Saturday, September 30, 2017

It Worked!

I have to provide a follow-up to the washing machine repair project that occupied my time for the better part of two days.

I finished it! It works!

Drum Reinstalled in Machine Frame
It was quite  process, but I worked through it, step-by-step and got everything reconnected. I have to admit the YouTube video by Appliance Parts Pros was excellent and even had some really good tips and tricks to make the job possible. 
Closing in on the Project's End

I never could have completed the job without the video. How did we ever repair things before YouTube? Oh, yes, I remember, books! I remember the Chilton's manuals for performing auto repairs!

Changing the bearings was one of the toughest aspects of the project. Pounding out the old ones without damaging the drum and then getting the new ones installed into place was a slow process that often appeared to be making no discernible progress. I actually had to buy a new and heavier hammer and a punch to get the bearings removed and installed.

I do enjoy getting new tools when I complete a project. 

This project is in the books and I even remembered to clean the metal shavings out of the filter. It felt good to see Chris carry a basket of clothes down to the laundry area and know that the washer was ready to perform its designed function.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 29, 2017

Washer Repair

The Inner Tub as Removed
Spider Arms are gone
The Inner Tub with
Spider Arms Replaced
I am in the middle of a fairly extensive repair project. The washing machine has been down for three weeks while the parts have been arriving. 

The machine is currently in pieces in the basement. I started the repair last evening, hoping that I could finish the repair before bedtime. I was mistaken. The machine is fully apart and the broken parts have been identified. Fortunately, I ordered the correct replacement parts. 

I had planned on changing the inner and outer bearings and I also took a chance and felt that the spider arms might have been damaged that support the inner tub. I was correct. It looked as if the spider arms supporting the inner wash tub had exploded once I had the washer apart.

I was able to get the bearings out last evening and so I am in the rebuild mode today. Install the bearings, change the gaskets and put it back together. With some luck, it will work!

I love projects. This one is saving me about $800--the difference between the cost of a new washing machine and the parts I bought.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, September 28, 2017

When the Excitement is Gone

This is a transition week for my interest in sports.

Standings from
The Orioles have the day off before beginning a season-ending three-game series in Tampa to decide which if the three teams: Toronto, Tampa, or Baltimore will secure the spot as the worst team in the AL East. 

The Orioles have already secured a losing record for this season and can only minimize the damage of the already hugely disappointing season.

If only . . .  the Orioles had consistent starting pitching, and hitting, and defense, and that about sums it up. They were so close to being a contender. They were actually making noise about getting into the playoffs right up until the epic collapse of two weeks ago. It continued by being swept in ugly fashion by the Pirates this week. 

The Orioles have lost 16 of the past 20 games, That says it all.

No World Series games will be played in Baltimore again this season. 

Now my attention can turn to hockey and football. The Penguins are looking to defend their Stanley Cup Championship and the Ravens, at 2-1, are hoping to make the playoffs. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Patriotism Defined

What is patriotism?  

During the past few days there have been no end to the discussions of patriotism and what it means to be a patriotic American. 

I am not going to offer my own definition, but rather I have been looking to others to define what patriotism is and what it means.

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.” 
― Theodore Roosevelt

“The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” 
― Thomas JeffersonLetters of Thomas Jefferson

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” 
― Edward Abbey

“There are two kinds of patriotism -- monarchical patriotism and republican patriotism. In the one case the government and the king may rightfully furnish you their notions of patriotism; in the other, neither the government nor the entire nation is privileged to dictate to any individual what the form of his patriotism shall be. The gospel of the monarchical patriotism is: "The King can do no wrong." We have adopted it with all its servility, with an unimportant change in the wording: "Our country, right or wrong!" We have thrown away the most valuable asset we had:-- the individual's right to oppose both flag and country when he (just he, by himself) believed them to be in the wrong. We have thrown it away; and with it all that was really respectable about that grotesque and laughable word, Patriotism.” 
― Mark Twain

“In every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the People."

(Canton, OH, Anti-War Speech, June 16, 1918)” 
― Eugene V. DebsVoices of a People's History of the United States

  • Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
    -- Ronald Reagan
  • And so, my fellow Americans... ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
    -- John F. Kennedy
-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

My Take: What Does it Mean?

We are a distracted nation. Our passions are consuming us regarding disrespecting the national anthem and our flag, yet the world is scarcely taking notice. The enemies of peace loving peoples are continuing their assault upon the very fabric of our society.

Added to this, there have been devastating hurricanes and earthquakes across the face of the world. Our news media has lost focus on the relief efforts and have stopped encouraging us, as a nation, to step forward and support the rebuilding efforts for millions of Americans and all nationalities across the Caribbean.

The Presidential Oath of Office, as prescribed by the Constitution, reads 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."

Note: There is no evidence to confirm that Thomas Jefferson
actually penned this statement
The key part, in my mind, is the very end: ". . . and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

This statement, by itself, defines the ultimate job of the President.

This, then, becomes the point where it is important to separate the person from the position. It is OK for the person that occupies the office of President to have an opinion and to feel strongly about issues, but  as the President and the defender of the Constitution, protecting the right to disagree and dissent means supporting those who take a contrary position in a professional and understanding manner. 

My Take: We live in a country where the right to disagree is protected by the Constitution. This is materially different from a monarchy or a despot-controlled country where personal rights are not protected.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Musings - September 25, 2017

1. Autumn has arrived although it has felt like summer's last gasp with temperatures over 90 degrees for the past few days. 

Chris and Ethan at Jax's Game
2. Who says that a Cowboys fan and a Redskins fan cannot share the same space?

3. A new Star Trek series, Star Trek Discovery,  debuted last evening. The original series made its appearance 51 years ago during September 1966.

4. Monday Morning Family Sports Report. Winners: Orioles, Redskins. Losers: Steelers, Ravens, Penguins. Remaining to play: Cowboys.

5. Jax hit a grand slam during his baseball game yesterday. It was exciting and was a true homer unaided by opposing team errors. 

6. Supporting and defending the Constitution, the following quote is from the Washington Post opinion piece cited below: As Justice Jackson wrote three-quarters of a century ago, “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

7. Isn't great that we can disagree with each other and still be friends?


This is what the flag stands for, Mr. President - The Washington Post

Hot, isolated, and running out of supplies, parts of Puerto Rico near desperation - The Washington Post

Trump's culture wars take over American sports - CNN

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

"Two centuries ago, in a hall much smaller than this one, in Philadelphia, Americans met to draft a Constitution. In the course of their debates, one of them said that the new government, if it was to rise high, must be built on the broadest base: the will and consent of the people. And so it was, and so it has been. My message today is that the dreams of ordinary people reach to astonishing heights. If we diplomatic pilgrims are to achieve equal altitudes, we must build all we do on the full breadth of humanity's will and consent and the full expanse of the human heart."
Address to the 42nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, New York, September 21, 1987

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 24, 2017

End of Day Celebration

Fire pit in the Evening
Celebrations come in many forms. They can range from exuberant and loud to quiet and pensive.

Last evening, Chris and I celebrated the end of a busy and productive day around the fire pit in the yard. 

One of the tasks during the day was to saw some of the larger limbs which had fallen from the trees into usable size firewood. We were able to enjoy the fruits of that labor as a hot fire coming from the fire pit. 

Chris and Finn
Finn, our new Yorkie puppy, was there with us for part of the evening. We enjoyed the fire so much that instead of cooking dinner, we ordered pizza to eat by the fire. 
After Darkness has Fallen

At one point during the evening, a fox ran by us. I think he was confused to see people in the yard after dark. Chris had heard the screams while I was away retrieving the pizza and the fox appeared from the brush just as I was returning. It was a interesting sight to see the fox run from me, but within about 15 feet of Chris as she was sitting in her chair by the fire.

It was a perfect ending to a day which has seen me make two trips to the landfill and perform an assorted number of tasks around the house.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Top Golf Night

Nicole with a Club

Mike Showing His Form
Golf at night! What a great idea.

Last evening we headed off to Top Golf in Alexandria, Virginia, for a birthday celebration.

What a great idea--dinner, golf, and celebration.

The drive was a bit long as we navigated Friday night rush hour traffic. But it was worth the drive. 

We experienced an enjoyable evening full of golf and food and fun even if the computer scoring system was not functioning for much of the time. What could be better than hitting golf balls into targets buoyed by unlimited food and drink?

Thanks to Nicole and Mike for the unique celebration. It was a blast!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 22, 2017

Arriving, Autumn

Summer exits officially this afternoon at 4:02 PM EDT. 

Summer has been checking out for quite while now given the cool temperatures and rainy skies. The trees are even beginning show some color here. 

I believe that I am as ready as I can be--the pool is closed and I have made preparations for cutting the grasses around the pool on Columbus Day. All of the Autumn related activities are gearing up. There is even a big pile of leaves in my yard that need to be removed today. 

CNN published some 5 facts about autumn. Autumn facts. I found Fact 4 to be especially interesting as I had never read about how the season that we are entering came to be called autumn, or harvest, or fall.

Whatever  the season is called, the real situation is that now the Sun, my favorite bright orb in the sky, will be focusing its light on the Southern Hemisphere and leaving those of us north of the equator in more darkness than light. 

The year 2017 is rocketing by. There are just over three months remaining in the year. The final full season of the year is beginning and the trees will soon be bare once again. 

The slide into winter has begun, but at least summer's last gasp will be keeping our temperatures in the 80's.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Out the Hotel Window - Huntsville, part 2

Out my Hotel Window
Huntsville, AL
September 21, 2017
Yes, I am still in Huntsville, Alabama. 

I decided that sine the nighttime shot out my hotel window was so interesting that I would provide the daytime compliment.

It is boring!

Buildings, convention center, not much to look at.

The area is rather pretty, except for out my hotel window it is fairly bland and urban.

That is funny, calling Huntsville urban.

The nighttime image seemed so much more interesting.

At least he sky is blue this morning and that is a plus.

Well, it takes all views to make a world.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Huntsville, AL

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Out the Hotel Window - Huntsville

Out my Hotel Window
Evening Shot
Huntsville, AL
Traveling again, for the second week in a row! I am in Huntsville, Alabama. It has been a while since I have been here. I love the NASA rockets and museum. 

Looking at the Saturn V, I remember the exciting space flight days of the 60's and 70's when despite all odds, the United States send men to the moon and safely returned them. I have only recently begun to understand the complexity of the task and they accomplished it without the sophisticated computers we have today. 

I decided for a nighttime shot out my hotel window at all of the lights of the region. 

It is a beautiful sight--the stars and the lights of the night sky. I do wish that it were dawn, however. Daylight is so far elusive.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Huntsville, AL

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Darkness Falls Early on the Land

Stars of the Night
I noticed the early passing of the day on Sunday. 

The darkness arrived early during the evening. Because of the clouds, the sunset was not visible and it was dark by about 7:30 PM. 

Summer has truly departed.

The long evenings enjoying the additional light has given way to the autumn and shorter days. The end of DST, or Daylight Saving Time, is still over a month away, November 5, but the daylight is becoming shorter and shorter. 

I need to pack more activity into the short daylight which remains between when I arrive home and darkness falls.

I guess that is why we have two fire tables and one fire pit--so we can enjoy the evenings longer as the night falls.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Musings - September 18, 2017

Louis Protesting the Closing of the Pool
1. September is singing the praises of autumn. The leaves are falling everywhere. 

2. I closed the pool yesterday, with some help. I was happy to get it closed because the leaves are already falling from the trees, they look like big snowflakes falling to the ground. 

Leaves Falling on the Closed and Covered Pool
3. Closing the pool makes the ending of summer a reality.

4. Sports from Sunday: Winners: Orioles (not that it matters much), Ravens, Steelers, Redskins. Losers: Cowboys.

5. New puppies are a lot of work. They are cute and playful which almost makes up for the added work.

Our Dogs
Makayla and Finnegan
6. The weekend's 80 degree days were an enjoyable respire from the colder 60s and 70s we have been experiencing.


U.S. warns that time is running out for a peaceful solution with North Korea - The Washington Post

Amid Opioid Crisis, Insurers Restrict Pricey, Less Addictive Painkillers - The New York Times

A Potent Fuel Flows to North Korea. It May Be Too Late to Halt It. - The New York Times

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

"So, remember, in this vast and wonderful world that God has given us, it's not what's inside the Earth that counts, but what's inside your minds and hearts, because that's the stuff that dreams are made of, and America's future is in your dreams. Make them come true."

Remarks at Convocation Ceremonies at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, September 20, 1983

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Scenes of the Day

From the Club House
Patuxent Greens
September 16, 2017
The weather yesterday was spectacular. The high temperature made it into the 80's and the humidity was low.

1st Tee
Patuxent Greens
September 16, 2017
I was able to begin the day on a local golf course and enjoy the sunrise. There were some spectacular scenes as the day arrived. I enjoyed the mist over the course as was preparing to head off to the first tee.

I love playing golf in the morning as the sun rises. I especially enjoy watching the mist rise off the land to reveal the beginning of the day. Admittedly, it can be some difficult golf because the greens are wet an slow. I did have a few three putts while playing the front nine which was frustrating. I made up for it by playing my best nine holes of golf ever on the back nine as the course dried and had no three putts along the way.
Heron at the Golf Course

But, the day was not entirely spent  on the golf course. 

I began work to, sadly, close the pool. It is time. Summer has escaped and the pool is just not going to be used again this season. While the temperatures today might support swimming, the falling leaves from the trees and the cold water temperature remind me that it is time to say good-bye to summer and welcome autumn.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Week with Puppy

Finn Chewing on a Too Big Bone
It has been only a week since Finnegan arrived, but it seems longer.
Cat, not ours, Keeping a Close Eye on Finn

Life at home has changed with the arrival of the small dog. He provides comic relief while also adding additional work to the daily pace of life. Chris is bearing most of the burden, but then she receives most of the attention from the small ball of fur.

My recent experience was not so exciting--or maybe it was. I had to retrieve Finnegan and Makayla from Tina and Patrick's house, they were dog sitting yesterday, and I forgot and drove Cat, the Jaguar. It was an interesting ride home with the top down but the windows up to prevent an inadvertent escape. I was holding Finn and keeping a close eye on Makayla. We made it home without incident.
Looking out the Door for Chris

Last evening we took Finn to Happy Hour with us. He was excellent in his behavior and was the star of the evening. Well, almost everyone, the cat of the house was not so amused to have the small dog running around. Fortunately, he does not chase cats. I fear that would end badly.

I am not sure who has the worst separation anxiety, Chris or Finn.

Call it an interesting week with puppy!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 15, 2017

Spoon Dispenser Roulette

The cafeteria at work transitioned to plasticware dispensers a few years ago. These devices replaced the containers that used to hold the metalware, and then plasticware. 

I guess somehow recycling plastic is "more green" than washing metal forks, spoon, and knives. 

Because I often eat chili or soup for lunch, I generally use only the spoon dispenser . 

The spoon dispensers, over the years, have developed some into a lunchtime game for me. 

Here is the game. The dispensers release the spoons so quickly that if not caught, they spoons slide out of the tray and onto the floor. Getting a spoon has become a game of reflexes that requires that I grab the plastic spoon before it slides out and hits the floor. 

I have become pretty good at grabbing the spoon.  

I guess it is just one of the games I play to add some spice to the day. The food in the cafeteria certainly isn't that interesting.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Playing to the Season's End

The Orioles won a baseball game last night over the Toronto Blue Jays by the score of 2-1.

The pushed the Orioles record to 72-74, meaning that with 16 games remaining in the regular season the team is 4.5 games out of the second wild card spot and 2 games under .500.

It is a disappointing spot to be in. The season is coming to a close and the Orioles are ever closer to being on the outside of the playoffs looking in. 

The Orioles head off to New York for 4 games to play the team whose name shall remain unwritten. Following that series, they return home for the final homestead of the year beginning with the division leading Red Sox. 

Major League Baseball currently assesses the Orioles post-season chances at 1.1%. 

Pretty low. 

Very disappointing for a season that began 6 months ago.

I can envision the rain this morning to be the tears of Orioles fans as we come to grips with the finality of the season's end.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Building Ornament

Budweiser Brewery
Saint Louis
Driving near the Budweiser brewery yesterday, in St Louis, I happened upon a gargoyle (for lack of a better word), that caused me to pause. 

I also took a picture of it.

A rat eating and drinking.

It is fairly large as well. 

I am sure there is some connection.

I, however, do not know what it is. 

I am not sure I want a beer that is condoned by a medieval rat. Except, at a Renn Faire, maybe.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Saint Louis, Missouri

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Out the Hotel Window - Saint Louis

Out my Hotel Window
Through the screen
I am traveling again. The view out of my hotel window is not too stunning--but the view from the hotel parking lot is a bit more interesting. 

From the hotel parking lot
The Arch
I guess I am used to looking over the tops of the buildings. 

Saint Louis is interesting, however, I arrived during rush hour--and traffic was a bad as expected. 

I was surprised how quiet this part of Saint Louis is at night. I went out to look for food and found nearly deserted streets. 

Today promises to be far more interesting.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Saint Louis

Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Musings - September 11, 2017

Jax Pitching a Shut-out 6th Inning
September 10, 2017
1. It has been 16 years since the September 11th attacks on New York and the Washington, D.C. Take a moment from you life today to pause for a moment of remembrance.

2. Jax is playing fall baseball. It was good to see him out on the base paths again yesterday, but it was weird that I wasn't coaching. He had a great day in the field and at the plate. Striking out the side for a shut-out final inning was the topping on the cake.

3. Monday Morning Sports: The Ravens win! The Orioles got swept in Cleveland. The Cowboys win. The Redskins lose. The Steelers win!

Deer in the Yard
September 10, 2017
4. Faline, the fawn from last year, was in our yard yesterday. Of course I have no way of knowing if it was her or not, but it certainly did not seem to mind me walking around the yard until I started the blower.

Chris and Finnegan Modeling
 the Puppy Carrier
5. There is nothing funnier, or more comical, that seeing all of the accessories that Chris is getting to support Finnegan, our newly arrived Yorkie.

6. Don't forget to send help to Texas and Florida and the Caribbean in the wake of the hurricanes.

7. Hurricane Jose looks as if it won't become a problem for the U.S.


‘People are roaming like zombies.’ Virgin Islands stagger after storm passes. - The Washington Post

North Korea threatens 'pain and suffering' ahead of UN sanctions vote - CNN

Ronald Reagan Quote of the Day

"Times have changed. But the basic premise of the Constitution hasn't changed. It's still our blueprint for freedom."
Remarks at the Bicentennial Celebration of the United States Constitution, September 16, 1987

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 10, 2017

After the Storms--The Weekend

Fallen Limb
I was able to get into the yard yesterday afternoon and clean up after the rain and wind storms of last week.

Clearly, these storms were not of hurricane proportions, however, I was shocked at the size of the branches which fell into the yard. It seemed like a small tree had fallen and was deeply imbedded into the yard. The wood is well seasoned and will burn very nicely in our fire pit. 

I also made a run to the landfill to recycle more of the clippings from two weeks . 

Timbers at Troy
Hole 2 Tees
September 9, 2017
Somewhere in there I also discovered that our washer has again broken. This time is it a mechanical problem related to the bearings. New bearings are on order and I am hopeful of getting the washer fixed before next weekend.

I did manage 18 holes of golf. More precisely, the golf course managed me. It was not one of my better outings. But as I say, a bad day on the golf course is better than a good day in the office!

And that was only Saturday, I wonder what today will bring?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Finnegan Arrives

Finnegan Taylor
Stand by for an announcement. 

Finnegan Taylor has arrived. 

Chris with Finnegan
The latest animal to become a member of the household has arrived and is already making himself at home. 

He successfully made the journey from West Virginia this morning and has already been accepted by Riordin and Louis into the pack. Makayla seems to be reserving judgement, I think his enthusiasm is more than she can handle. 

Chris has been great at making the new arrival feel at home. 

Finnegan is a Yorkie and is 14 weeks old and weighs in at 2 lbs 15 oz. His expected final weight is about 5 lbs. He has a very inquisitive personality and is a bundle of energy.

He has some big shoes to fill. We lost our previous Yorkie over seven years ago, Zachary Taylor was with us almost 17 years. 

Welcome Finnegan Taylor, or "Finn" as he will be known.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 8, 2017

Changing Weather

Leaves in the Pool
September 7, 2017
It was 52 degrees outside this morning. That is 9 degrees below the average low, which for the math challenged would be 61.

I can't say it was cold--but, autumn is definitely in the air. There is not an 80 degree day in the 10-day forecast. 

I spent over an hour last evening cleaning the pool of the leaves which had fallen during the storms of the past two days. The water level was too high and the leaves were everywhere. Sadly, my pool was a storm tossed mess.

But, it is clean now although it is too cold to actually go swimming.

I am mourning the loss of summer. 

The passing of summer this year seems to mean hurricanes are vicious and numerous. 

I am also watching the three hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. The graphic is from the National Hurricane Center. 

Irma is making its way to Florida and my thoughts and prayers are for the people there, as well as for the people who have already been devastated by the passing of the storm.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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