Friday, March 8, 2019

Bacon-Wrapped Honey Dijon Turkey Breast

Had you at bacon, didn't I?

First you brine the turkey breasts for several hours and then rest at room temperature for a couple more, so obviously this is a "start in the morning" recipe.  Using parchment paper per the directions will make wrapping it up a breeze and getting the bacon seems positioned underneath will keep it together.  Add the coating of Dijon mustard, mayo, honey and thyme and you have a feast worthy of giving thanks!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Entangled Soul

This is the second book I've read that was written by my former colleague Tom Ireland.  It tells a story of how the massive human expansion across the galaxy, powered by the instantaneous transport of people, goods and energy, is at risk.  Tom is an excellent writer and I'm hoping he's working on a third sci-fi book.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Small Bar Table

This simple yet ingenious table at Walnut Grove Country Club makes eating at the bar more comfortable and less messy.  It's just two equal-height boards running beneath, about four inches tall, screwed into the wood surface from below.  Moves your dinner about a foot closer to you. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Vizio Class Action Lawsuit

I was quite surprised when I turned on my living room TV and a message that a class action settlement was available to owners of certain Internet-connected Vizio TVs, which you can learn more about at the link below.  Turns out that Vizio TVs, by default and not clearly explained, collects information on what you're watching and feeds that back to Vizio.  So on top of filling out the settlement form, I went into the "Reset & Admin" section of the TV's settings and turned off the "Viewing Data" option to prevent further tracking.  Now they won't know that I'm binge-watching the first two seasons of The Good Place.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Around The World In 80 Days

We attended this play at The Loft Theater in Downtown Dayton last week and it was amazing how five actors pulled off playing thirty-two parts while both convincing the audience they were taking train rides, sailing on ocean steamers and facing capture, typhoons and other near-death experiences while making you laugh the whole way.  The play runs through March 17th, so there's still time to grab your tickets.

Friday, March 1, 2019


Do you peel potatoes, carrots and other vegetables just away from you or do you peel in both directions?  As you can see below, I'm a both directions guy and it took only 24 seconds to peel this spud.  You do need to take a little more care not to cut yourself as the blade is coming towards you, but using short, rapid strokes is my solution.  I suggest trying it first on a long vegetable like a carrot, where it's easier to maintain distance between your two hands.

Thursday, February 28, 2019


During our first-ever visit to Field and Stream ,we spotted this "MyPod", which we could have used on many occasions watching various outdoor sports in, let's say, "less than ideal" weather conditions.  They come in single and two-person versions with an "XL" option for each.  You can even get custom lettering to support your team or make your personal statement.  This is awesome!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Barnes Wildlife Control

After a raccoon decided to break into our chimney and stay for, thankfully, only a few days, it was time to have new chimney caps installed, repair and seal up the chimney and have a crown coat applied.  Can't speak more highly of the technicians from Barnes Wildlife Control that diagnosed the problem and performed the repairs.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Coronary CT Angiography

A Coronary CT calcium scan, which I had 2014, detects the accumulation of hard plaque in the arteries of the heart, but the newer Coronary CT angiography detects both hard and soft plaque, giving doctor and patient a much clearer picture to set an appropriate course of treatment.

The short version is that the procedure starts with a little medication to slow and stabilize the heart, followed by an injection of radiocontrast dye as the scanner makes a 3D image that a specialist can evaluate.  Hardest part is holding still for a few seconds.

The closest place to Dayton for this type of scan is the St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood, Kentucky.

Monday, February 25, 2019


Twenty-two years ago, at around age 41, I traded being nearsighted, able to read a book within inches of my face but needing glasses or contact lenses for distance, to become farsighted and needing those $10 reading cheaters, which I have pairs stashed all over the house.  More than a fair trade for me, and I've been able to drive, run, ski and golf unencumbered ever since, in fact, all these years later my distance vision is still absolutely perfect.  The investment is Lasik surgery has been well worth it.  I can't imagine how much better corrective eye procedures must be today.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Rigatoni In A Ramekin

What to do with a little leftover homemade lasagna sauce and shredded pizza cheese?  My solution was to fill a ramekin with cooked, then cooled, rigatoni noodles in the vertical direction, spoon the sauce on top and push it into the tubes and microwave for one minute forty-five seconds.  Then top with cheese and put it under the broiler until it starts to brown.  Leftover yumminess!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Shingles Vaccination

Shingles is a painful rash, caused by the same virus as chickenpox, and not something you really want to experience.  While more common in adults 50+ as their immune system begins to weaken, younger people can also be affected.

There's a new shingles vaccine, Shingrix, that has been on the market for about one year and the CDC is recommending it for people 50 years and older, even for those who have been previously vaccinated with another product.  For my age group (50-69), it offers 97% protection, way better than the previous vaccine, but does require two injections, with the second coming not less than two months, and not more than six months, from the first shot.

Compared to my memories of shots in my pre-teen years that induced tears at the very thought, today's are barely more than a small prick and no excuse to avoid what's good for you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Washing Machine Lint

Our newest washing machine is one of the worst we've ever had, too much performance given away towards the march to "high-efficiency", as if water and electricity cost too much or we don't have enough of either.  At least in Dayton that not even close to being a problem.  One of the issues is the production of lint which gets spewed into the laundry tub, looks nasty and eventually clogs up the drain.  We've had to resort to installing the lint traps below, about $2 per, to capture the gunk.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


The top Android app for 2018, according to Google, is Drops, which teaches languages using lessons that are rapid-paced, visual and limited to 5 minutes per session.  Drops offers a free (I love free) tier for casual learners; 5 minutes of learning per day, with more than 1,700 words in 99 topics.  More dedicated language learners can subscribe for premium features to achieve faster progress with unlimited learning time.  Available for both Android and iOS devices.

It's fun, mildly addictive and now a daily habit of mine.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Coffee Lid Tips

Sometimes you do things for years before realizing that you should pass them on.  Here are a couple of tips about the alignment of a coffee lid that you might find useful.
  • If the seam of the cup is directly in line with the drinking hole, there can be just enough gap to cause a little coffee to drip out, usually right on your dress shirt or blouse as you're heading into work.  Just make sure the seam is anywhere on the other half of the cup, away from the hole.
  • If you're fetching coffee for yourself and one or more other folks, an easy way to remember which cup belongs to whom is to align the seam at different places.  I put mine 90 degrees to the left of the hole, as shown below, and then I'll put the seam for my wife's coffee 90 degrees on the right side.  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Peppers Stuffed with Herbed Ground Turkey and Rice

Tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley and dill elevate the diet-friendly ground turkey to a level that's at least on par with its hamburger cousin.  Give yourself at least two hours start to finish and your patience will be rewarded.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Coastal Tan

Needing a base tan before setting sail on our Caribbean cruise, we visited the Coastal Tan shop in the Fairmont Plaza Shopping Center in Kettering and found good deals including one for new customers to check out each of the four different tanning levels for just $4.  On Wednesday's, for $5, anyone can tan in any level bed, and they offer a nice selection of monthly and per minute packages.  Add clean and friendly and it can't be beat.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Password Checkup

Password Checkup is a Google Chrome browser extension that lets you know if you enter a username and password that has been compromised in a data breach that it knows about.  Reset that password, then also reset it everywhere else where you've used that same combination, focusing first on web sites you care the most about, such as banks, social media and online shopping.  I don't have a lot of password rules, but one of them is never using the same password across the sites I really care about.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Wall Shelves

Installing shelves on walls has not been the most pleasant experience in the past, usually leading to them slowly bending forward as their weight and gravity overcome the strength of their poorly designed attachment. But our newest wall shelves, shown below, are not going anywhere thanks to real steel brackets attached with molly bolts to the plaster wall.  The brackets were installed first, being very careful to keep them level and aligned, then the wood planks slid into place.

Monday, February 11, 2019

National Park Fonts

Jeremy Shellhorn and his students have created a digital typeface by creating rubbings from signs in our National Parks and it's available for free (I love free) in four weights, Regular, Outline, Heavy and Thin, available at the link below.  Might just be the font I use for Christmas card envelopes later this year...

Friday, February 8, 2019

Chicken and Fennel in Rosemary-Wine Broth

A successful weight-conscious dinner needs lots of flavor, and this Weight Watchers recipe we recently tried delivers.  Sauteed fennel and onion each add their strong vegetable goodness, with the rosemary also punching up the flavor.  Of course, everything's better with garlic.  You can replace the red wine with some vinegar and water, but we keep one of those little wine boxes in the fridge for these occasions.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Golf Tees

Golf tees are surprisingly useful for more than just its primary purpose of teeing up a golf ball.  For example, I store a couple hats in our garage to keep my bald head warm during chillier runs or protect it from the sun when I'm out awhile.  For years those hats hung on rusty nails, but recently I pulled them out and tapped in a couple white tees, as shown below.  Nice little upgrade.

The link from This Old House has ten more golf tee ideas that you might find useful.

Shout out to my friend Keith F, who introduced me to the incredibly flexible golf tee!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Wilmington Pike Loon

A loon is not only an aquatic bird, it's the name given to this notch in the road to enable safer U-turns, such as the one shown below on Wilmington Pike at Brown Road.  Northbound traffic has a left-turn lane into the loon so they can turn around to the southbound lanes, and pause if needed.  There are a few more in the area, which I had never noticed before, but none are anywhere near as large and well-marked as this one.  Check out the link below for a 360-degree Google Street View look at the area, fortunately taken on a nice sunny day.,-84.1088595,3a,75y,5.56h,101.96t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sHP7gfSxeg4rl58Bp1pGS0Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

WiFi Signal Strength

Distance from your wireless access point is not the only factor in determining signal strength, for example, many older homes, including ours, have plaster walls constructed on a metallic mesh that serves as its framework, and this metal can cause extra signal loss.  To solve this, I have a 5+ year-old Netgear N150 Range Extender plugged into an outlet in the kitchen that has a direct line-of-sight to my router, and that helps get coverage to the backyard patio.  The image on the left below, using the free (I love free) OpenSignal app, shows a weak signal for my primary WiFi network from the patio, but switching to the Range Extender (with the _EXT suffix on the right), gets us back to a strong signal.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Screen On While Charging

Sorry, this is for Android only.

There was no way to keep my phone's screen on continuously, which I wanted in certain circumstances and almost always when it was being charged, like listening to SiriusXM or Pandora while traveling.  A little digging found how to do what I wanted, which involved turning on "Developer options", then the "Stay awake" option as shown below.  The first link has the instructions to enable developer options, which involves locating and tapping the Build number seven times, and the second link shows how to, among other things, keep your phone's screen on while charging.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Chicken Quesadillas

This is a delicious recipe for stovetop quesadillas, but we offer these tips to make the going easier.
  • If chicken breasts are thick, cut them in half first to speed up the sauteing 
  • Make the chicken cubes 3/8" or smaller, or even shred it
  • Fry only one tortilla at a time, fill one side and make it like an omelette 
  • Make sure to start with the cheese on the bottom, this helps the rest of the filling stay put
  • Don't over-stuff the filling or it will be difficult to keep together
  • Save some time and use store-bought Pico de Gallo

Thursday, January 31, 2019

United Airlines Merchandise Awards

I knew that I had almost 20,000 United Airline miles that were going to expire in a couple months.  What I didn't know was that I could those miles for merchandise, but fortunately stumbled upon that option on their rewards website.  I searched a couple dozen brands (out of a ton more than that) before deciding on fleece Under Armour clothing and a Steve Madden RFID-protection wallet, and as shown below, the shipping was free (I love free).  Awesome customer experience!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Whisper To Alexa

An oddly compelling feature available on all three of my different Amazon Echo (aka Alexa) devices is called Whisper Mode and when enabled if you whisper to Alexa, she (the default voice) will whisper back.  Very handy for getting the time or the temperature without waking your sleeping spouse.  The first time you whisper "Alexa" and a command she will enable Whisper Mode, or use the smartphone app.  More details at this link.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Air Force Museum

The Dayton Region is blessed to be home to the Air Force Museum.  Their newest building houses a collection of U.S. presidential aircraft, called Air Force One when the president is on board, and the one pictured below was the plane that transported the slain John F. Kennedy back to Washington D.C. as Lyndon Johnson was sworn into office, one of the saddest days in many American lives.  This is just one of several hundred planes, missiles and other displays offering multiple days of free (I love free) entertainment and history lessons.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Phishing Quiz

Google has done an excellent job of quizzing you on spotting phishing emails, and providing the details on why each of the eight examples is, or is not, to be believed.  I've been at this a long time and felt this should be easy, but a few of them really, really made me think hard, and getting all of them correct was an accomplishment.  Try to skill at the link below.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Broccoli Cakes

Just mix together grated broccoli and cauliflower, bread crumbs, a couple eggs, Parmesan cheese, capers, salt and pepper to form these surprisingly delicious, oven-roasted cakes.  Recipe is from Lois Lane, I mean Teri Hatcher, as she demonstrated on a recent show of The Kitchen on The Food Network.  A nice side dish, reasonably low in calories and carbs, and leftovers heat up nicely.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

WPCU Shredding Service

Two things we regularly save, loose change and financial documents, can be a problem when it's time to clean house, but Wright-Patt Credit Union (at least the one we use at Cross Point Centre on Whipp Road) makes both a breeze.  Members can use their coin-counting machine to deposit the full amount to their account and can have old documents securely shredded by putting them in one of the containers seen below.  Try doing either of those with an app or an ATM 😏...!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Clothes That Work

What to do with those nice dress clothes you wore to work after taking the retirement plunge?  Our answer was donating them to Clothes That Work, which empowers their clients to secure and maintain employment by providing interview and workplace appropriate clothing, confidence building education, and coaching services.  The donation center is located at 1133 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd., just north of Stewart Street.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Google Private DNS

Sorry, Android Pie only.  It's that new.

Google has introduced Private DNS, which uses encryption between your device and Google's DNS servers to add just a little more privacy to your Internet interactions, mainly keeping your Internet Service Provider (ISP) a little more in the dark.  This will work with apps that use the system defaults, however, some apps have their own built-in DNS lookups, so it's not perfect.  The article explains the setup and I used to option to manually configure it so it uses Google's DNS, as you can see at the bottom of the graphic below.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Rotary Dial

If you want a little nostalgia or just to get your kids eyes to roll backwards, Slick Rotary allows you to call numbers on your smartphone the old-fashioned way, sticking your finger on a number and twirling clockwise.  Free (I love free) for Android and $1.99 for iPhones, it comes complete with the clicking sounds I enjoyed as a child.  Now if I can just remember people's phone numbers to actually use it...

Friday, January 18, 2019

Eudora Brewing Company

Opening weekend for the new location of the Eudora Brewing Company in Kettering, on Wilmington Pike just south of Dorothy Lane, was a bit of a madhouse, and even with a winter storm making travel more adventurous than usual, thirsty folks braved it for a chance to see the new place.  In addition to the 18 taps they have a nice menu, including a grilled cheese I can't wait to try, and they have several large screen televisions, a couple of pool tables and my wife's favorite, an old-fashioned bowling machine.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Levolor Drums And Retainer Clips

Over the years I've replaced all the window coverings in the house with 2-inch, faux-wood Levolor blinds, but recently we noticed that a few of the strings had come loose at the top, so I went back to Lowes for replacement parts.  They don't carry that, but suggested I visit the nearby The Blind Spot in Bellbrook, where I met the extremely helpful Nancy Link.  She took the time to listen to what I needed, did some Internet research and pointed me to, where I was able to buy the plastic drums and retaining clips to make the needed repairs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Payable On Death

We don't want to leave this earth with our children having to figure out our finances and going through probate court.  So in addition to having our offspring listed as contingent beneficiaries on all our investment accounts, we recently modified all our bank accounts to "Payable On Death" and added them as the payees, so the bank will take care of sending them their share when we both pass. 

As Forrest Gump said, "that's one less thang".

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Best Of 2018

Over on my Life Experiences blog, I posted my traditional list of the top ten experiences from the last year, including one that came off my Bucket List.

Aerial Cities

I'm a big fan of Aerial America on the Smithsonian Channel and the most recent addition to their high-flying, informative shows is Aerial Cities, with six shows covering Chicago, Las Vegas, Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Check out the link below for upcoming showtimes, which in my area will happen at 6:00 am and 7:00 am during dates in the second half of February 2019.  Thank goodness for DVRs.

Monday, January 14, 2019

GoodRx For Animal Prescriptions

My daughter just saved 75% off her dog's phenobarbital prescription for thanks to GoodRx, totaling a $59 savings.  For us humans our insurance may provide greater savings, but who has a prescription plan for their pet?  Grab their current pill bottle and head over to the link below to see if you can find a better price.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Buckin' Donkey

There are bars that serve good "bar food", but the Buckin' Donkey serves great food and happens to be a bar, the hole-in-the-wall type (see image below) that you can drive by without a second thought.  Check out the menu at the DoorDash link below, but my friends and I can vouch for the Old Style Chicago Weck, Triple Bypass Burger, Crabby Dip and Onion Rings.  They're located at 2866 S. Dixie Drive in Moraine, just north of Dorothy Lane, just don't blink or you might miss it.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Dark Mode

Ah, what's old is new again.

Dark mode is all the rage on smartphones these days and it makes perfect sense that dramatically reducing all those battery-sucking bright whites to zero-energy blacks makes your device last longer between charges.  It's also easier on the eyeballs and less noticeable in darker venues.  I've turned on several dark mode themes in apps on my Google Pixel 2, but Android Q, due out in 2019, looks to deliver that system-wide, as per the article below.  Can't wait (but I guess I have to, duh).

And the image below?  That's a 1980s-vintage IBM 3270 terminal, which always had a black (i.e. Dark Mode) background.  Full circle, once again.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Technology First Magazine

The New Year brings a new format for the Technology First magazine, moving to a 8 1/2 by 11 inch magazine format printed on glossy paper for a great look.  The member-contributed articles continue being high-quality and insightful, with my favorite in this Jan/Feb 2019 issue being a look at the risks your business faces when your employees use ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.  If you prefer, you can also read the magazine online using the Issuu link below.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Volume Butler On Android

I use a short audio clip of ocean waves as my notification tone, preferring a quieter sound that won't wake me up at night, but like a louder ring tone for incoming calls so I don't miss them.  But since my Pixel 2 only has one volume level setting for both rings and notifications, I had to try to find a middle ground and that wasn't possible.  The solution was a free (I love free) app called Volume Butler, which as seen below, provides for separate volumes, and I cranked the ring up and the notification down, to my desired levels.  If this is something you might like to try, follow the instructions at the link below carefully to get it configured properly.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Beam Me Up

My new go-to mug for tea was one of many great Christmas presents from my kids and celebrates my love of the original Star Trek series.  As shown below, as the steaming water is added and the mug gets hot, Captain Kirk materializes in the transporter.  I'll be enjoying many mugs of Constant Comment tea this chilly winter.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Smoked Peppercorn Sage Rub

I'm fond of occasionally wandering through the grocery store and looking for whatever is new and interesting.  On one such day, while fixated quite a while at the spice rack, I spotted this Smoked Peppercorn Sage Rub, and thought that's quite the combination, and would add some uniqueness to a chicken filet, which is shown below perched atop bacon and avocado, and between a couple pieces of wheat toast.  Mouth watering deliciousness!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Ohio Is Beautiful

I follow a select group of people on Instagram, not wanting a repeat of my now long-gone Facebook fiasco, but I follow only one hashtag on Instagram, #ohioisbeaautiful, found at the link below.  A variety of photographers post gorgeous pictures from throughout the state, from waterfalls to waterfowl and sunflowers to sunsets.  Really helps remind me that I live in a beautiful state with four seasons to get out and explore.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

AAA Miami Valley

You wouldn't think having your car towed to the local service shop as the highlight of your day, but due to the tremendous, friendly and thoughtful service provided to my wife last month (while I was out of town, funny how that happens), it turned a gloomy situation into a bright day.  Our local AAA has their own staff, not your typical outsource job, and he was polite to the max, and very graciously helped out at every turn, including bringing the paperwork back to his truck and providing a ride home.  A guardian angel, indeed!