Monday, October 31, 2016

Monday Musings - October 31, 2016

1. Happy Halloween, it is the last day of October.

2. There is something really fantastic when temperatures hit 80 during the last couple of days of October.

3. Halloween decorations are everywhere in our neighborhood. We got a new projector and now have scary stuff on our garage door.

Saturday Evening at the Fire Pit
4. The best evenings are when we can sit by the fire pit and enjoy Happy Hour. Last evening it rained, but Saturday evening it was perfect. And we still have a few leaves on the trees.

5. Chris and I voted yesterday because we are going to be traveling on Election Day. It feels good to be done with the process. I'm glad that Maryland has early voting.

6. I saw the movie Inferno on Friday night. It is OK. The book was better.

7. Italy had another earthquake yesterday. The strongest to date. They have had three in the past week.

8. The Cubs won game 5 of the World Series. Back to Cleveland for game 6 and then game 7, if needed.

9. Thankfully, the Ravens had the weekend off to recover and I didn't have to suffer through another frustrating football loss.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 30, 2016

October's End

It was a spectacular October Saturday. It started cold, with a temperature of 37, but then it warmed to an enjoyable 70 degrees allowing for a multitude of autumnal activities.

The Grasses Around the Pool are Cut
Chris in Costume
First was the annual cutting of the grasses around the pool. 

Another sign of the approaching winter. The grasses are easier to cut when they are green and I can get them all into my truck for transport to the landfill for recycling into mulch. After the winter, once they have dried and are brown they do not pack together as well and it can take two or more trips. 

The grass cutting project took about three hours from start until I was back home after visiting the landfill. Not too bad. 

After cleaning up and some lunch, it was off to to the annual Halloween party. Chris and I decided to don costumes and enjoy the party. Sadly, we were the only adults who felt the pull of the festivities. 

I can hardly believe that tomorrow is Halloween, and then comes the season of the turkey. I am amazed that living life one-day-at-a-time makes the seasons pass so quickly. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 29, 2016

What Happened to the Time?

As the days grow shorter, I am beginning to have more stress about getting the outside activities accomplished in preparation for the winter.

The cold mornings, this morning it was 37 degrees, do not help either. It takes a while to get warm enough to work outside or to play golf.

Grasses Before Cutting
in the Cold Morning Light
As I was getting a bit stressed the other day about time, I realized something that I already knew:

Everyone gets the same amount of time, every day. It is not something you can increase or decrease. It is all a matter of how we choose to use our daily allocation.


So if I decide to allocate my available hours to playing golf, I have to be content with the things that I am not doing--like cutting the grasses around the pool which is actually this morning's project once the temperatures warm up a bit.

It is no fun to hit a golf ball in temperatures approaching freezing. Just saying. 

So I will allocate my time based upon the weather to get the best possible outcome. That is really the best anyone can hope for.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 28, 2016

Election Grind

It is hard to believe, but in a week and a half the election season which began more than two years ago will be finally ended and a new President selected.

Then the process of repairing the brokenness of the country will begin. There is an ominous piece in the NY Times this morning warning of violence if Clinton wins. It just shows the level to which the hate mongering has taken the electorate. 

That is not how our country is supposed to react to the transition of power, but the two leading candidates have made the election too personal. It has become about ego and not about plans and programs for governing our nation.

The assertions that the election is rigged are preposterous. If the American people vote, the numbers will be counted. The election can only be rigged if people don't vote. 

I will likely vote early, so that on election day I don't have to stand in expected lengthy lines to cast my ballot. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Frost on the Pumpkin

Yesterday morning arrived and with it, the first frost of the season. It was a light frost on the windshield of my truck, but it was definitely frost.

Freshly Mowed Late-October Yard
The presence of the first frost of the season changes so many things. It is a visible sign that autumn is slipping into winter and the fast approach of the season of darkness. 

The leaves dropping from the trees surrounding my yard created a blanket on the ground. Another sign of the passing season. I attacked them with my tractor yesterday and for a short while the yard was free of leaves--but the bare branches of the trees are clearly visible in the image I took of the probable last mowing of the year. 

I will likely use the mower to blow the leaves back into the forest as they continue to fall from the trees, but I doubt that the grass will grow much more. 

In honor of the season, I researched the poem by James Whitcomb Riley titled, When the Frost is on the Punkin. I had forgotten that it is written in the colloquial dialect of late-19th century Indiana, which makes it a very interesting read. 

For your enjoyment, here are the last four lines of the first stanza:

O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best, 
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest, 
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock, 
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock. 

When I reread poems like this one, I realize that in some respects our language has become too homogenized and that we are losing our regional character.

But, the frost is on the pumpkin and the day is getting gone.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

World Series Game 1 Reflection

The end of the baseball campaign is near. Game 1 of the 2016 World Series is in the books and Cleveland definitely looked to be the better team winning the game 6-0.

The defining moment in the game was the 7th inning when the Cubs had the bases loaded with no outs and could not score a run. All evening, the Cleveland pitchers controlled the Chicago batters except for the 7th inning rally. 

I felt the Fox network coverage of the game was barely adequate. The lack of using the pitch tracker for most of the game to document the inconsistent strike and ball calls was frustrating. There were discussions about balls being strikes and the pitch tracker would have helped to show the trends. Fox sports is going to have to turn their game up.

Losing game 1 is not the end of the series. The team that goes up 1-0 in the World Series is the eventual champion about 64 percent of the time. So there is definitely hope that the Cubbies will win. Tonight's game really begins to be important as a team that goes up 2-0 wins the series 80 percent of the time. There is an interesting article titled, World Series Game Situation Winning Probabilities: How Often Do Teams Come Back From Behind? if you want to see the probabilities associated with all of the possibilities.

On a side note, I already have the Orioles Spring Training schedule and am beginning to think about my March trip to Sarasota!

Play Ball!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Las Vegas Images

New York, New York Resort at Night
I had my trusty iPhone with me to document my weekend celebration in Las Vegas and I managed to take some interesting images.

Everything in Vegas seems to be larger than life. The resorts apparently duel to be the most spectacular or outlandish. I stayed in the Excalibur, which is a castle, but New York, New York looks like a miniature version the Big Apple all crushed together. 

TPC Las Vegas
I was very impressed with the stunning scenery surrounding TPC Las Vegas where I played a very enjoyable round of golf. Getting out of the city and away form the casinos and the crowds was a highlight of the trip. Getting to smack the little white ball around the course was an added benefit. It was the first time I had played a desert course and I admit to hitting a couple of balls into the canyons guarding some of the holes.

As I was walking through my resort, I happened upon a gift shop that just screamed Las Vegas--and I had to take an image of the sign. It was just a classic! I actually did not even go into the shop, but I enjoyed the lights of the sign. There were, of course, many more signs in Vegas, but it is a city that never seems to sleep, although at 6AM I could tell that it was slumbering.

Out my Hotel Window
October 24, 2016
My final image is from yesterday morning after a rare rainstorm passed through and made the sunrise special. The sunlight reflecting off the airport runways was especially interesting and the illumination of the hotel down the way made for a visually stimulating shot--and yes, it was right outside my hotel window! I was amazed at how the scene outside my window changed with the rising of the sun and the passing of the day. 

In retrospect it was a great trip and I have to confess that I did gamble. I won $5 while betting $2, so I was ahead for the trip, I guess. I am not a gambler, but I had to play at least one slot machine and I actually played two.

I did find that many of the cliches are true. But there is wholesome fun to be enjoyed, even in Sin City.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday Musings - October 24, 2016

TPC Las Vegas
October 22, 2016
1. My long weekend trip is nearly over. All I really have remaining is to travel home. A long day of travel through three time zones.

 2. I played golf at TPC Las Vegas on Saturday, it has some of the most stunning views that I have seen from a golf course. 

3. Vegas really never sleeps.

4. The Presidential election is now only 2 weeks away and early voting has started. America, it is time to make a choice.

5. I am excited that one of the two longest championship droughts in the MLB is about to come to an end. Chicago and Cleveland will make history no matter which team wins. And who would ever have thought we'd see Chief Wahoo in the World Series? 

6. Patrick made a time-lapse video of the sunrise out the hotel window. It is very impressive. He did a great job documenting a great sunrise.

7. A dark spot in imagery of Mars is likely the wreckage of the European Schiaparelli lander

8. New York City is close to opening a subway line that has been planned for almost a century! Sometimes miracles happen.

9. It was a difficult day in the NFL yesterday with all of the family favorite teams, that played, losing. The losers include the Ravens, Steelers, and Redskins. The Cowboys were spared because they were on a bye week. The Ravens effort was especially frustrating because they had 12 rushing carries for a total of 6 yards. 

-- Bob Doan, writing from Las Vegas, NV

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bloody Mary Drink-off

Bloody Mary at BWI
I know it seems a bit strange to be writing about Bloody Mary's, but I have seen some interesting interpretations of this breakfast drink during my trip to Las Vegas. 

Let me state right up front, I have NOT personally consumed any of these concoctions, but I have witnessed other members of my group enjoying these drinks.

Hotel Bloody Mary
The first Bloody Mary of the trip was at the airport bar in Baltimore. It was made with everything and contained shrimp, an assortment of veggies, olives, and bacon. The salt around the top of the glass was a nice touch. Sadly, for the people who ordered this beverage, it was delivered only about 15 minutes before we boarded the flight to Las Vegas. 

The second Bloody Mary was even more over the top. It was created at the hotel for members of our group that we met up with in the check-in line. It was astounding and even more over the top than the ones a few hours earlier in Baltimore. It was definitely breakfast and while there was no shrimp, it appeared that a whole side of bacon was included in the glass. 

Bloody Mary at TPC Las Vegas
The final entry in the Bloody Mary competition was at TPC Las Vegas where we played a great round of golf. This was a more classic and, frankly, less appealing version that some of the others; but it was appropriate for drinking from a moving golf cart. 

The winner was the Bloody Mary at the hotel. I may never see one like that again!

-- Bob Doan, writing from Las Vegas, NV 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Out the Hotel Window - Las Vegas

Out the Hotel Window - Afternoon
October 21, 2016
I have experienced two cities that never sleep during the month of October, New York City and now Las Vegas. 

I have two images out my hotel window, one in the early afternoon and one as the shades of the sunset were painting the sky. 

Out the Hotel Window - Evening
October 21, 2016
I have a good view of the airport, similar to when I was in Los Angeles. It is hard to believe the life that happens behind me, in the other direction. 

I spent a lot of time wandering around being amazed at the sheer numbers of people who come to Vegas. It is astounding. And there is a lot of fun to be had--for a price. Everything is very pricey and not the way I remember it from 30 years ago. I had a burger and a beer for lunch yesterday and it cost $40. I'm going to have to be a bit more frugal if I am going to survive the trip with my wallet in tact.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Las Vegas, NV

Friday, October 21, 2016

Under the Sky

Not my Photo of Stars
Last evening was likely one of the finals evenings outside around the fire pit watching evening fall clad in shorts and a tee-shirt. The warm evening air enveloped Chris and I as we chatted about the upcoming weekend. The fire danced and cast its changing glow across our faces.

Colder weather is coming to greet the weekend and as October continues slipping away into November, it is likely these evenings will continue, but we will be wearing coats as we cast off the pervasive chill.

I saw the stars come out, as well as they do in this area of too much ground light. It was a fitting end to the busy day.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Debate or Brawl

Debate night in America happened again last evening. It was another ugly dogfight on stage for the world to wonder how these two people, out of 300 million Americans wound up as finalists in the Presidential olympics.

The debate was, perhaps, the best of the three with issues getting more time than personal attacks. But, the debate still lacked a clear winner. I was left with the realization that both candidates have gaping holes in policy plans and ideas to run the country.

Some of the issues discussed during the evening included:

Second amendment. Should we return to the wild, wild west or is it possible to legislate the safe, responsible use of guns? Should we have a national right to carry?

Strong borders--getting rid of violent people or build a wall. How open should our border be? should be deport illegal immigrants even though it will cost taxpayers a bundle of money?

Supreme court. How do we want the future court to work? Which candidate has the best concept of the Constitution and how the Supreme Court can protect it. Frankly, I was dismayed by both candidates' approaches. 

Abortion--right to choice? Pro-life? This issue has continued for years and the discussions were designed to appeal to the base supporters for each candidates. There wasn't nothing new here.

Russia? Encourage espionage against Americans or defend our networks? Nuclear balance? There was a lot of finger pointing and this is a dangerous issue that was not properly nor adequately addresses. 

Expanding the economy through jobs programs. Raise the minimum wage? Women equal pay. Increasing access to college.

Taxes and jobs. Raise taxes or lower taxes? Stimulate the economy? Shipping jobs overseas? Buying steel from overseas and not supporting American workers.

Fitness to be President of the U.S. The continuing abuse of women issue versus the email controversy. The problems associated with the Clinton Foundation. 

Is the election rigged? Corrupt media, outdated voter roles, candidates with potentially criminal charges.

Whining before the vote. I think the President's remarks were right on. Don't start whining before the vote.

Moving in Syria against ISIS. The constant claim that ISIS was created by one of the candidates scares me because it demonstrates a profound lack of foreign policy understanding.

All-in-all, this was a much better debate.

And the winner is? 

No one.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Debate night

It is debate night in America again.

Which of the candidates will win? Or will they both lose, again?

I have so many questions.

There are serious differences in reality between the two. And I'm not sure either reality is the correct one.

Anyway, here we go for the last time before the election.

I will definitely be watching and listening.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Times have changed for clowns. 

I have been reading about the scary clowns in the papers and seeing reports about them on TV.

I remember, many decades ago when I was a kid, that clowns were fun and funny. I remember them in parades driving small cars and doing stunts to make people laugh. 

There was an interesting article in the New York Times the other day titled, What Do the Scary Clowns Want? The article discussed the current trend of scary clowns and traced their origins. I was surprised to learn that scary clowns go back into at least the 16th Century. 

Ronald McDonald
The current scary clown epidemic had caused one of the most beloved clowns to go into hiatus--Ronald McDonald has been placed in retirement. The Washington Post reports that Ronald McDonald is laying low until the current clown scare is over

I imagine that it is going to be a very interesting Halloween--I'm not sure whether scary clowns or creatures are going to be in the biggest numbers, although Target has halted the sale of clown costumes and masks

I guess the phrase "clowning around" may have a new and more sinister meaning.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday Musings - October 17, 2016

1. I'm in shock realizing that October is already half over. 

Autumn Kissed Trees
at Arundel Mills
October 16, 2016
2. The weather is going to be fantastic this week. Highs in the 80's and lows in the 60's until Friday when more seasonally cool weather returns!

Tina working on Jeremy's Gift
3. I noticed that the trees are becoming "autumn kissed" with color.

4. Sometimes birthday presents are more fun in the making that the recipient even realizes. This was Tina and Patrick working on a gift to Jeremy yesterday. 

5. The NFL is concerned because the numbers of people watching the games on TV are down 10 percent. Perhaps they will figure out they are offering a flawed product which has become too commercialized and the rules too complex. 

6. When did clowns become scary?

7. The battle for Mosul started, according to the New York Times

8. Will there be any relief after election day from hearing about Trump or Clinton every hour of every day? Sadly, probably not.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Celebrating Another Year

Birthday Cheesecake
Yesterday Chris celebrated the completion of another year since her birth. 

It was a atypically quiet day. We were able to get a few things done around the house in preparation for the coming dark days. 

She received a rousing birthday chorus during the evening as her favorite cake was served--cheesecake. The boys did an adequate job. I usually make a special New York Cheesecake, but she called it off in the interest of time because it takes about five hours for my special cake.

Birthdays are special days, although I try to avoid mine. But I believe everyone needs to be celebrated and birthday's are a natural time to celebrate.

Happy Birthday, Chris.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Reflecting on NY, NY

First Street Vendor Chili Dog
Two weekends ago, Chris and I took Ethan to NYC for a fast weekend of sightseeing and excitement.

Chris with Morgan Freeman
There were the usual sights to see, however, there were a few other things that we enjoyed that helped to make the weekend very special.

One of the most enjoyable was Ethan's first chili dog from a street vendor! He thoroughly enjoyed it and there were a few more chili dogs consumed over the weekend. It seemed, however, that none of the follow-ons were as good as the first one. But he definitely enjoyed them all.

And then there was posing with a celebrity along the street. Who knew that they were every where? And he stood still for so long. He never even moved. Of course he was wax and standing in front of Madam Tussauds.

As we happened along the street, I ran across an NHL (yes I meant to type H) store. With hockey season about to start, I had to head inside. And what did I find? They were expecting me and had a jersey already prepared with my name on it! Actually it was a replica of Shane Doan's jersey. He is captain of the Arizona Coyotes. But it was cool to see the jersey with my name on it. I would have purchased it, but it was over $400! A real game jersey.

Memories made and remembered. That is the true gift of vacations and traveling.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Weekend Arrives Again

Friday's are becoming the catch-up day of the week.

I seems to get further and further behind on normal weekdays and then, Friday magically arrives and I have time to take care of the multitude of tasks that have befallen me.

Thank goodness for Friday, the savior of the week!

I have noticed that everyone seems to be in a better mood on Friday--and that is a good thing.

I am looking forward to catch up day today! Secretly, however, I wish that it was already Saturday!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Evening Falls and the Deer Play

Whitetail Playing
Photo by Chris

Evening arrives about two minutes earlier every day and so it has become easier to be positioned around the fire pit to enjoy the darkness as it envelops the region. 

The cold temperatures, in the 40s and 50s, have made the daily string of sunrises and sunsets stunningly spectacular. I enjoy the early rays of the sunrise on my way to work and the sunsets sitting around the fire pit chatting with Chris or friends recounting the activities of the day.
Two Deer on the Edge of the Yard
Photo by Chris

Last evening was especially enjoyable as two groups of deer decided to join the evening festivities. There was a small herd of five which played in the yard near us, even with the fire going. They seemed unconcerned about Makayla, who I was holding because she wanted to run and play with them. 

It was enjoyable watching them venture into the yard and then seeing the youngest of the group actually run and jump in the open space. The senior doe of the group kept a close eye on us as we sat an talked and they eventually moved along. Shortly after that, a group of two, presumably a doe and Falene, from earlier in the year, happened by for a visit. 

Watching the deer in the yard reminded me that we share the area with other wildlife. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Take: the Ballot Arrives

My Sample Ballot
A copy of the Official Ballot for my voting area arrived in the mail yesterday.

The past two years of political position jockeying have melted away and the reality of the decisions the are going to be made in a few short weeks are now squarely in focus. 

The debates that weren't, the mud slinging, the ads on TV will soon be over. Since I do not live in a battleground state, I have not been subjected to the complete ferocity of the campaign. I am sure that those whose lives are tied to states like Ohio, Florida, andCalifornia are  being subjected to a never-ending tirade of advertisements. And they cannot be good.

I have heard some disparaging comments about the upcoming election, for instance. "There are 300 million people in the U.S. and these two are the best we can find for President?"

My Take: Decision time is rapidly approaching!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Opportunity of the Day

Each day brings new opportunities for action and reflection.

Garden of Remembrance
Clarksburg, MD
I receive emails offering opportunities to buy things or change occupations almost every day. Every commercial on TV presents an opportunity. Even driving to work in the morning presents opportunities. 

What I do not get every day is the opportunity to stand at the top of a hill with a hundred other people and reflect about the meaning of life as we remember and celebrate someone who is no longer walking with us.  

It is a sobering perspective changer.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 10, 2016

Monday Musings - October 10, 2016

1. Happy Columbus Day observed!

2. The weather has quickly become very October-ish. The temperature this morning is in the 40's. Brrr. It was the first 40's of the season.

3. Last evening's Presidential debate was more of a backyard brawl than a debate. 

4. The leaves are falling from my trees without ever changing color. They are just turning brown and falling. Everywhere. 

Patient Greens
October 9, 2016
5. Heading off from the 1st Tee at Patuxent Greens on a cold October morning for a round of golf. I had to wear a coat for the entire round. I long for the lazy, hazy days of summer.

6. I noted that Toronto swept the Texas Rangers in their Division playoff series. It should have been the O's sweeping the Rangers!

7. I actually got to spend a quiet weekend at home, mostly. I got yard work accomplished and I relaxed. What a concept!

8. Short work weeks usually are harder because five days of activity get crammed into four.

9. Heard this the other day: "Couches are like bathing suits, they look great in the store and then you buy them and wear them or sit on them and they no longer look as good."

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Saturday Football--In the Rain

GORC Field
October 8, 2016
It happens at least once per season, we attend a football game in the rain. It just seems to be the way autumn plays out.
Jax with the Brace on his Arm

Yesterday was homecoming for GORC and the mist and rain fell during the whole game. Jax's team lost, again. The good news is that it was not a shut-out--they did score a touchdown.

Jax made some great plays, sacking the quarterback and causing a fumble was one of the best. He continues to play with a brace now, no longer a cast, on his right arm. 

Cool Rain Gear on a Young One
We did spy a small gator on the sidelines chasing a balloon--I thought the rain gear was very cute. Ot provided some comic relief on a dreary and rainy day.

The games are a lot of fun to attend, but I have to admit, they are a lot more enjoyable when the team wins. Which has only happened once this season. I guess there are only three games left. I hope the weather holds and that the rest of the games are played under a bright autumn sun with a blue sky above.

And a win would be good, too.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

The path of destruction through the Caribbean, especially Haiti, reminded me of the awesome and raw power of such storms. 

I was very happy when the storm track changed from moving up the Atlantic Coast into a hard right turn essentially creating a donut in the Atlantic Ocean--while my area will be spared, there are too many other places which will not be as fortunate. The destruction across Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina caused by the storm is significant. 

Those of us who have been spared need to be prepared to render assistance and aid in the wake of the storm--where ever it is needed. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 7, 2016

Reading the Newspaper

Sliding into the end of another workweek, I almost forgot that my favorite day of the week is not Friday. Of course not! My favorite day of the week is Saturday because I usually sleep in a bit late (at least until 6AM) and get to sit on the porch, in nice weather, and read the paper with a cup of coffee.

Holding and reading an actual newspaper is a joy I experience only once or twice a week--on Saturdays and Sundays. The other days I grab my news from a quick scan of my favorite on line papers: the New York Times and the Washington Post. On Saturdays, however, the Baltimore Sun arrives at the end of my driveway and Sundays bring both the Baltimore Sun and the New York Times. Because I often golf on Sunday mornings, I cannot devote the appropriate amount of time to reading the newspapers that I would desire. 

Bring on the weekend. And as an added benefit, this weekend is a three-day weekend!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Visiting NYC During October

Statue of Liberty
October 2, 2016
It was a fast and full weekend. Chris and Ethan and I boarded a MegaBus north of Baltimore at 7:20AM on Saturday morning heading for the Big Apple. We planned to return about 10PM Sunday night. In between? As much sightseeing as we could cram into one short weekend.

Little Italy
The initial itinerary included:

Hayden Planetarium
Rockefeller Center
Times Square
Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island
Empire State Building
Central Park
Nintendo Store

We accomplished almost all of the itinerary.  The major miss was the Planetarium--we just didn't make it there. We also had a couple alternates on the list--for instance a baseball game since the O's are in town--but, this was a weekend for Ethan and carving out four hours in the middle of the day for baseball just didn't fit in. 
The Bull of Wall Street

Ethan's First Chili Dog
On the fly, we added China Town and Little Italy, Wall Street, and the 9/11 Memorial. Lunch in Little Italy was fabulous. 

I took the image of the Bull of Wall Street because it was totally surrounded by tourists and nobody could get a good picture of it. I think it is the most popular statue, aside from the Statue of Liberty, in all of NY.

Along the way we learned to navigate the Subway--and I had to relearn that Subway is not a place to eat, but means to travel. Ethan hailed a taxi! We had a long ride to China Town from Times Square. 

Did I mention chili dogs? Ethan loves street vendor chili dogs!

A View of the Weekend Weather
The weather was a bit problematic--it was misty and overcast, but that did not dampen our spirits! Although, we did visit the Empire State Building twice to find the best weather before actually paying the incredibly high admission to go to the 86th Floor.

In the end, we made it to the NYC MegaBus stop on time and had a great ride home with many memories. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Orioles Season Finale

The Orioles went to Toronto to begin the MLB Post-season. It was a one-game play in to the division series. The game lasted 3 hours and 25 minutes--but in the end, it was over so quickly in the 11th inning.

Buck on the Game
And with its ending, so ended the Orioles season. 

The game was close and tense all night. The pitchers generally controlled the batters as the innings passed. 

The Orioles three inning-ending double plays were beautiful, saving the team and the score as the game wore on. It seemed that neither team could muster the offense necessary to score and that the game could continue well into the early morning hours.

Bluejays Manager
But in the bottom of the 11th inning, the end came quickly. The first out was a 5 pitch strikeout.  And then, a pitching change with the bases empty in a move that seemed to make a lot of sense by bringing in a starting pitcher who had been almost unhittable during the month of September to set up for a long multiple-inning ending to the game. He was the pitcher that many thought should have been given the start for the game, so it seemed like a good move.

I didn't realize then that in just five more pitches to the next three batters the game and the Orioles season would be over as a three-run homer sent the Bluejays into the next round of the post-season while sending the Orioles home. 

My playoff tickets arrived by Fedex yesterday and they will remain unused. There will be no playoff games this season at OPACY. While the ending saves me a lot of money that would have been spent on souvenirs and tickets, it is money I was looking forward to spending. The World Series ticket that came yesterday for Home Game #2, will remain unused; like all of the ones that I have received before. 

But, it is over. A season in which the Orioles were projected by many to finish last in the division ended in Toronto after the Orioles had ended tied for second place. A successful campaign, but an unsatisfying ending.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Chasing October Glory

After a 162 game regular season, the play-offs begin tonight. 

American League Post-Season Teams
The goal? To win the World Series.

The participants? The best 10 teams in baseball--and what a group it is.

From the American League: Texas, Cleveland, Boston, Toronto, and Baltimore.

National League Post-Season Teams
From the National League: Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, New York (Mets), and San Francisco.

Back in April, when the season was young everyone dreamed of October glory and now the reality is here.

Tonight in a one-game play-in the Orioles travel to Toronto for the honor of facing Texas in the Division series. Sadly, the game is not being hosted in Baltimore, although the two teams finished with the same record, the Blue Jays won the season series 10-9 and earned the right to host the Wild Card game.

I hope that the Orioles make it to the World Series and form the National League I am cheering for the Washington Nationals. It would be really exciting to have a beltway World Series. 

The stage is set and I already have tickets for the ALDS play-off games in Baltimore if the Orioles win tonight.

Let's Go O's!! 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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