Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Storm Inches Closer

I am waiting on the snow. I expected to awaken this morning to a marshmallow world of white covering everything. But not. 

One weather forecaster likened waiting for the coming storm to watching a pot of water boil. Other on-scene weather reporters suggested they were all dressed with no where to go.

I have an interesting ritual associated with getting ready for a storm. Remember, we have not had a storm of this magnitude since 2016! In fact, we will be getting more snow during this storm than we have during the last three years combined.

Yesterday I conducted an operations check on the snow thrower--fortunately, it was ready. I had prepared it during December and was confident that it would start and run. But, I checked it and topped off the gas tank.

There was an obligatory trip to the grocery store, mostly for vegetables. 

I made sure that both vehicles have full gas tanks--the extra weight improves traction in the snow while ensuring that a trip to refuel will not be required.

Extra wood was brought into the garage to ensure that the fireplace will be able to provide additional warming heat continuously. 

I believe that Chris and I are as ready as possible. Our neighbors are also happy that the snow thrower is fully ready to tackle the storm. If the forecast is correct, we may actually be snowed in for a day or two until the county can get the street cleared. Our street is definitely a side street and therefore on the bottom of those to be cleared and made passable. Fortunately, I believe my truck has enough clearance to handle 12 inches of snow--time will tell. 

So I am sitting here waiting for the snow. I don't know why, exactly, but probably because there is no football on TV today. Perhaps I will watch the Farmers Insurance Open from Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California. At least I will feel warm, although yesterday it was cool there as the golfers were all in jackets.

OMG, Chris just saw a snow flake and did a dance!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, January 30, 2021

The Calm Before . . .

 A storm brewing.

24 Hour Weather Forecast

A Nor'easter potentially laying its bullseye right atop the Baltimore-Washington region.

Actually we are looking at two storms--one Sunday to Monday and then another. The scary part, there are no projections yet for the Monday to Tuesday storm which could be developing into the Nor'easter.

Chris reported that Costco was packed with shoppers loading up on supplies yesterday win advance of the storms. 

This morning, however, as I look outside it is calm. The sunrise portends a fine day. I am not excited at all about the prospect of multiple inches of snow. 

From the WBAL TV weather crew, as of this morning here is the forecast:

Chief Meteorologist Tom Tasselmyer said it's going to be a tricky forecast because the West Coast storm will have to move across the country, transfer energy to the coast, and another storm will have to form and track over Maryland to bring snow.

Meteorologist Ava Marie says snow will begin to develop some time after 6 a.m. Sunday, accumulating to as much as 3 to 6 inches by Monday morning -- and that's just part one.

Ava said there will be a mixing of sleet and rain, especially to the south of Baltimore, starting Sunday night into Monday.

Part two comes with more snow -- and ice -- possible Monday into Tuesday morning, with locations and amounts to be determined.

I highlighted the potentially frightening part of the forecast. They do not have a clue!

It will be like days before satellites and weather forecasts--we will just have to see what comes our way. this will be fun.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, January 29, 2021

Comfort Food

Roast Beef Dinner
Elkridge, MD
January 28, 2021
Last evening's dinner was comfort food all the way. 

We try to have a no cook Thursday which means that we call a restaurant and order dinner for pick-up. Due to COVID-19 we do not actually eat-out.

Yesterday Chris decided to try something different. She pulled out the slow cooker and made a roast beef dinner. Comfort food! 

I enjoyed the warm smells of the food in the cooker when I came through the door at the end of the day. The dark red wine was, of course, the star of the show perfectly highlighting the flavors of the beef and roasted vegetables.

A mid-Winter's feast!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Darkness is Passing


Looking Up the Street at 5:21 PM
Elkridge, MD
January 27, 2021
I noticed it last evening. 

The darkness is not falling until later in the day. 

Makayla needed to go out about 5:30 PM and I noticed that it was still light. It is funny how it happens by a few minutes each day and so it is hardly noticeable until, suddenly, I realize that sunset is becoming later each day. 

As it turned out I snapped this image exactly at sunset, 5:21 PM last evening after 10 hours and 4 minutes of daylight. Just by way of example, just one month ago sunset in Baltimore was at 4:50 PM after 9 hours and 25 minutes of daylight. 

Daylight is returning. 

In one short month, we will be basking in 11 hours and 15 minutes of daylight per day with sunset at 5:57 PM.

I need to locate my golf clubs and racquetball racket. 

I love watching the progression of the days from day to light!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Week One - Done

It was only a week ago that President Biden was sworn-in, but I feel that the mood in the country is already improving. 

Civility has returned to the White House. Despite the efforts of the right-wing disinformation machine, progress is being made and America is reengaging with the world and tits Allies. No, it is not Pax Americana, but the tone and tenor of communications from the highest office in the land is reasoned and inclusive.

The COVID-19 battle is underway with a strategy and competent leadership to fill the void left by the previous administration. After only a week it is hard to point to much progress, but positive things should begin happening soon as the new policies and plans begin to take effect.

NBC News published a comprehensive list of the executive actions already taken by the administration in its first seven days on the job. 

I have seen that some have made the news for the problems that they may cause, but some of those focusing on problems are ignoring the larger body of good being dome--the problems can be corrected within the context of the broader positives of the actions. 

Week One is done. I remain encouraged.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Snow and Ice


After the Overnight Dusting of Snow
Elkridge, MD
January 26, 2021
Winter made its second appearance of the season overnight. The region actually received a dusting of snow and an ice storm is expected as the day progresses. 

I guess I needed a reminder that it is Winter because January has been pleasant and mild. 

The build-up that the news media gave to the storm was truly astonishing. It is almost as if there were no other stories worthy of coverage. I am expecting that the areas North and West of my town received a good deal more snow and ice--but as of 5:30 AM this morning, we have apparently escaped the fury of the storm. 

I admit, I have mixed emotions about escaping the storm. I have a snow thrower ready to tackle the dreaded white stuff, but is definitely ready for some use. But, it will remain at the ready. In my mind it is better to be prepared and not need to bring in the heavy equipment than it is to not be prepared at and snowed under.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, January 25, 2021

Monday Musings - January 25, 2021


1. It is hard to comprehend, but this is the fourth and final Monday of January 2021. The first month of the new year is nearly complete and the year does not feel so "new" anymore.

2. Kansas City will meet New England (err, Tampa Bay, I mean) in Super Bowl LV in two weeks. It just seems so normal for Brady to be a Super Bowl quarterback. The NFL Season is actually going to end on time despite COVID-19.

3. Despite the lack of travel, I remain thankful for my workout cycle. I have been cycling in Patagonia, Argentina this week.

4. January has been relatively mild so far, but that is likely to change in the coming week as sleet, rain, ice, and snow make their way into the region. 

5. I miss looking out the back window at palm trees.

6. I realized that because of COVID-19, I only wrote two Out the Hotel Window entries last year.

7. I smoked some chicken last evening to eat while watching Kansas City defeat Buffalo. It was a good game and I enjoyed the outcome. For those unaware, during my youth growing up in Central New York I was a fervent Kansas City fan! I distinctly remember the stinging taste of defeat as Miami defeated Kansas City in the longest NFL game ever played on Christmas Day 1971.

8. Today in History. On January 25, 1905, at the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa, a 3,106-carat diamond is discovered during a routine inspection by the mine’s superintendent. Weighing 1.33 pounds, and christened the “Cullinan,” it was the largest diamond ever found.

Frederick Wells was 18 feet below the earth’s surface when he spotted a flash of starlight embedded in the wall just above him. His discovery was presented that same afternoon to Sir Thomas Cullinan, who owned the mine. Cullinan then sold the diamond to the Transvaal provincial government, which presented the stone to Britain’s King Edward VII as a birthday gift. Worried that the diamond might be stolen in transit from Africa to London, Edward arranged to send a phony diamond aboard a steamer ship loaded with detectives as a diversionary tactic. While the decoy slowly made its way from Africa on the ship, the Cullinan was sent to England in a plain box.

How West Virginia Became a U.S. Leader in Vaccine RolloutHow West Virginia Became a U.S. Leader in Vaccine Rollout - The New York Times

Is Space the Next ‘Great Power’ Contest Between the U.S. and China? - The New York Times

For Wars of the Future, Pentagon Looks to Distant Past: the B-52 - The Wall Street Journal

Biden to Lift Restrictions on Transgender Military Service Members - The Wall Street Journal

Trump made 30,573 false or misleading claims as president. Nearly half came in his final year. - The Washington Post

Pandemic aftershocks overwhelm global supply lines, threatening higher prices for consumers - The Washington Post

Australians Can’t Get Home, but Tennis Players Fly in From Covid-19 Hot Spots - The Wall Street Journal 

Japan likely to hit COVID-19 herd immunity months after Olympics - researcher - Reuters

China says U.S. military in South China Sea not good for peace - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we're in a time when there are not heroes, they just don't know where to look. You can see heroes every day going in and out of factory gates. Others, a handful in number, produce enough food to feed all of us and then the world beyond. You meet heroes across a counter, and they're on both sides of that counter. There are entrepreneurs with faith in themselves and faith in an idea who create new jobs, new wealth and opportunity. They're individuals and families whose taxes support the government and whose voluntary gifts support church, charity, culture, art, and education. Their patriotism is quiet, but deep. Their values sustain our national life.

  Ronald Reagan First Inaugural Address - January 20, 1981

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Democracy and our Republic

Illustration by Tim O’Brien for TIME
I have been reflecting on the week's activities. President Biden made the following encouraging statement during his Inaugural Address: 

  We have learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed. (Politico)

And I am encouraged. Democracy has prevailed. Despite the worst efforts of the unrepentant opposition, the inauguration happened and the will of the majority of the American people was confirmed on a cold, January Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

But there are still forces out there stalking, waiting for their moment. I found a paragraph from an article in Time Magazine which continues on from President Biden's thought:

But only barely. Biden now leads a country divided between Americans who believe in facts and Americans who distrust them, between those who want a multiracial Republic and those who seek to invalidate nonwhite votes, between those with faith in democratic institutions and those who put faith only in Trump. (Time Magazine)

I understand that now there are three strong political forces in the country. The Democrats, the Republicans, and the Cult of Trump.

I know that many people have been calling for a third political party to help balance the partisan fighting between the Democrats and the Republicans--but I am not sure that a party based upon a fervent religious adoration of Trump is a good counterpoint. I know that this statement will incite many of my friends and possibly family--but that is OK.

I point to the words of our President during his inauguration:

That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably, within the guardrails of our Republic, is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength.Yet hear me clearly: Disagreement must not lead to disunion. (Politico)

And so, we, and I mean all of us, are on a journey. It is a two-year journey, for at that point we will be electing a new House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. It will be a referendum on the Biden Administration and it will be in our hands to change course if we believe our Union is not on the right path.

But we must remember the starting point, from President Biden's Inaugural Address: 

We face an attack on democracy and on truth.
A raging virus.
Growing inequity.
The sting of systemic racism.
A climate in crisis.
America’s role in the world.
Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways.
But the fact is we face them all at once, presenting this nation with the gravest of responsibilities.
Now we must step up.
All of us.
It is a time for boldness, for there is so much to do.
And, this is certain.
We will be judged, you and I, for how we resolve the cascading crises of our era.
Will we rise to the occasion?
Will we master this rare and difficult hour?
Will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world for our children?

I believe we must and I believe we will.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Weekend Projects Anew

Although it was a week ago, Chris and I had the opportunity to assist Patrick in transforming a powder room last weekend--all while practicing social distancing.

It is a standard powder room, well except that unlike most it has a window which makes it bright. This image is after the first coat of bright paint was applied to two of the walls--the accent color. I took the shot from the main room where the brightness of the room can clearly be seen and understood. 

It is awesome! I love the color, the brightness, and the way the color just chassis the gloom and darkness away. I am sure that even with the light off--this room is bright!

The only problem was that the room was too small for two people. I, of course, had the pleasure of painting around the toilet! It seems I always get the "dirty" jobs!

Patrick finished it off with the second coats of paint and I have not had the pleasure of seeing the final result in person, but I hear it looks great.

More ways to ride out the pandemic!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, January 22, 2021

First Impressions

President Biden and Vice President Harris
The new administration is off and running. I have been encouraged by some of the first actions--repairing what was torn asunder and attempting to actively Marshall forces to defeat COVID-19.

We needed a COVID-19 plan-and we finally have one. I have not read it yet--but I have included the link to the plan above. Having a cogent plan does not guarantee success, but it gives the country a place to begin. With over 4,000 Americans dying each day, something needed to change.

Given that I am not traveling much these days, I suppose I will have the opportunity to read the plan in detail. 

I believe the new administration is off to a good start. I found it funny that there was no discussion of crowd size at the inauguration. But, I do thing there were more flags than at the previous inauguration.  I am excited about the openness and preparedness that is being shown by the new administration. The two months between Election Day and Inauguration Day were put to good use. 

As an aside--

I did find it interesting that China slapped sanctions on 28 Trump administration officials. A parting shot. 

China Slaps Sanctions On 28 Trump Administration Officials  - NPR

And hopefully, we are off into the weekend!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Inauguration--Beginning Anew

I watched the inauguration yesterday with great anticipation and expectation. I do not know what I expected to see, but I know that I saw it. 

I saw grace, strength and resilience on display. I saw a team, a new president and Vice President, who I believe can unite the country and plot a cogent course for the future.

I was encouraged to hear an inauguration address worthy of the day and the moment in time. A speech which recognized the divisions and differences in the country, but did not blame nor shame the opposition. 

Much of what President Biden spoke made my heart sing, and so, from the Washington Post text of the Inaugural Address, here are some of the parts which spoke to me. Note, the red annotations are from the Washington Post and I highly recommend you click on the link above and read the commentary they provided.

But the answer is not to turn inward, to retreat into competing factions, distrusting those who don’t look like you or worship the way you do, or don’t get their news from the same sources you do. We must end this uncivil war 9that pits red against blue, rural vs. urban, conservative vs. liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes, as my mom would say, just for a moment, stand in their shoes. Because here’s the thing about life: There’s no accounting for what fate will deal you. Some days when you need a hand. There are other days when we’re called to lend a hand. That’s how it has to be. That’s what we do for one another. And if we are this way, our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future. And we can still disagree.

So here’s my message to those beyond our borders: 11America has been tested and we’ve come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again. Not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. And we’ll lead, not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.

Folks, this is a time of testing. We face an attack on our democracy and on truth, a raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world. Any one of these will be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is, we face them all at once, presenting this nation with one of the gravest responsibilities we’ve had. Now we’re going to be tested. Are we going to step up? All of us? It’s time for boldness, for there is so much to do. And this is certain, I promise you: We will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era.

I know that this was not the greatest inaugural address ever given--but, I am convinced it was the right address, given by the right person, at just the right time. And that is what really matters.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Inauguration Day - 2021


The day has arrived. It dawns full of hope and promise like all Inauguration Days before it. A chapter of American history ends and another begins with the utterance of a short, but powerful, phrase. 

The oath is perhaps the most powerful in the land and possibly the world.

"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."

At noon today, Joe Biden becomes the 46th President of the United States. 

No one wants a president to fail. No matter who we voted for, there is nothing worse than a failed presidency and so at noon all of the hopes and dreams of every American fall upon his shoulders and those of the Vice President, Kamala Harris.

  • The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
    • Theodore Roosevelt, "Lincoln and Free Speech", The Great Adventure (1926; vol. 19 of The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, national ed.), chapter 7, p. 289.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

COVID-19 Escape


S22i Studio Cycle in Patagonia, Argentina
My Ride
January 18, 2021
My S22i NordicTrack Studio Cycle continues to get significant use now after over one month of ownership. To be honest, I have only missed cycling two days and I am really enjoying the escape form reality that it provides. Just this week I have cycled in Norway, the toughest ride so far, and Argentina! Seriously, Sunday in Norway and Monday in Patagonia, Argentina. 

The cycle is the perfect COVID-19 escape. For between 30 and 50 minutes each day I escape to the open road and view some beautiful scenery and get my butt kicked by some really in shape trainer as I struggle to climb mountains or race on an open road. 

Yesterday I rode around a lake in Patagonia, complete with hill climbs. I have been wearing my Apple Watch and tracking the workout and my heart rate. I have been getting some very strenuous workouts--and enjoying them while enjoying some great scenery. So fay, I have ridden in Glacier National Park; North and South Carolina along the Blue Ridge Parkway; Fairbanks, Alaska; a route I built in Florida, and sampled Norway and Argentina.  Glacier National Park and the Carolina series were both 12 separate rides each. 

The ultimate escape while working to improve fitness.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, January 18, 2021

Monday Musings - January 18, 2021


1. It is the third Monday of January. It is also Inauguration Week 2021. And I even typed the year correctly this week. Maybe I am finally getting it.

2. Family NFL Football Results:

    Steelers - lost last week, out of playoffs

    Football Team - lost last week, out of playoffs

    Cowboys - Did not make the playoffs

    Ravens lost to Bills 3-17 in the Division round. 

    All of the family teams are out of the playoffs.

Morning Sunlight on the Trees
Elkridge, MD
January, 17, 2021
3. The sunlight yesterday as it moved down the bare trees outside my window caused me to take the image. It was a beautiful sunrise and the sunlight reminded me that it is mid-January and in about 90 short days, I will be opening my pool and preparing for the swimming season.

4. No word on the MLB season yet. I had heard that the MLB told the teams to prepare for an on-time season kick-off, but that leaves Spring Training up in the air.

5. The Inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, the 59th Inauguration in the history of this great country is occurring this week. Inaugurations are a celebration not just for the winners, but for all Americans. It confirms our unique place in the world, and I have celebrated the inaugurations of presidents for whom I did not vote. Elections should not be a contentious as this one has been. There have been others in our history, but generally the inauguration is a celebration for all Americans, and we should remember that.

6. Today is the day we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was the preeminent leader of the American Civil Rights Movement which advocated nonviolent means.  

7. Is anyone else really amazed at how law enforcement has been able to track down the insurrectionists? 

8. "Leadership, at its core, in my view, is about being personal. . . You always put yourself in the other person's position, and then also to understand where they're coming from, whether it's a major foreign leader or a friend whom you have a disagreement with. And it's also being willing to share credit, give recognition, and share in the benefits as well as in the losses if you're in an endeavor together." - Joe Biden in Inc.

9. Today in HistoryOn January 18, 1919, in Paris, France, some of the most powerful people in the world meet to begin the long, complicated negotiations that would officially mark the end of the First World War.

Leaders of the victorious Allied powers—France, Great Britain, the United States and Italy—would make most of the crucial decisions in Paris over the next six months. For most of the conference, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson struggled to support his idea of a “peace without victory” and make sure that Germany, the leader of the Central Powers and the major loser of the war, was not treated too harshly. On the other hand, Prime Ministers Georges Clemenceau of France and David Lloyd George of Britain argued that punishing Germany adequately and ensuring its weakness was the only way to justify the immense costs of the war. In the end, Wilson compromised on the treatment of Germany in order to push through the creation of his pet project, an international peacekeeping organization called the League of Nations.

Troops, Blockades and Eerie Quiet Pervade a Locked-Down Washington - The Wall Street Journal

Blow to Business Travel Is Expected to Last for Years - The Wall Street Journal

A Year of Coronavirus Devastation: How the U.S. Ensured Its Own Failure - The New York Times

NASA’s Mega Rocket to the Moon Faces Setback After Test - The New York Times 

The Jamaican connection: Kamala Harris’s father, a proud islander, made sure his daughters know their heritage - The Washington. Post

North Korea could become one of Biden’s biggest challenges — and not just because of its nukes - The Washington Post

Portugal's health system on brink of collapse as COVID-19 cases surge - Reuters

Biden to cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit on first day in office: CBC - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

The time has come for a new American emancipation--a great national drive to tear down economic barriers and liberate the spirit of enterprise in the most distressed areas of our country. My friends, together we can do this, and do it we must, so help me God.-- From new freedom will spring new opportunities for growth, a more productive, fulfilled and united people, and a stronger America--an America that will lead the technological revolution, and also open its mind and heart and soul to the treasures of literature, music, and poetry, and the values of faith, courage, and love.

A dynamic economy, with more citizens working and paying taxes, will be our strongest tool to bring down budget deficits. But an almost unbroken 50 years of deficit spending has finally brought us to a time of reckoning. We have come to a turning point, a moment for hard decisions. I have asked the Cabinet and my staff a question, and now I put the same question to all of you: If not us, who? And if not now, when? It must be done by all of us going forward with a program aimed at reaching a balanced budget. We can then begin reducing the national debt.
            Second Inaugural Address of Ronald Reagan - MONDAY, JANUARY 21, 1985

-- Bob Doan Elkridge, MD

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Pivotal Week

No matter who you voted for during the November election, this is the week we have been waiting for--it is Inauguration Week!

This week we truly start the new year by changing administrations in Washington and hopefully the tone in America. We must get past the exclusive to become inclusive. 

Sadly, the outgoing administration refuses to let go the lies that it has created and that has turned the Capitol into an armed camp. How can anyone think that this is a good thing? I remember four-years ago when the current administration's biggest concern was about the size of the crowd. Now, because of that same administration there will be no crowd, except for 25,000 National Guard troops to ensure peace after the insurrection of January 6th.

while we have been robbed of an important day of celebration--we will not let that dampen the spirit of democracy and the hope for a new beginning. 

This is a pivotal week for America. It is a time to evaluate the path that we have been taking in the world and make reasoned choices about the future. It is time to tackle the coronavirus head-on with the first order of business being to stop losing 3,000 to 4,000 Americans per day to COVID-19.

Let the bells ring as we again affirm the peaceful transfer of power in America, even if we need 25,000 national guard troops to ensure it!

God Bless the USA1

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Covid-19 Celebrations


Luke's Birthday Cake
Elkridge, MD
January 14, 2021
Trying to maintain a sense of normalcy during the pandemic remains a challenge. 

Chris and I celebrated our grandson Luke's birthday the other evening. It was a much smaller and more subdued celebration than normal. I have to admit, I have really enjoyed some of the things we have done and seen associated with his birthday celebrations and many of them are documented in this blog. Wall climbing, visiting a nature center, and playing laser tag at a gaming center are among the recent highlights. January birthdays are not conducive to outdoors activities, but the indoor ons we have enjoyed have been very special. 

This year, it was a small, family gathering to enjoy some pizza and to sing Happy Birthday. The birthday cake was spectacular, but the singing was a bit off-key. Well, we are always a bit off-key but it seems to be highlighted during pandemic celebrations when there are not enough people singing to make it seem like a chorus. 

I enjoyed the celebration and the time with Luke. During the pandemic, small celebrations are they key. 

Keep celebrating--even during the pandemic, just celebrate responsibly and know that everyone who used to be there would still like to be there if the circumstances were different.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, January 15, 2021

The Real Steal


There has been so much rant about stopping the steal, that I don't think most people really understand that there is a more tragic steal underway.

The pageantry and excitement of the Inauguration is being stolen from the president-elect and the American people by two forces. Those forces are the unchecked coronavirus combined with the force of chaos and anarchy.

The inauguration is a solemn and yet joyous occasion in which we celebrate something that makes us, as Americans, almost unique in the world--the peaceful transfer of power from one duly elected administration to another. It is the starting point for something reborn--the form of democracy that we practice in our republic.

This year, the outgoing administration has stolen the inauguration from the American people. They have stolen something that we cannot get back and it is incredibly selfish that, like a petulant child, the outgoing president continues to offend the will of the American people by attempting to take the ball and go home. The list of grievances does not matter anymore. Every president has them, remember the whole birther movement that President Obama faced, but true leaders rise above them and are effective. 

On Wednesday, Joe Biden will become the 46th President of these United States. And all of America should celebrate, not because they voted for or against him, but because it affirms the very principles upon which our country is based. I watched the inauguration of the current president and enjoyed the pageantry and celebration of American--the United We Stand America.

The steal needs to stop--too much has been lost already.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Time to Get Started


Out with the old and in with the new. That was supposed to be the mantra of the New Year, but we are not quite there yet. The old seems to be hanging on and creating difficulties related to its departure. 

Next week at this time there will be a new President for our country and a new path. I have great hopes or the future as our country begins to actually address the issues that face us and stop creating problems to disguise those at hand. 

Let's not forget that nearly 4,000 Americans are dying every day from COVID-19 complications. Over 385,000 Americans have perished and vaccination efforts have been sorely underplayed. 

We must move forward into the future by drawing upon the past. We cannot correct or change what has happened, but we can work to ensure that it does not happen again. 

It is time to get started, there is a lot to do and many lives to save.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

At the Feeder


Cooper's Hawk
Image by Chris
Elkridge, MD
January 12, 2021
Chris likes to feed the birds. 
Cooper's Hawk Near the Feeder
Image by Chris
Elkridge, MD
January 12, 2021

We have two feeders which attract a wide variety of birds and other wildlife. Usually the additional wildlife includes squirrels and deer with an occasional rabbit passing by to check-out the area.

Yesterday was a special. A Cooper's Hawk decided to visit the feeders. Of course, that is the surest way to drive away the other birds and even the squirrels. The hawk has been residing in the area for a couple of years and this is the closest that it has shown itself to us. We have seen this hawk flying around and heard its screech, but never have we been graced by so close a visit.

Although I was at work, Chris certainly did get to enjoy seeing this magnificent bird, up close.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Avoiding Entanglements

Presidential Medal of Freedom
Given the press reporting surrounding the multiple means the New England Patriots have used to gain an advantage over other NFL teams and the indiscretion of the owner which was widely covered in the news during late-2019, I was therefore surprised when the coach, Bill Belichick decided not to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Bill Belichick Says He Won’t Accept Medal of Freedom - The Wall Street Journal

It has been widely reported that the president and Bill Belichick are friends. Belichick was reported as saying:

“Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients,” Belichick said in a statement. “Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award.” 

I admit, I am not a fan of the New England Patriots, in fact my second favorite team in the NFL is usually whomever is playing the Patriots. However, I admire the football genius of Belichick and now he has demonstrated the ability not to become entangled in a politically charged web of deception. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, January 11, 2021

Monday Musings - January 11, 2021


1. Welcome to the second Monday of January and the second Monday of 2021. Have you gotten used to writing the year 2021 yet? Clearly I have not! I had to go back and edit the title after I published the item, but it does not change on Facebook. There are 50 Mondays remaining in the year.

2. Family NFL Playoff Results:

    Football Team loses to Buccaneers 23-31

    Ravens defeat Titans 20-13. The Ravens travel to face the Bills on Saturday, January 16th at 8:15 PM. 

    Steelers lost to Browns 37-48

Sidney Crosby
Pittsburgh Penguins Captain
3. NHL Hockey season starts this week! Yay, another sport starting and one concludes its season. Go Pens!

4. The football heavy weekend is over. I am happy that the Ravens survived. The six football games over two days did provide entertainment for a cold winter weekend. 

5. I expect it to be another turbulent week as the Congress grapples with the aftermath of the presidentially-inspired insurrection. The New York Times reviewed the president's remarks that led to the mob action in an article: The Times analyzed the speech President Trump gave before his supporters rushed the Capitol.

6. Today in History. United States Surgeon General Luther Terry knew his report was a bombshell. He intentionally chose to release it on January 11, 1964, a Saturday, so as to limit its immediate effects on the stock market. It was on this date that, on behalf of the U.S. Government, Terry announced a definitive link between smoking and cancer.

House Prepares for Trump Impeachment Vote This Week - The Wall Street Journal

Indonesia Plane Crash Search Finds Human Remains, Debris - The Wall Street Journal

‘Our President Wants Us Here’: The Mob That Stormed the Capitol - The New York Times

‘It Became Sort of Lawless’: Florida Vaccine Rollout Turns Into a Free-for-All - The New York Times

As Trump leaves office weakened, Republicans wonder if his political wounds are fatal - The Washington Post

Capitol siege was planned online. Trump supporters now planning the next one. - The Washington Post

'No one cares. At all.' Trump staff lurch toward the end - Reuters

Northern Ireland hospitals under pressure 'like never before': health minister - Reuters

China reports biggest daily COVID-19 case jump in over 5 months - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Well, we began to carry a message to every corner of the Nation, a simple message. The message is: Here in America, the people are in charge. And that's really why we're here tonight. This electoral victory belongs to you and the principles that you cling to -- principles struck by the brilliance and bravery of patriots more than 200 years ago. They set forth the course of liberty and hope that makes our country special in the world. To the extent that what has happened today reaffirms those principles, we are part of that prairie fire that we still think defines America -- a fire of hope that will keep alive the promise of opportunity as we head into the next century.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Lies Cost Lives


I was confronted again yesterday by lies and fake truths. The Facebook post began This post is not open for debate,  as if Moses had come down from the mountain with the stone tablets.

It roils my blood when well-meaning people repeat and repost what they read without fact-checking and placing the information into proper context. 

Spreading untruths distorts reality bringing people into a false understanding of history.

So despite the statement that the post was not open for debate, let me tear apart some of what I was confronted with yesterday. And yes, despite the question to the contrary, I did read the post.

The Claim:

Trump is the first president that has not engaged us in a foreign war since Eisenhower.

The Truth:

Fact check: Trump joins Carter, Ford and Nixon among presidents without a new war

The Claim:

 Trump has had the greatest impact on the economy, bringing jobs, and lowering unemployment to the Black and Latino population of ANY other president. Ever.

The Truth:

No, Trump hasn’t been the best president for Black America since Lincoln

The Claim:

 Trump rebuilt our military which the Obama administration crippled and fired 214 key generals and admirals in his first year of office.

The Truth:

Trump’s False Military Equipment Claim

The Claim:

Trump turned our relationship with the Chinese around, brought hundreds of businesses back to the US, and revived the economy.

The Facts:

More pain than gain: How the US-China trade war hurt America

The Claim:

Biden has done nothing to improve anything in his 47-year political career. 

The Facts:

List of Joe Biden’s Accomplishments

So, one-by-one each of the touted accomplishments devolve into lies. And then, as we witnessed on Wednesday, the president incited an insurrection and an attack on the Capitol. Five people died! This was the culmination of months of lies about the free and fair election which, as Mitch McConnell noted, was not even close.

And although the president said he was going to walk with the crowd to the Capitol, he in fact retreated to the White House to view and enjoy the lawlessness he created. He used those people and sent them to do his dirty work and in doing so the president again demonstrated contempt for the Constitution, the Congress, the rule of law, and "We the People." Yet, some continue to defend the indefensible and spread lies and untruths about his supposed greatness.

81 million people agreed. It is time for the Trump presidency to end as the framers of the Constitution intended--through a free and fair election. That is the key of democracy. The people get to decide--not lawyers, not politicians, not those in power. 

So if I get emotional and excited when I continue to hear untruths spread by well-meaning, but uninformed people, forgive me. Yesterday I threatened to unfriend my Dad from Facebook--I own that statement and I made it. I will not, however, unfriend him. I need to stay on Facebook to educate the misled. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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