Past issues

Mindconnection eNL, 2002-09-18

In this issue:

  1. Featured product line
  2. Sleepless, Part 2
  3. Special Offer #2: Time Management Course, for the price of your opinion
  4. Brainpower tip
  5. Finance tip
  6. Health tip
  7. Fitness tip
  8. Personal note
  9. Thought for the day


1. Featured product line

Does your job require you to work with or know construction or building codes? Probably not. But if it does, you'll want to check out and take advantage of the low, low prices.

Who would need code books? Such a person may be an attorney, architect, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, civil engineer, mechanic, electrician, plumber,  mason, welder, general contractor, or boiler worker. Codebook city also has tax codes, the Uniform Commercial Code, training resources, illustrated code books, New York City codes, international codes, and fire codes. There's more, but you get the idea. Take a look at the jobs and codes just mentioned. If those don't apply to you, then surely you know folks who would appreciate being told of such a resource.


2. Sleepless, Part 2

Many readers responded to our special offer on the sleeplessness course--thanks, this was great stuff you came back with! That deal was you can get the course for free, if you just provide useful feedback. The feedback was very useful, and I hope you are all sleeping better these days!


3. Special Offer #2: Time Management Course

So, now we have another special offer. This one's a bit different, but still involves tapping into your brainpower. The problem is our time management course gets a lot of tire-kickers but the sales conversion rate is low. Why is that? Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to visit the product page and note what it is that would stop you from buying this product. Does the product "ad copy" come on too strong? Is it too long? Would more information be better? What are some specific things you recommend changing? Is the photo OK?

Once I have your feedback, I'll e-mail you the product. If you already have this one, just pick a different one and I'll send that to you instead.

Here are the steps:

1. Visit:
(You may need to paste this into your browser)

2. Take some notes.

3. Send me your comments and suggestions

4. Receive the time management course. Please note, this course differs from the "How to waste time more effectively" courses that focus on the details of non-value-added activities.


4. Brainpower tip

Many people say they don't have enough time to read meaningful literature and gain useful knowledge. The real problem is not one of time, but of choices. Control your choices, and you suddenly find ample opportunity to feed your brain the way you want to. Here are some choices to consider:

  • Don't watch television. This always tops my list.

  • Use audiocassettes (recorded books) while driving, dressing in the AM, doing mindless chores, or as a relaxer before bed. Why listen to commercial music, when the musical "artists" lead such miserable lives? Do you really need the crooning advice of a drug addict or other dysfunctional person? Replace the music with books, and your brain goes on steroids.

  • Look at what you do read. How many magazines have useful information? How many killings, car crashes, and robberies will you read about in your local newspaper before realizing it has nothing new?

  • Take care of phone conversations. These use up big chunks of some people's days, but are pointless. To improve phone conversation quality while freeing up time, keep a notepad or some other handy record where you list the things you want to talk about. One person keeps a manila folder with sheets of paper, each dedicated to an individual. When he calls his mom, he has a bullet-point list of things to ask her about (she feels so appreciated!) and to tell her about. You will be amazed at the clarity and "connectedness" this brings to conversations.

  • Learn to skim material so you can cherry-pick that which most interests and benefits you.

  • If you're really pressed, use this speed-reading trick. Read the first sentence only of each paragraph, and skip the rest--except, read the entire last paragraph of a chapter. When I was in 7th grade, I was reading 2080 words per minute with 80% accuracy. This was the technique that made the most difference. Most of what followed that first sentence just explained it. Notice, I stayed within the Pareto curve. Of course, if your reading is highly technical, this technique won't work. But it does help in most reading situations. 


5. Finance tips

Tax reduction and/or elimination is a hot topic for scam artists. We all hate throwing money down the federal tax toilet, where it seems every dollar of federal income tax collected is two dollars wasted (in fact, it's only $1.25 wasted).

However, there are no "tax savings secrets that even the pros don't know about." The Tax Code is what it is, and you can find out all you need to know at

As for "skilled tax preparers" and "my CPA who knows the ins and outs of the Tax Code," what a farce for individuals. For $39.95, you can buy Tax Cut or another program that automates the process without the mistakes. The IRS won't even argue over a return so prepared, as long as the audit trail is there (in other words, you use the software properly). I had a disagreement with an IRS moron (oops, I'm being redundant) over a Tax Code issue on a particular return prepared with Tax Cut. Most IRS employees have a very poor understanding of the Tax Code, and I called this idiot to task. I said Tax Cut was approved by the IRS and if he had an issue with its results then he'd better be prepared to prove his case very high up in the IRS. He backed down.

To save money on your taxes, follow the rules. Also, make the IRS follow the rules (they aren't use to this, so you must be persistent)/ Don't let the IRS intimidate you. An audit of them in the late 1990s showed that 96% of their notices to taxpayers were inaccurate. Imagine if you had gone through school getting a score of 4% on all of your tests. That is the competency level of the IRS. Take them on, and you are in the classic battle of wits with the unarmed. That isn't to say you can get away with cheating or fraud, because there are some competent folks in the IRS (their Web site is clear evidence of this). But by the same token, don't give in to the illusion that "the IRS" (some low-paid grunt with an axe to grind) knows the Tax Code and you don't.

The magic words? "Show me the law." Very, very few IRS folks on the frontlines have a clue. There is a 96% chance they are wrong. Make them prove their case.


6. Health tip

We've been hearing quite a bit about the wonderful properties of soy over the past couple of years. Ho, hum. To the health conscious, this was old news 20 years ago, except for the parts about soy sauce (salty wheat-based liquid with very little soy in it) and tofu (a soy waste product that has none of the vaunted properties of soy).

Soybeans are beans. As it so happens, they are exceptionally good beans. But, other beans also provide tremendous nutritional value. For example, black beans (delicious with just a dash of pepper) provide a wealth of nutrients including protein.

Many people avoid beans "because of the gas." If you cook beans thoroughly enough to break down the lignin, you reduce the gas from that source. And if you eat beans with rice (whole grain), you get a better protein profile--if you understand what the body does with unused proteins, you can see this reduces gas. You can also take Beano or GasX to reduce gas. Chewing thoroughly and eating slowly reduces the amount of air you swallow with the beans.

The most vociferous objection to beans is the "horrible fart smell." This smell is not from the beans. It's from the buildup of fermenting junk in your bowels. Go on a high-fiber bean diet, and in a few months you'll notice markedly milder odor--milder than that of folks who don't eat much fiber. At first, you may trigger a few 911 calls, but in a few months you'll get rid of the cancer-causing, disease-infested buildup you are likely carrying around with you. The average American male, at the age of 53, is carrying 6 pounds of undigested red meat in his bowels. Now you know why colon cancer and prostate cancer are so prevalent in American males in their 50s and 60s.

If you do have a horrendously bad odor, you have a problem that requires a dietary adjustment. Once your body adjusts to the increased fiber, your total gas output will return to about normal.

Here's an interesting trick. After eating a bean-heavy meal, eat popcorn popped in olive oil (no butter). Chew slowly and drink a couple of glasses of water. Last summer, my mom and I ate way too much of my 4-alarm chili. We then watched a movie we'd rented and scarfed down popcorn. No gas. Amazing, and it works. 


7. Fitness tip

Yesterday, I ran into a guy who complimented me on "still working out." He asked, "Don't you ever miss?"  I told him, "Not since 1977." (I actually started getting into fitness about about a decade before that, but 1977 started my "no miss" streak). He said he needs to work out, but went to Gold's Gym and the cost was a show-stopper. Most gyms cost more per year than it costs to set up a decent home weight gym.

You do not need a health club or gym membership to be fit. I've said this in other eNLs, so I won't rehash what I've already said. Other ways to get around the price barrier include doing yard work, gardening, hiking, and calisthenics. Jack LaLanne doesn't use weights, and you won't find someone more fit. However, weights are hard to beat. Weight machines are a waste of money. We are talking free weights, the only kind of resistance training that gives you "useful movement" training and true injury prevention.

To set up a home weight gym:

  • Set your price range. Think in $100 increments. More about this, in a moment.

  • Set aside a dedicated space for it. A basement corner, laundry room corner, special building you erect out back, etc. If you don't have the space because you are in an apartment, see if there is a space you can rent for this purpose or see if a friend has space the two of you can share--you can split the costs of the equipment (be sure to document who owns what, and keep the receipts). If you don't have the space because your home is too small, take a harsh look at how you do use your space.

Let's take a look at what you can do in various price ranges:

  • $0. Do floor exercises. You can learn these from a book in the library. Set up a schedule for each muscle group, and do these faithfully.

  • $100. Buy a dumbbell rack and some dumbbells, plus a floor mat. You need two each of 10, 15, 20, and 25 pounds. Buy more if you can, but don't buy smaller than 5 pounds. Buy individual dumbbells, not adjustable ones. You do not need a bench--these rarely showed up in gyms back when the big guys like Arnold were strutting around in Venice Beach, CA.

  • $200. Buy all the $100 stuff and get yourself a chinning bar. Buy more dumbbells, going up in five pound increments from 30.

  • $300. Buy an Olympic weight bench,  Olympic bar bell, and as many Olympic weights as you can.

  • $400. Buy all the $300 stuff and more weights.

  • $500. Buy the Olympic weight bench and weights, plus a dumbbell rack and dumbbells.

  • $600 and up. Buy the $500 stuff, but add more weights and a lat pulldown accessory for your Olympic bench.

Some don't dos"

  • Don't buy a leg extension accessory. This is an unnatural motion that will do little for you. Do squats twice a month with free weights, and your knees will be super strong. Assuming you do the squats correctly.

  • Don't buy a leg press accessory. Do squats, instead.

  • Don't buy a Universal machine. It does not provide the total conditioning of free weights, and is a waste of money if you want functional strength and injury prevention.

  • Don't buy a weight belt. Your body has its own weight belt, and you must work this to avoid spinal injury. World-record power lifters don't use weight belts. Why should you?

  • Don't buy weight-lifting gloves, unless you have a temporary condition these can help with. Work on your grip, if it's weak. The average American male has a 25-pound grip. Mine is 145 pounds in my right hand, and 135 in my left. So, most folks have ample room for improvement.

  • Don't overdo things. Think out your fitness plan ahead of time, rather than jumping into it. While you're thinking, go for a 30 minute walk each day. You can think about your fitness plan during the walk. Make your plan doable and enjoyable, and you'll stick with it. Mr. LaLanne has done so for 85 years.

  • Don't work out every day. Don't work the whole body in one workout. Work one muscle group per workout, and divide things up over 3, 4, or 5 sessions a week.


8. Personal Note

Readers have often asked how old I am. Folks who meet me usually underguess my age by 10 to 15 years. Folks who know me without having met me usually over-guess my age. Just so you know, I turn 42 tomorrow.


9. Thought for the Day

Those who most try to control others try least to control themselves.


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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