Thursday, August 31, 2017

Varvy SEO Tool

Just pop in the name of a web site and this tool will evaluate it against suggested practices provided by Google. There are also links to articles that provide deeper details on each guideline. I haven't found any site with a clean bill of web health, including this blog (partial report report below), but it's a nice place to look for more serious problems.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Low Country Boil

Steam crab legs, shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes, then literally throw it all on a table covered with plastic-backed paper. Dig in, stuff yourself and leave the shells and cobs on the table. Bag up any leftovers, roll the remaining mess up in the table covering and throw it in the trash can. Easy cook and easy clean.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Top Golf

Top Golf is a nice combination of hitting golf shots, playing games with friends or co-workers, and playing at your own pace.  The various targets are from a few dozen yards away up to a couple hundred, giving all skill levels an appropriate challenge. Bring your clubs or use the ones they provide.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Google Home Voice Calls

The Google Home can now place phone calls, using your contacts, a spoken number or a search, making it the coolest speakerphone on the planet and will likely cause it to be relocated from the master bedroom to the home office.  Only outbound calls for now, which is all I really need, and it doesn't support, yet, entering touch tones, which I need for my audio conference calls, so Google has some work to do.

Like Google Voice, calls to most U.S. and Canada phones are free (I love free).

Friday, August 25, 2017

Pecan Crusted Mozzarella Salad

This recipe had me at the "fried cheese".  Need I say more?  OK, how about that I made the mozzarella cheese myself from scratch?  Grab a napkin, you're drooling all over yourself.  

The vinaigrette dressing is extra yummy, in fact, making your own salad topping will probably swear you off of store-bought bottles.

  • 1 cup heirloom tomatoes, cut in bite-size pieces (sprinkled with salt/pepper) 
  • 5 cups mixed greens

Fried Cheese
  • ⅓ cup pecan halves, toasted 
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs 
  • 8 ounce fresh mozzarella cheese ball
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey 
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Finely chop pecans and mix with parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs
  • Slice the mozzarella cheese ball into four rounds about ½ inch thick, then cut in half so you have eight pieces
  • Prepare three shallow dishes, one each for:
    • flour
    • beaten egg
    • pecan, parmesan and bread crumb mixture
  • Lightly dredge each mozzarella piece in flour, shaking off excess, dip into egg and finally into pecan mixture, coating evenly
  • Add olive oil to skillet over medium heat for 1-3 minutes
  • Cook mozzarella rounds 1-2 minutes on each side or until coating is golden brown and cheese begins to soften around the edges
  • Remove and place on paper towels to drain
  • Drizzle vinaigrette over mixed greens and toss to coat evenly
  • Divide mixed greens and tomatoes among salad plates and top with two mozzarella rounds

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Windows Shortcuts for Left-Handers

I've been mousing with my left hand for more than a dozen years, initially changing to combat strain on my right wrist.  I have come to love having my right hand free to press Enter, Delete, Page Up, Page Down and the arrow keys without losing a hand on the mouse. But I lost the often-used Cut (Ctrl+X), Copy (Ctrl+C), Paste (Ctrl+V) and the tab switcher (Alt+Tab) in the process, now having to move my left hand off the mouse to perform these. But there are alternatives for the first three:

Cut: Shift+Delete
Copy: Ctrl+Insert
Paste: Shift+Insert

Why does it take me years to uncover these kinds of tips? Sigh.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

D.L. Stewart

I aspire to be 1/20th as good D.L. Stewart, who has been writing the most enjoyable, thoughtful and downright funny articles for the last 42 years in the Dayton Newspapers.  His recent gem on finding the right TV show describes what I'm sure occurs on a nightly basis in most homes.  These are must-reads and sure to amuse.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

SoftEdge Spatula

A recent pickup from the Dorothy Lane Market Culinary School is this soft-edge spatula with a slotted metal body, making it very versatile.  I couldn't find an exact match for ours, but this link will show you a very similar model.

Monday, August 21, 2017

MIS Graduate

Last Friday was a special day as this proud Dad watched his daughter's hooding ceremony and achieve her Master in Information Systems (MIS) degree from Wright State University. This
one-year program is a blend of four on-campus residencies, online e-learning and an extensive Capstone project. Add a husband, two dogs, three cats, a running habit and a full-time job, that took real dedication.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Chicken Cutlets

I love how this recipe combines the spiced-up chicken with the eggs and cheese in a bowl, avoiding the usual sticky finger mess applying the egg.  Use a pair of tongs to transfer it from that bowl to the plate of bread crumbs, coat both sides, and move it to the frying pan.  Make sure you have lots of oil for frying, covering the chicken at least half way up, preferably a touch more. The final key is the temperature of the oil. Get it too hot and the coating will burn before the chicken is cooked, but you will over-cook the chicken before it's crispy if it's not hot enough.


  • 3 pounds boneless chicken tenders 
  • kosher salt 
  • freshly ground pepper 
  • garlic salt 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • ⅓ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese 
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 
  • 1 cup dry, plain bread crumbs 
  • ½ cup corn or canola oil for frying

  • Sprinkle chicken tenders with two pinches of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and one pinch of garlic salt 
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly and stir in the parmesan cheese and parsley 
  • Add the chicken to the egg/cheese mixture and stir until completely coated 
  • Spread bread crumbs on a separate plate 
  • Dip chicken into bread crumbs and coat both sides 
  • Heat oil in pan and fry cutlets on medium-high until light and golden on each side 
  • Place in 9x13 serving dish lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil 
  • If needed, hold in a preheated 180 degrees oven, uncovered, until ready to serve

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Wisconsin Trail Running

I've been traveling to Central Wisconsin for the last ten years but it wasn't until recently that I searched to see if there were any trails around to satisfy my running habit. I found two near my hotel in Plover, details at the links below. The crushed gravel Tomorrow River trail was my favorite.  I headed east from its western terminus, under I-39, past the Del Monte vegetable plant, past fields in various states of their growing seasons, and pondered a line of unfamiliar yellow centerbeam rail cars before turning around at Twin Towers Drive with the Monogram food plant churning in the distance.

This multi-use trail has a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour, not that I would ever get a snowmobile going that fast. Fortunately for my running pace, there wasn't a minimum speed posted.

Green Circle Trail -
Tomorrow River State Trail -

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Only took eight months in my Brooks Ghost 9 running shoes to notice their "CARPE RUNEM" emblem. But it was good for a nice chuckle as I headed out for a run in Central Wisconsin. More on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Kaspersky Free

Traditionally one of the best paid anti-virus products, Kaspersky now offers a set of free (I love free) tools to keep your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android devices protected.  A good security product is a must for a Windows PC or any device you use on the shadier side of the web. Head to the bottom of the page at this link to find the free stuff.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Primanti Brothers

Enjoyed this extra-meat, add-an-egg version of a Primanti's capicola and cheese sandwich, which of course includes fries and Cole slaw packed inside, at their location in Cranberry, north of Pittsburgh. Lucky for us, we have a Primanti's in Dayton, near the Fairfield Mall.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Tomato Tart

This is better than the best pizza I've ever had, and a lot less work. The choice of cheese is important, and asiago fresco is awesome.  I suggest avoiding a mild cheese like mozzarella. This is best as a summer treat when tomatoes and basil are at their best.

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • Parchment paper
  • ⅓ cup of basil pesto
  • 2 cups asiago fresco (or provolone cheese), grated
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced (9 slices)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 5-6 basil leaves, sliced thinly


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Place the puff pastry sheet on parchment paper and roll out to 12" x 12"
  • Spread a thin layer of the pesto on the puff pastry
  • Sprinkle 2 cups of asiago fresco (or provolone cheese), then the parmesan cheese over the pesto
  • Place the tomatoes in a single layer on top
  • Grind fresh pepper on top of the tomatoes
  • Sprinkle the additional 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese on top of the tomatoes
  • Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the puff pastry is puffed and golden brown
  • Remove from oven
  • Top with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkled sea salt and basil leaves
  • Cut into 9 squares

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Windows F1-F12

The article at this link lists some useful Function Key actions, like Windows Explorer F2 letting you quickly rename the selected file or folder, Alt+Ctrl+F2 opening the Documents Library in the Microsoft Office suite or F10 showing the Menu bar in Firefox and IE. My bet is you'll run across something you've not heard of that will save your mouse-clicking finger a lot of work.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is a must in any lazy man's kitchen, allowing baking without the stickiness and reducing cleanup to almost nothing.  Line the bottom of a cake pan with a circular cutout and that cake will pop out without issue.  And to think it's made by running sheets of paper pulp through a bath of sulfuric acid. Seems like a minor miracle to me.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Olive Oils

Don't you dare try frying at high heat using an extra-virgin olive oil or use regular olive oil to make your favorite salad dressing. In fact, the opposite advice is true.  Extra-virgin is the extra-cutsy marketing term for oil made with the first pressing of olives, which has the best flavor but heat will destroy.  Regular olive oil is pressed last, has little flavor, but has the heat tolerance.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Krispy Krunchy Chicken

First I hear people raving about chicken they get at a nearby Shell gas station. Right. Then the local paper has an article from Thrillist about the best chicken chain you're never heard of, and they're at this very same Shell. Interest is piqued, particularly since this Shell has a 12-tap craft beer filling station. Making a lunch it, I have to report these are some real good, meaty chicken strips with just the right amount of breading, tasty sauce and a yummy biscuit. Who duh thunk?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Sky Asian Cuisine

Our new favorite restaurant is the nearby Sky Asian Cuisine, located just north of where Wilmington Pike and Woodman Drive come together (an unusual "point" intersection) in Kettering. The building itself is unassuming, but the sushi is top-notch.  Shown below is last week's feast of Mango Madness, North Castle and Kettering rolls.  The picture doesn't do the flavor justice.

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Train wheels are typically not part of the train itself, but standalone "bogies" that the train cars sit on, held in place by gravity.  The bogie, also known as a railroad truck, wheel truck, or simply truck in North America, bears the load, transmits the traction and braking forces, steers the car in a safe manner (e.g. cars can pivot) and smooths out track irregularities (i.e. springs). Bogies are also handy when changing between different track gauges.  The train cars are lifted up and one set of bogies is exchanged for another.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

SOS Alerts

A new set of features collectively known as "SOS Alerts" has been added to Google's Search and Maps services to provide information during major natural, manmade, or humanitarian disasters providing everyone with news, maps, updates from local authorities, emergency resources, donation opportunities, and more. Also included are "Public Alerts" that help authorities communicate emergency messages specifically related to official weather, public safety, and earthquake alerts.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tree Stump House

Was this an attempt to save some money? Was this their idea of good neighborhood art? I'll be happy to pay for a chain saw and stump grinder to get rid of this eye sore.  I'm really glad this is one street over and not next door. Geez Louise.