Monday, June 14, 2021


Salem Avenue was part of my childhood growing up in the North Riverdale subdivision of Dayton but until recently I didn't know where the name "Salem" came from.  Salem was a village in Randolph Township, which also no longer exists, until 1841 when the U.S. Postal Service no longer allowed that name as it was a duplicate of another Salem, Ohio, which is located between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.  Salem was renamed Clayton in honor of John Clayton, a local soldier who died in the War of 1812.  Salem Avenue, not surprisingly, led travelers to Salem, now Clayton, Ohio.  More tidbits of information on Clayton's history can be found on this YouTube video.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Edamame with Chora Salad (Black-Eyed Peas)

We first had the combination of edamame, black-eyed peas, and corn in a salad at a beach bar in Nokomis, Florida and immediately knew we had to try it at home.  I loosely followed the recipe at the link below, omitting the raisins (yuk) and adding some balsamic dressing to kick it up a notch,  If you're looking for a new recipe for a summer cookout, this just might be your choice.

Thursday, June 10, 2021


I find physics very interesting, but I'm not that kind of smart, so I have been searching for a while for a blog to read that would explain complicated topics in a way I could understand.  I found the perfect blog in BackRe(Action) by Sabine Hossenfelder, a theoretical physicist and Research Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies.  With the perfect tagline, "Science without the Gobbledygook", she delves into topics like "What does the universe expand into?", "What did Einstein mean by spooky action at a distance?", dark matter, and quantum computing.  I very much look forward to her weekly posts.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Beauty Salon Makeover

When a small flood required replacing their cabinets, the hair salon owners of Tangles in Kettering did what I dare say few other groups of ladies would do, they went to Harbour Freight, a discount chain that sells electric, pneumatic, and hand tools for professionals and do-it-yourselfers and purchased the Yukon mobile storage cabinets shown below.  They're constructed of welded steel with a solid wood work surface, roll around on heavy-duty casters, and are really sharp-looking.  Bravo!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Auto Time Set Alarm Clock

Last September I blogged about a new clock I purchased because our new cable box no longer had a time display.  But that clock ran fast, gaining a minute every month or so and needing its time reset, which was not a simple process.  After eight months I gave up and bought the $20 clock shown below which automatically sets its time via a radio signal from WWVB, a single high-power, extremely-low-frequency, dual-antenna station that NIST operates near Fort Collins, Colorado, and covers the 48 continental United States and much of Canada and Central America.

Besides keeping the correct time, I also like the adjustable brightness dial, allowing just the right glow to fit my eye.  My only gripe is that it arrived with an active 7:00 am alarm, which I didn't realize, and went off two mornings before I figured out how to turn it completely off. 

Big shoutout to my friend John S for helping me locate a clock I don't have to mess with.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Heroes for Babies

Many years ago, while I was donating a pint of blood, a nurse said I had blood that was good for babies but did not explain further.  I figured it was just a way to make me feel good about giving, but recently I found out just how special my blood is.  I noticed a smiley face and the word "peds" highlighted at the top of my donation form and searched the Internet for what might mean.  Turns out I have never been exposed to cytomegalovirus (CMV) which 85% of people get by the age of 40.  Babies needing blood should only receive blood from donors who are CMV-negative (i.e. me), and since I have an "O" blood type (O+), I'm part of a special group – Heroes for Babies.  Read more about it at this link.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Freezer Fix Shepherd's Pie

This is called a "freezer fix" because it's a great way to use leftover pork or chicken and mashed potatoes.  The term "Shepherd’s Pie" is used loosely, as tradition would have you use sheep meat, primarily lamb or mutton, fitting since this originated in Ireland, home to many of these even-toed ungulates.  Cleanup consists of only one large skillet and one baking dish.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

CDC Predicts May Surge

Talk about being a wee bit off.

According to the CNBC report at the link below, the CDC was projecting a "surge" of COVID-19 cases in the United States in May 2021 before declining in the summer.  The reality was very different, as shown in the data table below from the CDC's own COVID tracker website (  Instead of rising, cases fell by 65%.  

Either the CDC was purposely lying to try to keep people wearing masks and staying apart or they simply can't predict the future and should not try.  In either case, being this far off doesn't exactly give me a lot of confidence in anything they say.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Basement Remodel

I haven't blogged much lately, my time being devoted to remodeling our basement.  The top picture is before; dated shag carpet and wood paneling.  The bottom picture is after; a fresh paint job, beadboard paneling, new ceiling tiles, and vinyl flooring.  

I should be back to blogging on my usual almost every weekday schedule, but I do have to remodel the staircase, so interruptions may happen.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Roasted Potato Peels

The roasting potato peels shown below were an experiment from just one spud.  It's just the shavings combined with butter, oil, and spices, baked as crispy as desired.  The recipe also works with the rest of the potato if it's cut into very thin fries, but reduce the amount of butter and oil or they won't crisp up very well.  So next time you're making a pile of mashed potatoes, don't throw away the peels, make yourself a tasty treat.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Text to MP3

Instead of reading the text of the history of Englewood, I looked for a solution that would convert it to an audiobook so I can listen to it during some downtime.  It turns out that my familiar friend Zamzar has that capability, as shown below.  Of course, the output sounds more like a computer than a human, but for my purpose, that's just fine.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere and Thyme

My wife and I are a big fan of parsnips and this recipe delivered a big flavorful punch.  Layers of thinly sliced parsnips, shredded gruyere cheese, onion, and thyme are drowned in a brought-to-a-simmer bath of heavy whipping cream, garlic, flour, nutmeg, more thyme, salt, and pepper, then baked for an hour or so before cooling so it thickens up a bit.  Make a big batch and enjoy the reheated leftovers!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


Available through or a mobile app at the links below, you can check on the status of your income tax refund using IRS2Go.  All you need in your Social Security Number, your filing status, and the exact amount of the refund you're claiming.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021


I've pronated (ankles collapse inward) my entire life and it's a major cause of wearing out my shoes, particularly sneakers.  I noticed my new pair was starting to show the same signs, so my wife gave me some moleskin, I cut out a couple of small strips and adhered them as shown below.  The moleskin is thin enough not to bother my feet (and I have very sensitive feet), so it's unnoticeable.  Time will tell if the moleskin also starts to wear out, but even if it does, it will be simple to remove it and repeat the process.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Cutting Ceiling Tiles

I watched a few YouTube videos on measuring and cutting ceiling tiles to fit, both along an edge and recreate the notch that sits in the track.  The video at the link below was the easiest and most useful, although this guy makes the cutting look like a walk in the park.  It's also brief, clocking in at under two minutes.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Ahi Tuna Tacos

The Ahi Tuna taco shown below is from our second visit to Nokomo's Sunset Hut in Nokomis, Florida.  On the first trip, we had their Grouper tacos which were the best we've ever eaten, apparently so good that I forgot to take a picture of them.  Assuming we can find a place nearby to spend a month or two next winter, Nokomo's will be our go-to restaurant.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021


Stores used to be filled with shoelaces of all types, but the last two times I went searching the selection at Walmart and Meijer was extremely limited.  But I found what I was looking for at the New Balance store at Roderer shoe center on Stroop, in this instance, a replacement for the strings in my golf shoes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Whacking Grasses

I remember seeing someone last year use their string trimmer to cut back their bushes and thought I would give it a try this spring on cutting back the grasses that hide our gas regulator.  I usually use the hedge trimmer to cut the top half of the grasses then get down on my hands and knees with a pair of pruning shears to cut the bottom half a few inches above the ground.  I am happy to report that the string trimmer method, while not a walk in the park, is a fraction of the work.  After I raked up the mess I made, I finished the job, as usual, with the lawnmower, leaving an inch or less of last year's grasses in the way of this year's crop, which is 4-5 weeks will once again be taller than the meter.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Vinyl Flooring

Our basement remodel includes the removal of OMG shag carpeting and the installation of the Great Lakes floating vinyl flooring shown below.  We haven't had any water issues so far, but this is waterproof, perfect for a basement.  Installation is easy, as long as you keep the boards perfectly aligned.  Slide and drop in place, then a few light taps with a rubber mallet is all it takes.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Egg And Salad Sandwich

I've been jonesing for an egg salad sandwich and as fate would have it, we had both hard-boiled eggs and leftover Dorothy Lane Market 7-layer salad, so instead of having an egg salad sandwich, I concocted an Egg and Salad Sandwich instead, satisfying my craving and helping reduce the number of plasticware containers in the refrigerator.  

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Shoe Laces

I remember a time when stores were filled with shoelaces of all styles, colors, and lengths.  But in the last several years what is pictured below (Walmart in this case) is what I find, a partial rack with an extremely limited selection and, of course, never having what I need.  Are people all wearing flip-flops, sandals, or going barefoot?  What gives?

Friday, March 19, 2021

Pistachio Crusted Chicken

Our hostess and dear friend Grace prepared us her twist on baked chicken, adding some of her personal choices to make it even better.  She bumped up the pistachios from a cup to a 16-ounce bag, used Ritz crackers instead of bread crumbs, and added two-thirds of a cup of orange juice.  Add a baked potato (seen below before loading it up) and we were treated to a culinary masterpiece.

Nuts, they're not just for snacking!  Who knew?

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Shake To Undo

My iPad was driving me nuts.  While using the Mail app, anytime I laid the iPad on my lap a prompt would appear asking if I wanted to undo an action, which I would have to touch "no".  This week I had had enough and took the time to find the option to remove the annoyance, which turned out to be "Shake to Undo", as shown below and located in Settings ... Accessibility.  I just moved the slider to the left to disengage, problem solved.  Why the iPad thought the motion of just laying the iPad down was a "shake" is still a mystery.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Inversion Table

I don't know why I haven't blogged on this before as I've owned it for over 14 years; maybe because I only started blogging here in 2014.  For a little over $100, this is my second best way, after my chiropractor, to get relief when my back gets out of wack.  I just hang upside-down (at a steep angle, but not totally vertical) for 5 to 10 minutes and let the vertebrae stretch out.  It does take a while to get used to having the extra blood rush down to the head, but that does fade.

They don't sell the model I bought anymore, but the one at this link is similar.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Tides Near Me

There are a number of tide applications available for your smartphone and Tides Near Me, for both Android and iOS, does the job for me.  Along the mid-to-southern Atlantic coast of the U.S., the difference between high and low tide ranges from 5 to 8 feet, so obviously, you can lose a lot of sand at high tide.  But this tidal range is nothing compared to the biggest in the world, at Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, which averages 38.4 feet!

Monday, March 15, 2021

Venetian Waterway Park

The Venetian Waterway Park Trail, which we accessed from its northern point at Venice Avenue, has paths on both sides of the Intracoastal Waterway and goes for 8.6 miles.  From our starting point, we could have traveled north on the Legacy Trail, which covers 10.7 miles up to Sarasota.  Lots of motorboats, jet skis, and an occasional sailboat enjoyed the water while we enjoyed a walk, sharing the path with a huge number of cyclists.  There was even free, covered parking under the Venice Avenue bridge on both sides.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Peeling Potatoes

There are people that peel potatoes by sliding the blade away from them, others only towards them.  But somewhere along my line of life, I picked up the technique of doing both, going back and forth as fast as possible, as shown below.  

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club

Playing nine holes of golf in March is cool, but playing them at the Orchid Island Golf Club near Vero Beach, Florida is a real treat.  The beautiful layout requires a fair amount of precision to position the ball for the next shot, in contrast to the open look in front of you.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

E. R. Bradley's Saloon

This is what normal life looks like, in case you can't remember, including my selection of a Chicago Dog for lunch.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Atlantic Ocean

A cold front (i.e. 70 degrees) brought 25+ mile-per-hour winds, which whipped up the surf.  Combined with a perfectly sunny day, it delivered this beautiful scene that became the wallpaper on my Macbook Air.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Salt Margaritas

This week is dedicated to whatever fun things we run across while in Florida.  We start with this perfect sediment on margaritas and sidewalks.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Pimiento Cheese Stuffed Soft Pretzels

These pretzels are roll-your-eyes-and-sigh good and simple to make because Chef Elaine used her favorite store-bought pimiento cheese dip instead of making it per the recipe.  She rolled out a tube of pizza dough and cut it into four pieces, spread the centers with pimiento cheese, made ropes with the help of some egg wash to keep it together then twisted them into a pretzel shape.   The baking soda bath and baking directions are included in the recipe at this link.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Brain Fart

This game is perfectly named, as you'll see why in a moment.  The game is played by first rolling the nine cubes, just like dice, getting a new set of categories.  The person going first, which starts with the youngest player at the table, taps the magenta brain which starts a timer that randomly selects a time between 30 and 45 seconds, and displays a letter on an LED screen.  The player has to select a cube (and keep it) then shoutout an answer that starts with the displayed letter and goes with the cube's category.  For example, I might take the "Sports Teams" category and if the answer must start with a "C", I would shoutout "Cleveland Browns".  The game continues with the next player until all the cubes are used or the brain "farts".  If all cubes are used, the player that used the last cube gets to give a token to any other player, but if the brain "farts", the player that's currently in their turn gets a token from the "bank".  When all the tokens have left the "bank" the game is over and the person holding the fewest tokens is the winner.

The brain "fart" noise is only part of the reason the game is aptly named.  There are times, usually when only a few cubes remain, but at times with all nine available, that a player will just not be able to think of any answer to any of the cube's categories, in other words, that player has a "brain fart".

Big shout out to Grace for showing us this game!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Paint Can Lips

Home Depot was giving away these little yellow plastic paint can lips (for the lack of a better term) and it does a nice job of keeping most of the mess away when pouring paint.  The bottom has a grove that fits over the inside rim of the paint can to keep it in place.   I just have to remember to make sure it's securely in place to avoid a bigger cleanup.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Alexa Suggestions

It really bugs me when I ask Alexa for the temperature and after "she" does that, starts to give me suggestions on what else I can ask "her" to do.  There is a setting in the Alexa app to turn that off, as shown below.  You will find this in the Alexa app at More ... Settings ... Notifications ... Things to Try.  It's not the only place to turn off annoying notifications as this article articulates.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

Last Friday's blog was about roasting leftover raw vegetables.  If you have leftovers from that, they make an awesome frittata.  Whip up four eggs with a little half-n-half, place the vegetables in a glass pie plate (or any oven-proof casserole dish), pour in the whipped eggs, then twirl to get an even distribution.  Bake at 350 degrees until the eggs are firm, about 15 minutes.

In the frittata shown, Chef Elaine used leftover roasted carrots, red peppers, broccoli, potatoes, and onions to make us a fantastic brunch.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Peyton's Places and Ball State

An episode of season 2 of Peyton's Places on ESPN+ featured Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, host Peyton Manning and arguably Ball State's most famous alumni, David Letterman.  The majority of the show featured proposed NFL rule changes concocted by David, such as making the football field 1/4-mile long, raising the goal posts five extra feet each quarter, and having the entire offense and defense on the field for one play per game.  After discussing the merits of the proposals, David and Peyton get the Ball State Cardinal football team on the field, where they participate in live demonstrations of each change.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021


The can ceiling lights in the basement needed a 6-inch circular cutout in the ceiling tile and somehow my brain remembered that I owned a protractor, which turned out to be exactly 6 inches wide.  I drew a couple semi-circles in pencil and cut the perfect-sized opening with a razor-blade knife.  Easy and peasy! 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Great American Rail-Trail

Being able to ride, run, or walk for over 3,700 continuous miles, from Washington D.C. to Washington State, is the vision of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.  You can see the envisioned path at the link below and for Ohioans most of that path is already in place.  Locally, the route between Columbus, Ohio to the western edge of Montgomery County includes sections of Ohio to Erie Trail, Creekside Trail, Mad River Trail, Great Miami River Trail, and Wolf Creek Trail, with the only gap being five miles between west Dayton and Trotwood.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Sheet Pan Vegetables

When you have leftover raw vegetables, a little of this, a little of that, cut them into bite-sized pieces, stick them in a plastic bag and add a little oil, salt, pepper, and whatever spices you like.  Place a cookie sheet in the oven, set it to 400 degrees then wait until it finishes preheating.  Take the cookie sheet out of the oven,  dump the vegetables on it and return to the oven, baking them for 20 minutes at the same 400 degrees.  Chef Elaine used red bell pepper, onion, broccoli, carrots, and butternut squash to make the masterpiece shown below.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Miter Box

I bought this miter box and hand saw combo a forgotten number of years ago but somehow remembered I had it as I needed to cut some casings and wanted to avoid using my table saw that's out in a very cold garage.  It has grooves for cutting at 22.5, 45, and 90 degrees and makes a much smoother cut than a circular saw.  Ignore the shag carpeting on the floor.  It's going to the dump soon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Medicare Blunder

Assuming that Medicare would cover my annual physical and waiting a year since my last one, I was surprised to see that it wasn't covered, which set me back $279.  The explanation, per the Explanation of Benefits, was ...

"This service was denied. Medicare doesn't cover an Annual Wellness Visit within the first 12 months of your Medicare Part B coverage. Medicare does cover a one-time Welcome to Medicare preventive visit within the first 12 months."

So I should have scheduled the "Welcome to Medicare" visit, not the "Annual Wellness" visit.

While Medicare overall is pretty good, there are a few "gotchas", and this one "gotcha'd me good".

More info at this AARP link.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Magic Mouse 2

I bought my first Magic Mouse (which I truly love) ten years ago and it finally gave up the ghost.  With the snowstorm coming, I rushed over to the Apple Store at The Greene and purchased a new one, which is now in its second version.  The big difference is there are no replaceable AA batteries needed (yeah!), just charge it with the provided cable plugged into a USB port on one side and into the little lightning port shown at the bottom of the picture below.  The only downside is when it's being charged you can't use it.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Backreaction Blog

I really admire people that can take incredibly complex topics and bring them down to my level.  One such blog I recently ran across is Beackreaction, where Sabine Hossenfelder, a theoretical physicist and Research Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, tackles subjects involving quantum technology, the origin of atoms, the reality of time, and much more.  Her blogs, which you can find at the link below, also include embedded YouTube links, giving you the option of reading or listening.

Shout out to my friend John S. for the tip!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Fullstar Chopper

This is sort of like a Swiss army knife for your kitchen and packs a bunch of different slicers, dicers, spiralers, graters, and even a juicer, into an amazingly small package.  Perhaps the best feature is the cut-resistant glove to help keep the tips of your fingers from becoming a casualty.

Shout out to our friend Grace for finding this first!

Thursday, February 11, 2021


My daughter gifted me StoryWorth for a Christmas present and I couldn't be more thrilled.  Each week I get an email with a question she's selected and I email back with a story from my life.  After 52 weeks, all my responses are compiled into a book like the one shown below.  Every week I get to recall parts of my life I haven't thought about in ages and being a guy that likes to write, it's no bother to sit behind my keyboard and bang out a tale.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Dishwasher Filter

Until a few weeks ago, I never knew, and never thought to consider, that a dishwasher has a filter in it, in our case, two of them.  If I showed you what ours looked like before I cleaned them, you might never come over for dinner again, it was that obscene.  If you've never cleaned yours, you might want to find your Tums first.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

A Punt

The indentation at the bottom of a wine bottle is called a punt.  No clue why it's called that, but its shape made sense in the olden days when bottles were hand-fashioned by glassblowers.  But there are some good reasons for keeping the punt, including...

  • A thin-walled bottom could easily break
  • For sparkling wines, the punt increases the strength of the bottle
  • Extra weight at the bottom of the bottle gives the bottle more stability
Personally, I like the other end better, you know, the end where the wine comes out...

Monday, February 8, 2021

New Lug Nuts

Most of the lug nuts on my 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee were nasty looking like the ones in the left picture, and after 17 years I guess that's expected, so an asked-for Christmas gift was the $18 set of new shiny ones seen on the right.  Even though I did find the tire iron (see my 1/18/2021 post for details), removing them turned out to be a problem, and not wanting to cause any damage that could cost a bunch to fix, I had the nice folks at USA Tire (see my 3/26/2019 post) do the installation, which only set me back $20 plus tax.


Friday, February 5, 2021

Juggernaut Pinot Noir

While most of the three-wines-of-the-month we get from Rumbleseat Wine are good, occasionally we get one that we go back for more, in this case, a 2018 Juggernaut Pinot Noir.  The three bottles below were the last they had on the shelf, but if they get more in, I'm sure we'll snag even more.  This is not a wimpy Pinot, but the oomph you might expect from a Cabernet while maintaining that unmistakable Pinot cherry taste.