Checking Off an Overdue To-Do

Today was a day of chores, mostly outside, thanks to another stellar Phoenix day.

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On the list of checked-off items: tree trimming, touching up baseboards, and the one thing I’ve been wanting to do since last fall: spray paint my sun-beaten landscape lights.

Out of the box, they were black but after about two summers of sun, they were … not black. So, a can of Krylon to the rescue.

Now, they’re Matte Coffee Bean and look brand new — and they match the lights in the front of the house.

This is one of those things that my Dad would have been excited about when I was a kid and I would wonder what the big deal is. Now I get it.

It’s the little things, stupid or not.

The Professor of Rock

YouTube is where I spend most of my Internet time these days, and among my many favorite channels is The Professor of Rock. (In fact, I just became a Patreon member — a first for me.)

The host is Adam Reader, and he describes the channel as “celebrating the power of music – featuring stories of the greatest songs and artists of the Rock Era, as told by the artists themselves.”

The archive features interviews with all kinds of artists, episodes that go deep on a particular song or album, and a series on hidden gems.

If you like any brand of music from the ’70s and ’80s, give this channel a look. Check out the channel trailer too.

Try DuckDuckGo

There’s been a lot of talk about cookies and privacy on the Internet, namely Google’s recent announcement that it’s eliminating third-party cookies to make a “privacy-first web” (doubtful), and as a result, delivering less-relevant advertising.

For the past year, as an experiment and a general distrust of Google, I’ve been using DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine — it’s also my default search engine in Safari and Firefox — and I’ve been very happy with it.

For me, the search results are just as relevant and useful as Google’s but without the creepy tracking.

If ever I want to search Google, I can do it within DuckDuckGo by adding !g to the front of a search term or phrase.

Tech habits are hard to break, but switching search engines is one I think is worth trying.

Bowling for Dollars

My kids and I were playing ye olde Wii bowling the other night and I made the ultimate Dad Move™ by referring to “Bowling for Dollars.”

No one knew what I was talking about so I tried to explain the TV show that was a fixture on Channel 4 in Detroit when I was growing up.

Come to find out, the show was on in several markets in the U.S. then, from Baltimore to L.A., and it had some notable hosts along the way — Chick Hearn! Verne Lundquist!

The show was actually a franchise, created by Bert Claster of Claster Television, also the creator of Romper Room. Episodes of Bowling for Dollars were taped either in a local bowling alley, or on a pair of bowling lanes constructed right inside the TV studio.

In Detroit, the only host was Bob Allison, a fixture on the local airwaves.

As I tried to explain the show’s premise, I soon realized I had no memory of the scoring or prizes. Wikipedia to the rescue again:

Each contestant received $1 for each pin knocked down (e.g., a contestant who knocked down a total of eight pins won $8, though some versions may have had a $5 minimum for fewer than five pins). A strike or spare awarded $20. The real allure of the show was the Jackpot, which was awarded to any bowler who got two consecutive Strikes. The jackpot started at $200, $300, or $500 (depending on the version) and was increased by $20 each time it was not hit.

Some versions of Bowling for Dollars awarded prizes in addition to the money. In the Detroit edition of the show, a contestant who got a spare won a dinner for two at a local restaurant. If that spare was a split, they would also get two large pies from Buddy’s Pizza.

(The local restaurant was always The Roostertail, a mythical place on the Detroit River.)

One thing I’m still not sure of is how people were selected to be on the show.

I can’t find any Detroit episodes of the show on YouTube, but there are plenty of videos from other cities, like Baltimore and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

My next quest is to find the story behind “Beat the Champ.”