Saturday, March 31, 2018

Jimmy Buffett in Baltimore

Jimmy Buffett in Baltimore
March 30, 2018
It had been a great couple of days. Thursday was Orioles Opening Day and last evening Chris and I made our first ever visit to a Jimmy Buffett concert.
Jimmy Buffett

The concert, admittedly, was held in one of my least favorite venues, the Royal Farms Arena, but the evening and the music overcame the too numerous to count shortcomings of the location.

The concert, however, was fabulous. Even the opening act, Caroline Jones, was a pleasure to listen to for the 25 minutes she was on stage. 

Inconsiderate Youths
Once Jimmy and the band took the stage, they never relinquished it until the even was, all too quickly, over. They performed for just over two hours and did all the greats. I was amazed when I realized that Jimmy Buffett is about 72 years old and he is still filling concert halls to hear his special brand of music. The age of the concert goers was similar. Most everyone sitting around me appeared eligible for Social Security, with the exception of two inconsiderate young ladies in front of us.  

It is not the money, mind you, but tickets to this concert were not inexpensive. These two ladies stood all evening, even when the rest of the crowd sat. They blocked my view of the stage. It was most annoying and continues to be one of the reasons that I am not a more frequent concert goer--inconsiderate patrons. At a baseball game the ushers take care of such problems, at the concert there was not an usher in sight and the young ladies would not respond to requests to sit and let those behind them see clearly.

Jimmy Buffett concert
Back to the concert, however. The setlist was well constructed and the acoustics were good and the music was not too loud. The songs evoked a summertime feeling that will carry with me until I am in Florida again. I did enjoy especially It's Five O'clock Somewhere and of course Margaritaville. 

This was an old-style concert where the performer stands in front of the crowd surrounded by his band an just plays the songs that made him great! Nothing more was required and there were no pyrotechnics or loud noises. No laser light shows, just big screens so that we could see the concert despite the girls in front of me. The backgrounds one the screens changed and were nicely choreographed with the music.

The test for any event I attend is answering the question, would I do it again? 

Yes! Next time he is in town I expect to be there. It was a great night.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, March 30, 2018

And it is a Win!

Chris Celebrating the Return of Baseball
What a day it was and what a game it was. The weather was perfect! It was warm and it did not rain, or snow.

The crowds around the park before the game were crushing! Seriously. All of the usual watering holes were filled to overflowing. Orioles fans were out in force and the color of the day was orange.
Opening Day 2018 Ceremonies
Camden Yards
March 29, 2018

Opening Day 2018 and the Orioles had to make it exciting by winning in dramatic fashion.

The crowd, in excess of 45,000, was treated to a pitching duel by both teams' starting pitchers. All of the runs scored in the game were off the relievers. 

Opening Day 2018 Ceremonies
Camden Yards
March 29, 2018
The Orioles started the season with a double off the bat of Manny Machado and ended the game with a home run from the team's captain, Adam Jones, to lead off the bottom of the 11th inning. Final score 3-2 Orioles.

The crowd stayed with the game, but when runs started to be scored, the entire stadium rocked. It was crushing to have to watch the weak fly ball drop in for two runs with two outs in the ninth to tie the game, but I was able to watch the winning home run as it flew from bat into the stands. There was no question once I heard the crack and saw the trajectory.

I love Opening Day. The magic seems to happen. For one day I can say that the Orioles are atop the American League East! Yes it is only one game and they are tied with the Yankees and the Rays--but at least for one day, they are in first.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Opening Day

The day I have been waiting and planning for since baseball season ended during early November has arrived.

Opening Day.

Baseball, major league-style, is returning to a ballpark near me! The best ballpark in all of baseball, OPACY, will be alive and thronging with thousands of Orioles fans this afternoon. 

Traffic in Baltimore will be snarled.

But hope springs eternal. At least at the start of the day, the Orioles are tied for first place in the American League East! Game 1 of 162 games is set to commence in a few hours. 

This is also the first opening day in 50 years where every team will play its opening game in the same day! That is really awesome. 

The Orioles face the Twins and the weather is supposed to be fantastic. We are scheduled to enjoy a one day warm up that will see temperatures inn the 70's--yes, you read it right. The cold is leaving us for one day and then it will return tomorrow. How lucky can we be. Warm temperatures, sunny skies, Orioles baseball, and thousands of adoring (but skeptical) fans.

Did I mention that I have tickets and am planning to be there?

Bring on the baseball, let's get this season underway!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Turning the Corner

The region may have turned the weather corner, so to speak. 

Hot Fudge Sundae with Malt
from Cindy's
March 27, 2018
Last night was the first night in weeks where the temperature did not go below freezing. It was 40 degrees on my thermometer this morning. That is 16 degrees warmer than the 24 degrees I experienced yesterday morning.

I went back over the calendar and the last time it did not go below freezing was on March 4th.

It is time to let Spring spring! We've sprung forward, baseball is starting, March is ending and there are so many things that need to be done around the yards.

To celebrate Spring, Chris and I headed off to Cindy's Soft Serve, which reopened this week, for some dessert last evening. The temperatures were definitely not summer-like, but ordering our sundaes made the unseasonable cold seem just a little bit less oppressive.

But it may get to 70 degrees tomorrow for Orioles Opening Day!  

Cue the sunshine and the baseball. Bring on the sodas and hot dogs. 

Take me out to the ballpark and lets party!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Orioles Outlook

It is the time if year when hope springs eternal. Spring training has ended and the Orioles have broken camp and are heading north in preparation for Opening Day.

Thursday is Opening Day and I am planning on being there to see the team in person. I have my tickets in hand for the big event and am excited that baseball is returning. 

That written, the Orioles are facing three greatly improved teams in the American League East. The Red Sox, the Blue Jays, and Yankees have each improved their positions during the off season. The Orioles will face each of them 19 times during the season. That is 57 games of a 162 game season, or almost 1/3 of their games will be against improved division rivals. 

On top of that, the Orioles face the World Series champion Houston Astros six times. 

To start the season, the Orioles face the four teams just mentioned during 13 of their first 17 games, including two four game away series against the Red Sox and the Yankees. And did I mention they open the season at home against the Twins, who may be the heir apparent to win the AL Central?

It could be a very disappointing and ugly start to the season. The Orioles could start something as bad as 4-13 for their first 17 games. I prefer to think that based upon what I saw during Spring Training they will be competitive and they will start the season 7-10. Where does it go from there?

I believe the O's are going to lose a lot of high run scoring games. Offense abounds in the AL East. The O's may have a solid rotation eventually, but they are starting the season with only three capable starters and a couple of hopefuls. The Orioles have holes in the reliever corps and are starting the season without the closer, Zach Britton. The lineup will be suspect against left-handed pitching and defensively right field and third base could be a disaster.

Did I mention Manny Machado? The circus surrounding him will likely end mid-season with a trade that will leave a gaping hole in the Orioles offense and defense.

For the 80 games against AL East teams and the Astros, it is likely the O's will collectively go 34-46 for a .425. That leaves 82 games against the rest of the league and it is likely the O's will split those games going 41-41. 

Sadly, then, my projection is that the O's will limp through the season and finish 75-87, which, sadly, is where they finished last year. I do believe that the Tampa Bay Rays will have a worse record in the AL East and so the Orioles will finish 4th.

I will be very happy for the Orioles to prove me wrong and make the playoffs.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, March 26, 2018

Monday Musings - March 26, 2018

Hawk at Timbers at Troy Golf Course
March 25, 2018
1. This is the last Monday in March. Amazingly, by this time next week the year 2018 will be 25 percent complete.

Jeremy Suffering in the Cold on the
Golf Course
March 25, 2018
2. Amazingly, the government is funded through the end of the fiscal year! Yay! It only took Congress six months of the year to decide on a budget. And, thankfully, we did not have to suffer through another government shutdown.

3. I played in a golf tournament yesterday. It was probably a mistake because it was just plain cold. The temperature never made it above 39 degrees. 

4. Animals on the golf course were bountiful yesterday. The hawk was magnificent sitting in the tree. It was not concerned about me at all as I got close to take its image.

5. I was amazed at how quickly the snow melted. Hopefully Spring will be finally arriving later this week.

6. The MLB season begins this week. Go O's!

7. The hockey regular season ends soon--I can tell that spring is in the air.


In Gun Control Marches, Students Led but Adults Provided Key Resources - New York Times

Trump’s Trans Ban Shows Who He Really Is - New York Times

D.C.-area forecast: Cool today, but 60-degree weather is on the horizon - The Washington Post

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Day 

"Ingenuity and innovation built our cities and made them centers of commerce and education, of culture and communication, and of progress and opportunity. But the gradual shift of power toward the Federal Government moved us away from the very principles which kept our cities on a sound footing for most of our history."

Remarks at the Annual Conference of the National League of Cities, March 5, 1984

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sunday Sunrise Musings

Radio Flyer View of the Neighborhood
March 24, 2018
Sunday's after the change to daylight saving time have taken on a new perspective with the dawn breaking so late. I'm sitting here watching the first rays of dawn break over the neighborhood.

I love the dawn, but I'm not too keen on waiting for it. 

I do get to plan the day and wake up, but the dawn can still be elusive.

Across the Hedgerow
March 24, 2018
Yesterday was a good day for flying. Radio Flyer, my drone, ascended to image the neighborhood and assess the snow cover remaining form the storm. As it turns out, the storm's snow has receded from the area, melted away and become runoff into the streams and rivers. Maybe Spring is about to arrive, finally. 

I know that I need to broaden my drone flights to new territory, but I am still getting comfortable with flying it. With each flight I am trying something new and pushing my limits to help me know how to react when something unexpected happens. Yesterday was height and distance. I lost sight of it when it blended into the sky and had to figure out where it was from my screen display. 

Quote for the Day

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts.
-- President John Adams

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Funny Snow Pictures

Winter meets Summer
Snow on the Mowers
March 21, 2018
During the first day of Spring snow storm on Wednesday, Chris and I had the opportunity to go out to Lowe's for a new door handle. Our lock set broke and it prevented the door from closing without additional effort. Not a good situation. 
Snow on the Spring Plants
March 21, 2018

It was an interesting drive in the middle of the storm.  There wasn't much traffic and the roads were in good condition on the way to the store. Coming home, however, over an inch of snow had fallen during our brief visit and things changed dramatically. The roads were snow covered and slick. 

While at Lowe's, however, I took two images of things that just shouldn't be allowed. Both of them involved snow. They document what happens when Winter meets Springtime on the first full day of Spring. 

The snow on the mowers and Spring plants was an interesting sight. The scene was an example of what is to come meeting what is happening right now.

The snow will be gone soon. Not soon enough.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, March 23, 2018

A Bright Day

The Neighborhood
March 22, 2018
The Yard
March 22, 2018
A beautiful day dawned yesterday, the day after the storm.

It is amazing how blue the sky looked as the sun rose yesterday. I enjoyed seeing the golden rays illuminate the still naked trees as the day dawned bright.

The snow retreated significantly during the day in a clear victory for the forces of Springtime. 

The ground was saturated as the snow melted, which is what I had hoped for when I oversewed the lawn and put down fertilizer for the season as the storm approached. 

Now all we need are some great 70 degree days! Did I mention that there are none in the 10 day forecast?

I always wanted to be a pilot and now, through the magic of my drone, I can make that a reality on a much more personal level. Yesterday I received the high winds alert warning again. The winds aloft were really buffeting Radio Flyer, but it did great.

It was fun to fly Radio Flyer during the storm and the day after to get some comparison shots. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Dogs in the Snow

Makayla in the Snow
Finnegan After Running in the Snow
Unlike me, my dogs love the snow.

Whenever it snows they rush outside to play in the cold, wet, white stuff. 

I am always amazed at their reactions as they charge out the door and off the steps into the snow. They frolic, yes frolic, through the snow like they have never seen it before. 

I'm sure that if we had snow all year, they would tire of it, but as it is they continue to enjoy the freshness of the newly fallen snow. 

I am glad at least my dogs enjoy the snow, even though I wish that I lived somewhere that it never falls.

Spring is coming soon, I am sure of it.

I have to keep telling myself that.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Flying in the Storm

From the Storm
March 21, 2018

More from the Storm
March 21, 2018
Radio Flyer, my drone, conducted a flight in the falling snow this morning. 

It was interesting because the collision avoidance sensors frequently activated due to the falling snow. 

It was fun flying through the snowflakes and imaging the trees and the yard. Later, I will be flying up the street as the snow is already melting and I am hopeful that this Spring storm is the last of the winter period. It is time for flowers and sunny warmth.

The big snowflakes made the flying interesting, but the flight provided some unique views of the snow on the trees.

I am glad that the leaves had not yet appeared as there likely would have been a lot of tree damage.

It is not 5:30 PM and the storm appears to have spent its energy. Now comes the freezing and the cold!

But then there is the Spring, although temperatures are not forecast to be in the 50's until a week hence, next Tuesday.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

And This is Spring?

Welcome to the first full day of Spring! And we are expecting 4-7 inches of snow. It may even develop into a snowpocalypse! But probably not.

Beginning of the Storm
March 21, 2018
Schools are closed in celebration of the arrival of Spring! Not really. They are closed because the roads are a mess. 

What a way to welcome Spring, with snow.

Two days ago I was outside working the team during baseball practice. Now, it will be until next week until i can do it again.

The local weather continues to remind me why I want to live somewhere that the sun shines and the temperatures are warm. Even though it was cool during my weekend get away to Florida, it was warmer than it has been in the Baltimore region.

Springtime brings such promise, but the weather can really crush those hopes with reality. 

I was thinking about when I will be opening the pool. May is beginning to look like a definite possibility.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Taking the Field

Mike Gathering the Team Before Practice
March 19, 2018
There is a big storm racing towards the Mid-Atlantic region. Hopefully the last gasp of Winter.

GORC Dodgers Take the Field
March 19, 2018
Spring begins today, if you can believe it, at 12:15 PM. Just after noon. 

The weather, however, will definitely be more winter-like during the next couple of days.

A sure sign of Spring, however, is baseball. Last evening the GORC Dodgers took the practice field for the third time and continued their journey developing as baseball players.

There team is actually pretty talented. We have a few pitchers, including Jax, and they have a good sense of how to play defense. It is going to be a great season. It is amazing how quickly practice passes when we are all busy and having fun.

Now, all we need is warmer weather. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, March 19, 2018

Monday Musings - March 19, 2018

1. Spring begins in two days, even though it doesn't seem like it.

Chris at Carroll Park
March 18, 2018
2. Yesterday's weather was a great foretaste of Spring. The temperature made it into the mid-the 50s. 

3. Chris and I snuck out for a quick round of golf yesterday. I had an interesting round, I think I hit every tree on the course with a ball--it was frustrating. 

Around the Smoking Fire Pit
March 18, 2018
4. The evening was pleasant and we tried sitting around the fire pit, but the wood was a bit damp and we were soon overcome with smoke. We headed under the deck for a propane fire pit to finish off happy hour. 

5. Sunday was a good day to get some lawn work done, and I was successful in getting the work done. 

6. The situation in D.C. has become incredible. That any governing is being done is a miracle. Don't forget, there is another government shutdown looming.

7. There is a major winter storm looming, the region should begin panicking soon.

8. How about Syracuse making the March Madness's Sweet 16? Who saw that coming?


Poisoning of Russian ex-spy puts spotlight onMoscow’s secret military labs - The Washington Post

Wireless firms seek to preempt local authority to install 5G equipment in neighborhoods - The Washington Post
Disabled Veterans Waited Up to Seven Months for VA to Fix Their Wheelchairs - The Washington Free Beacon

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

"There is one other obligation that all of us as citizens must face up to if we are to preserve our freedom: We must restore the security of America. Without that security, survival itself is in doubt."

Address Before a Joint Session of the Alabama State Legislature in Montgomery, March 15, 1982

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Despite the Weather . . .

We are a resilient bunch.

With the temperatures rising from an early morning low of 24 degrees into the mid-30's, baseball practice for the GORC Dodgers U10 baseball team was conducted for an hour-and-a-half yesterday. We had a great practice and the boys were really ready for the workouts.

It was cold, but the calm winds made it bearable. 

The temperatures are not expected to improve much this week. It is a very depressing forecast. More cold, ice, snow, and gray skies are in the forecast.

Getting outside despite the cold weather is important. 

Today, there may be some golf in my future. The temperature is expected to get into the 50's and a nine hole round is possible. A short respite form the crappy weather. 

And then there will likely be some yard work accomplished to continue to get ready for the season ahead. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Common Theme--COLD!

Sunset over a Venice, Florida Beach
March 8, 2018
It was a crazy week. Although I traveled the East Coast form Florida to New York, there was one common theme: cold!

Last week at this time I was in Florida and while that should be enough, it was cold in Florida. I go to Florida during March to experience a taste of what is to come when Summer finally breaks here in Maryland. I was disappointed because the temperatures were in the 60's and low 70's--except, of course, for the day I departed when the 80's finally appeared.

Geese in Niagara Falls
March 12, 2018
I did make it to a beach, briefly, while I was in Florida, but it was too cold to stay. Even with a coat on the temperatures were crashing into the 40's and it was just plain cold.

I arrived home after 8PM Sunday night and was on the road for Niagara Falls by 6:30AM Monday morning. If that is not a shock to the system, then I do not know what is.

I really got to experience cold in Niagara Falls. Even the geese were cold!

Leaving Niagara Falls, I returned to Maryland where it was also cold!

It is cold!

The temperature may crawl into the 50's tomorrow, but there are no 70's in sight.

It is 25 degrees outside right now and I have baseball practice in three short hours. 

That means more cold!

I hope it gets warm soon.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, March 16, 2018

2018 Valspar Championship Reflections

Tiger Woods
Valspar Championship Round 2
March 9, 2018

Jordan Spieth
Valspar Championship Round 2
March 9, 2018
It is hard to believe that is has already been a week since I attended the second round of the  2018 Valspar Championship

It was my first PGA Tournament in person and Jeremy was very patient with me as I tased a lot of questions as we walked the course.

What a day it turned out to be. It was fun to walk the course and watch the pros play golf. I was impressed and amazed with the access. I was also happy that i was never near anyone who yelled "It's in the hole" as soon as the club connected with the ball.

It was fortuitous that Tiger Woods was in a threesome with Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson on that day. I really like watching Jordan and Jeremy is a huge Tiger fan. 

Tiger Woods
Valspar Championship Round 2
March 9, 2018
I took a lot of images of the activities, but I also videoed some of the hits and putts. 

The day was cool and so it was not a tedious and hot walk like it will be as the season wears on. I actually enjoyed the sun and the crowd, which was very well behaved. 

I love seeing the course and how it was prepared for the pros. The sound of their clubs hitting the ball was different form any sound that my club has ever made.

All-in-all it was a great event. I wish I had time to do more of the rounds. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Golf Course Critters

Florida in March provides med a chance to get back into touch with the critters that inhabit golf courses. 

Some of them are downright dangerous--like the gators. Some are just enjoyable to watch like the birds, especially the sand cranes (which I failed ot take a picture of this year even though they were everywhere). I love the way they scream like I imagine a pterodactyl would sound.

It is a different experience though walking to the waters edge and having to check for gators. I have a rule about never putting my hand in the water just in case I missed one lurking just off shore. Yes, they are big, but they are stealthy. 

Stealthy Gator
Jim Schaecher took this image
The wildlife on the golf course reminds me that it is possible to be in harmony with nature. Respect the diversity and live together.

There is do much more to do on a golf course than hit the little white ball around.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Out the Hotel Window - Niagara Falls, NY

Out the Hotel Window
March 12, 2018
I was expecting a breathtaking view out my hotel window while staying in Niagara Falls, but alas it was not to be. 

Out the Hotel Window #2
March 13, 2018
I did manage a before and after image out the window during my brief, one-night stay at the Hampton Inn on Niagara Avenue. The before was the day of arrival and the after was the day of departure. The difference was a snow storm. Ugh! 

Do we really need to experience snow during the month of March? I think not. 

Snow Falling on the Niagara River
March 12, 201 8
I tried to take an image of the same scene out window, but somehow I forgot how I had oriented the camera. 

Spring is just a week away. Count 'em, seven days. 

I did enjoy the fluffy flakes falling on the Niagara River while we were out watching the water plunge across the falls. It is a scene that I am sure not many people get to see because they are not crazy enough to visit during the the cold, still, winter season. 

I am glad to be south today, although the temperature at the house this morning is 28 degrees. Too cold to be Spring.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Florida to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls
March 12, 2018
It has been a crazy couple days. Sunday I was in 80 degree temperatures in Florida. Yesterday I arrived in frozen Niagara Falls to attend a funeral for one of Chris's aunts. This morning it is snowing liberally and a blizzard is hitting the east coast.

I want to go back to Florida.

I drove past snow covered golf courses on the way here and reflected upon some of my better strokes in the bright, warm Florida sun just hours before.

It is amazing how so much weather can be packed in such a short time.

The images I took of the falls show the power of the water in the frigid temperatures it was a good time to visit as there were no crowds. Similarly, many of t
he touristy attractions were not open. But parking was plentiful.

I guess I enjoy visiting popular attractions during the off season.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Niagara Falls, NY

Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday Musings - March 12, 2018

The Team for the Golf and Baseball Weekend
Jim, Andy, Jeremy, Bird, Mike, Me Steve
1. The golf and baseball weekend was successfully completed and I have returned to the cold northern climate. I wish I was still in Florida!

Final Score
Pirates vs Orioles
March 10, 2018
2. I learned something about golf this weekend. If you play every day, either you get better or your muscles quit working.

3. I got to run the bases at Ed Smith Stadium. I think it is pretty cool that they have a seniors run the bases event. Up north at Camden Yards they only have a kids run the bases event.
Banana Tree and Fern

4. I want a banana tree in my back yard.

5. Sometimes flying can be very interesting. Yesterday Jeremy and I sat next to Senator Ben Cardin on the flight from Tampa to Baltimore. We did not discuss politics.

6. I thoroughly enjoyed the Valspar PGA Event. Where else can you get up close and personal with the golf legends?


How Trump’s Disdain for the Iran Deal Makes a North Korea Pact Even Harder - The New York Times
Jordan Spieth
Valspar Championship
March 9, 2018

Missouri is a destination wedding spot — for 15-year-old brides - The Kansas City Star

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

"There is one other obligation that all of us as citizens must face up to if we are to preserve our freedom: We must restore the security of America. Without that security, survival itself is in doubt."

Address Before a Joint Session of the Alabama State Legislature in Montgomery, March 15, 1982

-- Bob Doan, writing from Elkridge, MD
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