Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Readers email handy hints and silly jokes

10/10/12 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

I have this unscientific theory that you can tell a lot about an individual’s personality from the types of emails that they keep. My personality is obviously eclectic. My email inbox overflows with a wide variety of subjects. So last week I sat down to re-read, sort, decide what is important to keep and delete the rest.

It was easier than I thought. My messy inbox consists mostly of stuff that I might use someday or I don’t know what to do with: Daily Deals from Groupon; Just for U ads from Safeway; ticket deals from the Hult Center; negative political commentaries; dozens of YouTube sites that I must visit; and requests that need a response right now!

My one saving grace is the preference setting that automatically sends unwanted mail directly to “Junk” and is emptied every night. It’s kind of scary to think that there are Robots (and humans) who have nothing better to do than continually scan the Internet looking for my email address to send me some sort of scam (aka spam).

I also discourage spam in these ways: I seldom post on public forums or websites. I avoid questionable sites and all chat rooms. And I immediately report all spam to Otherwise I would be drowning in requests for money or equally suspicious offers to earn $7,000 a month working from home.

Now, since we’re talking about computer correspondence, here’s an FYI for you: the United States is no longer the leader in Internet Spam. That position belongs to India closely followed by Russia, Vietnam, So. Korea and Indonesia. The US is only responsible for about 3.2 percent of the electronic junk mail that we receive.

Like all columnists I have a folder of “column ideas.” Readers and friends send me interesting tidbits that I find hard to part with. They’re my security blanket. I find myself hanging onto touching stories, silly jokes, recipes and a variety of unusual household hints. I mean, who doesn’t want to know a safe, easy way to remove ticks?
My husband is in charge of tick removal. He uses the tried and true method where you strike a match, shake out the flame and put the warm match head near the tick’s burrowed end. The tick backs out, is squished and disposed of. It works like a charm but according to this email there’s a better and safer way. (The supposed source is an anonymous school nurse who uses it on students.)

So try this: “Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20); the tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away. This technique has worked every time I’ve used it and it’s much less traumatic for the patient and easier for me…”

One of the strangest hints I’ve received is how to take an elevator non-stop from one floor to another. Now I’m too chicken to try this but here’s the suggestion: “Hold the ‘close door button’ until the doors close. Keep holding it. Select the floor you want and do not let go of that number and close door button until the elevator moves. This will allow you to go straight to that floor without stops.” It concludes by saying that “This works on every elevator.” (But is it legal?)

Now since I’m on a roll with hints here’s a good one for labeling all those cords lurking under your computer: Use the plastic clips that come on bread loaves to label the cords: Keyboard, Doc, Mouse, Power, etc. Use a permanent black marker and words can be easily read on the flat surface and take up very little space.

Other favorites were to use a hand can opener to safely open the tough plastic on packages; use regular kitchen rags to “Swiffer” your floors; and use a comb to hold the nail when hanging pictures and you’ll have no more smashed fingers. Also, to prevent water from over-boiling on the stove when cooking pasta (or whatever) balance a wooden spoon across the top of the pot.

And maybe you’ve heard this one but I hadn’t. If you drop something small (like a pill or an earring) and it rolls under a chair or counter and you can’t reach it: place a sock over the end of a vacuum tube with a rubber band to secure it. Then, when the vacuum sucks the piece up it will remain secure on the outside of the sock. Brilliant!

And finally, buried at the bottom of the emails I found this list of groaners that still made me laugh. Enjoy!

When chemists die, they barium.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
I know a guy who is addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.
How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.
I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.
This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.
We're going on a class trip to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there's no pop quiz.
Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn't control her pupils?
Broken pencils are pointless.
I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.
What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy.
Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!
My sincere thanks to all who contributed to this column—I think!

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.

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