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).