Friday, April 29, 2022

Feed The Hungry

Chef Elaine made this 6.5-pound monster casserole for our church's "Feed The Hungry" program.  After baking the dish is frozen and delivered to the church where they take care to see all the food is sent to our local needy.  She also donates large 2-packs of Jif peanut butter that we get from Costco.  

2-3 lbs. mild Italian sausage (browned, drained, and chopped)
2 lb. bag frozen hash browns (partially thawed)
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
½ soup can of milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped onion
Topping: ¼ cup melted butter and 1½ cups crushed corn flakes
Grease the casserole pan. Mix all ingredients except the topping. Pour into prepared pan. Combine topping ingredients & sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Cover tightly with foil and freeze the casserole. Deliver the casserole frozen and covered with foil.

Thursday, April 28, 2022


Florida is great for a lot of reasons, but as the picture below can attest to, lovebugs are not one of them, particularly if you're driving.  Just don't use your windshield wipers if a bug bomb like this happens to you or you are likely to lose most of your visibility.  Since lovebugs spend most of their brief few days alive mating, this car thinned out the future population a bit, not that it will be noticeable since a female lovebug can lay up to 350 eggs.  More lovebug information can be found at the link below.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Flower Cage

Look closely below and you'll notice that these beautiful spring flowers are protected by wire fencing that I presume is a defense against deer.  The combination of its green color, thin gauge, and wide spacing is a great design to balance protection and a clear view.  Stand ten or more feet away and the fencing is hardly noticeable.   

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Backwards Screen Door

You would think that people who build houses for a living just might know enough not to install the screen door backward, not only on this house but on others in the same development.  Look at the latch in the picture below and notice that the screws are on the outside of the door.  That would make a thief happy.  The closer at the top is also on the outside, meaning the door opens into the house, and that means the door can hit you on your backside as you start to walk down the stairs.  Good grief!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Amazon Hub Locker - Tafio

I used the Amazon Hub Locker named Tafio, located outside the Shell station at Far Hills Avenue and Whipp Road, for a recent order to test out retrieving my box using just my Amazon smartphone app.  After a brief one-time setup, my phone connected to the locker over Bluetooth, and the door popped open.  Easy peasy.  More tips on using hub lockers and more at the link below.


Friday, April 22, 2022

Slow Cooker Coca-Cola Pulled Pork

This delicious pulled pork recipe uses Coca-Cola and vinegar to provide a sweet, tangy, and caramel infusion as the spice-rubbed pork shoulder goes low-and-slow for 4-5 hours or until done, then cooled and shredded.  For some nice crispiness, heat a cast-iron pan with a little oil, add a layer of pork, and turn once to hit both sides.  This YouTube video explains the whole process in detail.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Tesla Service Center

Tesla is opening its first service center in the Dayton area in the old Staples store on West Dorothy Lane in Moraine, Ohio, about a quarter-mile west of Walmart.  The signage seen below was recently installed, but no sign of the bank of super-chargers could be found.  Tesla has not released an opening date yet, but soon Tesla owners will no longer have to travel to Cincinnati for service.

Big shout out to Nick, a Tesla owner, for this heads-up.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Mad River Roundabout

The replacement of the four-way stop sign intersection at Mad River and West Alex-Bell Roads with a roundabout has begun and is expected to take four months to complete.  It will be interesting to see how much better traffic flows and if the long rush-hour lines are significantly improved.  Unfortunately, there are no short-and-sweet detours available, so consult the maps at the link below or use your favorite Maps app to find your best alternate route.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022


The large Books-on-CD section at the Washington-Centerville public library shrank quite a bit recently, largely replaced by Books-on-Playaway like the one shown below.  You insert a AAA battery, attach the device via a 3.5mm cable to your speaker and use its controls like an audio player.  Sounded like a great idea until I found our Infiniti G37x did not come equipped with the AUX port option, so plan B was to download the audiobook to my Pixel 2 and go the Bluetooth route.

I guess CD players are another thing that's come and gone in my lifetime.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Toronto Maple Leafs

At a recent Marriott Courtyard bar conversation during a hockey game, a lady asked me if I knew why they spell the team the "Toronto Maple Leafs" instead of the "Toronto Maple Leaves".  I did not at the time but it comes down to not understanding some of the finer grammatical rules of the English language.  If a noun like this is related to a name, not an object, then the rule is to add an "s" to the name.  The name here is "Maple Leaf", the Canadian national symbol.

The same logic applies to "Mickey Mouse", which is pluralized as "Mickey Mouses", not "Mickey Mice".

A more in-depth explanation can be found at this link.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Convection Oven Chicken

The bird below is the juiciest version of a whole roast chicken I've ever had, the benefit of using our convection oven feature.  Just a little softened butter, salt, and pepper inside and out and perch the bird on a wire rack to get the swirling hot air on all sides.  It takes a little less time and temperature than the conventional radiant heat alternative.  Read about the details at the link.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

UPS Delivery

Recently we found a UPS-delivered box on our front porch that was meant for the same house number but on the street one block north of us.  My wife, being the nice lady that she is, drove it over to the proper house.  But not the end of the story.

The next day a UPS driver shows up at our front door asking if we had picked up that misdelivered package and I told him we had and that we delivered it to the right address.  He thanked us and went on his way.  But a little while later we thought, "How in the world did he know the package was misdelivered and to us?"  

The only thing I can figure out is that the driver scanned the package when they delivered it and later on some GPS tracking backend audit caught the fact that those coordinates did not match the intended address but ours instead.  The next time a UPS driver stops by our house making a delivery I'll ask them about it.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Garden Tools Sharpened

We just had two of our most used garden tools sharpened at our local Grieve hardware store, making the upcoming growing season less stressful on our hands.  While the local guy, Bernie, does sharpening of all types, what I didn't know is that he also tunes up lawnmowers, blowers, and other gas or electrical tools.  I wish I had known that two weeks ago when I took my Troy-Bilt mower in for service and found out that the backlog was 5-6 weeks.  Timing is everything, and in this case, bad timing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

1950 Census

The detailed 1950 census data is now available online at the link below.  While there is a name search function available, I've found it's pretty worthless.  Since I knew the addresses of the houses my grandparents lived in, I needed to find which Enumeration District (ED) the census used for both, and that was at first very confusing.  I eventually figured them out and searching for those EDs led to a dozen or two hand-written census forms, like the picture below, that I manually searched through until I found my Mom and Dad.

My parents married later in 1950 and the census validated:
  • My Dad worked as an electrical engineer at General Motors and lived at home
  • My Mom worked as a secretary at a children's orphanage and lived at home
I guess kids living with their parents into their 20s is not a new thing, and it's nice to know they both had jobs.

I don't know if I ever knew the following, but I forgot them if I did (I was born 5 years later)
  • My Great-grandmother Clotilda (Tillie) Paulick lived with her daughter Anna next door to my Grandfather Leo and Grandmother Walburga (Wally) Moorman (Anna's sister)
  • My Mother's sister Eleanor and her family lived next door to my Grandfather Maurice, my mom, and two siblings

Monday, April 11, 2022

Pasadena Green Space

There is a small area at the corner of Devon Avenue and North Marshall Drive in Kettering, shown in the first picture below, called the Pasadena Green Space.  It's really just a convenient walking path over to Sharon Avenue, but the interesting part to me was why is it called "Pasadena"?

The answer is shown in the second picture, taken from a 1950 census map, that shows there was a large neighborhood called Pasadena along the now-defunct railroad spanning from the Dayton city limits to the north to Stroop Road to the south.  You can usually find a street, business, school, or church that was named after the neighborhood, but so far, other than this green space, I can't find any other reference to Pasadena nearby.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Smoked Pork Chops

These smoked pork chops we bought at Dot's Market were seared in a cast iron frying pan for about 4 minutes per side and taste a little like pork chops, a little like bacon and a lot like ham.  The single leftover was trimmed from the bone, reheated and placed on a brioche bun for a special lunch treat.  

Thursday, April 7, 2022

The House I Grew Up In

My parents moved from Vandalia to Dayton right before I was born and never moved, so 231 Ashwood Avenue was the only home I knew until after I moved out on my own.  After Mom died, Dad sold the house and I remember taking a final teary walkthrough of a house I would never see again.  But that was back in the days before the Internet and it dawned on me recently that perhaps Zillow might have current photos, which they do, and wow does it look different.  I recognize some of the features, like the in-wall bookcase shown on the right in the picture below, but the rest has seen a major remodel.  Still, it was wonderful to see the inside of that house again.

Oddly enough, the houses my parents grew up in are no longer standing.  Mom's, along with a few other neighboring houses, was seized using eminent domain in the 1960s by the City of Dayton and turned into Blommel Park on Oak Street.  Dad's, again along with a few other neighboring houses on Lookout Avenue in West Dayton, was demolished and are now vacant lots.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2022


You can find numerous instances of paths and treelines like the one shown below that divide a neighborhood.  This one is on Berwin Avenue in Kettering between Claybourne Road and Roslyn Avenue and if you look at the Google Map link below, it's part of a clearly defined path running southeast to northwest.  That used to be the Hempstead to Pasadena (aka Kettering Running Track) segment, a portion of the Cincinnati, Lebanon & Xenia Railroad.  The northwest end of this segment is now the paved Dayton-Kettering Connector that connects RiverScape MetroPark to the Iron Horse Trail.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Gorilla Tape Hack

The latch on our patio gate rubbed hard enough to scratch off the paint making it unsightly as seen on the left below.  Instead of painting it every few years, I used four six-inch long pieces of black Gorilla tape to hide the scaring.  It remains to be seen if this hack is the final solution, but for now it's ten times better.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Shower Door Bottom Sweep

Chalk up another "I didn't know that" life moment.

As you can see in the first picture below, there was a nasty buildup of "green slime" at the bottom of our shower door.  After several rounds of my wife trying and failing to eliminate the goo, I finally wondered what was going on and found there is a removable plastic track (thanks YouTube!) at the bottom.  I found a replacement at the Lowes link below, cut it to fit, and the unsightly mess is gone.

I'm now in the running for "husband of the year".

Friday, April 1, 2022

With A Twist Of Lemon

I'm a two-extra-large olive guy for my martini, but Chef Elaine likes the lemon twist.  I was really bad at adding that extra touch until I ran into Steve the Bartender on YouTube.  The link below has his video on making various cocktail garnishes.  That video helped me make the cutesy lemon swirl shown below, my best by far.