Covering a doorknob hole

When we moved into our place, the front gate had a deadlock and a locking doorknob. This combination created some usability problems:

  • the doorknob, when locked, could be easily unlocked by reaching through the fence and turning the dial on the inside knob. This made it silly to ever bother to lock it.
  • when the doorknob was unlocked, it would turn (of course) but if the deadlock were locked, the gate still couldn’t be opened. The state of the deadbolt was inscrutable.
  • there’s no indication which way the gate opens. So, even if both locks were not engaged, you had a fifty-fifty chance of the gate opening when you pushed it. If it didn’t open, you couldn’t be sure why.

I quickly noticed that most visitors struggled with these conditions. Pushing, pulling, turning, and so on, never sure if the gate was locked, or if it was some combination of the three possible impediments. (You can view a photo of the gate in this post.)

To correct some of these issues, I removed the doorknob from the gate. But this created an unsightly problem — there was a hole where the knob used to be. Additionally, because the gate is iron, I wanted to cover the hole to prevent water infiltration.

It was inexplicably hard to find, but I did eventually uncover the two solutions I needed. The first is a plate that covers the hole where the doorknob used to be, and the second is a smaller plate that covers where the latching mechanism used to protrude.


doorknob hole cover

Here’s what I purchased:

I can’t recommend the Door Hole Plate Cover that I used because the bolt that comes in the package is too large to fit through the hole in the cover. (What the hell‽) I had to enlarge the hole to make it work. But perhaps you can find another brand that’s properly designed. The Door Edge Filler (not shown in my photo above) fit perfectly, but you’ll need to supply your own screw to install it.

For more on my modifications to this gate, see: A Remote, Wireless Gate Alarm


I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site (at no additional expense to you). Humbly, Gordon Meyer

Book Review: Astronumerography

gordon meyer astronumerology book

The prolific Professor Oddfellow has resurrected (and, I suspect, updated) an ancient form of divination and personality reading that combines astrology with numerology. It’s a deep system, but clearly explained and is based on your birthdate, so the occult mathematics aren’t too intimidating. And the result is a lovely figuregraph that makes utilizing the revelations and insights simple. I especially appreciated both the summary worksheet, and the example readings, that the author includes. (I do wish, though, that blank reading sheets were available for download.) Now that this system has been made accessible to a modern audience I expect to see it offered by psychic readers in most large cities. Avoid the rush and get your copy at Amazon then check out Oddfellow’s other books while you’re there.


I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site (at no additional expense to you). Humbly, Gordon Meyer

Book Review: The Old Fashioned

The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail with Recipes and Lore by Robert Simonson was a gift from a dear friend, who clearly knows me too well.


Old fashioned Book with Gordon Meyer

Half of the book is filled with inspired and tempting recipes for the drink, but it’s the first half that was truly delightful. Simonson has dug deep to uncover the origins and mythology of the drink, with the result being a love letter that those similarly smitten will savor and enjoy every bit as much as a finely made example of the subject. Here are some of my favorite (lightly summarized) bits:

During the early years of its prominence, the drink was widely regarded as a “matutinal cocktail” — that is you drank it in the morning. An 1874 piece of advice is that “a bourbon whiskey cocktail before breakfast is the best thing for complexion.”

Rather than chipping away at blocks of ice and getting irregular pieces, Chicago bartenders, in 1899, were the first to create uniform two-inch cubes so that every drink got the same amount of ice.

Originally, the Old-Fashioned was served with the spoon used to mix it (as it is traditionally mixed in the serving glass). It was awful manners to remove the spoon and lay it on the bar. “What of the danger, when bending an elbow, of jabbing oneself in the eye with the spoon handle? Well, anyone who drinks as hastily as that deserves to hurt himself.”

The prospects of determining the origin of the Old-Fashioned are dim, but there is fairly strong evidence it originated in Chicago. It was first documented in the city in 1899, along with a list of other “old fashioned” drinks with Gin, Brandy, and other base alcohols that I will now no longer consider to be abominations.

Chicago has long been a whiskey town. Only 300 miles from Louisville it enjoyed a ready supply of Kentucky bourbon. An 1870 survey found that of the $15 million spent annually on booze in the city, fully $9.6 million went towards whiskey. (Aside: in approximately 2010, a bartender who had newly arrived in the city from Ohio, told me she was very surprised how many whiskey drinks Chicagoans ordered.)

In 1945, a visitor at the Drake hotel (perhaps in the Cape Cod Room, which I miss very much) ordered an Old-Fashioned and told the bartender to leave out the fruit, except the lemon. The barkeep replied, in part: “I’ve built Old-Fashioned cocktails these sixty years. Yes sir, since the first Armour was using a wheelbarrow in a slaughterhouse, and I have never yet had the perverted nastiness of mind to put fruit in an Old-Fashioned. Get out, scram, go over to the Palmer House and drink.”

Although the drink is enjoying a comeback, there were some dark times for it not all that long ago. By the final decades of the twentieth century a young bartender was easily stumped by a request for an Old-Fashioned, and the patron ordering the drink was quickly tagged as a hopeless old fogey. (I experienced this at the lobby bar in the Paris Las Vegas not all that long ago!) The American Midwest is one of the key regions that saved the drink from being lost in time.

Simonson makes an interesting point that many drink recipes were forgotten during prohibition. An entire generation of bartenders lost. A consequence that I hadn’t previously considered.

The recipes in the second half of the book feature lovely photographs and mouthwatering descriptions. The section on “traditional” style mixtures is my favorite (especially since I don’t have most of the more exotic ingredients required for the non-traditional ones). I noted a few I’ll try, including an Absinthe Old Fashioned, the venerable Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned, and one that features Old Dutch Genever — a welcome discovery from our classes at the Bols Bartending Academy in Amsterdam.

While I was reading this book I was also impressed with its quality paper, binding, and overall production. I wish all books were as lovingly created, and no surprise, it’s another volume from Ten Speed Press. Get your copy at a nearby bookstore, or if you must, from Amazon. And, cheers!


I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site (at no additional expense to you). Humbly, Gordon Meyer

Stuff a stocking with history!

Give the gift of Chicago neighborhood trivia and unusual facts with these inexpensive handmade booklets. Get 'em at Volumes Books and Quimby's, or direct at www.BizarreChicago.com


Bizarre Fact Files by Gordon Meyer

#LoveYourLocals #ThingsNotGenerallyKnown

I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site (at no additional expense to you). Humbly, Gordon Meyer

Christmas is for ghosts

It used to be a tradition for a family to gather and enjoy a good ghost story for Christmas. (See, for example, Dickens’ famous story.) This practice should be revived, and there’s a delightful Haunted Library of the best stories, with neat modern illustrations, that is perfect for doing so.

gordon meyer with book

Locally Volumes is your best choice to pick up one or more copies, but if you must, find the complete “A Ghost Story for Christmas” series on Amazon too.

See also: Book Review: The Canterville Ghost

I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site (at no additional expense to you). Humbly, Gordon Meyer