Saturday, October 31, 2020

Suddenly Saturday - What's the Plan?


The weekend arrived last evening on a Zoom call with friends rather than in person due to the coronavirus uptick. The lack of a plan and the ongoing denials of reality by the president continue to affect the very fabric of our lives--and yet few are calling him on it.

I guess it is OK to surrender to the virus. 

I prefer Patton's approach:

“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”

Problem is, not only is there not a perfect plan next week, the administration has washed their hands of even trying to get a plan together and is telling us to learn to live with it.

Instead of denying the veracity and spread of COVID-19, we need to face it.

Covid-19 Is Worse in the Dakotas Than It Was in the Spring’s Hot Spots - The Wall Street Journal

General George S. Patton
Then a Lt General
To continue with my Patton thoughts as they might apply to the pandemic, I was reminded of this phrase from his memorable series of speeches to the 3rd Army, as recorded on Wikipedia. Here is what he said about the overwhelming odds faced by his troops during World War 2, and with very little reediting they could be applied to the United States today:

Men, all this stuff you hear about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big-league ball players and the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. That's why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. The very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Battle is the most significant competition in which a man can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base. 


Please note that in the historical context of when this statement was made, it was a wartime and the fighting troops of the time were men only. 

What is the plan?

Well, first we need a plan and then we need the intestinal fortitude to implement it. Finally, we need to realize that everything is interconnected: fighting the virus is tied to the economy and our standing in the world; but most importantly it is about people and saving lives.

I remember standing in lines for the Swine Flu vaccine! That was the pan back then, but we were in front of the virus.

So what is the plan? 

Defeat the virus to save lives and don't wait for the promise of a vaccine which will take months to distribute. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 30, 2020

Finally Friday


It has finally arrived: the final Friday of October. The end of the week and the end of the month is upon us. Tomorrow is Halloween and it will definitely be a different and likely more subdued celebration this year. We are expecting a significantly reduced number of Trick or Treaters due to COVID-19.

As the week ends, Chris and I are finally out of close contact COVID-19 quarantine, but with the explosion of cases across the country many people are again hunkering down. Our Friday Happy Hour group will be conducting its weekly business meeting via Zoom tonight rather than in person. I've been quarantined for two weeks and really wanted to get out and share some adult beverages with friends, but, alas, it is not to be. 

With soon to be 10 months of 2020 in the rear view mirror, I think most of us will be happy to see the year become a bad memory. It has been a unique and disturbing year with the double whammy of COVID-19 and the economic disaster, and that doesn't even consider the record number of hurricanes that have battered the Gulf Coast or the out-of-control wildfires sweeping through California and Colorado. Not a good year to live in a state whose name begins with "C".

Of course the week ahead will be interesting as well. We will learn if we have elected the 46th President of these United States or whether the 45th President has been deemed worthy of an additional term. Tuesday should be a tumultuous day and it might not be until Wednesday or later in the week that we learn the outcome of the election. I am encouraged that almost 80 million Americans have already voted!

If you haven't yet, VOTE! What on earth are you waiting for? The apocalypse? 

For what it is worth--HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 29, 2020

It is All Connected


The Wall Street Journal 5 Day Graph
October 29, 2020
I recall that the president was extolling the strength of the economy based upon the rise in the stock market during the last debate. It seems that the silver lining is tarnishing a bit this week as the reality of the renewed coronavirus runs into Wall Street. The Dow was down over 900 points yesterday and it is being blamed on the coronavirus response--or lack of response.

Here is a headline from this morning's The Wall Street Journal:

Stocks End Sharply Lower on Coronavirus Concerns

We must stop looking at trends and situations in isolation and consider the total impact upon everything. As long as the coronavirus response continues to be inept and inconsistent, the economy cannot recover. Despite what we are being told, a solid, cogent coronavirus plan will turn the economy around--ignoring the virus and insisting that it is going away is a recipe for disaster--economically, medically, socially. 

The administration needs to accept the science and forge a plan that will work against the virus and for the economy. We could become a world leader rather than a laughingstock.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Wind, Rain, and Hurricane


Hurricane Zeta Rain Prediction
October 28-30, 2020
I think writing about the weather is better today than writing about the election. I guess my fervor is decreased since I have voted. But, I still want everyone to get out there and vote. The expansion of early voting is a good thing because it takes the weather out of the election equation. Getting slammed with rotten weather on Election Day could, in years past, affect the vote, but this year with early voting the electorate can vote around the weather.

Some pundits are suggesting that this year's voter turn out may be one of the highest ever. The highest being the election of 1876 where almost 82 percent of voters cast ballots. It also had the closest Electoral College vote at 185-184. Now that is close. Is 2020 destined to be a repeat? We should know in about a week.

Before Election Day, however, the wind, rain, and a hurricane will be racing from the Gulf Coast through the East Coast making travel and life difficult. Voters can get out early, or wait until it passes to cast their ballots.

While the effect of the weather on the election can be mitigated, the effect of COVID-19 cannot. The increase in infections and hospitalizations is a fact and I am always amazed at how some try to rationalize the numbers away trying to indicate that they aren't as severe as they appear. I'm pretty sure I know how those who have contracted the disease view those explanations.

Vote! Find a way around the wind, rain, and hurricane to cast your vote.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Voting 2020


I voted yesterday.

Yay. I have done my duty and registered my vote in the election for the candidates and issues I support, or not.

It was the first day of early in person voting in Maryland and Chris and I decided to wait until midday as the lines were reported to be long as the polls opened at 0700. 

It was exciting to go to the polls and see the long line when we arrived about 1100. We were masked the entire time we were at the poll form leaving our car until returning to the car and we practiced good social distancing in the line, which was about 25 minutes long. Everyone was in good spirits, excited actually, to be voting in this election and making our collective voices heard. 

The polling site was well equipped and had plenty of workers. The processing and voting was done efficiently. All-in-all it was a good experience and I do not have to fret anymore about when, how, and where I am going to register my vote. 

I will tell you, unlike the Governor of Maryland, I did not vote for Ronald Reagan

Please vote--it matters. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 26, 2020

Monday Musings - October 26, 2020


1. It is the last Monday of October. Next Monday we will be  off Daylight Saving Time and the day before Election Day. 

Sitting around the Fire Pit
Elkridge, MD
October 21, 2020
2. The weather turned very cold, it went from high 70's to 40's overnight. Yesterday was a rainy, cold, and raw day. I'm glad there was at least football to watch on TV.

3. Family Weekend NFL Report

  - Ravens had a Bye
  - Steelers (6-0) defeat Titans (5-1), 27-24
  - Football Team (2-5) destroys Cowboys (2-5), 25-3

4. It is not until you have a close-up experience with coronavirus and COVID-19 that you begin to understand the difficulties and complexities of tracking, treating, and staying uninfected by the virus.

5. Quiche is more than just an egg. 

6. Early in person voting begins today in Maryland. The lines are already reported to be very long--and the polls aren't open yet. Perhaps that is why the lines are so long.


 Speaking of the federal debt before the coronavirus pandemic, “we were starting to get that number down.”

 “The World Health Organization just admitted that I was right. Lockdowns are killing countries all over the world. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.” 

 Says Joe Biden is a socialist.

 "We are rounding the turn (on coronavirus). We are rounding the corner." 


8. Today in History. On October 26, 1881, the Earp brothers face off against the Clanton-McLaury gang in a legendary shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.

After silver was discovered nearby in 1877, Tombstone quickly grew into one of the richest mining towns in the Southwest. Wyatt Earp, a former Kansas police officer working as a bank security guard, and his brothers, Morgan and Virgil, the town marshal, represented “law and order” in Tombstone, though they also had reputations as being power-hungry and ruthless. The Clantons and McLaurys were cowboys who lived on a ranch outside of town and sidelined as cattle rustlers, thieves and murderers. In October 1881, the struggle between these two groups for control of Tombstone and Cochise County ended in a blaze of gunfire at the OK Corral.


Pandemic Fatigue Is Real—And It’s Spreading - The Wall Street Journal

Why Protesters in Belarus Continue to Take to the Streets - The Wall Street Journal

Barrett Set to Be Confirmed to the Supreme Court - The New York Times

Infection of Pence Aides Raises New Questions About Virus Response - The New York Times

White House signals defeat in pandemic as outbreak roils Pence’s office - The Washington Post

Tumult at home, ailing alliances abroad: Why Trump’s America has been a ‘gift’ to Putin - The Washington Post

As holidays near, the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, putting families in a quandary about celebrations and travel - The Washington Post

Meet the 'QAnon' caucus: Conspiracy buffs on path to U.S. Congress - Reuters

Renewed fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh threatens U.S.-backed truce - Reuters

Kurdish officials say they foiled attack on diplomats in northern Iraq - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Let's ensure that the Federal Government never again legislates against the family and the home. Last September I signed an Executive order on the family requiring that every department and agency review its activities in light of seven standards designed to promote and not harm the family. But let us make certain that the family is always at the center of the public policy process not just in this administration but in all future administrations. It's time for Congress to consider, at the beginning, a statement of the impact that legislation will have on the basic unit of American society, the family.

Address Before a Joint Session of Congress on the State of the Union - 1988, January 25, 1988

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 25, 2020



Are there undecided voters in America?

I do not understand how there could be any undecided voters in America given the mutually exclusive opposites that the two candidates represent. Perhaps, this year is the most polarizing ever in the history of the United States.

I know the decisions are not binary, but I believe that the two main candidates represent the far right and the moderate to centrist left. 

I suppose that the undecided voters are looking for the perfect candidate or possibly they have two issues that they vote for or against and neither candidate fully meets their desires--but I believe we need to look at the bigger picture of the candidates and what they bring to the presidency. The world is not a one or two issue place. 

The time for decision making has arrived. Check the issues and look at the larger consequences. And please, do not waste your vote by voting for animated characters or dead former presidents--that is not how decisions are made. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 24, 2020

An Autumn Day


Lake Kittamaqundi
Columbia, MD
October 23, 2020

Lake Kittamaqundi 
Columbia, MD
October 23, 2020

I was going to write about something political, but decided to take a break and write about the incredible and beautiful autumn weather we have been experiencing. The weather has been so nice that Chris, the dogs, and I went for two walks totaling about three miles yesterday, one around the neighborhood and the other around Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia.  

The leaves are turning and becoming colorful and the animals are scurrying around making final preparations for the winter season which lies ahead. But the warm, high 70 degree temperatures are refreshing. It is the last set of warm days I believe that we can expect. The walks to experience the beauty of the season were refreshing and uplifting.

I talked to Mom and Dad in upstate New York, and they also reported a beautiful autumn day. They likewise managed to get outside to enjoy these last few beautiful days before autumn departs and winter arrives to freeze our bones with its icy blasts. 

My advice? Take some time out to enjoy the outdoors if you can. Get away from the political tension and the stress of COVID-19. Yes, I am advocating escapism--to the great outdoors and reconnect with nature. The other stuff will still be there tomorrow.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 23, 2020

Debate Night in America - The Final Debate


Last evening's meeting was very different from the brawl which was loosely called the first presidential debate. There was a nearly orderly progression from question to question sprinkled with allegations, counter-allegations and the usual steady diet of false and misleading statements from the mouth of the president which sought to distort and remanufacture the reality that we are facing. 

The fact checkers were very busy during the debate and I was trying to keep up with them as the false and misleading statements flew from the president's lips almost as fast as he could speak. I came away convinced that the president has no grasp of truth.

During the segment on the economy it was clear that the president believes that the only important economic measure is stock market performance and that every American has a 401K. This view continues to show that the president is out of touch with his base, except for the wealthy who derive their net worth from the ups and downs of the market. The stock market view of the economy conveniently overlooks the loss of jobs and businesses across the country as a result of the failed COVID-19 response. 

Reuters characterized the debate as follows:

Trump, a Republican, adopted a more restrained tone than he did during a chaotic first debate in September, when he repeatedly interrupted Biden. But Thursday’s clash still featured plenty of personal attacks between two men who evince little respect for each other, and Trump kept fact-checkers busy by leveling unfounded corruption accusations at Biden and his family.

The New York Times published the following about the debate:

  • In their final debate, President Trump unleashed an unrelenting series of false, misleading and exaggerated statements as he sought to distort former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s record and positions and boost his own re-election hopes. The president once again relied heavily on well-worn talking points that have long been shown to be false.

  • The president appeared determined to reinvent the reality of the last four years — and the history of the pandemic in 2020 — as he faces judgment on his actions in just 12 days. He once again falsely dismissed the Russia investigations as a “phony witch hunt.” He insisted that aside from Abraham Lincoln, “nobody has done more for the Black community,” an assertion that people in both parties find laughable. And he tried again to wish away the pandemic, saying “we are rounding the turn” even as daily cases of the virus this week topped 70,000 in the United States for the first time since July.

As part of the economic discussions, I was appalled that the president continues to think that the Chinese are paying tariffs and somehow that they are paying subsidies to the farmers. That we need to pay $28 billion in subsidies to the farmers is evidence of a failed trade policy and then believing that the Chinese and not the US taxpayers are ultimately paying the tariffs shows that the president is ignorant of how economics really works. Perhaps this is why he has filed for bankruptcy so many times.

The New York Times reports this fact as follows:

“China is paying. They are paying billions and billions of dollars.”

— Mr. Trump.

The United States has taken in more than $60 billion in revenue from the tariffs that Mr. Trump imposed on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods. 

But Mr. Trump’s frequent claim that the tariffs are paid for solely by China, not by Americans is wrong. 

Whether a Chinese manufacturer, American importer or another company ultimately pays the cost of any particular U.S. tariff varies from product to product, depending on the ability of each party to negotiate. 

But overall, economic research suggests that the burden of the tariffs has fallen heavily on American firms, and that domestic manufacturers and consumers have ended up paying a substantial portion of the tariffs.

So who won the debate?

Biden won the first half of the debate scoring body blows about COVID-19 policy and family issues, but could have been stronger on the economy and foreign policy. Biden clearly missed the opportunity to explain his climate policy and allowed Trump distract him from the issue by getting dragged into a discussion of oil and fracking. Biden also missed opportunities to make Trump take responsibility for the immigrant children being held along the border and to admit that he is a politician--and a bad one at that, much like he is a bad business man.

I call it a draw with a slight advantage to the president for a strong finish.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Chasing Squirrels and Election Chaos


The race to the election finish line is strewn with rumors, distortions, and chaos.
Squirrel Watch
Elkridge, MD
October 22, 2020

I heard this morning that both Russia and Iran have voter information and could try to add even more confusion to the voting base. There is so much out there.

COVID-19 infections are rising across the country.

The world is seeing the rise in COVID-19 infections as well.

Allegations and counter-allegations. 

I expect very little change to the chaos level after tonight's final (thankfully) presidential debate. At least the World Series took the night off so that it would not draw more viewers than the debate. 

I wonder what the over-under is on how many minutes the debate will last until the president walks off the stage similar to what he did during the 60 Minutes interview. 

So what am I doing while I am on a forced COVID-19 quarantine? Watching Finnegan keep the deck clear of squirrels. He was sitting at the door with Riordin doing his intelligence preparation of the battlefield determining the frequency, approach, and numbers of squirrels that were violating the deck in an attempt to snatch some of the peanuts that were positioned on the rail for the bluejays. 

It is hard to keep my mind from thinking about the election and what I should be doing at work, but tomorrow is Friday! Which, likely, will be little different from today. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

As the Bird Feeders are Prepared


Squirrel on the Peanut Feeder
Elkridge, MD
October 20, 2020

The bird feeders were cleaned and filled with food and peanuts in preparation for the season ahead. The feeders are a labor of love that Chris handles almost exclusively. I get the task of putting the heavy bags of food into the metal containers that protect them, but other than that the feeders are filled, cleaned, and managed by Chris.

The peanuts arrived yesterday and she made a test run for the bluejays by putting some newly received nut into a feeder to see how things would develop. And they did, in fact, develop as one enterprising squirrel persisted in contorting itself into multiple positions for about 15 minutes to obtain one peanut. 

It was an enjoyable break from the normal level of activity watching the squirrel. I wonder if the bluejays will be as excited about the feeder as dawn breaks?

The image also shows that autumn is still arriving in the leaves around my house. They remain mostly green, although I moved a lot of fallen leaves yesterday. There are so many more to come as the season deepens. 

But back to the squirrel that provided a few moments of comic relief--I think the entire country needs some comic relief right now. And it was right outside my window.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Two Weeks


I almost wrote that Election Day is in two weeks, but that is not the reality this year. It is more correct to think of it as the election season will be over two weeks from tonight. The polls will close and the votes will be tabulated. Some mail in votes will continue to trickle in, but apparently many of us want to be sure our votes are counted on Election Day so that our preference and will is known and, therefore, we are voting early. 

It has been an amazing election season. I do not know what will transpire during the next two weeks, but I am sure something dramatic will happen which, in a previous year may have turned the tide, but with, by some accounts, 28 million votes already cast and many more coming in every day--it is going to be hard to change the will of the American people with a single event. 

Just for reference, about 138 million votes were cast during the 2016 election. That means that 20 percent of the votes cast during 2016 have already been sent to the ballot box. I expect, however, this years vote to be closer to 160 million. Some are predicting 150 million votes, but I think the polarization of the country could drive that number even higher.

I expect to vote next week when the early voting begins in Maryland. 

It is hard to believe that in two weeks the campaigning will finally be over. I believe that I may see a decrease in my email of possibly 100 per day. It has been a long election season, but I am sure that the 2024 election season will begin on January 21, 2021.

CAUTION: Personal Rant Follows

Our country is in great peril. We are under attack by foreign and domestic forces. Our president is more concerned about airing his personal grievances than about running the country. COVID is out of control and Americans, our friends, relatives, and family are dying daily. The budget deficit is exploding in an attempt to mute the effects of COVID on the economy and the military is suffering despite what we are being told to the contrary. And I do not buy the line that the Democrats are the problem, if the president would tell Mitch McConnell to make a deal, then a deal would be made. But the president believes that he gets more mileage by blaming anyone other than himself for the problems in America than he would get by working to fix those same problems.

As I was writing about popularity, I was considering what president says, “Suburban women, will you please like me?” the president pleaded in Johnston, Pennsylvania on Tuesday (The Financial TimesBeing president is not an ego building popularity contest.

This country and the world need America back as the military, economic, and political leader of the free world. All of these have been abrogated by the America first policy. I, frankly, am tired of hearing "I" and need to hear more "WE" and "US". Our country was not founded upon the concept of "I". If you don't believe me, read the first line of the Constitution.

I know that I have friends and family who vehemently disagree with me and I respect your views and have spent my entire adult life working so that we can have dissenting opinions without fear of retribution, but I am going to lay it out right here and say that I agree with the words published by the editors of the New York Times on Sunday:

Mr. Trump is a man of no integrity. He has repeatedly violated his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.


Vote! The future of America depends upon your participation no matter what direction you believe this country should take. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 19, 2020

Monday Musings - October 19, 2020


1. It is the third Monday of October and the month is quickly slipping into November. Daylight Saving Time ends in less than two weeks on November 1st, marking the official beginning of the dark season.

Maple Tree on Karas Walk
Elkridge, MD
October 17, 2020
2. Autumn is on full display. Colorful trees and  blue, clear skies adorn the roadways and paths we travel. Enjoy the scenery, it is days like these that take the sting out of the coming season.

3. There are 15 days until Election Day. If you have not yet, Vote! 

4. From United Steel Workers tweet as reported on Fox News:

Sing along:


Take me out to the ballot box, Take me out to the polls. Get me my sticker so I can ‘gram, I won’t stand for their suppression scams. For it’s root, root, root for @JoeBiden, If we don’t win we‘re all doomed. ‘Cause in 1-2...17 more days, We can save the USA!


5. Did you see on the news that Armenia and Azerbaijan are at war? No, probably not. A violent conflict which has drawn the attention of much of the world is not getting much press here in America. See some headlines below.

6. An editorial in the New York Times, written by the Editorial Board of the New York Times, makes the following assertion about the president: Mr. Trump is a man of no integrity. He has repeatedly violated his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Now, in this moment of peril, it falls to the American people — even those who would prefer a Republican president — to preserve, protect and defend the United States by voting.

7. Family NFL results:

     Ravens (5-1) defeat Eagles (1-4-1) 30-28
     Football Team (1-5) loses to Giants (1-5) 29-30
     Steelers (5-0) destroy Browns (4-2) 38-7
     Cowboys (2-3) play Cardinals (3-2) tonight

8. History Today. October 19, 1781, Hopelessly trapped at Yorktown, Virginia, British General Lord Cornwallis surrenders 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to a larger Franco-American force, effectively bringing an end to the American Revolution.

Lord Cornwallis was one of the most capable British generals of the American Revolution. In 1776, he drove General George Washington’s Patriots forces out of New Jersey, and in 1780 he won a stunning victory over General Horatio Gates’ Patriot army at Camden, South Carolina. Cornwallis’ subsequent invasion of North Carolina was less successful, however, and in April 1781 he led his weary and battered troops toward the Virginia coast, where he could maintain seaborne lines of communication with the large British army of General Henry Clinton in New York City. After conducting a series of raids against towns and plantations in Virginia, Cornwallis settled in the tidewater town of Yorktown in August. The British immediately began fortifying the town and the adjacent promontory of Gloucester Point across the York River.

Trump Runs the Kind of Campaign He Likes, but Not the One He Might Need - The New York Times

On the Front Lines of a Brutal War: Death and Despair in Nagorno-Karabakh - The New York Times

Remdesivir Fails to Prevent Covid-19 Deaths in Huge Trial - The New York Times

Ending the filibuster is about to be more important than ever - The Washington Post

ISIS attacks surge in Africa even as Trump boasts of a ‘100-percent’-defeated caliphate - The Washington Post

United Steelworkers shine 'bat signal' on Trump Tower in Chicago - Fox News

Only 2 states trending in the right direction - CNN

Italy unveils new COVID-19 restrictions as daily infections climb - Reuters

Armenia and Azerbaijan truce breaks down within hours - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals — if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.” 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Cycle of the Seasons


Sitting here this morning thinking that the 39 degrees outside of my door is cold and realizing that in a few months this temperature would qualify as a warm winter day made me think about the cycle of the seasons. 

Grass Mounds Along the Fence
Elkridge, MD
October 17, 2020
Yesterday, for instance, as part of the winter preparations Chris and I cut the ornamental grasses mourned the outside of the pool. We have been experimenting with when to cut the grasses--whether it is better to let them winter or to get them removed while they are still green and easier to manage. It took two trips to the landfill recycling area to remove them as part of what turned out to be a long midday project. I can usually get them all into one highly mounded truck load, but with the exceptionally favorable growing season they were more voluminous than normal. 

But the project is complete. This past year we waited until Spring to cut the grasses and it was a lot messier. Being that yesterday was a cooler day, we did not find as many critters lurking in the mounds--which is good since we have found snakes in the past and while the snakes are the good snakes, it still causes a moment of pause when one comes slithering out as we start cutting away with the hedge trimmers. I do wish the battery on the trimmer would last for the entire project--it just doesn't have enough justice to make it all the way. 

Cutting the grasses is part of the cycle of the seasons. Next we have to drain the water from the lines in the pool house in preparation for freezing temperatures, from which, so far, we have been spared. 

As the leaves change color and fall from the trees, the cycle of the seasons continues.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 17, 2020

A Week Later

 I am now one week removed from frolicking, OK maybe it wasn't frolicking, on a warm almost 90 degree Florida beach. The relative, by comparison, cold of Maryland has reminded me that given a choice between too hot or too cold--I prefer too hot. Even without air conditioning--which I experienced for the first five days of my recent Florida vacation.

Backyard Trees with Autumn Leaves
Elkridge, MD
October 17, 2020
It was 43 degrees this morning as I stepped outside to allow the dogs to take care of business. I stood outside with them to monitor their activity and ensure that Finnegan actually does what is expected of him. He loves to smell the morning fragrances on the grass and sometimes forgets the reason that he is outside. 

I looked at the morning temperature in Jupiter, and at 7:09 AM it was a warm and likely humid 80 degrees. That is 37 degrees warmer than outside of my door in Elkridge. 

The youth baseball game we were attending this morning was canceled, I guess the field was too wet and so I think we will be cutting the grasses around the pool, once they dry.

I just wish it was warmer. And it is only going to get colder as the month progresses and transforms into November when the dark season begins. 

A week later, I fondly remember the time spent on the beach, it will help me to make it to the other side of the seasons that we have entered. 

But, outside my window, the morning sunlight reflecting off the leaves is transforming the region into a colorful autumn display and I enjoy the color. Can springtime really be that far off? 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 16, 2020



I don't know how intentional it was, but saying the 85 percent of people who wear masks get COVID-19 demonstrates a definite lack of understanding of statistics and reality. He was trying to discredit the practice of wearing facial coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Who said that, you might ask?

The President. 

Trump repeats inaccurate claim about masks, citing CDC study. - NBC News

Along with other outright lies, it appears that the most consistent source of misinformation in the country right now is the president, himself.

What is comical and tragic is watching his staff try to walk back his erroneous comments.

I do not want to restate the lies and false truths because in doing so I could make them seem more real, but an article recapping the first debate delves into many of the misleading and outright untrue statements by both candidates during the first debate. It is interesting reading.

Trump unleashes avalanche of repeat lies at first presidential debate - CNN

My advice--listen and check the facts. Too many people use the cherry picking approach to facts and studies--finding the one that supports their view rather than reviewing the entire body of work on a subject. 

Do not be responsible for spreading misinformation and propaganda!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Football and COVID


The Southeastern Conference (SEC) of college football is a mess with COVID positive tests right now. Games are being postponed and coaches and players are returning positive test results. Sadly, it had to happen. Football is an up-close and personal sport. 

The latest headline is:

Alabama Coach Saban Tests Positive as Virus Disrupts SEC - The Wall Street Journal

There have been problems in the NFL as well.

With the infection rates across the country steadily rising, that we are having a football season is fantastic. but we need to recognize that football players have close personal contact with their teammates and opponents--it is part of the game, unless we go to a no blocking, flag-football approach.

The players are taking risks to play the game for our enjoyment and their financial reward--we need to remember that. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 14, 2020


The Supreme Court nomination hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett are proceeding and are at times fascinating to watch as Senators make surprisingly old arguments seem even older.

My observations:

I am not sure I could sit there for hours on end, as the Judge is doing, and listen to the same things over again.

The Judge is being very polite when a Senator asks a question that is merely only a shade away from one that was asked earlier and to which she did not respond. 

The Judge seems very judge-like.

I was fascinated with one senator's detailed conspiracy theory about dark money.

It is a process and whether we believe the timing to be correct or not, she will become the next Supreme Court Justice and the vote in the Senate to confirm will likely be 52-48. She will likely be seated before November 10th. 

We can discuss the Constitutionality of the process--although there is not much to discuss and we can discuss whether there is precedent for seating a justice so far into an election process--there seems to be a very healthy discussion about Abraham Lincoln's intent--but regardless, he did not nominate a replacement justice until after the election and his speaking and writings do not definitively support either side in the argument, in my opinion.

Bottom Line is that this is our Congress at work! If we are not happy, there is an election underway and the power of change is in our hands.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Cold--Where is the Warmth?


The Last Palm Tree Image
Jupiter Island, Florida
October 10, 2020
Thirty degrees really makes a difference, especially when the difference is in the daily high. Saturday, Chris, Ethan, and I were on a Jupiter Island beach and the temperature was in the high 80's. We were warm and enjoyed the humidity associated with the daily rains that we were experiencing.

Yesterday, in Elkridge, the high temperature never got past 58 degrees at my house. It rained all day, and it was cold. I actually had to put long pants on to stay warm. It was a shock to my system. 

The last evening we spent in Florida we made our usual trip to the ocean to say good-bye. I have already written about the 360 degree sunset and the image of the palm tree was taken looking west into the sunset behind the clouds. It was a truly special evening and a special memory. Most importantly, it was warm. 

I am looking forward to this afternoon in Elkridge as the temperature is supposed to creep into the upper 70's. Hopefully the lawn will dry enough for me to mow. The falling leaves and the two-week uncut grass make for a messy looking yard. And of course, after they dry it is time to cut the ornamental grasses around the pool. Welcome back to all of the work required to maintain a home. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 12, 2020

Monday Musings - October 12, 2020


1. Today is the second Monday of October and it is Columbus Day, a federal holiday. 

2. I experienced a 360 degree sunset my last evening in Florida. The setting sun was reflected off the clouds all around from the west, north and south. It was a sight to enjoy and a great send-off.

Kite Surfer
Carlin Park, Jupiter, Florida
October 10, 2020

3. Kite surfing looks to be an exciting aport. There certainly were enough surfers in the water on Saturday enjoying the sun, surf, and ample wind.

Saying Good-bye
Blowing Rocks, Jupiter Island, Florida
October 10, 2020

4. Saying good-bye to the ocean is always a difficult thing for Chris and I to do. Saturday evening, standing on Blowing Rocks with the 360 degree sunset was a special night. The clouds reflecting the setting sun behind us in the image are in the East and part of the spectacle we witnessed. We reveled in the 85 degree temperatures realizing that we might not experience such warmth until we again visit our Florida Home.

5. Chris and I were amazed at how quickly the autumn colors are arriving. We saw the trees beginning to turn as far south as South Carolina on our drive home yesterday. Along Route 301 in Virginia, the colors were actually very evident and beautiful--even in the driving rain.

6. Family NFL Report.

    Ravens (4-1) defeat Bengals (1-3-1) 27-3
    Steelers (4-0) defeat Eagles (1-3-1) 38-29
    Cowboys (2-3) defeat Giants (0-5) 37-34
    Football Team (1-4) loses to Rams (4-1) 10-30

7. The election is drawing closer! There are just 22 days until Election Day. Many places are already voting--be sure you vote!

8. Today in History. After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a western ocean route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia. Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. Little is known of his early life, but he worked as a seaman and then a maritime entrepreneur. He became obsessed with the possibility of pioneering a western sea route to Cathay (China), India, and the gold and spice islands of Asia. At the time, Europeans knew no direct sea route to southern Asia, and the route via Egypt and the Red Sea was closed to Europeans by the Ottoman Empire, as were many land routes. Contrary to popular legend, educated Europeans of Columbus’ day did believe that the world was round, as argued by St. Isidore in the seventh century. However, Columbus, and most others, underestimated the world’s size, calculating that East Asia must lie approximately where North America sits on the globe (they did not yet know that the Pacific Ocean existed). 

Politics Dominates as Barrett’s Confirmation Hearings Begin in Senate - The Wall Street Journal

With New ICBM, Kim Jong Un Returns to an Old Tactic - The Wall Street Journal

Trump’s Virus Treatment Revives Questions About Nuclear Authority - The New York Times

Fauci Says a Trump Campaign Ad Misrepresented His Comments - The New York Times

White House pivots again on stimulus negotiations after bipartisan backlash - The Washington Post

Another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic: Trust in science - The Washington Post

Bag Santa and the elves? A holiday hiring slump takes shape - Reuters

Pandemic can be overcome quickly with right tools: WHO - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

With hard work and imagination, there is no limit to what, working together, our nations can achieve. Gaining a peaceful resolution of these conflicts will open whole new vistas of peace and progress -- the discovery that the promise of the future lies not in measures of military defense or the control of weapons, but in the expansion of individual freedom and human rights. Only when the human spirit can worship, create, and build, only when people are given a personal stake in determining their own destiny and benefiting from their own risks, do societies become prosperous, progressive, dynamic, and free.

 Address to the 40th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, October 25, 1985

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, Maryland

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