Dear Heloise: I’m confused by flag etiquette. My husband said that when lowering or raising the Stars and Stripes, it should never touch the ground. What is the proper procedure?

— Stephanie F., Waynesboro, Miss.

Stephanie, in this country, the American flag should be hoisted briskly. It should be lowered slowly and gathered and folded before it touches the ground. When displayed with other flags, it should be raised first and lowered last.

— Heloise

Grease disposal

Dear Heloise: I saw the article about grease in drains. I am a maintenance man in a mobile home park, and I’ve had to replace many drain lines due to this very fact. I’m talking about every inch of drain line. It makes no difference what temperature the water happens to be, the grease will, in time, build up and turn as hard as concrete. Put grease in the refrigerator overnight, and the next day dispose of it in the trash — not the drain.

— Russell K., Yucaipa

Send a great hint to:


P.O. Box 795001

San Antonio, TX 78279-5001

Fax: 210-HELOISE

Lead crystal safety

Dear Heloise: I have two beautiful crystal decanters. Is it safe to store alcohol, such as wine or gin, in there without the potential for lead contamination? I’ve been told that it isn’t safe.

— Barbara in San Juan Capistrano

Barbara, do not store any alcohol or juice in a lead crystal decanter. If you drink from lead crystal glasses, pour from the bottle, not a decanter. If you want to use your decanters when you have company over for dinner, pour the wine into the decanters, and after the dinner, pour the leftover alcohol back into its original bottle. There will be very little leaching of lead into your drinks, unless you leave the alcohol in there more than a few hours. Within 24 hours, there can be considerable lead leaching.

— Heloise

Outdated products

Dear Heloise: I can never remember when I bought a product, so on a small piece of paper I write the date of purchase, then tape it to the product. This worked so well that I began doing the same thing to items like my computer, coffee maker and other appliances.

— Pauline K., Moorestown, N.J.

Old measurements

Dear Heloise: I have a very old cookbook that calls for things like 1 ounce of butter, or 1 pound of flour, or 1 pound of sugar. What does that translate into in modern terms?

— Gail N., Waterloo, Iowa

Gail, 1 ounce of butter is 2 tablespoons. A pound of sifted flour is 4 cups, and a pound of sugar is

2 1/2 cups.

— Heloise

Earth facts

Dear Readers: Earth is the only planet not named after a god or goddess. The rotation of Earth is slowing down, and our planet, according to scientists, is about 4.6 billion years old.

— Heloise

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