Monday, June 28, 2021

Restricted Crossing U-Turn (RCUT)

The Ohio Department of Transportation has completed a $1.8 million Restricted Crossing U-turn at U.S. 42 and Spring Valley Paintersville Road in Greene County.  Traffic on Spring Valley Paintersville Road now only can turn right, avoiding having to navigate both lanes of high-speed traffic on U.S. 42.  A short distance after you make your right turn, a center, left-hand turn lane allows you to cross the oncoming traffic and into a large loon on the other side where you do a 180-degree turn in order to merge back on U.S. 42 in the opposite direction, where you can continue straight (if you wanted a left turn in the first place) or make a right turn and get back on Spring Valley Paintersville Road (if you wanted to go straight in the first place).

The first picture below is the view of Spring Valley Paintersville Road traveling westbound, with signs for both north and south U.S. 42 pointing right and the blocked median the prevents any other turn.  The second picture is the view from the left turn lane on U.S. 42 with the large semi-circular loon on the left.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Bucatini Carbonara

There seems to be no end to the different shapes of pasta and Bucatini was new to us.  Bucatini is like a very thick, but hollow, spaghetti, and gives it a satisfying mouthfeel.  That gets added to a saute pan of rendered pancetta and garlic, followed by an egg and cheese mixture.  To find out how some of the pasta water is used in both the pancetta and egg mixture, consult the detailed instructions at the link below.

Thursday, June 24, 2021


I've added this extension to my chrome browser to avoid being unknowingly tracked.  The typical method used is an invisible, one-pixel image that when loaded tells the tracker that I've read their email.  They use another method to tell if I've clicked on a link in the email.  It's just the hidden nature of what they're doing that bugs me, not that I don't understand why they want to know what works and what doesn't.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Hold The Mail

Here's a way to inform your mail carrier that you've requested a mail hold but perhaps they didn't get the memo.  A little duct tape around the mailbox should do the trick.  Perhaps you could just remove the mailbox and take it inside, but this certainly gets the message delivered.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Cardinal Greenway Rail Trail

One of the nicest multi-use recreational trails I've seen is the Cardinal Greenway in Indiana.  The southern end is located in Richmond and it winds north, loosely following US-35 through Muncie, then turns more northwesterly as it crosses another ten miles to the town of Gaston.  There's an eleven-mile gap between Gaston and Jonesboro before the trail restarts for an eight-mile journey to the city of Marion.  

The picture below demonstrates the wide, flat, and gently winding nature of the trail, and one of the many little stops along the way where you can park your car and access the trail.

Monday, June 21, 2021


When I saw these premixed gallons of fuel for 2-cycle engines like my weed wacker and blower, I thought it genius and possibly an easy way to replace the messy and smelly task of buying and mixing it myself.  But the price tag, at about $24, is a big premium and dashed my hopes.  Maybe it's really a superior product, but I'll pass for now.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Hanger Steak with Grilled Salsa

The star of this show is the Grilled Salsa. Corn, jalapenos and onion are cooked whole on the grill until tender.  Rough chop the onion and jalapeno and cut the corn off the cob, and combine in a large bowl with
tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and hot sauce.  This makes a delicious side dish, a filler for any Mexican taco or tortilla or a topping for your favorite taco chips.  

Big shout out to Chef Elaine for finding this please-make-it-again-soon recipe!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Flattest State

If you have ever driven I-70 through Kansas, you would swear it would have to be the flattest state in the U.S.  Not true according to the folks at the University of Kansas.  Their research shows Kansas comes in at number 7, with Florida being the flattest, followed by Illinois, North Dakota, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Delaware.  You can read more about the method they used to determine "flatness" at the link below.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Camera Zoom

Getting a sewing machine's needle threaded gets to be a bigger eyesight challenge every year, but my smartphone's camera zoom came to the rescue a couple days ago.  At its max, my Pixel 2 has a 7x zoom, and I threaded the needle on my first attempt.  There was likely a bit of luck to that, but I'll take the win.   

Tuesday, June 15, 2021


We received a yearly supply of fatwood from my wife's late mother, a thoughtful gift as she knew we love to sit outside on a slightly chilly night around our firepit, and fatwood is a great fire-starter.  I thought this was a manufactured product that added chemicals to the pieces of wood, but that's not at all true.  Fatwood, as you can read more about at the link below, is made from stumps of coniferous trees (e.g. pine) and over time the wood's sap, the volatile hydrocarbon terpene, hardens into a resin, making it no longer sticky.  With a few of these, anyone can start a blazing fire in no time.

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.