Blog? What Am I Doing With a Blog?

Hi! – Most of you know me as somewhat opinionated and so I’m making it official. Welcome to “TOMSOPINION.COM”

I’ve had this blog for a while now and, although not widely read, it has developed a small following. I like to try and find really good stuff and comment on it. Good food, household items that really work well and last long, and some hobby type pursuits. If you like it, tell your friends. NOW!

You’ll see my not-so-humble opinions on many of my favorite subjects including, but not limited to, Food, Bicycles, Technology, Cars, and Fixing Stuff.

Not so much about Women, Politics, Religion, and the other 3rd rail topics of the world.  You can scroll down through the start of all the articles, or click some of the New and Update links below.


After a two-year long battle to save my little town from becoming just another storage lot for all manner of recreational vehicles, trucks, buses, and boats, my efforts paid off. Our City Council ultimately voted to tighten the Zoning Code regarding the storage of these kinds of vehicle in rear and side yards of residential properties. I left the articles for historical purposes. If you are interested, look for the list of categories in the right column of the home page and click on “Zoning”. It’s long and boring.

I have added an article about a surprising find in the jug of Maple Syrup in the pantry – it’s not good. Click HERE!

I updated the Bicycle Page (see “Other Pages” on the right side of the home page) with a recently completed Schwinn Varsity that is 54 years old and looks like new. And, it was mostly restored by my neighbor’s 15 year-old daughter as a High School independent study project! You do have to scroll down the page a bit, as it is a more recent acquisition.  You can click HERE! 

There is a new post all about my nearly year-long journey to rediscover my music collection. It is so long that it has its own page. Look to the right on this page for “Sound Practices” Under OTHER PAGES. Or, Click HERE!

Two More blog posts concerned with the audiophile hobby have been added. The first reviews numerous exceptional recordings and how they can be used to evaluate and tune an audiophile system installation. It is called “Musical Bits” and can be found by clicking HERE!

The other new post takes on the controversial subject of digital vs. vinyl and my opinions on the matter. Titled “Squiggles or Pits?” it can be found by clicking HERE!

I will try and add pointers to major changes right here once a month. This will let you go directly to the new stuff without having to search or wonder what’s changed.

Also, please read the “Disclaimer”  CLICK HERE (or scroll down a couple of posts).

New articles:

You know that I have strong opinions about privacy, and in that vein, I was appalled to read the “Privacy Policy” of a company I had to do business with. I refused to sign it and voiced my objections loudly to the company. I dissected it for your benefit HERE.

After receiving a chatty email from the criminally negligent Equifax, I replied asking for some real relief. I suggest you do it too. HERE

A long, boring, and informative article regarding the Equifax Data Breach scandal. Sorry about the length, but please read it for own protection.  Click HERE. I updated the very end regarding the newest Tax scam.

Another rant on computer and data privacy. Nothing is sacred. Please read it HERE.

I commented on a recent Aston Martin article and on its relationship to what I do. It’s an opinion piece. Imagine that. CLICK!

We had a little dinner party and my doctored hummus was a hit. The recipe is a CLICK away.

A whole new section on all my bicycle projects is now done. Click on the page heading on the right side index of the front page. Enjoy if you are into old iron. New bikes are added as I complete them, so this article is ever changing.

I just updated and added to this article about Some comments on Russian Hackers, and some advice for you too……  CLICK HERE.

A recipe for a super-easy and terrific homemade mustard has engaged my affections. Read the story and recipe  HERE.

I have added a new recipe for cooked oatmeal! (What? eeeew!) As they say, “Don’t knock it, ’till you’ve tried it!” Click HERE. No, really, you will be pleasantly surprised. Go ahead, DO IT! (It has nice pictures.)

Recent Updates :

I added a new restoration to the old Schwinn’s article – 1979 Continental II. To see a few pictures and the description click HERE and scroll down to the Update.

The Bicycle page changes as I add new bikes. If you have read it, scroll to the end for anything new, as that’s where I add stuff.

Most of the pictures are “clickable” for a much bigger, more detailed picture if you like. Enjoy!


bottles top S


Security Online – Yes, YOU!

Since I opened this blog, more than 190,000 attempts at unauthorized logins have been made.

Not just a quick drive-by either; concerted repeated attempts at hijacking the blog. Yup, there are people out there who have nothing better to do than to try and screw with other people’s stuff. I hope that this doesn’t come as a surprise to you.

Continue reading “Security Online – Yes, YOU!”

A “Whooda Thought” Fungus

I’m no longer one much for sweets, but I keep a jug of genuine maple syrup in the pantry for cooking into various specific dishes like salmon marinade, cooked oatmeal, and banana nut muffins. Yesterday, I poured a tablespoon into just such a marinade, and noticed some little bits of foreign matter in the measuring spoon.

I subsequently tasted and smelled it and it seemed decidedly off, having a dusty basement vibe. Researching this, I discover that, despite my long held belief that maple syrup doesn’t go “bad,” it is indeed vulnerable to a specific type of mold. This mold had permeated the opaque jug and was sitting in a thick layer on the bottom, which I discovered by pouring it into a glass measuring cup. UGH!

There are numerous opinions on this, with some sources claiming that this is a recent problem resulting from hurried production, and yet others insisting that this has always been around. All I know is that in my whole life I have never seen this before now.

In any case, since a jug of maple syrup is likely to last months in many households, I looked for preventatives. The obvious one is to refrigerate the syrup after opening, which slows down, but does not eliminate the problem. Another is, logically, to buy smaller quantities and use them up faster, and a third controversial one is to mix in two tablespoons of vodka when you open the container.

In any case, no matter what you chose to do, if you keep any kind of sugary syrup in stock, be sure to take precautions regarding the formation of mold. Keep it in a glass bottle, predominately in the fridge, and check for strings of slimy sediment before use. Apparently, the mold won’t make you particularly ill, but it ruins the taste and smell, and can cause gastric distress in sufficient quantities.

There you have it.

Musical Bits

Music Reviews and System Tests from the Defiant Audiophile

In a recent blog post, I detailed my nearly year-long experience rebuilding my listening room. Since its resurrection it has provided hours of entertainment and some very satisfying listening proving, to me at least, that even a “budget” dedicated listening environment can render recorded musical performances well enough to recreate the live experience.

Of course, this relies on careful speaker placement, effective room correction and capable electronics, but most of all the so-called “suspension of disbelief” has to come from the source material. A poorly recorded or badly engineered track will sound “bad” on even the most sophisticated audiophile system, whereas some carefully recorded tracks can make even a budget system sound its best. Of course, even the best recordings will suffer from being compressed into MP3’s, played through cheap earbuds, or streamed at insufficient bandwidth, so all the links in the reproduction chain have to be maintained to at least a minimum “audiophile” standard.

But if the reader has already assembled a reasonably competent music system, then all that remains is to feed it with some of the best source material that can extract the maximum musical enjoyment for his efforts. Hence, I have assembled the details on some of the recordings and sources for them that I have found to be the most satisfying in my listening room.

Continue reading “Musical Bits”

Squiggles or Pits?

The Defiant Audiophile Wades Into The Fray

Of course, the debate rages on over analog vs. digital, vinyl vs. CD, and whether astronomical bit depths and bandwidths really make any difference at your ears. It has been suggested that I don’t appreciate the superiority of vinyl due to my advanced age and the resultant hearing loss that accompanied my often-noisy automotive shop career environment.

Conversely, I argue that it’s not so much a matter of what I DON’T hear, as it is a matter of what I DO hear. It’s not what’s purportedly missing in digital recordings, but rather, what’s variously present in analog ones.

Continue reading “Squiggles or Pits?”


Other People’s Stuff


It’s pretty obvious to me that things just aren’t what they used to be. I know that as I get older I’m tending to be less tolerant of the endless examples of annoying behavior exhibited by people I encounter daily. Is it because I am mirroring the stereotypical curmudgeonly traits of advanced retirement, or is there just more annoying behavior to get under my skin?

One thing I know for sure is that there is an expanding wave of utter disrespect for the sanctity of Other People’s Stuff. As a child, I can’t count the number of times I was told “That’s not yours, don’t touch that!” or “Leave other people’s stuff alone.”

Apparently, today, that axiom has faded from our society. I see it in small ways, like yesterday at the Costco, when a flock of children shopping with their unconcerned elders chanced upon a sectional couch on display. Immediately, one of the younger kids ran up, climbed over the back of the couch and flipped herself lengthwise onto the cushions. Of course, two of the others followed suit. The first one, jumped up and ran along the curved cushions of the sectional chased by the other and climbed up on and jumped off the arm of the recliner at the far end. Of course, this was accompanied by peals of laughter and shrieking joy. What was not in evidence was even the slightest sign of disapproval from their parents.

Somehow, the boundaries between what is mine and what is public have not just become blurred, they have disappeared. Or perhaps more accurately, they still exist, it’s just that no one respects them anymore. Handbill distributors think it’s perfectly OK to trudge across my landscaping, so they can hang their detritus off my front door knob. One recently walked past, inches from a bedroom window, on his way from my front door to my neighbor’s instead of taking the long way, down the sidewalk to the street. Recently, two young bucks took the liberty of walking up my long driveway and carefully examining the windshields of my parked cars in the hopes that they could ring my doorbell and sell me a windshield repair. Alerted by my security cameras, I watched them lean over the fenders, walk around each car, and give it scrutiny. For all I know, they were looking for an unlocked door. When I confronted them, they were actually surprised that I was upset. When I found out that, additionally, they didn’t even have a proper solicitation permit, I had the sheriff escort them out of town. What ever happened to “private property?”

Continue reading “K-Y-M-O”

The Inmates are Running The Asylum

I have written a few articles about computers and privacy and how you need to be careful what you access, use, and disclose. This article adds some fuel to that fire of eroding privacy. For most of us “users” out here if we still use a laptop or desktop, when it comes to our daily computing needs there really are only two viable choices; Mac or Windows. Sure, you can install Linux or its many variants, but only a small part of the computing public that wants to read email, do some online shopping, and pay our bills have the technical savvy to create and maintain a Linux machine.

Continue reading “The Inmates are Running The Asylum”

95% Of All Aston Martins

Recently, Nick Caruso, an Associate Editor at Gear Patrol in NY, published an article about the bespoke cars produced by the English company, Aston Martin. Titled Visual Proof That Aston Martin Makes “The Most Beautiful Cars In The World,” the article supports that position, in part, by citing that of the 80,000 or so cars the company has built in the last 104 years, roughly 95% of them can still be accounted for. Also, interesting is that 80,000 cars is about what Toyota produces in 2 days.

I think that time has proven that there will, likely, always be a market for the “most” something of everything, regardless of cost or difficulty obtaining one. Also likely, is that we (you and I) will not typically be in that market, but rather bystanders, agape at the excesses of speed, cost, beauty, elegance, etc., but appreciative, which is more than you can say about most of the rest of the great unwashed.

Continue reading “95% Of All Aston Martins”

Party Favor(ite) Recipe

We had a little get-together recently and I made a variety of dips and sauces, but by far, the one that got the most positive reviews for the evening was my curried hummus, which is super simple to make and takes just a few minutes. Here, for all that are interested, is the recipe;

Curried Hummus

8 oz               Organic Plain Hummus
1 Tbsp.         World Market Hot Curry Powder
1/2 tsp.         Fresh Ground Pepper
1 Tbsp.          Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp.         Sugar
1/2 tsp.         Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp.             Dried Dill
1 tsp.            Granulated Dried Garlic

Salt to taste. If served with salty chips, use very little. If served with plain crackers or plain bread, amp it up a bit.

Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly to incorporate all the ingredients. Don’t whip in a lot of air. Refrigerate for 2 hours or more to allow flavors to combine. Serve with pita bread, naan, or chips. All the quantities are “to taste,” so adjust as you like, but don’t forego the lemon juice. It makes the whole thing “pop.”

This curried hummus is good as a substitute for mayo on sandwiches, a veggie dip, or a seasoning for many soups.  Enjoy!!

A Dream Takes Flight

Knock This Off My Bucket List

Yesterday, when I attended the fly-in at Casa Grande Municipal Airport, I got the “T” Shirt, and a whole lot more. Primarily, we went because a good friend of mine asked if I’d do the driving, because he wanted to check out a bunch of cool old planes, and meet up with a friend of his whose dad had facilitated the restoration of a 1943 Boeing B75-N1. “A what?” you ask. You might know it as the famous Stearman Bi-Plane.

What happened next is a dream comes true for me.    Continue reading “A Dream Takes Flight”

Russian Hackers Are Everywhere!

If you are expecting a big exposé on the last administration, I’m sorry to disappoint you, I don’t really know much about whether Putin was instrumental in electing the previous Prez, or if glasnost has been replaced by Chernobyl packets, but what I do know is that there are a lot of people with .ru domains that have nothing better to do than to send mountains of spam comments to this very blog.

A flood of these comments, numbering into the dozens per day, have been appearing and require manual filtering, which is time consuming and annoying, to say the least. A quick Google search on this topic assures me that I am not the lone victim, but rather this is a problem that pervades blog admins more or less universally. And yes, there are effective countermeasures that minimize the annoyance, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is an epidemic. You may ask, “What’s the purpose?” and as I understand it, many (some) amateur blogs allow un-moderated comments, which allows the bot or hacker to publish links on a bona-fide blog in the context of their meaningless crap, which point to product ads, porn sites, or entrapment sites, to name a few. Even moderated comments need careful editing to remove the embedded links, if they somehow actually get published. Keep reading for some actual examples….

Continue reading “Russian Hackers Are Everywhere!”

Mustard is Cheap! Why Make Your Own?

guinness-stout-mustardSuper Easy and Delicious Home Made Mustard

I recently ran across a really simple and wonderful recipe for those of you that like a really nice robust tasting mustard. I have nothing against traditional American “yellow” mustard, and I actually think it’s the perfect condiment for “dirty-water” hot dogs, and “razor” burgers (which also require a fat dollop of Heinz Ketchup, in my opinion).

But, this mustard is for the heartier meats, like Leberkäse, corned beef, or smoked ham. It’s heavenly on a pastrami or roast beef sandwich too. Additionally, it can be customized with added herbs and spices to focus its flavor toward a particular dish, with addition of honey, powdered rosemary, dill, or horseradish for example.

Read on for the recipe.

Continue reading “Mustard is Cheap! Why Make Your Own?”

Steel Cut and Kañiwa Too!

Steel Cut Oatmeal with A Wonderful Addition – Kañiwa

Ready for Your Favorite Condiments
Ready for Your Favorite Condiments


OK, I know it’s hard to expect that you will all want to make some cooked oatmeal for breakfast for a number of reasons;

  1. You were forced to eat it as a child and hated it ever since.
  2. You have only had either “Instant” oatmeal, or plain rolled oats, or worse, (ughhh) microwaved oatmeal and they were awful.
  3. You can’t imagine taking the time to make oatmeal that takes 50 minutes, start to finish.
  4. You don’t know what Kañiwa is and you’re not into eating stuff you don’t know.

BUT, I am here to expand your horizons, make you more healthy, and experience something new and delicious.

What follows is a recipe with some pictures that will take a while to prepare, but isn’t labor intensive. While it’s cooking, you can read the Sunday paper, check your email, or just enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee watching the sun rise. But, please give this a try; that list of reasons above will melt away with every bite like butter on a hot griddle.

So, continue reading for the whole story….

Continue reading “Steel Cut and Kañiwa Too!”

High Priced Harley

High Priced Harley



My very first vehicle was a Vespa 90 that I bought from a school chum without my parents’ permission and triumphantly rode down the driveway back when the ink on my driver’s license was still wet. It got me back and forth to my job at the bicycle store, took me and my brother down to the pizzeria on Dodd Street to get a “za,” and provided a newfound freedom that let me explore a much larger circle of the world than my 10-speed did.

After that, I bought a Yamaha DT1-B, a very capable street legal Enduro, that I practically wore out as it took me to all those places I just had to go. I remember riding it to my new job at the VW dealer in mid-winter, bundled in my Passaic Leather Coat Company 7-layer police motorcycle jacket and knee high boots. My hands were so stiff when I got to work, I’d wrap them around a drop light to thaw them out before I could grab a wrench.

Later, after a short dalliance with a Yamaha 500cc twin that had a frame too small to ride two-up, I bought my first “big bike,” a red Yamaha XS750 Triple, with backrest and a factory fairing. Oh God, power, power, power! Many miles were gleefully covered, and it followed us on a trailer when we moved here to Arizona. It took us to Havasu, Grand Canyon, Montezuma’s Well and Castle, and many more weekend destinations. But, in 1986, I sold it because with a new job and a new house and bigger and more expensive responsibilities, I just didn’t have much time to ride.

In 2005, I met a guy who would become a great and long time friend. Don and I shared a love for motorcycles, and in 2008, he convinced me to fly up to Denver, rent a big Harley, and ride to Sturgis with him. I hadn’t ridden in over 20 years, and needless to say, I was nervous.

Continue reading “High Priced Harley”

Exterior Finish Restoration – This Took How Long?

This Took How Long?

September ’15, a guy knocked on the door and asked if I wanted to get an estimate for painting the outside of my house. He said he was a retired schoolteacher, and lived summers in the Northwest, but spent winters here in Arizona. To supplement his income, he said that he paints a few houses while he’s here. Together with his helper, they walked all around the property, looking at everything and pointing and mumbling about a few of the more challenging areas.

Finally, he concluded his inspection and said, “Well, it needs a lot of work, and some places need the drip rail moulding replaced. It’s rotted away in places.” I agreed, and asked how much he would charge to do a really thorough job. He continued, “There’s some places that need lots of scraping too, and some caulk. It needs a lot to make it look nice.” “OK,” I said, “How much?” He paused and thought, and then said, “Well, it’s gonna take us a day to power wash the whole thing, and start the prep. The next day, we will finish the prep, and caulk. Then a day to spray it. I think we can knock it out in 3 days, maybe 4, if we run into any problems.

“I see,” I replied, “How much do you think it will cost?” “We use good paint, you know, not the cheap stuff. Probably need 15 gallons,” he offered. So, by this time, I figured I’d just let him talk, and he’d get around to cost eventually. He continued to describe how they would mask the windows, put down drop cloths, clean up after themselves, and do a great job. Then, finally, the part I was waiting for. “$5500 to do it all. It will look beautiful. And, we can start this week if you like and be done by Saturday!”

Dressed for Work

“I’ll have to think about it. Thanks for taking your time to give me an estimate. Give me your card, and I’ll call you if I decide to have you do it.” “Alright,” he replied, “but if we get busy, I may not be able to fit you in this year!” “Thanks, I’ll call ya.”

Continue reading “Exterior Finish Restoration – This Took How Long?”

Food Worth The Drive Even If Gas Was Expensive – Cafe 25:35

You may have gathered from some of my posts, I like GOOD FOOD. As much as I like cooking it myself, it is also sometimes nice to let someone else do the work and be waited on. So, I’m always looking for new restaurants to try, and often, I am disappointed by blandness, sameness, and “production line” cooking. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, many restaurants don’t even employ a Chef anymore. Not that there aren’t some pretty talented line cooks around, but it seems that the only places that still employ real Chefs are high end dinner places. As for breakfast and lunch, fuhgettaboutit! But, read on, there’s hope!

Continue reading “Food Worth The Drive Even If Gas Was Expensive – Cafe 25:35”

Onions Without Tears? Fan-tas-tic!

By now, you know I like to play in the kitchen and sometimes I actually make something edible. Since I have leaned more towards the vegetable based dishes, and try to use meat as more of an occasional ingredient, almost like a garnish, big flavors have to come from somewhere other than browned meat and its juices.

One of my favorite sources of richness comes from adding onions, in their great varieties, into many dishes. Carefully caramelized, even the common white onion adds a wonderful depth of flavor to stews, the sweet mellow sauerkraut I mention in the SMOGG Pizza recipe elsewhere on this blog, and Chicken Paprikash, to name a few. By the way, if you do not know how to properly caramelize onions, you are missing out on one of the most delicious ingredients you can make. It takes patience, but is really worth the effort. Look it up on a recipe site and experiment.

But, many people hate preparing onions because of the tears that accompany the slicing and dicing. Sulfurous compounds in the onion (syn-propanethial-S-oxide) waft into the air when you break the onion’s cells, and combine with the moisture on your eyeball and produce a sulfuric acid. The acid “burns” your eyes, and the body produces tears to try and dilute and wash away the acid. So, you “cry.”

Well, CRY NO MORE, because my sous-chef (wife) developed and tested a kitchen solution that WORKS!

Continue reading “Onions Without Tears? Fan-tas-tic!”

The BIG “O” (ring) and Many $$

Folks, there’s a lot you need to know about marketing, markup, and money when it comes to maintaining numerous household products found in the typical modern home and yard. Primarily, it’s all about saving money, your money!

If you have a pool or spa, this will be of particular interest to you, but can apply to maintenance of many other household devices and systems. This will give you some insight into a system designed to pry money out of your wallet that you just don’t need to spend.

Continue reading “The BIG “O” (ring) and Many $$”


Judging from the title of this blog, it is clear that information presented here is considered to be an opinion. The information contained here is provided “as-is” and without warranty or claim of suitability of any kind.