Monday, July 31, 2023

Old Glory

As you can see in the lefthand picture below, the flag flying at Walnut Grove Country Club was too small for their very tall pole.  The length of the flag should be at least one-quarter the height of the pole, so eyeballing the height of this pole at forty feet, Chef Elaine and I donated the 6'x10' flag seen on the right to the club to put some glory in Old Glory.  The sizing chart at the link below shows the proper flag size for poles from 15' to 70' tall.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Frederik's Meatballs

I blogged about Frederik's, Meijer's store brand, last September and wanted to share that we love their Sweet Italian Meatballs shown below.  Chef Elaine uses them in her otherwise all-vegetable soup and when we carb-splurge a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.  While she has some fantastic recipes for homemade meatballs, these are just too easy and too good to ignore.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Cucumber Cooler

We first had a Cucumber Cooler at Hidden Valley Orchards (HVO) in Lebanon, Ohio and we just had to make them at home during these hot summer months.  It's a simple combination of vodka and the Fever-Tree Cucumber Tonic Water shown below on ice, finished with a couple of mint leaves and slices of lemon and cucumber.  I'm not usually a big fan of flavored waters, but this one is the best I've tried and the only problem is finding a store that stocks it.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Two Bits

At my local hardware store, I picked up twenty finishing nails which were sold by the pound.  The manager of the store told me the cost was two bits and I just stood there looking at him, unable to figure out how much that was.  He let me know that two bits were twenty-five cents and the term comes from the old Spanish coins "pieces of eight" where each one was worth 12.5 cents.  The Spanish dollar was much larger than the other coins and was often cut into eight smaller parts, hence each one was worth an eighth of the dollar. Therefore, with two bits of this Spanish dollar, you had 25 cents.

It probably didn't help that I'm a computer guy and a bit means something totally different to me...

Tuesday, July 25, 2023


The Freesound website contains over a half-million sounds and effects that you can use for free (I love free).  I recently used a thunderstorm sound to add an audio dimension to a project so it would attract attention as students came by.  The sounds are under a few different licenses, but it's easy to search only for those released under the Creative Commons 0 License, which does not even require attribution.  As an example, turn up your volume a bit and click on the link below.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Parfait Container

Sometimes something so simple is so brilliant, like the packaging of the butterscotch parfait shown below.  The cashier at DiSalvo's Deli in Kettering, Ohio used a normal plastic container and lid, but turned it upside down, placing the parfait on the lid and covering it with the container.  Makes for both an easy way to package it and for the customer to open it when they need their treat.  When we asked the cashier about this, he told us he had packaged them all sorts of ways for many years, but when a new hire packaged it this way, he was stunned.  So simple, yet...

Friday, July 21, 2023

Pineapple Dip

This Pineapple Dip might be the most addictive substance on the planet.  I can't be in its presence and not find myself dipping a few more chips, not being able to stop until I physically walk away.

Just blend together a twenty-ounce can of heavy-syrup crushed pineapple and two, 8-ounce packages of cream cheese.  That's it.  No extras like sugar, vanilla, garlic, onion powder, honey, or lemon juice that other recipes call for.  Serve with potato chips, preferably the Lay's shown below.

A big shout-out to my good friend Grace for this recipe!

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Strawberry Banana V8

I love a good strawberry daiquiri but too often they come out sweeter than I prefer, so when I noticed the Strawberry Banana V8 juice shown below I bought it, added some to my daiquiri mixture, and voila, a better, less sweet drink.  It's labeled "100% Juice Strawberry Banana Juice", which may sound strange, but when you read the ingredients, it is 100% juice, of which the tastes of the strawberry and banana juices stand out.  But it also includes sweet potato, carrot, beet, grape, and apple juices.  Nonetheless, it tastes good.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Rearward Expansion

The picture below comes from the back of the Kroger grocery store at Stroop and Shroyer Roads in Kettering, Ohio.  The space you see is the old CVS store that was vacated a while back and not content with just that amount of extra space, they are knocking out the back and expanding the building.  My guess is the extra space will be used for more inventory, not customer space, but it could also be for customer pickup, a feature neither Chef Elaine nor I have or will ever use.  Time will tell.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Patio Door Moulding

Finally got around to replacing the rotting moulding around the exterior side of the garage-to-patio door.  It was rotting because some Brainiac (not me) used wood moulding and the bottom just soaked up the rainwater.  The new trim on the right is made of vinyl which will eliminate that problem going forward.  The moulding set at the link below came with pre-mitered corners, eliminating one diagonal cut on the top piece, and needed just two straight cuts to get the proper height.

Huge shout-out to my brother-in-law Albert for installing the moulding and letting me help (a little!).

Monday, July 17, 2023

Solar Animal Repeller

The owl-looking thing at the top of the picture below is helping keep squirrels away.  This area is where our tulips bloomed so beautifully this spring and then the squirrels feasted on the bulbs below.  This device is motion-activated, runs on solar power, emits sounds at disagreeable frequencies, and flashes lights of multiple colors.  We can't say it's 100% effective, but as long as we periodically move it, most animals stay away.

Friday, July 14, 2023


The tajin shown below is a potent combination of chili pepper, salt, and lime, making it perfect for your next Taco Tuesday or the rim of a beer.  In Spanish, tajin means thunder or smoke, so it's aptly named.  Finding it in your grocery store can be challenging as it might be in the spice, International or World foods, or perhaps in the Mexican aisle.  More information on tajin, and the different foods it goes well with, can be found at this link.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Foch Wine

A.R. Winery in Arcanum, Ohio makes a couple of wines from the Marechal Foch grape including "All Foched Up" and the "What the Foch!" shown below.  This grape was historically grown in France's Loire Valley, but since a hybrid, production is now very limited under French law.  It's commonly grown in Ohio and other cooler climates as it fully ripens in shorter growing seasons.

Foch is pronounced "faw-sh", in case you want to use it in polite company.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023


Chef Elaine uses a Shark Rocket Deluxe Pro for our floors and stairs, and when the center wand is removed, it's the perfect size for our grandson shown below.  He can literally spend hours vacuuming everything in sight and it's usually a tear-filled fit when it's time to put it away.  In addition to vacuums, he also loves mops, Swiffers, brooms, and hair dryers.  No idea what is running through this cutie's mind.


Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Alligator Sighting

Having a 5-foot fake blue alligator (or perhaps a crocodile) adorning your front yard is strange enough, but chaining it to a tree is over the top.  Maybe the owners think that someone would want to steal their precious?  The rest of the house was pretty ordinary looking until I spotted the fake frog on the chimney and then a couple of fake birds in the bushes.  

In case this is your thing, it's located at the intersection of Aerial Avenue and Storms Road in Kettering, Ohio.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Horse Of A Different Color

When Dorothy and her traveling companions entered the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz movie, she inquires about what type of horse is pulling their carriage and the reply was "That's a horse of a different color.".  Growing up I never understood what the line meant and it wasn't until I was in college that it became obvious.  See, I grew up with only a black-and-white television.

My mother was dead set against those new-fangled color TVs and perhaps rightfully so as the color quality could be quite horrible.  Finally, my siblings and I decided we would buy our parents a color TV as a Christmas present and I went to a nearby Rex TV & Appliances store and bought a 19" Magnavox that had excellent color.  Our Mother fell in love with it.

The next time I watched The Wizard of Oz, I understood the reference and appreciated the colorful Land of Oz.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Tuna Salad

The dinner shown below is a super-low-carb choice, featuring Chef Elaine's homemade tuna salad on bibb lettuce topped with some shredded cheddar cheese.  Tuna salad recipes come in all shapes and sizes, but the one at the link below incorporates my favorite additions, particularly red onion and celery.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Blackberry Rumble

After our golf match at Puttery, I decided to try a different cocktail, and their "Rumble" caught my eye.  Shown below, it's a combination of rum, blackberries, and lemon that's packed with flavor but not too sweet.  After a lot of Internet searching, the closest recipe I could find, at the link below, was for a Blackberry Bramble, made with gin but I think rum could be substituted.  Looks like some work to make, but blackberries are in season from July to September, so now's the time to try.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Puttery Pittsburgh

Add Puttery to the list of indoor golfing experiences that include food and a full bar.  Located in Pittsburgh's Strip District, the nine-hole course called Lodge is pictured below and consists of very short but tricky holes that take some strategy to score well.  There is a platform at the tee box to rest your drink while you play that hole.  You keep your score on a screen and when everyone completes that hole, your scores are automatically moved to the screen at the next tee.  Two other courses are available, Library and Garage, making a total of 27 holes spanning two floors.  Best of all, Puttery is adults-only.

Chef Elaine had the low score of our group of eight, including a pair of holes-in-one.  

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

USB-C to USB Adapters

My Mac Mini comes with only two regular-sized USB ports and that's one or two short of what I need on a regular basis, so I bought a powered USB hub a couple of years ago to get more ports.  What I failed to realize at the time is the Mac Mini also has four USB-C ports which can be converted to regular USB using the small adapter shown below.  My messy desk just got a bit cleaner.

A three-pack is just $10 at the Amazon link below.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Window Shadings

We upgraded the faux wood-slat blinds in our living room with Alta Window Shadings, specifically their Passion Destiny's Dream.  As shown below, even though the two smaller shadings at either end are open to let in light, no one can see in during the day.  At night, close the blinds to keep out prying eyes.  We opted for the single pull cord, a child safety feature, that "rachets" the shadings up, down, open, and close, but it does take some time to get the hang of it.  A final note: this is not a good solution if you have dogs, cats, or any other little creature that could get its hands on the shadings, as they would rip fairly easily.