Monday, October 3, 2022

Roundabout

Where once stood a four-way intersection at Alex-Bell and Mad River Roads in Washington Township we now have the brand-new, one-lane shiny roundabout seen below.  If you're unfamiliar with roundabouts, try this one outside of rush hour.  The rules are easy enough.  You must yield to traffic on your left and cars in the roundabout have the right-of-way.  A little more information on this intersection is at the link below.




Friday, September 30, 2022

Cheesy Creamed Corn

Before our local fruit stand shut down for the season, Chef Elaine made a half-recipe of this delicious cheesy creamed corn.  The cheesy comes from the pecorino (sheep in Italian) and the creamy from the mascarpone and half-n-half.  The topping is yummy fried prosciutto.  The only change she wants to make come next July (when the fruit stand reappears) is cutting the half-n-half in half to make it a bit thicker.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/cps-cheesy-creamed-corn-11702144


 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Peyton and Eli

Brothers and retired NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning offer an entertaining alternative to the normal play-by-play football announcers.  Available only for the Monday night game over on ESPN2, they banter back and forth, make predictions, interview guests, and critique plays.  You really have to pay attention to the game since they don't talk about the things the regular announcers talk about.  

The NFL puts out a weekly collection of their best moments and you can view week 3's at the link below.




Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Victory Bell

When Valparaiso wins a home football game, a tradition is the ringing of the Victory Bell.  The players gather immediately after the game and each takes a turn pulling the rope and clanging the bell.  The GIF below is from last Saturday's 28-21 win over San Diego.




Monday, September 26, 2022

Speed Bump

The little bridge seen below is next to the green at the 13th on the Pipestone Golf Course in Miamisburg, Ohio, and is just wide enough to allow one person over at a time.  The speed bump in the middle of the bridge doesn't make any sense at all.  Just one of those curious things that may or may not ever have a reasonable purpose.




Friday, September 23, 2022

Oktoberfest Cheat Sheet

We're big fans of a one-cookie-sheet meal and when we saw this recipe on a recent episode of The Kitchen, we just had to try it.  Chef Elaine made the potato planks using her mandolin to get the perfect width.  The cabbage and potatoes get treated with different coatings on the cookie sheet and the sausage is added.  The only change she'll make the next time is more cabbage, as it cooks way down and you end up with a lot less than you think.






Thursday, September 22, 2022

Pitcher

One of the changes at the Walnut Grove Country Club pool during the "pandemic" was to give large pitchers of ice water instead of serving individual cups.  We're happy that they have continued this as the world has returned to "normal".  We regularly go through an entire pitcher in a couple of hours and not having to constantly ask for more water is great.  



Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Dark Blue

Another jogging sight to see.  This house on Kenosha Road in Kettering is painted in the darkest blue imaginable.  I might have done this when I was ten, but what made grown adults think this was delightful to look at is beyond me.  This was done fairly recently as the Google Street View link below shows the before picture.  They did a very nice job on the house and yard, aside from my opinion on the color.




Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Hole

While my wife and I were jogging last week along Shroyer Road in Kettering, we just had to laugh when we saw the pieces of plywood covering up some utility work had "Hole" written on top.  I think the five cones on the plywood would be enough warning, but just in case some extra-stupid people came along, "Hole" would help them decide not to jump on the plywood.




Monday, September 19, 2022

Lamborghini

My son has owned fast cars since he was sixteen years old and I helped him buy his first Camaro.  His latest purchase is the Lamborghini seen below.  Yours truly got the opportunity to drive it around the neighborhood and experience a little of the 520 HP this machine processes.  Using the paddle shifters took a little getting used to, but since his Ferrari also has them, it wasn't my first experience.  The custom license plate, "NOKIDZS", was transferred from the Corvette he traded in.  In addition to his two exotic Italian sports cars, he has a Hummer H2 and a military Hummer.  

Boys and their toys!



Friday, September 16, 2022

Sesame Corn and Basil Saute

We're using all the fresh corn we possibly can before our local fruit stand calls it a season.  Chef Elaine used this Sesame Corn and Basil Saute recipe consisting of fresh corn, toasted sesame seeds, unsalted butter, garlic, fresh basil, salt, and pepper to create a "Yes, I will have another serving!" masterpiece.  This will be on the top of the repeat list when next summer rolls around. 






Thursday, September 15, 2022

Arborvitae Growth

The top picture below was taken in May 2022 just after we had them planted.  The bottom picture was taken this week and shows the arborvitae have grown quite impressively thanks to Elaine watering them almost daily.  At this rate, it won't take but a few years before they grow together and form a beautiful green sight barrier.



Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Highland Clans

We're big fans of Outlander, a series (currently on Netflix) based on Diana Gabaldon's books that feature nurse Claire Randell who travels 200 years into the past to Inverness, Scotland, and meets the handsome Jamie Fraser.  The first two seasons lead up to the Battle of Culloden and made us very curious as to the history of Scotland.  We purchased the four-disc audiobook shown below to listen to while on our way to North Carolina.  




Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Frederik's

I've noticed the Frederik's brand show up on more products at our local Meijer store and figured it must be a store brand, in addition to their namesake Meijer brand.  It took a little research to find the brand is named after Frederick Meijer, the son of Hendrik Meijer, the chain's founder.  The only product we've tried are the Chicago Style Hot Dog Buns, because we like poppy seeds, and they were a solid choice.




Monday, September 12, 2022

Fishing Line

I'll admit to being a bit confused on why a dedicated trash "tube" is needed for discarded fishing lines or why anyone would just leave it behind in the first place.  

You can fish for free without a fishing license in Kettering at the ponds at Delco Park, Lincoln Park, Pondview Park, and the Kettering Recreation Complex, and you will find a trash "tube" available at each location.

https://www.playkettering.org/fishing-in-ketterings-parks



Friday, September 9, 2022

Fresh Maine Lobster Roll

We asked the bartender at the Marriott Chapel Hill for a lunch recommendation and his top choice was Nantucket Grill, a short two-mile drive.  My selection was the Fresh Maine Lobster Roll shown below.  Besides being obviously packed with lobster, I really liked the soft bun.   

Lettuce makes it pretty.  'Nuf said.




Thursday, September 8, 2022

Five Loaves & Two Fishes

Sitting at the far end of the parking lot at the Marriott Chapel Hill was the food truck shown below.  The name was so compelling that I wanted to learn more.  Five Loaves & Two Fishes refers to the bible, Luke 9:13-14, where Jesus fed five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fish.  The Jamaican Cuisine on the menu looks fantastic, but sadly the truck was never open during our stay.




Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Pearls Before Swine

Part of my morning sit-in-bed-and-drink-coffee routine is amusing myself with a set of daily comics, my favorite being Pearls Before Swine (characters shown below) written by Stephan Pastis.  My other favorites are Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, B.C., Peanuts, Non Sequitur, Wizard of ID, For Better or For Worse, Andy Capp, and Frank and Ernest.  Ten giggles is a nice way to start the day.




Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Speed Table

Speed Table?  That was a new one for me. 

Also from last week's trip to North Carolina, I spotted this while out for a walk.  What might not be as obvious from the picture below is the 20-foot-long, 3-4-inch raised platform, that spans the street.  That's the speed table, a "midblock traffic calming device" designed to slow traffic down near the posted speed.  That's way better than the teeth-rattling, suspension-testing speed bumps that we have to crawl over.




Monday, September 5, 2022

ABC Store

I took the picture below during last week's trip to North Carolina.  I've known for a long time that an ABC store is where you go to buy liquor in certain states, but I never knew if ABC stood for anything.  It does and that meaning is Alcoholic Beverage Control.  And you can only buy liquor there.  Try a grocery store if you want a beer or even some tonic water for your gin.  Makes you appreciate Ohio a little more.

https://abc.nc.gov



Sunday, September 4, 2022

Kona Deep Sea Salt

 One of the places Guy Fieri visited on his Food Network show "Guy! Hawaiian Style" was the Kona Sea Salt farm on the island of Hawai'i.  As noted on the bag shown below, it's "the only salt in the world made from Kona's pristine 900 year-old 2,200 ft. deep ocean water."  That leaves this salt with a unique mineral taste.  I guess we're now officially "Salt Snobs". 

































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Thursday, September 1, 2022

Sunwatch Indian Village

Located at the south end of West River Road in Dayton, Ohio, the Sunwatch Indian Village began as an archaeological dig site on the old Vance farm the city had purchased to expand its water treatment plant in the mid-1900s.  Those plans were abandoned when the historical importance of the site was understood.  It was a Fort Ancient culture village, occupied around 800 years ago for 15-20 years by a group of about 250 people.  It was named Sunwatch because of its layout, with large posts that cast shadows on particular buildings at certain times of the year.  Its location near rivers, forests, and prairies provided water, fish, game, firewood, and building materials.  




Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Stop Slide Scrolling

I use Google Slides to format a newsletter and as I let the left mouse button go after selecting a block of text, it suddenly jumps to the previous or next slide, causing me to try over, sometimes several times.  Turns out the culprit is my Apple Magic Mouse, which I now know is a non-scroll-indexed device.  Fortunately, an equally frustrated but more talented programmer solved this behavior, writing the Chrome extension at the link below.  I installed it and now my slides stay put. 

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/stop-slide-scrolling-in-g/cmpmjbfhpecollipohbphhgbohleeeon/related 



Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Sandal Fix

The index toes on both my feet stick up, presumably I broke them at some point in my life, but the result is any kind of sandal with straps across the toes will quickly (like walking 100 feet) result in painful abrasion.  One solution would be flip-flops with a toe thong (that Y-shaped strap), but I can't stand anything between my toes, so before I went looking for another solution, I took a pair of scissors and made a couple of U-shaped cutouts as shown below.  I've been told it's a bit (or a lot) tacky-looking, but it totally works. 



Monday, August 29, 2022

That Didn't Take Long

Last Monday's post showed a house destroyed by whoever was cutting down the tree in its front yard.  As you can tell by the picture below taken a week later, it didn't take long to demolish it.  I wish the half-mile-long, one-extra-lane widening of County Line Road, which took over a year to complete, would have had this much urgency.



Friday, August 26, 2022

Sriracha Chicken Mac

The Sriracha Chicken Mac at The Fifth Street Brewpub was a tasty delight.  The "Mac" was the star of the show, made with cavatappi (helical, tube-shaped macaroni) and in-house beer cheese drizzled with honey sriracha.  Bring some heat on top of delicious mac-and-cheese.  Just WOW!




Thursday, August 25, 2022

Raisins

I never knew that raisins (and grapes) are poisonous to dogs.  They can cause vomiting, increased urination (initially), excessive drinking, and other symptoms you can find at the link below.  Seeking immediate medical care is crucial.  Fortunately for this girl below, all's well that ends well.




Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Wall Street Journal

Free online access to The Wall Street Journal is available through the Washington-Centerville Public Library website.  After logging in, hover over "Research +" and click "Business Research".  Scroll down until you find "Wall Street Journal Online - WSJ.com" and click that link.  From there you set up an account and log in to wsj.com.  



Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Consumer Reports

One of the most useful things that you can access for free via the Washington-Centerville Public Library (and presumably other libraries as well) is Consumer Reports.  After logging in, hover over "Research +" and click "Consumer Research".  Scroll down until you find "Consumer Reports" and click the link.  All there is to it.






Monday, August 22, 2022

Timber!

As I rolled up to a red light at the intersection of Marshall Road and Wilmington Pike in Kettering, I saw the scene below and thought WTH?  What scenario must have played out that resulted in a partially cut-down tree, a log sticking out the roof, another hole next to it that I suppose left a log in the living room, and other branches left laying on the roof to the right?  It looks like something went horribly wrong and whoever was cutting the tree down just stopped and ran away.  



Friday, August 19, 2022

Sweet P's

Not only was the Sweet P's Cookies and Cream ice pop shown below as delicious as it looks, but they also served it using foil-backed muffin liners to catch stray pieces and keep your hands from getting sticky.  They cut a small slice in the bottom and pushed the popsicle stick down through it.  We had this at the Art on the Commons event in Kettering, but Sweet P's is also at the Second Street Farmers Market in downtown Dayton and in the summer at the Oakwood Farmers Market. 




Thursday, August 18, 2022

Sprinkler+

Moving our hose from one arborvitae to the next was tedious enough when there were only seven, but now that we're up to thirteen, we needed a soaker hose.  Our first purchase didn't work well but the second one, a Sprinkler+ is a winner.  It's a combination sprinkler hose and a soaker hose.  If you lay it down holes up, it's a sprinkler; holes down it's a soaker.  

The arborvitaes, near a pair of large silver maple trees that consume a lot of water before going dormant in the winter, will need lots of watering in the fall.




Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Everleaf Emerald Towers Basil

This year's basil crop was amazing.  The plant on the left below was humongous and the one on the right grew back after it was cut to the stems a few weeks before.  What's really great is that this variety, the Everleaf Emerald Towers, according to the link below, holds off flower production up to 12 weeks longer than other types of basil.  We haven't seen a flower yet. 




Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Replace In Ten Years

Standard guidance is to replace smoke alarms every ten years.  Now I'm not the kind that throws out milk on its expiration date, but when I found one of the three smoke detectors in our house was 22 years old, I figured that spending under $10 to replace it was a really good idea.  




Monday, August 15, 2022

Burned Grass

This patch of tan-colored grass in our backyard had us stumped as to its origin.  We had moved all the patio furniture to the grass, so perhaps a glass top on one of the tables magnified the sun rays?  No, it wasn't quite the right shape.  Did we spill something?  The grass didn't smell and we couldn't remember dropping anything.  Took us another couple of days to figure out that is where I parked the pressure washer to cool off after cleaning the patio so I could safely disconnect the water hose without burning myself.

Note to self.  Leave the pressure washer on the patio.



Friday, August 12, 2022

Rack Of Lamb

Chef Elaine prepared this beautifully medium-rare rack of lamb using the Ina Garten recipe at the link below.  The lamb is coated with a mixture of salt, rosemary, garlic, mustard, and balsamic vinegar, let stand for an hour, and then oven-roasted to 125 degrees, about 25 minutes.  It was served with a medley of roasted onions, green peppers, zucchini, and a few small potatoes.  




Thursday, August 11, 2022

No U-Turn

We've been a bit startled by the number of cars that ignore the No U-Turn sign on southbound Shroyer Road just south of Stroop Road in Kettering.  It's justly marked that way because there are two lanes of traffic on northbound Shroyer and left and right turn lanes exiting the Kroger parking lot, and that's a lot of cars to account for safely.  But we think we have figured out why it's happening so frequently.  The drive-through exit of the Chick-fil-A encourages a quick exit to southbound Shroyer to avoid snaking through half the parking lot to find a properly-aimed exit and that leads to more illegal U-turns.




Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Doody Calls

Pretty cute name for a dirty business, cleaning up animal waste products.  I kinda get it for commercial property owners, parks, and other public spaces where, unfortunately, owners are often negligent, but I hope people are not so lazy that they can't clean up their own property.  I have no idea what this might cost, but I'm sure it's high enough to make it a profitable business.




Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Cable Staples

Some number of years ago one of the cable companies ran the orange cable you see below down the telephone pole and into the ground to a neighbor's house.  But they just left the cable dangling which was none too pretty next to the arborvitae, lilies, and viburnum in that corner of the backyard.  Since I had learned about cable staples while wiring the garage for the new lights and had a bunch left over, I finally had a solution.  I moved the cable to the backside of the pole and tapped a pair of cable staples with a hammer.  Out of sight forever!




Monday, August 8, 2022

Garage Door Lights

We now have our long-awaited garage lights installed.  They're motion-sensing and will be left on all the time, just waiting to illuminate the driveway at night as needed.  It took a couple hours of drilling and running electric wiring, almost all at or above head level, so our arms and hands are somewhat sore today.  But worth it.

Huge shoutout to my brother-in-law Albert for making this project a reality!




Friday, August 5, 2022

Oklahoma Onion Burger

The Oklahoma Onion Burger might just be the most delicious hamburger I've ever had.  I took four 3-ounce balls of ground chuck, seasoned them on the flattop pictured below, and smothered them with piles of onion slices Chef Elaine made using the mandolin.  Using a large spatula, I smashed the balls and onions into a patty, cooked them for four minutes, flipped them, added American cheese, and laid the hamburger buns on top crust sides up.  Four more minutes and the perfect burger was done.  Instructions, and a bit of a history lesson, can be found at the YouTube link below.

Big shout to my daughter for this delicious tip!




Thursday, August 4, 2022

Hilton Head Iced Tea

The muddy-looking Hilton Head Iced Tea shown below is a nice alternative to the usual Long Island version.  It combines 2.5 ounces of five different liquors with beer, orange juice, and cola for a refreshing summertime cocktail.  I suppose it was invented by somebody on Hilton Head Island, but darn if I can find anything to confirm that.




Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Pressure Wash Demo

Earlier this year I wrote about buying a Rotating Surface Cleaner and I finally had the chance to use it and I needed to show you the amazing results.  It cut two-thirds off the time and more than that on the effort to clean the patio.  For the first time ever, I even pressure-washed the sidewalk from the driveway to the patio.




Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Wi-Fi Calling

Even if you have an unlimited minutes plan, turning on Wi-Fi Calling on your iPhone may be a good idea.  I find many times that I can get on a Wi-Fi network in places that have poor or zero cellular service, and with Wi-Fi Calling turned on, I can get and receive phone calls.  I even walked down the street talking to my wife, transitioning from our home Wi-Fi to Verizon without dropping the call. 

Note the Emergency Address verbiage below and read it closely.  Unlike cellular service, which knows where you are, Wi-Fi doesn't, so in an emergency make sure to tell whoever you contacted your exact location.




Monday, August 1, 2022

Restore Old Photos

Baseten has created a cool service, accessible at the link below, that can sharpen up old photographs like the one below of my great-grandmother.  Just upload a photo then click "Restore photo" to display the improved version.  Use a right-click and "Save Image As" to save it to your computer.

It uses an open-sourced technique called GFP-GAN that is way beyond me, but search on GFP-GAN if you're interested in the details.






Friday, July 29, 2022

Nopalitos

I finally got around to trying the Napolitos at Jorrge's in Kettering, delaying because I wasn't sure that eating cactus was a real thing.  It's delicious!  It's combined with steak, eggs, and cheese and served with rice, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and sour cream, and you can choose between flour or corn tortillas.




Thursday, July 28, 2022

Planting Grass

The empty lot shown below used to be an old fire station and outlet buildings behind Town and Country Shopping Center in Kettering, Ohio.  All that demolished, we were pleasantly surprised to see they had planted grass seed on the dirt portions, so instead of a muddy eyesore, it looks halfway decent.  I don't know if they were required to do this or not, but I'm glad they did.
 


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Patriotic Fence

This tri-color fence, at the corner of Ackerman and Hollendale in Kettering, Ohio must have been painted for the recent Fourth of July holiday, there is no other explanation since we pass this intersection at least once a day and we're not that brain-dead (but we've been out-of-town a lot recently).  It adds a nice splash of color in addition to its patriotic symbolism.




Friday, July 22, 2022

Grease

The award for the best surprise restaurant in West Palm Beach, Florida goes to Grease and best waitress to Kayla.  Their burgers are delicious, and perfectly cooked, and the soft buns melt in your mouth.  We split a 4-pack of sliders, but next trip I'm saving up my appetite for the biggy size.




Thursday, July 21, 2022

Gas Tax

I noticed while renewing my Jeep's Ohio license plates that there is an extra charge per year, $100 for hybrids and $200 for EVs.  Now I understand that the state needs to replace gas tax money, currently 38.5 cents per gallon, to fund roads, but I had to wonder how the flat rate compares to the per gallon rate given the number of miles we drive each of our cars and their fuel economies.

I drive my Jeep about 3,000 miles per year and it gets around 15 MPG, so according to the table below, I pay about $77 per year in gas taxes.  If I replace the Jeep with an EV, I'll pay $200, about 2.6 times more.

Our Infinity G37x gets driven about 11,000 miles per year and gets about 20 MPG, so we pay almost $212 per year, so switching to an EV would save us $12 a year.

You can see how it would impact you by using the table below.  If you fall into a green-shaded square, switching to an EV will save you tax money.