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Mindconnection eNL, 2004-02-01

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In this issue:

  1. Product Highlights
  2. Brainpower tip
  3. Time tip
  1. Finance tip
  2. Security tips
  3. Health tip/Fitness tip
  4. Thought for the day

1. Product Highlights

Getting ready for summer
Take a look at the images at right. I use these items, myself. This last summer, I was at 5.5% body fat--yep, you can definitely see the abs that way. I'm at 7.5% right now, so it won't take much for me to be ready to bare the belly when warm weather arrives (at least in this hemisphere--our Aussie and Kiwi readers will want to "bulk up" a bit).

But, what about you? Do you need more time to get ready? The images at right are what's in our FatLoss Pack. Save money, lose fat. Click on the images for a great value.



OK, I admit it. I am one of those folks who prints out eNLs and reads them in hardcopy. Thus, I know other people do that as well. Here's a URL for you paper folks:

Hey, and don't forget. If you are traveling outside the country you will definitely want one of our electronic language translators!


2. Brainpower tip

OK, I stole this next tip--let that be an object lesson in expanding your brain power. I got this from one of our readers, who is coaching me on dealing with a government agency. Dealing with these people isn't easy for someone of my background, so it takes me much extra effort. Here's what I'm learning.

Dealing with government robots.

Suppose you have a problem with one of our government agencies. You look at the situation, and it's quite clear what needs to happen. So, you spend considerable energy to get in front of a decision-maker. And you make your logical case. It's airtight. What happens? The robot on the other side of the desk won't budge.

Not in the programming. Got to follow the script.

Let's say you get a parking ticket. But, you were out of town that week. You tell Mr. Brown the Bureaucrat this, and he says he's not moved. Your record shows you got the ticket. You'll have to go to court to contest it. "But I was out of town!"


You get a brain boost and go back. You hand Mr. Brown a photocopy of your plane ticket, your hotel receipt, and your airport parking receipt. You also hand him a printout of a court case you found online dealing with this same incident.

Mr. Brown now has no choice but to dismiss the parking ticket. You've covered his backside on this one, too--because he has new marching orders and doesn't have to rely on any judgment. He can't go wrong. Can't get in trouble. Can't be over-ruled.

Not only is Mr. Brown personally incapable of making judgments, he is barred from doing so. He has to follow procedure. Judgments are the job of judges. Not of people who process parking violations.

The parking ticket example is a small one. You can run into mindless bureaucracy with the INS, EPA, IRS, and a host of other agencies. Do not attempt to reason with these people. That will only frustrate you and irritate them. What you need to do instead is walk them through the law and give them no choice. Think of them as the idiots their jobs force them to be. Do not assume they will think, because they won't.

Here are the steps:

  1. Get them to define their position concisely. If they can't do this, then define it concisely for them in writing and ask them if they agree to it. Repeat this until you pin them down.
  2. Explain the facts in as little detail as possible. Do not use logic, do not discuss all the issues. Address only the core "killer issue" that destroys their position.
  3. Supply them with case law that backs up your position. Copy the whole decision and supply that to them. You can find case law online or at your local law library. Ask for help if you do not know how to use these resources.
  4. End with a call to action. Something like, "Please correct my records per the case law referred to in this letter and supplied to you and notify me of the completion of this correction within 30 days of the date of this letter."

3. Time tip

Have you ever had to deal with someone over a dispute and after "taking all day" felt you got nowhere? That's a common problem.

What you have to do is focus on the core issue. Just interrupt and say, "Look, we both want to resolve this dispute. The only real issue here is X. Until we resolve that, I'm not going to talk about anything else. It would be pointless to do so."

When you feel something is dragging on and getting nowhere, that is happening because nobody has really defined the terms of the debate. So, define them. And then hold the other party to those terms.


4. Finance tip

Avoid false economics. An example of false economics is coupon-clipping. On the surface, it sounds like a way to save money. For most people, the opposite occurs. What is the purpose of coupons, anyhow? To save you money or induce you to buy? Common sense, here.

Now, let's look at what's going on with coupons:

  • Most of the "food" items that coupons apply to are junk food. Eating this garbage raises your healthcare costs dramatically. You save zero by buying this stuff with coupons. You would even be behind financially if someone paid you to eat it. By the way, you could not pay me enough to eat what most people put in their shopping carts. Small wonder our hospitals are overloaded.
  • How much time does it take to find, clip, store, sort, and manage your coupons? What if you used that time to earn money? Or what if you used that time to do for yourself what you pay someone else to do? Suppose you save $6 a week with grocery coupons, but pay a neighbor kid $15 a week to mow your lawn. Hmm. In addition to losing money, you are losing exercise. And unless you are making that kid wear safety glasses and earplugs, you are also risking an enormous liability suit.
  • If you buy a $4 item because of a 25 cent coupon, you have not saved 25 cents. You have spent $3.75 more than what you otherwise would have spent. If it's a grocery item, you'll take it home and eat it. Maybe you'll then pay even more money for sneakers so you can go run off the extra weight! If it's not a grocery item, you'll probably throw it in your closet and forget about it.

Bottom line: Be careful with the coupons. They can save you some money, but they are designed to make you spend money. Keep that in mind and control your own spending decisions.

5. Security tip

Do you shred your documents? If so, good. Trash theft is all the rage these days, and thieves do "dumpster diving" to find out all kinds of things about people. And steal their identities. It used to be that only people in the IRS would steal your personal information and use it for personal gain. But now, you have additional criminals to worry about. Thus, you must shred your documents.

Are you using a one-pass shredder or a cross-cut? If you are using the cross-cut, you have reasonably secure document protection. Don't forget to shred those credit card checks that come in the mail.

If you are using the cheaper one-pass, here are some tips to make it more secure:

  • Shred against the rows of information. If a paper is oriented in landscape mode, you would need to shred it that way. Normally, papers are in portrait orientation and the normal "long end in" feed is correct. But many financial documents--of all things!--are in landscape mode.
  • Empty your shredder a bit at a time. Take a mix of all document scraps in there, and put a few in each trash bag going out. That way, it's very hard for anyone to assemble a complete document.
  • To improve on the previous step, use several buckets of water with detergent added. The purpose isn't to soak out the ink, but to make the paper pulpy. If you then throw it away, it's really hard to work with if someone wants to recompose documents. Make their job even tougher by putting that paper through your clothes washing machine and then your dryer. You've seen what happens to facial tissues, business cards, and checks.
  • If you want to be less of a good citizen, you can also flush these scraps down the toilet. But, beware that they may survive for quite some time and such scraps have been recovered even after being flushed.
  • If you have pet waste going out (cat litter, bird cage paper, etc.), you can also mix shreds with that. Makes sorting less bearable.
  • You can also consider keeping a scrap container near where you keep your car keys. Then, take a few scraps with you as you go out on errands. Those scraps will mix with garbage at the library, grocery store, restaurant, wherever. Unless someone is following you about and looking for those scraps, you'll be safe. I personally would not rely on this method--you never know who's behind you.
  • You can also mail scraps (of different documents mixed) to junk mail senders in the post-paid envelopes they send you. This spreads your shredded documents across a wide geographic area. I personally like this method, because it kills two birds with one stone. Use it in combination with other methods, for best results.


6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Fish is not the miracle food people have been claiming it is. And now, we are finding that the fish being eaten these days is loaded with toxic compounds ranging from heavy metals to exotic chemicals.

Man has managed to overfish the oceans--severely. For example, we have reduced shark populations by over 90%. We don't know what that will do to the ecosystem, but evidence is mounting that it's causing massive damage by allowing some species to get out of control. And I don't mean just lawyers. The reefs all around the world are dying.

Be that as it may, the world will go on long after man is gone. But, what about your own health? Why is fish so loaded with toxic stuff? We have "fished out" the traditional species and are now catching the less desirable ones--fish that live and eat in places where those toxins accumulate. Wild fish are a problem, but "farm raised" are even worse. In addition to having even more toxins (from land runoff), these fish have lower levels of Omega 3 fatty acids than their wild counterparts--regardless of the species. Some studies have shown these fish are even more toxic than lawyers, but further study is needed. :)

By the way, if you eat shrimp--stop. The Mississippi River is loaded with all kinds of junk. If you look at a map of the lower Mississippi, or just visit Baton Rouge and take a trip along the river all the way to New Orleans, you will see that river is home to hundreds of chemical factories. The amount of lead, aluminum, and mercury in the water is outrageous. And shrimp are bottom-dwelling creatures. Your body has no way to dispose of excess metals--which is why men are not supposed to take iron supplements. You can draw your own conclusions about eating shrimp.

7. Thought for the Day

Today, I was talking with a man who has had a lot of problems with women. He always ends up saying something was wrong with the previous girlfriend.

But when I was talking to him about a topic he brought up, he abruptly changed the subject and began talking about something else. He interrupted me to do this. I said, "Wait a second. I was talking to you. And then you thought of something else you wanted to tell me and just blurted it out while I was responding to a topic you brought up. This is your problem with the women. It's not that there's something wrong with them--we all have something wrong with us. It's that you treat them like props in your personal psychodrama. Stop treating people that way, and you'll have better relationships."

Yes, I was blunt. I have my reasons for being so with this particular person. But, my point is this. Think about how you make others feel. Do you make them feel like a stage prop, or like someone who has value? This doesn't mean you always have to agree with others, or even always be nice to them. If you think about it, you'll know what it means. It's probably something we all need to work on, at least to some extent.


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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