Dear Heloise: BUMPER STICKERS can be personal expressions of philosophy, comedy and sometimes fun. Unfortunately, an elderly, single friend removed her bumper sticker after an incident in which she was being closely followed by a car for several blocks. The driver and his passengers evidently were upset about the written message, which was positive to her in meaning. She took a self-defense course, and the instructor recommended that she not have identifying symbolism or information as a precaution, particularly due to her vulnerability. For her safety and peace of mind, she reluctantly removed the bumper sticker, and she makes sure she is aware of her surroundings. I wanted to share this occurrence with your readers. -- Marge in Texas

Marge, how frightening for your friend! Also, how sad that in today’s world, a bumper sticker should have to be a safety concern. Readers, what thoughts do you have on this? I’d love to hear your viewpoint. Take a look to see what is on YOUR bumper, and think about the message it sends! Are you safe from someone being offended? -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: What is the best way to clean CDs and DVDs? Some of them look grimy, but I don’t want to mess them up. -- Eugene in Wisconsin

I do know how to clean them! You need to be careful, because doing it the wrong way can cause more harm than good. Here is what you do:

* Hold the disc by the edges. (You should always hold a CD or DVD this way.)

* Take a soft microfiber or lint-free cloth and wipe the surface, starting at the center and moving outward in a straight line. Do not wipe in a circular motion; following the grooves can cause microscratches on the surface.

* If wiping alone does not clean the CD or DVD, use a gentle soap-and-water mixture to dampen the cloth and wipe the surface again using the straight-line motion mentioned before.

This should clean any dirt and debris off your discs. It won’t remove any scratches, so be careful with your discs.

To protect your discs from scratches, store your discs in their covers when not in use, and always hold discs by the edges. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Pat Schrunk of Austin, Tex., sent a picture of her two Westies, Max and Mickey, sitting together in her office chair, showing off their beautiful white coats. To see Max and Mickey’s picture, go to my Web site,, and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: In the colder months, I make a shelter for the stray cat I feed. I take a box and turn it on its side. (You also can use a plastic tub, etc.) I place a towel or blanket inside, and then place a few over the top and sides to insulate it. I leave only a little opening, so that she can crawl in and have a warmer place to sleep. -- A Reader, via e-mail

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