Friday, September 22, 2023

Cutting Corn

Chef Elaine uses a Bundt pan to both steady the ear of corn and catch the kernels as they succumb to the edge of her knife, making the whole process safer and with much less cleanup.  As the corn-growing season wraps up, it's a great idea to get an extra dozen (or two), strip them, and freeze them for winter soups and stews.  

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Santo Tequila

Celebrities are big into marketing their various beverages and rocker Sammy Hagar and chef Guy Fieri have Santo tequila.   There is the Blanco shown below, an oak-aged Reposado, and a Mezquila that features some smokiness like you would find in a Mezcal (hence the name).  Tequila is not everyone's idea of a good sipping drink, but for those who do like Chef Elaine and me, this one is worth checking out.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023


I recently received an email from Hilton Honors that I had points that would expire soon but it wasn't enough to get a free night so I looked for options to donate those points to charity.  That led me to the PointWorthy service and I was able to convert those points into a $76 donation to our local St. Vincent de Paul social services program.  PointWorthy's mission is to unlock billions of dollars of value in loyalty points for charitable donations which you can learn more about at the link below.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Dougherty 156

The sign below marked our primo parking spot at the season opener of the University of Indianapolis (UIndy) Greyhounds football team.  These passes are distributed by the football team's coaches and players and it makes a great way to tailgate before the game since you're surrounded by the team's friends and family.  It might not be the heated box seat that Chef Elaine yearns for, but nonetheless, it was greatly appreciated. 

Monday, September 18, 2023


Combine over a hundred gas pumps, the cleanest restrooms we've ever seen, and a large store full of food and merchandise that never closes, and that's a Buc-ee's.  Started in Texas, the chain is expanding and Ohio will see its first store at the intersection of I-70 and SR-235 sometime in the future.  The recently opened Sevierville, TN store (off I-40) holds the world record for the largest convenience store in the world at 74,707 square feet.  We visited that store and the store in Richmond, KY (just south of Lexington off I-75) during a recent trip south and enjoyed both the store's experience as well as BBQ brisket sandwiches and beaver chips.  

Friday, September 15, 2023


I love breakfasts but rarely eat breakfast, so I'm always pumped when Chef Elaine makes breakfast for dinner, better known as brinner.  The delicious combo below featured an egg, mushroom, chopped bacon, cheddar cheese, jalapeno omelet served with avocados.  A list of other brinner ideas can be found at the link below.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Java House Coffee Bar

Chef Elaine walked a couple of down the bikeway in Broad Ripple, Indiana to the Java House coffee shop for our morning pickup.  As the picture below shows, they have an unusual series of taps for their various coffees achieving a large set of options.  Knowing my love of darker blends, she bought me an Americano and it delivered a flavorful kick.  Move over Starbucks...

Wednesday, September 13, 2023


Founded in 1878, Spanker is an Unincorporated Place in Montgomery County, Ohio around the intersection of Little York Road and Dog Leg Road.  A post office was established there in 1860 and Branston Hutchins opened a carriage shop and manufactured his "Spanker" wagons, hence the name of the town.  The sign shown below still stands and uses the name "Spankertown", which is also listed on the map at the link below.

Big shout out to my son for snapping the photo!

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Backyard Beautification

The backyard of our neighbor to the north used to be filled with gnarly bushes and unkept shrubbery, but this spring and summer they did a most fabulous job of redoing the entire yard.  After ripping up the old mess they planted hundreds of flowers, put in a new fence, and planted grass along the fence lines.  It's almost a shame that Chef Elaine and I get to stare out at this beautiful sight more than the owners do.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Killing The Killers

I thought today, 9/11, would be an appropriate day to tell you about the most recent audiobook we listened to in the car.  Killing The Killers details the search and elimination of some of the world's most notorious terrorists including Osama bin Laden, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and Qasim Al-Raymi.  This is not a book for the faint-hearted as the details get pretty gruesome, but it paints exactly what this enemy is about and what amazing technology we have to take them out.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Turkey Rachel

Chef Elaine put her own spin on this classic Turkey Rachel (aka Turkey Rueben) using home-fashioned Thousand Island dressing in place of the recipe's (see link below) Russian dressing.  She opted for the recipe's cole slaw while placating me with sauerkraut instead.  The key to this is using the flattop to cook the components separately and then assembling them together at the end.  Bring a big appetite, as a single sandwich is more than a meal full.

Thursday, September 7, 2023


Ohio Liquor's website (at the link below) makes it easy to find your favorite adult beverage including the categories seen in the first image below.  That's particularly true for those products that are on allocation in the state, which in my case is Buffalo Trace bourbon.  I recently used the website to locate the nearest store where it was in stock and found Belmont Party Supply said they had some (second image below).  A quick trip to the store proved the website was accurate, allowing me to snag a bottle.  It appears the website's inventory gets updated maybe twice a day, so it's no guarantee, but arriving when the store opens if they're showing your favorite in stock should help you get yours.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

The Smell Of Rain

We've been runners for many, many years, and with all those miles comes getting caught in some crazy weather.  You can tell the rain is headed towards you by your nose and that sweet and pungent smell.  That aroma is the ozone that is driven down from higher elevations.  The origin of the word "ozone" comes from the Greek word, “ozein” which means “smell".  There are two other aromas you can pick up as the rain continues, petrichor and geosmin, which you can read about at the link below.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Day To Never Clever

We were sipping on a beer at the downtown Dayton Beer Company and noticed the sayings painted on the Wright Brothers Institute building.  The creative use of "Dayton" in "This is the Day to Never Give Up" was particularly clever and if they had not colored it in blue I'm sure I would have never seen it.

More information on the Wright Brothers Institute can be found at the link below.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Al Johnson's Flying Field

In the mid-1920s, the land area shown below was Al Johnson's Flying Field in Vandalia, Ohio.  Al needed a larger place and moved his operation from an area on Wilmington Pike.  That land would later become the Gentile Air Force Station better known as a Defense Electronics Supply Center (DESC), and currently the Kettering Business Park.  He operated his business until 1934 when the government canceled the "Civilian Air Mail" service, 

More details and a fascinating timeline can be found at the following link.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Bacon-Ranch Pasta Salad

Here's a treat if you're looking for a side dish to take to a Labor Day weekend party and we all know bacon makes everything better.  Start by cooking the bacon (we like it baked), cooking the pasta, and allowing both to cool.  In a large bowl mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, ranch seasoning, and garlic powder.  Add the bacon, pasta, Parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, and dill, and mix it all up.  Find all the fine details at the link below.

Chef Elaine does it again!

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Bigger Bottle

Buffalo Trace is my favorite bourbon and is super hard to find in this part of the country.  A couple of Fridays ago I found the bottle on the left below at a local store but they have a policy of one bottle per person per day, so when I got home I asked Chef Elaine if she would go and buy a bottle.  Being the nice woman she is, she went right away.  When she came home she presented me with the bottle on the right, a 1.75 liter bottle, over twice the size of the one I bought.  I experienced two emotions at once, elation to have that larger bottle and stupidation for not looking for a large bottle myself.  Lesson learned.  Next time I will slow myself down and look around for the bigger prize.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Fork In The Road

When you come to a fork in the road, take it. - Yogi Berra

The picture below is on Stroop Road in Kettering, Ohio, one of the final pieces of the extra-wide sidewalk that is part of the Iron Horse Trail.  I can see why they saved this section to the end as they had to figure out how to work around several telephone poles that were unfortunately located right in the middle of where the sidewalk should be.  I suppose relocating the poles was not an option, so they just forked the sidewalk around them.  I wonder how long it will take before a bike rider who is not paying attention to ram into the divider?

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Recessed TV

The picture below is the living room of the house I grew up in.  It's a very small room and it held two adults and five children while we watched I Love Lucy, The Wizard of Oz, and hundreds of others.  In order to best utilize the space and give everyone a decent viewing angle at the 21" Magnavox, my parents located it in the fireplace.  I don't know of anyone else who has done that, but it really made a lot of sense.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Garage Ceiling

Our house was built in 1958 and to our knowledge, the garage has never been painted since, which explains the ivory color in the left picture below.  My brother-in-law sealed numerous cracks and patched a couple of larger spots and then our painter, Dustin Miller, did a superb job painting it white.  It looks so nice now!

Huge shout-out to brother-in-law-supreme Albert!  If you want Dustin's contact info, just let me know.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Basting Ribeye

Chef Elaine takes it upwards a couple of flights, basting our ribeye in butter, garlic, and rosemary.  After a few minutes of spooning on a ton of flavor, she baked them in the oven to finish cooking.  Honestly, this could be served at the best steak houses in the country and people would rave about them.  

So why do I take Chef Elaine out to dinner when I eat this good?  Cause I've been a husband long enough to know better.

Thursday, August 24, 2023


When I look for a little something different to drink I turn to the oldie's section and a sidecar is certainly that.  Half of the drink is cognac and the other equal portions of Cointreau and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  The recipe (and history lesson) at the link below also suggests a couple of garnishes, but I wasn't in the mood for that much extra effort.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Handicap Parking

Normally you find handicapped parking close to a business' entrance as possible, but in the case of Mad Mex in Pittsburgh (North Hills), they moved it to a back corner of their lot, next to their dumpsters (I presume), as shown below.  That puts it about as far away from the entrance as it can get.  I can't even guess what they were thinking (other than not thinking).

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Duckpin Bowling

The duckpin bowling lanes are inside Coop de Ville, a fast-casual restaurant, bar, and entertainment space in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.  Like regular bowling, you score by knocking pins down and you get three tries per frame to get all ten down.  With the balls (no holes) being smaller and lighter, the pins shorter and fatter, and the pins being limited in motion by the attached wires, getting a strike is a rarity.  On the plus side, the lanes are shorter making it less likely you will throw a gutter ball.  More information on duckpin bowling and how to score a game is at the link below.

Monday, August 21, 2023

M&M's Caged

You will find this vending machine outside the North Park Swimming Pool in Pittsburgh, PA, a testament to deterring thieves the old-fashioned way - a heavy steel cage.  Note there are openings for paying, selecting your fave candy, and retrieving your goodies at the bottom.  Still, it's just sad...

Friday, August 18, 2023

Poached Eggs with Avocado Toast

Chef Elaine prepared this tasty treat just like Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian except opting for her regular poached eggs instead of his quick 50-second microwave version in the recipe below.  Grilled sourdough bread, a mashed avocado-vinegar-salt layer, poached egg, and sprinkled with a little salt and red and black pepper.  Pretty and pretty delicious!

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Better Blender

We've used an extra-large and extra-heavy Margaritaville blender for years but finally decided to downsize to something that's easier to handle.  We selected the Hamilton Beach Power Elite Wave Action Blender shown below and it's wonderful.  The two features I like the most are the design that forces the ingredients down into the blades and the convenient pouring spout on the lid.  For $40, it's a steal.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023


I've seen runway signs for the last forty-plus years, but only recently wondered if they meant something.  Indeed they do, the numbers correspond to the direction, in degrees, the runway is pointed relative to magnetic north, which is the same a pilot would see on their instruments.  The direction, for example, 58 degrees is rounded to the nearest 10 resulting in 60, and then the zero is chopped off, leaving 6.  Since the runway runs in both directions, the opposite direction is 24.  "36" is used for due north, not "0".  If there are parallel runways, like the ones below at Dayton International Airport, the one on the left is appended with an "L" and the other "R".  More rules and minutia can be found at the link below. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The Crooked Road

If you've traveled Interstate-40 in eastern Vandalia, Ohio you've found that the normally straight road takes a 3.5 mile southernly detour and across a dam at the Great Miami River.  But back before the Great Flood of 1913 caused the creation of the Taylorsville Dam, the road between Vandalia and Phoneton was a direct shot and you would have crossed the river using the covered bridge seen below.  While the bridge survived the flood, the floodplain created by the dam doomed the bridge and it was torn down in 1931.  

On the west side of the bridge was the town of Tadmor, now a ghost town, doomed by the construction of the dam.  More detail on Tadmor can be found at the link below.

Monday, August 14, 2023

No Fly Zone

For a few days every summer, fruit flies invade the house, and other than flying in my eyeballs, the worse thing they do is take a sip of my wine, their last living act.  A bar coaster makes a great defense, as shown below.  You can splurge and buy something more upscale like the $37 BevHat drink covers at the link below, but just lifting a few from your favorite watering hole is more my style.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Thighs

I decided to try a couple of ingredients I've never used, sumac and tahini.  Sumac, which has a smoky citrus flavor, was used in the marinade for the chicken, which I made in the morning and refrigerated all day.  The tahini was used in the sauce and is simply a paste made by grounding up sesame seeds.  The recipe at the link below includes an eggplant and naan (flatbread) side dish, but after using 16 ingredients for chicken and sauce, I wasn't about to take on a bunch more.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Pouring Martinis

I'm always looking to up my martini game and my most recent improvement is serving Chef Elaine her's tableside.  Before this, I would fill the glass to the top in the kitchen and carefully walk into the living room and try not to spill a drop, which usually didn't go very well.  I learned this trick at the Beachcomber restaurant in Clearwater Beach, Florida where they served our martinis tableside using individual, 6-ounce wine carafes.  Not wanting more dishes to clean, I just pour it out of the cocktail shaker.  

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Farmer's Market

Located in the Stroop-Mar Plaza at Stroop and Marshall Roads in Kettering is the hopping Farmer's Market shown below.  Starting around the 4th of July and running through August, they haul in a fresh cart of corn each day, trays of fresh tomatoes, Black Diamond watermelons, and a variety of other fresh vegetables.  Get there early (they open about 10 am) for the best selection and don't wait until too far into the afternoon or you'll find them gone as they often sell out before the clock strikes 5 pm.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Thin Mints

Everyone has their favorite Girl Scout cookie; mine has always been their Thin Mints.  We buy only two boxes, which I put in the freezer, and limit my daily consumption to two cookies while I finish my lunchtime glass of milk.  The chocolate coating tastes better as it warms up quickly, but maybe that's just my imagination.  

Monday, August 7, 2023

Stairs Safety

I noticed my heel was occasionally getting hung up under the first stair (see the bottom picture below) and I don't like the idea of falling headfirst down our basement stairs.  My fix was to cut a piece of 1-inch square wood diagonally using my table saw and then screw it in, making it much less likely I can catch my shoe under it.  The hard part of this was getting the screws to go straight up with almost no room to work.  That was solved using a right-angle angle driver, available at the link below.  Safety first!

Friday, August 4, 2023

Cinnamon Roll French Toast

Game over when I spotted Cinnamon Roll French Toast on the menu at Roost in the Nora neighborhood in Indianapolis.  What could be better than combining my two favorite (and decadent) breakfasts into one feast?  Three slices of cinnamon roll dipped in egg batter and griddled, and topped with powdered sugar,  cream cheese vanilla glaze, maple pancake syrup, and butter.  I think the orange slices are there to make me feel better about my selection.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Hotel Broad Ripple

Located next to the Monon Bike Trail is the Broad Ripple Hotel, the set of three buildings shown below.  We stayed in the tower (right pic) and our room included one of the most perfect king-sized beds a hotel has ever featured.  The hotel is conveniently located to everything you need to have a great get-away-from-it-all weekend.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Monon Bike Trail

The Monon Bike Trail runs from Carmel, Indiana (a few miles north of downtown Indianapolis) to Sheridan, including the stretch seen below which is in the Broad Ripple area facing north and runs through trees and across bridges.  Walk south from here and a series of coffee shops, restaurants, and bars line the pavement.  This is one of the busiest bikeways I've ever walked on with bikers, runners, and walkers all sharing the road.  More information can be had at the link below.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Native Wildflowers

The wildflower stretch shown below is on Wilmington Pike just north of Rahn Road in Kettering on land owned by the Emmanuel Lutheran Church.  It's dominated by the yellow Black-Eyed Susans but contains many different types of wildflowers and grasses.  It's just nice to see a beautiful splash of color instead of another green grass field (or worse).  

Monday, July 31, 2023

Old Glory

As you can see in the lefthand picture below, the flag flying at Walnut Grove Country Club was too small for their very tall pole.  The length of the flag should be at least one-quarter the height of the pole, so eyeballing the height of this pole at forty feet, Chef Elaine and I donated the 6'x10' flag seen on the right to the club to put some glory in Old Glory.  The sizing chart at the link below shows the proper flag size for poles from 15' to 70' tall.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Frederik's Meatballs

I blogged about Frederik's, Meijer's store brand, last September and wanted to share that we love their Sweet Italian Meatballs shown below.  Chef Elaine uses them in her otherwise all-vegetable soup and when we carb-splurge a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.  While she has some fantastic recipes for homemade meatballs, these are just too easy and too good to ignore.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Cucumber Cooler

We first had a Cucumber Cooler at Hidden Valley Orchards (HVO) in Lebanon, Ohio and we just had to make them at home during these hot summer months.  It's a simple combination of vodka and the Fever-Tree Cucumber Tonic Water shown below on ice, finished with a couple of mint leaves and slices of lemon and cucumber.  I'm not usually a big fan of flavored waters, but this one is the best I've tried and the only problem is finding a store that stocks it.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Two Bits

At my local hardware store, I picked up twenty finishing nails which were sold by the pound.  The manager of the store told me the cost was two bits and I just stood there looking at him, unable to figure out how much that was.  He let me know that two bits were twenty-five cents and the term comes from the old Spanish coins "pieces of eight" where each one was worth 12.5 cents.  The Spanish dollar was much larger than the other coins and was often cut into eight smaller parts, hence each one was worth an eighth of the dollar. Therefore, with two bits of this Spanish dollar, you had 25 cents.

It probably didn't help that I'm a computer guy and a bit means something totally different to me...

Tuesday, July 25, 2023


The Freesound website contains over a half-million sounds and effects that you can use for free (I love free).  I recently used a thunderstorm sound to add an audio dimension to a project so it would attract attention as students came by.  The sounds are under a few different licenses, but it's easy to search only for those released under the Creative Commons 0 License, which does not even require attribution.  As an example, turn up your volume a bit and click on the link below.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Parfait Container

Sometimes something so simple is so brilliant, like the packaging of the butterscotch parfait shown below.  The cashier at DiSalvo's Deli in Kettering, Ohio used a normal plastic container and lid, but turned it upside down, placing the parfait on the lid and covering it with the container.  Makes for both an easy way to package it and for the customer to open it when they need their treat.  When we asked the cashier about this, he told us he had packaged them all sorts of ways for many years, but when a new hire packaged it this way, he was stunned.  So simple, yet...

Friday, July 21, 2023

Pineapple Dip

This Pineapple Dip might be the most addictive substance on the planet.  I can't be in its presence and not find myself dipping a few more chips, not being able to stop until I physically walk away.

Just blend together a twenty-ounce can of heavy-syrup crushed pineapple and two, 8-ounce packages of cream cheese.  That's it.  No extras like sugar, vanilla, garlic, onion powder, honey, or lemon juice that other recipes call for.  Serve with potato chips, preferably the Lay's shown below.

A big shout-out to my good friend Grace for this recipe!

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Strawberry Banana V8

I love a good strawberry daiquiri but too often they come out sweeter than I prefer, so when I noticed the Strawberry Banana V8 juice shown below I bought it, added some to my daiquiri mixture, and voila, a better, less sweet drink.  It's labeled "100% Juice Strawberry Banana Juice", which may sound strange, but when you read the ingredients, it is 100% juice, of which the tastes of the strawberry and banana juices stand out.  But it also includes sweet potato, carrot, beet, grape, and apple juices.  Nonetheless, it tastes good.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Rearward Expansion

The picture below comes from the back of the Kroger grocery store at Stroop and Shroyer Roads in Kettering, Ohio.  The space you see is the old CVS store that was vacated a while back and not content with just that amount of extra space, they are knocking out the back and expanding the building.  My guess is the extra space will be used for more inventory, not customer space, but it could also be for customer pickup, a feature neither Chef Elaine nor I have or will ever use.  Time will tell.