Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Star Trek: Picard

I just finished the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+ and of all the shows and movies in the world of Star Trek, this last season was by far the best and blew me away.  The first two seasons set up new characters and were enjoyable, but bringing so many of the original crew back for the last season, a very clever plot line and hundreds of starships firing phasers and photon torpedos in vivid high-def was uber cool.  If you're a fan, this is a don't-miss.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Killing Patton

Our most recent road trip allowed us to listen to an audiobook called Killing Patton which details the last year of World War II and the odd circumstances of the car crash that ended up killing the general.  It's a fascinating recollection of the battles and individual heroism that defined the war, but the atrocities some German and Russian soldiers were capable of inflicting were very disturbing.  I have a newfound appreciation for Harry Truman, who might have been the only leader back then who did not have a mistress.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Reaching Cincinnati

The screen went black as we watched the Tampa Bay/Detroit NFL playoff game on YouTube TV.  None of the other channels were affected and after 10-15 minutes, I hooked up the antenna below and tuned to WDTN.  Also black.  After a couple more minutes, I had the idea to try the Cincinnati NBC affiliate, WLWT, and, bingo, the game was back.  This antenna is not the one I blogged about back in 2019, but a more recent purchase that promised a 60-mile range and it certainly delivered that, and just what we needed to overcome the root problem, a power outage at WDTN.

The antenna I have is no longer for sale, but at the link below you can find the one I would buy next which advertises a 600+ mile range for $36.  Sounds too good to be true.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Old Louisville Tavern

Sometimes you just luck into a great lunch at an unknown restaurant like The Old Louisville Tavern located just south of downtown Louisville, Kentucky.  Chef Elaine went for the Ville’y Cheesesteak and I the Grilled Pastrami Reuben, both of which piled high and delicious.  Great little neighborhood place and if you're ever in the area, we highly recommend bringing a hungry tummy.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Irish Coffee

Chef Elaine makes a wicked Irish Coffee like the two shown below.  Unlike the purest recipe at the link below, she starts with white sugar on the bottom, a half-cup of decaf coffee (this was an after-dinner drink), a good shot (or two) of Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, Reddi-Wip sweetened whipped cream, and topped with nutmeg.  The average time to drink the whole cup must be under two minutes because it's just that good.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Google Maps Timeline 2023

I have Location History turned on in my Google settings and after the end of the year they send me a map, like the one below of 2023, that shows the various cities I've visited.  Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Lexington, Louisville, Asheville, Charlotte, Chapel Hill, and a few Florida cities made a lot of driving and a few airplane flights.  It's just nice to recollect the year and while it might spook some that I allow Google to keep this personal information, my cell phone would be a much larger concern if I was paranoid.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

The Best Of 2023

As is my yearly tradition, I keep track of notable events and experiences during the year then narrow that down to the top ten, and publish the results over on my Life Experiences blog, each coming with a short descriptive paragraph, which you can find at the link below.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Highest Continent

A recent game show question asked which continent (Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, Australia) had the highest average elevation. The surprising answer was Antarctica at 7,545 feet above sea level.  That rises to 9,300 feet at the South Pole and tops out at 16,050 feet at Mount Vinson.  I had pictured Antarica as a big, flat sheet of ice, but its reality is much different.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Cincinnati Style Chili

I love Cincinnati-style chili and hit Skyline Chili restaurants several times a year.  Still, when Chef Elaine makes a half-gallon of homemade chili sauce I know I'm going to splurge on a super-sized, three-way plate like the one shown below, plus multiple plates in the future since the sauce freezes well.  For those not in the know, a three-way is spaghetti, sauce, and cheese; add onions to get a four-way and beans to get a five-way.  Lots of Frank's Hot Sauce is a must for me.

The video at the link below shows how to make it, but Katie Lee Biegel uses her own spice mix which (IMHO) is way too much work, and a 2.25-ounce packet of Cincinnati Recipe Chili Mix is a better choice.  But the back-and-forth banter between Katie (a Miami University grad) and her co-hosts (none of whom know about Cincinnati-style chili) is precious.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Martini Freeze

We've upgraded our at-home martini experience with a pair of Martini Freeze cooling cups.  The cooling gel cups freeze solid inside the double-walled chamber and this keeps the martini chilled without the need for a couple of large ice cubes, which of course, dilutes the drink as they melt.  While we're not fond of drinking from plastic anything, this tradeoff is worth it.

We bought ours at our local Von Maur store, Chef Elaine's favorite shopping experience.  Learn a little more at the link below.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Bicycle Detected

We spotted the sign below at the northeast corner of David and Marshall Roads in Kettering and wondered what it was all about.  A little research found that this sign lets a cyclist know that the in-pavement detector knows they're there and will cause the traffic light to cycle for them.  Without this, and assuming there is no vehicular traffic that will trigger a green light, the cyclist would either have to navigate over to and press the crosswalk button or run the red light.  

I found three instances along Kettering on-street bike paths that have sensors installed and in each case the configuration is different.  At this intersection, there is no on-pavement sign to let a rider know where the sensor is located,  On Overland Trail and Stroop Road there is a sign labeled "Detector" pointing to a spot on the pavement, but no "Bicycle Detected" sign.  Finally, on northbound Ackerman Blvd at Dorothy Lane, a complete setup can be found with clearly marked road signs and the "Bicycle Detected" sign.  

More details can be found at the link below.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Drug Commercials

I have a beef with drug commercials.  Aside from the fact that you can't buy them and a doctor has to prescribe them, I find that they all seem to follow a similar script.  First, they describe symptoms and how they make your life unhappy along with videos of scratching, sneezing, wheezing, running to the can, or whatever it takes, along with the hope that their drug could eliminate your miseries.  The second part is the most distracting and (IMHO) despicable, as they begin to recite possible side effects.  The video and audio now turn to happy times, dancing, kissing grandbabies, outdoor BBQs, hugging puppies, and smiles all around, anything to distract your attention and ignore the warnings.  Finally, they have a quick wrap-up to exhort you to contact your doctor.  

While I normally just mute these commercials as they never apply to me, every once in a while I'll watch the first part and then close my eyes and just listen to the second part.  It's amazing how much more dire these warnings are when your eyes are not involved.

Once more thing:  Is a warning that states "Do not take this product if you're allergic to it" really necessary?  Are some people really that stupid?  I guess we both know that answer.  Sigh...

Monday, January 15, 2024

Hot Tub

Chef Elaine has had a hot tub forever and when the last one reached end-of-life a few years ago, we decided we were not yet ready to live without one.  It's a bit of an expensive indulgence, but when you're sitting there watching the snow fly and the wind whip while soaking in 103-degree water, winter doesn't seem as bad.  The Chef takes care of the chemicals and the cleaning and her sidekick (me) shovels a path and moves the cover.  The rough part is getting the hot tub open because your body is at room temperature.  Closing it is easy as your body is so warm the elements don't matter.  We got the hot tub and supplies at Knickerbocker and their link is below.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Kitchen Torch

I'm putting this recent gift of a kitchen torch to good use, melting some slathered homemade garlic butter (thanks to Chef Elaine) on a bread roll and finishing it with a little charring.  Notice I put a cookie sheet under the bread to help avoid any damage to the countertop (even though it's granite).  This is a serious piece of equipment and (IMHO) the second most dangerous piece of kitchen gear after the sharp blades of our mandolin.  The nozzle stays hot so letting it cool in a safe space is very important.

Thursday, January 11, 2024


I let myself splurge once a year on a half-a-gallon of eggnog and for my money, nobody can beat the Reiter brand shown below, which I found at Dot's Market on Patterson Road.  If you look at the "Nutrition Facts" at the link below, you can see why it's only once a year.  This half-gallon comes in at a staggering 2,560 calories of creamy goodness, but it took me at least ten days to drink, so daily it's not so bad...?

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Linear TV

I heard the term "Linear TV" recently and had no clue what it meant, so I went searching.  The article at the link below explains the term, which means "watching TV like I did as a kid", with shows airing once at a specific date and time.  It goes on to use the term OTT, "Over-the-Top Television", to describe today's world of streaming.  But I think Chef Elaine and I have viewing habits that go beyond just two simple terms.  

Most shows we watch in real-time are sports, mainly professional and college football, professional hockey, and college basketball.  We agree that professional baseball and basketball suck and no way we watch those.  YouTubeTV has a great DVR feature and has many shows available to watch whenever you like and those we split into skippable and non-skippable commercials.  We mute the non-skippable commercials, except for the funny ones like the Allstate Mayhem, Progressive Turning into Your Parents, or the bantering of Samuel L. Jackson, Charles Barkley, and Spike Lee.  Finally, like most folk nowadays, we stream shows commercial-free from paid services, with some of our favorites being on Netflix (Virgin River, Suits, Manifest), Paramount+ (Billions, Tulsa King), Max (Game of Thrones, The Gilded Age), and Amazon Prime (Ozark, Grace and Frankie, Schitt's Creek, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel).

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Grape Balls

When the stress relief ball shown below was first demonstrated to me, I was startled to see the lime green "grapes" pop out from the blue, meshed-covered toy.  It's oddly satisfying and I can't wait to give one to our three-year-old grandson. The one Amazon sells at the link below differs from this product, but it should be very similar.  If you keep a list of future presents to buy (of course I do), you might want to add it now.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Space Bar Slide

If you fumble around trying to get positioned at the proper place on a line of text using your phone or tablet, you probably have never run across the "space bar slide".  As demonstrated below, you just slide your finger left or right across the space bar and the cursor slides character by character in the same direction.  This works on my Google Pixel 7 and Chef Elaine's iPhone 11, but it took installing GBoard (a keyboard by Google) to have it work on my iPad.  

Friday, January 5, 2024

Garlic Prime Rib

Chef Elaine earns five stars for this super-delicious Prime Rib.  We bought this 5.5-pound monster at Dot's Market, our source for most of our meats then she marinaded it with the combination of minced garlic, thyme, olive oil, salt, and pepper found in the recipe at the link below.  It was seared in a 500-degree oven for 30 minutes and continued at 325 degrees until medium rare.  It took far longer than the recipe suggested, partially because it started below room temperature even after an hour out of the refrigerator.  

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Mr. Coffee

We recently replaced our Cuisinart drip coffee maker with the Mr. Coffee machine shown on the right in the picture below.  While it brews a bit faster and the coffee tastes a bit better, what makes this such a nice upgrade is its water reservoir and coffee filter box.  The reservoir is removable, so Chef Elaine no longer has to fill up a pitcher with water and slowly and carefully pour it into the machine.  The filter box slides out and lays flat, so it can be filled near the sink, making the occasional spill of coffee grounds easier to clean up.  Also appreciated is that just a few of the most-needed options are included, resulting in just six buttons (brew now, brew later, strong, clean, hour, minute).  A few other goodies are listed at the link below.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Special Teams Coach

Chef Elaine's oldest son Patrick has accepted the position of Special Teams Coordinator for the Texas A&M Aggies football team after two very successful years at Duke University.  I'll miss Duke, and getting to see Duke basketball games, but this is a great move and a huge challenge to compete in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) along with top teams such as Alabama, Georgia, and LSU.  I'll be replacing my nine-hour drive to Durham with an equally long, door-to-door trip to College Station, Texas.  Now I need to practice my "y'all" and perhaps learn a few words of Spanish.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024


The story begins with Chef Elaine placing an online order for a floral centerpiece to be delivered to a friend.  But what was delivered was a normal vase of flowers, different from what was ordered.  That began an online exchange with what we now know to be an AI-powered chatbot (LunaAI).  The chatbot promised a redelivery or a refund, neither of which happened.  After more prodding, a human got involved and wanted to offer a 25% refund and a lame excuse, as shown below.  That eventually was increased to a 50% refund, but we only wanted what was ordered or our money back.  It wasn't until after we disputed the charge with the credit card that we got a full refund.  Needless to say, we won't be using that company again.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Webcam Tests

In a post last week I mentioned that my Pixel 7 webcam had 2.25 times more pixels than my regular webcam and this blog explains how I came to know that.  The WebCamTests website at the link below was the source of that knowledge and a whole lot more.  My Pixel 7 returned a resolution of 1920x1080 and my normal webcam returned 1280x720.  Doing the multiplication and division returns the 2.25 number.  

The site automatically detects your webcam and runs several tests that can take up to a minute to complete.  There are several other functions provided by the website and one of the fun ones is creating a greeting card.  Say "cheese!."