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Episode Three: Uncommon Wizdom
by Marc S.A. Glasgow, aka The CyberPoet®
Dated Picture of the Author.

Ouch, That Smarts!
"We know that the nature of genius is to provide
 idiots with ideas twenty years later."  -- The Head Of XEROX PARC
Keeping Your Rod Up
Shower rods used to hold shower curtains seem to have the annoying habit of collapsing just when you least desire it (like when you hang wet clothes on them), at least the two-peices ones that unscrew to tighten. There's a simple solution to insure that it never happens again: expand the shower rod to as tight as you can make it, preferably with each end centered over a place where the grout (the white stuff between the tiles) forms a + or a T. Take a drill and about three-quarters of an inch from where the two sections overlap, drill a small hole on the underside (1/8" should do). Then put a small self-tapping metal screw into the hole. Now the rod can't rotate by accident and thus can't loosen up when you don't expect it.
Well, I'll be God-dammed
The bible condemns marriages of beleivers to unbeleivers, but doesn't mention marriages between two unbeleivers. Now it's the biggest rage in Japan, where less than 2% of the population is Christan, but over 68% of the marriage are.
Too Hot to Handle
U.S. Soldiers (and civilians) should never climb on or inspect enemies' destroyed tanks because of the radiation risk. US Armor uses depleted uranium rounds as 'tank killers'. Hundreds, possibly tens of thousands of Gulf War Vetrans may have been unknowingly exposed by taking souveneirs of destoryed tanks, a common practice during the war/post-war period.
Size Doesn't Matter
When mailing floppies, CD's, tapes, books, magazines -- whether data or music or printed media, the package qualifies for a special book rate, which is substancially cheaper than regular mail rates. 
Example: 7 lb package from Tampa to Kansas - $8.35 regular mail, $8.40 first class mail, $3.83 First Class Special Book Rate. 
NOTE: you must mark the area directly below the postage with the phrase "Special Standard Mail: Book Rate". 
You can look up book rate postage scales at www.usps.gov .
Keep It Lubed Up
The one thing you can do to most increase the longevity of a car's engine is to change the oil & oil filter every three thousand miles. Regular maintenance is good too -- I have friends with cars that have over 300,000 miles on the original engines, which are in great shape because of regular maintenance. 
The typical annual cost of regular maintenance: $509.80
It's All in the Timing
Cars come with two kinds of engines: interference and non-interference engines. In non-interference engines, if the timing belt goes bad, the valves and pistons are designed not to be able to touch each other. In an interference engine (which most engines made in the past decade are), the engine can pretty much self-destruct from those parts slamming into each other at high speed. If you have an interference engine, or if you don't know if you have one, always have the timing belt changed as often as specified by the original manufacturer (usually every 60,000 miles), and as soon as buy a used car, unless the previous owner can show it was changed recently by providing receipts. The cost to fix the typical interference engine that has broken it's timing belt: $2450.-
Giving a Great Blow
Airbags built between 1985 and 1995 are designed to be replaced every decade for reliable operation. If your car is reaching the decade mark, consider having the airbags replaced. If you do have them replaced, make sure you send a copy of the reciept to your insurance company -- their airbag discount on ten year old cars is usually increased if you can show it was replaced.
Don't Get Caught With Your Pants Down
If you are buying your own home (and getting a mortgage), make sure the mortgage company includes the property taxes and insurance payments in the monthly payments. That way, come end of the year, you won't get hit for additional payments that you might not be able to afford.
 
Tune in next time for more Infinite WizDom from The CyberPoet®
Copyrighted Material.
© 2000,  Marc S.A. Glasgow, aka The CyberPoet® 
All rights reserved under U.S. and international law.

Marc Glasgow is a Macintosh Consultant serving the Tampa Bay area since 1990.
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