Past issues

Mindconnection eNL, 2002-02-14

In this issue:

  1. A personal Valentine's Day note
  2. Finance tip
  3. Health tip
  4. Fitness tip
  5. Personal security tip
  6. Thought for the day

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1. A personal Valentine's Day note

My sister used to wonder who is the favorite child or our parents--am I it, or is she? Over the years, I just shrugged off her questions, telling her, "I think it's pretty obvious who is the favorite. But I won't tell you." She'd recount this or that incident, sometimes trying to position herself as the favorite and sometimes trying to position me as the favorite. Our parents said they didn't have a favorite, but she "just knew" they did. Finally, after 30-some years of this I told her that I was the favorite.

"How can you say that?," she asked, looking somewhat hurt.

"It's very obvious. You see, back in 1964, Mom and Dad gave me a very special Valentine's Day present I treasure to this day. What better way to show how much they loved me?" My sister, who was born on Valentine's Day, 1964, gave me a big hug.

I hope this story made you smile.

2. Finance tip

If you're wondering how to improve your financial picture in these days of frozen raises, unemployment, and other financial woes, here's a tip for you. Readers of the eNL know I detest the world's #1 terrorist organization, the IRS. But, a small part of their job is collecting duly owed taxes. What most wage-earners don't know is the IRS can't compel you to do many of the things they try to intimidate you into doing. One of those things is smart management of your W-2 withholding allowances. Please note, these are not "exemptions" or "dependents." You claim exemptions and dependents on your 1040.

Here's the trick. For the first six months of the year, claim twice as many withholding allowances as you normally do. The last six months, claim half as many. If you got a refund last year, you can probably add one allowance before doubling.

Use the difference to pay down debt, such as you home equity line.

You can modify this strategy. I keep track of my total income and total withholding (I get both W-2s and 1099s) throughout the year. I keep my allowances at 9 for the first quarter. Each month, I adjust the number downward so my withholding moves toward 20%. The last two months, I drop to 1 allowance. As long as you have paid your tax bill by the end of the year, there's no interest or penalty. Why give an interest-free loan, when you can instead pay down debt by providing capital to the economy?


3. Health tip

Do you want to look much younger than you are? It's easy to do. One of the secrets is skin-care. Most of us are lousy at this. Another secret is keeping good posture and muscle tone, but let's look at skin care here.

  • Stay out of the sun. Sunlight causes massive damage to skin cells. So, a little dab'll do ya. Use sunscreen, and limit your exposure. Don't stay out of the sun altogether, but do stri ve to keep your exposure limited to no more than a few minutes at a time and not very often during a given day.
  • Drink lots of water. Most Americans are dehydrated. Water transports nutrients to the cells and transports waste out. Water also gives cells the volume they need to keep the right shape.
  • Get your exercise--make it rigorous and frequent. Blood flow to skin cells keeps them healthy.
  • Don't use harsh cleansers. They dry the natural oils from the skin, and do other damage. Don't scrub hard, either.
  • Don't smoke. It doesn't matter whether the butt is in your mouth or someone else's--smoke is smoke. Treat tobacco smoke like it's mustard gas, and get your skin away from it!
  • Avoid stress. Sure, this sounds "easier said than done," but if you find yourself feeling stressed out then get a grip! Don't wallow in stress, and don't hold grudges. Avoid negative people. Also avoid people who are all smiles, because sooner or later they will get you into a stressful situation.
  • Don't do drugs, especially alcohol, tobacco, and sugar.
  • Don't drink carbonated beverages--these cause a loss of calcium, which means those muscles under your eyes will start to droop.because calcium is essential for proper muscle function.
  • Don't watch television. In addition to frying your mind, television is a good way to bomard your face with lots of radiation and with high magnetic fields that are linked to cell damage.


4. Fitness tip

How do you stay fit while traveling? I'm traveling while I write this, thus this topic. Let's take a cue from a guy who might know a thing or two about physical training. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't have his weights when filming Predator way out in the jungle. The porters basically said, "If you want exercise, you carry your own weights." Arnold runs steps at hotels and does "sissy squats" and other "body-only" exercises while there. But,. what about the jungle? Chin-ups. Arnold would simply find a tree he could chin up on. He could work any muscle group with what was available--even junk on the ground. This provided him with variety, which is essential to a good fitness program. Me? I use the chairs in my room to do pushups and triceps dips. Curls with the suitcase. I use my briefcase for shoulder lateral and rear delt exercises, and I do hand-stand pushups to work the entire shoulder (and my back and thighs). These pushups are brutal, but I can whip out 30 of them. If you lack the upper body strength to do these, you can modify the exercise in countless ways--use your hotel bed to support your legs and butt, and, lying on your back, do handstand pushups.

Use your imagination, and you can be fit anywhere. The goal, remember, is to work the muscle, not to go through some kind of motions that somehow resemble good training. 


5. Personal security tip

Have you ever wished you were Bruce Lee or some other martial arts guy? Well, unless you are willing to endure a lot of pain and sacrifice (trust me on this, I'm a 4th degree black belt), it's not going to happen. But, that doesn't mean you are defenseless. Here are some tips for avoiding danger in the first place:

  • Don't smoke or drink. These two vices significantly slow down your reaction time and dull your alertness.
  • Carry a cell phone, and put the phone number of your County Sheriff in the phone book. This way, no matter where you are in the county, the Sheriff is only a few clicks away. I have successfully used this twice in cases of road rage.
  • Don't tempt people. In cases of road rage, don't stare at the idiot who wants to do battle at 65 MPH or pull over and fight. Make an apologetic gesture, maybe mouthing "I'm sorry" even if you have no clue what that person is all agitated about.
  • Keep a loaded gun, preferably a shotgun, near where you sleep. No rapist, murderer, or other miscreant is going to wait for you to call 911. Dial .357, instead. I have successfully used this technique more than once. On one occasion, police were trying to break into my home. I held them off, saying I had a loaded firearm and would use it if they entered. I told them I was on the phone with Dispatch. All this was going on at 2AM with 2 frightened children in the house. The problem? The cops had arrived at the wrong address. I had no way of knowing they were cops. In the same town, I ran outside to assist an officer who was in trouble. His backup arrived 15 minutes later. 

6. Thought for the Day

It's easy to bemoan circumstances. The world is just an unfair place, and bad things are happening. But, good things are happening, too. The trick is you have to pick yourself up and decide to change the situation you're in. Can't get a job? Well, stop sending out resumes and go to the library to read every book they have on finding a job. This should take about two weeks. Then, get back into your job search and see if things don't improve. Use a similar strategy for other situations. The world belongs, not to those who wait, but to those who go after what it has to offer.


Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola


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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