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5 Things You Should Know – Part 102

Here are 5 things you should know.

1. 99% of the world’s ladder fire trucks can’t reach higher than the 7th floor of a building.

Take this into consideration when choosing an apartment. Most high-rise fires originate from the first four floors of the building, so evacuating from a high level internally can become more difficult.

  • Invest in smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and a fire blanket (they also make very thoughtful housewarming gifts!).
  • Empty your dryer lint after every load.
  • Don’t store flammable items near your water heater (e.g. paint cans, cleaning products).
  • Plan at least two escape routes that don’t require an elevator.
  • Don’t leave candles unattended.
  • Don’t bbq/grill on a balcony/patio where the awning funnels the smoke directly into your home.
  • Don’t put out kitchen fires with water.

2. School kids can get free lunch during the summer (USA).

If you have a school-aged student in need of breakfast and lunch this summer, simply text “FOOD” to 877877 and receive a message back with the location closest to you where they can get free summer meals. Generally, these programs do not require any proof of need, they just feed anyone who shows up. Even if you aren’t in need, someone else’s kids are. This is a nationwide program so please share this information. If you can’t text you can call 1-866-348-6479 the National Hunger Hotline.


3. “Genuine Leather” does not mean real leather, and can, in fact, be fake leather or very poor quality leather.

Most real leather products will be labeled as “Full-Grain”, or sometimes just labeled as “Cowhide” or similar.

Be wary of products labeled as “Made with Full-Grain” or “Made with Genuine Leather” because while there may indeed be some real leather incorporated, it can often be just a tiny strip or piece, while the rest is something fake and cheap. Remember as well that “Genuine Leather” doesn’t mean the product is made with fake leather, as the word “genuine leather” can be applied to pretty much anything- from crappy split grain leather to Horween leather.

Avoid any leather marked as “Top-Grain*”, “Corrected Grain”, “Split Grain”, and “Bonded”.

Some companies that make products with real leather: Redwing Heritage, Clarks Originals, Saddleback Leather,Oak Street Bootmakers, Quoddy, Yuketen, Dayton Boots,Viberg Boots, Schott Leather Jackets, Thorogood, Orion Leather Company, WH Earl, Sperry, Allen Edmonds,Alden, Wolverine 1000 Mile Collection, Chippewa, LL Bean, Danner, John Lobb, Crocket and Jones, Doc Martens Made in England, Frye, Eastland Made in Maine,White’s, Tricker’s, Common Projects, and Buttero.

Before anyone comments on price: Yes, real leather is expensive. It also lasts ages. On the cheaper end, your best bets are Saddleback for wallets, Orion for belts, and Clarks Originals/Chippewa/Thorogood for shoes. You won’t find a nice, real leather jacket for <$500 unless you buy used, unfortunately. You might find something that’s kind of okay, but it won’t have the smooth, buttery appearance of a real leather jacket.

Word of warning: Companies like Redwing, Clarks, Doc Martens, and Wolverine make a lot of products that are not made with real leather or are otherwise poor quality. These brands have a separate line that consists of higher quality goods, made with real leather and better construction (such as a Goodyear welt, etc)

As for how to tell leather quality in a person, take a look at this. The boots on the right, with the white laces, are Doc Martens mainline (Not the made in England line)- which are made with corrected grain leather. The boots on the left are a pair of Wolverine 1000 miles. Real leather will usually have creases that are very tiny and wrinkle-like (Or in the case of Shell Cordovan (Made from horse), creases that look more like ripples.) and natural looking compared to the sharp, abrupt creases that look like cracked plastic (often because that’s exactly what it is- minute amounts of leather coated and mixed with plastic and other guff)

Also, ignore Saddleback’s leather 101 guide, it is full of misinformation.

4. When Googling for a customer service phone number, do not always rely on Google’s snippets.

For example, search for “Skype customer service”. The first result will be a snippet that gives a phone number. If you’ll notice, the phone number is sourced from a Facebook question. This number is a scam number.


5. All the U.S. Foreign Service Institute language courses are available for free online and are a great way to quickly learn a new language.

If you’re going on a trip and want to learn a new language, head on over to FSI Language Courses to find 72 language courses for free. These include student workbooks and audio files. These courses are from the 1960’s and 70’s, but they still contain tons of useful information for learning a new language.

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