Thursday, February 29, 2024

Bourbon Bonfire

The Bourbon Bonfire shown below was on the menu at Public Greens in the Broad Ripple neighborhood in Indianapolis.  It's a warm mixture of bourbon, apple cider, brown sugar, and cinnamon perfect for sipping outside on a 60-degree day in February.  And probably the next time Chef Elaine and I jump in the hot tub.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

RIP Jeep

After twelve years of driving a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a recent trip to the auto mechanic finally delivered the long-expected news, all the needed repairs were going to cost more than twice the value of the car.  In its place, we bought the 2018 Infiniti QX60 shown below, which has the three rows of seats we wanted and just about every option there is to have.  

The most surprising change from the last time we bought a car was that the dealer took care of everything, including the title and registration work.  They transferred the plates and we headed home.  I don't know if that's a COVID-era change or not, but not having trips to the title bureau and registrar's office was very welcome.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Speed Bumps

The speed bumps pictured below are one of three sets that have been installed in the back of the Town and Country Shopping Center in Kettering, Ohio.  They look fairly innocent, but unless you go over them at 1-2 mph, you (and your car) are in for quite a pop.  Unfortunately, I see this as another sign of our neighborhood's slow decay which will eventually drive us to find a better crowd.

As a side story, the oddest speed bumps I've ever encountered were at a McDonald's parking lot in Dubois, PA ... over forty years ago.  I guess those country boys get lead-footed aching for a Big Mac...

Monday, February 26, 2024

Faucet Repair

Our bathroom faucet had a tiny drip and with a pair of channel locks, a screwdriver, and the YouTube video below, I was able to pry out, using considerable force, the old Moen 1224 cartridges and replace them with new parts.  It then took a friend with a lot more knowledge than I to figure out how to get the handles back on.  But the kicker was after that work, only a trickle of water was coming out.  Again my more knowledgeable friend deduced that the problem was a clogged aerator, easily removed, cleaned, and reinstalled.

Why do some 10-minute projects turn into an afternoon of frustration and learning experience?  

Friday, February 23, 2024

The Jucy Lucy

The towering mound of a burger you see below is a Jucy Lucy (also called Juicy Lucy). It starts with two thin hamburger patties and a slice of American cheese that's folded over into four squares and placed on the bottom pattie.  The other pattie is layered on top and the slides of the two patties are pinched together to prevent cheese leakage.  After cooking for 2-3 minutes, the burger is flipped and a toothpick is used to poke a hole or two into the cheese to release some steam.  The finished burger needs to rest for a few minutes as the cheese will be scorching hot.  You can read about the onions, pickles, etc. at the link below.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Dave Nolin Wetland Preserve

The newest park along the Beaver Creek is the Dave Nolin Wetland Reserve pictured below.  It features an almost mile-long boardwalk made of composite TimberTech decking that loops through its 58 acres of trees, brush, plants, and marshy wetlands.  With the recent completion of phase 2 of the Spotted Turtle Trail, you can make a 2-mile hike south and connect to Dane Mutter Prairie, Beaver Creek Wetland Reserve, and Phillips Park, with the trail ending at Rotary Park.  As pretty as this was on a sunny winter's day, I can't wait to visit again in the spring or early summer when nature will be at its best.


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

What 3 Words

What 3 Words is a website and mobile app that assigns a three-word combination to every three-meter square on the planet (about 57 trillion of them), which is demonstrated in the screenshot below I took in our local Meijer parking lot.  Take a few steps in any direction and the "hulk.epic.tender" will change to a completely new phrase.  

A somewhat obvious use of this is in 9-1-1 calls.  Supplying emergency responders with a precise location helps deliver aid more quickly, as I found out about in the February 2024 City of Kettering newsletter.  This would greatly help if you are injured during a hike on a long trail or in a similar situation where a conventional address is only partially helpful.

Another application is global and addresses the lack of addressing for billions of people on Earth.  In the fascinating five-minute TED talk at the link below, Chris Sheldrick explains how he and his team came up with this idea and how three African nations now use What 3 Words to give their people an address.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Cruise Mapper

The Cruise Mapper website displays the location and routes of 1,536 cruise ships from about four dozen different cruise lines.  The statistics available for each ship include the number of passengers the ship holds, the passengers-to-space ratio, the number of decks, and the number of cabins.  This is a great website to explore the vast number of worldwide cruise options.

If you click the link below you will see where in the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea Chef Elaine and I are currently positioned during our vacation this week, or at ports of call in the Bahamas, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman Island.  Retirement at its best!

Monday, February 19, 2024

Reset The SMC

A couple of weeks ago I noticed my Mac Mini was hot to the touch and its fan was not whirling to cool it down.  I poked around and couldn't find a likely cause, so I slept on it, only to find it dead the next morning, albeit still rather warm.  I unplugged it to get it to cool down and after it was room temperature, plugged it back in, and to my surprise (and relief) it booted up just fine.  I did some poking around the Internet and found out that Macs have a System Management Controller (SMC) that's in charge of things like the battery, temperature control, the fan, etc.  One way to reset the SMC on a Mac Mini is to unplug it for 15 seconds, which I more than did while I waited for it to cool.  Sometimes is just better to be lucky than good.

Friday, February 16, 2024

The Tony B.

The Tony B., which I had at Walnut Grove Country Club, is so named due to its inspiration, Chef Anthony Bourdain.  Thin sliced Italian mortadella, fried and covered in melted provolone, with mayo and Dijon mustard; served on a butter-grilled pretzel bun.  I munched down the first half before I realized I needed to snap a picture of this to share.  And the onion rings in the foreground were as yummy as they look.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Party Yard

I'm not a fan of flavored whiskeys except the Squirrel's Stash, which I make several times a year.  When I saw the Party Yard, a 40-pack of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, at our local Dot's market, it just about gave me a headache.  But I know some people love them and there must be a market for this biggie-sized package.  And they have a catchy slogan ... "Burns like hell, tastes like heaven."

Wednesday, February 14, 2024


Curiously, we (at least me) have used phrases my entire life, and know what the phrase means, but not what the words mean.   Such is the case with "Hoist with his own Petard", meaning a person who has been spoiled by their own scheme.  It originated in Shakespeare's Hamlet, where a bomb-maker is blown ("hoist", the past tense of "hoise") off the ground by his own bomb ("petard").  A petard is a small bomb and translates to "firecracker" in English, just like the 10-pack of explosives shown below.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Dinnerware Deal

We finally got around to replacing our dinnerware and after looking online and at Kohl's, we thought to look at Costco, and wow, are we ever glad we did.  We picked up three, of the twelve-piece sets shown below for the amazing price of $24.99 per box.  If we had ordered them online at the link below, it would have cost an additional $10 per box. Our savings over what we saw at Kohl's was around $200.  That's a deal!

Monday, February 12, 2024


We all know that Pi (πis the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, is a transcendental number, with a value of 3.141592653 to the first nine decimal places, and is commonly stated as 3.14.  But if Edward J. Goodwin had his way, it would, at least in Indiana, have been changed to 3.2.  In 1897 he
convinced Indiana State Representative Taylor Record to introduce a bill to do that in the state’s General Assembly.  Fortunately, before the bill got to the Senate, a Purdue University professor saw it and put the kibosh on it stating “The Senate might as well try to legislate water to run uphill as to establish mathematical truth by law.”  The Reader's Digest article detailing the whole story is at the link below.

Friday, February 9, 2024

French Toast

When I was growing up my Mom allowed me to make French Toast all by myself, probably so she could stay in bed on Saturday mornings.  We had some leftover sliced brioche bread and I decided to use that to make the slices you see below.  I whipped two eggs with a little half-n-half, soaked the brioche (which really soaks it up), and cooked it over medium heat for 8-10 minutes.  Since I didn't want to waste the remainder of the eggs, I added them to the pan and scrambled them.  I topped the French Toast with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Maple syrup only belongs on pancakes (IMHO).

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Internet Abbreviations

When it comes to texting, I'm an old fart.  Not only that I can't "type" with my thumbs like the cool kids, but I always have to look up an acronym, like the ones shown below, after spending too long trying to guess what it might mean.  Using an acronym is NAGI if you're not entirely sure what it stands for, you can either use it AYOR or GOI and look it up at the link below.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Amazon Recommendations

After being annoyed one too many times by Alexa boop-booping a notification that turns out to be some deal they hope to entice me with, I found how to turn them off, which is explained at the link below.  It took about a day before the new settings, shown in the screenshot below, took effect, which was a bit surprising, but since that delay my Alexas (I'm embarrassed to tell you how many we have), have behaved themselves.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Peace Lily

The plant in the foreground with its single flower in the picture below is a peace lily.  Under the careful watch of Arborist Elaine (another of Chef Elaine's skills), it has flourished in our dining room along with several other plants.  The peace lily is a tropical plant and can only be grown indoors at our latitude.  The single flower is a testament to the care it gets, as getting a single bloom is fairly unusual as you can read about in the link below along with many other details.

Monday, February 5, 2024

National Cemetery of the Alleghenies

We recently laid a friend to rest at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, located twenty minutes southwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  This is one of the most recent of the 164 national cemeteries, dedicated in 2005, covering 292 acres, and will eventually contain over 100,000 service men and women.  As shown below, each white gravestone had a green and red wreath in front of it which further stood out with the ground covered in snow.  Getting the half-mast flag centered in the background was coincidental, but adds a poignant touch.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Massive Mushrooms

The golden oyster mushrooms below are one of five choices that you can grow at home from Midway Mushrooms.  The picture really doesn't do justice to the size of the mushrooms that are about as big as a soccer ball.  The mushrooms grow in a 5-pound block of sawdust and can be harvested multiple times.  It makes a great gift for a vegetarian friend or a fresh topping on your favorite pizza.

Thursday, February 1, 2024


I've never been a big fan of sandals.  I can't stand anything between my toes and they never feel like they're staying on.  But that changes with the pair of Oofos shown below.  They are lightweight, have great arch support, and the double horizontal straps don't bother my toes and firmly hug my feet.  Now I just need some warm weather to pull them out of the closet.