Monday, November 30, 2020

Monday Musings - November 30, 2020


1. Welcome to the last Monday and also the last day of November 2020. The year has but one month remaining. There are 25 days until Christmas.

2. Well, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is over and it is back to work for me. I must admit, I think I'd rather be home for some more time. 

3. Family NFL results

   Football Team (4-7) defeat Cowboys (3-8), 41-16

   Steelers (10-0) vs Ravens (6-4) Tuesday, hopefully

4. The Polar Express is up and running. Christmas trees need trains to run around the base. It is just the way that it is and I am lucky enough to have the Polar Express. I think Riordin, my cat, wanted to go for a ride. 

5. The weekend weather was fantastic for accomplishing outside activities. I think I only left the house three times during the five-day mini-vacation that I had. Sadly, however, I could not find time to play golf. 

6. When the NFL teams that I cheer for are not playing, it is almost boring to watch football on TV. The commercials and the breaks in the action make it difficult to keep my attention focused. 

7. Get ready for Christmas--it will be here faster than you think.

8. Today in History. November 30, 1886. Once a hall for operettas, pantomime, political meetings, and vaudeville, the Folies Bergère in Paris introduces an elaborate revue featuring women in sensational costumes. The highly popular “Place aux Jeunes” established the Folies as the premier nightlife spot in Paris. In the 1890s, the Folies followed the Parisian taste for striptease and quickly gained a reputation for its spectacular nude shows. The theater spared no expense, staging revues that featured as many as 40 sets, 1,000 costumes, and an off-stage crew of some 200 people.

Iran’s Nuclear Efforts Pose Growing Threat to Its Foes - The Wall Street Journal

Black Friday Was a Bust for Many Stores, Better for Online - The Wall Street Journal

1918 Germany Has a Warning for America - The New York Times

Thanksgiving Travel Could Seed a Surge on Top of a Surge - The New York Times

Inside a hospital as the coronavirus surges: Where will all the patients go? - The Washington Post

The coronavirus has turned the NFL into a joke, and nobody should be laughing - The Washington Post

OPEC+ to discuss extending oil cuts or gradually raising output, sources say - Reuters

EU starts debate on how best to improve post-Trump U.S. relations, officials say - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 29, 2020

It Didn't Disappear


I remember the President and many Republicans asserting that COVID-19 would disappear right after the election on November 3rd. Their assertion was that the pandemic was the creation of the Democrats and it was a hoax.

How I wish they would have been right, but wishful thinking and professing an alternate reality does not work. Reality is, after all, real and as a country we are fully suffering unchecked pandemic. Americans are getting infected at ever increasing rates and people are dying. 

As much as we have been trying to cover up the facts and hope that they will get better, the inaction of the current, and fortunately outgoing, administration has only let the virus run roughshod over the American public. Instead of disputing the election results in the courts the administration should be focusing its efforts upon fighting the coronavirus in the streets.

And now the reality of the pandemic is hitting the NFL squarely. A headline in USAToday reports:

The NFL has officially reached its COVID tipping point

The article in USA Today begins:

It was bound to happen, as the last vestiges of the Trump administration continued to ignore a pandemic that moves unabated among us.

It was bound to happen, as various state governors ignored and dismissed mask mandates that would have helped.

It was bound to happen, as the NFL tried to balance a responsible position on COVID while keeping the games going on a no-matter-what basis.

Football is succumbing to the virus at an incredible rate. As teams begins to play their 11th game of the season, it is becoming difficult to field a complete roster for some teams. 

The Ravens and the Steelers, who are scheduled to meet Tuesday night after having their Thursday game rescheduled twice, now have 25 players on the reserve/COVID roster. There is a good chance this game may never be played.

But wait, there's more:

The Broncos do not have an NFL experienced quarterback for today's game. all four of their quarterbacks were placed on the reserve/COVIS roster.

The 49ers may no be able to play their next two home games due to COVID-19 restrictions regarding their stadium.

COVID-19 is real. 

Act like it!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Ride on into Christmas--Full Speed Ahead


After surviving Black Friday with my finances intact, it is now time to charge into Small Business Saturday and then onto Cyber-Monday! These days both provide opportunities to separate consumers from their money during this "Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

There always seems to be more shopping to accomplish to get through the season. 

Well, it is time to get into the spirit of the season. The economy is depending upon us to rescue it from recession! Tis the season!

Christmas 2020
Elkridge, MD
November 27, 2020
And then there is the decorating. We are still getting the interior of the house decorated, or Christmasfied. The exterior lights were on for the first time last evening. The house is outlined and we are thinking that we need a bit more color. But, it is the season. I dearly with there was a palm tree in the front yard with lights wrapped around the trunk. That is one of my favorite Christmas decorations. 

Happy Christmas! I hope to hear a lot of that greeting this season and I hope that the arrival of the Christmas season will life the spirits of everyone and help us to refocus upon getting through into the new year healthy and safe. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, November 27, 2020

Black Friday 2020


It was different: our Thanksgiving celebration. And not in an entirely enjoyable way. 

There were some lonely periods as Chris and I sat at the eerily empty table first praying and then enjoying our over-stuffed plates which have become the tradition of the day. But the chairs around the table were empty and the house was quiet. Even the bottle of wine, vintage 2005, that I had saved for the day could not erase the feeling that we were missing something even as we were celebrating a great bounty. 

Zoom for Thanksgiving
Elkridge, MD
November 26, 2020
Our family strictly followed the advice of the doctors and the governor because we have been touched by COVID-19 and realize that the threat is real and ubiquitous. We did not congregate and we did not gather to celebrate the day or the meal. It was much like the Ravens football team--we just didn't show up. We did travel to the houses of our family to safely exchange portions of the meal: pies, wine, sweet potatoes, and dressing--but we did not tarry or linger. We enjoyed each other through Zoom, upon which we connected right after the meal. It is too hard to Zoom, talk, and eat simultaneously.

I was disappointed by the choices some of my extended family made regarding the holiday. They apparently do not take the the pandemic seriously and needlessly placed their families at risk by hosting gatherings. And the gatherings were larger than those allowed.  

But today is Black Friday. It is a day devoted to playing Axis and Allies--wait, we are not playing this year due to the pandemic. Resolving the 1942 world geopolitical situation and eating copious quantities of leftovers will have to wait another year. 

But today is Black Friday. It is a day devoted to shopping and malls and getting out with the crowds to ring in the official start of the Holiday Season--wait, no one is going out and there will be no crowds. We will ring in the holiday shopping season from the warmth of our sofa. 

But today is Black Friday. It is a day devoted to decorating the house for Christmas. Now this is something that we WILL definitely do to enjoy and celebrate Black Friday.  

Enjoy the day, if you have it off from work. Be safe and make new memories and traditions. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020


The holiday that kicks-off the Holiday Season has arrived!
Elmer, my Turkey
Ready for the Holiday

Thanksgiving is here. The Day of the Turkey! The time to give thanks for our blessings. 

Living under the pandemic has changed our holiday celebration. We will adhere to the advice of the doctors and scientists by celebrating the holiday with family via the best electronics available. I expect to Zoom most of the day. 

This will not be out first solitary Thanksgiving, while I was serving in the Air Force we celebrated many Thanksgivings separated from extended family. I remember many decades ago Chris and I even celebrated Thanksgiving in a restaurant somewhere in the midsection of the country as we were driving from Denver to Upstate New York. And so this will not even be the first Thanksgiving where it is just the two of us. 

We are resilient. The sense of loss of traditions and the change that we are experiencing will not overshadow the holiday or prevent us from remembering the blessings that have been bestowed upon us, even during this pandemic. 

I searched for an appropriate Thanksgiving prayer and discovered the following. It is not an actual prayer that Abraham Lincoln spoke; however, as I understand, it is constructed based upon his thoughts and ideals and written by a Lincoln scholar. Nonetheless, it speaks to what is in my heart as I write this morning.


SO, we must think anew,
And act anew.
We must disenthrall ourselves.
We are not enemies,
But friends.
We must not be enemies.
We cannot separate.
There is no line, straight or crooked,
Upon which to divide.
We cannot escape history.
No personal significance, or insignificance,
Can spare one or another of us.

The mystic chords of memory
Will yet swell the chorus of union
To every living heart
And hearthstone,
And again touch
The better angels of our nature.

  Read the Spirit - Prayer from Abraham Lincoln at Thanksgiving

May you find peace on this holiday. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Day of the Turkey


I wish this was my garage door
I am hopeful, being ever the eternal optimist, that the mood in the country is beginning to turn. Tomorrow is a time to celebrate and give thanks for the blessings that we have individually, societally, and as a nation. Yes, it will be a different Thanksgiving, we are living during a pandemic--but we should still give thanks and celebrate.

I am especially thankful that the divisive election is over and the healing can begin. I was reminded of something General George C. Patton said during his speeches to the Third Army: Americans play to win all the time. That is one reason this election has been so difficult get past: Everyone is playing to win. But now is a time to soothe the sting of loss and do what Americans have been doing for most of our history--come together and bring our diversity to celebrate our unity. After all  that is what E Pluribus Unum means. We can disagree with each other and still be friends.

I admit that our elected leaders need to demonstrate more bipartisanship, but if We the People show them how to come together and unify after a hard fought election season, then perhaps our expectations will be realized and America can reassume its leadership role in the world.

I was encouraged yesterday when I heard the president-elect say, "America is Back." I have come to understand that "America First" really means "America Alone" and we cannot, nor should we ever think that any form of isolationism will work better that what we experienced 100 years ago. As I watched the interview with President-Elect Biden on NBC last evening, I was struck by the difference in tone he projected. There was no vilification of dissenters and in fact there was a concentrated effort to be inclusive of those with competing thoughts and ideas. That is emblematic of the the abiding greatness of America. We do not have to agree--in fact hopefully from our dissenting views a better plan will emerge; but we must be civil and respectful to each other and all Americans no matter where they hail from. 

Enjoy the holiday. May you find peace. And more importantly, be safe. Don't let your guard down now after nine months and with a vaccine mere months away from being a reality. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Good News for a Change


When I turned on the NBC Evening News with Lester Holt last evening I was met with something rare--good news! And not just one piece of stunning good news.

How rare that leading off a national news program there was good news! I was ecstatic.

The good news?

The GSA Administrator has made a decision that will allow the transition of government from the Trump to the Biden Administration to officially begin! The results of the election have been obvious for at least as week now, but without the GSA go-ahead, the connections, intelligence  and authorization to communicate between the outgoing and incoming administrations could not occur.

The second piece of good news? More great vaccine news--continued strong effectiveness for vaccines and the availability will be widespread. And affordable. And early next year.

We have not turned the corner on the pandemic yet, the numbers are still tragically high in terms of deaths and infection rates, but I believe the corner is in sight. Do not misunderstand--the current administration apparently has absolved itself of managing the pandemic and the arrival of the promise of vaccines is a testament to free market business. 

We needed some good news heading into the modified Thanksgiving holiday. Many of us will not be participating in the usual festivities of the season in an effort to ensure that we do not become pandemic statistics.

I enjoyed the news which provided a ray of hope. 

Getting good news was a change from the steady diet that we had been receiving.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, November 23, 2020

Monday Musings - November 23, 2020


1. It is the next to last Monday of November. Thanksgiving is on Thursday. December begins next week. There are just over five weeks remaining in the crazy year that is called 2020. I believe that most of us will be happy to see it depart.

2. Family NFL Results:

    Steelers (10-0) defeat Jaguars (1-9) 27-3

    Cowboys (3-7) defeat Vikings (4-6) 31-28

    Football Team (3-7) defeat Bengals (2-7-1) 20-9

    Ravens (6-4) lose to Titans (7-3) 24-30

Squirrel Eating Pumpkin
Elkridge, MD
November 21, 2020
3. Squirrels? Why do squirrels love Halloween? Pumpkins! Chris, Finnegan, and I came across this squirrel eating a pumpkin during our walk on Saturday. 

4. I had an enjoyable round of golf yesterday at Crofton. I posted my best score for 18 holes there. I can, however, do better. I still had a couple of "blow-up" holes.

5. This is a big holiday week. Whatever you do, be safe. Our family has significantly modified Thanksgiving based upon our recent COVID-19 experience. 

6. After the Day of the Turkey, then the Christmas decorations can fill our senses with holiday escapism.

7. Holiday shopping this year will be very different. I will do the majority of my shopping form my chair.

8. COVID-19 has canceled a family tradition. There will be no Axis and Allies game on Black Friday.

9Today in History. On November 23, 1936, the first issue of the pictorial magazine Life is published, featuring a cover photo of the Fort Peck Dam's spillway by Margaret Bourke-White.

Life actually had its start earlier in the 20th century as a different kind of magazine: a weekly humor publication, not unlike today’s The New Yorker in its use of tart cartoons, humorous pieces and cultural reporting. When the original Life folded during the Great Depression, the influential American publisher Henry Luce bought the name and re-launched the magazine as a picture-based periodical on this day in 1936. By this time, Luce had already enjoyed great success as the publisher of Time, a weekly news magazine.

Trump Continues to Challenge Election as Options Dwindle - TheWall Street Journal

Trump Exits Open Skies Treaty, Moves to Discard Observation Planes - The Wall Street Journal

Biden Team, Pushing Quick Stimulus Deal, Prepares for Renewed Recession - The New York Times

Along Russia’s ‘Road of Bones,’ Relics of Suffering and Despair - The New York Times

Biden to unveil first Cabinet picks on Tuesday, envisions scaled-down inauguration - Reuters

Biggest Australian states reopen borders as coronavirus cases ease - Reuters

Dominion rep on Trump campaign claims: 'It’s physically impossible' to switch votes - Fox News

Pompeii ruins unearth 'master and slave' remains - Fox News

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Well, in just a few weeks, we Americans are once again going to show the world the one thing that, more than any other, is the source of our strength. We'll go to the polls, and as a free people, we'll vote. This year we'll be casting ballots in many States for Senators, Governors, and other officials; and everywhere we'll be voting for a new House of Representatives. But just as important as how we vote is that we vote. Every vote cast on election day means that we the people have taken a hand in shaping our nation's future. Every time we vote we're grabbing a hold of a lifeline that's 3,000 miles long and more than two centuries old and, with millions of others, helping to pull America forward into the future. Yes, every time we vote we're standing up, side by side, with the Founding Fathers, with the men of Valley Forge, with patriots and pioneers throughout our history, with all those who dedicated their lives to making this a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people. Every time we vote we help to make America stronger.

I'm sure you've heard friends say, "Oh, my vote won't matter.'' Well, the next time someone says that to you, I hope you'll remember that time and again, over the years, elections have turned on a handful of ballots. In 1960 President Kennedy was elected by a margin of just one vote in each precinct around the nation. In 1976 the Presidential election turned on two States: one was won by six votes a precinct; the other by only a single vote a precinct. And in the last 26 years more than 50 U.S. Senate and House races have been won by fewer than a thousand votes. But even when elections aren't that close, your ballot counts, because in voting, you're accepting your part in the greatest decisionmaking body the world has ever known, the American electorate. And as someone who's stayed up late on many election nights waiting to hear how the American people had decided, I can tell you that from where I sit -- whether elections are close or not -- every vote is important.

    Reagan Address to the Nation on Voter Participation, October 18. 1986

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Serene Sunday - November 2020


Today I will take a day off from publishing provocative blogs and write about yesterday's activity. Of course, today is Sunday and that means the NFL will be playing and distracting many people--in a good way, I hope. 

Snow Village 2020

Yesterday was a particularly nice day to work outdoors. Chris and I got the remainder of the outdoors Christmas decorations set up and worked a bit on the Snow Village. This year will be the first for the Snow Village in a number of years. We are setting it up in multiple scenes. 

Elkridge, MD
November 21, 2020
While we were working outside, Makayla decided to sit in the yard a be pretty. She was definitely worth a picture. She enjoyed being outside on a beautiful day and she stayed right in the area. I believe that, more and more, she just wants to be with us.

We also managed to go for a walk and went out to do some shopping. We actually drove the Jag for the first time in a while. We kept the top up, but enjoyed the drive. It needs to stretch its wheels every so often. 

I am looking forward to golfing this morning and stretching my legs on the links, but the weather is more gray and cooler than yesterday. 

It is the weekend during a pandemic, however. So stay safe whatever you do.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Fabric of Democracy is Holding


I heard a statement yesterday, it was "the fabric of democracy is being scratched, but it is holding."

It is a scary but true statement. The person who accused the democrats of stealing the election is, himself, trying to do just that. The strategy has moved from court cases trying to allege fraud, which doesn't exist, to outright trying to encourage unconstitutional activity by "buying" the Electoral College.

Sadly, the person working to preform these unscrupulous acts is none other than the president. Sworn to uphold the Constitution, he is becoming an enemy of democracy. 

Article II, Section 1, Clause 8:

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

One reporter describes what is happening this way:

After a string of legal defeats, President Donald Trump has moved on from attempting to invalidate specific ballots in his loss to President-elect Joe Biden. Instead, he is now seeking to persuade Republican state officials to ignore the popular will and overturn the results of the election entirely, a strategy without precedent in American presidential history. (Wake-up to Politics)

There is one person, however, who I believe has the power to stop assault upon our democracy and, believe it or not, that person is none other than Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader. I believe that if Senator McConnell would say that enough is enough, then the election would finally be over and we could get on with reconstructing our country and society. As a nation we could finally confront the pandemic head-on in a coordinated manner and resurrect the economy at the same time. 

I wrote Senator McConnell last evening urging him to take action. I urge you to consider doing the same via his website. Write to Senator McConnell.

We the People can preserve democracy, if we try.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, November 20, 2020

Let the Healing Begin


The in-between week is coming to a close with the arrival of the last day of the workweek. And what a week it has been.

Yesterday, I watched a man who I once respected sell his soul for 15 minutes of fame. Rudy Giuliani contributed to the ever widening circus that has become the Lame Duck presidency of Donald Trump. 

It is a scary time for our country as I watch a man who has no moral scruples cling to a lie that is quickly dissolving into the truth that cannot be denied. Sadly, the facade that has been created has duped millions of well meaning people to join what can only be described as a cult. I know these are hard words, but one of the definitions of the word Cult is: a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.

From the start I wrote that Trump did not have the temperament to be president. President's are servants of the people, not kings or dictators. The president has proven that he is a terrible judge of character--just look at the body count of people who have been in his inner circle and in cabinet positions and who have been fired. One similarity they all have, when hired they are the best, most intelligent, and greatest; but on their departure they are almost less than human. 

And now Rudy. His performance yesterday was masterful at attempting to divide America further by fostering the untruths that the president continues to push. The president is dividing America and creating divisions that will be difficult, if not impossible to heal. Rudy has sold his soul to Trump and tarnished his reputation in a manner from which he will never recover. The light is shining brightly into the dark corners of the Trump presidency, and sadly a formerly respected man has been caught in the web of lies and deceit.

And it was lies and mistruths he was spitting. As I listened, even I could see through the facade. At one point he alleged that people from out of state were voting. And I believe he was correct. But, he made it seem sinister and never touched upon a plausible, legal reason: military voters can vote in their home states no matter where in the country or world they are stationed. 

If you want to know more check this out:

Fact checking Giuliani and the Trump legal team's wild, fact-free press conference

Of course there are too many will say the fact checking is erroneous, but let me share a fact that is not subject to interpretation: 51.1 percent of the American people voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. At this point that is nearly a 6 million vote advantage for the Biden-Harris ticket over the president. We the People have spoken, resoundingly! It is the mandate that the president never had.

If the president wants to "Make America Great Again"--then he has to accept the results and the voice of the people. He lost by almost 3 million votes in 2016, and that total has doubled in this election. If he truly wants to put "America First," then he needs to put himself second, admit defeat and let the healing begin.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 19, 2020

A Quarter Million


I could not let this tragic milestone pass unmentioned. 

It is important to remember that 250,000 of our fellow Americans have died from COVID-19. I know there are those out there who try to refocus the number and make it seem like it isn't as bad as it could be, or use some other tactic to make the tragedy seem like a blip on the TV News channels, but I know that there is a name and a family attached to each one of those 250,000 who have died.

Every name was a person who was a son or a daughter. And that is the tragedy--when we reduce it all to numbers, we lose the faces. We hide the pain. We minimize the suffering, not only for those who died, but the suffering of the families, the friends, and the healthcare workers. 

And our leadership is silent.

Our Congress has failed to pass a relief bill to reduce the suffering that systemic failure to act in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. 

And I heard that there are people dying who still believe that COVID-19 is a hoax. 

Take a moment to remember those who have passed and redouble your efforts to stay well. 

Be safe.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

It's the Holiday Season


Imagine for a moment your most enjoyable Thanksgiving. The turkey was on the table and the family and friends gathered around for the feast. It may have been as recently as last year. An NFL was game blaring on a television somewhere and children or youth were actively gaming on their personal electronics. The house smelled of food and cooking and there may have been a few bottles of wine, partially consumed, on the table. 

Now, remember the basketball games, the concerts, the trips, the holiday partiers and pig-ins we used to enjoy. 

That was so last year.

The year we get to enjoy holidays in a new way--under the threat of pandemic. It has been this way since Easter. Hopefully we have become used to the solitary celebrations by now. 

So now, as life has changed we need to hold fast to these memories and work towards making 2021 better than what we thought 2020 was to have been when the year began. 

It is the holiday season--we must not let the anguish and concern about the pandemic rob the season from us. Yes we are going to do things differently this year, but next year, hopefully, we will enjoy the holidays even more as we are freed from the pandemic and the train wreck that is our national leadership.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Need a Little Christmas


There is a song, We Need a Little Christmas from the movie Auntie Mame where amid the depression after there great 1929 stock crash, the family gathers and sings about how they need a little Christmas. Of course, as I remember it, it is July and things look glum, but the Christmas spirit rescues the day and provides a moment of joy amid the pain.

I have noticed Christmas decorations are already adorning the streets and sidewalks in many neighborhoods. It is as if the season of the turkey isn to happening and as a society we are ready to head into the Christmas season. The Christmas season is magical. It is a time to create joy and peace amid the bustle and hardship of life.

During this time of pandemic, election upheaval. transition, and economic downturn people may be looking for something to take their minds off what is happening around them. 

So, haul out the holly and get a head start on the "most wonderful time of the year" and escape the constant drone of depressing news if it will help. We need to change our minds.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, November 16, 2020

Monday Musings - November 16, 2020


1. This is the third Monday of November. The month is half over and Thanksgiving is next week. This is the in-between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving week.

2. The election is over, but the counting continues. January 20th is coming.

3. Family NFL Results

    Steelers (9-0) defeat Bengals (2-6-1) 36-10

    Football Team (2-7) lose to Lions (4-5) 27-30

    Cowboys did not play

    Ravens (6-3) lose to Patriots (4-5) 17-23

4. I am appalled that the current administration continues to sow seeds of discord regarding the election. They are being un-American by not conceding and getting on with the business of transitioning power.

5. I enjoyed watching The Master's golf tournament yesterday. I have rarely been able to see most of a day of golf on TV. I am happy for Dustin Johnson.

Big Cork Vineyard Viognier
Rohrersville, MD
November 14, 2020
6. I have really noticed a reduced load in my email since the election is over. My email is nearly back to a manageable level.

7. I enjoy walking through the vineyards. The idea that wine in the vine is everywhere around me is exciting and intriguing. 

8. I still get excited when I see Americans launching into space from Cape Canaveral! Way to go SpaceX.

9. Today in History. On November 16, 1532, Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish explorer and conquistador, springs a trap on the Incan emperor, Atahualpa. With fewer than 200 men against several thousand, Pizarro lures Atahualpa to a feast in the emperor’s honor and then opens fire on the unarmed Incans. Pizarro’s men massacre the Incans and capture Atahualpa, forcing him to convert to Christianity before eventually killing him.

Covid Is Resurging, and This Time It’s Everywhere - The Wall Street Journal

Biden Turns Up Pressure for Administration Recognition - The Wall Street Journal

Trump’s Yearslong Plan to Make Losing Look Like a Win - The New York Times

SpaceX NASA Live Updates: 4 Astronauts Launch to Orbit Successfully - The New York Times

Medical costs of discharged German COVID patients 50% above pre-admission levels: study - Reuters

British PM Johnson self-isolating after COVID-19 contact - Reuters

China says U.S. should stop unreasonably suppressing Chinese firms - Reuters

As Trump’s efforts on Iran falter, Biden will face a more assertive Tehran - The Washington Post

The ending of Trump’s presidency echoes the beginning — with a lie - The Washington Post

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Escaping the House


Viognier Grapes
Big Cork Vineyard
Rohrersville, MD
November 14, 2020
Syrah Grapes after the Harvest
Big Cork Vineyards
Rohrersville, MD
November 14, 2020
Looking to get out and escape the house, safely, while enjoying the outdoors on a beautiful late autumn day, Chris and I headed out to some wineries. It was a way to escape the confines of the house while maintaining physical distancing and also enjoying something that we love doing. There is going to be enough time this coming winter to be stuck in the house.

Of course, we made our way to Big Cork Vineyards in Rohrersville, Maryland as a beginning. But, we were sure that we would visit at least one other winery and we did! We also visited Hiddencroft Vineyards in Lovettsville, Virginia. 

It was a beautiful day to be out in the vineyards and then around a fire pit chatting with other oenophiles while enjoying a glass or two of wine.

One of the hard parts about visiting a winery during the pandemic is that most are not doing tastings except by appointment. But, most wineries are offsetting the lack of tastings by increasing socially acceptable activities, like outdoor games.

Sometimes we just need to escape the house because the pandemic feels as if it is closing in on all sides. I believe that wineries are great places to visit because it is generally easy to maintain physical distancing while there. Chris and I were able to stroll around the actual vineyards yesterday to enjoy the autumn colors and see the grapes that remained after the harvest. Those grapes are not lost as they continue to feed the wildlife that can get to them.

If you need to escape--do it safely!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 14, 2020



It seems there is a difference in reality depending upon whether the words are being spoken by the outgoing or the incoming administration.

The outgoing administration would have us believe that COVID-19 is going away, despite the numbers which are higher every day. The head in the sand approach doesn't work. 

What should the current administration do? Accept the pandemic for what it is, be transparent with the American people, and start mobilizing equipment, supplies, and personnel as was done at the beginning of the pandemic in March. Telling Americans that it isn't that bad and its going away is not productive.

The incoming administration is already planning to do just those things. They are embracing science. Why, I ask, should we have to wait 70 days for the new administration to get the weight of the government behind fighting there pandemic and winning? 

We can jaw all we want about how there is no way to control the virus, but without trying that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. And from the "yes it can be controlled" argument--look at South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. 

I offer this headline from the Washington Post:

Australia has almost eliminated the coronavirus — by putting faith in science

Argue all you want--but facts is facts. 

Remember, every number is a name!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, November 13, 2020

COVID-19 v Election


A message to our leaders:

The Election is over! Yes, some votes are still being counted and recounted, but the votes are in. The campaigning and posturing must stop.


People are dying. The COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the country. Despite assurances to the contrary, the pandemic is not going away. It is getting worse and our leaders are doing nothing. They are too focused upon trying to keep their jobs through legal maneuvering rather than helping Americans and bolstering the economy.

Think about this--every number that we hear about with respect to the pandemic has a name attached to it.

Stop worrying about votes (they are already cast) and start worrying about people.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Thanksgiving, Two Weeks from Today


Thanksgiving Cactus
Elkridge, MD
November 11, 2020
The season of the turkey is upon us. Thanksgiving in the crazy year 2020 is upon us. 

We have our turkeys out adorning the house and are enjoying our Thanksgiving cactus--which is in full bloom two weeks early. 

As crazy as 2020 has been with the canceled trips and vacations, and plans at least it is reassuring that the Thanksgiving cactus has bloomed right on schedule. It is radiating joy and beauty just at the right time as the leaves are falling from the trees and the dark season is deepening. 

It is likely to be a very different Thanksgiving in two weeks. Many of the traditions that we have will be modified to account for the uncontrolled pandemic. But the Autumn has been beautiful with blue clear skies and bright leaves on the trees. The yards are now full of leaves and the reassuring smells of the season are everywhere. We need to hold onto each other through every means available. As we get deeper into the dark season, we must work harder to stay in touch with family and friends so as not to become isolated.

Here's an early Thanksgiving greeting to each of you. Be well, stay safe, and know that you are not alone.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

COVID Step Backwards


Due to the failure of our elected leaders and the indifference of the larger populace, we are taking a COVID-19 step backwards.

Travel restrictions, mandatory testing, closings--it is the summer almost all over again.

Chris and I have canceled a trip to Upstate New York to see family due to travel restrictions.

U.S. Covid-19 Cases Hit Fresh High - The Wall Street Journal

I would say that Nero is fiddling while Rome burns, but the sad truth is that the president apparently has abrogated his responsibilities and has not been seen since golfing on Saturday, Mitch McConnell is more interested in defending the president than he is getting the country out the trouble, and Nancy Pelosi is not doing anything either.

Wow--the big three are missing while the country is being ravaged by coronavirus.

The election is over and while the votes need to be finished counting to make it official we have a president-elect and now it is time to get back to the big problems at hand.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Veterans Day 2020


Tomorrow is Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day throughout much of Europe. They are holidays that both sides of the Atlantic Ocean observe which have their roots in one of the most violent and destructive wars that has been fought. While Remembrance Day is more like Memorial Day, both days honor veterans and their service.

Our veterans are everywhere among us. Men and women who have given a portion of their lives in service to this country. And while every so often they are given lip-service by our leaders, the grim reality is that many veterans struggle with the scars of their service--both physical and emotional, in silence and alone.

Remember our veterans tomorrow and every day.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, November 9, 2020

Monday Musings - November 9, 2020


1. Today is the second Monday of November. The days remaining in 2020 are quickly passing. Veterans Day is this week.

2. The 2020 Election is over! Americans have spoken. I am distressed by the numbers of people who cannot accept the results and who foster conspiracy theories where there are none. There may be small, local instances of irregularities and the pending lawsuits will ferret those out, but to maintain that the loss can only be attributed to fraud represents the very kind of thinking that 75.5 million Americans voted against.

3. Family NFL Scores

    Steelers (8-0) defeat Cowboys (2-6) 24-19

    Ravens (6-2) defeat Colts (5-3) 24-10

    Football Team (2-6) lost to Giants (2-7), 20-23

4. The passing of Alex Trebek who hosted Jeopardy, one of my favorite TV game shows since 1984, saddened me yesterday. I had known of his pancreatic cancer diagnosis and so his passing was not unexpected.

5. Now that the election is over and we have a president-elect, let's move that energy into defeating the pandemic. 

6. New administrations have to deal with the state of the country left to them by their predecessors. The Biden administration is going to face world leading coronavirus cases and deaths, economic disaster, record unemployment, and intentionally created divisions within the country. Four years ago, the current administration faced none of that when they walked into the White House. How could anyone expect to get reelected with that record?

7. The absolutely beautiful autumn days of this weekend were throughly enjoyable. Warm temperatures and crystal blue skies highlighted the magnificent colors of the autumn leaves on the trees. I am happy that I was able to enjoy the days.

8. Heard jokingly over a glass of wine the other night: Canada is considering building a wall to keep Americans out.

9. Today in History. On November 9, 1938, in an event that would foreshadow the Holocaust, German Nazis launch a campaign of terror against Jewish people and their homes and businesses in Germany and Austria. The violence, which continued through November 10 and was later dubbed “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” after the countless smashed windows of Jewish-owned establishments, left approximately 100 Jews dead, 7,500 Jewish businesses damaged and hundreds of synagogues, homes, schools and graveyards vandalized. An estimated 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, many of whom were then sent to concentration camps for several months; they were released when they promised to leave Germany. Kristallnacht represented a dramatic escalation of the campaign started by Adolf Hitler in 1933 when he became chancellor to purge Germany of its Jewish population.

Biden win opens door for improved predictability in China-U.S. relations: state media - Reuters

Latino Democrats tell Mexican president to get with the program and back Biden - Reuters

U.S. Stock Futures Rally After Biden Wins Presidency - The Wall Street Journal

U.S. Daily Coronavirus Cases Hit Fourth Straight Record - The Wall Street Journal

Republicans Split on Accepting Biden Victory - The New York Times

A ‘Terrifying’ Coronavirus Surge Will Land in Biden’s LapA ‘Terrifying’ Coronavirus Surge Will Land in Biden’s Lap - The New York Times

Trump’s presidential dream began on a gold escalator. It may have ended at Four Seasons Total Landscaping. - The Washington Post

In the dumbest and darkest of times, Alex Trebek maintained a safe space for intelligence - The Washington Post

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

"There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder."

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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