year where the collision of the sports teams happens. 

And this is just week 1. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 9, 2016

Reflections of Summer

As school is back in session and the kids have lost their summertime freedom, Ethan, my grandson, made the following observation:

"We don't realize that we should treasure every day of summer because too soon it is gone and all we have left are the memories."

That was deep--very deep.

Be in the moment and enjoy the moment.

I spent a lot of time yesterday getting my pool ready to close for the season. I could feel summer slipping away even though the temperature was in the 90s. 

But I was fully enjoying my work on the pool because I know that in a few very short weeks, the cover will be on and the fun will be over.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Losing the Light

Chops on the Grill
September 7, 2016
I went out to my grill last evening and fired it up to prepare dinner. It was after 7PM and I was amazed at how dark it had become. It was too dark to cook. Fortunately, I have a grill light that was ready to pierce the darkness and illuminate the cooking surface.

I looked at the evening as it was falling and realized that it only happens sooner every night from here. Each successive day is about 2 minutes and 30 seconds shorter right now. Sunset tonight, in the Baltimore area, will occur about 7:25 PM. Just a short month ago, sunset occurred at 8:10 PM.

All I know is that I had to turn the light on to see the meat on the grill. Of course, there were some rainclouds in the area that provided a short shower a while later. It was dark and that made me sad. The light of summer is fast fading.

I need to grill as much as possible right now because too soon I will be standing outside in the dark wrapped up in a heavy coat grilling as the snow flakes blow past my face.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Clawing Back into the Race

Standings as of the games played on September 6, 2016
From MLB.Com
It is the closest division in all of major league baseball--the american League Eastern Division. Three teams are within one game. Two are tied for the lead and the Orioles, after a poor showing during August, are poised just one game out of first place.

It is September baseball. 

The smallest lead in any of the other five MLB Divisions is 4 games--but the AL East is a true fight between the Bluejays, the Red Sox, and the Orioles. There are 24 games left to play in the regular season and now it seems that every game is just a little bit more important. And the team whose name shall remain unspoken is just 4.5 games off the pace, too--something added to make it interesting.

The push for the playoffs is underway.

This is the time when the 162 game season gets serious for teams still in contention.

Let's Go O's!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Three-day Weekends

Holiday weekends are a great change of pace. I enjoy having a Monday off--until I get to work on Tuesday and realize that I what backed up over the three-day weekend.

I especially enjoy the idea of being able to head off somewhere, like to the beach, for a quick weekend away, or to complete a larger than normal project around the house. 

The season of holidays is upon us. During the next four and a half  months, we will celebrate seven of the ten Federal holidays. I have a feeling, for instance, that a new and better fire pit will be my Columbus Day project. It will be October then and there will be many opportunities for its use immediately after it is built. 

I do miss going to the beach. I only had about one day of beach time this year--it that. Amazing for a beach lover. I am glad, however, that we did not go to the beach for Labor Day this year because of the tropical storm that sat off the coast. And I got to help with a remodeling project which took a lot of time and creativity.

Well, Labor Day is over and it is back to work and getting into the rhythm of September. Too soon it will be October.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, September 5, 2016

Monday Musings - September 5, 2016

1. Happy Labor Day!

Jeremy and Mike as the Flooring
Begins to be Laid
2. We turned out to be geniuses by not planning a beach vacation for this Labor Day. Tropical Storm Hermine has been keeping many beaches closed and providing for less that beach fun weather.
At the End of the Day
Still more to do

3. Laying flooring is a hard and long job. the weekend has been mostly devoted to getting a flooring project done for Nicole and Mike. 

4. Makayla was tired last evening on the ride home. She fell asleep on my arm. Fortunately, Chris was driving.

5. Interesting problems associated with the President's arrival in China. The New York Times reports that the Chinese and the Americans disagreed about many things related to the arrival and both countries get a black-eye in the incident. 

6. More people prefer printed books to electronic books! Yay. I'm not weird. 
Makayla Sleeping on my Arm

7. The Orioles are clawing their way back into the AL East Division race. They fell to three games out of first place yesterday, but did win the series from the team whose name shall remain unspoken from up north.

8. The swirl around Colin Kaepernick's protest bothers me. I support his right to protest, I do not approve of the widespread media coverage. The media has again created news rather than reporting news.

9. The weather is going to get hot again this week! Yay! 

10. I enjoyed three relaxing mornings this weekend. Two of them included sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee reading the newspaper. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Football Arrives

Jax (#8) On the Ball Carrier
It was hard to believe, but it was already the second game of the season for Jax's youth football team.

Jax after the Game
I hate to admit it, but it was a beautiful September afternoon on a local football field which was clearly built for the home team while the visiting team had to sit in the weeds around the other side. 

It was, sadly, another blow-out for the boys from GORC. They lost 31-0 and have now scored a total of 0 in their two games and given up over 60 points.

But they are learning the game and they have good attitudes. The coaches are doing a great job with all of the raw talent they have on the team.

Jax did make a highlight worthy play. He hit the opposing quarterback just as he released the ball for an attempted pass. The ball fell harmlessly to the ground. Jax got a defensive sticker for the play!

If they are playing football, it must be September!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, September 3, 2016

September Morning

Sitting on the back deck this morning with the temperature in the upper 60's, I had to accept that September had arrived. I have been in denial.

September Arriving
Although the leaves still retain the vibrant green of summer, the breeze was blowing many of them down into my pool--which prompted the question, "When are we going to close the pool?"

I hate that part of September--closing the pool.

Even though the pool still looks like summer, autumn is creeping closer to steal away the sun, the warmth, and then the leaves.

The pool is still open and the water is warm. The air, however, is cool.

It was a great summer and the thought of its passing makes me sad. But there are many joys in the memories.

The circle of life continues.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 2, 2016

What is a TNC?

I learned something new last evening.

I learned what TNC and TNCS stand for.

I think.

I had to pick up someone form BWI (Baltimore Washington International Airport) and spent some time at the Cell Lot.

There were lighted signs at the entrance to the Cell Waiting Lot announcing that TNS and TNCS pick-up were illegal!

That seemed pretty extreme.

I had no idea to what they were referring. I wondered if I was doing something bad?

Turns out the signs were referring to transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Who knew?

I would think that something as important as having a big sign about it would be a widely understood term. I guess not.

Beware the illegal TNCS pick-up!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Take: The Media is Selecting Our Next President

I have been very busy lately with the pace of life speeding up as school starts and summer ends. I have even lost the "bubble" on the Presidential Olympics.

Do You Know These People?
One of them will likely be our next President
I have noticed that the two "horse" race seems to be broadening.

In some of the latest polls, which I view on RealClearPolitics, there are four names in the race.

The current face-off between the front runners is a media creation. Uneven coverage of the issues during the primaries and coupled with the sensational antics of both of the current major party standard bearers caused the electorate to focus on "form" and overlook "substance."

The same is happening now. But, may be beginning to change.

I have heard commentators suggest that both of the leading candidates are flawed Presidential contenders--yet, the media, when showing poll results continues to focus only on those two even though there are at least two additional candidates garnering up to 20 percent of the potential vote (depending of course on which poll results you choose to view).

Even the scheduled presidential debates only recognize the two major party candidates. The media is limiting the access of Americans, the voting public, the We the People to a predefined paradigm without recognizing that many Americans are asking for alternatives.

Can you name all four of the candidates who received at least 5 percent of the interest as recently as the August 30 NBC News Poll?

My Take: Keep your options open and do not let the media shape you views or vote!Search for the truth by digging deep!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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