Readers of this column are, I am glad to report, in good mental health and not exclusively obsessed with the recently documented blots on our governance. I know this because many of them found time to e-mail me about a different kind of blot - the grey goo of stick-on labels that won't come off my coffee mugs.
Thanks to all for the advice, which I summarize:
* Use benzene (benzene lavan) from the pharmacy to rub off the offending gludge. Wash the mug in hot soapy water. Benzene is highly flammable, so keep it away from children.
* Acetone (nail polish remover) usually gets the residue off.
* A rag and turpentine will take it off very quickly.
* Paint thinner (tinner) No. 21 works well. Ensure adequate ventilation.
* WD40 is quite benign in spite of its strong odor, and good at removing marks.
* Ace used to sell a product supposedly similar to Goo Gone, and maybe still does. Or try Office Depot.
* One Web site recommends a pink rubber eraser. "Maybe that works better than peanut butter?"
* Try a little cooking oil, or hair spray.
* Rub it off with Avon's Skin-So-Soft Bath Oil.
* One reader's friend is using vodka on a sponge to remove tape goo on her windows from last summer's war. "Maybe it would work on your coffee mug? After using the vodka on the outside, you could always pour a little in and have a sip."
* And one reader generously offered to bring me some Goo Gone from the States. All in all, it looks like good-bye to my sticky situation.
EVERY PROBLEM should be balanced by a solution, so here's mine for twist-off metal lids that won't. I especially mean those jars - of preserves, etc. - from Eastern Europe where sections of the lid are clamped to the neck of the jar.
I used to run boiling water over the lids, hoping they would expand and come off, but, in addition to frightening me, it often didn't work. Now I just take a heavyish implement, like a steel bottle opener, and give the cap a few judicious knocks where it circles the neck. Works every time.
WITH SUMMER creeping up, I made the rounds of the Post building to persuade some colleagues to share their favorite summer salads. Among those I cornered were Ruthie Blum, Miriam Abramowitz Shaviv, Yael Oren and Liat Collins, who all perked up at the word "salad." Liat supplied a recipe from her five-year-old son, Yossi.
"He came up with it a year ago, and even spotted a special bowl for it in the supermarket."
RUTHIE'S TART-SWEET SIMPLE SALAD
1 550-gr. can sweet corn, drained
2 sour green apples, finely chopped (peeled, or not)
2 medium onions, very finely chopped
nice amount of mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
a little sugar
MIRIAM'S FAMOUS SUMMER SALAD
2 green apples, unpeeled, cut up
2-3 pears, unpeeled, cut up
1 small red onion, chopped
small handful of pine nuts
dried cranberries (or Craisins)
1â„3 cup balsamic vinegar
2â„3 cup olive or canola oil
2 Tbsp. sugar or Splenda
1 tsp. salt
1 garlic clove, peeled but left whole
YAEL'S EXOTIC SUMMER SALAD
baby salad leaves
Jaffa Sweetie or grapefruit pieces
fresh fig quarters
(optional) zucchini slices, sauteed
1â„3 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
balsamic vinegar to taste
3 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. prepared mustard
SALADE A LA YOSSI
1 bag ready-cut salad (lettuce, carrots, red cabbage)
1 small can (325 gr.) sweet corn, drained
6 dried apricots
2-3 apples sliced and peeled
other dried fruit: raisins, dates, etc.
Yossi: "First wash your hands. Empty the bag into a special bowl and put in the other things. Don't worry about eating some apricots and apples - there's plenty more. I don't like dressing, but you can put some mayonnaise on if you like."
COMMENTS from readers on Mrs. Feldman's chocolate cake:
"Kol hakavod to Mrs. Feldman (of blessed memory) and her delicious chocolate cake... and the fact that it took a few minutes to assemble."
"You overrated it."
"I made Mrs. Feldman's cake, and I haven't stopped eating it. So I won't be making it any more."