Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Head Hugger

Never too early to load up on Christmas stocking stuffers and these $9 Head Huggers are perfect for the ladies.  They're fun, colorful, comfortable and more absorbent than your average headband, while being very versatile.  Notice the eight pictures at bottom of each package.  You can even use it to tie up your ponytail, warm your face on a brutal winter day or cover your bikini top.


Monday, April 29, 2019

iPhone/iPad Text Size

You can change the font size on your iPhone and iPad by tapping Settings, then Display & Brightness and finally Text Size.  Slide the dot left for smaller type, right for larger.  If that isn't big enough, go to Accessibility Settings to get real large.  Not all apps support Dynamic Type, so results will vary.

Shout out to Keith F, yet again, for this tip!


Friday, April 26, 2019

Shrimp Quesadillas

We've eaten a lot of quesadillas, but this one my wife made last week is a "can't-stop-to-chew-completely" marvel.  The shrimp, mayonnaise, roasted red pepper and cilantro are awesome, but the pepper jack cheese is the star of the show.  Better have a couple extra ready to go, they're that good.

Tip: Don't keep the cheese in the freezer longer than specified, or the result is a lot more work.  Brought to you by the "been there, done that" school of hard knocks.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Gravity Car Phone Mount

I have upgraded my smartphone mount in the Jeep with one I don't have to take off each time to attach the phone.  Just slide it in from the top and the weight of the phone causes the sides to slide in.  Since there's not a lot of pressure from those side arms, it's also easy to remove the phone from the holder.  A much better solution and since I'm using Android Auto a lot, a welcome upgrade.  All for $11.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Yes, it's spring ... finally!

Nothing says relaxing to me like some turtles warming themselves in the sun, like these four we recently spotted at the Lincoln Park Pond in Kettering.  I can only assume they installed these beams to help baby animals transition from water to land, but it's the perfect safe haven for these guys.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Distill Page in Chrome Canary

Google's Chrome Canary web browser is cool for two reasons.  First it contains the most experimental features that you can try months before they get to the stable release and made available to everyone.  Second, you can run Canary on the same system as your normal Chrome browser without the two sharing any profiles, themes or preferences.

Canary now includes a "Distill Page" option (highlighted in the picture below) which can be turned on using the instructions provided at the link to the ZDNet article.  The purpose of this feature is to render content such as news articles without all the distracting advertisements, making a nice clean "Reader Mode". 


Friday, April 19, 2019

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Tenders

A simple and tasty alternative to coating chicken strips with flour, panko or bread crumbs is to use crushed pretzels.  Adds flavor, texture and visual appeal and makes the mustard-based dipping sauce a natural.  Baking, instead of frying, makes this a "am I really on a diet?" dream and the "no messy grease cleanup" is definitely welcome.

Winner, winner...


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Android Auto

Even if your car doesn't support Android Auto, just using it on your smartphone makes listening to music, answering a call or getting driving directions easier.  The larger fonts and bigger buttons are easier to read and press and when combined with spoken commands to Google Assistant, it helps keep your eyes where they belong.  There are several configuration options, but the one I like the most is automatically launching Android Auto when my smartphone's bluetooth pairs with, and only with, my car's stereo receiver. 


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Google Maps Location Sharing

I like that I can share my Pixel 2's location, and hence myself, with my wife (and only her) on her Google Maps, as shown below.  If I'm out and about or on a trip to another state, she can see where I am, which I think is somewhat comforting.  It would also help if I ever lost my phone, which knock-knock, hasn't happened ... yet.  Details on how to set it up are at this link.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Island Of Misfit Toys

There are two drawers in our kitchen for our collection of utensils.  The one to the right of the stove is nice and orderly, containing our most often used tools like spatulas, whisks, peelers, measuring cups and scissors, all of which are small, straight and flat.

The drawer below, to the left of the stove, we call the "Island Of Misfit Toys".  Like the discarded toys in the Christmas movie, this is our collection of one-off utensils with odd shapes and sizes that make this drawer appear messy and disorganized.  Aside from only having one, not two, apparently disorganized drawers, it helps us remember which drawer to find things in. 

If it's a misfit, go left.  Simple rule. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Pistachio-Crusted Cod with Citrus Salsa

Odd combinations often work, as this recipe's citrus (grapefruit, tangerine, orange), tangy Dijon mustard and distinctively nutty pistachios add a variety of kicks to the cod fillets.  Less than a half hour start to finish and make sure you line your baking sheet with parchment paper to make cleanup a snap.


Thursday, April 11, 2019

2014 McNab Petite Sirah

Our most recent case purchase was this 2014 McNab Petite Sirah.  This varietal is usually more of a nice punch to the face wine, bold and tannic, but this one is fruity, drinkable goodness.  Looking closer at the bottle you will see Mendocino County, a cooler climate nearer the Pacific Ocean known for its Pinot Noir's, Chardonnay's and sparking wines.  Perhaps that's why this wine combines the best of the grape and the terroir, but my bet is that fourth-generation winemaker Rich Parducci just knows what he's doing.

You should find this, like we did, for around $20 a bottle.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Stackable Glasses

In the picture below you should notice a curved line about an inch up from the bottom of the glass.  It's a small ridge on the inside of the glass and it's purpose is so cool. Stack another glass on top of this one and that ridge prevents the second glass from going all the way down.  That prevents the glasses from becoming stuck together and eliminates injuries from breaking glass when trying to pry them apart and the cost to replace them.  Simple, but ingenious solution!

Another shout out to Keith F. for this one.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Excel Remove Duplicates

For years I've used Excel pivot tables to get a list of values without duplicates, but way back in Excel 2007 a better option was delivered and it has took me until now to hear about the "Remove Duplicates" option, clearly available on the Data tab in the Data Tools section.  Read more at the link on how to handle multiple columns of data.

Shout out to Keith F for this tip!


Monday, April 8, 2019

Hot Dog Bun Shortage

Imagine it's your parks opening day and you can't wait for your first hot dog of the season, and we all know that hot dogs at baseball stadiums are somehow magically delicious.  That dream did not become reality for some Pittsburgh Pirate fans when they ran out of hot dog buns at their opener.  Not hot dogs, just the buns.  You can't make this up.

This one minute YouTube video, an ASPCA parody of the situation, was made by Benstonium Media to bring attention to the plight of bunless dogs.  Hilarious!


Friday, April 5, 2019

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Bacon And Onion

These were so good, I had eaten a few before it dawned on me to take the picture below.

The key step is tossing the Brussels sprouts with the bacon grease and other ingredients before roasting them crispy on a plain baking sheet.


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Air Force Museum Virtual Tour

While it would never truly replace a physical visit to The National Museum Of The Air Force, the virtual tour available at the link below is pretty awesome.  It's a 360-degree view of every gallery  and outside displays, navigated using a drop-down map or following the navigational arrows.  Icons indicate where you can find videos, audio and links to online resources. 

You will also find links to the Cockpit360 app (Apple and Google) for your phone or tablet that have 360 degree views of various stations for a ton of different planes, including the Boeing B-52D Stratofortress pictured below. 


Wednesday, April 3, 2019


If money, more than the exact destination, is the deciding factor on where to get away on your next rip, the Escape web site can help you find the good deals.  You enter your departure airport and the dates you want to travel, and Escape will map out destinations and color code them with dark green being the cheapest to dark red being the most expensive.  Click on a city and all the flight options are displayed, cheapest first, and you can apply various filters to hone in on your best option.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019


I take offense to a current commercial that talks about the ingredients that go into the process of making their product, not the actual stuff that ends up in the can or bottle.  If ordinary table salt, sodium chloride, listed their elements, the ingredients that exist before they are put together, it would include these two primary components and what their Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) would say about them.

  • Sodium - May ignite spontaneously on exposure to moist air, causes eye burns and digestive tract burn
  • Chlorine - In contact with water releases flammable gases which may ignite spontaneously, and can causes severe skin burns and eye damage

Before processing both are nasty and deadly, but afterwards they're a safe and tasty addition to your food.  In contrast, the "safe" ingredients in the commercial end up producing Ethanol, and its MSDS warning includes this:

  • Ethanol - This substance has caused adverse reproductive and fetal effects in humans, may cause central nervous system depression and may cause liver, kidney and heart damage

And please don't get me started on the whole corn syrup "issue"...


Monday, April 1, 2019

Mac Mini

After seven years I've replaced my MacBook Air with a Mac mini, with the biggest help being the 16GB of RAM.  The MacBook Air had 4GB, so I figured I needed 8GB, then doubled that to plan for the future.  I opted for the regular 3.6GHz, quad‑core, 8th‑generation Intel Core i3 over that potential upgrade, as I'm not into gaming or heavy-duty video editing.

As usual, setup is a breeze and even my desktop files, which are automatically backed up to iCloud, magically appeared on the new machine.  This one should last until I'm in my seventies.