Healthy reading

Old almanac, new tricks.

THE MOON IS FULL, and so are bookstores with the 2001 edition of the Old Farmer's Almanac. Published since 1792, the yellow-jacketed Almanac is renowned for its yearlong weather forecasts and, in particular, its folksy, money-saving home remedies offered by readers. Although the Almanac is unreviewed in the preceding pages of our Books Quarterly, we couldn't help noticing some remedies had been removed between the pre-publication galleys and final print edition. You can be the judge of whether the outtakes below have been withheld due to concerns about liability or efficacy.

Beat Insomnia Without Spending a Dime. Sporting implement knocks you out, so you get enough energy-reviving sleep. Select a baseball bat (aluminum if you prefer minor league ball, wood if you prefer major), then ask your spouse, partner, or roommate to swat you on the back of the head. That region is usually hirsute, concealing any unsightly knots, bruises, bumps, or lacerations that may result. (Avoid the temple; a sharp blow there can induce indefinite sleep.) If you live alone and desire this powerful, nonaddictive soporific, you will have to administer the blow yourself. Ensure that you are standing over a mattress while doing so—as once you swat yourself, it's lights out with no tucking in. Sweet dreams! (L. Fungo, Westport, WA)

Mouthwash That Scares Germs. Rather than buying pricey alcohol-based, mint-spiked halitosis palliatives, save money by mixing the following: one pint gasoline, one cup Ajax powder, four ounces lemon extract, 16 ounces grated antiseptic soap. (If gasoline prices skyrocket, substitute kerosene.) The mixture's volatility eradicates breath-fouling plaque, while the lemon extract and antiseptic soap counter the Ajax/gasoline solution's propensity to foment open sores. Let that first date know you're pocketbook savvy and passionate about oral hygiene. Smokers advised to carry a fire extinguisher as precaution. Not recommended for people who swallow fire for a living. (A. Kisser, Kent, WA)

If You Burn for Beautiful Roses. Horticulturalist Martin Flintman, a pioneer of efficient rose thinning, has been nurturing spectacular roses since his release/rehabilitation (per parole requirements that he only ignite shrubbery conflagrations in his own yard). His rose-thinning method fuses the concepts of Darwin, Johnny Appleseed, and the novel Fahrenheit 451. At his domicile near Firehouse 13, Flintman lobs a car flare every six feet into his prize-winning patch of American Beauties, then watches the bushes burn unencumbered. Any roses left standing have room aplenty to extend their roots. Says Flintman, "Here's a bonus—scorched black earth provides a stunning backdrop for red, red blooms." (M. Flammable, Burning Tree, WA)

A Healthy Breakfast That Seldom Tires. What to do with worn tires is an age-old problem. Here's an environmentally sound solution—grind then sprinkle old tires on your morning cereal. You are what you eat, so once you assimilate rubber, vinyl, and steel (the belts), you become water- and bullet-resistant. WARNINGS: 1) Do not mix radial with nonradial tires. Some diners experienced a wobbly, uneven gait, causing premature hip problems. 2) You are now combustible. Avoid lit cigarettes and birthday cakes with more than 35 candles. 3) If you've ingested Firestone 15-inch ATX/Wilderness tire models, you may be subject to high-speed rollovers and blowouts in hot weather climates. Though Firestone ascribes rollovers to pedestrian error, we recommend strapping beach balls to your knees, chest, and forehead to act as a personal airbag. (Society for a Safer America, Poulsbo, WA)

A New Wrinkle on Wrinkles. Eradicate wrinkles for that big event. Guests who see you with your son or daughter will ask, "Are you siblings?" It's easy, and the flattering comments linger for months. Switch iron to cotton setting. Cut strips of wax paper and drape them from forehead to Adam's apple. (To keep lips from inadvertently sealing, cut mouth hole.) Once the iron is hot, lay your head on the ironing board and slide iron across your wax-papered face. IMPORTANT: Slide the iron in a chin-to-forehead direction (not ear-to-ear), herding wrinkles beneath bangs, where you can trim excess rolls of flesh with a roofing knife. No steam. Remove wax paper to defoliate face. (S. Follicle, Blaine, WA)

No More Hang-ups with Hangnails. Tired of that hangnail snagging your socks or catching on your sweater? This two-prong assault on that nettlesome piece of skin arrives compliments of home manicurist Flora Cutter. Place a drinking glass filled with battery acid on your bedside night stand. Submerge the hangnail-afflicted finger in the soothing acid bath. By morning the hangnail should disappear. If hangnail persists, clamp your arm in a vice and— employing an electric hedge trimmer or turkey carver—cut off your finger. If hangnail persists, cut off your hand; if hangnail persists, cut off your arm. Continue cutting until the hangnail is gone or you need a transfusion. (F. Cutter, Portland, OR)

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