Oy! Oy!- Oy!- Oy!-Oy! Hup teeetle teeetle teeetle! Oy! Oy! Oy! enjOy!

Itzhak Perlman, no less.

(Thanks, Roger.)


You think 59.5 is a magic age because it’s the moment you can begin withdrawing from your retirement plan without penalty.

Well, guess what: it’s also a perfect age for a midlife crisis.

‘Yeah, right,’ you say, adopting a certain tone.

Well, don’t you adopt that tone with me. I am here to tell you that the Social Security Administration has recently extended its actuarial tables to age 119, so 59.5 is precisely mid-life. And, yes, we may get a little worn near the end; but compounding our $350,000 net worth today, say, at 6% above inflation for 59.5 more years, we’ll be worth $11 million and change in today’s dollars, so you’d better be nice. And you may not be so young by then yourself, come to think of it.


Frank Schrader: ‘Soak a sponge in a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish detergent . . . squeeze it halfway dry . . . and blot the stain. Sponge with water to rinse and blot dry with paper towels. Obviously, the sooner the better. Works great, but the usual caveat with things like this applies: test the mixture on a hidden area first. This way you can leave all the other stuff to Stanley Steemer.’

Pieter Bach: ‘Red wine is best neutralized with white wine. That’s right. If someone spills red wine or brandy on your carpet, immediately flood the spill with white wine (dry white is better than sweet because there is less sugar to get out later), and then blot carefully. The white will dilute the red and if the first flood and blotting doesn’t eliminate the red stain, flood again and blot again before the first one dries and you’re temporarily stain free. You then have to get the white wine out of the carpet, but it’s (a) easier to get out and (b) not going to leave an ugly purple blotch. To get the white wine out: wait until the spot has dried, then flood it again but this time with seltzer, and blot blot blot blot. Don’t scrub the dry towel around because that ‘frosts’ the carpet fibres and the spot will show as a different shade of the carpet color. Use light-colored bath towels and stand on them to make sure you’re squeezing out as much moisture as possible. Then let it air dry. You will have removed the substances in the white wine that would dry as dirt-attractants (the alcohol sugars dry sticky).

‘For pet stains, first blot (with paper towels – don’t use bath towels unless you want to smell bad for months after every shower). Then flood the spot with white vinegar, which neutralizes the highly alkaline urine and takes away the odor, and blot blot blot blot. This time you can use bath towels because the white vinegar will rinse out in the laundry. Follow the white vinegar, a day later, with plain water and blot blot blot blot to get out the vinegar smell. The vinegar also helps teach the cat or dog that carpets aren’t grass and shouldn’t be peed on.

‘On both red wine and pet stains, DO NOT USE WATER UNTIL THE INITIAL STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN, and DO NOT USE SALT — EVER — ON RED WINE (which some people do, on tablecloths) because it sets the stain, it does not remove it. This is from a long-time professional housekeeper (now retired to the slavery of a desk) and carpet cleaner. I do know what I’m talking about.’

Bob Fyfe: ‘You can prevent red wine stains by pouring table salt on the spill immediately after it happens. Let the salt soak up the wine for at least an hour or two (some people suggest overnight) then vacuum it up. I’ve seen this work at my sister’s house on light beige carpet. As soon as it happened, guests wanted to pour club soda on it, start blotting it with paper towels, etc. My sister told them to just leave it, she pours a small pile of salt on it and at the end of the party she vacummed it up and there was no stain. Don’t use your sea salts for this — no need to waste the good stuff. You’ve already wasted a glass of a $10 bottle of wine (which fortunately you’ve bought by the case). Here’s a confirmation of this method. And another, quoting Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator editor – ‘Salt is our first response to a wine stain.’ – and Wine Lover Robin Garr – ‘Salt is our best answer, from long, long experience. [K]eep mounding it on the wet stain until all you can see is white. It sucks it all out of there. Once the stain is set, the pigments in red wine are devilishly hard to get out.’ Steinman recommends a commercial product, Resolve, for carpets. He further advises the use of white tablecloths for wine dinners ‘so we can bleach it to death.”

☞ Table cloths? Real guys don’t use table cloths – or spill red wine. Drinking it out of the bottle makes it almost impossible to spill.


Jeff Martin: ‘I was reading Scott Burns’ article in the Dallas Morning News about good finance books to read . . .’


It’s all about the best things in life: generosity, caring, and kids. May yours be merry and bright.


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