Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Wired Computer Keyboard

Proving again that water and keyboards don't play well together, I needed a wired (USB) keyboard and was rather stunned to find only wireless models at the local Walmart.  So off to Amazon I went and found all kinds of keyboards at all sorts of price points.  I settled (happily) for the $12 "manhattan" brand shown below.  

Is it any wonder that computers scare people when they see 104 keys including 12 Function Keys, and all those Ctrl, Alt, and Shift combinations?  It's like you have to learn a second language to use them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

FireTV Clicking Sounds

For every keypress navigating the Amazon FireTV menus, it made a clicking sound.  It always was kind of annoying, but not quite enough to ask myself if there was anything that could be done to stop it.  But when my stepson asked, I jumped on it and found the article at the link below and the setting on the Display & Sounds menu shown below.  Now I bounce around in silent bliss...

Monday, November 28, 2022

Football Trifecta

One of the benefits of having a streaming service like YouTube TV is that it turns your tablets and smartphones into additional screens to watch football, handy when recently the Ohio State (iPad), Duke (big screen), and Valparaiso (smartphone) games were all on at the same time.  The smartphone is being held up by a Thumbs-up Cell Phone Stand, available at the link below, which also makes a great stocking stuffer.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Pantry Pull Vegetable Soup

In Chef Elaine's opinion (which is undoubtedly correct) there is nothing better than hot homemade soup when the outside temps take their yearly dive.  Her vegetable soup starts with sauteeing diced onions and minced garlic in olive oil then adding unsalted chicken stock.  Stock is heartier than broth and using the unsalted variety allows her to control the overall saltiness.  We both prefer to cook without salt and add it at the very end, usually a couple of cranks at the dining room table.  

She adds about half a head of sliced cabbage, diced San Marzano tomatoes, and Italian seasoning.  Then the creativity begins.  Or better said, what do we have hanging around in the fridge or cabinets?  For this version, she added some frozen corn she had shucked over the summer, leftover meatballs, and for the first, but not last time, some frozen homemade pesto.  The pesto gave this soup a wonderfully spicy kick.  

After the soup simmers away for about an hour and twenty minutes, she adds fresh spinach and cooks for another ten minutes.  

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Cincinnati Reds

Did you know that the Cincinnati Reds are one of forty-six defunct teams and have the distinction of having the two lowest officially recognized season-scoring totals?  That in their last season they totaled a  minuscule ten points?


Yes, not runs, points.

We're talking about the 1933-1934 Cincinnati Reds NFL football team.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Ronna And Quetta

It gives the very technical geek weenies (like me) great pleasure to hear the announcement of the next number prefixes.  I started out at Wright State University in the era of kilobytes, which became megabytes, then gigabytes, and now terabytes are common.  The prefixes peta, exa, zetta, and yotta take us all the way up to 10 to the 24th power (septillion), but the new prefixes, ronna and quetta (pronounced with a "kw" sound), take us up the 10 to the 30th power.  Ronto and quecto take us down to 30 zeroes after the decimal point.  The last prefixes added were back in 1991, so it was about time.

The Earth's mass is around 6 ronnagrams and the electron's mass is about 1 rontogram.

How did we live so long without these?

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Bought A Monkey

An older family friend recently told us that he had just bought a monkey.  Having an animal in my retirement years is a big ain't-gonna-happen and a monkey is way down the list in any case.  But he was referring to his most recent motorcycle purchase, the Honda Monkey shown below.  It's called that as people described riders as looking like a monkey on the small minibike.  Add one more thing I'm not doing in retirement.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Markup For Signatures

Markup is a handy iOS (iPad/iPhone) tool that allows you to add shapes, text, and signatures.  The signature feature is convenient if you only have your iPad handy and someone needs your John Hancock asap.  After writing your signature with a fingernail or a soft-tipped pen, send it via a new email from the Share menu below, as the markup is not written back to the original email attachment.

Friday, November 18, 2022


We stumbled upon Smokin' Dave's BBQ in Estes Park, Colorado, located at the Estes Park 18-Hole Golf Course.  The beast below is the Pitmaster, which combines Carolina pulled pork, Texas beef brisket, and cheddar jalapeno sausage on a hoagie roll.  It's only open from April through October, so if your plans call for a winter Colorado vacation, look up one of their other nearby locations at the link below.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Planting Tulips

Tulip bulbs require fairly deep holes and Gardener Elaine wanted 50 bulbs, which, of course, requires 50 holes.  That job was made easier with my electric drill and the 18" inch Roto Auger shown below.  Apply some downward pressure and the auger/drill do the rest.  A few upward/downward strokes after the initial hole is dug will help clear out a lot of the remaining dirt.  If the auger gets stuck, reverse the drill and let it spin out by itself.  I learned the hard way that pulling doesn't work.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Butterfly Bungalow

The cute little cabin shown below was ours for a couple of days last week as we explored the trails at Hocking Hills State Park.  We were smart to pack a couple of gallons of distilled water and a few bags of ice cubes as the well water leaves a lot to be desired.  No Wi-Fi and occasional cellular service made us realize just how much we like the conveniences of home.

The best experience of the trip was having dinner at the Kindred Spirits restaurant located at Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls.  My Sea Scallops in Brown Butter Sauce, Rainbow Carrots, and Wild Rice were truly a five-star experience.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Hocking Hills Lodge

The newly opened Hocking Hills Park Lodge is beautiful and comes with stunning vistas from its back porches.  There are 81 guest rooms, a restaurant, a bar, an outdoor pool, and free high-speed wireless Internet.  All the hiking trails and points of interest (e.g. Old Man's Cave, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls) are a short drive away.  

Cellular service is spotty at best, so enabling Wi-Fi calling ( would be a good idea.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Over-Under No More

Chef Elaine and I used to play a grocery checkout game called Over-Under.   After we put the groceries on the belt and before the cashier started, one of us would call out how much they thought the final bill would be.  The other would then guess that the final tally would either be more (over) or less (under).  The winner would take pride in their knowledge of grocery prices.  

We no longer play the game.  After too many rounds when "over" was the answer, it just served as a depressing reminder of how the cost of groceries has escalated.  

Friday, November 11, 2022

Griddled Brussels Sprouts

Chef Elaine trimmed and halved a bag of Brussels sprouts.  Her Sous Chef (aka me) put them in a large plastic bag, added olive oil, and perhaps too generous a portion of ground cayenne pepper.  The first batch on the griddle served to gauge how long to the perfect char, which at 375 degrees took eight minutes.  Those were kept those warm in the oven while the Sous Chef grilled some steaks outside and the second batch of Brussels sprouts was griddled.  Add a bottle of great red wine and last Sunday night was a savory success.


Thursday, November 10, 2022

Dry Ice

Dry ice was a fairly common thing back in my childhood, but not so much now.  Some Kansas City steaks were delivered packaged in dry ice and Chef Elaine had some old-time childhood fun putting it in the sink and using the sprayer to launch the fog show seen below as the dry ice instantly freezes the water vapor.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022


Now that the European Union has passed a law to limit small electronic devices to using only USB-C for charging, it will be interesting to watch over the coming years how that rule plays out.  The EU insists that this will save consumers money by not having to buy as many different cables, more likely having the cable they need, and reduce the number of tons of old cables headed to landfills.  Naysayers contend this will prevent innovation and we're stuck with the limitations of USB-C forever.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2022


Every Fall after they drain the pond at the Fraze Pavillion I seek out coins that people have thrown in.  Last Saturday's take was the $1.28 shown below.  Add another $0.25 on Sunday and a penny on Monday and this year's take is up to $1.54.  Perhaps there are a few more coins to find because although I've scoured the pond several times they can hide pretty well.  

Friday, November 4, 2022

Chef Elaine's Chili

Chef Elaine's chili starts with browning two pounds of ground chuck in a frying pan, adding a chopped onion until it softens.  That gets drained, transferred to a large pot, and brought to a low boil while stirring in a large can of diced tomatoes, a medium can each of Brooks' hot and mild beans, two packets of Brooks' Chili seasoning, 6 ounces of water, and garlic salt and Franks' hot sauce to taste.  Cover and turn the heat down to a simmer for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally.  Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese.

This is one of those recipes that tastes even better the day after as the flavors further incorporate together.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Yellow Springs Brewery

Biking and beer go together like peas and carrots and there may not be a better place for both than Yellow Springs.  The Little Miami Scenic Trail runs from Xenia to Bellefontaine and is in the backyard of Yellow Springs Brewery.  After your desired amount of exercise, you can sit outside and enjoy a cold draft (beer, not the wind) and relax. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Eichelberger Pavilion

Shown below is the most recent event space addition at Carillon Park, the Eichelberger Pavilion.  It's a two-story grand ballroom, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the picturesque Carillon Park grounds.  It can host up to 700 guests with its fairy tale, "Beauty and the Beast" style.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Gem City

One, of several, explanations for Dayton, Ohio being nicknamed "The Gem City" goes back to 1845 when the following appeared in the Cincinnati Chronicle.

“The most indifferent observer will not fail to notice Dayton. The wide streets, kept in excellent order, the noble blocks of stores, filled with choice, and of course, cheap goods, and more than all, the exceeding beauty and neatness of the dwellings, you at once mark with a 'white stone,' in a small bend of the Great Miami River, with canals on the east and south, it may be fairly said that Dayton is the gem of all our interior towns; it possesses wealth, refinement, enterprise and a beautiful country.”