Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Scenic View Window Cleaning

As we slowly, and ever so graciously, get a little older and hopefully wiser, we hired Alan Brown, owner of Scenic View Window Cleaning, to get our outside windows squeaky clean.  Sixteen screens had to come out first (we do love fresh air), cleaned, and one broken one repaired.  Gourmet Chef Elaine cleaned the insides of the windows, so for the first time ever, both sides of the windows and screens were cleaned simultaneously.  Bring on more fresh air!

Monday, April 29, 2024


If you're looking for a unique and funny gift, a notebook from WTFNotebooks is worth considering.  The idea is they can take the notebook to a meeting or just have it on their desk and the text on the cover will elicit a response.  In addition to the one shown below (my personal fav), other ones I like are "Brilliant ideas I had while drinking wine", "Shit I have to write down because I’m old", and "Passwords, logins and other stuff I keep forgetting." 

Friday, April 26, 2024


Merritt's is located in Chapel Hill, NC, and is famous for their Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwiches.  As you can see in the picture below, they have four sizes of BLTs, and even the "Baby BLT" is large enough for most appetites and I have to work to finish my "Single BLT".  Their menu is at the link below and includes a picture of their "Triple BLT", a stack that would feed most families. 

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Biggee-Sized Margarita

The biggee-sized margarita shown below comes in a 64-ounce pitcher complete with an extra-long straw.  While it looks formidable, it's made with three shots of Don Julio tequila, two shots of Triple Sec, a single shot of sweet and sour mix, and a whole lot of ice.  It has dual purposes.  First, it's very low-carb due to the minimal mix used, and second, you can sip on this for an hour or more without overdoing the booziness.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2024


The SSLTEST utility offered by SSL Labs delves deep into the various security defenses of a website, listing (sorry for the techie talk) which varieties of encryption protocols it supports, which cipher suites can be used, and whether it's vulnerable to known attacks such as POODLE and ROBOT.  

What I like about this test site the most is that it grades the website with the familiar grading system as shown below.  Getting an A+ rating is very uncommon and while it would appear to be the best, that is somewhat arguable.  For example, the A+ website below only supports TLS 1.2 and leaves out supporting TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1, both of which have known vulnerabilities.  That begs the question, is it better to support only newer protocols and have some number of users/systems unable to connect to your website or make those people upgrade before they can connect.  If you're Amazon, you accept your "B" rating to allow as many customers to connect as possible.

You can try SSLTEST using the link below.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

More AI Chatbots

ChatGPT and Gemini may get more press, but they are far from the only free (I love free) AI chatbots you can use.  You.com has a useful "You may also want to ask" feature and includes a link to where it found its information.  You.com and Claude.ai both allow you to upload a file and make a request like "show me the text in the attachment", but uploading files is a paid feature in perplexity.ai.  Links to these are below.

The ".ai" suffix was not created for Artificial Intelligence but is the top-level domain assigned in 1985 for the Caribbean island of Anguilla, which now makes tens of millions of dollars each year by assigning web addresses with that suffix.  That's some effortless money!

Monday, April 22, 2024

Ohio River Ownership

Once upon a time, the Ohio River was 100% owned by the vast British "Colony of Virginia", which then spanned from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River.  When West Virginia separated from Confederate Virginia in 1863 to side with the Northern States, the portion of the Ohio River forming WV's western border was given to them.  Congress later passed a law that defined the river's ownership to the states to its east and south, namely West Virginia and Kentucky.  So at this point, Ohio did not own any part of the Ohio River.

The U.S. Supreme Court later held that the river was owned by the states that border it and split by the low-water mark of 1793, but left it to the states to draw the final border.  Finally in 1981, after years of litigation, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky reached an agreement.  If you want to see how that boundary shifts, use Google Maps, search for "Ohio", and zoom in on the river.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Lamb Chops With Rosemary Gravy

Chef Elaine has officially been promoted (by me) to the position of Gourmet Chef after delivering yet another outstanding dinner, this one featuring lamb chops smothered in rosemary gravy, as the drool-worthy picture below clearly demonstrates.  The lamb chops were marinated in extra virgin olive oil, finely minced garlic cloves, finely chopped rosemary leaves, salt, and pepper, then seared in a cast iron skillet.  The gravy is a simple but very flavorful combination of beef stock, flour, and chopped rosemary leaves which was simmered for a few minutes.

Thursday, April 18, 2024


Our Medicare advisor sent a helpful email with details about buying medical insurance through GeoBlue when traveling internationally.  An application is completed online with no medical questions and an instant policy issue.  Coverage is available for one-time trips of almost any duration and there is an option for a year-long policy.  As you can see below, the price is pretty reasonable for the piece of mind.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Better Driveway

While the old Jeep was fine parked out on the street, now that we have two nice cars we decided to extend our driveway to the left and since it really needed it, replace the driveway and walkway to the house.  Just so happened that as we were considering this, we noticed a similar project going on a few blocks away and stopped to get a business card.  We received and accepted an estimate for about $10 per square foot and Mike O'Shell and his team tore up the old concrete on day one, poured and manicured it on day two, and removed the framing and cut control joints on day three.  As you can see in the before and after pictures below, they did a great job.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Free Car Washes

One of the benefits of buying our 2018 Infiniti QX60 from Evans Infiniti is their free weekly car washes, available on Saturdays until 2:00 pm.  It's just an exterior wash and that's fine most of the time, but it won't fully replace the need for the occasional trip to Soft Touch Car Wash for a thorough job.  But while I'm waiting, I get to enjoy a fresh-brewed Americano coffee, and if they're still available, a Bill's donut.  I think I'll be keeping our new wheels nice and clean...

Monday, April 15, 2024

Killing The Mob

Chef Elaine and I finished the Killing The Mob audiobook on our last trip to North Carolina and like all the other O'Reilly books it was an interesting trip back in time.  It starts with the 1930s and the taking down of bank robbers such as John Dillinger and Bonnie & Clyde and ends with the internal battles of the Mafia's "Five Families", the reign of J. Edgar Hoover, and the murders of John and Bobby Kennedy.  The book gets a bit gory with the killing styles of the Mafia, so be forewarned.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Roland's Seafood Grill

The fish sandwich, french fries, and healthy amount of Heinz ketchup came from Roland's, a restaurant in the Strip District in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  What was particularly exciting was that Chef Elaine and I split a single fish sandwich platter and even then we each received an entire plateful.  While there was a $3 upcharge for splitting the plate, each one ended up costing just $9.50, a real deal in these times of skyrocketing restaurant prices.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Souper Bowl

Among Chef Elaine's other talents is getting us a spot in an uber-crowded venue, in this case, the Souper Bowl bar/restaurant located a block from PPG Paints Arena.  Everyone in the arena had to vacate the premises between the afternoon and evening NCAA basketball games and when we got to the Souper Bowl it looked like no hope we could find a spot.  But my Chef found the little spot shown below that had a cash bar with a good enough selection and we enjoyed a brew while watching the Dayton Flyers make an astonishing comeback win over Nevada.  Two miracles in one bar!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Where's The Spare

I was a bit embarrassed when my brother asked me where the spare tire was located on our Infiniti QX60 and I didn't know and couldn't find it.  The surprising answer, after looking it up in the owner's manual, is shown below ... it's underneath the car.  I think the next time I get the car serviced I'll have a technician check to make sure it's in good shape.  I might be able to get it down but there's no chance in heck that I could get it back up.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Pantone Blues

One of the fiercest rivalries in college basketball is the Kentucky Wildcats and the Duke Blue Devils and it even shows up in their selection of jersey colors.  Kentucky uses "Wildcat Blue", also known as Pantone 286, shown on the left below.  Duke uses "Duke Royal Blue", also known as Pantone 287, shown on the right below.  As a Dukie, I think 287 is far superior...

The folks at Pantone make it easy to use these colors by publishing their Pantone Matching System (PMS) which includes almost 10,000 solid and process colors.  Here are the details for those of us who are into colors.

Wildcat Blue
PMS 286 
HEX COLOR: #0033A0;
RGB: (0, 51, 160)
CMYK: (100, 75, 0, 0)

Duke Royal Blue
PMS 287 
HEX #00539B
RGB 0, 83, 155
CMYK 100, 53, 2, 16

Monday, April 8, 2024

I-579 In The Burgh

This is the view from below I-579 as it traverses downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I have no idea what it would be like to work in an office building directly below the Interstate, but assuming they've figured out how to muffle the sound and deaden the vibration, it is still a bit unnerving to have an office sitting below thousands of tons of steel and concrete.  At least the parking is convenient.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington is made with beef tenderloin, a reduction of mushrooms, shallots, and thyme (called a duxelle), prosciutto, and puff pastry.  It's not a recipe we've attempted to make at home, but when we see it on a menu (not often) at a reasonable price (very not often), like the one shown below we had at Walnut Grove Country Club, we order it in a heartbeat.  It did not disappoint.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Fifteen Years Later

We don't frequent The Pub at the Greene like we did when we achieved our Premier Passport level back in 2009.  That resulted in us getting 20-ounce draft pints for $3.50, forever.  Recently we visited The Pub for a Friday fish sandwich and those pints are now $7.75 each, so for each pint we drink it now saves us $4.25.  That's a good reason to have that second pint you see below.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Enjoy The Zen

Enjoy the Zen is a YouTube channel of seven, hour-long videos and music featuring oceans, waterfalls, nature, and moonlight scenes perfect for relaxing or meditating.  Unlike many other videos out there, these are ever-changing, making them as fun to watch as they are to listen to, whether on a phone, tablet, or big-screen TV.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Half-Size License Plate

I find the aesthetics of front license plates are terrible and since Ohio no longer requires them, I removed it and found it exposed an equally disgusting, half-high frame.  It's nice that they sell half-height plates like the one shown below that I bought at the Amazon link below.  I'm not sure I'm sold on the double Infiniti logo look, but it will do for now.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Garage Wall Protector

Now that we're storing the much larger Infiniti QX60 in the garage, I had to get rid of a metal ladder that was my guard against banging the driver's door against the very rough concrete block wall.  I bought a pair of car door protectors from Amazon (the link below), removed the adhesive backing, and pressed them against the garage wall at the point where the door would contact the wall which you can see in the picture below.  Door saved.