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I have a friend with some really horrible breath, but I don’t know how to address the issue without hurting her feelings? I know that bad breath can have many causes; I don’t think that this is due from lack of brushing. Any suggestions?

—Gasping at straws

Dining Out says: Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, can really affect someone’s dating life and overall well-being. You need to be frank with your friend about the issue and state the case as is: “Dude, you have some really nasty breath and we can’t be friends unless you do something about it.” Maybe it’s dietary (too much garlic?) or maybe it’s just poor dental hygiene (time to replace that ratty Oral B toothbrush).

Whatever it is, there are plenty of DDS-approved products on the market that can help your friend out. Perhaps your friend can switch over to a stronger tooth paste and keep mini bottles of minty-fresh mouth rinse on handy wherever he or she goes. There are plenty of odor-fighting chewing gums on the market that can really do the trick as well. If your friends bad breath continues to persist, it may be time to see a dentist who can diagnosis the problem and prescribe what’s best. Whether its bad breath or bad BO, your friend has gotta know before it kills his social life.

about to blow

I woke up in the middle of the night last week and remembered I’d done something at a party five years ago that could still be endangering people’s lives. It was around the holidays, and a lot of people were at a friend’s apartment on Richmond. I don’t remember if it was a combination of a coffee maker and a microwave running at the same time, but somehow, the electricity went out. I went down in the basement with a flashlight to flip the breaker switch, and discovered the place was running on fuses. I couldn’t find a replacement fuse, and since the party was in full swing, I put a penny in the hole and screwed the fuse back in to hold it. The lights came back on, and the party continued.

I meant to come back the next day and properly replace the fuse, but there was a lot going on with the holidays, and I guess I just forgot—until last week. My friend has since moved away, but I think I still remember which house it was. Do I go over there, knock on the door and tell them to check their fuse box?

On the one hand, I’m afraid the new tenants will think I’m crazy. On the other hand, if I don’t tell them, and the penny’s still in there, it could start a fire and burn the house down. Either way, they may want to kill me. But I can’t go on worrying about this. What should I do?

—Penny for Your Thoughts

The Practical Cogitator says: I would write a note, and drop it in their mailbox.

The Sales Guy says: With a new fuse.

Irked says: What kind of bullshit question is this? You start it out like it’s some kind of wild party how some crazy stuff went down years ago that might be causing some mysterious threat to all these partygoers to this day. Then you go off on this crap about the coffee maker and the microwave (wow, man, what a party!), and you wind it all up with how you pulled a McGyver...the blah, blah, blah...suddenly you’re worried that your fix isn’t up to code?

You should be, numbnuts. You might have overloaded the wiring and burnt it all out. With luck, that already happened before a fire started. Maybe they had an electrician in to fix it right.

But let me tell you something, dipshit. If you understood how fucked up the wiring is in half the houses in Buffalo, you’d crap your pants. You’d move. Believe me. I’ve worked on this stuff. I been on all kinds of contracting jobs all around. The shit’s falling apart. You think we’re living in a subdivision, for chrissakes?

Do us a favor and save your guilty whimpering for your chat room. If I told you half the things that wake me up at night, fixes I’ve’d lose your lunch. You’d move.

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