Friday, December 31, 2021

Irish Bred Pub

Downtown Montgomery, Alabama was a pretty dead place the week leading up to Christmas, but the few restaurants that were open did not disappoint.  Irish Bred Pub, Tower Taproom, Wintzell's Oyster House, and Dreamland BBQ all delivered delicious meals.  A monster Rueben sandwich at Irish Bred, combined with the Guinness shown below, was the best of the best.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Killing AutoCorrect

It's a wonder that so many people curse autocorrect on their smartphones but don't take the time to simply turn it off.  These two links will take you through step-by-step instructions to kill it.  Why you're at it, look at the other options and see if they are adding some bane (i.e. a source of persistent annoyance) to your existence.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Live TV Streaming Channel Tool

This handy tool from Clark Howard allows cord-cutters, or would-be cord-cutters, to evaluate their options.  You just type in those channels that you want and it presents a list with the cheapest options first and each network will have either a checkmark or slashed circle to tell you if it's included or not.  Given that sports are our must-have entertainment, YouTubeTV was an easy pick for us.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Glass Screen Protector

I was more than a little surprised when an assistant at the Apple store directed me to this way less expensive (<$9) screen protector at Amazon over their $50 alternative.  This isn't one of those cheap plastic covers, but real glass.  You just clean and dry your iPhone screen, peel off the cover on the back of the glass, align the glass on your screen, and lay it in place.  A little tap of the finger in the middle of the glass and it appears to melt into your phone.  I had a couple of little spots where it initially didn't completely bond, but by the next day they were gone.  This link includes some videos to explain it better than I can.  Make sure you buy the version specific to your model phone.

Friday, December 17, 2021

The Bar & Bistro

The newly opened Bar & Bistro (11/15/2021) is located at 32 Webster Street in Downtown Dayton in the Top of the Market space.  They offer a diverse menu and craft cocktails at a price lower than I've seen anywhere else.  This is a great addition to the downtown foodie scene and I suggest you check it out before it becomes too popular.  More information and the menu are at this link.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Bucket Head

When a real-life plumber brings a wet/dry vacuum into your home, you obviously want to check out what they use.  To my surprise, this Bucket Head powerhead, which attaches to the top of an inexpensive, five-gallon Home Depot bucket, was equally inexpensive at $30.  That's way cheaper than the one I just bought and will be my next one.  The plumber's other rule was to have one for dry pickups and one for wet pickups, not try to switch back and forth.  Another suggestion I plan to follow.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021


The Nugget play couch comes in four pieces, base, cushion, and two triangle pillows, and can be configured as anything from a fort to a sofa.  It is perfect for small children, allowing them to use their imaginations, and toddlers, as they learn to scoot around.  For an adult, it can be a nice addition to their home workout room, bring a little comfort to a hard floor.  The Pinterest link below shows a number of ways the Nugget can be arranged.

Shout out to Emma for this cool idea!

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Important Display Message

The most current iOS upgrade turned on a feature to tell you if a part was detected that the phone could not verify as a genuine Apple part.  Since this iPhone 11 had its cracked display replaced at Batteries+Bulbs a while back, I guess they don't use genuine Apple parts.  That might be more important to some and less to others, and while it's nice that Apple is letting you know in case you didn't know, it's also self-serving as they want you to have your phone serviced at one of their stores.

Regardless of the merits of the above, the wrong thing Apple did was make this notification stick around without an option to dismiss it.  It might sound a bit picky, but we're annoyed with those red bubble counts hanging around as shown on the Settings app icon on the righthand picture below.  Fortunately, it should go away in 15 days, trusting the ZDNET article at the link below.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Knives Up

Yet another example of me doing things wrong for my whole life was recently brought to my attention.  I have always stored my knives, those that go in the vertical slots, with the sharp edge on the bottom, not ever thinking as I slid the knives into place that I was dragging them against the wood.  Guess what that does?  Yep, dulls them.  Duh!  They are now sharp-side up.  A few more tips are listed at the link below.

Big shout out to Deborah K. for this sharp tip!


Thursday, December 9, 2021

Bushnell Wingman

If you're still looking for a Christmas gift for your music-loving, distance-impaired golfer, the Bushnell Wingman will solve both.  It's a high-quality Bluetooth speaker that at a push of a button delivers audible front, center, and back distances on tens of thousands of golf courses.  It's held to the cart with magnets, making mounting and dismounting a snap.  What will they think of next?

Wednesday, December 8, 2021


Our B&B room in Saint Augustine, Florida came with a Cooluli tabletop mini-fridge.  It was perfect for keeping a few bottles of water chilled without a large footprint.  The Classic series, shown below, comes in three different sizes (4, 10, and 15 liters), and there are a number of other models, none cooler (pun intended) than the two retro Coca-Cola versions, which you can see at the link below.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Market Square

Last Saturday was a beautiful day to visit the Market Square area in downtown Pittsburgh (or "dahntahn" in Pittsburghese).  Busy day with the Pitt Panthers taking on Wake Forest for the ACC football title, followed Sunday with a home game for the Steelers against their rival, the Baltimore Ravens (or the dirty birds as I like to call them).  The skaters were out in force, circling the monstrous Christmas tree seen below.  Not shown are all the people, like me, that hold on to the railing and drag themselves around the rink.


Monday, December 6, 2021

Opening And Closing Days

As pictured below from the Orchid Island Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida, ladies' opening day was October 28, followed by the men's opener the next day.  Compare that with Walnut Grove Country Club in Dayton, Ohio, which had their ladies' closing day on October 1st and their men's closer on October 12th, and the message is clear.  The time to migrate south for the winter is right in the middle of October.  When one door is closed, another one opens.

Friday, December 3, 2021

A Quart

We all know that a quarter is 25 cents or a quarter of a dollar, but it took 66 years for me to understand, thanks to my son-in-law, that a quart, like milk, is one-fourth of a gallon and that's why it's called a quart.  Short for "quarter", get it?  I am such a dope.

Big shout out to Rodney for opening my eyes!

Thursday, December 2, 2021

At Journey's End

Our lodging at a recent stay in downtown St. Augustine, Florida was "At Journey's End", an adorable, and reasonably priced, B&B a few blocks walk to all the area has to offer.  The owners, Mike and Robin, were very helpful in getting us settled in and offering advice on new restaurants and activities.  The breakfasts, or brunches as Robin likes better, were over-the-top delicious.  A parking space was available in the back, a welcome amenity in a parking-constrained area.


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Transition Strips

After the new carpet on the stairs was installed, it was up to me to add the transition strips to complete the project.  After a lot of thinking on how best to get the tightest seam, I decided to cut the track to the width I needed, cut 1-foot pieces of T-moulding and end-molding, and pushed them on the middle of the track.  I then pushed that firmly against the carpet and marked the holes with a Sharpie.  I drilled the pilot holes and screwed down the track, as seen in the first picture below.  I cut the molding to the proper width and pushed them into the track, shown in the second picture.  Totally happy with how it turned out.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Birds Of A Feather

The picture below comes from the golf course at the Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Florida.  A large flock of black anhingas and white pelicans routinely line up on the shore of one of the many lakes and point themselves at the sun.  The anhingas don't have the oil glans that other birds have to make their feathers waterproof, so drying off is part of their daily lives.  Why the pelicans join in is a mystery to me.  Maybe they just like laughing at the golfers hitting approach shots into the lake.  

Monday, November 29, 2021

Asking Questions

I learned over the course of public speaking that asking questions to an audience is both a great way to engage them, but also a minefield of risks.  The rule I now use is "Ask questions everyone can answer."

A couple of real-life examples while engaging a grade school class.

I asked the question "Do you know how Gorilla glass was invented?", and every student knew the answer and the whole room responded "No."  If I had asked "How was Gorilla glass invented?", which is unlikely anyone would know, the response would have been uncomfortable silence.  Children, and adults, don't like being stupid and will disengage, at least a little, and maybe a lot.   What I found interesting was every student listened to exactly what I said.  When I repeat that to adults they tend to ignore the "Do you know" part.  

I then explained how the glass the scientists were working on was accidentally heated way beyond what they intended.  Then I asked "When they took the cooled-down glass out of the heater, they dropped it on a hard floor.  What do you think happened then?"  Every student shouted out "It shattered!!"  And I shouted back "No, it bounced!" and the entire class broke into laughter.  The fact everyone got the wrong answer was terribly funny to them.  No one felt left out or felt less of themselves. 

I've asked other questions that I wish I had thought more about before the words came out.  But I would instantly know from the looks on some of the people's faces I had made them feel bad.  I would think about why that particular question was phrased poorly and restructure it for the next time.  For example, I asked that same class above "Who has a cell phone?"  Most hands shot up, but not all, and I could tell by the faces of the few hands-down students I made them feel like outcasts.  I changed that question to "Who has an iPhone?", talked about that, and then asked "Who has an Android phone?" a few minutes later.  The students without cell phones could keep their hands down for both questions, but there were lots of other hands down at the same time, keeping them out of an embarrassing situation.

Friday, November 26, 2021

White Bean and Mushroom Soup

If you're looking for a new vegetarian soup recipe, this might be your ticket.  In addition to the title ingredients, you add vegetable stock and a colorful combination of kale, onion, sweet peppers, thyme, and other spices.  Takes about an hour from start to warming your innards.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Christmas Invasion

And the winner of the where-do-they-store-all-this-stuff award goes to the owner/decorators of this Kettering, Ohio home.  There are manger scenes, Santa's and Mrs. Claus's, nutcrackers, gingerbread people and houses, Winnie the Pooh, snowmen (including Frostie), Mickie and Minnie, penguins, reindeer, candy canes, gnomes, candles, and even a couple of seals (or sea lions, I can never remember which is which).  I guess they're really into the Christmas vibe.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021


I've been doing a fair (someone thinks "obsessive") amount of genealogy research, documenting as much of my family tree as I can find, starting with my great-great-grandfathers and working forward in time.  Occasionally something comes along that I find surprising, like the fact that I'm related, by marriage, to Charles Lofino, the man that opened this namesake Beavercreek grocery store and has a number of places named after him.

If I'm reading my "Table of Consanguinity" correctly,  Anna Mae Moorman (at the bottom right below), Charles' wife, is a "Second Cousin Once Removed", so we share the same great-great-grandparents, in our case, Franz Heinrich Moorman, who immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in the 1800s and started a huge list of Moorman descendants, myself included.  This Wikipedia link includes that useful table of relationships.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Kids Surfing Contest

Besides the awesome close-to-shore water break seen below, this is a small portion of a local Vero Beach surfing club's young-person contest in late October.  I don't know about you, but growing up with a surfboard in my hands in the tenth month of the year seems idyllic.  What isn't shown is how remarkable these youngsters can surf.  Ah, to be young again!


Friday, November 19, 2021

Velero's in Valparaiso

Velero's is one of the most authentic Mexican restaurants I've ever visited, a real gem hidden in Valparaiso, Indiana.  The Mariscada Veleros shown below is a combination of grilled octopus, calamari, shrimp and fish sauteed in Habanero aioli and served with saboy slaw and tortillas.  You can check out the rest of the fantastic menu at this link.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Opening Line

When I give speeches or presentations I often introduce myself as "the son of two actors, an engineer and a cheerleader."  It's obvious from that statement that both of my parents were actors, but you would be wrong to apply the usual stereotypes to which one probably does the others.  Actually, my father was both the engineer and the cheerleader, and both at the University of Dayton.  It helps get my audience's attention and that what I'm going to say might be a little different from what they might expect.  Also, it's usually good for a chuckle or two.

My parents belonged to the Blackfriars Guild, a local acting company that existed back in the 1950s and 1960s.  The lucky little guy below was selected to play the part of a ring bearer in one of their plays.  Might be the last time I ever wore a bowtie.


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Cost Of Home Energy

Timing is everything and I could have had no better timing when I signed up for a 2-year, fixed-price natural gas contract back in April of 2021.  I got a rate of .369 cents per Ccf (100 cubic feet) back then.  Per the graphic below, the best rate for a 2 or 3 year fixed contract is now .599 per Ccf.  That's about a 60% increase in the last 7 months.  Ouch!

We needed a new electricity contract come 2022 at the expiration of our previous 4-year deal and that rate increased from 5.29 cents per KWh (KiloWatt-hour) to 6.09 per KWh, a more modest 15% increase, which over a 4-year period doesn't seem terribly out of line.

The Ohio Energy Choice website, at the link below, is the place I always go to when I need a new contract.  You can filter and sort the results to get the best deal for you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Right-Angle Adapter

Here's the newest tool in my workshop, a right-angle adapter for my drill.  As shown in yesterday's blog, the cabinet I was working on was very narrow and my drill was too wide.  I went up to my local Greive Hardware store and much to my surprise found the adapter I needed.  As small as Greive's store is, I can count on one finger the number of times they didn't carry what I needed.  

Monday, November 15, 2021


This smaller house project, better utilizing the space in the narrow cabinet, has been on the list for a while.  The after picture on the right below shows how a couple of sliding shelves were added to provide storage for taller items (e.g olive oil bottles, bags of chips).  Even though these shelves are only eight inches wide and twenty-two inches deep, they provided enough relief for our corner cabinet to become much better organized.  More information on the sliding shelves can be found at this link.

Friday, November 12, 2021

The Blue Hen

One of the real benefits of traveling during lull periods is getting into usually-too-busy restaurants, which was the case with the breakfast/brunch gem, The Blue Hen, in downtown St. Augustine, Florida.  Elaine's selection was the Zada Jane's Stack, the sweet potato home fries, pork sausage-and-cheddar jack frittata, scallions, and biscuit pictured below.  "Yummy" just doesn't quite do it justice.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Finally Three Lanes

Shown below are the updated three-through lanes and exit lane on eastbound US-35 approaching Smithville Road.  This pinch point was the bane of my existence for the many years I commuted to and from downtown Dayton and while it arrived about a dozen years too late to do me any good, it's nice to know the current generation of workers will have their commute be a little nicer.  Hopefully, a resurface is coming sooner than later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Airplane Mode

Android only folks...

Sitting on an airplane and trying to find that quick action to toggle Airplane mode is not a good time to realize that it's gone.  I assume during one of those periodic updates it was moved out of sight, needing a swipe left to discover.  But as per the instructions at the link below, it's easy to put it front-and-center where it belongs.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Definition of Love

I was asked recently what is my definition of love.  I'm sure that we all have our own but have you ever written it down?  It's an interesting exercise in introspection into something perhaps we all take for granted.  Here's mine.  I'm sure yours will be different.  

Monday, November 8, 2021

High Tide

The video below is from Saturday, November 6th in St. Augustine, Florida as we tried to make our escape and get to Orlando.  A combination of a nor'easter bringing rain starting Thursday night and an unfortunate high tide late morning on Saturday made some streets unpassable and two of the three bridges out of the city were closed.  Navigator Elaine and Pilot Paul managed to find one of the few (barely) passable routes out, but not without some harrowing moments.  Life can be such an adventure at times, but we have no desire to repeat this nightmare.


Friday, November 5, 2021

Mangold's BBQ Sauce

Nick Mangold, the Kettering Alter High school grad, Ohio State University center, and seven-time Pro Bowler for the New York Jets, has a line of BBQ sauces, the ones below we found at Dorothy Lane Market.  The name, 74 BBQ Sauce, is a reference to his professional jersey number and each of his four sauces is inspired by the personalities of his four children.

Thursday, November 4, 2021


The nicest part of this mold and mildew remover is the shape of the bottle, easy to hold and squeeze and the tip makes it a snap to get in the corners and edges, which is where the build-up of junk is usually the worst.  

Pizza Volume

For reasons that don't matter, I needed to calculate the volume of a disk (i.e. cylinder), a task I haven't done in forever, so that formula is not on my favorites list.  Turns out that one smart guy turned that volume equation into a pizza formula.  If you assign the letter "z" to represent the pizza's radius and the letter "a" as the depth of the pie, the formula for the volume becomes the easy-to-remember...

Volume = Pi*z*z*a 

Math geeks might prefer their notation, V = πr2h, but I'm going with Pizza!

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Surfboard Shower

Repurposing a surfboard is one of the most unique and colorful ways I've seen to highlight an outdoor shower and foot wash.  Frankly, it's genius and so beachy!

Shout out to Dale and Kim for this delightful idea!

Monday, November 1, 2021

How America Works

One of this year's new TV shows that we've taken a liking to is "How America Works", hour-long episodes that take a deep dive into some of the major industries that employ millions.  Topics such as lumber, fishing, oil, electricity, and entertainment are very demanding and filled with dedicated men and women.

Friday, October 29, 2021

French Toast

I rarely eat breakfast, so sometimes I have a favorite, in this case, French Toast, for lunch.  It's the first thing that my mother let me cook myself for breakfast as a kid, I believe mainly because she wanted to sleep in.  Chef Elaine questioned why I didn't top it with maple syrup and the answer is simple, I've always made it this way.  Just like pouring vinegar on steamed spinach, the tastes and habits we developed as children will rule our taste buds for the rest of our lives.  Maple syrup, and loads of butter, belong on pancakes and waffles. 

Thursday, October 28, 2021


While waiting in a typical afternoon's long line at the local dump, I read the list of items that they won't accept and saw the unfamiliar term "TENORM".  While my 280-pound load of scrap wood and ceramic tile was probably OK, I had to know, just to be cautious.  

TENORM stands for "Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials" and occurs when naturally occurring radioactive materials, which are generally safe, are concentrated and present a real threat.  This occurs in a variety of manufacturing processes, often the result of wastes and residuals.  Loads more information at this EPA link.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Flying Backwards

You might have seen this in the news, but it's an interesting lesson on the attention to detail.  Ohio had already produced around 35,000 of the new plates seen below before someone spotted that the Wright Brothers airplane was flying backwards.  Today's planes have their wings in front but their original flyer had them in the back.  Maybe somebody should have called North Carolina...

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

See The Coin

Can you spot the coin lurking on the street below?

For the last couple years I've taken to looking for discarded change as I'm running or walking.  Round shiny things now just seem to leap out at me.  The total so far this year is $2.69 with an all-time haul of $8.70.  That doesn't count the coins I find outside of my exercise, with parking lots being very generous.

Monday, October 25, 2021


The internet is full of simple, and very useful, tools for image editing, but when you need something closer to the power of Photoshop, the free (I love free) PIXLR editor just might be your answer.  In my case, I needed to take an image (see below) that had a square background and just cut out the circular logo.  While it turned out to be easy, it was not at all obvious, so I searched for a video to show me the steps I needed and one on the Zonua YouTube channel was perfect.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Smashed Avocado

The Patty Melt in progress seen below illustrates the simple method of dealing with avocado slices, which are very slippery and mostly slide out the slides of the sandwich.  The secret?  Just mash them.  Yep, how easy is that?  Thank God we watch The Kitchen on the Food Channel as much as we do, or we would still be picking avocado slices off the dinner table.

Thursday, October 21, 2021


I've known the word mesmerized for at least five decades but recently found that the word originated from a real person, Frank Mesmer (1734-1815), a German physician.  Frank was known of his theory for "animal magnetism", the transference of natural energy between all animated and inanimate objects.  Mesmer would treat patients using a variety of techniques, but eventually, his work was debunked, with any help patients received attributed to a "placebo effect".  In other words, Frank "mesmerized" them into feeling better.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Spotted Turtle Trail

Phase one of the project to connect the Beavercreek wetlands, designated the Spotted Turtle Trail, is open.  The picture below was taken at Phillips Park along Dayton-Xenia Road, at roughly the midpoint of this four-mile stretch along the Beaver Creek and Little Beaver Creek rivers.  Future phases will connect the northern fens and wetlands up to Pearl's Fen.  Bring a good pair of waterproof hiking boots.  They don't call them wetlands for nothing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Secure MAC Hard Drive Erase

It was time to get rid of a ten-year-old external hard drive that I used for backups.  To make sure all the data was erased, mainly to protect things like passwords and credit card numbers, I explored the options available to me on my Mac Mini.  The Disk Utility has several levels that can be used to wipe the data, so I elected to use the most secure, a seven-pass erase that writes random data seven times, just like the ultra-paranoid Pentagon would do.  It took over a day to complete, but what the heck, the Mac didn't really have all the much to do anyway.  You can explore options at the link below.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Clown Car

I spotted this Smart car during a walk and had a really good chuckle.  The decal on the back glass says "I stole the clowns car" and the attached wind-up key completes the look.  I really appreciate their sense of self-deprecating humor.


Friday, October 15, 2021

Everything Deviled Eggs

I love deviled eggs and when I ran across this recipe that featured Everything Bagel Seasoning, I had to give it a try.  I used the fork method of combining the yokes, yogurt, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar, but I recommend a small food processor to get a more pleasant consistency.  But using the suggested pastry bag to pipe the filling into the egg whites wasn't going to happen.  A spoon works fine.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

South Shore Line

We've driven or flown into Chicago on many occasions, but recently decided to take the train instead to avoid their crazy downtown driving.  We first drove five hours to Porter, Indiana, about fourteen miles north of Valparaiso, arriving mid-afternoon on a Friday.  We bought our tickets (yeah, half-price senior discount) on the South Shore Line and waited until the train shown below arrived.  Being an off-peak time, we expected a light crowd and were surprised to find it so packed we couldn't sit together or put our luggage overhead.  After a while, we asked one of the young crowd aboard why so many had on Notre Dame-branded clothing and found out they we all traveling to Chicago to watch Notre Dame play football against Wisconsin.  Wisconsin?  Yep.  The game was being played at Soldier Field in Chicago on Saturday.  That explained the crowd, as the South Shore Line begins in South Bend.  Fortunately the return train ride on Sunday was more spread out and comfortable.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021


I use, a free (I love free) online service to research and catalog my family tree, but there is no way to generate useful reports.  Enter RootsMagic, a cross-platform program that can pull data directly from FamilySearch and produce lots of reports.  The free version of RootsMagic only offers a few reports and those can only be printed, not saved as a PDF to easily share.  But for $29.99, the full unlocked version has everything I need, from the Pedigree Report shown below (of President U.S. Grant) to my favorite, the Kinship List, which tells me for each person what their relationship is to me, such as an aunt, uncle, cousin, or second cousin once removed.