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Episode Nine: Lights, Smell, Alzheimer's 
by Marc S.A. Glasgow, aka The CyberPoet®
Dated Picture of the Author.

Oh, that Smarts!
"It would only take one generation of forgetfulness to put us back intellectually several thousand years."
-- Dean Tollefson
Can We Forget About It For Tonight?
Scientists have shown a link between aluminum ingestion and alzheimer's; many people who are senior citizens now are being plagued by it in part because of widespread use of aluminum cookware during the 50s and 60s (imagine scrapping the bottom of a pan with a spatula -- small bits of aluminum would be shed into the food). Unfortunately, almost every home still has an aluminum baking pan, as well as other aluminum that contacts food (Reynolds Wrap, Anyone?).
Simple Tip: Avoid food to aluminum contact; if you use aluminum foil, make sure it doesn't actually touch the food. 
It Burns So Well
While we're on the alzheimer's kick, let me add this little tidbit: cigarette smokers usually have about a 25 to 30 year horizon from the time they start smoking cigarettes before it causes serious life-threatening consequences. On the other hand, cigarette smoking has also been shown to reduce the effects of, and prevent the onset of Alzheimer's. So, now some doctors are recommending to their patients over age 60 to consider taking up smoking, as the benefits (preventing Alzheimer's) are likely to outweigh the long term dangers (life threatening consequences) -- after all, virtually all of them will be dead by the time that 30 year horizon comes along. 
I Said 'STOP'
Years ago, my mother used to be very inconsistent with how far she pulled the car into the garage, whether it was all the way over the right or the left, and honestly, I think she couldn't help it. I came up with a solution that permanently fixed that problem - a floating bob. Place the car into the garage the way you would want it in the future, then take a bit of yarn or sting or thin nylon rope and attach it to the ceiling directly above the front windshield (front to back), centered on the steering wheel (left to right). Then get a fishing float or a rubber ball and attach it at the point that the string hits the windshield. Now you have your target -- drive into the garage until the ball hits the windshield, aiming at it centered on the driver... No more bumping things!
Red Ball image
Everyone Likes a Freebee
Find out if your competition offers any free promotional items -- services, literature, seminars, et cetera. Arrange to get it and evaluate for yourself what they are doing right, wrong, then out-do them at what they are doing right.
Not With the Lights On!
Each car you drive should have some rudimentary items in it. A reliable, super bright flashlight is one of the more critical items. The super-bright flashlights the police normally use are called Mag-Lites, and come in a variety of sizes, named by the size of battery they take and how many batteries they use (i.e. - 3'D' uses 3 each 'D' size batteries). In each of my cars, I install a Mag-Lite 'D' size mounting bracket (about $3) under the rear deck (the shelf behind the back seats) or the underside of the trunk lid, and then snap a 3 or more D cell Mag-Lite in it. Want to really go all out? You can get Mag-Lites in various colors to match your car's paint scheme.
Sources: Home Depot, most hardware & camping good stores, or Mag-Lite directly at (909) 947-1006.
Mounting Bracket for all D cell battery Mag-Lites - part number 108-000-426, sku 38739 08007
I Can't Keep it from Sagging
As cars age, their headliners start to separate from the backing above them and hang down into the passenger compartment. This is especially true in hot, humid environments like Florida's. The headliner consists of three parts: the fabric you see, a layer of foam behind it, and a particle board backing that makes it all stiff. If the fabric is separating from the foam, you can fix it yourself; if the foam is deteriorated, let a shop that specializes in headliners fix it ($69 - $250, depending on the fabric, condition of the backerboard and whether you have a sunroof). 
To reattach the fabric to the foam, remove the complete assembly (the whole headliner) and take it to somewhere well ventilated to work on it (like a garage or porch). Figure out how you're going to stretch the fabric back into place so that there won't be any wrinkles, then spray both the underside of the fabric and the foam with 3M Brand Type 77 affixer (available at most office supply stores, about $10). Wait 30 seconds for the stuff to get 'tacky' and then with the fabric taunt, smooth the two sides together. Warning: you get one chance when putting them together -- Type 77 is a permanent adhesive and you won't get the chance to pull the fabric away to straighten it out if you mess up, so do a dry run before using the glue...
How Incredibly Scummy
You know the stereotype: all used car salesmen are inherently crooked scum. Be that as it will, getting on the good side of a used car dealer can be very advantageous -- they know all the specialty tradespeople that do good work cheaply, like headliners, A/C repairs, painting, etc. 
Example: My local "Bloodsuckers, Inc." Audi dealer wants $1340 to retrofit the A/C because the compressor is leaking oil; the used car dealer knew an A/C certified repair guy who fixed the problem at my place for $48.30 (3 new bolts, some replacement oil, 25 minutes of labor).
Your So Fresh!
Going to put an air freshener in your bathroom? If you have the typical bathroom lighting (light fixture above the mirror with a shield), stick the air freshener in there, cracked open just a little -- the heat from the lights will make it work when it's needed most.
What's that Smell?
Air conditioner in your car get a musky odor during the summer? It's left over condensation and the dust that adheres to it. Try this in the future: 10 minutes before arriving at your final destination, switch off the A/C to prevent condensation from forming after you shut off the car. 

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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