- Product highlight
- Brainpower tip
- Time tip
- Finance tip
- Security tip
- Health tip/Fitness tip
- Thought for the day
1. Product Highlights
I first started using project management software about 15
years ago. Back then, it wasn't very user-friendly.
We've come a long way, since then.
ProjectKickStart, for example, is very easy to use. You can even get project
templates to save you time. People are even using to plan their vacations. See
here. Click the photo for more information about this amazingly simply tool.
2. Brainpower tip
Amazement and incredulity are two words that describe my
reaction to the latest proposals for solving our "energy crisis." We don't
have an energy crisis. We have a common sense crisis.|
Why is the USA (like other industrialized nations)
dependent on Mideast oil? Why are our dollars eventually going to terrorist
groups spawned in that region (making the IRS, a home-grown terrorist group,
The common "wisdom" is that US demand is high and we
don't produce enough oil at home. And this is why, so the "logic" goes, that
we have to buy from abroad.
This reminds me of the story about the guy who is
looking for his lost wedding ring under a light post, even though he's sure
he dropped it half a block away. When asked why he's looking so far from
where the ring must be, he replies, "The light's better over here."
Today is the 12th of March. The USA can completely go
off foreign oil by the 13th of March, if it really wanted to. The solution
is very simple: stop wasting oil. If each of us did our part, the USA would
actually be exporting oil.
Here are some easy ways to reduce oil consumption
- Drive a fuel efficient car. For example, I drive
a fuel-efficient Toyota Camry. I have a 5-speed manual transmission,
which boosts my fuel economy by an estimated 10% more. If we doubled our
fleet average--very easy to do--we'd be off that oil immediately. Trade
in that gas hog for something more sensible. At the very least, insist
on a manual transmission for your next car.
- Don't drive to work. If I remember right, about
70% of our jobs here are knowledge worker jobs. If every knowledge
worker telecommuted--well, do the math. Once again, we'd have no more
need for foreign oil.
- Drive less to work. It's stupid to live in a
suburban mansion and commute 60 miles one way. It is also very
fuel-intensive. Relocating closer to work is beneficial in many ways.
People who "must" commute long ways each day need to get a reality
- Drive less. A lot less. Most people don't plan
their trips very well. My guess is half of all trips people take by car
are unnecessary. Add in car pooling and other driving reduction
strategies, and you have major savings in fuel consumption.
This is just a quick look comparing the widely touted
"solutions" to dependence on foreign oil to what we could do with just
common sense and a little discipline. As a society, we choose to fund
terrorism. And I don't mean just by re-electing officials who have failed to
abolish the IRS. We are also doing that by integrating wasteful fuel habits
into our daily routines. And we can change those routines in an instant.
We don't need the government to "solve" the fuel
problem with more of their stupid and costly programs. We don't need
multi-billion dollar research programs into exotic fuels. We just need to
apply our brains a bit and more intelligently use what we have.
This is true of most problems we face. Think on what
you can do to to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Then, set the example for others. Eventually, people will move in synch (see
And here's the bonus. When you get in the habit of
using those mental muscles, they become stronger.
3. Time Tip
Many of the things people do to save time actually
waste time. Here are some examples:|
- Eating "fast food." You load your body up with
toxins and deprive it of nutrients. Yes, you may save a few minutes per
meal, but you far more in terms of productivity each day because you're
not firing on all cylinders. And, you also lose time from sickness. This
is a stupid strategy for saving time.
- Not exercising, "due to lack of time." This just
defies all logic.
- Multitasking. You incur "switching costs" between
tasks. This adds to the total time used. Also, you lose focus. If you
want to save time, focus on the job at hand so you do it right and do it
with your full energy. Then, do the next job. People who think they can
do two things at once are ignoring how the human brain is structured.
They are also ignoring the 5,000 years of experience that underpin the
- Working frantically. Working faster than your
optimum rate is how you make mistakes. Fixing them takes time. Yes, work
at a face pace. But know your limits.
- Working too long. Many people think that if they
put in more time they get more done. This isn't how it works. You have a
limit for how long you can do a given activity. Go beyond that limit,
and you work slower. So, you get less done per unit of time. Go even
further beyond that limit, and you start "making stupid mistakes." That
means you are actually going backwards! The right answer here is to work
to your natural limit, then switch and do something else for a while.
What's your natural limit? Be alert to small changes in attention and
focus, and you'll know what it is.
- Jumping right in. This is a common mistake. Haste
makes waste. Invest some time up front to plan the job (or your day, or
whatever), so you can do things efficiently. That's why project
management software (see the first article in this eNL) is so popular.
Before starting on a task, think through the steps and what resources
(tools, supplies) you need to complete each one. Think about the right
order in which to do things. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
4. Finance tip
The tax code does provide some ways to get tax-free
income, without the risk of tax shelters or the complexity of "creative"
investments. If you live in a country that is so barbaric it has an
income tax (e.g., the USA), these tips apply to you. Based on the
current insanity that is our federal income tax code....
You do not need a tax shelter to reduce your taxes, Part Three.
Borrowed money is tax-free. Even if you don't repay a
loan in your lifetime, the money is tax-free if it comes in the form of
a loan. But the catch is it must be a loan. A loan must meet certain
- It's for a specific amount.
- The lender expects the money to be paid back.
- The borrower pays reasonable interest on the
Some people conduct financial transactions and
then call the proceeds a loan to escape taxes. In the most typical
cases, the loan is unduly cheap and there is no requirement that the
funds be paid back. These kinds of "loans" are not legal. These funds
are income. There is no getting around that, no matter how wishful your
thinking may be.
But you don't necessarily need a traditional
"start paying it back immediately" arrangement. Here are some examples
of loans where delayed payback is normal:
- A reverse mortgage. You get income, and you
probably won't pay it back. But, your estate will.
- A life insurance loan. While life insurance
is a poor value for most people, it makes sense for some. You
probably won't pay back what you borrow, but your estate will.
- A personal loan. A rich uncle loans you
$10,000 so you can pay for your kid's tuition, braces, or whatever.
Or maybe this money allows you to start a business or buy a home.
You both realize there won't be any paying back for at least a
couple of years. And the loan itself is going to be outstanding for
- A survival loan. The AT makes you a random
target, and assesses you for more taxes than you can possibly pay.
After several years of dealing with these psychopaths, you finally
reach a settlement. But you are $3,000 short of enough assets to pay
it without selling your home. This would mean huge costs for you,
after the fact. A friend provides you with a "bridge loan" of $3,000
so you can survive the attack. You agree to a two-year wait until
the repayment must begin.
So, there are many ways that money coming to you
isn't taxable income. Just make sure you look up the current rules on
this and follow them. Don't try to scam the system by doing one type of
transaction and calling it another.
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
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. In their sick, twisted minds,
they get a thrill out of inflicting massive damage on other people. Don't give them an excuse to do it to you.
Once the "Borg" locks onto you, getting rid of them will require
In our next issue, we'll present more ways you can reduce your taxes
without shelters or other dubious means.
5. Security tip
Here's a site that you may find useful for knowing
where s**ual predators live near your home:|
But take this with a grain of salt. The charges
are not always accurate. Our criminal "justice" system is well-known for
railroading people. Scott Turow did an exposť on this, recently. This
had to do with people on death row. And allegedly, the standard for a
death row conviction is very high. There must be no doubt, for a verdict
of guilty. Yet, an astonishingly high number of death row inmates have
been proven innocent.
And, there's the flip-side of this coin. Just
because someone's not on this map or hasn't been convicted of one
of these crimes doesn't mean that person isn't dangerous. Experts have
all kinds of advice for protecting yourself or your children from these
kind of people. I don't know how much of that really works.
Let's keep in mind that there are other kinds of
predators, also. For example, have you ever felt manipulated by someone
else? Maybe there was a "friend" who always calls you during dinner,
despite knowing your schedule?
My layman's opinion here is you need to look out
for the control freaks. I think all of these predators have that in
common. They want to control. Even if that opinion isn't true, looking
out for controlling people is a good practice.
These people can do immense damage to your
psychological well-being. Below are some "red flag" characteristics I
have noticed. Take them in sum--any one characteristic isn't necessarily
a problem. And, the controlling person may not have all of the
characteristics. The more red flags you see, the more likely this person
is a problem you don't want in your life:
- S/he gives you a great deal of attention,
very suddenly and very early in your relationship. This can be in
the form of frequent visits or phone calls, for example. There isn't
a common interest or real reason for the attention, there's just
- S/he doesn't talk about other friends. S/he
doesn't have any.
- S/he does talk about enemies. Or about how
the rest of the world is screwed up.
- S/he hasn't accomplished much in life, and
there's always a good-sounding excuse why. That excuse always blames
- S/he "knows." S/he is an "expert" on topics
s/he has no credentials in. This is different from the situation
where two guys sit around and "solve the world's problems." What
happens here is s/he claims to be an expert on a subject you have
expressed some interest in. The goal is to impress you with
superiority. For example, one day you make a remark about how
fascinating astronomy is but you've never had time to learn about
it. Gee, what a coincidence--your new buddy can tell you all about
- S/he makes disparaging remarks about others
in your life. If you look closely, you see s/he is trying to isolate
you. Or, s/he is playing a form of "good cop, bad cop," where "I am
the only one on your side."
- S/he doesn't respect some of your
limitations. For example, how often s/he drops by or when s/he
- S/he tries to impress you with some attribute
of hers/his. This might be intelligence, athletic prowess, or even
what kind of car s/he drives. What s/he is trying to do is establish
superiority--the reason for you to follow, and be controlled by,
- If you question an opinion, the reaction is
strong. It may be outright anger, a period of no communication, or
some other punishment. Notice, I said "question." I didn't say
challenge. These folks are very sensitive to anything other than
complete agreement and obedience.
- S/he flatters you frequently. When someone
feels the need to flatter, be suspicious.
- S/he talks about your faults. A lot. And,
interestingly, some of these don't exist or are blown completely out
of proportion. The idea here is to disrupt your psychological
balance and to lower your self-esteem. If you hear these negative
things enough, you'll start believing them. Constructive criticism
is the "faithful wound of a friend." But don't confuse that with
- S/he talks about how others attack you behind
your back, but "I stuck up for you." And yet, there are no names and
no details. This is a classic strategy. I have never seen anyone but
a lowlife use it. That is, whenever anyone has told me about gossip
about me, that person has been at the heart of it. Maybe that's just
how it's been for me.
- S/he makes you feel diminished for having
interacted with him/her. With some regularity. S/he may not have
directly insulted you, but you feel bad. Now, to be fair, we all
leave others feeling diminished at times. But usually we can tell
why. And this happens infrequently. But the controlling person uses
diminishment to bring you down, so s/he can later bring you up. This
is an effort to establish dependency. When you see a cycle of up and
down, there's a problem.
- S/he has weird habits that exhibit compulsive
behavior. For example, s/he has huge collections of stuff in his/her
house. Meet someone who lives in clutter, and you have met a
controlling personality. Not every messy person is a control freak,
but beware when someone lives in discordant surroundings. That's a
sign of turmoil going on inside.
6. Health tip/Fitness tips
|Controlling Quantity, Part Three|
can find guides on portion sizes and how many servings you should get
per day. Let's look at some of the current recommendations put out by
the US Government:
- Meat, fish, or poultry:
One serving is three ounces. Try getting a three-ounce steak in a
restaurant! This much is about the size of the palm of your hand. Go
beyond one serving per meal, and you're likely eating too much.
- Fruits: Most
Americans don't get even one serving per day. A serving is a
"medium" apple or orange--about the size of a tennis ball.
- Vegetables: One
serving is a cup of chopped vegetables. If you're going to fill up
on food, fill up on this stuff. It's not very calorie-dense. Note
that corn is a grain, not a vegetable. Also, root vegetables carry
more calories and they are more glycemic.
- Beans: A serving is one half cup,
The serving sizes are accurate, but the accuracy
ends there. The USG says to have five servings per day of fruits and
vegetables. So, which is it? These are very different foods. And many
"experts" count beans as vegetables. Instead, beans should count as meat
(and you should eat them with rice or another grain to complete the
The serving size concept is correct. But the USG
gets the details wrong. What you need to do instead:
- Determine your protein requirements. The more
intensely you exercise, the more you need. The typical athlete needs
about 1 gram per pound of body weight. An easy way to get this close
to right is to make your protein sources just a bit smaller than the
palm of your hand (same thickness, too).
- Eat grains sparingly. The food pyramid has
this wa-a-a-ay wrong.
- Have a piece of fruit each day. Don't worry
if you occasionally eat some extra fruit. Fruits are relatively
calorie-dense, so go easy on them. Have various fruits, too. Eating
just apples or oranges isn't good.
- Get the rest of your food in vegetables.
Plain vegetables, maybe steamed or stir-fried. Don't put sauces and
creams on them. Eat a variety of colors. Make brasiccas the center
of your vegetable world. Brasiccas include cabbage, kale, bok choy,
and broccoli. Include leafy greens (spinach, dark lettuce, mustard,
collards), peppers (red, green, chocolate, yellow, orange, purple),
and other garden delights. If you're hungry, gnosh on a small amount
of veggies to take the edge off your hunger. These are low-calorie,
nutrient-dense foods. Keep bags of frozen vegetables in the
refrigerator and buy fresh ones regularly.
That pretty much sums up our discussion of portion
control. People really can eat less, and enjoy their food more. It's
easy to do. And, it's an essential part of having a great-looking,
healthy body. You save money on food purchases, fuel, clothing, and
medical care. What's not to like?
The Pringle's Company produced the world's
largest potato chip in 1990. It measured 23" x 14.5". This was at their Jackson,
TN facility. That year, I was living in Ohio. I later moved to Jackson, TN and
never heard about this. I move from there to KS in 1996 and found out about this
only in 2006.
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8. Thought for the Day
Respect has something in common with the boomerang.
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!).
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