- Product highlights
- Brainpower tip
- Time tip
- Finance tip
- Security tips
- Health tip/Fitness tip
- Thought for the day
September 11 Message
I timed this edition for September 11, on purpose. This is a day of
remembrance. I won't hype it up, provide you with more of the same photos
you've seen a dozen times, or try to impress you with some flowery speech.
You all know the score. But I do want to stimulate your thinking on this
day, and thus this short missive.
What does September 11 mean, now? I think the right answer
comes when you personally reflect on this protracted global war Osama Bin
Laden brought to us. First, remember this guy is a crackpot fringe element
leader who now lives in caves. Then, consider that his motivation came
from five negative elements:
- Ignorance. Bin Laden is a powerful personality, and his advisors
told him what they felt he wanted to hear--knowing full well it wasn't
true. Bin Laden, for example, believed that the Somalia events (remember
"Blackhawk Down?") were evidence the USA was weak and its military was
impotent. He found out differently, when we did in Afghanistan in a few
weeks what the Russians could not do in a decade.
- Intolerance. The jihad movements are based on the idea that those
not fully embracing certain beliefs are the enemy. In their homelands,
to the secular governments as "the near enemy." They refer to the rest
of the world as "the far enemy." Many of their core attitudes are eerily
parallel to what we see in some religious groups in the USA--these
groups don't realize it, but their intolerance is poisoning the very
well they would have others drink from.
- Hubris. Bin Laden's ego and attitude are legendary. Pride before a
- Fear. This problem goes back for more than 1,000 years--to the time
of the Crusades. But Europe is no longer a "Christian" enclave that
sends military expeditions to plunder, er, "save" Muslim lands. That era
ended centuries ago. Some folks just don't seem to be aware of this.
- Hatred. This particular poison does more damage to the one holding
it than to the one it is directed at. It's the fuel of recklessness, and
it's a corrosive that eats from the inside out. No good can come of it.
We need to rise above those things. If September 11 has taught us
anything--and I think we can agree the "tuition" was rather outsized--it's
that we need to engage our fellow human beings as, well, our fellow human
beings. Let's try to do that.
1. Product Highlights
InfoScan Text Scanning Pen|
|This is a fairly inexpensive tool that
students just love. And for many reasons. It allows them to scan and store
text with a small device that they can even carry in a holster. No more
lugging a laptop to the library, and no more feeding the copy machine
rolls of coins. Just scan and store!
See more details
2. Brainpower tip
This is one I personally have a hard time with, so I thought I may as well
share it in this issue. If you go to
as noted above, you'll see that the Mindconnection store has had a major
facelift. For one thing, the side
navbar that shows all the different major categories is gone. Now when you go
for, say, translators, you don't also see sports supplements. Things just look
better that way.|
While working this project, I wanted to retain the currency
converter that was in the old navbar. But the way I did this broke the
store--and I didn't realize it for quite some time because I didn't test right
away. So, I stayed up well past my bedtime until I got an "Aha!" moment
and fixed the problem.
So far, so good. Now, here's the rub. One of my time management techniques
is to maintain a reading pile. I don't normally prioritize what's in there, so
it's pretty much FIFO (first in, first out). I read from the top of the stack
down. I put stuff at the bottom and read it when it comes up on the top.
The next day, after I had stayed up late to fix this problem, what was the
second thing on top of my reading stack? The friggin' instructions on the new
software I was using to change the look of the store! The first item took me
only a couple of minutes to read, then boom--there was exactly what I needed
to know the night before!
What's the brainpower tip, here? Before you begin a chore you are
unfamiliar with, read the documentation. This saves you time, but it also
prevents you from wasting brainpower chasing a problem that is already solved
I've read that we men don't read instructions and don't ask for directions.
I'd say that's an oversimplification with a few grains of truth to it. But it's also quite clear from the
example above that your timing on reading the instructions is important. The
timing, in my case, meant I applied my brainpower to something I didn't have
to and therefore did not have it available for more productive endeavors. An
opportunity forever lost.
3. Time Tip
This plays off the previous item. Read instructions before you tackle
something you aren't familiar with. This should be part of planning the
If you are tempted to think otherwise, then compare your situation to
swimming. When is the better time to start learning how to swim--before
you get in deep water, or after? All I could really say the other day was glug, glug, glug. Don't let
this happen to you!
Rather than spend time making and correcting mistakes, figure out how
to do the job before you start. Huge time-saver.
4. Finance tip
|How to save on gas at the pump.|
You may be bothered by high
prices at the gasoline pump, but I'm not. I look at my annual gasoline
consumption, and I really don't have a problem. When you buy gasoline once
every six weeks or so, a few extra dollars isn't a big deal.
But, it wasn't always this way for me. At one time, I bought gasoline
just about every other day--and a full tank at that (this is what happens
when you drive a 500hp, wheelie-pulling hot rod with a 4.30 rear gear and
I have learned how to unchain myself from fuel prices, and I'm going to
share that with you right here. You may not be able to use all of these
tips, but do your best. If something sounds like you can't use it, put
your mind to work to figure out how you can. You may be surprised at how
possible the "impossible in my situation" actually can be when you are
determined to "make it so."
- Cut the commute. This is the best thing you can do. So, this one
bullet point is going to be quite a bit longer than the others.
If you drive, say, 12,000 miles per year mostly because you have a
half-hour commute to work every day, you have a huge opportunity to save
both fuel and time. Many people feel they need face time at the office,
or they will be marginalized.
Let me ask you something. When is the last time you got the same $13
million bonus your CEO got? I thought so. You see, you are already
marginalized. Rather than spend enormous resources hoping to improve
your situation by 1%, why not reduce your resource costs by as much as
90%? Getting a meaningless promotion or a tiny raise doesn't justify
working yourself to the bone. Stop running the fool's errand.
If you don't already telecommute, work your way into this gradually.
Some companies began their own programs, by having certain job
categories telecommute one day a week. This reduced facility costs, and
they expanded a bit here and there. Telecommuting depends on trust and
discipline. It's not for everyone, and it simply won't work with some
jobs. But see what you can do. And do bring up the idea of "rotating
days," where, for example, some folks will telecommute on Mondays, some
on Tuesdays, etc. This frees up parking space, and confers many other
Remember, telecommuting doesn't mean having a day off. It means working
from home (or a close by satellite office) and being available via phone and Internet.
Most companies claim huge productivity improvements with telecommuting,
and the reasons why should be obvious.
Another option is what many construction companies do--and they do this
to save hugely on daily mobilization costs. Work four 10 hour days. The
day off can also rotate.
- Have the right model of vehicle. I drive a 4 cylinder late model
Camry. It gets nearly 40 MPG--who needs a hybrid? Note: the standard Camry gets
about 10% less fuel economy than mine does, because the standard Camry has the wrong transmission.
- Have the right transmission. An automatic transmission is very
expensive. It sucks down fuel, and it requires annual maintenance (which
most people don't do). In the USA, 20% of drivers have manual
transmissions. In Europe, 20% have automatics. Why the difference?
Europeans have had high gasoline prices for decades and they opt for
fuel economy. If you spend $2,000 a year on fuel with an
automatic, you essentially get a $200 fuel rebate every year. Plus, you
save a princely sum at purchase time.
- Use the right oil. Cheap oil in your engine is very costly. I use Mobil One, which costs about
3 to 4 times as much to buy
as regular, paraffin-based oil. But I get that money back, and then
some, in fuel economy. I can't say empirically that it extends the life of my engine,
because I don't keep a car long enough to determine that.
Also, the cheap oil does not lubricate your engine during starting.
That's because the wax in that oil has to melt. Synthetic, by contrast,
is always present and always lubricates. That's why you'll see synthetic
rated for subzero starting. The "regular oil" will probably be fine if
you start your car when outside temperatures climb above 150 degrees
Fahrenheit. But I will take a wild guess here--you don't do that most of
the time, right?
- Change that oil frequently. I had a street rod that shifted from
first to second at 7,200 RPM. The
stock engine was factory-rated not to exceed 5,500 RPM. This one was
designed to exceed 10,000 RPM. That's a lot of
speed for an eight
cylinder engine. On top of that, I went through nearly 50 bottles of
nitrous oxide in one summer alone.
People were saying that engine must be about worn out. So, we yanked it
out and took it apart. Not a single indicator of wear, anywhere. It
mic'd out "new." Now, I did change oil every 500 miles--that's
excessive maintenance, but this was excessive duty. I point this out to show that the oil change frequency
has huge influence on engine wear. For the same reason, it has huge
influence on fuel economy.
Here's the reason why. Oil gets contaminated, over time. Each time you
start your car, you put some unburned fuel in your oil. Condensation
puts water in your oil (which is why short trips that don't heat up the
engine mean you need more frequent oil changes), greatly lowering
lubricity. You can't filter out these chemical contaminants. Your oil
filter removes aspirated dirt, it removes carbon, and it removes the
tiny metal fragments from normal engine wear. This last item goes to
nearly zero, if you use synthetic oil.
- Stay balanced. I have my tires balanced (and rotated--this is free
when done with balancing) every 5,000 miles. This prevents a loss of 2
to 10 MPG. It also greatly reduces wear and tear on the suspension.
Unless you have a passion for replacing ball joints, springs, shocks,
tie rods, and other suspension components, I suggest you go no more than
5,000 miles without a balance check.
- Care for your tires. Inflation and rotation. Keep up with these, and
you prevent a loss of 2 to 10 MPG. Not to mention the safety
ramifications of under-inflated tires. Any time the temperature drops,
check your tires. It is not a hard thing to do, so do it every week if
If you replace tires, go with a highly efficient tire. You won't be able
to know the efficiency of a tire without asking a tire specialist. Also,
make sure your tire is rated AAA--or you're getting a cheap tire. You
may need to balance some things in the equation so you get the right
tires for your car--don't focus just on efficiency.
- Cut your speed. This one is a bit over-rated. I did a test over a
500 mile trip, and found that with an average speed of 78 MPH the car
still got 35 MPG. The same trip averaging 65 MPH resulted in 38 MPG. So,
not a lot of difference. But every little bit helps. Maybe an average
speed of 55 MPG would have gotten me to 40 MPG--but the tune "I can't
drive 55" just seems to be a national theme song.
- Change gradually. Your acceleration and deceleration methods have a
great influence on your fuel economy. Anticipate stops, and try to rely
more on intelligent driving than on your brakes.
- Kill the radio. I listen to audio books, or have dead silence, while
driving. On those rare occasions I play the car radio, I always feel
like going faster and driving more aggressively.
- Keep your distance. Contrary to the propaganda, speed does not kill.
Relative position does. People who tailgate are not only dangerous, they
needlessly waste fuel because of the reactionary driving methods required by
following too closely.
Use the 2-second rule. That is, pick an object
(e.g., an overpass) and count off two seconds between the time the car
in front of you passes it and you reach it. If you get there in less
than two seconds, you are following too closely.
In wet weather, allow three or four seconds.
In December of 2000,
I drove the black ice stretch of I-80-- following one of the worst winter
storms I can remember. It was well below zero, and the ice had been
polished by windborne ice particles for days. As I approached the
location of this black ice, I allowed 12 seconds between my car and the
one in front of me. And
guess what? I never had to slam my brakes once. The ditches along that
whole stretch of road were lined with cars--sometimes three deep!
Interestingly, I noticed anybody who tailgated me was never there very
long--but became just another ditch denizen.
- Combine trips. By making fewer trips, I eliminate much of the
mile count I would otherwise entail. Before I go to one place, I
determine if there are other places near there that I should also go to.
Go thou and do likewise.
- Be thinking in terms of fuel savings. This is what I began doing
years ago, and now I am in the position of not really caring about the
pump price of gasoline. Commuting by jet is another matter, but much of
that can be eliminated by applying the principles of telecommuting.
What would be the effect on our economy and our international position,
if every American followed each of these bullet points thoroughly? You
already know the answer. Pass this eNL on to others so that together we
can get that process rolling--no pun intended. To our non-USA readers, ditto.
5. Security tip
You just can't beat a good
locksmith. Every time I have moved into a new home, who is one of the
first people I have invited over? Not the neighbors. The locksmith!|
But, an unethical locksmith might
sell your keys to a burglar a few months from now. This means you must
place your trust with a reputable locksmith. So, how do you find a
reputable locksmith?Fortunately, most of these folks are as honest as the day is long--and
then some. But you still need to practice due diligence.
Finding a locksmith:
- Ask your local police department to recommend a locksmith and/or
alarm specialist. Many locksmiths also deal in alarms, which makes sense
if you think about it.
- Contact your alarm company for a locksmith reference.
- Look up your short list of candidates online. A search on any major
search engine should reveal any postings
- Look in your local Yellow Pages. But don't bother with one that
doesn't list a physical location for the company's address.
Interview the potential candidates. Ask the locksmith:
- "How long has your company been in business?" This is unfair to new
businesses, but whose interests are more important to you--yours, or
- "Will you do a free security evaluation, prior to doing the lock
work?" A good locksmith will not want your home broken into when you have
their locks installed. The locksmith will advise you on things based on
your location and the particulars of your home. Ignore these
recommendations at your own risk.
Do note that you won't save any money if you forego that jamb plate,
allowing a violent criminal to easily break in and overwhelm you before
you can use your shotgun or trusty .44 to ensure your safety. Generally
speaking, your funeral will cost more than a jamb plate. But prices may
vary in your area, so shop around and make the choice that works best
- "What brands of locks do you sell, and why?" Don't pretend to know
anything about locks--you probably don't. Your goal here is just to see
if the locksmith has something to say on the subject. There is no right answer,
as to brand. You may find one locksmith swears by one brand, and another
swears at that brand--this doesn't matter. You do want a locksmith who
seems opinionated on this issue. If the locksmith says the brand really
doesn't matter, ask if there is a brand they don't recommend.
Don't ask a bunch of questions. These three are enough to give you a
feel for the company without pestering them to death.
6. Health tip/Fitness tips
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer afflicting men--and women.
Most people, myself included, have a real phobia about having
instruments inserted in the same place tax audits are conducted. And we
don't want the auditor to think he's got competition.|
But this also
means we don't go in for exams, even at the recommended intervals. Is
that a problem? If you are on the typical American diet, yes. Very much
so. Which is why colon cancer is the third most common cancer afflicting
So if we aren't going to get the exams that reveal it's time to
undergo the procedures that just might save our lives, is there another
approach? I say there is. We can take steps to prevent the cancer, to
Let's prevent the proverbial horse from getting out, then shut the
barn door. This is much less painful, and much less costly. And the
auditor will still feel like the sole arbiter of pain and suffering,
which is always good for an auditor's ego. If you don't want to prevent
cancer for yourself and your loved ones, at least consider the tax
auditor's need to be the main source of misery in people's lives. Help
someone else have a good day.
So, what are the steps? I'll bullet list them:
- Eliminate hydrogenated oil from your diet. Period. Read the labels
on your bread. You'll see this toxin on most commercially available
breads, but not all. Read labels on all pre-packaged, pre-pared, pre-toxified
"foods" and you'll likely see this potent cancer causer. I'm talking
about seasoning mixes, pancake mixes, and just about anything that
comes in a cardboard, paper, or plastic container. Also, do NOT eat
the bread at restaurants--you can be 99.999% sure it contains
hydrogenated oil. Ditto for pastries, doughnuts, and all that other
stuff you already know not to eat.
- Eliminate cancer beverages. Soda saps calcium from your body, and
calcium is strongly indicated as cancer-preventing. If you have sodas
in your home, donate them to your tax auditor. And then don't buy any
more of them.
- Reduce refined grains in your diet. These are essentially sources
of "insulin swing." But they also tend to fuel fermentation in the
colon--and that leads to cancer.
- Avoid whacko treatments. I am amazed at the various things people
do to "cleanse" their colons. This kind of stuff sets you up for
infection. You don't see animals in the wild doing these things, so
how can it be "natural?"
I think this kind of advice comes from the same people who talk about
being "probed" by aliens--as though folks who travel millions of miles
to get here are obsessed with that part of our bodies. What nonsense.
Eat right, and you won't have any reason to "go there." Leave that
activity to the tax auditor.
- Eat anti-cancer foods. A variety of colors of berries and
vegetables is key, here. But also make the brassicas a big part of
your diet. The brassicas are the cabbages, broccolis, and so on. Eat red
leaf lettuce instead of iceberg lettuce. Think in terms of green and
leafy. But also eat different colors of peppers, squashes, and other
vegetables. The different colors represent different mixes of
- Exercise religiously. A 20 minute walk isn't much exercise,
contrary to the propaganda that advocates walking as a core exercise
think you can do this and consider the job done. Do some heavy work of
some sort. A weight-training program is great, but not necessary.
Regular hard labor that works your core (abdomen, pelvis, and trunk)
will "massage" the colon and help it stay clean. If you're
into walking, then walk some hills. Steep ones.
- Be happy. This sounds trivial, but it's not. Let go of grudges--forgive
people, because we all have our bad moments and we all unintentionally
Most people, if given the opportunity, would rather replace enmity
with friendship--or at least neutrality.
Don't let the stupidity around you get you down, either. Whales just
keep on swimming, despite being in a vast ocean. We are like that in
society--we must keep swimming in a vast ocean of stupidity. It helps
if you can laugh about it, so look for the humor in things and they
won't bother you as much.
Please forward this eNL to a friend. Or a
total stranger, I don't really care. Just forward it!
This issue's factoid: A pack-a-day
smoker will lose two teeth about every 10 years (smoking is very hard on
Because the colon contains miles of blood vessels and the carcinogens in
smoke travel through the lungs to the colon, smoking dramatically raises
the likelihood of colon cancer among anyone who breathes the cigarette smoke.
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8. Thought for the Day
I know several people who simply make the world a better
place. Not the whole world, but the part of it in which they live and
function. It's worth thinking about such people, and trying to do as
they do--even if only in a small way.
It's gratifying to
see the efforts poured out in response to the Hurricane Katrina
situation. What is possible, if we adopt that attitude every day?
Wishing you the best,
The views expressed in this e-newsletter are generally not shared by criminals, zombies, or brainwashed individuals.
Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.
Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).
The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).
Personal note from Mark: I value each and every one of you, and I hope that shows in the diligent effort I put into writing this e-newsletter. Thank you for being a faithful reader.
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