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In this issue:
- Product Highlights
- Brainpower tip
- Time tip
- Finance tip
- Security tips
- Health tip/Fitness tip
- Thought for the day
1. Product Highlights
Arabic Translator, Part Two|
|In our previous eNL, I told you about
a new Arabic translator (pictured at top right)--the EA-B3. We now have
these in stock.
I also mentioned what a great
gift one of these would be for a person serving in uniform in the Middle
East. I neglected to say they are also great for contractors working in
the Middle East. I get phone calls from both groups, so my apologies for
overlooking the contractors.
Now, you have yet another option. We also carry a
new product called the EAF430TX. This, like the EA-B3, has voice in
English and in Arabic. It also has French voice (no, the phrase "I
surrender" is not in this unit).
Click on either picture, for details. These are both
powerful devices that fit in your pocket. And, they are pretty easy to
2. Brainpower tip
The other day, a customer sent me a very angry e-mail. He
was upset that a product he bought from us didn't, in his view, do what the
Website description said it would. While wading through his his typos and
misspellings, I got the impression he wasn't a person to note details.|
Further correspondence revealed he simply rushed through
the manual, rather than taking the time to read it. Everything he needed to
know was right there. He just need to take the time to read it.
Many years ago, I had a "blonde goddess" girlfriend who
seemed to fit the dumb blonde jokes. She wasn't one to catch on quickly (after
all, she dated me, didn't she?).
Yet, she was able to do many things that are beyond the
abilities of most people. For example, she restored antique cars--and the
results were stunning. But I was in awe of her when she went to college at
night--after the age of 30--and got straight "A"s while holding down a full-time
job. She wasn't taking any fluff courses--the failure rates were
around 20% for many of her courses.
How did she do this? I asked her that very
Her reply was she did everything the teacher asked her
to do. Every bit of homework, every bit of additional study, every bit of
suggested reading. She applied herself diligently, and did not take shortcuts.
She said she did have trouble understanding some
of the material. So, I asked her if she stopped the teacher to ask questions.
She said no. Instead, she wrote down every question that popped into her
mind--then looked up the answers herself. That way, she would be sure to
This devotion to mastering the
material allowed her to <surprise> master the material. She is a good example of using
discipline and determination to make your brainpower work for you and be far
more effective than it otherwise would be.
Laziness breeds stupidity, regardless of your natural
ability. People who approach a subject
haphazardly will have haphazard development in that subject area. People who
take a sloppy approach will get sloppy results.
But if you make a point of completely understanding a
subject, guess what?
3. Time Tip
How much time do you spend addressing problems?
Probably more than you care to.|
acquaintance of mine, coincidentally, was a blonde goddess.
Unlike the one mentioned earlier, this one wasn't very disciplined.
She was often late to work, due to car problems. But
the car she owned was a model that topped the J.D. Powers Quality Surveys.
So, it wasn't the car that was the problem. She didn't do the normal
maintenance on the vehicle. She had put nearly 50,000 miles on it without
even one change of oil and filter, for example.
When the engine finally
failed, her brother removed the valve cover and I looked inside. It wasn't
pretty. That engine contained more sludge than a Congressman's promises.
Her brother removed the engine guts, and we could not
part that was spared from being burnt, scored, or otherwise damaged.
She should have invested some time maintaining her car,
rather than having the engine freeze up on the Interstate while she was
rushing to make an important appointment.
Now the issue with problems isn't so much the total
time involved in maintenance vs. failure. It's really about the timing of
the failure. For example, it takes a great deal of time to service a
commercial jet. All those hundreds of hours of downtime constitute lost
revenue. Wouldn't it make sense to just fix a failure when it happens?
Well, not at 30,000 feet! And therein lies the defeat of every argument
for "saving time" by putting off important preventive activities. They say
time is money. Well, they also say you have to spend (invest) money to
Don't let the seeming inconvenience of necessary
maintenance put you in a position of disaster from a failure. Here are
some items you should review to see if you are investing enough time in
- Career. Why do people wait until they are laid
off before updating their skills and contributing to their professional
network? Do it now.
- Children. Parents who don't invest in their young
children deal with mind-boggling and heart-breaking problems as those
kids get older.
- Exercise. It's not about living longer. It's
about having mobility and less pain. If you don't have an exercise
program now, you'll spend time in pain and Depends, later. The quality
of your program is also important. See
- Friends. Why do you not hear from some people
until they are down on their luck? We're all very busy, and it's easy to
take your friends for granted. Don't.
- Home. Do the maintenance required on all the
systems in your home. Your HVAC filter, furnace maintenance, lawn,
trees, etc. Make a list.
- Neighbors. The people living around you can be
enormous assets to your personal security and quality of life. Invest
time in them, even if doing so is inconvenient--it really pays off.
- Parents. If you have living parents, do you make
time for them? After they're gone, it'll be too late.
- Yourself. What are you doing for
self-improvement? This isn't a process you can rush. Do a little bit
fairly often, and eventually you'll come a long way. Like Don B. (one of
our subscribers) has done.
4. Finance tip
|I have had a few
plumbing problems in my time. But, I've never had plumber problems.
I've never been gouged by my plumber. In fact, my plumber has talked me
out of some things I wanted done and given me less expensive options.|
my plumber has called on "slow days" about stopping by just to check things so I don't have
nasty surprises. These visits are free, and seldom result in work for the
plumber. It would not be a wild guess to say my plumber has saved me
several hundred dollars.
How am I saving so
much money with my plumber? And how can you save money, too? Here are some
- Ask for a referral from neighbors or a real
estate agent who has sold homes in your neighborhood. You want a plumber
who does a fair amount of work in your neighborhood. This gives you a
bit of a "group discount" and also can result in low-cost service calls
because the plumber is there anyhow. For example, many of my neighbors
and I use KB Complete. I called one day about a concern and said it
wasn't urgent. Chris, who sets up appointments, said a neighbor of mine
had a service call slated for later in the week. She said she'd have the
technician stop by if he had time left over. He did, and he did. His
visit cost me nothing, but it resulted in saving me money.
- Don't wait until you have a drain clog or a pipe
break before calling a plumber. Call a full-service firm (preferably one
that does plumbing and HVAC) and tell them you haven't had anyone look
at any of your home systems. You would like an inspection of your
furnace, water heater, and so on. They may find something that will save
My plumber, for example, knew my HVAC system was aging. When Trane ran a
big sale on heat pump systems during a very slow sales period, Chris
called and told me her boss wanted me to be available to talk with their
engineer. I had already been shopping for systems, casually, and knew
the prices. When the engineer quoted me the price on the high-efficiency
system that met my requirements, I told him that was a couple hundred
dollars too high. I had misunderstood. I didn't understand that was the
installed price! When all was said and done, I saved about $4,000
and saw my winter heating costs cut in half.
- Put off emergency repairs, if you can. Shut off
valves, or just don't use stuff. For example, if a sink clogs, use a
different sink. My kitchen drain clogged on a Saturday, and I called my
plumber's weekend number. But, I made an appointment for Monday--they
had an open slot. This reduced my repair costs by half, because I didn't
have to pay weekend rates.
- Combine things. If you have a leaky faucet and
don't want to change it yourself, don't call the plumber out just for
that. Make a list of things that should be done. Professionally clean
that kitchen drain after the holidays, replace those shutoff valves to
your washing machine with valves that twist 90 degrees instead of rotate
forever, check your furnace, and replace the faucet. Just be sure the
plumber does the most critical job (the faucet) first. You eliminate a
series of "mobilization costs" by eliminating multiple trips to your
- Schedule work for the off seasons. HVAC work is
very slow during the first part of the year, because people don't think
of their air conditioners until spring. Want a new system? Get it in the
winter. Ditto for remodeling work, such as new sinks and showers--do it
at non-peak times. Ask your plumber for the best time of year, unless your
project is truly urgent (be aware that your plumber might not want to
put off work you're willing to have done now--make it clear you are not
going to do the work until the off season and you want to know what that
- Don't buy your own parts. Some people think they
save money by getting their own parts at Home Depot. This isn't smart.
First of all, plumbers know the products better than their customers
typically do. Second, plumbers can nearly always beat the retail price. Talk
over the job with your plumber first, if you have a brand preference.
But also be sure you specify the level of maintainability you want. For
example, the typical homeowner can repair a Delta faucet but cannot
repair a Kohler one.
- Inspect intelligently. Inspect the work before
the plumber has packed up everything and is ready to head out the door.
In fact, ask the plumber to walk you through an inspection before
preparing to leave.
- Prepare the worksite. Nobody likes crawling under
a sink when that space is dirty. Vacuum it--and mop it, if you must.
Remove all dust. Clear things out of the way. Lay down paper or rugs for
a path from your door to the sink (or whatever) so the plumber isn't
worrying about dirty shoes on your carpet. Make your house as neat as possible.
Remove any clutter on counter surfaces. For example, don't leave razors
and mouthwash on the bathroom vanity if the plumber is going to work on
that sink. Put all that stuff (if you do keep it out, which I don't) in
a box and stow it in another room. I know one person whose house is one
continuous clutter collection. He's complained to me about how long the
plumber takes and how much the guy charges. I asked him if he might
possibly be contributing to that.
- Be polite. Your plumber is there to help you.
Welcome this person to your home. Practice good hospitality. People who
smoke in their homes when a plumber is trying to work often wonder why
it's hard to get him back. Similarly, don't eat in front of your plumber
as though that is somehow acceptable behavior. Offering to feed your
plumber doesn't justify it. If you were working on a toilet, would you
feel like snacking? Don't expect your plumber to play with your cat or
dog, listen to your music, or enjoy listening to your side of a phone
conversation. I know a lot of this is just common sense, but many people
simply forget to treat their plumbers like people--and then wonder why
the plumber isn't happy to see them.
- Leave the plumber alone. Your plumber is there to
do a job, and can't concentrate if you are yacking away at him or
"offering to help." And, your plumber doesn't need you to explain how to
do the work--you are paying your plumber to do it.
5. Security tip
|In our last issue,
we talked about defensive driving. But, where can you get the necessary
training for it?|
Every state offers
courses--typically, if you get a certain number of points on your license,
you will be required to take a defensive driving course. So, the programs
are there. They aren't very expensive, and they aren't very
time-consuming. But, they are very helpful. Taking one will usually result
in an insurance discount that pays for the cost of the course. Some states
even remove points from your driving record if you take such a course.
So, how do you find a course? Simple. Contact your
motor vehicle bureau.
You can also contact these folks:
- AARP. You can join their Driver Safety Program,
if you are old enough to qualify. See
They may have other courses available in your area. Look them up in your
local phone book and give them a call.
- The National Safety Council. They have a course
called "Defensive Driving Courses 8/6" and another called "Coaching the
Mature Driver." See http://www.nsc.org
for these and other offerings, including an online course. If you want
to call them, the number is (630-285-1121.
6. Health tip/Fitness tips
Now is a great time of year for the health-conscious
in the northern hemisphere. Fresh strawberries and many other delicious,
nutritious fruits and berries are in season.|
Many nutrient-dense vegetables, such as kale and
spinach, are now available in backyard gardens. And, tomatoes are now on
the vine in the central USA. We are talking about cancer-fighting,
bone-building, super nutrition that tastes great!
This is the season for eating fresh salads. And I
don't mean iceberg lettuce with a wedge of anemic hydroponic tomato,
slathered in hydrogenated oil and sugar. Be creative, and produce your
own culinary delights by simply gathering fresh produce and combining it
in a different way each day.
Make your own dressing with olive oil, a choice
vinegar, some basil, dill, and whatever other spices you care to. You
can buy a dressing cruet at Bed Bath & Beyond (in addition to other
stores, I'm sure). You will find your own dressing makes a huge
difference in taste, and your waistline will thank you. When it comes to
salad dressing, remember: Apply lightly, and you'll be lighter; apply
heavily, and you'll be heavier.
With such a bounty from nature so readily
available, why would anyone want to eat the relatively flavorless junk
that we all know is bad for us?
Make a note right now to ascertain what percentage
of the food you plan to have at your next meal is actually food. For
most Americans, the percentage is in the single digits (or less).
Consequently, America has a diabetes epidemic and forays into public
places are beginning to seem like whale watches. I expect at any moment
to hear "Thar she blows!" or people asking other people, "Say, weren't
you in that Free Willy movie?" (Forgive me for my Robin Williams moment,
if that offended you).
So, go beyond the two flavors most Americans eat
to the exclusion of all else--that is, sugar and damaged fat. Enjoy the
taste sensation you get from eating the many different colors of
wonderful foods that spring provides. And don't forget the summer crop,
7. Thought for the Day
With so many things wrong in the
world, it's easy to feel helpless. But, you can change the world around
you, and you can do that in small ways that add up. What small thing can
you do in the next five minutes? The next hour? The next day?
Wishing you the best,
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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