Accessing phone numbers through ‘free’ services

Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND OFF is about finding phone numbers without having access to “the white pages.” (For the young readers, that’s a reference to the printed phone book! — Heloise) A reader wrote: “My Sound Off regards trying to find a phone number or address without the white pages.

“I’ve tried online search engines that claim to be FREE, but after they compile what amounts to a dossier on the person whose number and address are the only things you need, up pops a screen with prices for a subscription with the company.

“How do these companies get away with saying something is FREE, then expect you to pay for the service?” — Lynda D. in San Antonio

Dear Readers: Here are some other ways that binder clips can be used:

* Clip to calendars and hang on the nail instead of the hole on the pages.

* To keep draperies or curtains closed.

* To keep pants, skirts and/or tank tops from slipping off hangers.

* To keep the rolled part of your toothpaste tube from unrolling.

* To seal the opening of chip, candy, cracker, etc., bags.

— Heloise

Dear Readers: Back in July, I posted a Sound Off from a young lady who bought an “engagement” ring for her fiance.

A wise, sympathetic reader wrote: “My husband of 43 years stopped wearing his wedding ring shortly after we were married because the type of work he did almost caused him to lose a finger. It’s never bothered me.

“Just remember, someone will cheat no matter what. In this day and age, I don’t really think seeing a ring on someone’s finger stops many people.” — J.K., via email

The commitment is in the bond you have with your life partner, with or without a ring. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: I read that to remove bacteria from kitchen sponges, you should dampen with water and then stick them in the microwave on high for about 30-60 seconds. Does this really work? — Georgia H. in San Antonio

Georgia, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) found that two effective ways to sterilize sponges are in the microwave and in a dishwasher that has a water-temperature-boost feature and a heated drying cycle.

Be sure the sponges are damp before sticking them in the microwave, and be careful when done. They will be EXTREMELY HOT! — Heloise

Dear Heloise: Here’s a hint I stumbled upon quite by accident. One day, I lathered my beard with a little shampoo before applying my shaving cream. The shave seemed to be better! — James F. in San Francisco

James, you stumbled on a longtime Heloise hint. Many women do the same when shaving legs. Sure can’t hurt. — Heloise