- Product highlight
- Brainpower tip
- Time tip
- Finance tip
- Security tip
- Health tip/Fitness tip
- Thought for the day
1. Product Highlights
What's a phrasebook?|
We sell a huge number of
language translation devices. Most of these have phrasebooks included or are
So, what the heck is a
Phrasebooks provide very fast access to short
bits of translated speech. Using "canned phrases improves speed, but
reduces flexibility. However, you don't always need flexibility
because there is no need to say "Where is the hotel?" in any
different way. It's a standard question.
Phrasebooks provide speed by eliminating the need
to type in a word or string of words. They limit flexibility because
the device may not have the exact phrase you need. This is one
reason the newer phrasebooks are so much larger than their
Typically, a phrasebook:
- Contains phrases that allow you to do
something. For example, find a hotel.
- Is arranged into categories. This means
you think of the function you are trying to do, go to the
general topic, and quickly find the phrase you need.
- Requires only a minimal number of
keyboard, touchscreen, or voice entries for you to find the
2. Brainpower tip
Understand what people are really after. To do this, you
often have to see past what they are saying. Most people just are not very
direct or articulate.|
When someone is angry with
you, the cause might not be at all what you think.
- Wife: "Where would you like to go eat?"
- Husband: "I don't care. You pick the place."
What she hears is, "I don't care about you enough to
pay attention to where you like to go eat." She feels neglected. If this
happens often enough, she feels rejected. Typically, the husband will try to
micro-analyze what she's saying, without seeing the big picture.
- Child: "I hate you."
- Parent: "You ungrateful snot!"
What the child is really doing: pre-emptive rejection.
This is very common in relationships. It prevents any real communication.
People then waste brainpower dealing with the fallout.
Now, don't try to psychoanalyze everyone. If I tell
you, "I hate you," I don't mean any kind of pre-emptive rejection. I mean it
literally. Most of us employ strategies somewhere between these two
extremes, or we mix and match as the system dictates.
They key here is to have empathy. You can easily
mistake what another person is thinking, so keep that in mind. Let's review
those examples again:
Example 1, remixed
- Wife: "Where would you like to go eat?"
- Husband: "I'm partial to that new Chinese place.
But didn't you say you liked the way they made your steak the last time
we were at [name of steakhouse]? Or do you want to try someplace new?"
Example 2, remixed
- Child: "I hate you."
- Parent: "Who peed in your Cheerios? C'mere you
little rug rat, and I'll arm-wrestle you for allowance."
The above remixes are just suggestions--I'm no
authority on how to handle these kinds of situations. But that first remixed
answer shows a more attentiveness than the original. It makes the other
person feel cared about, IMO. The second remixed answer defuses the
situation and redirects things. It's also more attentive.
I deal with customers all the time. Some are irate,
and what they really need to establish is that they aren't being ripped off
by some faceless company. If they deal with a person who listens, they don't
feel ripped off at all (and, of course, they aren't). People get angry when
they feel like they are being rejected.
How much brainpower do you waste wading in a cesspool
of negative emotions? If you're at all normal, it's a huge amount. Head this
off by taking care to assure people you don't reject them. There are
hundreds of ways to do this. A thoughtful call, a question in that person's
area of interest, and so on.
If you watch the "Bonus Features" on the
Cellular movie DVD (starring Kim Bassinger, who dumped that idiot Alec
Baldwin), you'll see a segment on how young people use cellular technology.
The number of calls is staggering--these kids are always connected. They are
constantly talking to someone, text messaging, or Instant Messaging.
But nearly all of this chatter is devoid of any substance. Many of these
folks will give a blow by blow "I'm walking down Aisle 6, now" and really
have nothing to say.
But, they are saying something. The message isn't in
the proverbial bottle. It is the bottle. The very act of calling (or TM or
IM) is a way of saying, "You matter to me."
If you can get that message across to the people who
matter to you, and do that with some regularity, you'll find yourself free
of the emotional whirlwinds that engulf so many people.
3. Time Tip
Over time, ocean-going vessels collect barnacles on
their hulls. For this reason, ships are dry-docked for maintenance that
includes scraping off the barnacles. Absent this maintenance, those
barnacles slow the ship down. Its engines have to work harder to move it
through the water.|
Our schedules collect
barnacles, too. If we don't dry-dock ourselves occasionally to scrape
these off, we lose time throughout the day. So, stop occasionally to
assess how you're spending your day. Look for those barnacles and scrape
them off. The tricky thing about this is those barnacles are hard to
see. You have to give them more than a casual glance if you want to see
them at all.
Some schedule barnacle variations:
- Small, unnecessary tasks. For example, how
many times a day do you check e-mail? This can sneak up on you, just
the way barnacles slowly accumulate.
- Extended conversations. You can spot this one
by looking for "filler," repetition, and other clues that the real
conversation has petered out. There's nothing wrong with
acknowledging it was great while it lasted and saying good bye.
- Interruptions. There is too much emphasis
today on "being connected" and sacrificing your focus time in a
slavish response to cell phones, instant messaging, and other
interruptions. By assuming a false mantle of importance this way, we
actually make ourselves less important both by perception (not
important enough to ever be unreachable) and in fact (low focus =
- Social interactions. Observe the goings on in
any office, and you'll see a large amount of socializing. A little
of this increases productivity and reduces stress. But most people
allow too much of it to occupy their time. This is one reason
telecommuting results in such startling jumps in productivity. That,
too, is being reduced as people also telecommute their socializing
(with, for example, personal e-mails).
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 Five.
- With a like-kind exchange, you can trade an
appreciated property for a similar property and defer the tax on the
gain until you sell the second property.
- The Tax Code defines "similar." Of course, it
does so vaguely enough to allow AT employees enough "wiggle room" to
hang you. So, don't loosely interpret things in an effort to find a "tax
loophole." All you will get for your efforts is a "tax noosehole."
- The good news is you can keep rolling those
properties over. But don't fall into the trap of trading up for tax
reasons and ruining yourself. Remember, that was Congress' intent with
this legislation. The idea is to encourage you to buy increasingly
expensive properties, so that you eventually wind up broke and on public
assistance. Members of Congress always benefit by creating more of their
voter base (which is traditionally the very people they made poor). This
is why inner cities vote as a Democratic block--it's a classic "take
five away and give three back" situation and folks mysteriously overlook
the five. It will be interesting to see how the huge spending by the
"fiscally conservative" Republicans creates even more devastation.
As with all financial transactions, don't do things for the tax
motivation. Do them for the business motivation, and then avail yourself
of the 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. Following statute or
Congressional intent is not in their game plan. 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 is almost
In our next issue, we'll present more ways you can reduce your taxes
without shelters or other dubious means.
5. Security tip
Have you ever received a form for paying a subscription
or donating to a charity? And isn't it great that they include an
envelope? And they even accept credit cards?|
Take a look at that envelope. Odds are it's not a
security envelope. Which means whatever credit card number you write
down is now public information. Ditto for the routing and account
numbers on an enclosed check.
When sending sensitive information through the US
Mail, use a security envelope.
6. Health tip/Fitness tips
|Scams That Sound Good|
scams sound good because of the way they are pitched, but in reality
they exist to part you from your money. In some cases, they do real
An example is the "detoxification" scam. The idea
behind this is your body is filled with toxins, but if you use magic
potion #99 (or whatever it is), you remove these toxins. Unfortunately:
- Most of what the promoters describe as
"toxins" are meant to be there, are harmless, and/or are helpful.
These shysters have a "solution" for a problem that doesn't exist.
- The basic concept is flawed. Your body
already has ways of handling toxins. What your body can't handle
isn't likely to be removed by eating, drinking, or anally inserting
some brew (noxious or otherwise).
- The "colon cleansing" potions can make you
very, very sick. They upset the fauna and flora. Your body can
typically recover from these insults to your colon before you have
symptoms, but why even go there?
Any time you hear words like "detoxification,"
beware. That's nearly always some whacky "treatment." Any benefit is
nearly always due to a placebo effect. Sometimes, it just feels good.
Foot baths and massages feel good, and they can relax you. That alone
has medicinal benefits. But there is no mechanism in the actual
treatment--other than releasing "feel good" hormones, it's medically
Many colon cleansing "treatments" for
"detoxification" can actually make you quite sick. Putting coffee up
your butt ranks up there with putting gerbils in your butt, as far as I
am concerned. It's just weird. There's an entire branch of "medicine"
devoted to enemas. I know, because I used to work with a guy who talked
about enemas all the time. One day, another coworkers got tired of his
enema monologues and said, "For someone who does so many enemas, you
sure are full of sh--." Quit an accurate observation. We already have
the AT inserting things up our butts (metaphorically, for most of
us)--isn't that enough?
Sea salt is another thing that's supposed to have
magical powers. It doesn't.
The magnet thing is just hilarious. So is the
copper bracelet thing. I don't know why people fall for this stuff. I
suppose if someone came out and said wearing a brick around your neck
would "correct energy imbalances," we'd see a bunch of people in
California start a brick-wearing fad. Tell people they can lose weight
doing this, rather than just doing the simple thing of eating less--and
it'll be a national obsession.
The pseudoscience behind these "treatments" can
make for a compelling case, if you are willing to suspend the laws of
physics and ignore a vast body of science. You also have to believe that
things happen in a vacuum. For example, the fact we are bathed in energy
from many sources should tell you the "energy work" nonsense is, well,
nonsense. Yes, there is anecdotal evidence it works--but there is also
anecdotal evidence that government works. Or that space aliens are
making long trips to earth just to sneak around inserting anal probes
It's quite easy to draw cause and effect where
there isn't one. Many things happen by coincidence. For example, you
start some whacky "cure" and you get better. Was the "cure" responsible?
If you think so, then do this. Every time someone in your family gets a
cold or fever, send me $100 a day. I promise to cure you.
Chiropractors are especially vulnerable to
believing in whacky things like "energy work" and various herbal
potions. That's because their area of expertise is outside the normal
bounds of our allopathic (allopathetic!) medical system. Chiropractors
and acupuncturists work wonders, and so they are naturally inclined to
accept "alternative medicine." But not all "alternative medicine" has
medical value. Much of it is hocus pocus. Learn to discriminate between
actual practices. Go past the "sound bite mentality" of treating all
"alternative medicine" as the same. It's not the same. Nor are all
herbal treatments, nutritional supplements, etc, equally valid.
People who waste their time and money on these
far-out "cures" would be much happier, healthier, and wealthier, if they
would just eat right, exercise right, and get the proper amount of
sleep. Those are the things I like to write about, because those are the
things that work.
Special thanks to reader Ray for bringing this
whole topic to my attention.
Sit down today and write
your Congressman a letter demanding that Congress abolish the American Taliban
(Infernal Rotten Scoundrels). We spend billions fighting a war on terrorism
overseas, but lack the will to abolish terrorism within our own borders. And we
all know there is no organization more terrifying than the AT.
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8. Thought for the Day
Sometimes, it's not what you say but how you say it that
conveys the message. The next time you feel misunderstood, think about your
delivery. Form often trumps substance.
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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