Monday, November 30, 2020

Dayton Skyline

One of the coolest views of the Dayton skyline comes from the perch that is Lookout Terrace at Woodland Cemetery, located across Stewert Street from the University of Dayton.  From there you're looking to the northwest and are high enough to put the treetops at the bottom of your view.   

Walking through Woodland is a history lesson from the Civil War forward and helps explain where so many of our local street names came from.  It's a hilly walk, but worth the extra effort.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Monte Cristo Breakfast Sandwich

This recipe is a breakfast, lunch, and with enough maple syrup, dessert combined into one.  You start by making French toast and setting aside.  Add beaten eggs to a skillet with a tablespoon of melted butter, place French toast on top (last picture), and cook until the eggs are firm.  Then comes the hardest part, flipping the entire thing upside down in one piece.  Divide it with one French toast on each side, then add cheese, ham, and turkey (middle picture).  When the cheese is melted, fold each half over and serve with (did I already say) ... maple syrup!

Thursday, November 26, 2020


As geeky as I can sometimes (i.e. always) be, the credit goes to my wife's eldest son for making me realize that our HBO subscription with Spectrum cable includes the HBO Max streaming service.  It took a while to figure out how to add that to our Amazon Fire TV Cube devices, but now we're ready (yeah!) for the Christmas day release of "Wonder Woman 1984".  The link below will take you directly to the page where you can add HBO Max to your Amazon device.  If you only have other streaming devices (e.g. Apple TV, Chromecast) at your disposal, your luck can vary, as HBO Max is not readily available on all the most popular devices.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

One Cow Apart

It's not often that I get a chuckle off of COVID-related instructions, but this sign at Dot's Market in Kettering did the trick.  And I really like that it's made out of burnable cardboard, as I'm sure there will be many bonfires lit when this is over.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Squirrel Defense

My older brother built this plank-mounted version of an electric fence as a non-lethal deterrent to the squirrel population, leaving the seeds in the birdfeeder to their intended audience.  It uses a Patriot PE2 Electric Fence Energizer found at the link below, which includes a few videos showing just how effective this solution is, and just how far small animals can jump if juiced properly (pun intended).

Monday, November 23, 2020

1945 Dayton Street Map

During my genealogy work, I have encountered several cases where streets or parts of streets where my ancestors lived no longer exist.  The most recent case was a street named Stillwater Avenue that didn't show up on a Google search.  I had to find an old Dayton map with a street cross-reference, in this case from 1945, that included Stillwater Avenue and found that it was replaced with the current, southern-most section of Riverside Drive, where it terminates at the bridge to cross the Great Miami River and become Patterson Blvd on the southern side.

The map shows that Riverside Drive followed the river back then all the way until it terminated, instead of the current route where it follows the river until it goes under I-75, then bends right, away from the river, to line up with Patterson Blvd.  That land east of the current Riverside Drive is where Temple Israel and the Korean War Veterans Memorial now stand.

You can download a PDF of the 1945 map at this link.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Shortcut Basil Pesto Lasagna

We're steadily adding vegetarian recipes to our collection, but only those that the rest of our meat-eating family will surely appreciate.  This lasagna includes lots of mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta cheese and features a homemade Alfredo sauce and homemade pesto.  Since a vegetarian recipe should have a vegetable included, spinach fills that role and adds some extra color.  

Kudos to Chef Elaine for yet another great feast!

Thursday, November 19, 2020


We have two closets in our house that don't have lights and could really use them, but instead of going through the trouble of getting an electrical circuit installed we opted for this battery-powered, motion-detecting LED alternative.  You just insert three AA batteries, remove the covering over the sticky mounting plate and press it wherever works best.  I don't know how often we'll have to replace the batteries, but most of the drain will come from the light sensor that detects motion, as the LEDs will be on at most one minute a week.  At under $13, it's an effective solution for our needs.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Turn Signal On

A few months ago I discovered my 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee had a feature I was totally unaware of, that being a warning that I had left a turn signal on too long.  I had made a swooping left turn that did not turn off the turn signal and I didn't realize that.  A mile later the Jeep makes the "beep-beep" sound that usually means a door or liftgate was not totally closed, then after a few seconds, I noticed the message "TURN SIGNAL ON" displayed in the Vehicle Information Center display.  I wish I had the wits enough to take a picture of that to share, but it did lead me to look up other messages that could potentially also be displayed, as shown below.

I've either never had that feature on any of my other cars or this is the first time I've ever left a turn signal on that long (which is kind of hard to believe).  In any case, it's a cool feature. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Touchup Cup

We saw these on the TV show Shark Tank and they solved two big problems, first, that gallon paint cans take up a lot of storage space, and second, after a few years the metal cans rust around the inside of the lid and ruin the paint.  We took six partial gallons and poured them into the containers below and labeled each with the manufacturer's number, name, date, and the room we used it in.  To use it, just shake it (each cup has a circular spring in it to help in mixing) then unscrew the cap.

This invention was created by a kid named Carson in West Chester, Ohio who saw the problem with stored paint and decided to create a solution.

Monday, November 16, 2020


My 37-month-old Pixel 2's battery was failing to hold a charge and since the smartphone in all other ways is still working great (and looks brand new), it was time for a battery replacement.  My normal place, Batteries+Bulbs, to my surprise does not offer that service for my phone, so I went looking for another option and found uBreakiFix, located on SR-741 just south of Spring Valley Pike.  According to the staff there, performing the necessary phone surgery on a Pixel 2 is very demanding and time-consuming compared to other types of smartphones, but they had it done in about 4 hours and now I'm good for another 3+ years or maybe when the Pixel 8 comes out...

Friday, November 13, 2020

Slow-Cooker Chipotle Chicken Stew

This chicken stew gets a kick from its onion, cumin, fire-roasted tomatoes, and chipotle chiles in adobo sauce.  It makes a great addition to your slow-cooker recipe rotation.  You can either serve on tortillas or just ladle a good-sized portion (last picture), then top either way with cheese, avocado, and cilantro.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Lessons In Cybersecurity

The "A few words about..." series of short videos in the YouTube playlist at the link below, from the University of Dayton's Center for Cybersecurity & Data Intelligence, is a great place to get good advice to keep yourself safe online.  I would add that perhaps the most important thing when online is to "SLOW DOWN", think before you click, and keep a suspicious mind at all times.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Amazing Mayonnaise

An accidental circular water stain once (dis)graced this end table.  My wife looked up how to remedy that and found a very surprising answer: mayonnaise.  She squirted some on the stain and rubbed it in with her fingers, then repeated that a couple hours later.  Stain ... gone!   Mayo is made mainly from oil (e.g. canola, avocado, safflower, etc.) which seeps into the finish and displaces the moisture.  More techniques for removing water stains can be found in this Bob Villa article.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Gutter Hose

I can't believe I didn't post this back in 2013 when I was faced with gutters filled with frozen ice.  I tried chipping out the ice to no avail.  I tried using a small blowtorch (a really dumb idea) and got nowhere.  A little Internet searching provided some hope, but it didn't seem possible, which fortunately didn't stop me from trying.  As per the directions at the link below, I bought a pair of pantyhose, cut off the waist, filled a leg with calcium chloride driveway salt, and laid it on top of a section of frozen gutter.  The next morning I got back up on the ladder and to my complete surprise, that section of gutter was completely clear of ice.  Bought more pantyhose, more salt and repeated the process and by the next day, the gutters were all clear.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Fall Meatloaf

This recipe is a complete Thanksgiving dinner in a loaf, combining ground turkey, stuffing crumbs, onions, celery, garlic, and eggs topped with a sauce of simmered ketchup, jellied cranberries, and a whole jalapeno (which is removed but is essential for the right kick).  The turkey mixture will be quite wet, so our suggestion is to put it in the refrigerator for an hour or two to help give it some stiffness, which will help you form it into a loaf.  The addition of sweet potato wedges for the last 45 minutes of baking completes the feast.  Like a Thanksgiving feast, you'll happily have leftovers for several days.

Thursday, November 5, 2020


After a long wait, and a helpful visit to the store to find they actually had received it a week or two ago, the last piece of new living room furniture is in place, a La-Z-Boy rocker/recliner.  While I'm not a big fall-asleep-in-a-chair type of person, this bad boy is going to seriously test that.  Now that the furniture is in place, we move on to painting, replacing the drapes and rug to match the walls and furniture, and cap it off with a coffee table.  2020 has been a big year for house projects, as I expect many folks are also saying. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

An Act to Encourage the Killing of Squirrels

In early Ohio, this little guy below would have been in imminent danger, as I would have been compelled by the 1807 state law, “An Act to Encourage the Killing of Squirrels" in our area to turn in 100 squirrel scalps per year or face a 3 cent fine for each I was short.  While that was a short-lived law as the severe winter of 1807-1808 took out a lot of these furry critters, by 1822 they had made such a comeback that organized hunting parties across the state took out about 20,000 of them.  

Back then squirrels were a major threat to corn and other crops and people "worked the summer to survive the winter".  So however cute you might have thought they were, your stomach ruled the day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Lunar Halo

Last Saturday we were a bit confused with a first-of-our-lifetime experience of seeing a large ring around the moon.  Turned out to be a Lunar Halo, the light being refracted and reflected by high-altitude ice crystals.  It did add some extra spookiness to the Halloween evening.

According to rhyming folklore, 

"A ring around the sun or moon 

  means rain or snow is coming soon."

Monday, November 2, 2020

Logs With Holes

Our best backyard fire pit blazes come from getting a really hot fire started and then topping it with a large log that has a hole (or two or more) in it, as shown below.  The extra flow of oxygen really gets it going and it burns on both the outside and the inside.  So if you run across some of these odd-looking logs, make sure to snap them up and save them for a special night (and a glass of wine).