Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Crazy Cat

Riordin Inspecting a Bag
Elkridge, MD
June 23, 2020
Chris and I have two cats. 

Riordin in a Bag
Elkridge, MD
June 23, 2020
One of them, Louis, is mostly a lump. The classic cat that just lays around and makes me wonder why I have a cat.

The other one, Riordin, is more of a dog than a cat. He loves to sit on my lap when I am reading or watching TV. He has a very extroverted personality and does some really interesting and crazy things. He keeps life interesting, especially at about 2 AM when he decides to join me in bed and sleep next to me. I am allergic to cats!

The other day he decided that an empty bag on the counter needed a closer inspection. A very close inspection--from the inside. The bad was on the counter and he just needed to be deep inside of it. He never panicked, but he did try to move around d. We had to save him from falling off the counter at one point. After a few minutes we pulled the bag off--he actually went back into the bag and we finally had to put the bag on the floor for him to enjoy at his leisure. 

I know why the saying that cats have nine lives exists.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday Musings - June 29, 2020

1. It is the last Monday of June 2020. The year is one day from being half over. 
Dad, Chris, Mom
Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY
June 26, 2020

2. Because some asked, here is the image of Chris with Mom and Dad at Letchworth State Park on Friday afternoon. I am behind the camera. 

3. Coronavirus still grips the land and the U.S. has become the example for the world of what not to do. Apparently one of the only countries which will accept U.S. travelers id Mexico--how weird is that?

4. Traveling to upstate New York was made a pleasant experience because there were few cars and trucks on the highways. 

Masked Moose
Rest Stop near Tioga, PA on Route 15 South
June 28, 2020
5. Why is gasoline 15 cents per gallon cheaper in New York than Maryland? Why is gasoline almost 50 cents per gallon more expensive in Pennsylvania?

6. Saw this at a rest stop in Pennsylvania driving back to Maryland yesterday. Although they are promoting face mask use in PA, they do not seem as committed as either New York or Maryland to enforcement. 

7. Independence Day is Saturday! The biggest holiday of the summer is upon us. I am saddened by the number of fireworks displays that have been canceled. 

8. I have been engaged in discussions about face mask use and effectiveness. The CDC has a page devoted to Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings which goes into some detail about the use and effectiveness of the face coverings. I also have found studies that convincingly state that face masks cannot cause CO2 poisoning. I think a lot of the "science" people use concerning health reasons for not wearing face masks is similar to that about not getting vaccinations. People looking for studies to confirm their own beliefs. 

9. Today in History. On June 29, 1995, the American space shuttle Atlantis docks with the Russian space station Mir to form the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth.
This historic moment of cooperation between former rival space programs was also the 100th human space mission in American history. At the time, Daniel Goldin, chief of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), called it the beginning of “a new era of friendship and cooperation” between the U.S. and Russia. With millions of viewers watching on television, Atlantis blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in eastern Florida on June 27, 1995.

Florida’s Covid Cases Up Fivefold in 2 Weeks: ‘The Numbers Are Scary’ - The New York Times

Mississippi Lawmakers Vote to Retire State Flag Rooted in the Confederacy - The New York Times

Gunmen Wage a Deadly Battle at Pakistan’s Stock Exchange in Karachi - The New York Times

Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops, intelligence assessments say - The Washington Post

Pence urges mask-wearing as cases soar - The Washington Post

Intel doesn’t back up NYT on Russian bounties to kill US troops: Trump - Fox News

Chicago man kills 2 teens after they asked him innocent question: cops - Fox News

Stocks hit two-week lows, oil slides on virus surge - Reuters

Oil drops on sharp uptick in coronavirus cases globally - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

For just a moment, let us listen to the words again: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.'' Last night when we rededicated Miss Liberty and relit her torch, we reflected on all the millions who came here in search of the dream of freedom inaugurated in Independence Hall. We reflected, too, on their courage in coming great distances and settling in a foreign land and then passing on to their children and their children's children the hope symbolized in this statue here just behind us: the hope that is America. It is a hope that someday every people and every nation of the world will know the blessings of liberty.

-- Address to the Nation on Independence Day, July 4, 1986

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Fly Away Day

Young Wrens
Ithaca, NY
June 27, 2020
I missed the departure of the robins from the nest at my house, but I was able to see two wrens exit their home for the great big world yesterday. It rained all morning, but as the skies cleared during the afternoon it was time for these two wrens to exit their nest. They hopped across the yard to a tree where their parents were urging them to go, but not yet being able to fly they huddled together at the base of the tree deciding what to do next. My job was to ensure that no predators arrived to take advantage of the earthbound birds. It was fun to watch their parents trying to demonstrate how to fly. I departed the area to allow the birds to work together without worrying about a human being too close.

Chris and I were concerned that Finnegan would be a bit too interested in playing with the birds and we kept him well away from them. He does enjoy chasing the rabbits that hop into our yard and he has learned that the robins are too fast for him. But, earthbound wrens would likely be too hard to resist. 

Within a few minutes the family of wrens departed for new locales and a bit more ground cover than the recently mowed lawn.

Finding something new to amuse myself on a rainy coronavirus day. 

— Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Escape from Coronavirus

Dad, Me, Mom
Letchworth State Park
Castile, NY
June 26, 2020
Chris and I made our escape from coronavirus yesterday. The timing seemed right for us to complete the trip we had planned and subsequently canceled during mid-March into the wilds of upstate New York to visit my parents. 

The drive was easy due to the bright and sunny day as well as the low traffic volume. It has been some time since I have driven through the rural countryside and mountains of central Pennsylvania and upstate New York. The green hills and open farmlands are welcome change from the densely populated Washington-Baltimore region.  

But, this was a day to visit with Mom and Dad. We arrived without incident and spent a great afternoon with them. We actually enjoyed lunch in a restaurant! Yes, inside. We were the only people in one of the rooms of the Glen Iris Inn at Letchworth State Park in Castile, New York. It was a marvelous lunch surrounded by the natural beauty of the falls which Letchworth StatePark highlights. I had never been to this park before and it is another of the wonderful natural beauties which adorn upstate New York. 

The visit with Mom and Dad was great. To actually see and touch them after so many weeks of Zoom-ing.  We gave Dad his late Father's Day gift. It was late because we had originally planned to visit them last weekend and deliver it in person early, but a last minute change forced us to delay a week. 

For a day we escaped from coronavirus. We wore our face masks as required, but since we were mostly outside or seated at our table in the restaurant, the only time we had to don them was when we actually walked through the facility to be seated or to depart. 

I realized that yesterday marked my first trip outside of Maryland since February. With the cases of coronavirus on the rise, it was good to get away. 

Chris and I made a promise to make these trips more frequent.

— Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY

Friday, June 26, 2020

And They’re Gone

Fledgling Robins
Elkridge, MD
June 24, 2020
It happened yesterday. Our fledgling robins fled the nest. It happened while we were out and Chris and I did not even get to say goodbye or watch them flee. When we returned, it was quiet and they were all gone. Apparently all four of them made it out successfully.

I took this image the day before and it shows how tightly they were packed in the nest. It has been fun to watch them develop from egg to feathered bird. We do miss the activity that has surrounded the nest these past couple of weeks. But, we have the use of our porch back.

Well, now, we can reclaim the hanging basket and dispose of the now empty nest. We are truly empty nesters now.

— Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, June 25, 2020

It's Not Going Away

Coronavirus has made America the laughing-stock of the world. 

Confirmed Cases by Country
Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Dashboard
June 25, 2020
Self-proclaimed as the most advanced and most powerful country in the world, the virus has exposed our weak underbelly--we have a short attention span. 

It seems that our discover it, deal with it, and be done with it approach to problem solving is not working. Coronavirus is not going away or hiding. It is unaffected by the testing we are doing. 
Deaths by Country
Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Dashboard
June 25, 2020

While it is easy to lay blame on our leaders for the debacle which is the U.S. response to the coronavirus, it is incumbent upon each one of us to be cautious and take precautions. The total numbers of cases is not because we are doing more testing--there are other measures that show trends which indicate that that statement is misleading at best and mostly untrue. I find it fairly consistent that the U.S. has both 25 percent of the confirmed cases and 25 percent of the worldwide COVID-19 deaths. 

The U.S. has so many cases because we lost interest in protecting ourselves as started to do dumb things. The number of deaths and hospitalizations are a measure that shows that we, as a society, are unprepared to deal with a threat like coronavirus. 

Don't do dumb things! 

E.U. May Bar American Travelers as It Reopens Borders, Citing Failures on Virus-- that should be a sure sign that we are mishandling the response to the virus.

We have rights, got that--but your rights stop at my nose! We need to protect each other and we need to protect ourselves. It is clear that the government needs our help--so let's be helpful and take responsibility for our own health. 

Putting our heads in the sand is not the correct approach!

That is one reason that Chris and I have canceled our mid-July trip to Florida. It is hard--but we need to take responsibility for ourselves and our health, and the health of those around us.  

The virus in not going away--we need to learn to live with it and that means changing our lifestyle.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Two Hours in the Chair

The dentist that I see has two sides to the office complex. One side is for the routine cleaning appointments. The other is for procedures!

Crown Splitter
Yesterday, I spent two hours in a chair on the procedure side of the office. While I was happy that the office was open and seeing patients, because I had chipped a tooth over the weekend; I was unhappy that I had to visit the dentist to begin with. As it turned out, I had chipped an existing crown and not a tooth--which meant that they had to cut the crown off. When the dentist told me that he had to cut the crown off, I admit I was a bit perplexed--but as it turned out the procedure went well.  During the procedure, I was introduced to a tool known as a crown splitter. I made a not-so-funny joke about kings and queens being afraid of that tool. 

After some cleaning and reworking the tooth that remained beneath the crown, I was fitted for a replacement crown and a temporary crown was emplaced.  

After two hours in the chair I was happy to leave with the understanding that I get to return for more fun in the chair in about three weeks when my new permanent crown will be installed. The time I spent reminded me why I try to take good care of my teeth--I do not like visiting the procedure side of the dental office. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Thwarted by Thunderstorms

The winds and rain came in ferocious force yesterday afternoon. 

It did not just rain, it poured and stormed, and provided a light show complete with loud thunder. 

Looking at the 18th Green from the
Clubhouse During Weather Delay
‎⁨Whiskey Creek Golf Club⁩, ⁨Ijamsville⁩, ⁨Maryland⁩
June 22, 2020
The afternoon started off fantastic. I enjoyed a pleasant drive to a beautiful golf course. Three of us joined together for what we hoped would be an enjoyable afternoon smacking the little white ball around a scenic golf course. After few warm-up balls we hit the course. The first hole was great. No wind or rain and some great shots. 

Then, during the second hole the first thunderstorm arrived. We waited out the storm for about 45 minutes and then resumed our round. It was all great until the 5th hole when another, larger storm arrived. I was soaked by the time I made it back to the club house. As the day was getting late and the storm was soaking the course, we opted for a rain check and decided attempt play on another day. 

The 45 minute drive home, which took over an hour, was one of the most difficult that I have made in a long time. I drove in a ferocious storm for nearly the entire way and at times it was difficult to see the road. Even traveling at 27 miles per hour, I was concerned that I would miss my exit off I-70 because I would not see it, but I did successfully exit onto US-29, where I saw multiple downed trees and there was debris across the roadway. I was concerned that my pool would be hopelessly filled with debris, but fortunately, my house was on the edge of the storm and did not experience the extreme conditions that I saw while driving just a few miles away. 

A local TV station, Channel 13, described the storm as follows:

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Severe thunderstorms toppled trees and brought flooding rain and power outages to parts of Maryland Monday evening.
Temperatures in the upper 80s and high humidity helped to fuel some strong to severe storms that moved through parts of the state. Those storms produced heavy downpours and damaging winds.
Some parts of the state saw up to three inches of rain, with the heaviest amounts near Laurel, Columbia and Ellicott City.
Although my golf afternoon was thwarted by thunderstorms, I was lucky not to have experienced the damaging winds that others in the area experienced. 
And, I have a raincheck so that I can get back to the course and try it all over again. 
-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 22, 2020

Monday Musings - June 22, 2020

1. The month is passing quickly. Today is the fourth Monday of June and is the 174th day of the year. There are 192 days remaining. July begins next week. 

Looking to the 8th Green
Timbers at Troy, Ellicott City, MD
June 20, 2020
2. I enjoyed a slightly thunderstorm-shortened round of golf on Saturday. It was good to get out on the course. Thanks to Jeremy for this great Father's Day present. 

Fledgling Robins
Elkridge, MD
June 17, 2020
3. The coronavirus is making a resurgence in some southern states. It is affecting my early-summer travel plans. I may be delaying my planned trip to Florida until the numbers begin to decline.

4. The robins in the nest on our porch continue to grow. I am hoping that they will be flying the nest soon. 

5. For Father's Day my entire family gathered to celebrate. We had a great time and the pool was open and busy. There was one dog that seemed to enjoy the pool more than the boys.

6. I was encouraged to see how many people in Tulsa took the coronavirus seriously and chose not to attend the rally held there over the weekend. Perhaps common sense won out over political fervor? 

7. Interesting article: History will Judge the Complicit in The Atlantic. Warning--it is a long article and not a quick read, but extremely thought provoking. 

8. Today is the second full day of Summer! Bring on the heat, sun, and surf!

9. Today in History. On June 22, 1944, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the G.I. Bill, an unprecedented act of legislation designed to compensate returning members of the armed services–known as G.I.s–for their efforts in World War II.
As the last of its sweeping New Deal reforms, Roosevelt’s administration created the G.I. Bill–officially the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944–hoping to avoid a relapse into the Great Depression after the war ended. FDR particularly wanted to prevent a repeat of the Bonus March of 1932, when 20,000 unemployed veterans and their families flocked in protest to Washington. The American Legion, a veteran’s organization, successfully fought for many of the provisions included in the bill, which gave returning servicemen access to unemployment compensation, low-interest home and business loans, and–most importantly–funding for education.

The Virus Is Still Winning. Sports May Have to Wait. - The Wall Street Journal

Escape to the Country: Why City Living Is Losing Its Appeal During the Pandemic - The Wall Street Journal

The President’s Shock at the Rows of Empty Seats in TulsaThe President’s Shock at the Rows of Empty Seats in Tulsa - The New York Times

Stabbing at U.K. Park Is Declared a ‘Terrorist Incident’ - The New York Times

U.S. prosecutor’s ouster thrusts SEC chairman into spotlight - Reuters

Germany's coronavirus reproduction rate jumps, indicating rising contagion - Reuters

Teacher arrested at Trump rally plans to fight charge - The Washington Post

Kamala Harris' record makes her 'too comfortable' a VP pick for Biden: GOP pollster - Fox News

Noose found in Bubba Wallace’s Talladega stall, NASCAR investigates - Fox News

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

The days of our childhood forecast our lives, as poets and philosophers long have told us. "The childhood shows the man as morning shows the day," John Milton wrote. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it," Solomon tells us. Clearly, the future is in the care of our parents. Such is the responsibility, promise and hope of fatherhood. Such is the gift that our fathers give us. 
Our fathers bear an awesome responsibility-one that they shoulder willingly and fulfill with a love that asks no recompense. By turns both gentle and firm, our fathers guide us along the path from infancy to adulthood. We embody their joy, pain and sacrifice, and inherit memories more cherished than any possession. 
On Father's Day each year, we express formally a love and gratitude whose roots go deeper than conscious memory can recite. It is only fitting that we have this special day to pay tribute to those men-our natural fathers, adoptive fathers and foster fathers-who deserve our deepest respect and devotion. It is equally fitting, as we recall the ancient and loving command to honor our fathers, that we resolve to do so by becoming ourselves parents and citizens who are worthy of honor.

-- Proclamation 4845, May 20, 1981

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day 2020

My Dad
On His Birthday 2014
Hanover, MD
Happy Father's Day! 

Being a father is a tough job that requires successful balancing of competing activities.

Me and the Kids
My Birthday 2019
Elkridge, MD
Being a father also requires sacrifice! But, being a father is incredibly rewarding and fills life with uncountable memorable events and activities. I remember concerts, birthdays, ball games, plays, frustrating homework, graduations, weddings, births, vacations, parent-teacher conferences, and just relaxing by playing and spending time with the family. I admit, I was a bit high strung (or tightly wound) when I was a young father, but I was away from home a lot and always tried to make the time I was home meaningful. Were there other things that I wanted to do? Yes. There always seemed to be something calling me away from the family and I was forced to perform a balancing act at which I often failed miserably. 

Chris and I in a Selfie
September 19, 2019
Maui, Hawaii
February 27, 2019
Gywnn Oak, MD
Did I do it on my own? No. Being a father is a team sport. I understand the sacrifices and the decisions that my own father had to make as I was growing up. He was the role model, but we are both lucky to have strong women in our lives. I have my Mom and my wife who both provided guidance and correction, when needed! 

So to my Dad, happy Father's Day. 

To the three best kids a dad could ever have, thanks for being you and being the adults that you have become.

To Chris and Mom--thanks for being there so that I have fond memories of being a father.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Wildlife in the Yard

Happy start of Summer!

Young Rabbits in the Yard
Elkridge, MD
June 13, 2020 
Baby Robins
Elkridge, MD
June 17, 2020
Summer begins at 5:43 PM EDT today and with it the hopes for a great season. Winter and Spring have been duds so far with coronavirus and the economic downturn.

The wildlife in our yard has been busy. The robins in the nest on the front porch are grown quickly. I expect them to depart the nest this week (I hope). And rabbits! We have rabbits everywhere. Small rabbits and big rabbits. Apparently the fox that we used to see around the yard has moved on to another area. 

One of the small rabbits enjoys sunning on the pool deck. The rabbit is so small that it is able to squeeze through the links in the chain.

They are fun to watch, but Finnegan does like to chase them so we have to clear the area before we allow him into the yard.

Enjoy the day and the start of the new season.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, June 19, 2020

Defending the Constitution

The Supremes rule!

Supreme Court of the U.S.
I am not going to overly analyze the recent Supreme Court rulings; I am no legal expert. But, some of the rulings this week have lifted my spirits by reminding me that the one part of the government which is supposed to be free from political affiliations and focuses solely upon the Constitution remains true to that calling whether considered liberals or conservatives. 

There are a number of significant cases that the Supreme Court will be ruling upon this term and the results are beginning to show that the Constitution, form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, is the big winner.

Some would turn the rulings into a personal matter. He Tweeted yesterday:

It is not personal, it is about the Constitution. 

This week has seen two important rulings which protect millions of Americans from discrimination and/or deportation.

I copied a recap of the two most recent rulings from a New York Times article titled, The Major Supreme Court Cases This Term and What the Public Thinks. I like this recap because it shows U.S. public opinion and the specific question that respondents were asked, for the two issues. 

In Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, the court ruled that the Trump administration could not immediately shut down DACA, a program that shields about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation and allows them to work.
Where the public stands
The DACA program should remainThe DACA program should be ended
Question wording: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was created by President Obama to protect undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. since childhood from deportation. President Trump wants the Department of Homeland Security to end DACA. What do you think? | Source: SCOTUSPoll
Gay and Transgender Rights
The court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. The court considered two cases concerning gay rights, Bostock v. Clayton and Altitude Express v. Zarda, and one case concerning transgender rights, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Where the public stands
It should be illegal for employees to be fired based on sexual orientationIt should be legal for employers to fire people based on sexual orientation
Question wording: Some people believe that it should be illegal for employees to be fired based on their sexual orientation because it is discrimination on the basis of sex. Other people think that it should be legal because it is not discrimination on the basis of sex. What do you think? | Source: SCOTUSPoll
It should be illegal for employees to be fired for being transgenderIt should be legal for employees to be fired for being transgender
Question wording: Some people believe that it should be illegal for employees to be fired for being transgender because it is discrimination on the basis of sex. Other people think that it should be legal because it is not discrimination on the basis of sex. What do you think? | Source: SCOTUSPoll

What is my take away? The Supreme Court is more in touch with mainstream America than is the president. Overwhelmingly, mainstream America supported both rulings; why then is the president trying to take rights away from Americans? 

Here is how the president responded to the DACA ruling:

The rulings were not politically motivated! I don't understand how any of this was about the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, but that is an issue for others to address. 

The Supremes rendered decisions this week that both reflect the will of the people and are consistent with the Constitution, despite those who are pushing a minority view. 

The Constitution remains strong despite persistent attacks. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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