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Mindconnection eNL, 2005-05-24

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In this issue:

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

1. Product Highlights

Arabic Translator
This is a brand-new product, and an amazing one at that. This unit is not yet in full production, so there won't be any of these shipping until the middle of June. Why do I announce it now? So that you can get one ahead of the pack.

I realize most of our readers aren't desperately in need of speaking Arabic. But, many of you have friends or relatives serving in Iraq. As you are probably aware, our troops aren't exactly rolling in money. Sending one of these to a soldier is an excellent way to show you support our troops. I have a note about supporting our troops, below.

No longer offered, as of July, 2013
The English<->Arabic Talking Dictionary EA B-3 contains a great combination of language features, traveling resources, and organizing tools. Its bilingual interface accommodates both Arabic and English speakers. The extensive 490,000-word dictionary provides instant translation from English to Arabic, and from Arabic to English.

You get pronunciation in both languages. With its smart search and spellchecking functions, you can look up the words you want when you need them. Additional tools include a grammar guide, language-learning games and exercises, idioms, colloquial expressions, and a traveler’s phrasebook. The user’s dictionary allows for recording additional words.

You also get access to a practical organizer with an address book, a To Do list, a memo book, a scheduler, and a reminder. Plus, it has those essential traveler tools of metric and currency conversion, plus a calculator. The unit tells you local and world time.

The built-in MP3 music player is allows you to load in music through a PC connection.


Note about supporting our troops

Some folks oppose the war based on the false information, disinformation, and brainwashing they have subjected themselves to via television "news" and other sources of propaganda. If you oppose the war based on actual information, that's different.

If you are getting your "information" from radio, television, newspapers, or other brainwashing mechanisms, you are misinformed and disinformed. It's not that I have zero confidence in the media. I have every confidence in the media. But my confidence, based on their track record, is that they will consistently lie, distort, and obfuscate to support their own narrow-minded agenda based on their myopic, statist, ignorant, irrational, radically left-wing, delusional world view. The people who spew this crap are filtering all information through their own "decision has already been made" way of examining issues. With them, error is the rule and not the exception.

I have a neighbor who constantly berates me about the war, as though it's all my fault. I don't argue with him, because his mind is made up. I just let him rant, unopposed, as he spews misinformation and emotional arguments that have nothing to do with reality.

He's convinced that he knows what's going on and I am an ignorant sop he must educate. What I don't tell him is I get phone calls from people in Iraq--both military and civilian on a regular basis. I get e-mails from them, too. And, I hear from their families.

So, I am actually "plugged in" to what is going on. This makes me a bit of an expert on the war in Iraq and the situation in other places where our troops are deployed. My brainwashed buddy doesn't know that. At some point, after he's let out most of his bile and really painted himself into a corner, I will reveal this fact to him. My hope is that he will learn a lesson. Perhaps not, but it's worth a try.

What do I hear from these folks who are actually there? Exactly the opposite of what the "end the war" and "this war is too expensive" crowd are saying. My purpose here isn't to argue for or against the war. My purpose is to point out that the most vocal arguments against it are based on disinformation that those fighting the war disagree with.

I do not believe this war is being executed properly, but that's just my opinion. I did not graduate from the War College, and I don't think living in the same state as the War College campus gives me any special qualifications. It's fine to express an "I think" opinion, but to go on and on with the "if only they would put me in charge" attitude strikes me as a sign of advanced senility unless you have at least three stars on your collar.

The people sent into war--any war--deserve our support. This is why I do things like anonymously pay the tab for a uniformed service person eating at a restaurant I happen to be dining at (regardless of whether we are at war). And it's why I give these folks discounts on devices like the one pictured above. It's also why I am encouraging you to chip in and help these people out.

You may argue that you are already paying exorbitant taxes, and that's a valid argument. But you have to remember that most of our tax dollars get flushed down the federal "re-elect me" toilet operated by a Congress that still refuses to end criminal enterprises / terrorist groups like the American Taliban (that's their street name--their official abbreviation begins with the letter I and has three letters--the third of which is "S").

Our nation has always abused its soldiers and its veterans. The doughboys were treated worse than stray dogs shortly after the end of WWI, and the mentality behind that abuse has continued to this day. Yes, there is the VA medical system. But if you've gotten an inside view of that system you know it has some problems it should not have. GI benefits are great, too. But that system also has problems.

Thus, it's up to us to try to fill the void a bit. If you can afford to send a soldier one of these translators, great. If you cannot afford that, then don't spend the money--do something else thoughtful for someone whose kid you know is serving. Help in some way, as your circumstances permit.

Another way to help our troops: Honor them. My grocery store has a photo lab. And that lab now features a large posterboard with photos of local folks in uniform. The display is well-done, and quite impressive. Take some time to suggest to your local photo labs that they do the same thing. Believe me, when their loved ones write and say, "You're being honored with a photo at ABC store," it's very uplifting. Don't stop with photo labs--suggest this to other establishments you do business with. Heck, send me photos of your local service people and I'll post them on Mindconnection.

One last thing. A high school kid got a call on his cell phone from his mother, who is serving in Iraq. His teacher told him to hang up. He said, "It's my mom, calling from Iraq. I will not hang up." He was suspended. Such callous idiocy!

We must allow deviation from the rules when common sense and basic human decency merit such. If you have kids in school, ask them to keep you informed of such things. It's bad enough today's kids will grow up to endure heartless lunacy from agencies such as the terrorist group referred to earlier. Must we also subject them to it while they are in school?


2. Brainpower tip

Arguing with fools. We all do it, even though we know better. The conflict often leaves us feeling drained and unable to concentrate. How do we get dragged into this, and what can we do to prevent this waste of brainpower?

First, you have to understand that many people simply want to discuss their positions on a given topic and see what you think. They aren't arguing, even though the process may lead to a healthy debate.

But, there are also those people who are so desperate to be right, so in need of controlling others, or just so asinine that they feel obliged to "convert" everyone to their point of view. We have this problem on a statewide scale in Kansas, right now. Some of the "debates" going through our legislature make me wonder if there has been widespread organic brain damage.

You'll also find people who are normally easy to talk with, but they go into braindead mode on a particular topic and get very emotional about it.

The answer isn't to simply "write off" certain people as morons not to talk with. They aren't morons, until it comes to their hot button topic(s). Most likely, they have been brainwashed with disinformation and you have to allow for that.

These folks may have any of several goals:

  1. Show you they have "inside knowledge." If this is the case, acknowledge they have an interesting viewpoint, thank them for sharing, and change the subject. If they persist, tell them it's not a subject that interests you.
  2. They want to educate you, out of a delusion that their subject is important. This is often the case with people who want to argue about professional football, for example. I have zero interest in watching a bunch of semi-literate steroid users pat each other on the butt on national television, but different strokes for different folks. If you are confronted by someone who wants to argue in an area you have zero interest in, just say, "I'm sure that's an important topic to you and to many others. But, I have zero interest in it."
  3. They want you to validate their own feelings. This is the most common goal. People who have arrived at a position emotionally want you to make them feel good about their position. If you agree with them, they feel validated. But what if their position is unfounded, in conflict with yours, or simply ludicrous? The key here is to sidestep the agreement issue and go straight for satisfying their goal. That is, let them know you appreciate them as people and you are willing to hear their views on topic X--once.
  4. They actually do have good information, and they want you to benefit from it. You can mistake a person's lack of style for a lack of substance. So, approach each person as having valid viewpoints--but don't get dragged into an argument.

Of course, the world is full of morons. And, some people have an obvious agenda such as converting you to their religion, selling you some MLM garbage, or trying to get you to vote for a "better criminal working conditions" (gun ban) candidate. Most such folks will comply with a tactful request to cease and desist. If not, then you aren't being "out of line" to up the ante and make your position very clear.

You don't want to spend hours arguing over items of faith (which, by definition, are not based on fact), coming up with excuses not to buy $100 a bottle vitamins (or whatever), trying to refute the "argument" that leaving people more vulnerable to crime deters crime, or asking how any sane person can believe that improved working conditions for criminals should be mandated by the government. You are better off using your brainpower to improve your own conditions.

3. Time Tip

Many of the things that suck down our time creep up on us. Project managers talk about "scope creep," which is referring to the way projects seem to get bigger as they progress.

  • You borrow a movie from the library (or rent one), and then after several months you are watching 2 or 3 movies a week.
  • You subscribe to a magazine, then another, then another.
  • You join a non-profit organization (or trade group, professional society, or other affiliation), and volunteer for something. A year later, you are knee-deep in activities.
  • You start a small landscaping project in the spring, and by the end of summer you are spending 10 hrs a week on landscaping projects.

There's nothing wrong with doing any of these kinds of things, and you should not let fear of "getting snowballed" prevent you from engaging in life and doing these kinds of things. But, how do you prevent yourself from "getting snowballed?"

The key is to plan your time. If you allow, say, one hour per week for supporting your non-profit, you can put the brakes on when you exceed your time. Or, you allow, say, four hours per week for reading magazines. As the backlog stack builds, pick the magazine that has the least value to you and unsubscribe.

If you can apply this principle of planning X amount of time per Y type of activity, you won't have the problem of "scope creep." It's also good to step back once in a while and just evaluate where you are spending your time. Don't forget, you have only so much time in a day. Wherever you spend it, you can't spend it elsewhere. So, plan wisely.


4. Finance tip

The United States currently imports 53% of its oil. That number would drop to zero if everybody who has a car replaced it with a 4 cylinder Toyota Camry with manual transmission (or any other fuel-efficient car). In fact, that move would allow us to export oil.

But, it isn't likely that every American will want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. We will continue to see people driving vehicles that have absurdly low gas mileage, even though their circumstances don't require such a vehicle. Those people seem blithely unaware that, without their poor choice of vehicle (collectively), oil companies would not have racked up record profits recently. It's a matter of supply and demand.

Even if you are driving a fuel-efficient car, there's more you can do--for the oil problem (which is artificial and dependent upon poor choices) and for your own finances.

  1. Buy the right fuel. Buying a higher octane fuel doesn't make your car run better. A car needs a higher octane due to its compression ratio. Too low of an octane rating will cause predetonation. Too much octane causes fuel waste, causes plug fouling, and may damage your engine.
  2. Keep your tires inflated. Most people don't do this. Not only is your car less safe, but your tires wear out far faster. You can buy a small pump and a hand gage cheaply. Store these in your car. Check your tires at least once a month.--more, if you drive on bumpy roads or if the temperature drops (as it does in the fall).
  3. Have your tires balanced and rotated. Most folks don't do this, either. You greatly extend tire life, plus you improve the ride and handling of the car. This pays for itself in fuel savings, alone.
  4. Have your front end (and rear, depending on the car) aligned. This pays for itself in fuel savings alone, but also extends the life of every component of your suspension. It will also keep your transmission cooler, thus extending its life as well. Have you priced a transmission, lately?
  5. Use synthetic oil. This pays for itself in fuel savings, alone. Not only will you have better fuel efficiency, but you will have oil actually present during cold starts. Normal oil does not provide adequate cold weather lubrication, but synthetic does.
  6. Don't let your car idle. I used to build engines from scratch, and also take apart and rebuild engines. I could always tell if a person let the engine idle, because the build-up from this was quite evident. As was the scoring on the cylinder walls. There are compromises in a gasoline engine that allow it to have a broad power range. That is, it produces power over a broad range of RPM. At very low RPM, fuel drops out of suspension. Thus, your fuel economy drops, your oil becomes contaminated, and your engine is damaged. Plus, you simply waste fuel. Don't let anyone idle your car engine. Also, your car does not need to "warm up" in cold weather. Start the engine and give the accelerator a slight extra pressure (you want 2500 RPM) for maybe 15 seconds, if you are worried about a cold engine. Or, use synthetic oil and don't worry about it.
  7. Plan your routes. Driving around trying to find a place is an obvious waste of fuel. Use MapQuest or a similar service, and bring the directions with you.
  8. Plan your driving. Combine short trips, so you aren't repeating that first leg of the journey over and over. Use cruise control. Learn to anticipate stops--back off the gas a bit as you approach a traffic light, for example.
  9. Don't drive. I'm not saying ever--just when practical. Car pool, take public transportation, walk, or ride a bike.
  10. When renting, ask for the fuel efficient cars rather than "upgrading" to the gas hogs. This sends a clear message to the rental agencies, and will help spread the idea that, yes, you can drive a car that isn't a gas hog and you can enjoy doing so. If it's a Honda or Toyota, it's probably an efficient car. Civics, Corollas, and Camrys all get outstanding gas mileage, and they are comfortable cars. You do not have to rent a tin can.

5. Security tip

Most of us think of preventable death as arising from such behaviors as smoking and overeating. True, those are major causes. Deaths from tobacco use and obesity are our top killers. But another cause to consider is our behavior behind the wheel--both intentional and unintentional. If other people depend on you, addressing this will improve their security.

Each year in the USA, over 2.5 million people die or suffer serious injury each year. How many people do you know, personally? A few hundred? What if all of them were killed? Very few cities have populations larger than 2.5 million. What if everyone in your city were killed? You can see that 2.5 million people is a significant number.

I personally do not believe there is such a thing as a car "accident." A vehicular collision results from such things as tailgating, inattention, and a failure to periodically sharpen your driving skills. The facts contained in "accident" reports support this view.

So, what can you do? They say the best defense is a good offense, and many drivers apparently put this philosophy into practice behind the wheel. But on the road, defensive driving is what you want.

Ask your insurance company to recommend a defensive driving program in your area. Once you complete the program, you should get a significant discount on your premiums. If you don't get that discount, contact State Farm--they provide it (many others do, too).

Young people should take defensive driving courses because young people tend to under-assess risks and consequently drive in a more dangerous manner. The fatality statistics bear this out, as does the age-based premiums structure that insurance companies use.

But older people--especially those over 50 (or smokers and obese people over 30)--nearly always have  diminished vision, diminished hearing, diminished attention span, diminished reflexes, and other deterioration that makes them less safe behind the wheel. The deterioration happens slowly, so people don't notice it. Yes, there are exceptions to this pattern of deterioration--but don't automatically assume you are one of those rare people who is in better physical shape at your present age than you were 20 or 30 years ago.

Consider these warning signs:

  • Other drivers honk at you. This is an indication they see you as dazed and confused. Perhaps you are weaving a bit on the road, or you are slow to move at a green light. Sometimes, the honking means the other driver is an idiot. But, if you are encountering the honking frequently, you have a problem you need to look into. The cause may be medications, diet, sleep deprivation, stress, or whatever. But get this tended to. Before you take any medication, discuss its side-effects with a pharmacist. Don't just discuss it with your doctor and assume you got the full story--chances are remote that you would.
  • You find road signs hard to read. Maybe you squint or you complain about the placement. Yes, sometimes roadsigns aren't right. But if the problem occurs more than rarely, suspect you have a vision problem and get it checked (after, of course, you clean the inside and outside of your windshield!).
  • It seems that many other drivers must have their brights on. This is very unlikely. If you find yourself being blinded by headlights frequently, see the eye doctor. Of course, you should first clean the inside and outside of your windshield.
  • Other people insist on driving, when you offer to do so. When it seems that hardly anybody ever wants to ride twice in a car you are driving, take this as a serious sign. Observe how other people drive--that is, how close they are to other cars, how hard they brake, how much they weave in traffic, how smooth the ride feels, and so on--and then compare that to how you drive.
  • You find yourself chewing out other drivers. If you find the act of driving stressful, if you find yourself getting angry at others more often than not, if you are frequently pointing out errors other drivers are making, or if you arrive at your destination feeling compelled to tell someone about "this idiot who cut me off," you have a problem. Get an eye test, clean your windshield, leave a bit earlier so you aren't rushed, and get your eyes checked. Other drivers are probably not cutting you off--most likely, you just are not seeing them until very late in the maneuver.

What to do

  • Check your equipment. This means your eyes, windshield, headlights (alignment), brake lights, turn signals, and so on. Don't forget to check your exhaust to see if your engine is properly tuned. If your car is spewing stench going down the road, other drivers will be trying to pass you much more often that otherwise. Regular maintenance on you and your car is the key, here.
  • Place your car properly. Don't drive right on top of the car in front of you. Follow the 2-second distance rule. To do this, see where the car in front of you passes a road sign. Then, count the seconds until you pass it. If it takes you less than 2 seconds, you are too close. Where do you stop your car? Any time you stop behind another car, leave enough space so you can see where its rear tires touch the pavement. This allows you to maneuver out of a car jacking, prevents you from sucking in their exhaust, and allows a space cushion if you are hit from behind (you avoid the accordion effect). The Smith Driving System says to keep a "space bubble" around your car. This is the system most police departments use. If you can't picture this, make a note to enroll in a defensive driving course today.
  • Avoid distractions. Nearly every time you see someone seeming to be unaware that there are other drivers on the road (dallying at exit ramp, stop light, etc.), you'll find that person is gabbing away on a cell phone. There is nothing wrong with using a cell phone while driving. But, it must be secondary to driving and you must not use it during high-concentration situations. You can ask the other person to hold while you change lanes, catch the exit ramp, and so on. If you find this too complicated, then use the phone only when your car is parked.
  • Check your mirrors. This is a fundamental practice that most people don't practice! We all learn it in Driver's Education, but how quickly we forget. Adjust your mirrors properly (another thing many people fail to do)--essentially, you want your side mirrors to "fill in" the gaps left in your peripheral vision and you want your rearview mirror to show you what's directly behind you..Use your mirrors often. You should scan your mirrors every four or five seconds.
  • Visit and read the free articles about getting in shape. Like it or not,  driving is a physical endeavor. The better your physical conditioning, the less likely you are to have a collision (all other things being the same).
  • Of course, smoking is an insane thing to do in a car (or anywhere else). It fills your lungs with carbon monoxide, dulls your brain by poisoning its blood supply, slows your reflexes, and leaves a film on the inside of the windshield. Do not let anyone smoke in your car. There is no device on a cigarette that controls who gets to breathe the carbon monoxide or whose visibility will be reduced through a tar-coated windshield. Smoking is an equal opportunity disabler.


6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Many people are taking supplemental oils, with the idea that doing so will accord various benefits. These supplements include such things as fish oil and flax oil. But in taking these, you may be completely wasting your money or even causing harm. I'm not saying you should not take these--I am saying you need to do an assessment before rushing out and buying whatever seems like it has the most compelling label on the bottle.

The nutrient of primary concern to most folks is omega 3 fatty acid. Fatty acids are known by their omega numbers--thus, omega 3, omega 6, and so on. The number pertains to its molecular structure. If you saw molecular drawings of each of these mounted on a posterboard, you would be able to pick out which is which--rather easily.

Before you decide to supplement, you need to assess your present intake of the various oils through your regular diet. To do this accurately, you need to keep a food diary. But, most of us find doing that intolerable. Another method is for you to ballpark it, by looking at your refrigerator and pantry. If you are eating plenty of "beans and greens" plus various vegetables of various colors plus at least 4 free-range eggs per day, and don't eat refined grains--you do not have a shortage of omega 3 in your diet.

If your diet is heavy in refined grains or saturated fat (meat and dairy are the main sources), you probably have a heightened need for omega 3 supplementation. You need omega 3 and omega 6 to be within a certain range of ratios to each other. With a sensible diet, you will be within this range. With the typical diet, you will not be even close. The typical diet is full of refined grains and fats that are damaged (e.g., hydrogenated oil) or saturated.

If you have a typical diet, supplementing with anything is like putting a band-aid on a femoral artery wound. There's no supplementation plan that can give you a "get out of jail free" card if you are on a diet of highly processed foods--basically, the junk that fills 90% of the typical person's shopping cart. If you're drinking sodas, for example, you are wasting your money to supplement with calcium. Similarly, if you are eating bread made with hydrogenated oil (and most breads are made with this poison--have you checked your label?), you are wasting your money to supplement with omega 3 or any other oil.

These are just some considerations. The real expert on this is Dr. Udo Erasmus. Remember Udo's Oil? Same guy. If you want to understand oils, you can read the various articles and interviews of his. Or, you can just get his book: Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill: The Complete Guide to Fats, Oils, Cholesterol and Human Health. As the book costs far less than the amount of money the typically uninformed buyer of supplemental fats and oils spends in one purchase, it's a wise investment.

What about forms of oils? This is very simple. Capsules are compromised. They provide you with portability, so are the best you can do when you are traveling. But when you are not traveling, you want to buy your oils in bottled form and keep them refrigerated. Look for a bottle that is dark, not clear. Barlean's is a good brand. Bottled is cheaper than capsule form, too.

7. Thought for the Day

Is today just another day for you? Why? If there something you can do to make someone else feel special, do it. If you make this a daily practice, you won't have that "just another day" feeling. In fact, you will have an extraordinary life. If you're not already doing this, why not take a moment now to get started?


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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