Bob, I've been using CFLs in my house for 18 years, since I installed a PV/battery/inverter home power system. Some are sideways or upside down in enclosed fixtures, some are turned on and off frequently but I get good life from all of them. I think this is because of the inverter, which gives me better power quality (no brownouts or spikes) than grid power. When CFLs were new, the utilities offered subsidized purchase programs as a conservation measure - some of the bulbs I bought went into my house, some were given to friends & relations. All of the gift bulbs were dead in 2 years, while quite a few that I kept went past the 10 year mark.
Mercury is present in both CFLs and conventional fluorescent tubes. They all should be recycled, but I saw a lot of conventional tubes at the dump when I was a kid, and I see them in trash cans now. My warm-up times vary with the bulb, some are slower than standard fluorescent tubes, some the same. Color temperature of current production CFLs seems to center around maybe 4000K? LED bulbs are getting better, but the last few I bought seem to still be pretty blue. I used conventional tubes in the attic partly for efficiency, partly because I didn't want 5x or 6x more heat in the attic from incandescents.
But yes, whatever they are, turning 'em off when nobody's using them is the best solution, regardless.