Ceiling fans: Direction, energy consumption, old vs new?

Posted By on August 13, 2019

Great energy use tip for those of use who heavily rely on ceiling fans:

The direction a ceiling fan should turn can be confusing. Modern fans have a switch that enables them to blow the air either up or down. During the summer you want the fan to blow air straight down, so your ceiling fan needs to run in a counter clockwise direction as you look up at it so you can feel the breeze. But remember, fans consume energy, so the only way a fan will actually help lower your bill is to set your thermostat a degree or two higher when using ceiling fans. The breeze from the fan makes you feel cooler at a higher temperature. Just be sure to turn fans off after you leave the room since they do not actually lower the room temperature.

Don’t choose a higher speed than necessary to feel comfortable. The higher the fan speed, the more energy it uses. A typical modern ceiling fan uses about 30 Watts on low speed, 55 Watts on medium speed and 95 Watts on high speed.

Do you still have any of these heavy-duty ceiling fans from decades ago? You know the ones; they seem to last forever. Did you know they can use up to 500 Watts on high speed? If you use that fan several hours a day, you should seriously consider replacing it with a modern fan to cut your energy costs up to 80 percent.


Happy Birthday Brenda, with a couple photos from the archives

Posted By on August 12, 2019

As hinted at last week, today is the day I want to wish my wonderful wife Brenda a Happy Birthday. We are looking forward to our slowly closing the chapter of “career” (no hurry yet) … and are starting to plan the new chapter called “retirement.
Anxious? Who me? Smile


Although we may have changed a bit on the outside since our senior year of college in 1980 where we met in an “upstairs/downstairs house turned college apartments” by Mr. Temple (still remember the landlords name), on Turner Avenue in Ada, Ohio (photos from the spring of 1981 “off-campus” at Ohio Northern University), I could not imagine my life without Brenda. I love you! 

Girls lived upstairs, guys downstairs – Google Streetview photo from 2014

Will the average American middle class family rent forever?

Posted By on August 11, 2019

housefencegraphicAs the cost of education, health care, cars, etc. goes up, it should be no surprise our financing habits change in order to pay for priorities like higher education … or luxuries like newer and more reliable cars. Paying for semi-essentials is significantly more expensive than in the past and we now extend paying for them far longer than before.

Taking on a mortgage to buy a house that could appreciate, or borrowing for a college degree that should boost earning power, can be wise decisions. Borrowing for everyday consumption or for assets such as cars that lose value makes it harder to save and invest in stocks and real estate that tend to create wealth. So the rise in consumer borrowing exacerbates the wealth gap.

This is a huge concerned for those directly impacted by debt and by those currently digging their holes. Sociologist and economist are concerned as well as the changing future of family formation and homeownership is at risk (and without a next generation, it will be impossible to keep Medicare and Social Security solvent). 

The American dream of owning a home for my generation traditionally followed a bit of debt for school and car, which as those costs  ballooned, now puts the tradition mortgage for a first home out of reach for many. As rents rise, paying off existing debt and saving for a home becomes even that much more difficult. Add to that the high cost of health care (quote at bottom) … and the propensity to purchase with a credit card, desire to travel and eat out, one wonders if renting forever is the new normal for the American middle class family?

Graph and Chart from a WSJ.com article 

Unadjusted for inflation, home prices rose 188% from 1987 to 2017, average tuition at public four-year colleges rose 549% and health-care expenditures rose 276% from 1990 to 2017.

Meanwhile, household income from 1987 to 2017, not adjusted for inflation, rose 135%. (Aug. 2, 2019)

Is a little consistency in Amazon delivery too much to ask?

Posted By on August 10, 2019

AmazonPrimeLogo2019I’m becoming increasingly grouchy over paying for Amazon Prime (now $119/yr) and dealing with various shipping problems that have been popping up. This past year, I have have several shipping issues with Amazon reporting one thing and then delivering another. Usually a delay, in for the most part very impressive delivery speeds, isn’t a life-changer, but “accuracy” of information can no longer be trusted (truth in advertising).  Likely most of this is related to the use of 3rd party sellers and using delivery drivers/services that are difficult to control, BUT Amazon’s service is no longer as dependable as it once was.


AmazonShipping190808Personally I’d like to see a bit more consistency when ordering on the Amazon platform especially when it comes to Prime delivery and receiving notifications. After placing a small order with an add-on product, one item is set to be delivered the next day and the other indicated SHIPPED, with a delivery window of 20+ days  … with perhaps not even receiving the product within the next month?  Of course it is too late to cancel the order and I’m assuming this is a product from an overseas wholesaler or being sold by a “drop shipper.” (see NPR Cat Scam – Ripple Rug podcast)

How about Amazon tightening up on their 3rd party sellers or at least tightening up their shipping policies so customers aren’t stuck with long delays in order fulfillment and extremely open ended month long delivery times?

EDIT: And after I saved this post, wouldn’t you know … another dependability issue with Amazon deliveries.

Tech Friday: Overcoming Paywalls with the help of Pocket

Posted By on August 9, 2019

Currently, I pay for a few subscriptions. Some pricey (Wall Street Journal, Barrons, etc) because I avidly read them. Others, like monthly magazines, NYTimesPaywallI continue to pay for and rarely get around to reading, especially online only subscriptions. Several others, I occasionally receive a link or click on one from those annoying “reader apps” that are almost being forced on us by developers or even Apple with their News+ app.

Since I usual prefer reading from the source on a generic browser like Firefox, Safari or less and less, Chrome or Edge… the paywall issue is exceedingly more common. Usually the publisher permits a few articles each month without a subscription, but every company is different. Besides using bogus credentials, flushing the browser cache or using VPNs to mask your “reappearance,” here is a way to handle the growing number of paywalls.SaveToPocket

This method mentioned by my friend Jeff, who like me, uses the GetPocket “Save to Pocket” extension to save links. Often a way to bypass a publishers paywall is to click the bookmark bar button that “saves” the article — it will often bypass the paywall and save a copy of the article.

Here’s a paywall protected automotive article from the NYTimes that I wanted to read this week … saved to Pocket.

(Click photo above for PDF Pocket version or this LINK to original article)


Where have the years gone? 11 years ago and now in 2019. #TBT

Posted By on August 8, 2019


While digging through a few older photos in contemplation for Brenda’s upcoming August birthday post, I stumbled across a few of our “dating years” photos (saving those for later) and one from my mom and dad’s house when we were celebrating her birthday 11 years ago (above).

Wow … compared to our Put In Bay trip earlier this summer, there has been A LOT of change in a relatively short amount of time … then thought it would make a great Throwback Thursday #TBT post. Here are a few of the changes:

  1. Both kids finished college (1 and 2) … and we survived.
  2. Katelyn married Drewand we survived, financially.
  3. All four parents passed away (1, 2, 3 and 4)… and we survived, emotionally.
  4. Brenda had a close call and major surgeryand she survived.
  5. We became first time grandparents to Annalynand we ecstatically survived.
  6. Taylor is still dating Meganand we are committed to surviving to see it to fruition (joking!) 😉

MIT_TKBRonly190622MIT_FamilyErieView190622 Our family at Put-In-Bay, Ohio in June 2019 – Lake Erie Islands

Personal thoughts on recent events in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio

Posted By on August 7, 2019

Way too often our citizens in cities and communities across the country suffer at the hands of criminals and most notably disturbed individuals in our society. The topic rises to the top of the political news when there is a mass-killing and the weapon is a semi-automatic firearm and the target are ordinary people living their daily lives. This past weekend there were two such attacks, one in El Paso, Texas and one in Dayton, Ohio (my backyard, so to speak). PreserveLiberty_RichardHenryLeeThe similarity was that of senseless hate from a disturbed person and their weapon of choice. Unlike what is reported in the news, neither individual fits the cookie-cutter political right or political left normal American; to associate them is just plain wrong and harmful to our nation. 

There are elected leaders who would like to find reasonable constitutional solutions and others who just can’t help but use these tragedies as a political tool in order to garner support or attack the current occupant of the Whitehouse. For some reason the every day killings in the gun restricted, Democrat controlled city of Chicago never seems to matter or be their focus? Those on the political left only work to gin up anti-gun support for “their side” in wanting to “fundamentally transform America” and ignore looking at underlying reasons an angry young males decide to kill others. It is not all about the gun. 


Personally I think the issues is far more complex. Likely the reason the problem has become so big in recent decades, is like due to a change in the moral fabric of our country. We no longer respect authority (police, teachers, parents, bosses, etc) and the family unit has crumbled – Reagan_NastyTruthGunControlfathers are no longer in many homes or being dads. Add to that the complete lack of any religious upbringing, be in God in any faith or teaching the Bible in our communities as we have in the United States from our foundation. The obvious outcome is little understanding of right and wrong or the consequences for the later. The “go easy on crime” mentality is now the norm for both political parties … and with that, there is little surprise we see more disrespect, violence and crime. The latest trend is to decriminalize drugs, taunt police (dump water on them) or respect for our country’ border. TV, movies, social media and video games with violence  are all pumped into our kids from an early age … some kids (and adults) do not separate “entertainment” from reality (Are today’s “games” too real – I’m comparing and thinking about growing up playing “Cowboys and Indians” or pretending we were at war, shooting each other with toy guns or sticks?) Add to that the lack of appropriate care for the mentally ill or those on the edge (most committing this mass-shooting show signs), and we’re bound to get a few using whatever weapon they learn can commit the most heinous act (and we have way too many highly publicized examples of what to use … and plenty available legally and illegally in the US).

Now, coming from the political right who believes in the Second Amendment, I’m not saying that all our current gun laws are appropriate, but just banning guns and making them illegal for law-abiding citizens is not the solution either.

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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