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Mindconnection eNL, 2006-02-12

Past issues

In this issue:

  1. Product highlight
  2. Brainpower tip
  3. Time tip
  4. Finance tip
  1. Security tip
  2. Health tip/Fitness tip
  3. Miscellany
  4. Thought for the day

1. Product Highlights

Phrase builder
See that device at right? We've been selling these like hotcakes! This is a new product. It's the TL-2. If you click on the picture, you'll be taken to the TL-2F (French). These are available in other languages. If you don't find one in the language you want, let us know and we'll add it to our offerings if it's available.

Readers of this eNL get a special deal on this device. Order one, then reply to your confirmation e-mail that you want a shipping rebate. If you specified UPS Ground, we'll simply rebate the entire shipping charge (about $7). If you specified some other delivery method, we'll make it a $7 rebate.

No longer available.

http://www.mindconnection.com/category/0002LANGUAGE.html
The TL2 provides a comprehensive two-way dictionary and a new feature: an easy to-use sentence builder. Select a phrase, and substitute words. For example, change "Where is the hotel?" to "Where is the restaurant?" The French unit shown has over 1 million words, 8,000 phrases, French voice, English voice, andvoice input.

Does that million-word vocabulary blow your socks off? Here's something else to consider. This unit is based on the original SpeechGuard designed for the military. So, it has a ruggedized case. That makes it perfect for school-aged kids.



2. Brainpower tip

I recently read an article that caused me to say, "Du-u-uh." The article said researchers are now concluding that the rudeness epidemic is diet-related. The typical diet of sodas, processed wheat, and hydrogenated oil is loaded with toxins and devoid of several essential nutrients. Thus, the typical brain is both starved and poisoned at the same time.

Logic would dictate that this also explains the stupidity epidemic. What is the obvious conclusion we can draw from this? Think about it as you fill your grocery cart. You'll be smarter when you eat smarter.



3. Time Tip

Waiting for service. And waiting. And waiting.

Have you ever called to have a drain unclogged, a plumbing leak fixed, or your heating system serviced? How about carpet cleaned, furniture delivered, or an estimate made for a landscaping project?

All of these things involve waiting for these folks to show up. You know the drill: "We'll be by some time between 7 and 10." About halfway into supper, your doorbell rings and there's the plumber.

This "less than precision arrival time" scenario doesn't happen not because these folks like to make you wait. It happens because they have to see many other customers, and they can't accurately predict an exact time.

I waited seven years to have my phone lines fixed (Southwestern Bull, er, I mean Bell), and finally gave up on it and switched to VOIP. Most waits are not that long, however. Most of the time, you wait around an entire morning or afternoon. While you're waiting, you hate to really dig into anything that requires concentration. So, what can you do?

One solution is to bunch appointments. It's not likely all the service providers will show up at the same time. And so what if they do? For example, the furnace repair tech and the landscaper aren't going to be in each other's way.

If you're going to call someone to fix your clogged drain, you're going to be waiting anyhow. As soon as you make that appointment, think of what other services you can schedule at that time (even if they are a bit early in terms of the calendar), and schedule them for that same day. Bonus: If you have related needs that the same firm can tend to, you end up eliminating multiple call-out fees.

For example, call the plumber to fix a leak. But also change out your toilet shutoff valves from the failure-prone stupid ones that home-builders install to the reliable flip-valves. Sooner or later, you will have a plumber change out these valves. You save a service call (plus all that wasted water) by having this done when you have that drain unclogged.

Another solution is to keep a list of low-concentration tasks you can undertake. You can also engage in these tasks during those times you call a business and are put on hold (note--Mindconnection customers are never put on hold). Or, while you are around and available for questions the service person may have, you can do activities where an interruption isn't a big deal.

Here are some sample activities:

  • Pull out furniture and dust behind it.
  • Clean out kitchen drawers (remove the contents, clean the surfaces, and then put things back neatly).
  • Go through any medications you have, and toss old stuff.
  • Go through old music albums (tapes, CDs, etc.) and put the stuff you no longer listen to in a box for charity.
  • Go through a closet and look for unused things to sell, give away, or throw away.
  • Go through your filing cabinet(s) and toss old papers--such as expired warranties, expired coupons, and very old utility statements.
  • Wipe dust and grime from door jambs.
  • Clean your bathroom mirror(s).
  • Organize your tax papers.
  • Dust your bookshelves--take books off, dust, put books back.
  • Clean around and behind your major appliances.

None of these is an essential activity. But each of these will bring a bit more order to your surroundings. I tend to "keep up" with all of these, because I do them during those downtime situations that normally just waste time. A cordless telephone with headset is indispensable.



4. Finance tip

I rail against our federal income tax system, and against the American Taliban that is allegedly in charge of administering it. That's because both are unacceptable to a society that claims to be civilized.

But I advocate changing the law rather than breaking it. Not everyone feels this way, which is why we see so many whacko tax shelters out there. Note: You cannot "shelter" money from taxes. Attempting to do this is like trying to hide from sharks by painting yourself with blood. When the AT catches up with you, the effect is pretty much the same--you are going to get eaten alive.

The tax code does provide some ways to get tax-free income, without the risk of tax shelters or the complexity of "creative" investments.

Based on the current insanity that is our federal income tax code....

You do not need a tax shelter to reduce your taxes, Part One.

  • Home rentals of up to 14 days are tax free. If you rent your home for no more than 14 days, you don't have to report the rent you receive. Do keep a record of it, though. How can you make use of this? When Atlanta hosted the Olympics, many people rented their homes. You may consider doing the same for a large event in your area. Do keep in mind that renting your home is risky. Hire a qualified attorney to provide advice on protecting your ass(ets).
     
  • General rule: If you withdraw from a Roth IRA after age 59 , you don't pay taxes and penalties. Be sure to check with your account manager before making a withdrawal. Ask if there is any way possible that a withdrawal might result in taxes and penalties. When it comes to this stuff, never assume. There might be an applicable exception buried on page 11,936 of the Tax Code.
     
  • If your employer offers Flexible spending accounts (FSAs), you can set aside part of your pre-tax pay to cover medical and dependent-care expenses. Check with the plan administrator or a tax accountant to determine which expenses qualify and which don't.
     
  • Hire your kids in your family business, and you get a tax break. The business deducts the wages at the high business tax rate. In 2005, a kid was able to earn up to $5,000 with no taxes due. If your business is a sole proprietorship or partnership, the payments to your child are also free of MediFraud and Social inSecurity taxes.

Note on hiring your kids: Make sure you don't abuse this. I won't tempt anyone by describing the details, but some folks get greedy and stupidly cheat on this. Follow the intent of this break. Give your kid something useful to do, and pay the going rate.

Also, you must pay that money to the child--not just note it on the tax form as salary to a child. Helpful: Establish a savings account in the child's name, and make payroll deposits into it. For any withdrawals, note in the ledger what the withdrawal was for. This establishes a documented trail for the money. Otherwise, you have only your word to go on and the AT automatically assumes you are a lying tax cheat.

OK, I'll give you one example. Some idiot hired his newborn, and claimed to have paid wages to the little babe. What on earth did this kid do for the business? This kind of greediness is what lends an air of legitimacy to the thieving, lying AT and their Gestapo tactics.

Common sense says there is a minimum age. Tax Court (which is noted for not having common sense) has allowed "reasonable wages" for kids as young as seven years old. Personally, I was doing useful work at an earlier age than that. You probably were, too.

Don't take that Tax Court ruling as a license to start cutting your seven year old checks and thumbing your nose at the AT. It's not about age. It's about a fair day's work for a fair day's wage (well, maybe not a whole day). If you have work your kid can competently handle and there is a good business reason for it, then you're justified in hiring your kid.

Given the caliber of the typical AT employee, AT grunts probably have stupid kids and so they assume everyone else's kids are stupid. Think about it. They spend half their "work" day surfing p*rn and gambling sites (source: GAO). The other half is largely devoted to running scams like the Hoyt Fiasco. Which is one reason the AT "needs" so many people (they outnumber all of our military forces, combined). The AT itself serves no useful purpose (the same official function could be accomplished by less than five people), so the lives of AT employees are pretty pointless. Incompetence is so rampant at the AT, that 94% of the notices they send out are wrong (source: GAO). These people are neither bright nor industrious. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The kids of AT employees are probably dunces and useless slugs as well.

This means you must be sure you have a very good description of what your kid does and how your kid does it. Spell it out for the AT grunts, or you may have to go to Tax Court and spend thousands of dollars to prove your kid isn't as stupid and useless as AT employee and their kids. The indignity of it all!

As with all financial transactions, don't do things for the tax motivation. Do them for the business motivation, and then avail yourself of any tax breaks. That is your first line of defense in staying out of tax trouble.

Remember, the AT can void the statute of limitations on the flimsiest of grounds, and assess you whatever interest and penalties they feel will most painfully destroy you. They get a thrill out of that kind of thing. Don't give them an excuse to do it to you.

In our next issue, we'll present more ways you can reduce your taxes without shelters or other dubious means.



5. Security tip

There's a new scam going on, now. It has so many fraud red flags, I'm amazed that anyone falls for it.

It works like this. Someone with an Indian accent phones to tell you that you have a big tax refund coming and they need to wire it to your bank account. As if the American Taliban actually wires you money. Of course, you don't have this huge refund coming and nobody is going to wire it to you. All these people want to do is get your account information and clean you out.

Don't ever give anyone who calls you any of the following information:

  • Your Social inSecurity number. This number opens many doors. A person can even use it to get a driver's license with your name on it--which means the beginning of a long nightmare.
  • Your date of birth. This is a key piece of information used for identity theft.
  • Your mother's maiden name. Also a key piece of information.
  • Your place of employment. It's amazing what a determined crook can do to you with this information.
  • Any account numbers from anything. Once someone has the account numbers, it's child's play to pretend to be you and access those accounts.
  • Verification of your phone number, name, street address. If they have to ask you to verify, you should be asking why they are so unsure. Actually, you should be hanging up....

Now, you may have noticed a pattern, here. All of this information (except for your mother's maiden name) appears on your tax filing forms. Which means employees of the American Taliban are sitting on a goldmine of information they can sell to others. Unfortunately, this happens fairly often. And why is that? These are the same people who stole 4300 computers from their own offices and (collectively) have a list of crimes that makes any mafia Don feel like a choirboy by comparison.

Not everyone in the AT is a crook, but the AT itself makes committing crimes nearly risk-free for those so inclined. Which is why they have such a problem with their employees running various scams.

When the Communists took over China, they forced people to write "confessions," which they then used against them. We have a similar situation in the USA, with our "voluntary" federal income tax. Failure to comply carries severe consequences. Complying also puts you at risk, and there's the rub.

The law requires you to provide confidential information to an organization noted for the criminal activities of its employees. We must comply with this law--you can actually go to jail for the mere act of encouraging people not to. So, please don't misunderstand me here. Don't break the law. Do fill out your tax forms. Do pay your taxes.

The USA has the worst possible system for funding our bloated, spending-drunk federal government. Anything other than what we have would be a massive improvement.

If you value your security, you'll try to plug this gaping hole in it by demanding a legislative remedy. One organization that is making great strides toward that is the National Taxpayers Union, www.ntu.org. It's smart to bet on the lead horse, and these folks are a full two laps ahead of everyone else.

You should also  write to your Congressman and senators to change the law. You can do a search on Yahoo for the name of your Congressman or look that person up in your phone book's Blue Pages.

Identify your Senators here:
http://www.webslingerz.com/jhoffman/congress-email.html

Then, send a snail-mail letter to this generic address (just fill in your each of your Senator's name for each letter):

Senator (name)
Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Note that e-mails sent to Senators almost never get there. They want paper, so send that to them. One-page letters work best.



6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Controlling Quantity, Part One

We have a new article at www.supplecity.com, and it's about the Glycemic Index. Just go to the site, click the Articles link, and you'll find it listed.

Many diets are just plain stupid. Then, you have the others--like the GI diet. Such diets take a slice of the total diet picture, and focus on that. The article on the GI diet explains where the GI fits, and why it can't be your total diet plan.

What really matters is the plain old physics of calories in minus calories out. Fortunately, you don't have to count calories to avoid packing on the pounds of fat.

What you need to do is limit your portion size. This one act will do more for you than any amount of treadmill running, dieting, or taking fat burning pills--combined.

What you eat is important, but how much you eat is more important. That's because all food has calories and the more food you eat the more calories you take in. Again, it's the basic physics.

Foods have different calorie densities, which is why a diet that stresses greens will--all else being the same--result in less additional body fat than a diet that stresses grains (as the Food Pyramid does).

All of the macro ingredient diets (low fat, high protein, low carb, low protein, high fat) fail because they don't address total calories. They also fail because they are extremely unhealthy.

In our next issue, we'll explore this topic further.



7. Miscellany

  1. Please forward this eNL to others.
     

  2. The toothbrush was invented in 1498.
     
  3. The designer toothbrush, introduced in the late 1990s, costs more than twice the price of a regular toothbrush. Yet, it does no more for tooth care than the regular one. In fact, the real work is done by flossing, not brushing.
     

  4. See: Special Offers (expired link now removed). It has some great offers that are worth following up on.



8. Thought for the Day

As long as most of us act like sheep, all of us get fleeced.

 

Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola
Mindconnection

Authorship

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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