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Very practical advice about life. And socks.
November 20, 2009 10:53 AM   Subscribe

50 Practical tips to save you half a lifetime. Such as the indispensible: "If you think you might be about to be sick, you are about to be sick: run to the loo."
posted by grapefruitmoon (142 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite

 
Resolve now — now — never to iron a shirt in your life: make this your starting-point, your irreducible core, and find another way.

so wrong.
posted by pick_the_flowers at 11:03 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Some of the more reflective advice is excellent:

Never kid yourself you can make something of somebody; instead, find someone who’s making something of themselves, and help them, otherwise years can be expended trying to push the human equivalent of a wet end of spaghetti up a wall.

If, at a moment when any reasonable person would expect you to lose your cool completely, you instead don’t, and stay calm and collected, nobody present will ever forget this about you.



But many of the more "practical" tips don't sound so practical:

shave against rather than with the lie of the beard.

Wash your hair with water and ban shampoo

All occasions on which women wear hats are utterly pointless.

Violently boiling water isn’t any hotter than gently boiling water.

Whenever contemplating taking out insurance, don’t



(I do agree about not ironing shirts, though.)

Also, the juxtaposition of practical advice with general life philosophies is a bit jarring, though I'm sure this was intentionally done for some kind of effect.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:04 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wash your hair with water and ban shampoo

This is actually entirely feasible. You can ease the transition with baking soda or sea-salt water and a diluted vinegar rinse.
posted by muddgirl at 11:06 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Fun read, thanks.

But some of the paragraph breaks and resulting linked thoughts are really odd. This one actually made me laugh out loud:

"A good-looking man always knows this; there are no shy, modest Adonises, waiting to be discovered by you. Few people are genuinely unaware of any great talent they possess. Bloodstains can be removed by pouring boiling water through (not over) the cloth."
posted by peachfuzz at 11:06 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is actually entirely feasible.

Even if you use product?
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:12 AM on November 20, 2009


But trust me on the sunscreen.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:12 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Never underestimate the pleasure that can be given by cancelling a party: busy friends love an unexpected diary window.

I'm not sure I understand what this means.... (although I've never cancelled a party so I can't say I'm privy to the pleasure of it)
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:12 AM on November 20, 2009


Bloodstains can be removed by pouring boiling water through (not over) the cloth.

Take it from a woman who bleeds heavily every 28 days - the coldest water possible is better than hot water, even boiling.
posted by muddgirl at 11:12 AM on November 20, 2009 [24 favorites]


Whenever contemplating taking out insurance, don’t — but deposit the amount of the premium in an earmarked savings account. You’ll almost certainly end up miles ahead.

Oh fuck off. Try telling me that again when your house burns burns down and you have three grand in a savings account with which to rebuild it.
posted by dersins at 11:12 AM on November 20, 2009 [35 favorites]


#51

If one must read a Times Online article, read Worried pimp 'called off Rabbi Baruch Chalomish's three-day drug-fuelled orgy'.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:12 AM on November 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


So, this person reads AskMetafilter.
posted by cmoj at 11:12 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


It wasn't a total waste of time. On the same page there is the "10 most bizarre sexist adverts" and one was a 'put something exciting between your legs' bike T-shirt.
posted by fixedgear at 11:14 AM on November 20, 2009


Wow, tons of double comments. Yay!

Even if you use product?

Yeah. Break up the product with a comb and then brush it off before washing. I haven't tried it but there are tons of blogs if you search "no 'poo".
posted by muddgirl at 11:14 AM on November 20, 2009


shave against rather than with the lie of the beard.

Well I'm glad somebody finally said this. I've never understood why this is wrong, if you use good razors and soften the beard up first. Apparently there's a greater risk of ingrown hairs, but I've never knowingly had one after 10 years of shaving this way.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 11:15 AM on November 20, 2009 [12 favorites]


Bloodstains can be removed by pouring boiling water through (not over) the cloth.

Take it from a woman who bleeds heavily every 28 days - the coldest water possible is better than hot water, even boiling.


And saline's best of all.
posted by padraigin at 11:15 AM on November 20, 2009


Never underestimate the pleasure that can be given by cancelling a party: busy friends love an unexpected diary window.

Even if you use product?
posted by mazola at 11:16 AM on November 20, 2009 [15 favorites]


Socks: buy ten pairs of black cotton socks and ten woollen; and stick to black for the rest of your life, saving hundreds of hours trying to match odd socks.

I disagree. I have only two (2) [2!] pairs of black socks, and it takes me a minute to figure out which one matches which. With each additional pair the time would not double, but square as every black sock needs to be tried and matched with another. The pink and grey hooped socks with bows on, however, are easy to match and never confused with the rainbow Minnie the Mouse socks or the blue and grey robot socks. Please reconsider your advice to future generations, good sir.
posted by Sova at 11:16 AM on November 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


Even if you use product?
Some kind of good residue-free gel, maybe. Wax or something, probably not.
posted by cmoj at 11:17 AM on November 20, 2009


I live by the first tip. I've worn exclusively black socks for years now and I don't ever have a problem matching them. Thanks for the post!

Let's see if this gets double-posted like the others...
posted by booticon at 11:17 AM on November 20, 2009


I avoid ironing shirts and shampooing whenever possible. Everyone once in a while it is unavoidable, though.
posted by signalnine at 11:18 AM on November 20, 2009


[Cleaned up the weird doubles.]
posted by cortex at 11:20 AM on November 20, 2009


After seeing it repeated so many times, I can't help but wonder why it's called product. Is it just from the generic "styling products?"
posted by Mister Cheese at 11:21 AM on November 20, 2009


MetaFilter: even if you use product?
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:21 AM on November 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


So it's good to cancel parties, but not OK to rescind invitations. Does that mean it's not OK to let people know that you canceled the party you invited them to?
posted by Godbert at 11:22 AM on November 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Buy wide-toed shoes, a size too big, go shoe-less whenever possible, and you’ll still have perfect feet at 60.

I just . . . huh?
posted by EvaDestruction at 11:23 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is so weird, because just the other day I got this weird letter in the mail. It read:

"Dear billysumday of 2009:

This is your future self, writing to you from the future. Yes, we still use pens! Okay, here's the deal. All those mistakes you're going to make? Don't make them.

On second thought, if you don't make those mistakes, then why would I be writing this letter? I mean, think about. Let's say you didn't make any mistakes and just kicked ass from then until now. Then I'd be on a yacht somewhere off of Majorca instead of this crap apartment in Topeka.

So I guess I'll just say: way to go, asshole. You're gonna mess my life up one way or the other and there's nothing much I can do to stop it, now is there?

Ass."

I sent it to the Times but I guess they were looking for something a little more constructive.
posted by billysumday at 11:23 AM on November 20, 2009 [18 favorites]


Well I'm glad somebody finally said this. I've never understood why this is wrong, if you use good razors and soften the beard up first. Apparently there's a greater risk of ingrown hairs, but I've never knowingly had one after 10 years of shaving this way.

I assume you have nice baby-soft whiskers. While my beard isn't terribly full, the whiskers are like little bits of steel wool and if I shave against the grain on the first pass I end up with multiple ingrown hairs every time.

I usually end up with one or two even shaving with the grain.
posted by Justinian at 11:23 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


shave against rather than with the lie of the beard.

Well I'm glad somebody finally said this. I've never understood why this is wrong, if you use good razors and soften the beard up first. Apparently there's a greater risk of ingrown hairs, but I've never knowingly had one after 10 years of shaving this way.


I'll usually bleed first, then get a rash, then I get ingrown hairs. YMMV, but it's basically horrible advice to give the general public.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:23 AM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


Hydrogen peroxide is great for getting out bloodstains. Just be really careful about using it on proteins like wool, silk, or leather.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 11:24 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have only two (2) [2!] pairs of black socks, and it takes me a minute to figure out which one matches which.

The idea is to have a drawer full of identical socks, all bought at the same time so they fade equally. Then you just grab any two each morning and are guaranteed a match.

(I do this)
posted by cillit bang at 11:24 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also: One size does not fit all. Applies to clothing and advice from a once-great newspaper equally.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:24 AM on November 20, 2009


remember that no male, however indifferent to your charms, is actually offended by a pass being made at him, though he may be a little startled

Yes, sage advice. Please. Bring me your tired old queens, your poorly hygenic, your huddled trolls yearning to get in my pants!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:26 AM on November 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


I've never understood why this is wrong, if you use good razors and soften the beard up first. Apparently there's a greater risk of ingrown hairs, but I've never knowingly had one after 10 years of shaving this way.

I couldn't shave against the grain even if there were no such thing as ingrown hairs. It just doesn't work.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:27 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Some of this is just lazy advice. No ironing? Your missing out on some great fabrics. Only black and white socks? Don't be so boring. Try an argyle or a striped pair.
posted by boubelium at 11:29 AM on November 20, 2009


Don't rescind invitations but be ruthless about wedding invitations!
posted by autodidact at 11:33 AM on November 20, 2009


I have only two (2) [2!] pairs of black socks, and it takes me a minute to figure out which one matches which.

The idea is to have a drawer full of identical socks, all bought at the same time so they fade equally. Then you just grab any two each morning and are guaranteed a match


But what about when you need new socks and can't get the same pairs again? Or you just going to have ten pairs of socks your entire life, hmmm? (And why don't you match before putting in the drawer?)
posted by Sova at 11:33 AM on November 20, 2009


Buy wide-toed shoes, a size too big, go shoe-less whenever possible, and you’ll still have perfect feet at 60.

Or . . . you'll have feet covered in blisters! Seriously bad advice.

I tried the no poo thing (using the various stuff that blogs advised--lemon juice and sea salt) for about four months. My hair never achieved the magical equilibrium that it was supposed to, and my scalp was incredibly itchy and dandruffy. It was also a lot more work than just using shampoo.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:33 AM on November 20, 2009


I assume you have nice baby-soft whiskers. While my beard isn't terribly full, the whiskers are like little bits of steel wool and if I shave against the grain on the first pass I end up with multiple ingrown hairs every time.

My facial hairs are like steel. It is literally painful to shave a 3 days growth because even a fully sharp razor can barely slice through.

I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever had an ingrown hair. I shave against the grain because it's the only thing that actually works. (When I have N days growth, I first shave with to get them short, then against to knock off the stumps.)
posted by DU at 11:34 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


.... aaaaand I forgot what rescind meant for a second.
posted by autodidact at 11:34 AM on November 20, 2009


Waait... you all are saying that what seems like a good idea in my life might not be necessarily be universally applicable to everyone else's life. Well, that certainly doesn't sound like the absolutist internet I've come to know and love.
posted by adamt at 11:36 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Whenever contemplating taking out insurance, don’t — but deposit the amount of the premium in an earmarked savings account. You’ll almost certainly end up miles ahead.

Oh fuck off. Try telling me that again when your house burns burns down and you have three grand in a savings account with which to rebuild it.


Yes. And even assuming only small things are going to go wrong, when a pipe burst and my basement flooded three months after I bought Swan's End, I got a cheque from my home insurance company that was equivalent to 1.5 years of monthly payments.

Not to mention that it's illegal to drive without auto insurance and that banks won't even approve a mortgage on a house until you have insurance.
posted by orange swan at 11:37 AM on November 20, 2009


Violently boiling water isn’t any hotter than gently boiling water.

That's only half true. It's true if you're talking about temperature, but not if you're talking about heat.

Shaving against the grain: I shave with for bulk stubble removal, and then against for cleanup, except for some spots that I have to shave across the grain for cleanup. But granted I have a lighter beard than most Italian grandmothers, so really don't take my word for it.
posted by rusty at 11:39 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Black socks only people: do you only wear black dress pants? I thought the rule (for men anyway), is your socks either match your pants or one of your accents (tie, etc.) I have some gray pants that would look weird to me with pure black socks.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:41 AM on November 20, 2009


I have to say that altho the black sock advise is sage in theory I have been living by it (for aesthetic as well as practical reasons) for many years and it just doesn't work. I buy those multi-packs of black mens goldtoe socks from costco, open an entire pack at once to use, but short of some sort of sock rotation use system (which ain't gonna happen) they do NOT wear evenly. also different packs have tended to vary in length some and I just cannot bring myself to wear "matching" black socks of utterly different length and weared-ness. ugh!
posted by supermedusa at 11:41 AM on November 20, 2009


DU: Hey, me too. I wonder why I get so many more ingrown hairs than you, then? 100% of them occur in the same area, right around my adam's apple.

Hmmm... I have a moderately pronounced adam's apple which makes shaving the area interesting. Do you have a smoother neck? Maybe it has to do with shape and not whisker consistency.
posted by Justinian at 11:41 AM on November 20, 2009


Also: Knots: these tend to tighten under tension: compression can loosen them; so to unpick, push rather than pull apart, first stiffening up the cord by twisting with (not counter to) the cord’s existing twist.

...or learn to use the right kind of knot, that will remain untieable after the particular kind of load you're planning to put on it. This is the whole point of there being different knots.
posted by rusty at 11:42 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Whenever contemplating taking out insurance, don’t — but deposit the amount of the premium in an earmarked savings account. You’ll almost certainly end up miles ahead.

Oh fuck off. Try telling me that again when your house burns burns down and you have three grand in a savings account with which to rebuild it.


Actually, this is great advice, but only in the very specific context it is given in - a letter to your 16 year old self. Presumably, the author never needed any insurance from age 16 to present, and thus would have saved money on this (very risky) gamble. Of course, this is assuming that the letter to the past wouldn't cause any back-to-the-future-style changes in the course of events.
posted by fermezporte at 11:42 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think there is better beard advice.

"Don't shave your beard! Use a trimmer to keep it at around .5-1cm."

Never ever will you be uncomfortable again during beard maintenance if you follow this rule. I will allow that it only looks anice if you have a decent, thick carpet of stubble after trimming.
posted by cbecker333 at 11:46 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


never to iron a shirt in your life:

buy ten pairs of black cotton socks...


So now I'm going to go home and try to find the cameras he's been using to monitor my activities.

Although, he is wrong about this: If the first nail won’t hammer into a wall, the second won’t either. this is one of those cases of "needs a bigger hammer, needs a bigger nail, repeat until nail sticks".
posted by quin at 11:47 AM on November 20, 2009


The effectiveness of the black sock theory is directly inverse to the intensity with which you care about people's opinions of what you cover your feet with. Hence, it works better for some than for others.
posted by Darth Fedor at 11:47 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Actually, this is great advice, but only in the very specific context it is given in - a letter to your 16 year old self. Presumably, the author never needed any insurance from age 16 to present, and thus would have saved money on this (very risky) gamble.

The title is: "50 practical tips to save you half a lifetime." Not "... to save Matthew Parris half a lifetime."

And I know someone's going to say, "But the author probably didn't write the headline!" Doesn't matter. OK, so it was a collaborative essay -- the headline is still part of the essay.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:48 AM on November 20, 2009


I'm pretty sure the author didn't mean 'mandated by law car insurance' or 'can't get a loan without homeowner's insurance.' What's that leave? Extended warranty (maybe they call it insurance in the UK?) for your new flatscreen?
posted by fixedgear at 11:48 AM on November 20, 2009


Hmmm... I have a moderately pronounced adam's apple which makes shaving the area interesting. Do you have a smoother neck? Maybe it has to do with shape and not whisker consistency.

My adam's apple is unpronounceable. I have no idea if that's a factor, though, since I've never had an ingrown hair. I have no idea what they're even like, let alone what causes them. (And yes, I've been shaving for a while....hey, it must be just over 20 years now!)
posted by DU at 11:48 AM on November 20, 2009


I thought the rule (for men anyway), is your socks either match your pants or one of your accents

Match #3: to your shoes. Matching to accents is the most fun, though.
posted by EvaDestruction at 11:49 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Lately I've had this strong urge to donate all my socks to Goodwill and just start my sock life all over again.
posted by autodidact at 11:50 AM on November 20, 2009 [15 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the author didn't mean 'mandated by law car insurance' or 'can't get a loan without homeowner's insurance.'

He made a blanket statement about "insurance." If he didn't mean what he wrote, he shouldn't have written it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:50 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought the rule (for men anyway), is your socks either match your pants or one of your accents

Since I have a bit of a Tennessee accent, does that mean I should be going shoeless?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:51 AM on November 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


NoSince I have a bit of a Tennessee accent, does that mean I should be going shoeless?

No, it means you should wear socks made of mossy stones and ground up mandolins.
posted by Darth Fedor at 11:54 AM on November 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


The title is: "50 practical tips to save you half a lifetime." Not "... to save Matthew Parris half a lifetime."

We've talked about this before: The author of the piece has no say in what the editor calls it. I'm getting pretty sick of people skimming an article and criticizing the author based on something he or she had no control over.
posted by muddgirl at 11:54 AM on November 20, 2009


He made a blanket statement about "insurance." If he didn't mean what he wrote, he shouldn't have written it.

Or you could try not taking things as strictly literal when doing so is outside the logical bounds of the discussion (in this case the discussion is within the boundaries of good advice). This is why I avoid talking to my mother.
posted by autodidact at 11:55 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


.5-1cm is too long. I want 2-3mm, otherwise it defeats the purpose of stubble.
posted by sneebler at 11:56 AM on November 20, 2009


The true statement on insurance is "don't insure against something unless it covers something you couldn't afford". So do get house insurance (rebuilding the things gets expensive), but don't get mobile phone insurance at £4 a month when the replacement cost is, say, £200.
posted by athenian at 11:57 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Black socks, they never get dirty
The more that you wear them, the blacker they get!
posted by Spatch at 11:59 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Whenever contemplating taking out insurance, don’t — but deposit the amount of the premium in an earmarked savings account. You’ll almost certainly end up miles ahead.

Oh fuck off. Try telling me that again when your house burns burns down and you have three grand in a savings account with which to rebuild it.
posted by dersins


First, his advice is to himself - not to you or to me.

Second, having your house burn down is not a common occurrence so his advice may make sense to the 99.999% (?) of the population whose house does not burn down. (It would apply to me, for instance).

Third, I'm sorry if your house burned down. Really, I am. I have that sense of relief whenever I come back from a trip and find that my house is still standing.
posted by Man with Lantern at 12:01 PM on November 20, 2009


We've talked about this before: The author of the piece has no say in what the editor calls it.

I know it's often talked about -- that's why I preemptively responded to it.

The headline doesn't just randomly appear out of the sky; there's a good reason why it is the way it is. It's like the 100 rules for waiters post the other day, where the headline was directed to all waitstaff but the intro was overly specific, as if the piece were just about the author. Well, I'm sorry, but these pieces are not just biographical statements about the authors -- they're directed to all readers.

The burden shouldn't be on the reader to guess about who wrote what. Someone wrote the headline; how is it not fair to comment on it?

Anyway, the thing I was responding to was clearly making a joke in interpreting the piece in an overly narrow way, so it's a bit silly to be debating this.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:01 PM on November 20, 2009


Oh fuck off. Try telling me that again when your house burns burns down and you have three grand in a savings account with which to rebuild it.
posted by dersins


There may be a transatlantic misunderstanding here. In Britain, if your house burns down, the state rebuilds it free of charge, plus a swimming pool for your troubles. But no, no, you guys carry on holding your Tea Parties and championing your freedoms.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 12:05 PM on November 20, 2009 [18 favorites]


There’s usually a reason why friendless people lack friends.
I think my black socks make me unapproachable.
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 12:09 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, I'm sorry, but these pieces are not just biographical statements about the authors -- they're directed to all readers.

They are about making connections and finding commonalities and differences in experiences. It is not a strict proscription for everyone's life. The author does not believe that he is the Emperor of The World.

It seems like a common breakdown in communication on the internet:
Person A: This is what my life is like; it works well for me/doesn't work at all.
Person B: STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO!
posted by muddgirl at 12:11 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


otherwise it defeats the purpose of stubble

sneebler, can I quote you as to stubble having a purpose? Because it would make my life much easier if my wife were mad at you instead of me.
posted by JaredSeth at 12:13 PM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Top tip: Don't let your website team rip off other peoples work when they can't be bothered writing an obituary.
posted by Artw at 12:14 PM on November 20, 2009


There’s usually a reason why friendless people lack friends.
I think my black socks make me unapproachable.


Perhaps you should wear something in addtion to the black socks, you know, like pants for instance?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:18 PM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


Lately I've had this strong urge to donate all my socks to Goodwill and just start my sock life all over again.

After just having sorted through a truckload of stuff donated to charity, I strongly advise you against this. At least the first part of your plan.

And I add this to the list of advice to 16-year olds:

Used socks are garbage.
posted by pick_the_flowers at 12:18 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want 2-3mm, otherwise it defeats the purpose of stubble.

Which is what? To exfoliate your partner's face?
posted by srboisvert at 12:20 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


I’ve been composing the letter from my 60-year-old self that would have been of some real use at 16: things I wish I’d known earlier. “Dear Me . . .

If you see a dog, try dressing it in funny clothes. If you see a dog that's already dressed up, take a photograph. Always shave against the grain of your stubble. More than two blades is ridiculous. In fact, you really don't need more than one; a regular old-fashioned safety razor is cheap and has a nice weight in your hand.

Saltines go surprisingly well with all kinds of cheeses; always keep a box on hand. If you date someone who thinks Saltines are tasteless, explain that that's sort of the point. If you date someone who calls you a "maniac" for dressing up dogs, maybe you should break up with them. Don't rev your car engine; it makes you look like you have something to prove.

Activated coal is cheaper to buy in bulk than in those overpriced Brita filters. Most dog owners love seeing their dogs dressed in funny clothes. However, "society" tells them that they're supposed to "hate" it, so they'll probably yell at you. A good way to get around this "Catch-22" is to sneak into their yards at night and do the dressing-up then. If they start locking their dogs inside at night, send anonymous photos of the dogs to them, wearing the funny clothes. There's no practical difference between a moleskine and a regular old notebook.

The kind of man who cares about the shape of his glass matching his drink will be an insufferable bore at dinner parties. When choosing a lipstick for a dog, remember that darker lips sometimes require bolder colors to really make them stand out. For a black lab, for example, consider a really vibrant purple. Don't ever use an electric range if you can get a gas one instead.

Bumblebees are largely harmless, so don't bother running away from them. Honey goes surprisingly well with yogurt. Dogs dressed as presidents are never quite as satisfying as you think they're going to be, unless you have exactly the right wig. You don't need a motorcycle when you already have both an automobile and a bicycle.

When you read a book you like, try not to speak about it for more than one minute at a time; any longer will make people less interested in reading it. Don't worry about that "shaking a martini bruises the gin" nonsense; it's all an old wives' tale. Make sure that if you put boots on a dog, they're not too heavy; sometimes dogs aren't as strong-legged as they look.

If the police knock on your door, you don't have to answer it; pretend you're not home. If they come to your office and ask, "what's with all the dog photos, pal?" you can tell them you have to go to the bathroom. Remember that the fire escape is outside the bathroom window. Keep a spare towel in your bathroom, in case of guests. Don't leave the same set of sheets on your bed for longer than a week.

The only real secret to most restaurant food is more butter and more salt. Dogs dressed as famous hip-hop stars is a great idea, but remember that no one will realize it's supposed to be Dre unless you also pair him with a dog to represent Snoop.

Ammonia is a wonderfully versatile degreaser around the house. Use photoshop to make the dogs look like they have "stars in their eyes". Never add sugar to cereal. Pat the dogs and compliment them after a particularly long session. Give them small pieces of steak. Scarves stay on dogs remarkably well.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:23 PM on November 20, 2009 [374 favorites]


Lately I've had this strong urge to donate all my socks to Goodwill and just start my sock life all over again. - posted by autodidact

Leaving aside the type or color of socks for now... I come to speak in praise of ruthlessness with socks. There are few pleasures in life that can compete dollar for dollar with new socks.

Getting rid of old socks and replacing them with new ones frequently was an epiphany for me. I'm not in favor of conspicuous consumption in general but when it comes to socks if I could afford it I would never wear the same pair twice.


I do use the lots of the same kind of socks to avoid careful matching but I still do rummage for a "pair" that show similar wear.

posted by Babblesort at 12:25 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Lately I've had this strong urge to donate all my socks to Goodwill and just start my sock life all over again.

Heh. Reminds me of one of the old Viz Top Tips:

Save a fortune on laundry bills. Give your dirty shirts to Oxfam. They
will wash and iron them and you can buy them back for fifty pence.
J B Cartland, Brighton.

posted by Artw at 12:26 PM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Perhaps you should wear something in addtion to the black socks, you know, like pants for instance?

And make sure to have The Breeders' "Cannonball" playing in the background while you attend to this.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:26 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


It seems like a common breakdown in communication on the internet:
Person A: This is what my life is like; it works well for me/doesn't work at all.
Person B: STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO!


I see your point that this kind of misinterpretation is probably common. But one way to avoid such misinterpretations would be to not write an essay where every sentence is an absolute command along the lines of: "Always do this!" "Never do this!" "Start doing this right now!" etc.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:30 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


If this piece were meant for the author's own consumption, then he would be saying things like:

"Don't go out with Andrea in High School, she has Herpes."

Instead, we get general Dear Abbey/Reader's Digest bullshit:

"Wear black socks and stuff."

Now excuse me while I consult my copy of Get Things Done!. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it...

Later, I will be lying in bed eating Fig Newtons.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:32 PM on November 20, 2009


having your house burn down is not a common occurrence so his advice may make sense to the 99.999% (?) of the population whose house does not burn down. (It would apply to me, for instance).

The point of insurance is exactly for these kinds of situations. If you have a 99.999% chance of not having your house burn down, then an insurance company can charge customers (on average) a little bit more than 0.001% of the cost of rebuilding a house and come out ahead. If the insurance company charges so much more than 0.001% that it doesn't make sense to ever take out insurance, then that's a problem with overpriced insurance rather than the concept of insurance itself.

When you pay for insurance, you are guarding against catastrophic one-time losses by trading that possibility for guaranteed recurring losses. If the one-time loss isn't a big deal (such as if you have enough money in the bank to pay for the unexpected one-time loss), then there is no reason to get the insurance, because the profit taken off the top by the insurance companies usually means that you'll pay more in premiums than your expected loss would be.

There are definitely cases where insurance makes sense, though. In a completely abstract example, if there is really a 1% chance that you'll have to pay $1000 next week, and you only have $200 so getting hit with a bill that large would bankrupt you, then it probably makes sense to pay $15 for insurance against being $800 short and going bankrupt. Making the blanket statement that insurance will never beat simply saving the money is not good advice in my opinion.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:32 PM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


But what about when you need new socks and can't get the same pairs again? Or you just going to have ten pairs of socks your entire life, hmmm?

When the fleet of servicable socks falls below what's practical you get rid of them all and start again - an event known as the asockalypse in these parts.

It helps if you buy far more socks than are necessary to begin with, because that postpones the asockalypse such that the last socks standing have reached the end of their natural life anyway.

(And why don't you match before putting in the drawer?)

What crazy talk is this?!?
posted by cillit bang at 12:32 PM on November 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


Smell gas? Locate the suspected leak by striking an ordinary match in
every room in the house until a loud explosion reveals the source of
the escaping gas.
N. Burke, Manchester

posted by Artw at 12:32 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Never fly to anywhere outside America via Miami."

So true.
posted by Static Vagabond at 12:33 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


It was my understanding that one should skip, skip, skip to the loo.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:38 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and while it's nice to be brutal with wedding invitations, don't explain in detail why you can't make it. You don't want to be known to the bride as "the one who couldn't come to my wedding because he wanted to go to Disneyland instead" even though your plans were made a full six months before the proposal and them plane tickets weren't refundable anyway and uh yeah.
posted by Spatch at 12:39 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Buy wide-toed shoes, a size too big, go shoe-less whenever possible, and you’ll still have perfect feet at 60.
I just . . . huh?
Possible a better way of putting it is not to let people tell you that shoes that compress your feet are properly fitting. So "Buy shoes with as wide a toe-box as possible, and don't compress or angle your feet in uncomfortable ways, go shoe-less whenever possible, and you’ll still have perfect feet at 60." The effect that (I presume) he is talking about is more easily observed with women's shoes, but it applies across the board.
Black socks, they never get dirty
The more that you wear them, the blacker they get!
Sometimes I think about washing
But something inside me says "Oh no, not yet."
posted by Karmakaze at 12:45 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Quibbling gives you cancer.
posted by Artw at 12:49 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


oooh. The asockalypse. Love it. I want to read an essay on sock eschatology. I think I may have to destroy all my socks when I get home so I have a reason to run through the house screaming asockalypse over and over.
posted by Babblesort at 12:51 PM on November 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Apropos of nothing: There is no sex in the champagne room. NSFW, old.
posted by poe at 12:55 PM on November 20, 2009


Getting rid of old socks and replacing them with new ones frequently was an epiphany for me. I'm not in favor of conspicuous consumption in general but when it comes to socks if I could afford it I would never wear the same pair twice.

You have an odd definition of "conspicuous consumption".
posted by Sova at 1:01 PM on November 20, 2009


Don't get too close to my sock fantasy. Don't be afraid to touch the foot of your creator.
posted by Babblesort at 1:06 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wasps really don’t sting unless attacked.
. . .
If you think you might be about to be sick, you are about to be sick: run to the loo. If you feel you might be about to faint, you will unless you drop to the floor immediately.


Quoted for falseness, unless wasps in England are much more polite than the ones here. I have several times thought I was going to be sick, without being sick. Ditto the fainting.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:14 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I highly recommend the asockalypse, which was first recommended (though not by that name) in Brian Michael Bendis's book Fortune and Glory.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:16 PM on November 20, 2009


I have no idea if that's a factor, though, since I've never had an ingrown hair. I have no idea what they're even like, let alone what causes them.

In the context of those caused by shaving, they are sort of like pimples, only with more pain.
posted by Justinian at 1:20 PM on November 20, 2009


Thank you, Greg Nog. That made the afternoon slightly less endless.
posted by everichon at 1:29 PM on November 20, 2009


Buying multiple pairs of identical socks is always advisable (lost one of your ten dress socks? hold onto #9 because it'll soon be #8), as is having a very few styles that are all quite different from each other... fortuitously, MeFi's own clango (r.stevens of Diesel Sweeties) is having a one-day SOCK FRIDAY sale, a perfect opportunity to get several identical pairs of fun socks... hearts, skulls, clouds, squids, D20 dice or Red Robots!

Non-Disclaimer: I have NO financial relationship to r.stevens, besides having bought non-sock items from him in the past
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:35 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bloodstains can be removed by pouring boiling water through (not over) the cloth.

Take it from a woman who bleeds heavily every 28 days - the coldest water possible is better than hot water, even boiling.

And saline's best of all.


Hydrogen peroxide ftw.
posted by Ouisch at 1:39 PM on November 20, 2009


Oh shit, Multicellular Exothermic beat me to it. Cold water + scrubbing with salt works well, too.
posted by Ouisch at 1:40 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, most designs of r.stevens' novelty socks look good on dogs (all but the D20 Dice, makes the dog look geeky). The "Women's" size works better.

And never even try to dress up a cat.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:42 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


All occasions on which women wear hats are utterly pointless.

Is this meant as curcilue advice for women not to wear hats or for everyone not to go to places where women do wear hats? That's a bunch of weddings out, if the latter. Oh wait- he want's us to be brutal about them because they are so - inconvenient, I guess.

Amid the usual stuff you probably already knew, there's an unpleasant scent of callousness here: Bore's have thick skins. There's a reason why people with no friends have no friends (implication - steer clear, they might be psychos or worse - bores! Possibly bores with hats planning to get married.)

What does he intend to do with all the time he saves by being such a little shit?
posted by IndigoJones at 1:44 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


So many MeFites with bloodstain expertice. Must be females who don't like tampons and males who like to get 'stabby'. Or people who dress up angry dogs.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:46 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


There’s usually a reason why friendless people lack friends.

I'm shy and awkward in social situations.
posted by tommasz at 1:48 PM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Must be females who don't like tampons and males who like to get 'stabby'.

In my experience, males really, really dislike using tampons.
posted by Ouisch at 1:48 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ok, let's talk about the elephant in the room:
Never melt wax in a saucepan you hope to use again.
Why would you want to do that in the first place???
Is there a terrible candle shortage in the UK I'm unaware of, so people recycle their old stumps? Is this the preparation for the extreeeme version of SM candle-dripping? Is there a traditional English dish that prominently features beeswax?
In addition to that I'll now have to watch the MST3K version of The Deadly Bees again; so this list will in all probability have cost me more time than I would gain from heeding its advice.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 1:50 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Regarding ironing shirts, my take was that if you want ironed shirts, you should have a laundry service do it for you. Even though once in a while they smash a shirt button to smithereens, I think it's well worth the dollar or so it costs.
posted by exogenous at 2:01 PM on November 20, 2009


I have several times thought I was going to be sick, without being sick.

I think the idea here was that you're better off assuming you're going to be sick and going to the bathroom, even if the feeling is a "false positive," than thinking that you're not going to be sick and vomiting on the lap of the Japanese prime minister.
posted by deanc at 2:07 PM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


my take was that if you want ironed shirts, you should have a laundry service do it for you.

This is it, exactly. There is no point wasting your time in ironing your shirts, when you can just drop them off at the cleaner's and have them do the shirts for you.

However, I have had a bunch of buttons damaged this way.
posted by deanc at 2:10 PM on November 20, 2009


Violently boiling water isn’t any hotter than gently boiling water.

It really isn't. You add latent heat (enthalpy, h if it's flowing, internal energy, u if it's not) until the water's mass becomes completely saturated vapor, at which point, it starts to rise in temperature again.

Drawing a diagram of the vapor dome on a Temperature vs. Entropy plot shows that as pressure remains constant, the entire duration between first beginning to boil until all the water is gone is a horizontal (constant temperature) line.

And yes, I did just spend two hours yesterday tutoring a bunch of Thermo students on Ts and Ph diagrams!
posted by rubah at 2:20 PM on November 20, 2009


And never even try to dress up a cat.

Ahem.

(Note: Washington State University assumes no liability for injury to you or your pet incurred by following these descriptions or procedures.)
posted by dersins at 2:27 PM on November 20, 2009


Nobody has brought up Bad News Hughes' Advice for Children yet, which should be a crime in itself (either doing so or deciding not to do so - I'm not sure yet.)

As for my own thoughts...

On socks: My feet just rip the fuck straight through socks. Also, standard white socks are roughly a thousand times more comfortable that black socks, which I on;y wear if I'm wearing a suit or otherwise can't help it. Buying consistently in both helps, though.

On shaving: My beard grows as fast as bamboo and thick as thieves. When I was a teenager my mom suggested that I shave against the grain. She has never been a man and had no idea what she was talking about, in this one respect. Oh the pain on so many levels. Moreover, when I have a full beard, it's generally comfortable for me except for making me look distinctly unfuckable, which I have a few problems with. However, clean shaven I look fifteen. I am almost thirty. Now, I didn't look all that bad at fifteen, so this wouldn't be much of a problem, except that the transition as I get older is that, when clean-shaven, I just look like a progressively more jaded and malnourished fifteen-year-old. Stubble is exactly right for me. My girlfriends have all (except for one) seemed to understand this and have encouraged the stubble, despite possible exfoliating effects (which, again, go away after one day thanks to my wolfman beard growth rates)

On friendless people: Most are just shy and/or socially awkward, in my experience, but fascinating and fun if you give them the chance. A lot of popular people are attractive assholes who use others to grant themselves an audience. The older I get, the more I've come to value others who don't take friendship for granted.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:32 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Resolve now — now — never to iron a shirt in your life: make this your starting-point, your irreducible core, and find another way.

I'm already doing this one, and it really does work, even for shirts that aren't "non-iron". I just put them on the hanger as soon as they come out of the washing machine and let them air-dry. Admittedly, I would possibly think about getting someone to iron one for me if I needed to look really, really smart for something, but day-to-day there's just no need.

(Also, Greg Nog: that made me giggle far more than I care to admit.)
posted by ZsigE at 2:57 PM on November 20, 2009


"Never fly to anywhere outside America via Miami."

Why? (And is there really an alternative?)
posted by cotterpin at 2:59 PM on November 20, 2009


Regarding ironing shirts, my take was that if you want ironed shirts, you should have a laundry service do it for you. Even though once in a while they smash a shirt button to smithereens, I think it's well worth the dollar or so it costs.


Problem is that it's usually at least double that in London, exogenous.

(One of the greatest civilized delights for expats in the US is regularly laundered shirts without bankruptcy.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:59 PM on November 20, 2009


Don't bother reading through everyone's previous comments before you make yours (saves hours).

Also, if you don't bother ironing shirts you also shouldn't give a fuck about matching socks.
posted by tawny at 3:22 PM on November 20, 2009


I have to shave some parts of my face (under the corners of my jaw, f'rinstance) in every direction I can until I can't feel any hint of stubble, or I'll spend all day feeling like I have a postage-stamp-sized hairy spot that looks like frat boys shaved me in my sleep, even though I know goddamn well no one can see the patch I can feel.

This kind of neurosis is why I have a beard.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:27 PM on November 20, 2009


I have a sock subscription from Sockrush - it's like a cottony christmas every 8 weeks or so.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 3:28 PM on November 20, 2009


Violently boiling water isn’t any hotter than gently boiling water.

It really isn't. You add latent heat (enthalpy, h if it's flowing, internal energy, u if it's not) until the water's mass becomes completely saturated vapor, at which point, it starts to rise in temperature again.


It's no hotter, but does it take longer to cool down?
posted by biffa at 3:31 PM on November 20, 2009


Grey socks are so much better than black. They look fine with black pants and with brown pants. They never really look faded and they don't get dirty like white socks.
posted by debbie_ann at 3:37 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Shaving against the grain: I shave with for bulk stubble removal, and then against for cleanup, except for some spots that I have to shave across the grain for cleanup."

Similar, but not the same as my shaving advice. I have a fairly thick beard and sensitive skin, but I like a close shave, especially before those times when I want to make an impression. I find this technique works best while minimizing irritation and ingrown hairs.

I only shave about once every two weeks, as that is what I can get away with based on what I do for a living. Clearly, YMMV.

First off, quickly wash your face and neck with an unscented or lightly scented soap and the hottest water you are comfortable with, being sure to focus on the whiskers, stroking them against the grain to lift them up and soften things up a bit. Lightly pat dry.

If you have a lot to shave, this is a great time to use a hair trimmer to knock the majority of the growth down, as well as trim mustaches, beards, goatees, etc.

Using the hottest water comfortable to work with, vigorously work the soap in your hands to make a thick lather. I have tried all sorts of shaving creams... none of them compare to simple soap and hot water. All of them cost far too much.

Don't soap your entire face at once, or the lather on half your face will be cool by the time you get to it. Half of your face at once works better. Everything you shave should be warm and soapy at the moment you are shaving it. (That's a big part of what makes it far more effective than shaving cream.)

Shaving soap and brushes are cool... but they are also sold at a premium, tend to lend themselves towards cooler lather, and aren't really necessary.

As far as razors go... cartridge razors and disposables are ubiquitous but entirely too expensive. They are specifically designed by manufacturers in order to prevent independent competitors from undercutting them on razor blades, locking you into their monopoly. For this reason, its far better to get a high-quality safety razor, and some blades online. You can get a good one for a surprisingly affordable price. You can buy them through E-Bay or Amazon and pay a fraction of what you would pay otherwise. Best of all, safety razor blades are easier to clean completely, which tends to make them more reusable than disposables or cartridges, which seem to be designed to facilitate hairs getting caught in them that gum the works.

If you do find yourself using a disposable or cartridge razor, I highly recommend keeping an inexpensive nail brush next to the sink. Besides being very useful for properly cleaning your hands and fingernails, they also help when cleaning out disposables and cartridges. Brush your razor with the blades or diagonally... never brush against the blades. Proper cleaning reduces irritation and discomfort. It also extends the blade life considerably.

(Of course, if you would rather have a fresh blade each time... you *REALLY* should consider a safety razor, as it could save you a couple bucks a month. I don't know about you, but I find it more comforting to throw a 15 cent, double-sided blade in the trash every month rather than a $3 quad-blade cartridge every two weeks.)

Soap... Shave half with the grain. Soap. Shave the other half with the grain. Resoap half. Shave against the grain. Resoap the other half. Shave against the grain.

Inspect your face, both visually and with your hands, to identify any spots or stray hairs you missed. Touch up, as needed.

Oh, and just as an FYI. Aftershaves tend to suck, and scream "ignorant frat boy" or "that obnoxious guy from sales/marketing" louder than practically anything else you could possibly do. If you are the guy who insists on shaving and putting on aftershave at my gym... and then immediately goes into the sauna, I hate you, and so does everyone else.

Use sparingly... and consider using something less caustic that someone might actually like.
posted by markkraft at 3:46 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and as for socks, while I tend to agree with the idea of black socks... I think it's also worth pointing out that all socks are not made equal.

Get Thorlos. They're worth it. I know soldiers who swear by them.

Nobody has ever worn their Thorlos on a vacation to Disneyland and regretted it.
posted by markkraft at 4:12 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


(And yes, the good thing about having mostly black socks is that it makes your very few pairs of non-black socks stick out that much more visibly.)
posted by markkraft at 4:16 PM on November 20, 2009


Charged by a bullock, lunge: he’ll back off. But not a bull. Learn to distinguish. Bullocks have no balls.

This, in particular, is a proven time-saver.
posted by bricoleur at 4:47 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


From Metro Baby's first link, "Advice is a form of nostalgia." That's great.
posted by carping demon at 5:27 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the idea here was that you're better off assuming you're going to be sick and going to the bathroom, even if the feeling is a "false positive," than thinking that you're not going to be sick and vomiting on the lap of the Japanese prime minister.

That may well be the idea here, but I think I can be forgiven for not getting that out of "If you think you might be about to be sick, you are about to be sick:..." If you are correct about what the idea here was, someone should let the author know that he expressed something else.

Also, would you really pass up an opportunity to hurl on a Prime Minister? I have always thought that was GHWB's most notable achievement.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:52 PM on November 20, 2009


Sick animals are almost always going to die. A struggling shrub or tree is usually beyond help. Mildew and fungal blights are impossible to eradicate

So, not a pet owner nor a gardener. Although to be fair, by not being a pet owner nor a gardener you can save yourself thousands of hours.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:16 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


My beard curves around my face. Seriously. The left half of my beard is straight, growing straight down. Around about the mid-point of my neck, it starts growing to the right. While I'm lighthaired, my beard is very dark, and stubble shows up easily. I can usually get away with shaving every other day, but when I do shave, it's...convoluted. I usually lather and shave twice, first time with the grain, second time against. If I don't, my face is essentially high friction sandpaper. Towels will get stuck on my face. I don't get ingrown hairs, and I haven't cut myself shaving in years, but good god, the pain of shaving against the grain (especially along the jawline)...

I'd grow the beard (and do occasionally) but I like it when my wife kisses me, and she won't when there's a beard.

Also: J Crew dress socks suck. No matter how far down I trim my toenails, they don't even last one wearing. By the time I take off my shoes, there's always a hole over the big toe. Why? Any ideas?
posted by Ghidorah at 6:38 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The key word in the insurance quote is "contemplating". He didn't say never to take out insurance. But if you doubt if you need the insurance or not, you probably don't. Collision on your 5 year old car? You might be surprised what the payout is if you actually total it. Coverage on your cell phone? Not necessary. Extended warranties? Definitely skip it.

Insurance works for insurance companies b/c they make a profit. If you can afford to insure yourself, you're better off in the long run being your own insurance agency any paying yourself the premiums. If you can't afford to insure yourself (liability, home, fire, life, flood, etc...), you shouldn't be contemplating it.
posted by ShadowCrash at 8:00 PM on November 20, 2009


"Nobody has ever worn their Thorlos on a vacation to Disneyland and regretted it."

Even if they wore them with sandals? 'Cause those people definitely should regret it.
posted by ShadowCrash at 8:02 PM on November 20, 2009


So many MeFites with bloodstain expertice. Must be females who don't like tampons and males who like to get 'stabby'. Or people who dress up angry dogs.

I just happened to marry a guy whose dad is a hematologist at a major medical institution and knows more about blood and its properties than probably anyone alive. He says saline for fresh bloodstains. Trust.
posted by padraigin at 8:31 PM on November 20, 2009


You guys match your socks? I have lots of different colors and pattern on my socks, and I just keep them in a big pile and pull two out at random every morning. They're all pretty close to the same length and texture, so they don't feel weird. I like the serendipity of what colors I might get that day, and nobody looks at my feet anyway. Sometimes little kids notice it, but I actually enjoy how much it blows their little fragile minds that my socks aren't the same color. And if I lose one, or wear one out and have to throw it away, I don't have to worry about its partner being stranded. The only downside is that I am pretty superstitious about days when a matching pair coincidentally comes out.
posted by donkeymon at 8:45 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have lots of different colors and pattern on my socks, and I just keep them in a big pile and pull two out at random every morning.

I'm totally gonna start doing this.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:13 PM on November 20, 2009


Re: socks - flipflops are better. Always. Unless it's winter, when I have a pile of thick white socks that no toenail man could grow can puncture.

Re: shaving - face and head with a barber-quality hair trimmer once a week. "Shave against the grain with a light, creamy lather--BZHHHHHHH!"
posted by saysthis at 9:36 PM on November 20, 2009


all i will say in regard to this is I notice a common misconception that the only available black socks are the thin, dressy kind. They sell full soft cotton crew socks in black that are identical to their white counterparts in all but color.

Best of both worlds. Believe it.

(they look kinda goony with sneakers but whatever.)
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:07 AM on November 21, 2009


The first time I ever looked at a pile of dirty dress shirts and brought them to the cleaners instead, I got back every single one of my dress shirts now a size too small. The people were super-foreign and obviously poor so I just sort of paid them for ruining my clothes.
posted by autodidact at 7:04 AM on November 21, 2009


"Never fly to anywhere outside America via Miami."

Why? (And is there really an alternative?)


Don't really know about the why (although a friend who lives there says they have terrible customer service), but of course there are alternatives. I know that some of the most common ways outside the eastern US are New York, Atlanta and Houston.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:09 AM on November 21, 2009


Bloodstains can be removed by pouring boiling water through (not over) the cloth.

Take it from a woman who bleeds heavily every 28 days - the coldest water possible is better than hot water, even boiling.

And saline's best of all.

Hydrogen peroxide ftw.


Spit. No seriously, the saliva of the person to whom the blood belongs supposedly has enzymes that break down that person's blood. I (and the person who told me this) may be wrong on the science behind it, but it really does work.
posted by MuChao at 11:18 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have that sense of relief whenever I come back from a trip and find that my house is still standing.

I've often considered a Web-accessible surveillance camera network for just this reason.
posted by Michael Roberts at 4:39 PM on November 21, 2009


lefty loosey righty tighty.
posted by onya at 8:16 PM on November 21, 2009


"When tossing and turning in an irrational half-awake state of insomnia, wake yourself up properly, switch on the light, get up and strip and remake your bed, then go back to bed."

So what does this tell us about this bloke's pulling power?
posted by pompomtom at 3:23 PM on November 22, 2009


lefty loosey righty tighty.

I've got some stock-tank bulkheads that defy this convention and confound me to no end. I'm sure it's so that when you are screwing something into them, they don't loosen themselves up, but I still feel like an idiot, in that, I have to relearn how it works every time I need to do anything with one.
posted by quin at 4:27 PM on November 22, 2009


Bloodstains can be removed by pouring boiling water through (not over) the cloth.

Take it from a woman who bleeds heavily every 28 days - the coldest water possible is better than hot water, even boiling.

And saline's best of all.

Hydrogen peroxide ftw.

Spit. No seriously, the saliva of the person to whom the blood belongs supposedly has enzymes that break down that person's blood. I (and the person who told me this) may be wrong on the science behind it, but it really does work.


MuChao, mostly right, with a bit of superstition acquired along the way.

I've heard the same thing, but it's actually the enzymes in saliva that break down complex carbohydrates & proteins in the blood. Digestion begins in the mouth, when chewing mixes saliva with food.

Because of these enzymes, beer can be made by simply chewing grains and spitting them into a container to ferment, with no actual malting process at all. This is still done in several S. American tribes. The point of this anecdote: the enzymes are quite powerful.

Synapsis: saliva helps break down "food", including blood, while not harming cloth & dyes. The source of the saliva isn't terribly important: dog saliva would probably work about as well as your own, regardless of the source of the blood.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:08 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


lefty loosey righty tighty.

Adhering strictly to that saying would lead to extreme frustration if you were replacing the pedals on a bicycle, among other tasks.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:42 AM on November 24, 2009


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