Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Kent Pietsch Animated GIF

One of the regular performers at the Reno Air Show is Kent Pietsch in his Interstate Cadet. You can read more about Kent and his brother at their website. He does several different performances including a comedy act and a dead stick performance to a spot landing. However, my favorite is the stunt where he lands his plane on a moving RV. The platform on the RV has two shallow depressions near the front that match the footprint of the main landing gear. Kent touches down and gets the gear in the depressions and stops on the RV. By the time the RV gets up to speed, he only has a few seconds to land and there isn't much room for error. It is amazing to watch.

Last September at Reno, I took several photos during one of his attempts to land on a very windy day. The winds were gusting so bad even one of the biplane races was cancelled. I didn't think he'd try it with such a light plane. I put them together into the animated GIF below. I know, a video camera would be better. I just felt like playing with the series of still photos. In one of the early frames you see the wind sock straight out. It was close, but he didn't make it on this attempt. In fact on the last frame you see the tail go down and the front wheels come up as he pulled away to set up for another try.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ketchup with French Fries

Lunch at KPMHIn my last post I mentioned Dianne and I had lunch at the Portsmouth airport. Here is a picture of our lunches after we added ketchup to our respective plates. Note the difference in how the ketchup is applied. It was classic! When you have a platter of fries, do you drizzle your ketchup or make a pool and dip the fries? Can you guess which platter was Dianne's and which was mine? Leave a comment with your answers.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Weekend Flying Destinations

Tony at kpmh 2On Friday, Dianne and I flew to the greater Portsmouth airport for lunch at the Skyline restaurant on the field. For Cincinnati folks, it's not a chili parlor. That's just the name of the restaurant. It's just a simple, old sit down spot in the terminal building. It's about a 45 minute flight and it was a beautiful, warm day. Dianne took a picture of me in front of the Tiger with the cell phone -- I forgot the big camera. On the way we flew over the Kenwood mall and the Eastgate mall areas and both were packed with cars. I was glad we were in the air and not looking for parking and dealing with the holiday shoppers.
iraqi apc at kpmh
The airport has a captured Iraqi personnel carrier on the field as a veterans memorial. You can read more about it (sort of) in this picture of the stone near the apc. You can see Dianne (just barely) behind the Iraqi personnel carrier.

On Sunday, I flew south to Middlesboro, KY. It was another beautiful day to fly. The winds were light and the few clouds in the Cincinnati area were very high. I think this is the first airport I've ever flown to that doesn't have an instrument approach. The reason for that is the Middlesboro airport is located in a roughly bowl shaped valley in the low Appalachian mountains near the Tennessee border. Some of the mountains are about 2000 feet above the airport and are only a few miles away. You have to make a steep, non-standard approach to land at the airport. Tony at 1A6It was the first time I've flown into an airport in the mountains. It was good experience since the winds were light. You can see some of the mountains in the background of this picture of the Tiger on the ramp at Middlesboro.

The reason I flew there is the airport is the home to the Lost Squadron museum. The museum was established to display the Glacier Girl -- a P-38 the group recovered from the icecap in Greenland. Read more about the history and the recovery story at their website. They removed the plane in pieces through a tunnel in the ice, brought it back here, and restored it to flying condition. Unfortunately, the plane wasn't at the museum today! The Glacier Girl made a trip to Nellis AFB in Las Vegas for the air show and is spending the winter in California. That was disappointing. She should be back for a couple weeks in May or June before recreating the flight to England that it never completed in 1942. Even though I didn't see the lightning, it was a nice trip to Middlesboro. Your can see the set of pictures I took at the field and in the museum.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

All-TIME 100

Time magazine has put together a list of the 100 best albums. This is nothing new to those who read Time, but I read about it on the Neverending Rainbow site. You can see the list by decade here. It's fun to review the list and see if your favorite artist or album made the cut. Some of the choices are compilations which are probably good, but not ones I would have included in such a list. Of course you'll notice some of your favorites that didn't make the list. For example, who in their right mind would leave out one of the top selling debut albums ever -- where is Boston in the 70's!?! Also, as Pat pointed out recently, reviewing a list like this brings back memories of people and places associated with the music. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Squirrel Melt

VH1's show "Web Junk 20" is back for a new season that started last week. The weekly show is a countdown of and witty commentary on the latest strange stuff from the internet.

My favorite clip from the first show answered the eternal question of "what's for dinner?" It's a video of a woman taking her son squirrel hunting and then cooking squirrel melt. Here is the whole clip. They claimed it was a segment from an actual TV series. Mmm...mmm...good!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Apple Stuffed Chicken Breast

A few weeks ago I was on a business trip to upstate New York. I stayed at Fred's Inn and had a nice dinner there of an apple raisin stuffed chicken breast. Today I tried coming up with my own version that was veggie and raisin safe for Dianne. It turned out pretty well.

The key was Jack Lalanne's power juicer. I juiced three apples (two Braeburn and one Granny Smith). I took all the pulp (about 2 cups) and added about a cup of bread crumbs and a few tablespoons of the juice, some sage, thyme, and parsley. That was the stuffing. I made a pocket in each boneless, skinless chicken breast, filled it with stuffing, and tied it shut. Dianne browned the breasts and then we finished them in a 350 degree oven until the internal temp was well above 165. It took about 30 minutes.

I deglazed the pan with about 1 1/2 cups of the apple juice and some white wine. I also added a bit of thyme, sage, and pepper. I reduced that down and added just a bit of cornstarch to thicken slightly. To balance the sweet flavor, I added a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. I used that sauce on top of the chicken when plating.

With the chicken, we had sauteed green beans with lemon zest and a cheese hashbrown casserole. It was a good dinner -- the chicken had a nice, savory apple flavor. It was a pretty good imitation of the dinner I had at Fred's Inn.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Aqua Bouncer

I like watching Parental Control on MTV. Parents interview candidates and choose two new people for their son or daughter to date. The parents hope their kid will make a new connection in order to get rid of the bad person their kid is currently seeing. The parents and the current girlfriend or boyfriend watch the dates together and comment. It's hard to believe how obnoxious and disrespectful most of these kids are to the parents. It's fun to predict who the parents will choose and then predict if their son or daughter will stick with their current date or dump them and pick one of the new people.

On a recent episode, one of the new people arranged a water adventure with an aqua bouncer. It's a self propelled, hydrofoil like platform that moves forward as you bounce up and down. You can see a video of folks using it here. It looked like fun. However, it wasn't enough to make a connection on the date.

Friday, November 17, 2006

US City Data

Looking for information about a US city? I was looking up something and found the City-Data.com site today. The site has basic information (e.g. climate, population, housing costs, crime rates, radio/TV stations, maps, etc.) on many US cities. It reminds me of an almanac in many ways. I found it interesting to browse. For example, I knew Cincinnati didn't get as much sunshine as other places I've lived. However, we're well below the national average -- especially in the winter months. I also found out Cincinnati is the birthplace of Charles Manson and Steven Spielberg among other famous folks. It's fun to look up places you've lived or where you grew up.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Calling All Bengal Fans

Campbell's Chunky soup is running their Click for Cans campaign again this year. Visit chunky.com once a day from now through mid December and vote for your favorite NFL team. Campbell's will donate one can of soup to a local food bank for each pound of weight on the winning team. Right now the Packers are way out in first place.

But Campbell's will also donate 2006 cans of soup to a local food bank of the team that improves the most from last year. Right now the Bengals are in the lead for most improved. Click here to go to the voting page and vote for the Bengals. It's a quick and easy way to help the Freestore Food Bank aid needy folks in our area. And spread the word.

Thanks to the Foodie Report for pointing out the contest.

Cheap Thrills Cuisine

Planning a meal but tired of reading traditional cookbooks? Do you like comic books or graphic novels? Time to check out Cheap Thrills Cuisine. CTC is a syndicated comic strip that presents illustrated recipes. If you don’t have CTC in your newspaper, or you don’t read the paper, you can check out the strip online at the United Media site. Thanks to the Foo Logs for pointing out this strip.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Always Room for Innovation

Nails have been around for a long time. I would have thought that nail design would have been…well…nailed down by now. But I was wrong. Popular Science posted their picks for the best of what is new in 2006. In the Home Tech category, the top innovation is a new nail, designed by Bostitch, called the HurriQuake nail. It’s an improved design to better withstand nature’s fury during hurricanes and earthquakes. A neat innovation without adding much cost.

Another innovative item that caught my eye in the Home Tech category is the X-beam wrench. It’s another example of a simple twist on an old design that lets you push against the wide, flat portion of a wrench rather than along the narrow edge. Presumably it shouldn’t add much cost either. I would guess adding the twist has some strength implications for the wrench, but for everyday applications the added comfort seems like a good idea.

Check out the Popular Science site for picks in other categories.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Foodie Report

Thanks to Lauren for pointing out The Foodie Report blog. From the title, folks in the Cincinnati area might think it's related to Jungle Jims (note the foodie poll on the lower right of the JJ page). If you've been to the store, you know what I mean. But that's not the case.

The Foodie Report is a collection of food, restaurant, and recipe related items posted by several members of the staff at the Cincinnati Enquirer. With multiple authors, there is a nice variety of posts so you're sure to find something of interest -- especially if you are in the Cincinnati area. Although interesting in a train wreck kind of way, I was kind of grossed out by this Foodie Report post about an alternative recipe for stuffing a turkey. I've never had a slider so I hadn't heard of that stuffing recipe.

Check it out and be sure to leave a comment. Jim Borgman mentioned a while back that the paper's Big Brother tracks comment numbers as one measure of success. If that were the case here, I'd have closed up shop along time ago.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Black Bean Cakes

black bean cakesLast night we made black bean cakes for dinner. We made them loosely based on this recipe from Emeril Lagasse on Food TV. However, we made some changes to ease preparation and to account for someone's issues with onions and other veggies. We used two 15 ounce cans of black beans (rinsed) for the main ingredient. About four seeded chipotles from a 7 ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce is the main seasoning. We also added garlic, cumin, and ground red pepper. To coat the cakes before cooking, we seasoned panko rather than flour. Otherwise, the preparation is like that described in Emeril's recipe.

Dianne chopped the remaining chipotle peppers (with the seeds) and used them directly to top her bean cakes. That's way too much heat for me. I topped mine with salsa made using the adobo sauce, diced tomatoes, and some lime juice. We had roasted corn to go with it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Week at a Glance

This Venn diagram gives a glimpse at my activities last week. Work was out of control with deadlines looming or things past due but out of my control. Not a good place to be. The one fun item was Wednesday evening. I had a meeting downtown in the late afternoon so afterwards I met Dianne at work. We walked across the Purple People Bridge to have dinner in Newport. I thought that was a nice walk until I heard this story about a couple walking in the same area just one day later. Yikes!

Playing With Photoshop

One of Many

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Antimicrobial Gadgets

All you gadget loving germ-o-phobes will love these items. One will give you a clean exit from a restroom and the other will give you peace of mind when eating spinach.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

T-Mail and E-Mail

There is a relatively new book out by Tom Wheeler called “Mr. Lincoln’s T-mails – The Untold Story of how Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War”. I haven’t read the book – I’m not a big Civil War buff. From the title I thought the book would be tied too heavily to Civil War events to be of interest. However, I stumbled across this site by the author where he shares his impressions of Lincoln’s communication style and its implications for our current age of emails and on-line social networks. I’ve experienced some of the situations he brings up (e.g. the value of a face to face meeting on occasion) and I agree with his comments. His insights and the parallels to communication modes of today are interesting. Check out the link. I guess there is a lot to learn from history.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Thank God It's Election Day!

I voted today - mostly because of the city income tax issue that is indirectly linked to the fate of the Blue Ash airport. But being able to vote on that issue isn't why I'm excited about election day. In fact the outcome of the issue is really secondary to me.

I'm happy for two reasons. First, there won't be back-to-back negative, mud slinging local campaign commercials on TV. It's been a media blitz the last couple weeks. The vast majority of ads here were bashing the opposition. I only saw a couple commercials where candidates said anything about their position on issues or what they would do if elected (like that comes true anyway). This mid-term election seemed like the worst for negative campaigning. Second, I'll stop getting voicemail messages from candidates or party organizations. Maybe I'm more sensitive since we dropped our landline, but I was getting two or more messages a day -- also mostly negative. Those campaign calls and pollsters far outweighed the annoying telemarketers this past month.

Hopefully I'll have a couple years of peace before the next presidential campaign.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Animal Crossing -- I Don't Get It

DS Animal Crossing2aI get a lot of blog hits looking at this photo of the screen from my Animal Crossing Wild World game on the Nintendo DS. Here is a link to the original post. It's not a great photo. The light was low and the character was moving so it is blurred. Most of the hits come from overseas. Lately, this entry can account for almost 20% of the visits to Earl World. Perhaps there was a re-launch of the game in Europe? I'm not complaining, but I'd like to understand why folks are so interested. I'd appreciate it if someone viewing this post would leave a comment about what led them here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Flying on Sunday Again

I took a local flight today in the Tiger. It was cloudy, but the cloud layer was pretty high so it was ok to fly visually. I flew southeast and circled East Fork Lake, went south to the Meldahl lock and dam and then followed the Ohio river east. I followed the river until I got to the tributary coming in near Higginsport. I followed this stream northeast to Georgetown. I had never been to the Brown county airport. After looking around there, I flew northwest toward home. Most of this area is rural and forested. About 75% of the trees have lost their leaves. There was just a bit of real and yellow left.

To set up for entry into the traffic pattern, I went a bit more north and flew over the new hotel and indoor water park (Great Wolf Lodge) at King's Island. The hotel has two large wings with what I guess is the indoor waterpark in the center. The waterpark has three large tubes coming out of and going back inside the building. They must be for water slides. It looks like there is still a lot of landscaping work to do before opening. From there I returned to Blue Ash.

I also want to pass along two interesting flying links. The first is a blog written by a guy taking flying lessons. He doesn't post too frequently, but they are interesting for student pilots and pilots alike. The second site is a flash piece that chronicles a long cross country flight made by two brothers from California. They have some amazing photos that give some insight into what you can see from the air.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday in Bellevue

Di in NewportSaturday afternoon Dianne and I drove down to Bellevue Kentucky - just across the river from Cincinnati. Dianne wanted to get a pretzel sandwich for lunch from a place called Love Me Knots. She has been there for lunch several times, but I had never been. I had a Montgomery Inn BBQ sandwich on a pretzel roll. It was good. If you're in the Bellevue area and are looking for a sandwich, it's worth a try.

After lunch we stopped briefly at the Party Source that is just down the street from the pretzel place. We picked up a couple things and then drove to the river to walk a bit. Even though the temperature was 52, there was no direct sun and the wind was chilly so we didn't stay out long. Here is Dianne with a view of downtown Cincinnati through the Daniel Carter Beard bridge -- better known locally as the "Big Mac" bridge for obvious reasons.

More Fall Color

Fall color Maple 3When I returned home yesterday after a 3 day trip to upstate New York, I was amazed at how fast the maple tree outside our place had changed color. I like the way the sunlight was filtered through the upper leaves. Click on the photo to see a larger version. I also added some other photos I took yesterday. Browse through the photostream or the leaf set on the right side of the Flickr window.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pictures From SRS IV

Jason Bechtel has posted pictures from the fourth Cincinnati Rollergirl exhibition match on Flickr. There is a set for the Dames and Corset match and a set for the Riots and Sundae match. The photo at left is a nice shot of The Librarian sprinting hard at the start of a jam to beat Psycho Soy Nut through the first turn. Another photo in Jason's photo sets is the best "Where's Waldo" picture.

Also, Miss Print has asked for feedback on the Cincinnati Rollergirl exhibition season. As a blogger, I know how nice it is to get a comment on a post. If you attended a match, click on the link to go over and leave a comment.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Shoulder Update

I’ve noticed every now and then I get blog hits from people who searched for information on shoulder injuries, frozen shoulder, broken arm, physical therapy, and/or manipulation under anesthesia or MUA. That observation, and the fact that I saw my old physical therapist at the gym recently, prompted this post.

As background, I cracked my humerus last January in a fall that is best recapped by Dianne in this post. No cast was needed and there wasn’t major soft tissue damage, but the orthopedist didn’t want me using the arm until the crack started to heal. At that point (I should say after some delay due to workers comp paperwork) I started physical therapy. By then, my range of motion had decreased a lot. A common problem with a shoulder injury.

I went through a lot of painful stretching during physical therapy to get those muscles back to a normal range of motion. There are way too many muscles in a shoulder. I described a bit of the saga in this post. Early on, my therapist showed me an article on shoulder rehab that gave a mean time to regain strength and range of about 16 weeks. The standard deviation was quite large with some folks taking easily twice that time. Also, most people only recover about 90% of their original range (based on contralateral measurements).

When I was talking with her last week at the gym (just over 3 months since I stopped therapy), my old therapist was pleased that my range is nearly equal to the opposite shoulder and the strength is very good. She was happy that I’ve kept working at it and that I continued to improve after I left her care. She mentioned the hardest thing for her to do is to keep patients motivated. In this age she said everyone wants results immediately. In shoulder rehab, it doesn’t usually happen that way. However, she said there is a good payoff for folks that stick with a program and keep working at it.

So to those of you dealing with a shoulder injury that find this post through a Google search, I have two bits of advice. First, it can be a long road to recovery, but stick with it. Keep stretching and building your strength. The outcome can be good. Second, don’t pick a blog hit in your search results for detailed information. Go to WebMD or a credible site to get the real scoop on shoulder rehabilitation – or better yet ask your orthopedist or physical therapist.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Crispy Gnocchi

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on the 101 Cookbooks site describing a recipe that incorporated crispy gnocchi. The term crispy jumped out at me since I've experienced some starchy messes when boiling potato gnocchi. The concept of frying a gnocchi sounded intriguing, although I wasn't sold on the whole recipe.

A couple weeks ago I tried preparing crispy gnocchi. I used olive oil and had a lot of sticking problems in the pan. They weren't crisping up well as the crispy parts were sticking to the pan. I was almost done making them when I realized I didn't have the pan hot enough at the start.

I tried the experiment again recently. This time I used grapeseed oil. The higher smoking point of the grapeseed oil lets you get the pan hot without breaking down the oil. As soon as I tossed them in the pan, I gave a quick toss to coat the gnocchi with oil. After a few minutes they had a nice golden brown crust without sticking to the pan. It only requires a couple tablespoons of oil. Give it a try as a side.

Sucking the Fun Out

Dianne has a nice post about Google's beta image labeler. I was using it this weekend and thought it was fun. Sometimes you click with a partner and your labels match right away and you move on to the next image. However, I just couldn't match labels from some partners on straightforward pictures. The interface tells you how many labels your partner has assigned. In many cases my partner would assign three and then stop. Nice effort I thought. I'm busting my brain trying to figure out how they'd label an image and they're not adding labels. I'd put in a half dozen suggestions without any luck. Eventually I'd get them to pass and move on to the next image. With that poor effort, we might only see 3-4 images over the 90 seconds. Boring.

After reviewing a few sets of images, I saw one image of a group of people that had a label of 'diphosphonate'. That term caught my attention because of my work in the bone field. Originally, disphosphonates were used as corrosion inhibitors in closed, circulating water systems and also as water softening agents. In the '60s, folks realized that the attraction diphosphonates have for calcium could be leveraged for bone diseases. Today, many of the osteoporosis medications like Didronel, Actonel, Fosamax, Aredia, etc. are all in the bisphosphonate class (another word for diphosphonates). I thought that was an odd label for a group of smiling people. How could that happen?

After several more sets, I realized holding the cursor over the top of a classified image showed the labels entered by your partner. When I was having trouble matching a partner, I looked at their 3 labels on an image we passed on. I think the image was the portrait of a woman and their labels were diphosphonate, carcinoma, and beleaguered. There is no way I would have matched those labels. Then it dawned on me, some idiots were trying to Google bomb the image classification. They were using odd, unique terms that would cause certain types of images to show up when Google searching for that term.

Those Google bombers just sucked the fun out of the Labeler for me. When I was having trouble matching someone, I'd check their labels immediately after passing on an image. If they were odd terms, I'd leave and start a new set with a different partner. Once again I'm reminded of the kids who didn't play nice in grade school. Were these crappy partners the crazy drivers I described the other week? Can't we all just get along and enjoy a fun little web experiment on image labeling at face value?