Monday, November 11, 2019

August Moorman

I guess my great-granduncle August liked them younger and pregnant.  He fathered a total of 21 children, the first 6 by Anna, who was 7 1/2 years younger.  He remarried after Anna passed in her early thirties, having 15 more children by Rosa, who was almost 14 years younger.  And it didn't stop there.  August and Anna's first 2 children, Frank and Ferdinand, gave him 24 grandchildren.  When I have a day or two to spare, I'll try to figure out how many great-grandchildren (i.e. my generation) he had, but it's probably enough to have their own zip code.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Hasselback Apples

To properly cut the apples Hasselback style, lay a peeled and cored half-apple on a cutting board flat side down and the cut-out core running left to right.  Then lay a chopstick at the top of the apple and another at the bottom of the apple, also both running left to right.  Then make cuts, about 1/4 inch wide, from top to bottom (i.e. perpendicular to the chopsticks) allowing the knife blade to make contact with the chopsticks to prevent cutting all the way through.  They get baked with a butter and sugar mixture, topped with a streusel of oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, butter and brown sugar, then baked some more.  Your house will smell awesome!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

$700 Over Grates

If you look at the way some people carry their smartphones, it's no wonder that the cracked screen industry does a thriving business.  To help myself be more cautious, I picture my Pixel 2 as seven, $100 bills (its actual cost to replace) and that I'm walking over grates with large openings ready to swallow my money into a sewer below.  Those imaginary grates are sized to roughly represent the probability that I will lose some, and possibly all, seven Benjamin Franklin's if I don't handle them with the care they deserve.

People act more responsibly when using cash and using this technique leverages that fact.  Try it and see if you notice a difference in your behaviour.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Smartphone Emergency Information

Both iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) phones provide a way for anyone with your phone to get critical medical information or dial an emergency contact without unlocking the phone, but you have to configure it now if you want it to be used later.  Most commonly this will be used to allow someone that has found your lost phone to return it, but can be a life-saver if you're not conscious during a medical emergency.  Don't hesitate, do it now.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Peyton's Places

We've watched several Peyton's Places episodes on ESPN+ and they are a delightful, funny and informative trip through the history of the National Football League.  The scene below, from the episode The Draft, included an IBM mainframe, specifically a System 360, which was the first computer I worked on back in my Wright State college days.  This one was used by the Dallas Cowboys to select potential draft picks based on analyzing a variety of player qualities.  While computers have gotten smaller, faster and cheaper, I miss flipping the switches, turning the dials and pushing the buttons on these "big iron" machines.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Running Profits - October 2019 Update

It had to happen.  After three consecutive months of increasingly finding more money, I only found 23 cents in October.  I think a lot of that is due to the number of leaves that have fallen, which hide these already-hard-enough-to-find jewels.  With two months remaining on my six-month ice cream cone quest, my total findings are $2.82.  With a little luck I'll be able to get a large, chocolate-dipped DQ cone as a result.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Tacos Carne Asada

This is a nice twist on your everyday taco.  Marinate flank steak, skirt steak, or similar cut, for one to eight hours in a "Mojo" consisting of garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, lime, orange, white vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Ignore the directions calling for a mortar and pestle, and use a small food processor instead.  Grill the steak for 7-10 minutes per side until medium-rare, then rest for 5 minutes. If you're a glutton for more chopping, you can make the Pico De Gallo yourself, but I opted for fresh store-bought. Add lettuce, onion, and cheese to all that and, BAM!, dinner is served.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Mexican-Style Grilled Corn

I've eaten boiled corn-on-the-cob slathered with melted butter since I was a little tyke.  My mother would sometimes pair that with sliced tomatoes and a glass of milk, and that was our dinner, one of the best of our summers.  But this recipe ventured into the unknown, both by grilling the corn and then tossing it with a creamy combination of mayo, sour cream, cheese and other ingredients.  As the picture at the bottom shows, it pairs very nicely with my beard.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Lasagna Roll-Ups

This vertical twist on meatless lasagna delivers portion-control and taste in an easy-to-assemble recipe.  The noodles are steeped in boiling water for about 20 minutes while you make a cheese and herb spread that's kicked up with lemon zest.  Then, one at a time, you lay a noodle down, spread the cheese mixture down its center and roll it up.  Pour half the tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, line up the lasagna pointed up, and finish with the rest of the tomato sauce.  I opted to put the Parmesan cheese on top before baking, contrary to the directions at the link below.  Leftovers can be frozen and microwaved for days of yummy repeats.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Spiced Pumpkin Waffles

We recently decided to buy a waffle maker and instead of making the waffles of our childhood, we went for these Spiced Pumpkin Waffles, filling the house with the aromas of Thanksgiving.  There were two left over, which we divided into quarters, put in plastic storage bags and placed in the freezer.  That's the perfect shape for the toaster to heat and crisp them back to life.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Cooper's Hawk

Besides Cooper's Hawk having a great tasting area, upscale bar and restaurant, and the best Crispy Brussels Sprouts possibly anywhere, you can have your wine aerated and filtered using their self-serve Grapevine Decanter.  If you avoid overpaying for wine at restaurants, you'll be thrilled at their bottle prices.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Elaine's Pepperoni Bread

Years in the making, this video documents my wife's preparation of her famous Pepperoni Bread, a legion with Alter High School football players of yesteryears.  Dough, pepperoni, cheese and egg wash combine to make a "bet you can't eat just one piece".  I never can.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

100K Faces Project

Not really sure what I would ever do with this, but having 100,000 free (I love free) facial pictures to augment a story or blog seems useful.  What's really cool is that all these are generated using Artificial Intelligence (AI), so they are not real people.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Fall Foliage Map

While Mother Nature is not that predictable, but this interactive map can help you plan a trip to see the trees at their peak color.  The slider bar at the bottom is graduated in weeks, just click and drag the circle, or click anywhere along the bar, to get the map to update.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Running Profits - September 2019 Update

After finding 97 cents total in July and August, September blew that out of the park will a haul of $1.62, powered by running across a dollar bill on the 1st of the month.  With a three month total of $2.59, I'm getting really close to that Dairy Queen ice cream cone that will reward my diligence.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Caesar Brussels Sprouts

We love Brussels Sprouts.  We love Caesar Salads.  This recipe brings them together, topped with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Thanks to my wonderful and culinary-talented wife for another healthy and delicious side dish!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Doggy Water Fountain

I imagine countless dogs enjoying a cold drink from this doggy dish water fountain at Lincoln Park Civic Commons in Kettering.  Above this is the human version along with three other water fountains in the park, all a very welcome sight on this hot summer for this runner.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Pastrami-Rubbed Smoked Tri-Tip

We've fallen in love with using a dry rub on our beef and this combination of black pepper, salt,
coriander, mustard, brown sugar, paprika and garlic and onion powders really does make this steak taste like a pastrami sandwich.  Couldn't find a tri-tip, so we substituted a flat iron steak, which worked well.  While the directions call for grinding a bunch of seeds, save yourself a ton of work and use their already-ground brethren.  Baking it low and slow in the oven is an easier alternative and a really good choice for the cooler months.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Spectrum TV App

The Roku has the Spectrum TV app which means it's possible to replace a cable box, and its monthly fee, with this app.  I would suggest this only for an infrequently used TV, as the app's interface is very cumbersome.  But if you setup just a few "favorites" and use the other standard filters to limit the stations displayed, it's worth it.

I'm still waiting for an Amazon Fire TV Cube version of the app, and pray its interface is vastly better when it arrives.  Ever the optimist...

Monday, September 9, 2019

Wi-Fi Interference

Figuring out the cause of Internet connectivity problems in the invisible world of wireless networking is difficult and a challenging guessing game.  We recently had problems which included poor performance and interruptions of a few seconds to a minute, affecting Netflix, smartphones, tablets and, fortunately, my Mac's wireless mouse.  The mouse problem pointed to some type of RF (Radio Frequency) interference and with the help of NetSpot's free (I love free) app, I noticed that we had three very strong Wi-Fi signals, one obviously our TP-Link router, but the other two were not familiar, but had to be very close by.  I then noticed our Spectrum-provided cable modem had a "WPS" (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button on its top, even though we didn't sign up for their in-home wireless network service.  The wireless network names (SSIDs) on the cable modem matched the two unfamiliar names.  The label also listed the userid and password to logon to the cable modem, which allowed me to disable those wireless networks, as shown below.  With those changes made, our Wi-Fi/Internet issues have disappeared.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Garlic-Chipotle Chicken Tacos

The chipotle chiles, garlic and chili powder give this spin on chicken tacos a real kick.  We opted to make the chicken on the stovetop and roast the peppers and onions on the grill.  Eating this well on a Tuesday night is only a small part of what makes my wife so special.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Running Profits - August 2019 Update

An update for August 2019 on my profits from running, those coins dropped on sidewalks, roads, etc.  This last month I netted 71 cents, powered by finding two quarters within a few yards of each other.  Combined with the 26 cents from July 2019, my total is now 97 cents, well on the way to my goal of buying a small Dairy Queen ice cream cone.  Another month as rich as this one and I might make it much sooner than I originally anticipated.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Hasselback Caprese Chicken

Take four chicken breasts and slice 80% of the way through about every half-inch (that's the Hasselback method), then fill with a dab of pesto, a little wedge of fresh mozzarella and a tomato slice.  After baking, a couple minutes under the broiler will add a bit of crispy coloring.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Kayak Explore

Just wanna get away?

If you're less set on a particular destination than how much you're going to spend, Kayak's Explore tool can help.  Just plug in the airport you want to depart from and you're presented with the best prices to loads of destinations.  There are filters for cost, duration, dates and number of stops to whittle down the choices.  Still have to pack your own bags...

Friday, August 23, 2019

Texas Beef & Cattle Company

My choice for Dayton's best barbecue is Texas Beef & Cattle Company, located at 1101 West Third St, just a few blocks west, over the river, from downtown.  Great brisket, pulled pork and great sides, like the mac-n-cheese shown below.  They are working on a second location on the first floor of the CareSource building at 217 N. Patterson Blvd, which I imagine will be packed during lunch hour.  

Thursday, August 22, 2019

New Patio Deck

Just completed a few weeks ago, our new deck is 40% larger, uses TimberTech composite decking and railing for zero maintenance and features a venting patio door from Steeves & Sons.  At the bottom of the post caps are lights that can be set to stay on at night or for just a few hours.  The before picture is included at the bottom which really shows what a fantastic upgrade this is.  Great job, as always, by Jason Best and his crew!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


This web site not only has a large selection of letters, numbers, punctuation, currency emoji and other symbols, you can copy one to the clipboard with a single click or tap.  Makes it easy to paste it into your email, text or post.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Tomato Gratin

My happy diet consists of protein, veggies and fruit, with just enough carbs to curb a binge.  The tri-tip steak below is matched with a tomato gratin using just-off-the-vine tomatoes and freshly-clipped basil, with a coarse crumb topping made with whole-grain bread, garlic, extra-virgin oil and Parmesan  cheese.  The grapes ended up as an Italian Villa Pillo.  Thanks to my wife for this Wednesday night feast!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Spectrum TV Caller ID

If you have Spectrum Internet phone service and don't like the Caller ID messages popping up on your TV screen announcing yet another spam robocall that will never get answered because you don't have an actual phone plugged in, it's simple to turn them off.  Just go to "Settings", select the "Caller ID" option then "Set Up", and turn off "Prompt".  Why have phone service at all?  Because the bundled price is cheaper and it's included.  Sigh...

Friday, August 9, 2019

Cuban Quesadillas

The relish, a combination of dill pickles, banana peppers, mustard, mayonnaise and black pepper, is the star of this show.  It gives the ham, turkey and Swiss cheese on a grilled tortillas a tangy kick in the tongue.  If you have some extra lunchmeat and just a little time to make your meal, this recipe is for you.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Print WordPress Blog

Another goal of copying my blog to Wordpress was to see if I could get it printed.   Fortunately there is a free (I love free) plugin, "Print My Blog", that creates a printed copy, which I saved as a PDF, as shown below.   The first 1,071 blogs, dating back to May 20, 2014, resulted in 601 pages.  I doubt I'll really ever print it, but it's nice to know that I could.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Blogger To WordPress

I've decided to learn a bit about WordPress, a very popular blog and website management system, so my first step was to install it on my Mac.  I then exported this very blog from Blogger and imported it into Wordpress, following the directions at the link, but modified for a local installation instead of an actual external website.  That required I first install MAMP (Mac-Apache-MySQL-PHP) to get a compatible internal web server.  After a bit of configuration I had my entire blog hosted locally, looking, perhaps, more professional than this blog you're reading.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Stopping Advertisements

If you're tired of retrieving and disposing of these weekly advertisements, while never looking at them, you can opt out entirely.  Just go to this link, enter in your information and they should stop in a couple weeks.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Backpack Cooler

Hiking in the dry western United States requires drinking a lot of water to avoid dehydration.  This backpack cooler holds up to twenty cans plus ice in its no-leak liner, includes two mesh side pockets and padded backpack straps for hauling comfort.  It will sure be better than carrying warm water bottles in everyone's hands.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Charred Green Beans With Ricotta And Lemon

The bed for this dish is whipped ricotta cheese, oil and salt.  It's topped with charred green beans  cooked in two tablespoons of oil.  We suggest adding a large clove of minced garlic to the beans a minute before taking them off the heat for a little extra punch.  An awesome side, in less than twenty minutes, that you'll be asking for seconds.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

HDTV Antenna

If you've lost a local cable channel due one of those spats between networks and cable companies, the answer is less than $20 away.  I bought this one so I can pickup local channels on my home office PC monitor (which is a Samsung 32" TV).  A serious cord-cutter may want to invest more, but this one fit my needs perfectly.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Running Profits

One of the benefits of running lots of miles is you come across coins from time to time lying on the ground.  This month I decided to start collecting them in a little shot glass to see how much I collected.  As seen below, the total was 26 cents, consisting of one dime, two nickels and six pennies.  That works out at just under one penny per run and a little over 2/10ths of a penny per mile.  At this rate I hope to have enough to buy a small Dairy Queen ice cream cone by next summer.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Google My Maps

It's pretty neat to see a list of addresses mapped out with pins on a Google Map, but to me the best feature is checking addresses to make sure they're proper.  The instructions at the link below will get into the details, but after uploading a CSV file any addresses it can't map are highlighted in red in a data table.  Nice for validating large mailing lists such as wedding invitations or newsletters.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Grace Bay Sunset

Every sunset at The Ocean Club Resort on Grace Bay in the Turks and Caicos islands was as different as they were spectacular, and picking a favorite to share (below) wasn't easy.  They varied from serene, cloudless skies to swirling brush strokes of reds, oranges, yellows and blues, and all were stare-worthy.  This resort, which faces west-northwest, is perfectly positioned in June, where the sun is directly perpendicular to the shore line.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Our island vacation included the Taste of TCI Food Tour, exploring the island and visiting several local foodie destinations, finishing up at the weekly Thursday Fish Fry at Bight Park.  At one of the stops we had a demonstration of how they separate the meat of the conch from the shell.  This expert whacked a certain spot on the conch with this rock hammer, opening a small slot.  Then he inserted a knife to get the conch to let go and voila, fresh conch.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Catamaran Ride - Part 2

During our Turks and Caicos catamaran ride, we had stopped for a bit and noticed a pair of porpoises lazily cruising through the water, fins and snouts occasionally breaking the water.  The fun really started when our boat took off and one of the porpoises decided the race was on and began chasing us, leaping out of the water every few seconds.  Capturing the perfect moment almost eluded me as I snapped pictures as fast as I could, trying to time a leap just right.  The picture below was the lone success, captured right before the porpoise decided the fun was over.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Sheet Pan Caprese Chicken

Easily a middle-of-the-week dinner, this recipe delivers a nice twist with its baked cherry tomatoes bursting with flavor.  I offer a couple changes to the directions, first, don't bother reducing the balsamic vinegar, it's touchy and makes you stand there stirring the entire time.  Second, when finished baking, put it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, and monitor that closely, to get a nice brown crust on the cheese.  This link contains a video showing just how easy this is to make.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Catamaran Ride - Part 1

Our trip to Turks and Caicos included an awesome four-hour catamaran ride.  Towards the end of the trip we had the option to jump off the boat from a platform and/or take the built-in slide route.  I loved both, particularly the jump, somewhere in the 10-12 foot range, bringing out the kid in me and memories of growing up at the neighborhood pool.  I think the picture really shows how much fun I had.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Kettering - No Solicitors

Kettering citizens can pick one (or more) of these 3"x4" "No Solicitors" window clings (as supplies last) at the reception desk at the Kettering Government Center, 3600 Shroyer Road.  With this sign, or another that meets the requirements detailed in section 642.10(f), and placed on or near your main entrance, it's a misdemeanor crime for anyone to solicit you.  Without this, it's perfectly legal for others to bang on your door, annoying or not.

Friday, July 12, 2019


My wife whips together bunches of basil with garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil (our best one) and pine nuts to make the pesto that's been featured in several of these "Foodie Friday" recipes.  She then freezes it in ice cube trays to make a handy size, then puts three cubes (about ten ounces) in individual bags for up to a year in the freezer.  With this year's bumper crop of basil coming from our raised herb garden, we'll have plenty for (don't say it!) those cold winter months ahead.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Android Notification Log

I get tons of notifications on my Pixel 2 and every once in a while I flick one out of existence by accident or after I look at it I wish I could find it again.  Fortunately, there's a widget for that, specifically the Settings widget.  As the directions at the link explain, you press and hold on an open area of the home screen, select Widget, scroll down to Settings and press and hold that icon.  After it's dropped on the home screen, the Settings shortcut menu appears.  Tap Notification log and you're done.  Like the picture below, you now have a nice shortcut to find all your past notifications.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Kikkerland Rainbow Coasters

We first used these colorful coasters on our recent trip to Turks and Caicos and just had to buy a set.  They solve one of the most annoying problems coasters have, that being lifting off the table with the glass.  The soft, rubbery-like material will stay put on smooth surfaces like our patio table while doing its primary job of keeping water drops off the table.  Eight coasters in eight different colors, for ten dollars.