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Mindconnection eNL, 2005-08-21

Past issues

In this issue:

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

1. Product Highlights

Reduce Auto Insurance Rates
Rising fuel prices are not the only way money flies from your wallet if you drive a car. Have you looked at your auto insurance, lately?

We offer an inexpensive course on how to reduce your automobile insurance rates. Possibly in a huge way.


This course cuts through the crap and shows you what you need to know so you get the insurance you need and don't pay a dime more than you have to.

If you don't save more on your insurance than what you paid for this course, just ask for your money back.

The price of this course is probably less than your monthly savings will be--but you won't know until you try.

2. Brainpower tip

Learn from those who have done what you seek to do. So many times, we want to reinvent the wheel or believe some new "unconventional wisdom." Wisdom is often conventional because it's passed the test of time.

When other people have already "been there, done that," you can learn from their mistakes and their successes. This approach will save you a lot of grief, and it will allow you to put your brainpower to better use.

This doesn't mean to blindly accept the advice of whoever is most manipulative or persuasive, or whoever makes claims that "sound right." Yes, that's a common response--but I hope it's not your response. The best response is to look at what actually works.

For example, someone may tell you that he lost huge amounts of weight on a special diet. But if you look at professional athletes and others who enjoy physicality and are fit, you realize they aren't on special diets. Instead, they engage in sensible dietary practices. The person on the special diet? Wait a year and ask again.

Here's another point about this same example. The typical male climber has around 6% to 8% body fat, but has never been on the Atkins Diet or any other fad diet. The typical female climber has a beautiful figure, but doesn't "diet." Something to learn, there....

You can apply this same philosophy to just about any topic. Look at who is successful, observe what they are doing. Then, think about why they are successful and think about which experts they trust and follow.

This will get you further ahead than trusting some underachiever who claims to "know the real truth." The classic example is Howard "Gold Bug" Ruff. He published a newsletter for decades, always predicting the economy was about to collapse. Any day, now. He had all kinds of "facts," arguments, charts, and propaganda to support his claims--which never came true (and there are people quoting this same material today).

But he bilked thousands of folks who believed his claims that conventional economics was wrong, but he is right. The tone was, "You are lucky because the gold bug newsletter has the right information and will save you from doom. Here's where to send your money...."

Meanwhile, the "brainwashed" believers in "conventional economics" ran our Fortune 1000 companies and provided jobs for millions of people. Without asking them to send money.

Results speak rather loudly, I think.

All people had to do was ask, "But if these basic principles are wrong, then howcome people who follow them are providing millions of jobs and you aren't providing any?"

They didn't ask that question. And this is what I mean by looking at what successful people are doing.

3. Time Tip

In the "Spy Who Shagged Me" trilogy, one of the movies featured the comeback of Dr. Evil.

And this time he was prepared. He had gone through several stages of preparation, starting with his Plan A--which he referred to as "Preparation A." With each revised preparation, he kept going on through the alphabet.

He was in suspended animation during the 1960s, and came back in the late 1990s. Thus, he missed some cultural changes--which made for some references that Mike Meyers shamelessly and hilariously exploited in this series.

When Dr. Evil unveiled his latest preparation to his inner circle, he didn't know that Preparation H had another meaning. (Given what we taxpayers endure, Congress really should issue tubes of it along with our tax forms.)

While that parody was cute in its own right, it does illustrate the importance of preparing. Are we willing to revise our preparations as needed? Or do we repeat the same old mistakes, costing time repeatedly? Have you ever felt rushed during the same task or been late to the same place? If so, you may need to revise your preparation.

You've no doubt heard the axiom, "Preparation is everything." That axiom is a bit hyperbolic, but it underscores a fundamental concept of time management. And of success, in general.

Suppose you start work at 0700. You usually arrive at the office a couple of minutes before seven. About once a month, you arrive at the office one minute late. Every day, it seems like you are fighting traffic, pushing the speed limit, and constantly checking your clock as you sit behind yet another person who didn't rocket forward when the light changed. Sound familiar? If it doesn't sound familiar in this context, it probably does in some other. So, let's continue with this example.

If you just barely get to work on time, what's the cause? Here are some choices:

  • Those idiotic police were shooting radar again, slowing you down.
  • You didn't swear enough at the person in front of you in traffic.
  • You didn't mash the gas fast enough at the last light.
  • You didn't take enough unnecessary risks in traffic.
  • You weren't rude enough to other people while on your way to work.
  • You didn't cheat yourself out of a decent breakfast, cut enough corners on grooming, rush around like an idiot enough, set a bad enough example for your kids, or remind your spouse what an imposition s/he is.

Hmm. Do any of the above "strategies" actually work? No. So, why are these the things people tend to do? No answer for that, really, but here are some other strategies that will definitely improve your morning commute (assuming you have one, so we can go through this example--otherwise, apply them to a similar time crunch you have):

  • Don't act surprised that you have to go to work. This sounds obvious, but nearly everyone actually does treat this task as a surprise. Instead, establish a routine that makes the process easy. Recognize, and act on, the fact that you have a series of tasks to complete to get you from your bed to behind your desk (or wherever it is you work).
  • Plan your meals and wardrobe days ahead of time, so you don't have to even think about those things when you are getting ready to go. Keeping your clothes neatly organized is a big time saver--can you think of others?
  • Are you waking to an alarm? Stop doing that. If you have to wake to an alarm, this means you aren't getting enough sleep. You are wasting years of your career by underperforming every day. Save time by going to bed at about the same time every night, and allowing plenty of time for you to get a good night's sleep. Your body clock doesn't know weekends from weekdays, so don't pretend it does.
  • Plan for more than the minimum time in the morning. The "late night culture," while appearing sophisticated, is a holdover from adolescence. It's not an easily sustainable approach to life, and it promotes stress and failure. Farmers get this one right--they go to bed early and wake up early. They get an early start on life each day. Yes, the early bird gets the worm. The late bird gets something else--see the Preparation H notes, above. Let other people stay up late drinking, getting sleep deprived, getting misinformed by the "news" shows, and so on. What you need to do is be proactively in charge of your schedule. And the key to that is going to bed "early." It's not actually "early," but just looks that way to the undisciplined and short-sighted. Get your day off to a good start, not a stressful one. The morning is your friend, not your enemy.

If you think about what I've said here and act upon it, you will never again have the "Monday Blues." I look forward to Mondays, and so can you.


4. Finance tip

Automakers are now coming out with 7 and 8 speed automatic transmissions.
  • Upside: Increased fuel economy of 3% to 7%.
  • Downside: Increased weight, loss of passenger space, increased cost, increased complexity, increased maintenance.

In the brainpower notes above, we addressed the idea of learning from others. When it comes to automobiles, Americans simply do not do this.

Europeans have already been using a solution that trumps these new transmissions, and they have been doing so for decades. Why are we so slow on the uptake? I don't know, but we are also the only "civilized" country with a federal income tax and a massive bureaucracy (larger than our combined Army, Navy, and Air Force) of psychopathic nincompoops who pretend to oversee it (while, in actuality, using their positions to brazenly rob the government and individuals--see the GAO reports).

In the USA, only 20% of cars have manual transmissions. In Europe, where fuel prices have long been much higher than in the USA, only 20% of cars have automatic transmissions. Hmm.

Automatic transmissions are fuel-hoggers, and they are also costly to buy and maintain. Unless you have some medical reason to have one (not likely) or are just too stupid to figure out how to shift gears (also not likely), it usually makes sense to choose a manual transmission over an automatic. Here's why:

  • Upside: Increased fuel economy of 3% to 12%. Decreased weight, increased passenger space (possible), lower cost, lower complexity, zero maintenance.
  • Downside: Lower trade-in value. But you already got your money, and then some, upfront. Another downside is you can't use your right hand to run your cell-phone, laptop, curling iron, or other distractions while in city traffic--bummer.

If Americans had manual transmission cars in the same ratio as the Europeans do, our gasoline prices would be lower because demand would be lower relative to supply. With some 100 million cars averaging over 10,000 miles a year, even a 5% improvement in gas mileage would add up. Think how thrilled you'd be if someone handed you a check for the cumulative savings in gasoline--it'd be a huge check!

100 million times 10,000 times 5% times 20 MPG times the price of gas at your pump....

It seems we manual transmission drivers should get a rebate for doing our part to reduce fuel prices. In fact, we already do!

Now, here's another way of looking at this. Suppose you drive a manual transmission car, and do the following:

  • Every time you put ten gallons of gas in the tank, you pump most of a gallon onto the ground. That's about the fuel difference between an automatic and a manual.
  • Every year, you whip out $50 and simply burn it. That's the annual fluid and filter change for an automatic (we aren't even counting the time involved to have this done). Of course, most automatic transmission owners don't do this. So they simply pay more in fuel costs until they get hit with that $1200 repair bill when the unmaintained transmission locks up when they are on their way to an important meeting.

I'm not saying everyone who owns a car with an automatic transmission is a fool. I am saying that doing so is a costly proposition and you can save yourself quite a bit of money by choosing a manual transmission. Further, the sheer mass of people driving automatics tilts the supply vs. demand curve toward everyone's detriment.

There may be reasons why, in your case, driving an automatic is worth the extra cost. I'm not you, so I can't say. But I can tell you that most of the "reasons" people have are not the result of honest evaluation.

For example, "It's too hard." Well, today's (post 1980) manual transmissions are pretty easy to operate and most have some form of powered assist (similar to power steering). I have driven manual transmissions after a hard afternoon of climbing, so hard that I can barely close my hands anymore. I've driven them with broken fingers, a sprained wrist, and inflamed tendons. The physical effort required to shift gears simply isn't very much.

So rather than plop down an extra $2,500 for a new-fangled 8-speed transmission, spend $2,500 less to get even better performance from a manual transmission. Use the money for something you enjoy, or invest it for retirement.

The cliché about "reinventing the wheel" hits really close to home, here. Don't pay for that foolishness.

5. Security tip

This one applies to the typical suburban home owner.

When I was about 10 years old, I heard a tremendous "boom" late one afternoon. It shook our house. Shortly thereafter, we heard the fire trucks. My parents, being responsible citizens, told me to stay home and let the firemen do their jobs without having to contend with crowds of kids and other onlookers.

The next day, I got to see what it was. A few blocks away, where a house once stood, there was a pile of rubble and scorched cinder blocks. The original report was that a gas stove had caused the explosion.

As an aside, I think it's interesting that a gas stove somehow got so angry that it plotted and schemed until it came up with the idea of causing an explosion. Gas stoves don't cause explosions--people misusing gas stoves might, but that's let's not blame inanimate objects. The only exception, of course, is Congress. But scientists disagree as to whether Congressmen are truly inanimate, because they do vote themselves raises rather frequently. Further studies are underway.

These people had a gas clothes dryer, and they never cleaned the lint trap. This lint accumulated in the ductwork, and then ignited. Dryer lint is quite flammable (it's a great campfire starter, if you want to collect it for that purpose). When this lint ignited in the confined space of the exhaust duct, the result was a fireball and explosion that subsequently ignited the gas supply to the stove.

Two things, here:

  1. Don't have gas appliances.
  2. Clean your dryer lint trap.

Even if you don't have gas appliances, failing to maintain your dryer lint trap can prove deadly. Most often, the dryer duct work is inside a wall. So, you let the lint build up and what happens? You get a fire inside the wall, go to bed unaware of it, and never wake up. Some people consider this an even worse fate than a tax audit (they haven't been audited, yet, apparently), and it is rather gruesome.

This seems like such a simple thing. Just get in the habit of cleaning your lint trap before and after each load (this way, you won't forget). When that lint trap is clean, you'll be blowing unlinted air through the exhaust ducting and helping clear it.

When that lint trap is clogged, two things happen:

  1. You have insufficient pressure to clean the exhaust ducting.
  2. Your dryer is working extra hard, which raises your electric bill and prematurely wears out your dryer motor by overheating it (note that gas dryers also use electricity to run the motor and the controls).

Granted, this is not an urgent danger and we don't see homes blowing up every day from inattention to lint traps. But I have seen the results once and that's enough for me. See this issue's brainpower tip if you still wonder if you should make a habit of keeping that trap clean.


6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer afflicting men and women alike.

Modern medicine offers many ways to detect and treat colon cancer (none of them especially enjoyable), so mortality rates have been improving over recent years. But they are still dismal.

An older body of knowledge can slash your chances of getting colon cancer to near zero. This means a lot less pain and expense, etc. This older body of knowledge does what is impossible for modern medicine to do: it stops the cancer from even happening.

Here's what you need to do:

  • Eat plenty of dark green, leafy vegetables. Eat a variety of cabbages, kale, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

    These are all members of the "brassica" family, and there are more such members (such as leeks and eggplant). Get to know them, and make them the dominant part of your diet.

    Not just for the fiber (nature's broom), but also because of the calcium in these foods. There's a strong link between calcium deficiency and cancer in general. And let's not forget the other potent anti-cancer nutrients in these foods. Make them the bulk (no pun intended) of your diet, rather than making meat your central dish.
  • Do not eat hydrogenated oil. While blueberries contain potent anti-cancer compounds, hydrogenated oil is at the other end of the spectrum. It's a potent cancer causer.

    Most prepared foods contain this toxin. Read the labels, if you buy bread from the grocery store. You will be hard-pressed to find bread that doesn't contain this. Ditto for salad dressings, frozen entrees, soup mixes, and other prepared "foods."

    How selling hydrogenated oil as "food" can even be legal is a mystery. Dioxin is banned because it causes cancer. Four people died from lawn darts, so those are banned. But contaminating foods with hydrogenated oil is legal. It's also psychopathic and mean.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke. Breathing in this poison contaminates your blood with benzene and other powerful carcinogens. There's a massive network of blood vessels to your colon, and toxins from this smoke will lodge in the colon. Note that this applies to commercial tobacco, to which are added over 500 chemicals for various reasons. The Peyote Indians smoke pure tobacco, and have lower than average cancer rates. You basically have to grow your own to duplicate this.

    Ignore the "second hand smoke" arguments. There is no such thing as "second hand smoke." That's because cigarettes and other phallic objects used for tobacco inhalation do not contain any method of determining who is the smoker and who is simply an innocent bystander. Smoke is smoke, regardless of which person is breathing it.

    And if you think a smoker's lungs, already blackened from smoking, are capable of filtering out and "making safe" the smoke you breathe (while still giving the smoker cancer), then please contact me immediately. I have a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge for you and will sell it to you cheap.
  • Go easy on the meat. Small portions, only--about the size of your palm. This means eating half or less of the steak typically served in a restaurant. At the age of 63, men in America have an average of 6 pounds of undigested red meat fermenting in their bowels.
  • Don't eat smoked meats, "cured" meats, or lunch meats. These are loaded with powerful carcinogens. Bacon, which is mostly fat, falls into this category although technically it is not a meat.
  • Manage your body composition. For men, this means single digit body fat. The average 30 year old American male is at 30% body fat (well, that's what it was a few years ago). He's also at a high risk for a variety of cancers, because of this. And, he's got an excess of female hormones because of this. Be manly--be lean. If your abs aren't rippled, you are too fat. Period.

    Women are constituted differently from men, so the health consequences of body fat higher than single digit aren't there for them. There are biological reasons for this. Why does a woman look good when her body fat is two or three times that of a man? There are biological reasons for this, as well. For women, nature provides a guide and you don't need numbers. Forget the scale, forget the dress size. If you are active and eat right, your body will stay within the right body fat zone (that's also true for men, but we have numbers to go by). When you have good curves, feel energetic, and have a flat belly--you are probably there. Do note that poor posture can make you look like you have a fat belly, even if you don't.

    If this bullet point has left you a little lost, start reading the free articles at The point I'm trying to make here is you don't need to go through exceptional efforts to escape the cancer risks of too much fat. You really just need to watch your portion size and eat those vegetables.

    A note on portion size: If you eat in a European restaurant, you may be shocked at the "small" portions. In the USA, the portions for one person are often enough for an entire family. Adjust accordingly, and you will have solved 80% of the problem.
  • Practice good time management. This reduces stress, which is another cancer risk. Read the free articles.
  • Make physical fitness a priority, not an afterthought. The greater your general level of fitness, the more able your body is to destroy emerging cancer cells. This is much easier than many people think. And it doesn't mean going to the gym and pretending to exercise on machines. It means getting real exercise--challenging your muscles and expending some energy.

    The ballet is a cultural experience many people enjoy. I will never forget seeing Nureyev on his last tour. Have you ever seen a ballet dancer who looked out of shape? Of course not. I'm not saying you need to take up ballet. I am saying there are many ways to stay fit, and dance is among them. Find a physically challenging activity you enjoy, and do it. Often.

    My grandmother used to hike quite a bit. I have a photo of her in her 80s, and she's holding my mother. Off the ground. The average 65 year old American cannot lift a 10lb vacuum cleaner (source: NIH), but my grandmother in her 80s could lift my mother off the ground. And her main form of exercise was walking hilly paths (plus she ran a small farm for most of her life). She never visited a gym in her life. Gyms are good, too, if used properly--but not necessary.

7. Miscellany

  1. Please forward this eNL to a friend. Or an enemy, I don't really care. Just forward it!

  2. This issue's factoid: The earth is 3 million miles closer to the sun in July than it is in January.

  3. Check out these special offers:

8. Thought for the Day

Learning is more important than "being right." When confronted with information that challenges your world view, do you get defensive or do you try to honestly evaluate the facts? If the latter, keep doing that!


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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