Friday Filler: Count your Blessings #video

Posted By on December 13, 2019

When you see something like this, you realize how suddenly life can end. Thankfully, in this situation, all survived … but it is a good reminder to thank God for each day and be sure to tell those in your life how much you love them.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life?
— James 4:14

Wishing my son-in-law Drew a Happy Birthday #TBT

Posted By on December 12, 2019

DrewKatelynSkydiving070514Although Drew’s birthday isn’t today, I’ll post this on Thursday so as to get double-duty out of a birthday greeting and make it a Throwback Thursday #TBT post (a 2007 photo). Back then, Brenda secretly plotted, along with Drew and a friend (Sam), to kidnap Katelyn for her 21st birthday … and then take her skydiving!

I assume they look fondly back on their undergraduate and medical school days in Kent Ohio (they met while in a BSMD program offered by Kent State and NEOUCOM (now NEOMED).

So thankful to have Drew in our family and part of our lives. Brenda and I wish you many more Happy Birthdays!

Wonderful news – Emory is here and has a name

Posted By on December 12, 2019

EmoryAllenHoward191208My nephew Aaron and long time blog reader/commenter and his wife Lauren had a baby on December 8th and all are healthy (shower in September). Brenda and I are so happy for them, and although he nameless at birth, we were excited in finally hearing his name and couple family “names” too … both last and middle. I’m unsure where the first name came from, but Emory is very dignified.

Welcome to the world, Emory Allen Howard and congratulations Aaron and Lauren.

TSA air travel rules continue to frustrate pocketknife people

Posted By on December 11, 2019

Pocketknives have been part of my life since I was a 5 year old … yes, you heard that right, FIVE YEARS OLD. My grandfather gave me my first SwissArmyMiniChamp1-inch semi-toy pocketknife when my family was still living on Spencer Street in Toledo – which means I was likely still only 4 (it was a key chain version that once said “Florida” on it).  I’ve carried slightly larger ones ever since and eventually settled on a Swiss Army version from either Victorinox or Wenger (now the same company since 2005).

During high school and college it was always a larger Swiss Army Knife version, but as my pocket filled with a lot more keys, a cellphone and thicker wallet, I switched to my current Victorinox #53973 MiniChamp knife in the early 2000s. SwissArmyKnifeThere was never a time one had to worry about where we could or couldn’t carry a jack or penknife (another terms for the small folding knives). Eventually I even opted to carry a SwissTool SpiritX on my messenger bag! I always had them in school and years ago they weren’t even a problem on airplanes. After 911, things change and I understood the new TSA rules after terrorist used boxcutters. But now with air marshals and locking security doors to the cockpit, I thought maybe nail clippers or a small bladed pen knife would be acceptable?

Nope, they are still perceived as weapons! Unfortunately for me, it’s just another thing to remember to take out of my pocket before heading to the airport.


Finally, a crosscut table saw sled jig for my woodworking shop

Posted By on December 10, 2019


After posting a photo of a table saw crosscut sled a couple weeks ago, I finally decided to finish the one I had been planning. In part because I had some extra 1/2” white finished plywood (I didn’t want to use the heavier 3/4”) and in part because SlidingCrosscutSled_a_2019I needed to cut a bunch of tendons for a Christmas project that I’m working on.

Since I’ve been planning this crosscut sled project for years, I’ve held back a 48” chunk of perfectly straight 2” thick oak and used my taper jig to cut away some of the heft so that it is easier to lift on and off the table saw. I added a small foot to the rear as a way to keep the fence perfectly vertical (not really needed) and also as a reminder that the saw blade exits where the yellow tape has been added (just next to the leg … I might add a chunk of plexiglass there if I can find a thick piece). Instead of simple woodscrews, I ended up drilling for 1/4” – 2”  flathead machine screws and tapped the threads into the oak. Nice and sturdy.

SlidingCrosscutSled_b_2019The “stiffener” away from the operator is a 46” piece of aluminum angle and decided to face that with a piece of plywood “just in case” the blade should tick it. The plywood had just a slight bow so with both the aluminum angle and heavy oak fence … it is now perfectly flat. All edges were rounded with a router roundover bit and sanded smooth. I keep the oak fence unfinished but added a little ZipGuard to the plywood and then waxed with my butcher’s wax/bowling alley polish.

So far I’m very pleased with using oak wood slides and the 28”+ by 46”+ supported panel sizes. I kept the wide at 46” so that I could clamp a workpiece off the left side of the table saw and easily have plenty of space to extend work either to the right or left.

Music Monday: Just Another Day in Paradise – Bertie Higgins

Posted By on December 9, 2019

BertieHigginsJustAnotherDayinParadise1982The perfect Music Monday song for early December is one that moves me mentally to a warm tropical island … Bertie Higgins and Just Another Day in Paradise is that song for today (his website:

Ah … memories of sailing Brenich with Brenda in the 1980s … or just staying warm nowadays! 😉

  Just Another Day in Paradise
      Bertie Higgins | 1982

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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