Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Year's Eve 2021


It is New Year's Eve!

We are about to put 2020 firmly into the rearview mirror and shake its dust from our feet. 

For some I know the new year cannot arrive fast enough. 2020 was a year of disasters, pandemic, death, and changed plans. We have experienced things that we never though we would experience. The United States has shown the world that as a society we are unable to unite to defeat a virus. 

To review the year in review, check out:

2020 in Review Fast Facts - CNN

It is amazing to review the year and to see how far we have come. 

The short review is that the year began with an impeachment and ended in a pandemic. In between over 341,000 Americans perished form COVID-19 and the ineffectiveness of the administration was laid bare resulting, partly, in the decision of the American electorate to not reelect the president.

What a year. We can hope that 2021 is better, calmer and more rational.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Sunrise Sky

Elkridge, MD
December 30, 2020
The sunrise this morning, the next to last day of 2020, was fantastic. It stretched from the East to the West filling my windows with beautiful color reminding me of the beauty of the world. It was a counterpoint to the news of the day about the continuing hospitalizations and deaths resulting from COVID-19.

Sometimes I need to get my head out of my computer or away from the TV to see the beauty around me, like I did this morning. It does not make the bad stuff go away, but it gives me perspective. The world is a big and complex place. There are problems and insane things happen all of the time, but there is beauty and it is worth seeing, enjoying, and protecting. 

The spectacular sunrise has faded much like the year 2020 will pass in less than 48 hours. I can remember the bad things that have happened this past year, the better activity is to find some good and remember the year that way. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

To the Pool!


Yesterday was a rare late-December day. The temperature crawled up past 50 and I was able to get outside and do some maintenance.

High Water in the Pool
Elkridge, MD
December 28, 2020
A pool owner's life is never without concern and maintenance. I have a mesh cover and that means that the rain adds water to the pool as the season continues. I had reduced the water volume significantly when I closed the pool, but it has been a very wet autumn and now winter.

I checked the pool yesterday and the water was within an inch of the top of the pool. If you look closely at the image to the right, you can see the line where the water was when I started pumping. At this point the water is still too high. I keep the water below the tiles to reduce damage when the deep freeze arrives. I was happy to find the water clear and I also added some mid-winter chlorine to keep the algae growth at bay.

I was amazed at the amount of rainwater we have received. I am also glad that I picked a warmer day to play in the water! It is really no fun pumping water in 30 degree weather. 

In the end I lowered the water to three inches below the tile line. Hopefully, will not have to perform the process again. 

Always something to do. Who knew that when I was thinking "to the pool" it meant that there was work to do, but no swimming?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 28, 2020

Monday Musings - December 28, 2020


1. The last Monday of the year has arrived. There are just four days until the new year begins! Bring-on 2021 and good-bye 2020!

Finnegan's Christmas Photo
Elkridge, MD
December 20,  2020

2. Even though the Christmas Season is not completely over, I know many people are clamoring to get the decorations boxed and out of sight. Maybe it is because the Christmas decorations started appearing in stores during September.

3. Family NFL Report:

    Steelers (12-3) defeat Colts (10-5) 28-24. Steelers win division

    Ravens (10-5) defeat Giants (5-10) 27-13. Ravens win next week will secure a wildcard playoff spot.

    Cowboys (6-9) crush Eagles (4-10-1) 37-17. Cowboys are still alive to win the NFC East.

    Football Team (6-9) lose to Panthers (5-10). football Team can win the NFC East with a win next week. 

4. How has the return season been going? Fortunately, we do not have many returns and exchanges to make.

5. What are your New Year's resolutions? 

6. There are 23 days until Inauguration Day!

7. How were the crowds in the stores for Christmas shopping? I really did not visit the malls or stores to shop and I have to admit--Amazon, UPS, and FEDEX all did their jobs and delivered my packages on-time. 

8. Today in History. On December 28, 1895, the world’s first commercial movie screening takes place at the Grand Cafe in Paris. The film was made by Louis and Auguste Lumiere, two French brothers who developed a camera-projector called the Cinematographe. The Lumiere brothers unveiled their invention to the public in March 1895 with a brief film showing workers leaving the Lumiere factory. On December 28, the entrepreneurial siblings screened a series of short scenes from everyday French life and charged admission for the first time.

Trump Signs Pandemic-Aid Bill - The Wall Street Journal

France and Germany Retake Reins as Britain Leaves EU’s Economic Orbit - The Wall Street Journal

Refugees Come Under Fire as Old Foes Fight in Concert in Ethiopia - The New York Times

New York Investigates Whether Clinics Ignored Vaccine Rules - The New York Times

Authorities identify Nashville bomber, say his remains found in wreckage - The Washington Post

Your questions about the coronavirus vaccines, answered - The Washington Post

Sweden government to get wider shutdown powers under proposed pandemic law - Reuters

Russia reinforces Syrian area where Turkey-backed fighters have clashed with Kurdish forces - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Gifts and Golf


Playing golf makes choosing some Christmas gifts a bit easier. Golfers are almost always in need of consumables, like tees and balls. 

Of course, if balls are gifted it is important to know which specific type of ball the golfer uses. It is amazing how particular we golfers are about the golf balls we use. I'm not sure whether that make that much of a difference with the handicap that I carry--one or two shots a round are not going to show up that much. But, even I am particular about the brand--unless I get a free one from the golf gods while searching for my lost ball. Even then, more and more I am leaving certain balls where they lie because I believe for some reason they are "beneath" me. 

This Christmas I gifted a few dozen golf balls--fodder for the water hazards and forests. 

I also received a tee shirt that completely defines my golf game. Chris often remarks that I never saw a tree on the golf course that I couldn't hit! And I also received a very blue pair of glasses to help find golf balls hidden in plain sight in the rough. I hope they work because I have a devil of a time finding balls that just missed the fairway. 

Maybe that is what I like racquetball as an alternative, at least the ball is confined to the court--well, mostly, unless playing at outdoor courts.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, December 26, 2020

After the Celebration


And it is over . . . 

Grogu, My Party Animal

While I have the feeling that the holiday is over and now the clean-up can begin, it really isn't over. This holiday carries on until after New Years.

We actually handled most of the clean-up from two days of extended celebration last evening and so there isn't much to do today. 

So I will spend time with my new party animal, Grogu, a/k/a/ Baby Yoda. 

I tried to read the newspapers this morning, but really wasn't into any of it. I just need a break from the bad news that makes the news.

Today is Saturday and a good day to catch my breath and exhale after the celebration. The family cycled through in shifts yesterday and we were all COVID conscious. Christmas 2020 was different, but memorable. I hope we can look back someday and say, "Do you remember Christmas during the pandemic?" and wear the statement as a badge of accomplishment.

I hope all of you are enjoying a safe and happy holiday. 2020 will be fine soon--let's try to make 2021 better.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas 2020 Prayer


Father in Heaven 

Hope was born a long time ago, too long sometimes it seems

and we have forgotten the promise was made to us.

We are challenged by the darkness and chaos that confronts us on a daily basis and sometimes we forget that all we see is not all that that there is.

We have a promise and hope.

The promise and the hope that you sent to us on that first Christmas.

We have never needed hope more than right now. We are living in a world reeling from pandemic, fraught with discord, suspicion and hatred. Our world has become much like what your Son found at his birth in the lowly stable so long ago.

Yet, we have hope. We believe your promises. We sing Joy to the World and know that despite what we see, there is a joy that we can believe. 

Protect and guard our military men and women on station around the world and all those who stand watch to protect us from the forces of darkness.

Be with and inspire the first responders and the medical professionals who are on the front lines waging war against the ravages of the pandemic.

On this Christmas Day 2020, thank you for our many blessings and for the peace and hope you have given to us in the middle of a chaotic world.  


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve 2020

Christmas Decorations
Elkridge, MD
December 19, 2020

 Well, the decade of the roaring 20's is off to a difficult start. Who knew what 2020 would have in store as it began some 51 weeks ago. 

But today is Christmas Eve and even with the modified celebrations and travel restrictions, we must not lose the Sprit of Christmas. And from what I can see, amid the pain, suffering, and pandemic people are holding onto their traditions as best that they can. 

At our house, the decorations are in place and everything is ready for Christmas. We are having a modified brunch this morning and a smaller gathering for our traditional Christmas Day meal. We will zoom with other family members and they will all be in our thoughts and prayers. Some day soon we will get to enjoy seeing and conversing with them in person. But not this year. 

My Christmas wish is that next year we can be together and appreciate each other more because of 2020. 

May you find peace and hope amid the noise and dissonance. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Star in the Sky


The Christmas Star through the Trees
Elkridge, MD
December 22, 2020

Chris and I finally were able to get a good view of the "Christmas Star" last evening in the western sky after sunset. It has become quite the phenomenon even making the news. It is not a star at all, however, as it is Jupiter and Saturn in conjunction. 

I guess it only happens like this every 800 or so years. Like I would be around to see it again anyway. 

We were surprised at how low the two planets are from out house. Of course that is because our house sits in a low spot. Chris found the two planets hiding among the trees as we waited last evening. We had been thwarted on other occasions due to clouds. 

The Christmas Star
Jupiter and Saturn
Elkridge, MD
December 22, 2020

Since the planets were so low in the sky from our house, we drove to some high ground for a good view and Chris brought her binoculars. It was spectacular. As it was early and the sky still not fully dark, I could not actually see the rings of Saturn, I suppose I should go out again tonight and see if I can find the rings or even a moon of Jupiter with the binoculars.

I am fascinated by the amount of interest this conjunction has drawn, perhaps because it is Christmas and 2020 has been such a difficult year. People are looking for hope and imagining that this might me the fables Star of Bethlehem appeals to their desire to have something concrete and good to believe in. Of course, astronomers say this particular conjunction was not that fable star of old--but who knows? Something similar. 

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,
Star with Royal Beauty bright,
Westward leading,
Still proceeding,
Guide us to Thy perfect Light.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Christmas Season Happy Hour


Happy Hour
Elkridge, MD
December 21, 2020

Last evening Chris had to go out to finish some shopping and I determined that it would a be good time to prepare a special Happy Hour.

The lack of holiday parties has meant that some of the spirit is missing from the season. It was the first day of Winter and the shortest amount of daylight for the year and so we needed a special celebration. 

I felt we needed to get as little of the holiday spirit back and so I put together a small plate of munchies and had the wine poured and ready for when she returned home. 

It turned out that she returned home quickly because the stores were too crowded. We are being very conscious of the COVID threat and will not tarry in a crowded store.  

We enjoyed a quiet start to the evening with some munchies and a nice wine. It was an appropriate Christmas Season Happy Hour. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 21, 2020

Monday Musings - December 21, 2020


1. It is the third Monday of December. Christmas is four short days away. Are you ready? More importantly, 2021 begins in 11 short days. Perhaps we will finally be rid of 2020 and the pain and suffering that it has brought.

2. Inauguration Day is 30 days from today! I hope we make it.

3. Winter began today at 5:02 AM EST. We have 9 hours and 24 minutes of daylight today in Baltimore. Now the days will begin to get longer, finally. Can Spring be that far off?

4.  Family NFL Results

     Football Team (6-8) lost to Seahawks (10-4) 15-20

     Ravens (9-5) defeat Jaguars (1-13) 40-14

     Cowboys (5-9) defeat 49ers (5-9) 41-33

     Steelers (11-2) play Bengals (2-10-1) tonight

5. Where is the President? The United States is under a cyber attack from the Russians, the coronavirus is rampaging, and our economy is slipping into quicksand and he is more interested in attacking the very democratic principles upon which our republic is based than preserving the union. 

6. I have heard it said that the president is more interested in having the title than doing the job. 

7. I was looking at images from Christmases past over the weekend and I found it interesting how we continue to make small adjustments to how we decorate the house for the season. 

8. I heard that the baseball season may be delayed until May. It was reported by CBS

8. Today in History. On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New Yorkexplodes in midair over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members aboard, as well as 11 Lockerbie residents on the ground. A bomb hidden inside an audio cassette player detonated in the cargo area when the plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet. The disaster, which became the subject of Britain’s largest criminal investigation, was believed to be an attack against the United States. One hundred eighty nine of the victims were American.

Trump Remains Focused on Reversing Election - The Wall Street Journal

Flights cancelled, holidays in disarray as Sydney battles pre-Christmas COVID-19 outbreak - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

"Is the Christmas spirit still alive?'' some ask. Well, you bet it is. Being Americans, we open our hearts to neighbors less fortunate. We try to protect them from hunger and cold. And we reach out in so many ways -- from toys-for-tots drives across the country, to good will by the Salvation Army, to American Red Cross efforts which provide food, shelter, and Christmas cheer from Atlanta to Seattle.

Radio Address to the Nation on Christmas, December 24, 1983

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Preparing for Christmas


Poinsettia Tree
Columbia Mall, Columbia, MD
December 26,2018
I was reviewing my images of Christmases past yesterday and came to a stark realization, it is going be very different this year as we respect the threat of COVID-19 and distance ourselves.

We need to remember the season. We need to find joy despite the upheaval of our lives. As 2019 was ending we never expected to be living through a pandemic a short year later. Everything, it seems has changed. Even travel, we cannot even think of traveling to visit family trapped in remote areas. 

Unlike last year, we do not expect a large gathering. We will be seeing family in small groups. But, the dinner will still be made and in a recent reversal of fortune, Christmas Eve Brunch will be held in rolling shifts. As for Christmas dinner? It will be small. But, we will be maintaining distance and celebrating the holiday in the best way that we can. 

It is Christmas after all. 


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Winter Arrived


The Morning after the
First Storm of the Season
Elkridge, MD
December 17, 2020
With the storm that arrived earlier this week followed by the persistent cold temperatures and ice I believe that it is safe to conclude that Winter has arrived. 

The bare trees silhouetted by the red sunrise reflecting off the still present snow confirm my assessment. 

It is cold and icy. 

The new season begins officially this coming week with the dark season reaching its maximum effect on December 21st. It is time to settle in for the winter and stay safe from the coronavirus. 

My drive still has ice on it. I had thought the rain would melt the snow, which was more slush than snow, and so I did not use my newly acquired snow blower to clear the drive. I am pretty sure there will be more storms this season and so I will have the opportunity to turn gasoline into noise and remove the snow from my driveway soon enough. We could not get lucky enough for this to be the only storm to pass our way. 

And so it begins! 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, December 18, 2020

Leadership: Responsible for All


I have written and skirted the issue of leadership during the pandemic. As most of you know I do not believe, based upon the evidence, that the current administration has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, but rather has attempted to distance itself from the mounting tragedy which embodies America's response.

The basis of my assessment is that America has about 4 percent of the world's population and 20 percent of the coronavirus deaths. Distilled down, and not addressing the economic toll, that is the basis for my assessment. The most advanced and capable country in the world has failed by almost every measure to protect not only its population, but its economy. Yes, the stock market is still strong--but that is not a measure of the economic strength.

Leaders own it all! The good, the bad, and the ineffective.

Effective leaders know they are responsible for it all. Really good leaders do not take credit for the successes--they heap thepraise for the successes on their people. They realize that success does not happen without a great team. Take the vaccine deliveries. The drug companies did a great job expediting the production and delivery of the vaccines and they were aided by the government streamlining some regulatory issues. Who should get the credit? The drug companies!

The explosive unemployment, the economic disaster that is the U.S. right now, the quarantines and the isolation, the skyrocketing death rate--who gets the blame? The leader. 

That is how leadership is--it is not a popularity contest and leaders cannot pick and choose what is their responsibility. They are responsible for all of it. Leaders cannot try to separate the vaccine from the death rate because they are all responsible for all of it. 

A good leader accepts when they fall short and stands up and takes the blame for the team and vows to turn it around and do better, not sulking off to a Florida retreat to ride out the pandemic. 

I do not understand how a leader gets a free pass where people heap credit for producing a vaccine--which really he had nothing to do with while failing to protect Americans resulting in the deaths of over 300,000 of our fellow citizens. 

A true leader is responsible for it all. It is tough and maybe not fair--but, it is what came with the job.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, December 17, 2020

While we were Distracted



A Wall Street Journal headline this morning was a stunning reminder of how myopically inwardly focused the U.S. has become while other countries continue to gain technologically reducing our competitive advantage.

The image is "recovery crew members check on capsule of the Chang’e 5 probe after it landed in Siziwang district, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, in this photo released by Xinhua News Agency" from the Wall Street Journal article referenced below

The headline:

China Moon Mission Ends as Lunar Probe Returns to Earth With Fragments

Yes, we are dealing with failed foreign policies, failed domestic policies, and a runaway pandemic. We waited for a vaccine while over 300,000 Americans died and another 300,000 are expected to perish before the promise of "herd immunity" becomes a reality.

But, our competitors are still out there and they are not pausing while we try to get out of the box we have put ourselves into.

It didn't have to be this way. 

It should not have been this way. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

My New Gym Buddy


Until September, I had maintained a gym membership for many years. Originally, Chris and I took the membership to improve fitness. And we were very diligent for some time, but eventually the membership evolved to just me and I used the gym exclusively to play racquetball. 

Fast forward to 2020--the year which cannot end too quickly. 

With arrival of the end of September, the club/gym to which I belonged to play racquetball closed because it could not compete with COVID. I played racquetball infrequently through October at an outdoor court, but when the second surge began--it was determined that I should sit it out until Spring. It really is tough to play racquetball on outdoor courts in the cold, rain and snow. Additionally, with the daylight hours being so short--it is hard to finds a time to play. I have been playing racquetball mostly at about 5:30 AM with the exceptions being for leagues and occasional special meetings. It is just dark too at 5:30 most of the year to play outside. 

Enter my new gym buddy!

Meet the NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle. It had been suggested that I call it the Mean Machine. I'm thinking about that. 

I rescued my new gym buddy from Dick's on Sunday and have completed three sessions totaling about 15 miles of riding through Glacier National Park. So far, I love it. I enjoy the rides and they are challenging. Riding the cycle at home is far more time efficient than driving to the gym and then home or to work for that same workout. AND, the added benefit is that I am hoping that I will not be soft and fat when I can again take the court and swing a racquetball racket or walk onto the golf course and whack away impotently at the little white ball which continues to vex me.

After only three rides it is hard to offer a recommendation, but I did my homework. I compared the S22i to its competitors (one of which I really wanted) and, so far, I am extremely happy with my choice. The assembly was not too difficult and as you can see from the picture, I still have not taken all of the packaging off the cycle. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Cold, wet, white stuff


It works! It is alive!

In advance of the expected 10 inches of snow beginning tomorrow night, I was able to get my newly acquired snowblower started last evening after replacing the carburetor. I also performed an oil change and replaced the spark plug. The snowblower had not been operated in three years and it did not start the last time that me and my neighbors, who gave it to me when they moved, attempted to use it. 

The video documents the sweet sound of success as the snowblower engine operates. I know it is loud and boring, but after sitting for three years it is a great sound, especially considering that the expected storm coming tomorrow. This storm will provide the area with more snow than we have received during the past two years, combined.

Thank you to my neighbors who gave awe the snowblower, I am sad that you have moved, but I will happily remember the years we spent clearing the driveway together as I use you snowblower to again move mountains of the cold, wet, white stuff. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 14, 2020

Monday Musings - December 14, 2020


1. It us now the second Monday of December. There are two Mondays remaining and just 11 days until Christmas.

2. I have completed most of my Christmas shopping. Like most Americans, I have not shopped in a brick and mortar store for gifts. Although yesterday, I made a significant purchase from a store for a personal item. Since it was not a gift I did not want to wait for shipping. AND, I saved, truly saved, $199 in shipping costs.

3. Family NFL Report

    Football Team (6-7) defeat 49ers (5-8) 23-15

    Cowboys (4-9) defeat Bengals (2-10-1) 30-7

    Steelers (11-2) lose to Bills (10-3) 15-26

    Ravens (7-5) play Browns (9-3) tonight

4. I purchased a private workout cycle yesterday. As a result of COVID, my gym has closed, I am not playing racquetball, and with the winter weather arriving I will not be walking much or playing golf. I need something to keep from getting soft and fat. I did a lot of research and decided upon the NordicTrack S22i. I thought I wanted a Peloton, but the NordicTrack had a few more features and a lower price point. I did my first ride through Glacier National Park yesterday and it was everything that I hoped that it would be. 

5. We all need to be smart over the holidays to stem the COVID pandemic. The vaccine will not be available to most of us for months--vigilance is the key word. 

6. It is the Christmas Season. Pray for peace and work for peace. 

7. Today in History. December 14, 1911. Norwegian Roald Amundsen becomes the first explorer to reach the South Pole, beating his British rival, Robert Falcon Scott.

Amundsen, born in Borge, near Oslo, in 1872, was one of the great figures in polar exploration. In 1897, he was first mate on a Belgian expedition that was the first ever to winter in the Antarctic. In 1903, he guided the 47-ton sloop Gjöa through the Northwest Passage and around the Canadian coast, the first navigator to accomplish the treacherous journey. Amundsen planned to be the first man to the North Pole, and he was about to embark in 1909 when he learned that the American Robert Peary had achieved the feat.

Russian Hackers Broke Into Federal Agencies, U.S. Officials Suspect - The New York Times

As U.S. Deaths Approach 300,000, Obituaries Force Reckoning With Covid-19 - The New York Times

Electoral College Meets in Formal Step Toward Biden Presidency - The Wall Street Journal

Iran’s Execution of Journalist Threatens Push for Diplomacy With Europe - The Wall Street Journal

Historic vaccine campaign begins with first shipments - Reuters

Japan, South Korea fret as surging coronavirus undermines leaders' support - Reuters

Nearly 3 dozen arrested in D.C. as Proud Boys roamed city looking to fight - The Washington Post

Hijacking the electoral college: The plot to deny JFK the presidency 60 years ago - The Washington Post

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Christmas is a time for children, and rightly so. We celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace who came as a babe in a manger. Some celebrate Christmas as the birthday of a great teacher and philosopher. But to other millions of us, Jesus is much more. He is divine, living assurance that God so loved the world He gave us His only begotten Son so that by believing in Him and learning to love each other we could one day be together in paradise.

It's been said that all the kings who ever reigned, that all the parliaments that ever sat have not done as much to advance the cause of peace on Earth and good will to men as the man from Galilee, Jesus of Nazareth.

 Address to the Nation, December 24, 1983

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Here it Comes!!!!


We have escaped, so far. All of that is about to change as the weather is expected to produce a classic December snow-storm this week. I do not know if they are calling for a Nor'easter or not, but the forecast surely looks ominous.

Ten-day Weather Underground Forecast for Elkridge, MD

The weather forecast for Elkridge is predicting 8.5 inches of snow! That would be more snow than we have received for the past two winters combined into one snowstorm.

Batten down the hatches and get those snowblowers revved up! Mine is broken, but the new carburetor should arrive tomorrow and hopefully I can it it running in time for the wintery weather. Our neighbor gave the snowblower to me when they moved and it has not been started successfully for three winters. I am happy to get it working in order to move 8.5 inches of heavy wet snow. I want to face snow with something more than a shovel.

I hope that the storm does not materialize. 

I could call the forecast a hoax and stick my head in the sand! But no, I'd rather be prepared if it does occur. 

Cold temperatures, freezing rain, snow--winter is arriving! I definitely should enjoy the probable last 62 degree day of the year today because here comes Winter!

Did I mention that I have a condo in Florida? Why am I not there?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Let the Healing Begin


The Supremes Rule! 

Did you get the double entendre? 

I wrote yesterday about the suit brought to the Supreme Court by Texas and supported by 17 other States and over 100 members of Congress which sought to overturn the election results in four key states and disenfranchise over 20 million voters. 

Supreme Court Rejects Texas Challenge to Biden’s Victory in Presidential Election

This story was above the fold in this morning's Wall Street Journal, although many of us received breaking news notifications on our phones last evening, during Happy Hour, as it was happening. 

I know, technically the Supreme Court did not rule, they chose not to take up the case. 

The article in the WSJ reports that the president wrote the following in a tweet:

“The Supreme Court really let us down. No Wisdom, No Courage!,’’ Mr. Trump wrote in a tweet late Friday.

The Supremes knew what they were doing and followed the Constitution. It took courage to do that in the face of the vilification they knew who'd be coming their way. Just because Trump overloaded the court with conservative justices does not mean he "owns" them. They are still justices who decide based upon the "Rule of Law" and not the winds of wrath.

I was very impressed with the Pennsylvania Attorney General who wrote, as reported in the same WSJ article:

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in his response brief that asking the Supreme Court to “anoint Texas’s preferred candidate for President is legally indefensible and is an affront to principles of constitutional democracy.”

“Our nation’s highest court saw through this seditious abuse of our electoral process,” Mr. Shapiro said on Twitter on Friday evening. “This swift denial should make anyone contemplating further attacks on our election think twice.”

Maybe the petulant president will finally slink from the scene and admit he lost the election by more than 7 million votes and, to quote him from 2016, a landslide in the Electoral College. It is time to move on and let the healing begin.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


Friday, December 11, 2020

Move On--Get Over It


There are just 40 days until the inauguration and I cannot believe the number Republican Party officials who are trying to steal the election from the American people for Trump. 

As I see it, the results are pretty astounding on all fronts, both the popular vote and the electoral college vote.

Here is the current chart:

The bottom line is that 7,000,000 (that is 7 million) more Americans voted for Joe Biden, the president-elect, than voted for Trump. That is an inescapable number and, frankly, and overwhelming number. 4.9 percent more of the American voters supported Biden over Trump. And remember, Trump did not win the popular vote in 2016! He has always been the president of the minority.

An article in The Atlantic, admittedly a left-leaning publication, provide some context for what is happening right now in trying to overturn the election in the Supreme Court.

The article is:

The GOP Abandons Democracy, by David Graham

One paragraph in the article explains what is happening:

More surprising is that 17 Republican state attorneys general filed a brief in support of Paxton’s suit, a sizable majority of the top Republican law-enforcement officials in the country. Then 106 Republican members of the U.S. House did the same. When Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, a Republican, called the suit “constitutionally, legally and factually wrong,” he received a threatening phone call from Trump

Fundamentally, it is time to get over it and get on with the transition. The very people who are screaming that the election was stolen are working to actually steal the election. 

It is sad, and I never would have thought that the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, would stoop so low, but democracy is on the line. What has always made America great is our ability to transition administrations after an election. That is in jeopardy and too many members of Congress and state governments are drinking the kool-aid of a rigged election. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, December 10, 2020

A Safe COVID Activity


SPCA Lights on the Bay
Sandy Point State Park, MD
December 9, 2020
Quite by surprise last evening, I discovered a safe COVID activity to get out of the house and enjoy the Christmas season. It was a spur of the moment activity to go and view the Christmas Lights as Sandy Point State Park which support the SPCA of Anne Arundel County. The display is called Lights on the Bay

SPCA Lights on the Bay
Sandy Point State Park, MD
December 9, 2020

When we were initially heading out, I had though we were off to see the Symphony of Lights at Merriweather Post Pavilion, but no, we were driving to the foot of the Bay Bridge to enjoy a Christmas light display that we had never visited.

The drive to the bay was pleasant, even in rush hour traffic. The rush hours seem better with more people working from home and schools shuttered. We arrived shortly past 5 PM before the crowds but just after dark. 

SPCA Lights on the Bay
Sandy Point State Park, MD
December 9, 2020
It was a pleasant drive through park enjoying the multitude of lights. Additionally, for a few extra dollars, we purchased some special glasses which transformed the the lights into either reindeer or snowmen. The glasses are fun and definitely worth the couple of extra dollars. Important safety tip: Do NOT drive with the glasses on.

The best part, there was no contact with other people--it is a safe COVID-19 activity. The cost is $20 per vehicle and the glasses were 2 for $5 or 1 for $3--which also is extremely reasonable. I am told, visit on a weekday, early. The admission process is a bit slow, but it helps to keep from having too many vehicles in the park. We were able to proceed at a slow and enjoyable pace without needlessly creating a traffic back-up.

Finding safe things to do during Christmas.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, December 9, 2020



I have been keenly interested in the people that the president-elect has been selecting to be his key advisors. President-elect Biden is doing exactly as I had hoped in surrounding himself with brilliant people from whom he expects to get good advice. That does not mean he will follow their advice,  but it means he will have the solid, scientific, logical advice upon which to base his decisions.

One choice which is causing concern among some democrats in the choice for Secretary of Defense, General Lloyd Austin, US Army Retired. The problem is that he has been retired only five years and the law requires seven years of retirement before being selected to lead the Defense Department. That requirement has been waived twice before, most recently for Trump's choice of Mattis. 

But interestingly, it is from the democrats where the objections seem to be rising and this shows that despite irrational fears to the contrary, should the democrats win the Senate as a result of the Georgia run-off, there is little concern that a sweeping tidal wave of change will occur. The democrats, unlike the republicans, are not in lock-step. 

The bigger threat, in my mind, is that if republicans retain control of the Senate, they will block key appointments and strangle the ability of the new administration to get the country moving again. Having control of the Senate ensured that Trump was able to fill appointments pretty much at will--for all the good that did. 

The transition is underway and, as I wrote, I am encouraged. Hopefully, after the celebrations of January 20, 2021, the new administration will be up and running and change will begin sweeping across America--in a good way. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

And the Dolphins Remain


I watched the Football Team defeat the Steelers last evening and preserve the 1972 Dolphins as the only team to post a perfect season and win the Super Bowl in the history of the NFL. 

It was a tough loss for the Steelers. It was a trap game--the team was coming off a tough win against the depleted Ravens last week and looking forward to the strong Buffalo Bills team next week. In between were the seemingly hapless Washington Football Team with a lowly 4-7 record. But, the Football Team has been playing much better lately with a strong defense and Alex Smith, their quarterback, getting the feel for the game after reassuming the starting role following his disturbing injury two seasons ago.

The Steelers loss, however, makes the playoff race a bit more interesting. For Washington, they are definitely alive tied atop the NFC East with good prospects for winning the division, which is the only way an NFC East team will be in the playoffs. And in the AFC, the struggle between Kansas City and Pittsburgh for the best record will continue for a few more weeks. Unlike Kansas City, which clinched a playoff spot this past weekend, the Steelers have a tough schedule and will need to defeat the thundering herd of the Buffalo Bills (9-3) as well as the Colts and Browns to clinch a playoff spot--unless the Ravens provide an assist by defeating the Browns next week. 

I have to confess, I am excited that the Team with "No Name" is in the playoff hunt! It would be weird if they won the Super Bowl and everyone had to accept that a team called Football Team (FT) is on the Lombardi Trophy!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 7, 2020

Monday Musings - December 7, 2020


1. It is the first Monday of December and there are just three Mondays remaining in the year. I cannot believe how quickly the year is coming to a close.

2. There are 44 days until Inauguration Day--January 20. It will be a very different inauguration--no parades, no spectacle, but still as meaningful and important for our country and our society.

3. Christmas is but 18 days from now. 

4. Today is Pearl Harbor Day. 2403 U.S. personnel lost their lives as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 2, 2020, 2885 Americans were lost due to COVID-19.

5. Family NFL Results

    Football Team (4-7) vs Steelers (11-0) tonight

    Ravens (6-5) vs Cowboys (3-8) Tuesday night

6. If the COVID-19 U.S. deaths continue and approach the numbers projected, they will get close to the 620,000 deaths estimated for military forces from all causes during the Civil War. 

7. The vaccine is coming! The vaccine is coming! But probably not until next summer for most of us!

8. Today in History. December 7, 1941. At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.

Soaring Metals Prices Signal Bets on Global Recovery - The Wall Street Journal

Georgia Rejects Trump’s Request to Reverse His Election Loss - The Wall Street Journal

Barr Is Said to Be Weighing Whether to Leave Before Trump’s Term Ends - The New York Times

Rudy Giuliani Tests Positive for Coronavirus, Trump Says - The New York Times

Unemployment, sick leave and housing aid are set to expire in weeks, threatening Americans with sudden financial ruin - The Washington Post

What you need to know about Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines - The Washington Post

Exclusive: U.S. preparing new sanctions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong crackdown - sources - Reuters

Melbourne welcomes first international flight in five months as COVID curbs ease - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

In the annals of American history, only a few events are so well-known and so deeply rooted in national remembrance that the mere mention of their date suffices to describe them. Of these occurrences, none could have had more significance for our Nation than December 7, 1941.

On that Sunday morning, 45 years ago, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched an unprovoked, surprise attack upon units of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed at Pearl HarborHawaii. This attack claimed the lives of 2,403 Americans, wounded 1,178 more, and damaged our naval capabilities in the Pacific. Such destruction seared the memory of a generation and galvanized the will of the American people in a fight to maintain our right to freedom without fear.

Every honor is appropriate for the courageous Americans who made the supreme sacrifice for our Nation at Pearl Harbor and in the many battles that followed in World War II. Their sacrifice was for a cause, not for conquest; for a world that would be safe for future generations. Their devotion must never be forgotten.

We honor our dead by solemn ceremony. We do so as well by protecting the Nation and the freedom they protected and by forging the resolve, the strength, and the military preparedness necessary to deter attack and to preserve and build the peace. As President Franklin Roosevelt told our Nation the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked, ``It is our obligation to our dead -- it is our sacred obligation to their children and our children -- that we must never forget what we have learned.''

We have not forgotten, nor will we. We live in a world made more free, more just, and more peaceful by those who will answer roll call no more, those who will report for muster never again. We do remember Pearl Harbor.

The Congress, by Public Law 99 - 534, has designated December 7, 1986, as ``National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim December 7, 1986, as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe this solemn occasion with appropriate ceremonies and activities and to pledge eternal vigilance and strong resolve to defend this Nation and its allies from all future aggression.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of December, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.

Ronald Reagan, 

Proclamation 5582 -- National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, 1986, December 2, 1986

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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