Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about cluttered television screens:

“My Sound Off is cluttered-up TV screens. Why do stations run messages across the bottom of the screen, such as upcoming shows, viewer comments, etc.? If it is not a national disaster, I don’t want to know about it. Also, the station logo runs continuously in the corner, as though I don’t know what channel I’m watching. I have missed things that were important to the program I was watching (such as quiz-show answers). Does this annoy others as well?” -- Gloria R., Highland, Ind.

Yes, it does! TV screens can get very cluttered! I understand the need for some of it, but unfortunately, it’s the way things are now! My hint? I “record the show” and watch it a few minutes “behind” the live broadcast so I can dismiss that stuff and go back if I missed something. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: A few Heloise hints to fix clothing in an emergency situation:

* A stapler can fix a hem or seam that comes undone.

* Safety pins can pin buttons back on or close a small hole.

* Use a rubber band looped through buttonholes to extend a waistband.

* Clear nail polish on snagged panty hose will keep it from running more.

-- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My suggestion is about keeping a birdbath clean. I enjoy watching the robins take their bath every day, but they really muddy up the water. I find that the best thing to use to scrub out the birdbath every day is an old toilet brush. Then the water is clean, and I can watch the birds have their drink. -- Irene in Glendive, Mont.

This is a great hint to keep the birdbath clean, which is important. Please be sure that the brush is absolutely clean of any cleaning products! To give the birdbath a little deeper clean, try sprinkling some baking soda in it, and add a little water. Scrub with the brush and rinse very well. Do this once or twice a week, and you will have a sparkling birdbath. Baking soda is a wonderful, nontoxic product that can be used in many ways. To find out the other green ways to use baking soda, order my pamphlet Heloise’s Baking Soda Hints and Recipes. To receive it, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. When doing any work outdoors, sprinkle a little baking soda on your feet before putting your socks and shoes on to keep them fresh. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Before I put a screw anchor in the wall, I add a little glue to it. Then I put the anchor in the drywall and the screw in. The glue helps the whole thing be a little more secure. -- D.B., Stamps, Ark.

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

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