Tuesday, May 31, 2022

After the Holiday

Finishing Ribs on the Bar-B
Elkridge, MD
May 30, 2022

 Memorial Day 2022 was memorable. Most all of the family gathered for a meal and fun in and around the pool. There were smoked ribs finished on the Bar-B, salads, adult beverages, and fun in the pool. 

The weather cooperated, for a change, providing a dry and hot day. That is what Memorial Day is supposed to be: dry and hot. 

Memorial Day in the Pool
Elkridge, MD
May 30, 2022
We started during the early afternoon and continued into the evening. A variety of music was played to help the mood of the day.

The pool started the day at 77 degrees and I am sure it gained a couple degrees by day's end. 

It was great fun and everyone relaxed and just let the day happen. 

After all, isn't that what holidays are all about, families gathering together to take an official time-out from the hectic schedules of life and enjoy each other?

And now, we resume our regularly scheduled activities.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 30, 2022

Monday Musings - May 30, 2022


1. Remember and honor on this Memorial Day! It is the last Monday of May. How did the month escape? There are just 30 Mondays remaining in this year.

2. I have been so busy watching the weather in the Atlantic, I totally missed the first names hurricane of the year in the Pacific that is heading for Mexico. I guess having a residence in Florida has made me focus more on the more immediate threat.

3. I was exhausted when I dragged myself to bed last evening a bit earlier than I prefer. It had been a busy day of activity. The day started by visiting a Patrick and Jen's house that is under construction. It was exciting to walk through the house before the drywall was installed to see the work of the tradesmen: plumbers, electricians, and HVAC specialists. I was excited to hear how Patrick had included outlets and drops for WiFi throughout the house. It is really an experience to see how things are put together behind the walls.

4. Projects abound. After visiting Patrick's under-construction house and coaching a baseball game, I managed to power wash the siding on the house which took me until after the normal start of Happy Hour. But, another projects was able to be completed. It paves the way for two more projects to be completed.

5. Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of Summer! We are expecting 90 degree temperatures to begin the season of fun. The pool is open!

6. The Severn Seminoles 14U are in the Championship Bracket of the Elkridge Stars and Stripes Tournament. They lost a tough game yesterday in the bottom of the last inning and finished the seedings 5th of 12 teams. Their first game this morning is at 8AM! Here's hoping for a championship. 

7. Today in History. On May 30, 1431, at Rouen in English-controlled Normandy, Joan of Arc, the peasant girl who became the savior of France, is burned at the stake for heresy.

Joan was born in 1412, the daughter of a tenant farmer at Domremy, on the borders of the duchies of Bar and Lorraine. In 1415, the Hundred Years War between England and France entered a crucial phase when the young King Henry V of England invaded France and won a series of decisive victories against the forces of King Charles VI. By the time of Henry’s death in August 1422, the English and their French-Burgundian allies controlled Aquitaine and most of northern France, including Paris. Charles VI, long incapacitated, died one month later, and his son, Charles, regent from 1418, prepared to take the throne. However, Reims, the traditional city of French coronation, was held by the Anglo-Burgundians, and the Dauphin (heir apparent to the French throne) remained uncrowned. Meanwhile, King Henry VI of England, the infant son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois, the daughter of Charles VI, was proclaimed king of France by the English.

Russian Forces Push Into Key City in East Ukraine - The Wall Street Journal

Bombed Bridges, Closed Ports Keep Ukrainian Grain From a World That Needs It - The Wall Street Journal

Canceled Plans Are a New Normal - The Wall Street Journal

Photos since Columbine show cycle of gun violence in schools - The Washington Post

Covid was vanishing last Memorial Day. Cases are five times higher now. - The Washington Post

9-year-old describes escaping out a window during shooting - CNN

Hurricane Agatha barrels toward Mexico - CNN

UK says Russia suffers devastating losses among lower-ranked officers - Reuters

Analysis: How the Ukraine conflict is reshaping global oil markets - Reuters

Twenty victims found after Nepal air crash, hopes fade for two missing - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Walking Down the Yellow Brick Road

Yellow Brick Road
Big Cork Vineyards, Rohersville, MD
May 28, 2022
One would think I was off to Oz, but in fact I was at my favorite East Coast Winery to enjoy a night of Elton John music performed by Yellow Brick Road. 

It was a great evening at Big Cork Vineyards in Rohersville, Maryland. The lawn was packed with Elton John fans by the time the show began and the wine was flowing freely. The weather was nearly perfect. The temperatures remained moderate, the skies cleared during the show and the winds were calm. It made for a great night of music and fun.

Yellow Brick Road
Big Cork Vineyards, Rohersville, MD
May 28, 2022
The band generated energy which the crowd reflected back to them as the show continued. The first set was relatively slow punctuated by long, almost too long, instrumentals and highlighting some of Elton John's lesser known hits. The highlights of the first set were Rocket Man and Candle in the Wind.

After the intermission, the show began to really rock with every song being a classic. This is where the band energy increased as did that of the crowd. I found myself near the front of the stage dancing for most of the set--and singing as loudly as I could and slightly off key as I could. There was good interaction with the band as they at times encouraged the crowd to sing the refrain from some of the songs. As darkness fell, the excitement grew with each familiar song. The highlights I remember were Benny and the Jets, Philadelphia Freedom, Crocodile Rock, Levon, Tiny Dancer, and a great rendition of Pinball Wizard. 

I was able to take a short video of the band doing Philadelphia Freedom which also shows the crowd. 

Yeah, we had a good time! I recommend an evening with this band if you get the chance. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Brakes in the Garage

Jeep in the Garage
Elkridge, MD
May 27, 2022
Out of the blue yesterday, although the sky had been gray for the past four days, I wound up doing something not related to either downsizing or baseball. Patrick needed to replace the brakes on his Jeep and needed to use my garage, since it provided shelter from the rain. 

New Brakes
Elkridge, MD
May 27, 2022

I had to move stuff around that is being stored for moving to Florida to make room for the front of the Jeep, but it worked very well. The job included new brakes: calipers, rotors, and pads as well as an oil change. It was a great afternoon in the garage using tools that I soon will no longer have access to as I divest many tools like the heavy duty floor jack. 

It was a great afternoon with Patrick and the Jeep. As we got into the project it became clear that the caliper on one side was locked up, and we determined that we should replace it and likely the other one. There was a break in the action as we headed off to the local autocrats store for the calipers. In the end we completed a $1200 or more brake job for the cost of parts, which were not inexpensive. I was a bit shocked that the core charge for the calipers was $60 each--I guess they really want those back to refurbish.

Great afternoon. Great fun. Good job!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 27, 2022

Highway to the Danger Zone


Last evening, I returned to the movie theater for only the second time during the COVID era. The event was to see Top Gun Maverick on the big screen.


What a ride and what a movie. The sequel, 36 years in the making, pays homage to the original Top Gun by continuing the storylines, but it is much more than that. A taken from the news world situation, a should-be but not over-the-hill renegade pilot, the music, and all of the drama you might expect are rolled into the plot to create a movie experience that should draw people back into the theaters. 

Yes, the movie is a formula movie. It is predictable, but wow, the plot twists and the flying action are definitely not green screen. 

If you like the original Top Gun (and the music, did I mention the music?) and have been waiting for a reason other than a Marvel superhero movie to go back to the theater--this movie is it. It must be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated. 

At the conclusion of the movie, Chris commented, "I wish I could stay here and watch it again!" Chris does not generally watch movies more than once in the theater.

One reviewer wrote: But mostly, honestly, it’s two hours of sheer, visceral fun on the big screen, which feels very retro. In the best possible way.

Bob's recommendation: A must see! 

Side note: If it has been a while since you saw Top Gun, watch it before you go.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Little Known Secrets - Facebook Marketplace


Winemaking Equipment
I learned yesterday that I could not sell my winemaking equipment on Facebook Marketplace. Because the equipment is related to alcohol it is not allowed to be offered for sale. I appealed the decision and, as expected, lost although the explanation was not clear.

So now, as I am downsizing, I have winemaking equipment and large fermenting bottles that I need to re-home. Sadly, I only made one batch of wine as I never found time to work another vintage. The wine I made was not great, but it was drinkable. I still have two bottles remaining which I should open to determine how they are aging or if they are over the hill. 

As it turns out, there is a comprehensive list of items that cannot be sold on Marketplace. They are detailed under Commerce Policies. This is important to know stuff although even reading the policies I do not see how winemaking equipment qualifies as buying or selling alcohol. I wonder if they know it takes at least three months to make a drinkable wine. It is not like someone is going to buy today and imbibe tonight. 

Now that I am fully aware of the policies. I will do a better job staying between the white lines. Actually, I don't see where I might violate the commerce policy again.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Rainouts, Faucets and What's Next?


The Final View of the Repair
Elkridge, MD
May 25, 2022
The rain and cold returned. It is 55 degrees this morning as the day begins.

I very much enjoyed the dry 90 degree temperatures of this past weekend and so, my reward apparently is rain and much cooler temperatures. 

The rain has already postponed two baseball games and thrown the schedule askew. And there is rain in the forecast for the next four days.

Despite the rain, however, the plumbers returned to the scene of the faucet debacle. Amazingly, in about 90 minutes the problem was resolved with another new faucet. The copper work actually looks much better than the previous attempt and it works--or rather it does not leak while in use! Yay! Check yesterday's blog to see the before image.

I was happy that there was no additional charge to complete the repair, however, I would have preferred that it had been done correct the first time. I did feel bad for the plumbing team because at times they needed to be outside in the cold rain. 

Now it is on to other repairs. Wait, I already repaired the automatic chlorinator for the pool. Next up; the dryer which is making a bad sounding noise which may just be the blower has become clogged with lint causing it to be unbalanced. Unfortunately, cleaning or replacing the blower requires complete disassembly of the dryer including removing the drum. That is an all morning project.  

Always one more project to accomplish!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Faucet Repair, Part 2

 After opening the treasure chest to pay for a plumber to repair an exterior faucet and thinking the problem was solved, there is a part 2 to the story. 

The faucet does not leak when it is turned off. That is the good news. The plumber departed believing that everything was good. 

The next day I actually used the faucet. Trouble, unbeknownst to me, began as soon as I turned on the water. The faucet, while providing water to the hose was also spraying water behind the wall into the house. Yup, huge mess. Fortunately, I needed to go into the basement and heard the water running behind the wall and was able to minimize the mess and damage. 

I had initially thought that the solder joint had failed, but upon further investigation I determined the water was coming into the house from inside of the the concrete wall itself indicating that the faucet was broken. And unusable. My diagnosis was confirmed by a plumber yesterday who will be returning today with the proper tools to chip away the concrete packing that the first plumber placed around the new and apparently broken faucet.

Today should be interesting as the plumber wrestles with this disaster. Yesterday I asked the plumber that was assigned to correct the problem why the other plumber used concrete as packing instead of silicone, which was used by the original faucet repairer over five years ago. Without vocalizing an answer, he gave me a look that said it all. And now the concrete must be chipped away, piece by piece. 

One wonders why the other plumber never turned the faucet on to see if it worked.

We may never know.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 23, 2022

Monday Musings - May 23, 2022


1. Welcome the 4th Monday of May 2022. Yay! Next Monday is Memorial Day. 

2. Thunderstorms last evening broke the heat, which I was enjoying. The pool made it to 80 degrees during the hot spell, however, after the rains I expect it is a bit cooler. 

Baby Grapes
Big Cork Winery
Rohersville, MD
May 22, 2022
3. Yesterday, Chris and I took a break from downsizing the house and baseball. We joined friends and ventured off to enjoy one of our favorite hobbies: wine tasting. The day began at Big Cork Vineyards where we enjoyed a fantastic tasting and then lunch as part of our Case Club pick-up event. The wines at Big Cork are tasting great! The 2021 Syrah Rose is truly special and was only recently released. The 2021 Sauvignon Blanc also was drinking very well as was the 2019 Cabernet Franc. Following our time at Big Cork we visited Sunset Hills Vineyards in Purcellville, VA. It was our first visit there and we sampled a selection of their wine offerings. 

4. Baby Birds! The Orioles have generated some enthusiasm all of a sudden. I attended a game against the Yankees on Monday and the Club Level of Camden Yards seemed more like a hospital wing than a sports venue. But then on Saturday the call-up and arrival of the number one Minor League prospect catcher Adley Rutschman has generated excitement as this begins the expected revitalization of the Orioles club house and may begins to add the final pieces needed for the Orioles to move from perennial cellar-dweller to contended. Last evening the Orioles managed an 11th inning walk-off win to take a series from the Tampa Bay Rays for the first time since 2020! And who scored the winning run? Adley Rutschman off a single by Rougned Odor!

5. With there rains and storms of yesterday I was reminded about why I love owning a pool. Because it needs love after the storms to remove the debris! Oh how I wish I could have a lanai. 

6. Today in History. On May 23, 1934, notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are shot to death by Texas and Louisiana state police while driving a stolen car near Sailes, Louisiana.

Bonnie Parker met the charismatic Clyde Barrow in Texas when she was 19 years old and her husband (she married when she was 16) was serving time in jail for murder. Shortly after they met, Barrow was imprisoned for robbery. Parker visited him every day, and smuggled a gun into prison to help him escape, but he was soon caught in Ohio and sent back to jail. When Barrow was paroled in 1932, he immediately hooked up with Parker, and the couple began a life of crime together.

Russian soldier sentenced in first Ukraine war crimes trial - CNN

White House explores tapping emergency diesel reserve to ease price spike - CNN

Beijing urges millions to keep working from home amid COVID outbreak menace - Reuters

On Asia trip, Biden says would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan - Reuters

Iran will avenge slain Revolutionary Guards colonel, president says - Reuters

Shale Drillers Are Pumping Out Dividends Instead of More Oil and Gas - The Wall Street Journal

Suspected Graves at Canada’s Indigenous Schools Prompt Search for Answers - The Wall Street Journal

From Sandy Hook to Buffalo: 10 years of failure on gun control - The Washington Post

Civilian killings soar as Russian mercenaries join fight in West Africa - The Washington Post

Fire engulfs Philippine ferry carrying over 100 people, killing 7 - The Washington Post

Opinion | Florida lawmakers, too busy with culture wars, missed an actual crisis - The Washington Post

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Split, the heat, and the cool pool


Jax In-between Games
Bowie, MD
May 21, 2022
On a hot Summer-like day it was time for a baseball doubleheader.

The Severn Seminoles 14U baseball team played two solid games in the 90 degree weather and split with the Bowie Bulldogs. Had the Seminole bats warmed up during the first game, it could easily have been won. 

The official high for the region, taken at BWI Airport was 91 degrees yesterday, but the "feels-like" was over 100 degrees due to the humidity. The team survived and played some great baseball because the dugout was covered and the boys were able to stay out of the sun when not on the field. The coaching staff, and parents, also encouraged everyone to drink water at every opportunity. I actually felt bad for the umpire, there was only one yesterday instead of the usual two, he was in the sun constantly for each game and he called consistent and fair games. 

Game 1
Bowie, MD
May 21, 2022

Game 2
Bowie, MD
May 21, 2022

Unlike major league baseball, we get to switch between home and away when playing a doubleheader. The success for the games was really on the shoulders of the pitchers who minimized walks and pitched out of some tough jams, but also on the entire team for hanging together in the heat and playing generally rock-solid baseball. Winning, or losing, is a team effort and everyone contributed yesterday. 

An injury suffered by a Bowie player that took time to resolve was the reason that the second game only went 6 innings (actually 5 1/2) since the home team (Seminoles) was ahead as time expired. Fortunately, indications are that the Bowie player will be OK, but he had to leave the game. Baseball injury time is not added to the time limit, unlike soccer. 

The picture of Jax between games really shows the hard part of playing a doubleheader. His uniform is dirty from sliding back into base, he is hot, and yet he was the starting pitcher for the second game. He posted a solid line: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 14 BF, 49 P - 27 S. I can also write that in English: 3 innings pitched, 2 runs allowed, 0 earned runs charged, 2 walks, 2 strike outs, 14 batters faced, 49 pitches thrown - 27 of those were strikes.

As for the pool--I was hot after the game. I consumed a great amount of cold water during the drive home, which fortunately was not excessive. But, when I got home to the "ready for Summer" pool, I admit to falling into it to fully cool off from the heat. Even though the 70-something degree water was a bit of a shock when I first dove it, it really did the trick and returned both my body temperature and mind-set to the proper temperature. 

Who says a pool needs to be 80 degrees to be enjoyed. Oh wait, that was me! I am corrected.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Doubleheader Saturday


Sumner arrived almost exactly a month early yesterday. 

I looked at my watch just after 3 PM yesterday and the reported temperature in Elkridge was 90 degrees! I was outside and loving it! Officially, the actual high was only 89 degrees, but the heat of the day was sufficient to raise the pool water temperature 5 degrees. It is now 70 degrees and should climb even more today. I am seeing projection for the expected high of between 93-95 degrees!

My plan for the day? Coaching a baseball doubleheader! Yup! In the heat. We will be monitoring the boys carefully and are planning to bring home two wins! I am more excited about playing in the heat than I was about playing baseball in 30 degree temperatures. The ball should be flying today because our boys can really hit. 

And the good thing? After the game I can come home and fall into my pool to refresh from the heat and dust! Maybe that is the part that excites me most. 

BTW, the official first day of Summer is June 21st, but with Memorial Day next weekend and the heat continuing today and tomorrow before a respite it feels like my favorite month of the year: July!

Play Ball!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 20, 2022


I like to repair things. Fortunately, I usually understand when something is beyond my ability as was the case with an outdoors faucet repair.

Hole in the Wall
Elkridge, MD
May 20, 2022
Hooking up the water for the pool house and the house after the winter, the main outdoors faucet was not functioning properly. It was not leaking when off, but when I turned the water on the faucet leaked along the stem and out the handle. This is a fairly simple fix that I have done before on other outdoor faucets--but, this one was different. It was a ProFlo faucet and although I followed the YouTube instructions, the leak would not stop. Unlike non-frost free faucets, I could not take the innards out to repair it.

New Faucet
Elkridge, MD
May 20, 2022
This very faucet had been replaced about 5 or 6 years ago. I was disappointed that the ProFlo faucet did not last, but I was also aware that this repair required a professional because I had watched the previous repair. In the end the repair required soldering, pipe cutting, and about three hours of work by a professional plumber to replace the faucet.

All is good now, well, except for the hole in my wall that I need to fix. I have purchased a cover that will hide the hole nicely and when painted will be almost invisible. There actually was a smaller existing hole and cover, but I decided that since, for the second time, the hole needed to be enlarged to effect the repair that I would just put a larger cover on the problem instead of repairing the bottom portion of the hole to fit the existing cover which only provided access to the turn-off valve.. 

Not that I'm just covering over the problem, the problem was resolved.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Finally Out on my Bike

I finally got out on my bike again. I have not been riding too much since returning to Maryland due to the weather and life's busy schedule. Similarly, I have not one yet managed to visit a golf course to embarrass myself with how miserable my game has become. 

My ride was Monday as the weather was nice. I rode out in advance of expected storms, which did not happen--much like many of the dire weather forecasts that we have had in the area. I knew the expected storms were over an hour away and I was planning a 40 minute ride. 

In the end it was just over 8 miles and 39 minutes. The problem with this area is the hills. Riding the hills is tough. My app recorded over 500 feet of elevation change. While coasting and riding down the hills is exhilarating. going up can be a slog. I did manage to exceed 29 mph on the downslopes twice during the ride, but slowed to only 6 mph nearing the tops of some of the hills. The ride has almost no flat riding. I miss Florida for that. It seems almost everywhere I ride in Florida is relatively flat, with the exception of crossing the drawbridges which more resembles the hills here in Maryland. 

Hopefully, I will get out again soon. The weather is going to be in the 90s for the next three days. Yay! But, there is rain in the forecast.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Preparing for the Summer


Freshly Open Pool after Initial Vacuum
Elkridge, MD
May 17, 2022
Happy Hump Day!

In what should be the last pool opening in Elkridge, Chris and I enjoyed 80 degree temperatures and Pool Opening Day 2022 was one of the smoothest in recent memory. 

The day began with a trip to our local pool store to purchase chemicals and supplies. OMG, what a shock! Literally, chlorine is $4 a pound--up from $2.25 just a year ago. And when buying 50 pounds that makes a difference. All of the other chemicals and additives likewise have experienced a radical price increase. 

Under the cover, the pool was clear with only some debris that had blown into the water to remove. The algae bloom that we suffered with during the past few years was not present and only 12 pounds of chlorine shock seem to have brought everything into near balance. I still need to adjust the alkalinity and hardness a bit--but chemical wise, the pool is swimmable. Yes I am still doing the obligatory after the winter cleaning and need to brush the sides and vacuum again, but wow--the new pool cover I bought last season really seemed to do the job. 

Gray Tree Frog
Elkridge, MD
May 17, 2022
Adding to the excitement of pool opening day was the visitor we had watching the activity: a gray tree frog. The frog perched on one of the galvanized fence pipes and spent the day in the sun. 

The frog remained all day and even after we concluded about 4PM to get ready for a baseball game. The frog did not seem to mind having us around and even posed for a picture. I hope to see it again today.

With the pool open and nearly swimmable all we really need are a few more days of warm/hot weather. It was the forecast 91 degrees for Saturday which spurred me into action. I did not want to miss that opportunity to get the pool up and operating in advance of the Memorial Day Weekend in two short weeks.  

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Scams and Sellers

It is no secret that Chris and I are downsizing and selling many of our possessions in advance of our permanent relocation to Florida. I have principally been using Facebook Marketplace and have generally been successful. 

Yesterday I experienced something new and sinister. Scammers! Two very different scams, one that I successfully defended against and one which I didn't understand and got scammed--but was able to quickly repair the damage with no loss of money.

Very quickly after I posted and antique on line for sale I received two quick offers. Of course I was ecstatic and that clouded my view. I have a bias that scams involve money, but I learned yesterday that there are other valuable things, like my phone number, that scammers desire to control.  

Both scams were running simultaneously using Facebook Messenger. The first scammer told me that they needed to verify that I was real and that sent me a verification code to send back to them. I totally missed that it was a Google verification code and it allowed them to disconnect my phone from my account and gave them control, briefly. The scam continued as we conversed about payment and they reported they could not verify my phone and did I have another number. At that point I began to suspect something and did not give them another number. The email from Google confirmed the scam by indicating my phone was no longer in my account. I quickly followed the instructions to regain control of my phone in my Google account and closed the scam. I reported it to the FTC and to Facebook.

While this was going on I was also managing another scam. The person was allegedly sending me payment for the item using Zelle. I checked out Zelle, which I did not have, and uploaded the app on my phone. I think this is where I was able to determine quickly that I was the victim of a scam. The scammer sent me an email, using an address that looked like it was coming form Zellepay, but upon inspection was from a gmail account, saying they had sent me the money. The scammer was trying to convince me that the money had been sent to my account, but that it was being held up because I needed to upgrade my account to a business account by having them send more money to the account, which I would then refund to them. Problem is, my Zelle account app showed nothing of this and did not register that any money had been sent. I had Chris call Zelle while I was online with the scammer to confirm the scam. Amazingly, the scammer contacted me via Messenger audio and was trying to convince me that it was all legit. I finally had to block the Messenger account. I reported a phishing attempt to Gmail. 

The old adage about "Buyer beware" is now definitely "Buyer and Seller Beware."

Scammers are out there, lurking to get something for nothing.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 16, 2022

Monday Musings - May 16, 2022


1. Happy Monday and greetings. Welcome to the third Monday of May! There are two Mondays remaining in May and 32 remaining in the year. 

2. Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins for another great season which ended last night with a game 7 overtime loss to the New York Rangers. The loss eliminates the Penguins from this year's Stanley Cup Finals. The Penguins held a commanding 3-1 lead in the series before getting swept the last three games to lose to the Rangers.

3. Rain! Yup, it is in the forecast for today. I wish we could readdress the rain and send it to the dry and parched regions of the country. 

4. Inflation. OK, so I am neither an economist nor a financial wizard, but I am concerned that the Federal Reserve (FED) is approaching the inflation crisis using outdated formulae. The current inflation crisis, unlike those of the past, is being fueled principally by outside forces: COVID, China lockdowns, Ukraine, and supply line disruptions. Our dependence upon the global economy, which is normally good, is underpinning the inflationary cycle. My view: instead of tightening the money supply to reduce demand, the Fed should provide inexpensive money to assist industry to research to overcome the problems. This should lead to greater U.S. economic independence and resilence. 

5. The Severn Seminoles 14U Baseball Team played a tournament in Delaware this weekend and posted a 1-1 record. Unfortunately the tournament was cut short by rain which thwarted their quest to win the Championship.

6. Don't miss the headlines that I have curated this morning. See below. 

7. Today in History. On May 16, 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out its first awards, at a dinner party for around 250 people held in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California.

The brainchild of Louis B. Mayer, head of the powerful MGM film studio, the Academy was organized in May 1927 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the film industry. Its first president and the host of the May 1929 ceremony was the actor Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Unlike today, the winners of the first Oscars—as the coveted gold-plated statuettes later became known—were announced before the awards ceremony itself.

Ukrainian forces reach border near Kharkiv: 'We made it!' - CNN

China's harsh lockdowns could exacerbate population crisis - CNN

Kim Jong Un mobilizes North Korea's military in response to Covid-19 outbreak - CNN

McDonald’s to Exit From Russia After Three Decades - The Wall Street Journal

Buffalo Shooting Suspect Wrote in School About Wanting to Carry Out an Attack - The Wall Street Journal

America Leans on Aging Power Plants to Keep the Lights On - The Wall Street Journal

Ruling parties in Sweden, Finland back NATO membership in historic shifts - The Washington Post

Russian oligarchs loved luxe Sardinia. Now they’re frozen out of paradise. - The Washington Post

Suspected gunman allegedly inspired by racist theory underpinning global carnage - The Washington Post

Russia will not 'simply put up with' NATO's Nordic expansion - Reuters

Analysis: Neutral Switzerland leans closer to NATO in response to Russia - Reuters

China's economy skids as lockdowns hit factories, retailers - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Around the Firepit

Chris Around the Fire
Elkridge, MD
May 11, 2022

Between the rainstorms of the past week, Chris and I found time and a dry spell to enjoy time around the fire pit. I believe it was our second fire of 2022 as we were lucky enough to have one during January.

I was surprised that the wood we used was dry and made such a fantastic fire, but we sat and enjoyed the crackling of the fire for some time. 

Unlike many other fire pit evenings, we did not remain out until after dark, but rather went inside to enjoy dinner. It was Wednesday and the middle of a very busy week. But we enjoyed the respite from the bad weather. It was at least warm!

Sadly, we will miss the joys of the fire pit during the time we spend in Florida. Our condo association and the Tequesta Fire Department do not allow open flames in our community. Not that there is really anywhere for a fire pit in the condo area. And no, no open flames are allowed on the beaches, either. The light from the fire is a detriment to the turtles when they are laying eggs and then to the hatchlings as they race to the sea. 

We will, however, survive and leave the joy of fire pits to our visits back to Maryland.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 14, 2022

I Have to Brag

Odenton, MD
May 13, 2022
I'm writing a brag blog today.

I have the best looking grandson in the world!

Last evening was prom night and my grandson was lucky enough to attend the event. He is a junior and his date is a senior. Chris and I were lucky enough to attend the pre-prom picture sessions. Yes, plural! We did three sessions as it turned out. One at home and two at the local community center which has some very nice bridges crossing a small brook which provide for very scenic settings. 

Chris and I with Ethan
Odenton, MD
May 13, 2022
The couple coordinated his vest with her dress and they were stunning together. The picture taking went a bit long, but I have it on good authority that the couple made it to dinner and thoroughly enjoyed the prom arriving safely back at their homes, compliments of her parents, during the wee hours of the morning. 

Chris and I had our picture taken with Ethan, on more than one occasion, and he made the scene look good.

I remember high school and prom. I have to admit, I did not look nearly so good, but Chris, I remember, was stunning in a very pink gown. Maybe that is why I grew to love flamingos!

But wait, last evening was about Ethan enjoying his post-COVID high school experience and I am very happy that life is resuming and those major milestones of life, which so many kids missed, have returned. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 13, 2022

The Smell of Springtime

Spring 2022 Lilac 
Elkridge, MD
May 12, 2022
The lilac bush next to my porch is in full bloom. It is a late bloomer due to our location at the bottom of the street where it stays a bit colder longer. But when it blooms, it is fabulous.

And the bush is in full bloom. I enjoy walking out the front door into the air filled with the aroma I most associate with Spring. During a brief break in the clouds yesterday, I was able to get a good image of the flowers which are producing the sweet aroma. Set against the newly mown lawn they are the image of Springtime enjoyment for me.

Growing up in Upstate New York there was a large lilac bush right outside on my second story bedroom window. It was one of those huge, unkept bushes which get larger until they begin to take over the yard. I remember enjoying the sweet smell of the lilacs during the Spring and then remembering that sweet fragrance as I mowed around the bush during the remainder of the growing season until the winter. I lamented that the two weeks or so of enjoyment were so short in comparison to the remainder of the year. I believe that in why I have grown to enjoy Crepe Myrtle. Although Crepe Myrtle does not have the fragrance of lilac, its flowers remind me of lilac flowers and their fragrance. Of course, I say that now until I have to skim the Crepe Myrtle flowers out of the pool once they bloom.

Springtime! Something new to enjoy every day!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Fighting for a Spot

When the sun comes out everyone, it seems, becomes excited. 

Louis, Finnegan, Riordin in a Sunbeam
Elkridge, MD
May 10, 2022
It happened the other day when the sun created a warm ray shining through the window onto the floor. Two cats and one dog found a way to share the space and soak up some warmth. Louis, who is back visiting, Finnegan and Riordin all managed to find space--and they were close to each other. 

For a while, all was calm in the house as the three slept together. Sadly, the sunbeam soon moved away and the three animals scattered.

I wish the sun would shine more often. Since the afternoon yesterday the skies have been overcast again and are expected to remain gray until next week. Rain and thunderstorms are the forecast for tomorrow making Happy Hour a potential washout. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Three Game Winning Streak?

 This is just shocking and exciting. 

American League East Standings
May 11, 2022

The Orioles just won their first game of a road trip against the Cardinals with a rookie pitcher on the mound that threw 11 strikeouts and completed 7 innings. 

That win gives them three wins in a row. 

The win also propelled them into 10th among the 15 American League teams. They are also in 4th place in the AL East with Boston below them. 

Just a note--they are also now tied for 19th among the 30 MLB teams.

This is so different!

I have become accustomed to the team being 28th, 29th, or 30th among the MLB teams and at the bottom of the division. 

This is exciting and different; I am happy that I have already been able to attend two games this season. My game attendance record if 1-1.

Let's Go O's!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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