Bookmark and Share

Mindconnection eNL, 2005-06-08

Past issues

Please forward this eNL to a friend! Free bonus:$125 shopping spree.

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, 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 use.



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 question.

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 remember them.

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.

A former 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 find one 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 make money.

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 them:

  • 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 for free information.
  • 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.

And, 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 tips.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 you money.

    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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 place.
  5. 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 is).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 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, either!

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,

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.

To subscribe, change your e-mail address, offer your own tidbit, tell us how much you love this eNL, ask how to put us in your will <grin> or to (gasp) unsubscribe, write to This e-mail link

Let other potential readers know what you think of this e-zine, by rating it at the Cumuli Ezine Finder:

Articles | Book Reviews | Free eNL | Products

Contact Us | Home

This material, copyright Mindconnection. Don't make all of your communication electronic. Hug somebody!