Monday, October 2, 2023

Fire Hydrant Testing

I never paid much attention to our street's fire hydrants other than their yellow paint job and how that's worn off over time. But a recent letter from the City of Kettering alerted us to the hydrants being tested, the potential for brownish water, and how to tell if ours had been tested yet. The picture on the left below is of the pre-tested hydrant with its top painted orange after the previous test. The picture on the right, now painted green on top, was taken after the most recent test was completed. Pretty clever way to tell homeowners and testers of the status.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Tajin On Corn

I wrote about the Tajin Mexican spice in an earlier blog, and one of the best uses for me is corn on the cob. I spread a little butter on the corn first, and then liberally shake the Tajin on top. The chili pepper-salt-lime combination goes great on the corn that was soaked in water and put on the gas grill for 15 minutes to steam. More recipes featuring Tajin can be found at the link below.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Cocktail Smoker Kit

Adding a little smoke to your favorite cocktail or liquor is a snap with the smoker shown below. You add some of the provided ground wood chips (apple, cherry, pecan, or whiskey oak), place the base on top of the glass, and light it ablaze with the butane torch. The smoke descends into the glass, and the magic happens in seconds. Too much flame and too much contact will lead to an overly smoky result, so it's going to take experimentation to get just the right amount of smoke.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Sunday Bags

Chef Elaine and I recently bought the Sunday Bags shown below, basically a very light (~2 lbs) golf bag that holds about a half-dozen clubs.  We plan to use them to walk the golf course when the temperatures fall into the 50s and 60s and riding in a golf cart becomes a chilly adventure.  Extending the golf season and getting some extra exercise while enjoying the scenery will be an autumn win-win.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Biltmore House

We made a stop in Asheville, NC on a recent trip south and toured the Biltmore mansion and gardens.  Pictured below, the house is the largest privately owned house in the U.S., at 178,926 square feet.  It was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II as a summer house with construction beginning in 1889 and lasting six years.  The self-guided walking tour includes a handset to listen to details on one splendid room after another, including the servants' working areas and bedrooms.  The outdoor flower gardens were past their seasonal peak but the plants and flowers in the conservatory were stunning.

Monday, September 25, 2023


We all know that the three-dimensional version of a square is a cube, but what's it called when it looks like the shape shown below?  It's a special case of a cuboid called a rectangular cuboid.  A cuboid is a hexahedron, a six-faced solid, and its faces are quadrilaterals.  So the familiar cube is a special case of a cuboid where all six sides are identical squares.  All this takes me back to being a sophomore in high school and it's no wonder geometry was not my favorite subject.

Maybe it would be simpler to call it a brick...

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.