Wednesday, September 30, 2020



I had planned to write a review of last evening's debate between the presidential candidates for my blog today, but after watching the spectacle that unfolded in front of the world, I'm not sure that much more needs to be said.

Little of substance was discussed.

Grievances were laid bare. 

Paranoia was on display. 

The most important thing I saw was the difference in character between the two men vying for the highest office in the land and arguable the world. 

Biden says president has made U.S. more divided as Trump interrupts and slings insults - The Washington Post

There were some scary statements.

“Proud Boys — stand back and stand by,” President Trump. Despite what Donald Jr. said this morning, these words are not the same as: "stand down."

And the results? Members of the group used Trump’s “stand back and stand by” comments to create a fresh logo and messaging campaign on social media. A few minutes after the debate, the Proud Boys’ main account on Parler had tweeted a video of Trump’s statement. “YES SIR, PROUD BOYS STANDING BY,” it said. (Trump refused to condemn white supremacists and militia members in presidential debate marked by disputes over race)

It was not a presidential Presidential Debate. 

It was Theater of the Absurd--but we get to choose which direction we want this nation to go.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Monday Musings on Tuesday, September 29, 2020


1. It is the last Tuesday of September. The month ends tomorrow. The arrival of Autumn was relatively uneventful with the exception that Summer abandoned us. Fortunately, it is still summer-like in Florida.

2. Driving for long hours makes me appreciate the size and diversity of this country. 

3. The Orioles finished the season 25-35, .417, which is a great improvement from last year. They won three more games than I forecasted, which is good and they did not finish last in the division. I learned a lot about the team and I saw they need to work on the bullpen!

4. Family football finish

     Ravens (2-1) lose to Chiefs 20-34
     Cowboys (1-2) lose to Seahawks (3-0) 31-38
     Football Team (1-2) lose to Browns (2-1) 20-34
     Steelers (3-0) defeat Texans (0-3) 28-21

5. It is weird, I am on vacation and totally forgot that yesterday was Monday! I wrote about clouds, I guess my head was cloudy from too much relaxation. Actually, it was foggy from the hot house where the A/C has not yet been repaired. 

6. Is anyone else concerned that it appears as if Russian banks literally own the president? Does that make him an agent of a foreign power? I think he has big debt to the German Deutsche Bank and Chinese banks as well.

Intracoastal Waterway
Tequesta, FL
September 28, 2020

7. We enjoyed Happy Hour at one of our favorite outdoors watering spots on the Intracoastal Waterway last evening. It was a beautiful evening with friends.

8. Today in History. On September 29, 2005, New York Times reporter Judith Miller is released from a federal detention center in Alexandria, Virginia, after agreeing to testify in the investigation into the leaking of the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. Miller had been behind bars since July 6, 2005, for refusing to reveal a confidential source and testify before a grand jury that was looking into the so-called Plame Affair. She decided to testify after the source she had been protecting, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, signed a waiver giving her permission to speak.

Tax Records Reveal How Fame Gave Trump a $427 Million LifelineTax Records Reveal How Fame Gave Trump a $427 Million Lifeline - The New York Times

White House Pressured C.D.C. Over School Risks - The New York Times

Immigrants Say They Were Pressured Into Unneeded Surgeries - The New York Times

Global Virus Deaths Surpass One Million - The Wall Street Journal

Presidential Debate to Focus on Coronavirus, Supreme Court - The Wall Street Journal

Maryland County to Pay $20 Million to Settle Suit Over Police Shooting - The Wall Street Journal 

Unraveling of Trump policies a distant hope for separated immigrant families - Reuters

Meatpackers deny workers benefits for COVID-19 deaths, illnesses - Reuters

Ronald Reagan quote for the week

  • My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Monday, September 28, 2020



Carlin Park Beach
Jupiter, Florida
September, 27, 2020

It is the ultimate measure of relaxation when my cell phone is being used only as a camera and I ignore the stream of texts and news that continue to arrive unabated. My mind focuses upon the clouds and the bed of sea shells in front of me as I listen to the waves sweep across the beach. 

Carlin Park, Jupiter, FL
September 27, 2020

Sitting under the colorful umbrella to help keep the damaging sun's rays from burning my skin while I look out to the east and consider the clouds. I enjoy the colors of the ocean mixing white, blue, and green and the pinks of the sun's fading rays reflecting in the clouds. The beach is anything but crowded and I can feel alone with my thoughts and of course the glass of wine in my hand.

It is fun to watch the shore birds play in the beach searching for food and rushing along the surf together or alone. 

Relax and watch the clouds as the pass. 

Another day in paradise? Not really, but close.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Back to the Ocean for an Ending and a Beginning


Jupiter Island Beach Looking East
September 26, 2020

I was greeted by the ocean yesterday morning. It was a flat ocean with rolling waves sliding onto the beach. My morning walk was fabulous as I reconnected with the water, the waves, the sand, the sea creatures and found myself marveling in the beauty of the ocean and the ever changing beach. The sky added excitement to the scene as Chris and I enjoyed shaking off the remnants of the 14 and a half hour drive and sleeping in a house that was just a bit too hot and too humid.

Small Boat off Jupiter Island
September 26, 2020

As we walked, we saw a fisherman headed out to deeper water in a small boat racing to get to where the "big" ones are. A day on the water catching fish and enjoying the bounty of the sea was ahead.

Sunrise this morning was at 7:11 and I was sitting on my patio looking to the east as the first rays of the sun graced the land and the palm trees that are behind my condo. Chris and I will head off to walk a beach again this morning in a few minutes. It is something that we do almost every morning. We have multiple beaches to choose from to enjoy our walk and the beaches are different every day. 

I want to thank everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday yesterday. It is humbling to receive greetings from so many friends. Thank-you. I wish each of you a great day and a great year. I have to admit that spending my birthday in my happy place, even without air conditioning, was perfect. Not having the cool air in the condo will make it even more of a luxury when it is finally repaired. I enjoyed a very special birthday pie with friends last evening to go along with the celebration. No, it was not the cake that Chris, who carries the tradition on that my Mom started when I was a kid, makes every year--but it was perfect for the place and the time. 

And special.

As I celebrate a year just ended another begins full of hope and promise. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, Florida

Saturday, September 26, 2020



Broken A/C Unit
Tequesta, FL
September er 26, 2020

Some trips seem fraught with opportunities to overcome adversity. As I begin day one of my escape to Florida to enjoy the condo before the 
winter season Chris and I are again confronted with misfortune.  

It seems that the electronic boards in our air conditioning unit expired during the two week period since we were last here. So we arrived in Florida with our two dogs in 90 degree heat and high humidity without an essential creature comfort. 

It is not too bad. Our friends offered an air conditioned comfort bedroom for the night, but we wanted to sleep in our own place. We did accept an additional fan to supplement our ceiling fans. We actually slept very well. 

Fortunately, our friends went to the condo during the early afternoon to get the a/c cooling in advance of our arrival and discovered the untimely demise of the system. That allowed us to actually get a repair person in to diagnose the problem before our arrival--but, as with most electronics lately, the parts need to be ordered and the earliest we can expect repair is, well, Tuesday! But, possibly later. That is the earliest!

I am reminded that I grew up without the comfort of air conditioning. People until about the mid-20th century lived routinely without air conditioning. My sixth floor dorm room at the University of Miami did not have air conditioning when I arrived there. I survived.

The dogs are taking it in stride.

We have had quite a time lately. The electronics board on the refrigerator went as we departed the condo a couple weeks ago, the exhaust on the truck needed to be repaired before we departed, and now the A/C. That is just the way it is I guess. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, Florida

Friday, September 25, 2020


Chris and I have found the remnants of Tropical Storm Beta near Lumberton, North Carolina. It is slowing our driving a bit, but the weather radar shows we are just skirting the southern remnants of the storm. We have five hours under our belts and the trip has been smooth.

Seeing the signs for South of the Border makes me smile as they always have when I have make the journey on I-95. The signs are new and so it must be open again. I had heard they were closed a couple years ago. Who knows if that is true.

We expect to be in rain until Savannah and then, hopefully better weather. I had to do an emergency repair on the truck exhaust system when I got home from work last evening and was successful. It reminded me of how much I do not like being on my back under vehicles doing repairs anymore. I did get a new tool however. I have a Dremel again. I used it to cut an old exhaust strap off the muffler.

Well about ten more hours to go before we arrive at home in Florida. I am looking forward to being wrapped in the heat and humidity. The 40s and 50s of the past two weeks have been a reality check reminding me that the dark season is coming.

— Bob Doan, Southern North Carolina

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Friday Eve


I have been joking about how Thursday has become Friday Eve--well, I guess it has always been Friday Eve but we just considered it to be another Thursday. 

It must be a sign of the times that I am looking forward to the weekend more and more. If I could pull it off, I might consider a way to extend the weekend.

A few decades ago, when I was stationed in Germany with the Air Force I enjoyed being in a NATO staff officers position. I learned that the different cultures of the then 16 nation NATO had distinctly different ideas about weekends. The best example was from the Belgians. They would leave at noon on Friday, allowing them to drive home to Belgium for the weekend, and not return until noon on Monday. We joked that it was a Belgian weekend. While at times it was a bit frustrating that they could leave half-way through Friday, in retrospect it was a good idea.

I wonder if I could implement that where I work?

Probably not.

So, I guess the best I can do is foster the idea of Friday Eve for Thursday and get everyone in that weekend state-of-mind a day early. 

At the least it will get their minds off coronavirus. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Whose Fault is It?


Yesterday, I heard the most viscerally offensive defense of the failed governmental COVID-19 policy yet. 

It was simply, if nothing had been done then the projections were that 2,000,000 Americans would have died. And that is supposed to be a defense? The experts are saying that if something had been done sooner perhaps 60,000 less people would have died.

The Atlantic postulated that: 

A Failure of Empathy Led to 200,000 Deaths. It Has Deep Roots.

And I can agree with that statement. 

The article I referenced is eye opening and saddening as it recounts studies which help to understand why we have become less energized to the magnitude of the losses.

The article contains this paragraph:

It’s hard for anyone to comprehend the sheer horror of mass death. As I [Olga Kazan, the author of the article] wrote in April, “compassion fade” sets in when victims are no longer individuals but statistics, and few Americans have witnessed something of this scale before. But there’s an additional explanation for this empathy deficit: Part of the reason this majority-white, majority-non-elderly country has been so blasé about COVID-19 deaths is that mostly Black people and old people are dying. Eight out of 10 American COVID-19 deaths have been among people older than 65; the rest of the dead are disproportionately Black. White people’s brains psychologically sort minorities as “out-groups” that stir less empathy. Segregated neighborhoods have also helped insulate white Americans from the horror Black Americans face, because the ambulance sirens and the packed hospital wards are typically far from their own zip codes. “We literally don’t see those deaths in the same way we might if we didn’t experience segregation,” says Nour Kteily, a management professor at Northwestern University who studies hierarchies.

What I see is that the United States is the world leader in cases and deaths and that after a small dip in the positivity rate during the past few weeks the daily number of new cases continues to rise even as testing has been reduced or even strangled in some areas. 

We are going in the wrong direction and it appears that no one is committed to combatting the proliferation of the disease.

It is similar to the situation where the Congress cannot get relief to people in need from the economic disaster that COVID-19 has caused in the country.

Change is needed! We can argue about who is at fault, but it really doesn't matter--everyone is at fault. Each of us is at fault if we have not taken the time to communicate to our elected representatives that sober plans, answers, and actions are needed now. The time for partisan politics has passed. 200,000 Americans are dead and more are dying daily. 

Whose fault is it? 

It doesn't matter whose fault it is. What we need is leadership that will take charge and work to solve the problem rather than denying that there is a problem or blaming it on someone else.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

A Normal Saturday Returns


Chris and I enjoyed a more normal, BC* Saturday this past weekend. 

Ready at the Plate
Loch Haven Park, Maryland
September 19, 2020

We went to and enjoyed an autumn youth league baseball game. It was a clear, crisp, cold autumn morning with temperatures in the 40s as we woke and in the 50s at game time. We drove to the game, which had a 10:00 AM first pitch time looking forward to being back at a baseball field watching our grandson play ball.

Getting the Sign
Loch Haven Park, Maryland
September 19, 2020

We dressed warmly, but not warmly enough--I needed to get into the sun every half-inning to absorb enough warmth to enjoy the game as we were seated in the shade. I could have chosen to move to a sunny spot, but we were between the dugout and home plate on the first base side of the field right at the fence. It was a great position to watch the game that I used to coach.

The game started late and went the full two hours ending about 12:30 PM. It was a great escape from the news of the day which caused me to enjoy the outing even more. Jax had a frustrating day at the plate but pitched three solid innings allowing one earned run and throwing only 44 pitches. 

After the game, it was time to work around the house and enjoy the sunny, yet cool, day outside. I mowed the lawn and tended to some other minor projects ending the day, as Chris and I do, enjoying a glass of wine chatting about life, the future, and dreaming a bit about times to come while mindful of things past.  

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

*Note: BC is Before COVID

Monday, September 21, 2020

Monday Musings - September 21, 2020


1. It is the third Monday of September. There is one Monday remaining this month.

2. Does anyone else feel as if Summer just abandoned us and departed? The temperatures have really taken a fall this week. I am very glad that I closed the pool last week.

3. Saw this shirt on Facebook--I might decide to purchase one because it is too true. 

4. I ran across the above home COVID-19 test. I followed the instructions and took the test myself. It worked.

5. Yesterday was a beautiful Autumn day--wait, Autumn does not begin until tomorrow!

6. Family NFL Weekend Report
     Ravens (2-0) defeat Texans (0-2) 33-16
     Cowboys (1-1) defeat Falcons (0-2) 40-39
     Steelers (2-0) defeat Broncos (0-2) 26-21
     WFT (1-1) lose to Cardinals (2-0) 15-30

7. The Orioles have assured themselves of another losing season. They are 23-31, .426, with just six games left to play. I had expected them to win 21 games and at least they did better than my prediction. And they were even in the playoff hunt in September--well, until the Orioles annual September losing streak kicked in. 

8. Today in History. On September 21, 1780, during the American Revolution, American General Benedict Arnold meets with British Major John Andre to discuss handing over West Point to the British, in return for the promise of a large sum of money and a high position in the British army. The plot was foiled and Arnold, a former American hero, became synonymous with the word “traitor.”

Ronald Reagan Quote for the week

“Let me speak plainly: The United States of America is and must remain a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. Our very unity has been strengthened by this pluralism. That's how we began; this is how we must always be. The ideals of our country leave no room whatsoever for intolerance, anti-Semitism, or bigotry of any kind -- none. The unique thing about America is a wall in our Constitution separating church and state. It guarantees there will never be a state religion in this land, but at the same time it makes sure that every single American is free to choose and practice his or her religious beliefs or to choose no religion at all. Their rights shall not be questioned or violated by the state.

-- Remarks at the International Convention of B'nai B'rith, 6 September 1984” 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Rumors, certainty, and inclusiveness

I received an email the other day. It stated that because rumors of change had made it to leadership and to ensure transparency this email is . . . 

The email went on to confirm that potentially significant change is being planned, but the details have not been worked out.

It struck me then that: 

Rumors are the evidence for lack of transparency. 

Now I have also read that in the absence of certainty, rumors flourish.

There must be a way to bring both of these concepts together. 

In the article, Transparency, Certainty and Rumors, Matt Reed, the author, makes the point that one can be transparent but that the lack of certainty becomes the real problem. He writes the following:

Truth is like water. Still water is transparent. Running water isn’t. Right now, we’re in the rapids; the water itself may be transparent, but it’s rushing so fast that it’s hard to see what’s next. Will warm weather hit before the virus explodes, or will the virus explode before warm weather hits? I don’t know.

In the absence of certainty, rumors flourish. Admittedly, some of them are fun; I liked the observation on Twitter that ever since Ted Cruz self-quarantined, there haven’t been any more Zodiac murders. It’s technically true, though perhaps a bit misleading.

I understand his point, but in the description of the situation which caused him to write about certainty I believe that he was not being totally transparent, despite his assertion to the contrary. By not actively providing the information about decisions surrounding closing the college to the workforce instead of having them contact him individually, he turned the running water into swirling rapids through lack of transparency. 

Rumors fill the gap between known and imagined. When leadership fails to keep the workforce, including the subordinate leaders, informed then the resulting rumors can make it hard to implement a great plan before it even gets off the ground. Rumors call into question the leadership intentions before they even get a chance to socialize the reasons for change.

The problem comes when leadership is certain there is going to be a significant change, but because they have not fully characterized the details of the change they withhold the information.

That brings up inclusiveness. Why is significant change planned without including the workforce? That goes against every current leadership principle and hearkens back to the draconian management days of the 60's. 

Including the workforce at the beginning of the change planning is much better for the organization than dropping change on them. Surprise change sows mistrust

And let me add a point--mistrust at the operational and tactical leadership levels of the organization could transform into buy-in through inclusiveness.

Rumors, then, are evidence for lack of transparency. There are additional symptoms to be considered, for instance lack of certainty and inclusiveness--but together with lack of transparency these all point to failed leadership. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, September 19, 2020

A Pause to Remember


The news last evening of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the age of 87 was although not unexpected it was shocking and saddening. 

The headline from and NPR article provides a view of the impact that this Supreme Court Justice had on America. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion Of Gender Equality, Dies At 87

She was the second woman ever to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. 

Her marital advice, "It helps sometimes to be a little deaf" is important to consider and follow. 

The political ramifications of Ginsburg's death are huge and, sadly, already being discussed and debated. In my view, these discussions should be placed on hold to allow her family and the country to mourn her passing. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 18, 2020

Red v Blue


2016 Electoral College Results

America is becoming almost hopelessly divided between Red and Blue.

Yesterday, the president made a point of dividing the states between red and blue while speaking of the coronavirus and COVID-19. 

To what end?

Is he not the president of the United States? Listening to him it would seem that the is the president of only the red states? 

The New York Times reports on a statement he made yesterday:

“If you take the blue states out,” he said, “we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at. We’re really at a very low level.”

The statement was as jarring as it was revealing, indicative of a leader who has long seemed to view himself more as the president of Red America rather than the United States of America. On the pandemic, immigration, crime, street violence and other issues, Mr. Trump regularly divides the country into the parts that support him and the parts that do not, rewarding the former and reproving the latter.

  Source: For Trump, It’s Not the United States, It’s Red and Blue States, New York Times, edited September 18, 2020

The constant division of America into camps that are wither for or against the president is reminiscent of elementary school playground politics. Which are the "in" kids today?

The stream of "dissatisfied former employees," as Vice President Pence called them recently, coming from White House staff positions all telling similar stories should send off alarm bells that something is not good at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. No other administration has had such a stream of dissatisfied former employees in the history of the United States. And the story they tell is the same, I almost do not need to buy any of the newly published books to have the writings of previous authors confirmed.

We need to end the division of our people, our land, and our leadership. 

We must become the land of e pluribus unum again.

A "house divided against itself cannot stand." (Matt 12:25 and Abraham Lincoln)

Our nation may not survive coronavirus unless the we start working together.

Let's change the color of the election map to something like black and gray--which are shades of each other. We must find unity while celebrating diversity.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Happy Constitution


It is time to celebrate the document upon which our freedom and Republic are founded. 

The Constitution!

It is Constitution Day!

On September 17, 1787, the Founding Fathers signed the most influential document in American history, the U.S. Constitution. (Source: National Constitution Center)

It would be a good day to go to Philadelphia to enjoy the festivities--wait, except for coronavirus. But the festivities will be on line. 

A good reference for the celebration is the National Constitution Center

Lately, it seems, that the Constitution is under attack by people who should understand what is contained within it, but choose not to accept what is written. 

Take a moment today to read the Preamble to the Constitution and maybe review one or more of the articles and amendments. They are important!

Happy Constitution Day!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Seven and the Climate

There are seven storms in the Atlantic which are or could become hurricanes. That is a huge number of storms at any one time. The amount of energy that these storms represent is astounding. 

Here is a graphic from the National Hurricane Center:

National Hurricane Center
As of September 16, 2020 at 0530 EDT

The link references the current display of the storms, so it will likely be different from the one displayed. 

Of course Sally is in the news because of the devastation expected along the Gulf Coast--but there are other storms lurking out in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico which also could become problems. 

Do the high number of storms represent yet more evidence to support climate change? 

That is an election issue.

CBS News reported:

President Trump's repeated refusal to accept climate science could not be farther from the view held by opponent Joe Biden, who believes climate change "poses an existential threat." The difference in opinion became clear again on Monday when Mr. Trump dismissed the scientific consensus on climate change at a briefing on California's record-breaking wildfires Monday.

The article later highlights:

Mr. Trump has called climate change a "hoax," and rolled back numerous policies put in place to protect the natural environment. Despite his record, the president recently declared himself the greatest environmentalist since President Theodore Roosevelt, who helped protect 230 million acres of public land.

In contrast, Biden's campaign website features the candidate's climate change plan, which stresses that it threatens not just the environment, but also "our health, our communities, our national security, and our economic well-being."

Biden has endorsed the Green New Deal, noting that it "captures two basic truths"  at the core of his climate change plan: "(1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected." His plan sets a goal for a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050.

Whether seven storms in the Atlantic at one time is more evidence for climate change is really a moot point, there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that we must do something to reduce our impact on the climate. 

Science or no science. You make the call.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Tuesday, again


I am not sure what it is about Tuesdays, but I really do not know what to do with the day. It is that day sandwiched between Monday and Hump Day that just seems to be there. It is a way point from the beginning to the midpoint of the week. 

At least on this Tuesday we can celebrate the start of the NFL season and the return to sports normalcy in America. Perhaps we are beginning to find ways to live life and coexist with coronavirus. 

It seems that the trend in new coronavirus cases is continuing down since the high-water mark during late-July.

Perhaps we are finally moving forward as the summer comes to an end.

Maybe that is why Tuesday is good for; assessing our progress against coronavirus.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, September 14, 2020

Monday Musings - September 14, 2020


1. It is the second Monday of September. The month is nearing the halfway point. There are 50 days until Election Day 2020.

2. Football is back. Yesterday felt like a more normal Football Sunday in America. The NFL played games and our family responded by watching.

3. Family NFL Results:

    Ravens defeat Browns, 38-6

    Washington defeats Eagles, 27-17

    Cowboys lose to Rams, 17-20

    Steelers play tonight.

4. Thursday, the 17th is Constitution Day. When was the last time you read the Constitution? 

5. Promises, Promises. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Donald Trump promised he would eliminate the nation’s debt in eight years. Instead, his budgets would add $8.3 trillion during that time. It would increase the U.S. debt to $28.5 trillion at the end of eight years, according to Trump's budget estimates.

(Source The Balance: Trump and the National Debt)

6. I have noted that rush hour traffic is getting back to near normal.

7. I wish I could attend a baseball game even though the Orioles had a bad week and essentially took themselves out of playoff contention. 

Star Spangled Banner

8. Today in History
. On September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort M'Henry,” was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

As West Coast Crews Battle the Fires, Thousands Are Displaced - The New York Times

Afghanistan Peace Talks Open in Qatar, Seeking End to Decades of War - The New York Times

Trump says he’ll ‘negotiate’ for a third term in office  - The Washington Post

Two meat plants were fined $29,000 for failing to keep workers safe from the virus. Critics say it is not enough. - The Washington Post

Israel to lock down nationwide in main holiday season amid COVID-19 surge - Reuters

WHO reports record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases, up over 307,000 - Reuters

Disney’s ‘Mulan’ Tops China Box Office Amid Controversy - The Wall Street journal

China Serves Up Pig-Backed Loans for Its Hogtied Farmers - The Wall Street Journal

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

"We the people tell the government what to do, it doesn't tell us. We the people are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world's constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which We the people tell the government what it is allowed to do. We the people are free." 

Jan 11, 1989

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Season-ending Event

End of the Pool Season
Elkridge, MD
September 12, 2020
Yesterday marked the end of the 2020 pool season. Looking at the weather forecast with temperatures dipping deep into the 50's and highs in the 70's, the pool water will be too cold to enjoy without pumping significant amounts of propane through the heater to keep it enjoyable for the brief periods that we would like to swim--and then the air temperature would make getting out of the pool a frigid experience.

Sadly, it was time. 

Resurfacing the Pool
Elkridge, MD
March 29, 2020

The pool season began early this year. We contracted to have the pool resurfaced. That led to a fantastic pool season with no algae problems and a nice smooth pool surface to enjoy. It was without a doubt the best pool season that we have enjoyed. And for the first time since we have lived here, we also were joined by new friends from the neighborhood with their children who also enjoyed swimming in the pool on the incredibly hot days of summer. 

It was a great summer for the resurfaced pool and it was a highlight given that many of the community pools were not open or were severely limiting the numbers of people who could enjoy the cooling waters on the 95 degree days we experienced. 

Now it is covered waiting to be revealed next Spring. Who knows what the next year will bring, but I know that the pool will be there--waiting for another season of summer fun.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, September 12, 2020

UPS Customer Pick-up Adventure


UPS Customer Center
Vero Road, Baltimore
September 9, 2020
I hate missing packages that are arriving via FEDEX or UPS. Missing them means that, if I am lucky, I get to make a trip to the customer center.

Such a situation presented itself as a result of our trip to Florida last week. An unexpected package arrived which required an adult signature. After a great deal of discussion with the delivery person through my doorbell camera and speaker during the third and normally last delivery attempt, I was on a beach at the time, I was able to have the package held at the UPS Customer Service Center for pick-up after my return.

It has been a while since I visited the UPS Customer Center. UPS does not seem to have as many local centers as FEDEX. The center followed strict COVID-19 rules which meant that only two customers could be in the center and everyone else had to queue outside. I was glad that it was not raining. 

They only had one person working the counter and so the line moved very slowly. But, I successfully retrieved my package and was able to maintain physical distancing. 

Picking up a package continues to be an event.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 11, 2020

Shining City on a Hill


The United States, in the past, was described as "a shining city upon a hill."  We believed in the words of the documents upon which this country was founded. Many of us believed that those ideals were reality. In truth, equality was not, and is not equally available to all of the citizens of this great country. Many of us are blind to reality. 

It has been a tumultuous summer. The year 2020 is going to be remembered as a quite a year. It is of course the year of the pandemic--which shows no signs of passing; but more importantly, I believe that 2020 will be remembered well into the future as the year when the United States finally began to understand and achieve the great charge that the Founding Fathers gave to us when they wrote the Constitution.

I love the Preamble of the Constitution. It states so very clearly what the United States is all about and provides a guidepost for us to measure progress. I do not believe that the Founding Fathers believed that we had attained the utopia described in the Preamble, but wrote the Preamble to guide us.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." (Preamble to the Constitution)

The Preamble to the Constitution sets the stage for the "Shining city on a hill" that we have, until recently, believed ourselves to be. 

This year many of us have come to realize that the "Blessings of Liberty . . . " have not been available to all Americans, equally. I believe that one reason for this is the divisive administration that is working to divide us and to set Americans against each other in a manner not seen since the Civil War. When, before, have the words Democrat or Republican been used as invectives? But yet, they are now being used as such on a daily basis to hide the inability of the administration to to "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility . . . "

Today is the anniversary of a violent attack upon this great country. I remember the day and the time after the attack. After we got past the shock and the tragedy  and the loss of so many thousands of our brothers and sisters, we became united with a purpose. That purpose was not a selfish inward looking purpose, but it was a purpose that caused us to spend our national treasure to make not only the United States, but the entire world a better and safer place. 

Since then we have become myopic and cannot see beyond our borders. We are building walls protect ourselves from imagined threats. We are divided and there is unrest. Out of this division, however, I believe there will come good. We have been sensitized to the fact that we are not yet the "shining city" of which Ronald Reagan spoke. But, we want to be. And many of us are dedicated to that goal--make the United States the best, most just country that the world has ever seen. We must "secure the blessings of Liberty . . . "

And the movement to make America the land of freedom, justice and liberty for all began again during 2020. We are beginning to reunite around those lofty, but achievable goals. We have a new sense of purpose. I am glad that our sports heroes, as witnessed in the NBA, MLB, NHL, and NFL last evening have taken up the call as are working to raise these issues to into our consciousness, because unless we can see our shortcomings we cannot address and correct them. 

I was appalled at a memorandum issued by the Executive Office of the President, dated September 4, 2020. The words contained in that letter suggest something sinister and contrary to the ideals and goals of the Constitution. The memo can be found on, titled Training in the Federal Government

It is not un-American to examine ourselves individually, identify our beliefs and biases, and then work to understand how they affect our interactions with others. There are many ways to help people come to understand themselves and their biases. If America is to be the "shining city on the hill," then we must address the difficult, unpopular, and divisive issues that are facing us, right now!

Becoming the "shining city on the hill" is our goal, but it needs each of us to commit to achieving that goal. We must no longer be divided and fighting against ourselves, but rather we must unite and work to secure liberty and equality for each other. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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