Dear Readers: Today's Sound Off is about too much nudity and bad language on television. -- Heloise

"Dear Heloise: Please believe me when I say I'm not a prude. I'm a 28-year-old schoolteacher at a middle school who is tired of the nudity and profanity on television. So many of my students see programs on TV that are completely inappropriate for their young ages, and scenes that give them the idea that ignoring their studies is acceptable, dropping out of school is cool, using terrible grammar is the way they should talk, and that they shouldn't take responsibility for their lives or actions. They're kids, and as such are not prepared for so many of the adult themes on TV. They tend to copy what they see.

"If you have children, turn off the TV and have dialogue with your kids, and stay connected with their teachers." -- Yvette C., St. Paul, Minnesota

Fast facts

Dear Readers: What to do with a worn-out garden hose: 

  • Cut pieces off and slit them down one side. Then use those pieces to cover cutting tools, such as saws.
  • Puncture with holes and make a soaker hose out of it.
  • Before you run a rope around a young tree to steady it, run the rope through a length of hose to keep the rope from cutting into the tree.
  • If you have no use for the hose, be sure to place it in the recycle bin. -- Heloise

Beware of scams

Dear Heloise: How can my dad protect himself from all the scams? He invested in what I believe was a scam, then six months later those same people called and offered to swap the bad investment for what they called "a much better investment" to help him recover his money. The problem was, they wanted $1,500 upfront! I talked him out of it, but I don't know when these people will call again. -- Kate R., Orange

Kate, remind him to never do investment business over the phone with strangers. If he wants to invest, he needs to do so with a registered firm, a trained, experienced professional agent and, better yet, to never make any investments unless he first discusses it with one of his children. You also might want to speak to an attorney to see how you can legally protect your dad from scammers. -- Heloise

Dog vs. pill

Dear Heloise: Giving my dog a pill was always a hassle and traumatized him afterward. Now, I either hide it in a chunk of meat or roll it in a ball of butter. The butter works best because my dog loves it, and the butter makes it go down quickly. -- Georgia F., Wheat Ridge, Colorado

'Bee' smart

Dear Heloise: If you have a bee settle on you while outside, stop moving. It's harder for a bee to see you if you stand still until the bee moves off. -- Joe K., Olathe, Kansas

Hint from him

Dear Heloise: Homeowners are constantly looking for a safe place to store their valuables when going on vacation. I place valuables inside a pillowcase, put them in the clothes dryer and place clothes on top.

I've never heard of thieves raiding a clothes dryer! -- N.M., Warren, Ohio

Hi, Neal! I think you are right! I loved my visit to Warren a few years back. Say "Hi" to folks for me. -- Hugs, Heloise

Foundation fix

Dear Heloise: When doing my makeup, I apply foundation first and then concealer to the under-eye area. This way, I find I use much less product around my eyes, which can age them. -- Janet R. in Texas 

Reduce stress

Dear Heloise: I've been a travel agent for nearly 20 years, and I can tell you firsthand that the benefits of travel in reducing stress and making life more exciting are huge. Many of the benefits are intangible, but still are well worth the effort to take a trip somewhere new. It's no secret that Americans take very little time off from work when compared with other countries, such as France, Finland and Spain. Life is short, and all of us need time to relax and rejuvenate. -- Helen M., Tulsa, Oklahoma

Helen, I agree. Time away from work gives us time to enjoy new sights and sounds, to try new foods and meet new people. It can be educational and even productive. Even if someone wants to do a few things around the home instead of traveling, it's still time away from the everyday routine. -- Heloise

Paint chips

Dear Heloise: My husband and I did some remodeling around our home, which included repainting. I had several paint chips from the hardware store and didn't know what to do with them, so I used them as bookmarks for all the books I love to read. -- Nancy E., Norfolk, Virginia

Index cards

Dear Heloise: In my job, I have to make calls on clients in their homes, so I carry 4-by-6-inch index cards with me to leave messages for people to let them know I was there, and when and how to contact me. The index cards are cheap and have much more room than the back of a business card (which I also leave) so I can leave little messages. -- Corrine T., Muncie, Indiana

The brushoff

Dear Heloise: Once a month or so, I use a dry brush and gently "brush" my skin before showering. This helps to remove dead skin. It can boost circulation, too. -- Leigh M. in Wisconsin

Talk to your doctor to make sure this is safe if you have any skin issues. -- Heloise

Ancient library?

Dear Heloise: Today, everything is at our fingertips. Got a question? Look up the answer on the internet on your phone.

The thrill of the pursuit of information seemingly is over. I loved going to the library, flipping through the paper catalog and going on a treasure hunt for the book I wanted up in "the stacks" (the book storage area).

Just curious -- what do your readers think of this? Is the library becoming a dinosaur? -- Rick D. in Pennsylvania

Shoes in the house?

Dear Readers: Wearing shoes in the house? Maybe you shouldn't. Here are some reasons:

  • Shoes you wear out of the house can get really dirty! They may pick up germs and dirt from streets, office buildings, elevators or public restrooms.
  • Hardwood floors can be damaged from high heels!
  • Feet need to "rest" and relax -- you know, when you take off work shoes, heels or boots and say, "ahhhhhhhhh!"

Consider your lifestyle: Your feet should be happy and healthy, and if so, you will feel better. Barefoot gal in Texas! -- Heloise

Fresh fruit in tea

Dear Heloise: I've discovered a delicious way to infuse fruit flavors into my iced tea. I skewer blueberries, strawberries or raspberries (sometimes all of them) and set them in the teapot when I brew tea for my iced tea. This adds a little bit of flavor. -- M.M. in Texas

Well, as a Southern gal who drinks of lot of "home-brewed" iced and hot tea, I love this! I take a peek in the refrigerator to see what fresh fruit is there. I'll rinse and cut up strawberries, blackberries, peaches and even apples to drop into the teapot. This makes delicious tea for a cup of hot tea or a glass of iced tea! I brew it strong, so when poured into a glass filled with ice, the tea still has that wonderful quenching effect.

If you would like to learn a little more about tea and coffee, I put together a pamphlet filled with my favorite tea and coffee hints. Visit to order it, or send a long, stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope, along with $3, to: Heloise/Coffee and Teas, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio TX 78279-5001. A quick way to "spice up" a pot of hot tea? Hard candies like peppermint, butterscotch or peach. -- Heloise

Shower power

Dear Readers: If you or a family member uses a shower seat, the plastic seat can be slippery when wet.

Cover the seat with shelf liner. Some, you will find, have a "nubbly" texture that is nonslip. This will give a more comfortable and safer place to sit. -- Heloise 

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Kitchen clutter

Dear Readers: Does your silverware tray slide around in the drawer? Take paper towel cores and slip them behind the tray. This should keep the tray snug in the drawer. -- Heloise

Removing fingerprints

Dear Heloise: I use the last slice of white bread on my walls. I mash it into a ball, then sort of mush it into a smudge or fingerprint to remove it. -- Dannie T., Dayton, Ohio

Head to the mall?

Dear Heloise: I'm wondering how your readers feel about shopping malls? When I was a kid, I loved spending time at the mall with my friends; some malls had carousels, ice-skating rinks and movie theaters, and they all had wonderful food courts with delicious choices of eats. But now so many malls are going out of business.

In San Antonio, we still have malls that are doing well, but off-price stores and shopping online are gaining in popularity.

Will your readers always go to the mall? Do you like the energy there? The service? The people? It was convenient to have all the big stores under one roof, and years ago, I used to walk in the mall for exercise. That was fun.

The salespeople in the kiosks outside of the stores can be pretty pushy, but I've learned to just say, "No, thank you."

Is the shopping mall becoming a thing of the past? Hopefully not! -- Jana B., Helotes, Texas

Readers, what do you say about the shopping mall? I've done many book signings in many malls over the years -- a great place to come together! -- Heloise

Save it for later

Dear Heloise: I read your column (regularly). I want to keep some of your hints to reference later.

To hold your column until I'm ready to "laminate" (with tape) the front side, I lay the back side of the newspaper column against the sticky side of leakproof sealing wrap. Then I cover the front side of the article with the clear packaging tape.

Now I can cut it out and tape it to the fridge, microwave, a mirror, a notebook or wherever I want, and it is protected from splashes. -- Jackie in Santa Ana

Hint from him

Dear Heloise: There's no need to slice yourself instead of your bagel. Lay the bagel flat, cut first downward so that you have two semicircles. Then stand each half-bagel on its flat cut and slice downward again.

Four perfect quarter-bagels that still fit in the toaster just fine. If you then insist on having circles again, just spackle the pieces together with a little extra cream cheese! -- Neil S., Falls Church, Virginia

Trunk cleanup

Dear Readers: Take an hour to clean out the trunk of your car. Sort and donate things you don't use, and find a place in the house for things you do use. Carrying less cargo may improve your gas mileage!

Next, sprinkle some baking soda in the trunk to deodorize. Let it sit for an hour or overnight, and then vacuum thoroughly.

The baking soda will absorb any bad odors, and is a multiuse workhorse around the house, outside and in your auto. It is cheap and safe. If you would like a collection of my favorite money-saving baking soda hints, visit to order, or send a large, stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio TX 78279-5001. To freshen a drain, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda mixed with 1/4 cup of salt into the drain, and then add 1/2 cup of vinegar. The mixture will bubble! Let it sit for 30 minutes, and flush with lots of water. -- Heloise

Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio TX 78279-5000; fax: 1-210-HELOISE; email: