Karen: ‘Forget the vinegar – it only hides the smell from human noses, not from dog and cat noses. Enzyme cleaners. Get them at any pet store, or from . (There’s a URL for you!)’


Ken Glade: ‘I followed your advice and bought several fluorescent bulbs expecting to reap large savings, but have found that the bulbs last only a few months each. At the premium price, I doubt I am saving anything. I installed the bulbs in my basement in those cheap ceramic, bare bulb fixtures where they hang UPSIDE DOWN. Nowhere on the packaging did it say for right-side up only. I even had one bulb literally explode and burn up with smoke and flame, spattering glass and deadly fluorescent gas throughout my basement. I happened to be in the basement when it happened so I was a witness. Fortunately, no damage to anything but the bulb and one pair of soiled underpants [see ‘pet stains’ above – A.T.]. Now, I followed your link from today’s posting and I find the last line as: ‘For maximum life the manufacturer recommends this bulb be used in a base-down position.’ In the interest of truth in consumer packaging, this should read ‘the manufacturer recommends this bulb be used in a base-down position unless you want to burn down your house.’ Have you heard similar comments from other readers? Or, am I alone in my dark basement of suicidal bulbs? In your house are there huge arrays of upside down bulbs glowing dutifully year after year, indicating that there is something especially explosive about me and my bulbs?’

☞ I’ve never had a problem with longevity or – far more important – fire. And I do have some downward-pointing bulbs. And yours is the only such comment I’ve gotten so far. Could it have been something about the fixture it was screwed into? Anybody else know of problems in this area? Anyone? Anyone?

Catherine: ‘Unlike you, my eyes are very sensitive to bright lights and I truly cannot stand anything fluorescent – are there any energy-saving alternatives for people like me, besides candles?

☞ Candles are good. You could read by the light of your partner’s reflected glory. You could breed fireflies. But I think just using low-wattage incandescents puts you in the energy-saving category right there.


Dan Stone: Perhaps the Social Security Administration is being too conservative, given that the oldest known person, Jeanne Calment, made it to over 123. And with the miracles of medicine, one never knows. Although not shown on this particular table, one ‘nice’ thing about actuarial tables is that you get a time dividend. Say your life expectancy is twenty years. If you get to that point, your subsequent life expectancy is not zero, but a few additional years, which represents the accumulated ‘dividends.’ So, with every minute you live, you get a little additional life expectancy. If we could only make the addition increment in life expectancy equal to the amount of time that passed in order to obtain it, we’d be…immortal! I think we’re still a ways away from that.’

☞ Perhaps. But as Bill Gates has noted, mortality is just a software problem. (I have a team in Bulgaria working on it as fast as they can.)


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