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Mindconnection eNL, 2011-09-04

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In this issue:
Good News | Product Highlight | Brainpower | Finances | Security | Health/Fitness | Factoid | Thought 4 the Day

 
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1. Good News

While whackos in Washington continue to divert scarce resources to dubious uses, thereby destroying job growth in the cradle, there is still some good news despite their best efforts to keep America down.
  • 2011-08-11. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that Phoenix Closures, an Illinois-based manufacturer of plastic packaging, plans to open a plant in Greencastle, IL. While the Porkulus destroyed (by some estimates) 11  million jobs, this plant will bring back 90 of them by about 2016. OK, it's a start. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
     
  • 2011-08-23. Aye, dance a jig! An Irish firm is investing in the USA. The Area Development Online Newsdesk reports that C&F Group of Galway, Ireland, is building a new facility in Kingsport, TN. It's an automotive project worth $12.5 million. Located in the Northeast Tennessee Business Park, it should bring in 450 new jobs over a four-year period. And it's the spearhead for C&F's new standalone business C&F Manufacturing USA. Inc.
     
  • 2011-08-29. The IndyStar provided some good news for 23 citizens of Indiana. Idemitsu Lubricants America recently will be expanding its Clark County, Indianapolis facility. It's a $21.2 million investment that will create up to 23 new jobs. Small news compared to Obama's aggressive job destruction that has evaporated millions of American jobs, but it's a trend in the right direction.
     
  • 2011-08-29. Industry Week provided this very happy news: Thus far this year, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers says, exports of U.S. construction equipment now exceed more than $11 billion. That is a 50% increase over the same time last year. Pretty huge improvement! If the federal govt cut spending by 50% (very, very easy for it to do), think of how THAT would send the economy skyward.

Good news that may occur

If the Democratic primary nomination goes to anyone other than Obama, there will be new hope for America and possibly an end to the steady stream of bad news since he began his job destruction program. Register now as a Democrat, and defeat Obama in the Primaries. His approval rating is nearing that of termites. But if we had termites we wouldn't need to endure another 18 months of insanity and destruction.

End of the epidemic?

Possibly, the stupidity epidemic is subsiding (it's too early to tell for sure). Here's a tidbit supporting that idea. I noticed something new on Amazon's reviews. They now require reviews to be at least 20 words long. Someone probably figured out that vacuous reviews aren't worth posting.

It's nice to see that stupidity is taking yet another free throw penalty.

Something else new. My Amazon reviews go live instantly, bypassing the multi-day review queue. I guess Amazon has identified which reviewers consistently write solid, meaningful reviews. They've also instituted a 20-word minimum, which helps eliminate the text messaging kind of "reviews" that have come to dominate that feature on Amazon.

2. Product Highlight

Mindconnection is back in the ReadingPen business. And we have a great new product for you, the ReadingPen 2. I've been playing with this and with the ReadingPen TS here at the office, and just cannot say enough good things about these products.

What does the ReadingPen 2 do, exactly? With this pen, you can hear text read to you. Just scan a word or line of text, and the ReadingPen 2 reads it aloud to you (earbuds included, if you don't want to be overheard).

This mobile pen scanner requires no computer. It even helps with reading fluency and comprehension by providing immediate definitions from the American Heritage Children's Dictionary and Thesaurus, American Heritage College Dictionary, and Roget's II Thesaurus. Further enhancing the user experience, the natural female human voice of the ReadingPen 2 makes it pleasurable to work with.

Watch this video

Earlier this year, we ended our relationship with Wizcom, not because of any issues with the products. The products are excellent. The problem was the retard of a manager we had to deal with, plus his retard of a boss. They've both been fired (yippee!) and replaced by two people who really "get it" when it comes to customer service and those other things that businesses need to pay attention to. So we're really happy to be offering these products.

ReadingPen 2 Reading Assistive Scanning Pen, WizCom

ReadingPen TS Reading Assistive Scanning Pen, WizCom

3. Brainpower tip

Don't work from crappy data.

I'm amazed at how much brainpower is simply wasted, because it's applied to crappy data and thus cannot possibly produce results that are useful or reliable.

As an example, consider a recent psychodrama conducted purely for theater. I am referring to the "budget deficit debate." This was nothing more than criminals arguing about their accounting methods. Why is that the case?

First of all, a budget deficit results when planned spending exceeds projected revenue. So the whole "debate" could have been solved the same way Bill Clinton "balanced the budget." Simply lie.

They could have just inserted ultra rosy revenue projections. They could have asserted that, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, sucking capital from the economy actually improves the economy! Oops, they did that already (remember the job-destroying Porkulus?).

But really, they didn't have to lie to prevent a "budget deficit." They merely had to follow the law. That particular idea is a foreign concept to them, but it is the solution to all federal budget problems.

By some estimates, 90% of what the federal government does is illegal. I find it hard to believe the number is really that low. My personal view is it's another order of magnitude higher, but I think we can agree that 90% is bad enough. We can use that as the basis for discussion and analysis, even though it would feel better to use a more accurate (and thus higher) number.

Simply eliminating the illegal activities of the federal government would eliminate so much cost from the budget that the budget would produced a huge surplus.

Rather than simply read, and follow, the plainly stated language of the 10th Amendment, the people who misrepresent us in CONgress applied their brainpower (such that it is) to bad data.

There was no budget crisis. There was only a crime crisis. The debate should have been along the lines of "Do we shut down the IRS, DEA, BATFE, and other illegal, harmful agencies today--or do we wait until morning?"

Bringing the federal government into conformance with the law would require enormous changes, because it is so very far from being in compliance. But some things are, ahem, no-brainers.

There is no legitimate reason, for example, to be burning $10 billion a day (figure out how much that is per year--yikes!) in Afghanistan. There is no legitimate reason to keep funding the IRS, DEA, BATFE, or a slew of other illegal, harmful agencies. I am not saying all govt agencies are illegal and harmful. I am only saying that many are illegal and many are harmful. Some illegal agencies are actually beneficial, but that doesn't change the fact they are illegal. At the very least, we should eliminate the ones that are illegal AND harmful.

So if CONgress really cared about the nation's finances (obviously, it does not), there would not have been any "debate" about a fake budget ceiling. It would have simply gone about the business of eliminating the criminal activities that are the easiest to eliminate, or that morally cry out an imperative for elimination (e.g., IRS, DEA, BATFE to name three).

Some people have commented that I seem to have a hankering for using CONgress as an example of stupidity. That's not at all the case. I have a hankering for using CONgress as an example of gross disregard for the laws of this nation. The fact these people tend to be stupid is a side issue. The fact they tend to be egregious criminals is a major issue.

For the purposes of this issue's brainpower column, the point is that CONgress spent whatever limited brainpower (such that it is) it has on bad data. The data are bad because they are all fiction and have nothing to do with the actual problem.

If you want to solve a problem, first limit your data set to what is actually relevant. Then, examine the data for veracity. Eliminate false data. This is hard for many people to do, because what they really want is data that fit their pre-conclusions (conclusions made prior to actual analysis).

What they end up doing is engaging in a brainpower-free exercise in justifying the indefensible. That's, unfortunately, standard operating practice for CONgress. It does not have to be your SOP.

4. Finance tip

With the economic Depression having accelerated under Spendbama, many people are desperately trying to reduce their personal overhead. One place people are cutting big-time right now is going to restaurants. This is not necessarily the cost-savings it's made out to be.

Restaurants have their place. For example:

  • It's often more convenient to eat at a restaurant when traveling, than to pick up groceries and make meals in your hotel room.
  • If entertaining guests, you may find going to a restaurant is less hassle than trying to use your own kitchen to accommodate the unhealthy food choices of your guests.
  • Some restaurants are not in the people poisoning business, and thus can be frequented without damaging your health.

But for many people, these considerations aren't considered. They simply eat out as a matter of habit. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that US families spend an average of nearly $2,700 each per year on eating out.

Some experts look at the cost of the ingredients and say you can save 80% of your restaurant bill by eating at home. They are neglecting to count the many things you get for your restaurant dollar. The savings are usually closer to 40%, actually.

Making meals is, in itself, a pleasurable experience. A family that prepares and eats together has emotional advantages over a family that outsources the preparation. It typically has health advantages, too. So preparing meals at home makes a great deal of sense. But not in all cases.

People who have been used to eating at restaurants and then start making meals at home may find their costs go up, not down. Some reasons why:

  • Even worse food choices. For example, they'll buy iceberg lettuce rather than the many other lettuces available in the typical grocery store. They'll also by "convenience" foods like frozen dinners, chips, mixes, sauces, and dressings.
     
  • Poor hygiene. In restaurants, food is kept either chilled or heated. This reduces bacteria immensely. In many homes, people leave food sit out until it may as well be a petri dish in a biological weapons lab.
     
  • Poor techniques. People not skilled in cooking quite often destroy the nutritional value of the food by overcooking or overheating.
     
  • Lousy taste. People who don't understand how to put complementary foods together, or even what foods to buy in the first place, try to make up for blandness with sauces and condiments that are high in sugar and hydrogenated oil.
     
  • Unlimited quantities. People who eat because it's there will fare much worse at home than at a restaurant.

Now, the above problems also exist in restaurants, to some degree. And I'm not saying not to eat at home. I'm saying that simply ending your restaurant going can easily bring new expenses and new problems.

Learn about healthy, sensible food selection, preparation, and storage before trying to go it alone. This is very much worth your time, and it can save you a good bit of money. Not so much on food purchases, but  on medical care purchases.

5. Security tip

While we're waiting for CONgress to improve our security by ending the illegal anti-Patriot Act, there are other security issues we can address. Here's one sent by an alert reader who wishes to remain anonymous.

***

From a member of our Home Owners Association. The police referred to are the Austin Police Department. Watch those incoming cell phone calls (and landlines too, for that matter) and treat them the same way as you do your Internet messages--don't give out personal information to anyone you don't know for sure who is calling. Remember, if a bank or business is calling you, they already know who you are and what your account number is! If they don't, they aren't legit.

Hi neighbors

Thought I’d give you a heads up….got a call on my CELL phone tonight at about 820 and the message said it was from my bank (Bank of America) telling me that my debit card had been “frozen” for fraudulent activity.

The recorded voice wanted me to press “1” and of course, this was weird so I hung up and called Bank of America directly from my HOME phone. They confirmed it is a fraud/scam call and recommended that I make a local police report. I called the police and they said this has been going on a lot lately, and opened a case.

Please make sure your friends know about this and don’t give out any information. The police said they want you to key in your account number if you continue the call. FYI, the number that called me was 866.587.1237, the same as the other police reported calls. And I don’t know how they got my cell phone number.

***

Another big scam is callers who identify themselves as being with the IRS--and actually are! Do NOT discuss anything with them. Doing so can only hurt you, despite any assurances to the contrary. Do not even confirm information such as your address.

Politely inform the caller that you are, with good justification, terrified of the IRS and therefore cannot discuss anything with them. Politely insist that they mail you a letter with the issues or questions. Don't give them your address; the IRS Manual prohibits the IRS from asking you for information they already have (so does the 1998 Taxpayer Bill of Rights and several other regs).

The employee calling you can't hurt you. All this employee is doing is fishing for information that some other IRS employee can subsequently use to damage you--perhaps severely. So, give no information. Period.

Once you get the letter, you can decide whether to ignore it or pay a tax attorney to review it. If the IRS has not contacted you previously, the latter is probably the better choice. Do not reply, yourself. Doing this shows you are open to attack. And when sharks smell blood, well, it ends badly for the bleeding one. That would be you, in this case.

Yes, hiring a tax attorney is expensive. That, unfortunately, is the price we must pay for not having yet persuaded CONgress to abolish this unnecessary, barbarous, and harmful federal agency.

 

6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Through good planning and proper attention to intensity, I've mostly managed to avoid overtraining. But there have been exceptions.

I got a painful reminder of this, with my latest overtraining episode. Normally, Thursday is my rest day. Except for posture exercises and stretching, which are low-intensity, I don't do any training.

On Sunday, I put in a couple of hours at the climbing gym. It was mostly low-intensity, as far as physical demand went. But still, it's hard on the legs.

On Monday, I did my front squats. They were harder than usual, because my legs were still a few days away from recovering from the climbing.

On Thursday, I decided to add wind sprints to my schedule. I'd just ease them in....

Age 50.

 

To do wind sprints, you need a steep hill or some other vertically challenging running surface. In my twenties, I used bleachers. That may have been a youthful indiscretion. Looking back, I feel lucky that I never missed a step and broke my front teeth. I've also used stairways inside office buildings. That’s better, but it still poses a fall risk.

I now live in a hilly area, and I have the perfect monster hill not far from my front door. So, that's my wind sprint running place. That Thursday, I did three runs up that hill. I ran up that steep hill as hard and as fast as I could until my legs "ran out of run." Then, I walked down. I did this three times. Of course, my distance shrank considerably with each run.

I consumed JS Nitro Cell Drive when I got home, then followed that with glutamine later. This practice is what has allowed me to do squats as frequently as I do. Years ago, I did squats once a month, due to the recovery time involved. But by supplementing this way, I found I could actually do them once a week if I would skip a week every so often.

The following Monday, I started my front squats but just "did not have it" for this exercise. I got through five sets of five, but they didn't feel right. I just could not get the intensity going. I ended that session thinking, "Yeah, those wind sprints are probably still with me."

So on Thursday, I walked to my wind sprint starting point. I took off for that first run up, and barely covered any distance before it felt like someone was sticking a pair of metal spikes into my right leg.

As it turned out, I had severely overworked two of the quadriceps muscles in that leg. In addition to the climbing, squats, and sprints, I was also doing a good deal of squatting for yardwork plus I climb the stairs in my home many times per day. Just my normal activity level was keeping these muscles from repairing.

Well, I'm now on the mend from that episode. But it should not have happened in the first place.

The lesson here is to account for all of your activity. When planning your workouts, look ahead and behind in your schedule, and tailor your program to fit your activities.

And keep in mind that when you are doing real work on real surfaces, things do get uneven. That's ultimately good for your training program and your balance, but you still have to account for that (e.g., two muscles in my right leg). The "solution" of using machines at a gym isn't a solution. It's recipe for injury. Stick with real exercise that uses motions that you are likely to do. Front squats, for example, are very hard to beat in this respect.

 

 

At www.supplecity.com, you'll find plenty of informative, authoritative articles on maintaining a lean, strong physique. It has nothing to do with long workouts or impossible to maintain diets. In fact:
  • The best workouts are short and intense.
  • A good diet contains far more flavors and satisfaction than the typical American diet.

7. Factoid

A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue. But members of CONgress constantly stick us, well, you know where.

8. Thought for the Day

People who are obese got that way one bite at a time, over time. Reversing the process, over time, solves the obesity. Many problems are like this. What problems do you have that are of the "one bite at a time" kind?

 

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Wishing you the best,
Mark Lamendola
Mindconnection, LLC

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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