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Mindconnection eNL, 2006-04-09

Past issues

In this issue:

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

1. Product Highlights

What's  a phrasebook?
We sell a huge number of language translation devices. Most of these have phrasebooks included or are phrasebooks, themselves.

So, what the heck is a phrasebook?

Phrasebooks provide very fast access to short bits of translated speech. Using "canned phrases improves speed, but reduces flexibility. However, you don't always need flexibility because there is no need to say "Where is the hotel?" in any different way. It's a standard question.

Phrasebooks provide speed by eliminating the need to type in a word or string of words. They limit flexibility because the device may not have the exact phrase you need. This is one reason the newer phrasebooks are so much larger than their predecessors.

Typically, a phrasebook:

  • Contains phrases that allow you to do something. For example, find a hotel.
  • Is arranged into categories. This means you think of the function you are trying to do, go to the general topic, and quickly find the phrase you need.
  • Requires only a minimal number of keyboard, touchscreen, or voice entries for you to find the relevant phrase.

2. Brainpower tip

Understand what people are really after. To do this, you often have to see past what they are saying. Most people just are not very direct or articulate.

When someone is angry with you, the cause might not be at all what you think.

Example 1

  • Wife: "Where would you like to go eat?"
  • Husband: "I don't care. You pick the place."

What she hears is, "I don't care about you enough to pay attention to where you like to go eat." She feels neglected. If this happens often enough, she feels rejected. Typically, the husband will try to micro-analyze what she's saying, without seeing the big picture.

Example 2

  • Child: "I hate you."
  • Parent: "You ungrateful snot!"

What the child is really doing: pre-emptive rejection. This is very common in relationships. It prevents any real communication. People then waste brainpower dealing with the fallout.

Now, don't try to psychoanalyze everyone. If I tell you, "I hate you," I don't mean any kind of pre-emptive rejection. I mean it literally. Most of us employ strategies somewhere between these two extremes, or we mix and match as the system dictates.

They key here is to have empathy. You can easily mistake what another person is thinking, so keep that in mind. Let's review those examples again:

Example 1, remixed

  • Wife: "Where would you like to go eat?"
  • Husband: "I'm partial to that new Chinese place. But didn't you say you liked the way they made your steak the last time we were at [name of steakhouse]? Or do you want to try someplace new?"

Example 2, remixed

  • Child: "I hate you."
  • Parent: "Who peed in your Cheerios? C'mere you little rug rat, and I'll arm-wrestle you for allowance."

The above remixes are just suggestions--I'm no authority on how to handle these kinds of situations. But that first remixed answer shows a more attentiveness than the original. It makes the other person feel cared about, IMO. The second remixed answer defuses the situation and redirects things. It's also more attentive.

I deal with customers all the time. Some are irate, and what they really need to establish is that they aren't being ripped off by some faceless company. If they deal with a person who listens, they don't feel ripped off at all (and, of course, they aren't). People get angry when they feel like they are being rejected.

How much brainpower do you waste wading in a cesspool of negative emotions? If you're at all normal, it's a huge amount. Head this off by taking care to assure people you don't reject them. There are hundreds of ways to do this. A thoughtful call, a question in that person's area of interest, and so on.

If you watch the "Bonus Features" on the Cellular movie DVD (starring Kim Bassinger, who dumped that idiot Alec Baldwin), you'll see a segment on how young people use cellular technology. The number of calls is staggering--these kids are always connected. They are constantly talking to someone,  text messaging, or Instant Messaging. But nearly all of this chatter is devoid of any substance. Many of these folks will give a blow by blow "I'm walking down Aisle 6, now" and really have nothing to say.

But, they are saying something. The message isn't in the proverbial bottle. It is the bottle. The very act of calling (or TM or IM) is a way of saying, "You matter to me."

If you can get that message across to the people who matter to you, and do that with some regularity, you'll find yourself free of the emotional whirlwinds that engulf so many people.

3. Time Tip

Over time, ocean-going vessels collect barnacles on their hulls. For this reason, ships are dry-docked for maintenance that includes scraping off the barnacles. Absent this maintenance, those barnacles slow the ship down. Its engines have to work harder to move it through the water.

Our schedules collect barnacles, too. If we don't dry-dock ourselves occasionally to scrape these off, we lose time throughout the day. So, stop occasionally to assess how you're spending your day. Look for those barnacles and scrape them off. The tricky thing about this is those barnacles are hard to see. You have to give them more than a casual glance if you want to see them at all.

Some schedule barnacle variations:

  • Small, unnecessary tasks. For example, how many times a day do you check e-mail? This can sneak up on you, just the way barnacles slowly accumulate.
  • Extended conversations. You can spot this one by looking for "filler," repetition, and other clues that the real conversation has petered out. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging it was great while it lasted and saying good bye.
  • Interruptions. There is too much emphasis today on "being connected" and sacrificing your focus time in a slavish response to cell phones, instant messaging, and other interruptions. By assuming a false mantle of importance this way, we actually make ourselves less important both by perception (not important enough to ever be unreachable) and in fact (low focus = less accomplishment).
  • Social interactions. Observe the goings on in any office, and you'll see a large amount of socializing. A little of this increases productivity and reduces stress. But most people allow too much of it to occupy their time. This is one reason telecommuting results in such startling jumps in productivity. That, too, is being reduced as people also telecommute their socializing (with, for example, personal e-mails).

4. Finance tip

The tax code does provide some ways to get tax-free income, without the risk of tax shelters or the complexity of "creative" investments. If you live in a country that is so barbaric it has an income tax (e.g., the USA), these tips apply to you. Based on the current insanity that is our federal income tax code....

You do not need a tax shelter to reduce your taxes, Part Five.

  • With a like-kind exchange, you can trade an appreciated property for a similar property and defer the tax on the gain until you sell the second property.
  • The Tax Code defines "similar." Of course, it does so vaguely enough to allow AT employees enough "wiggle room" to hang you. So, don't loosely interpret things in an effort to find a "tax loophole." All you will get for your efforts is a "tax noosehole."
  • The good news is you can keep rolling those properties over. But don't fall into the trap of trading up for tax reasons and ruining yourself. Remember, that was Congress' intent with this legislation. The idea is to encourage you to buy increasingly expensive properties, so that you eventually wind up broke and on public assistance. Members of Congress always benefit by creating more of their voter base (which is traditionally the very people they made poor). This is why inner cities vote as a Democratic block--it's a classic "take five away and give three back" situation and folks mysteriously overlook the five. It will be interesting to see how the huge spending by the "fiscally conservative" Republicans creates even more devastation.

As with all financial transactions, don't do things for the tax motivation. Do them for the business motivation, and then avail yourself of the tax breaks. That is your first line of defense in staying out of tax trouble.

Remember, the AT can void the statute of limitations on the flimsiest of grounds, and assess you whatever interest and penalties they feel will most painfully destroy you. Following statute or Congressional intent is not in their game plan. In their sick, twisted minds, they get a thrill out of inflicting massive damage on other people. Don't give them an excuse to do it to you. Once the "Borg" locks onto you, getting rid of them is almost impossible.

In our next issue, we'll present more ways you can reduce your taxes without shelters or other dubious means.

5. Security tip

Have you ever received a form for paying a subscription or donating to a charity? And isn't it great that they include an envelope? And they even accept credit cards?

Take a look at that envelope. Odds are it's not a security envelope. Which means whatever credit card number you write down is now public information. Ditto for the routing and account numbers on an enclosed check.

When sending sensitive information through the US Mail, use a security envelope.


6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Scams That Sound Good

Many health scams sound good because of the way they are pitched, but in reality they exist to part you from your money. In some cases, they do real harm.

An example is the "detoxification" scam. The idea behind this is your body is filled with toxins, but if you use magic potion #99 (or whatever it is), you remove these toxins. Unfortunately:

  • Most of what the promoters describe as "toxins" are meant to be there, are harmless, and/or are helpful. These shysters have a "solution" for a problem that doesn't exist.
  • The basic concept is flawed. Your body already has ways of handling toxins. What your body can't handle isn't likely to be removed by eating, drinking, or anally inserting some brew (noxious or otherwise).
  • The "colon cleansing" potions can make you very, very sick. They upset the fauna and flora. Your body can typically recover from these insults to your colon before you have symptoms, but why even go there?

Any time you hear words like "detoxification," beware. That's nearly always some whacky "treatment." Any benefit is nearly always due to a placebo effect. Sometimes, it just feels good. Foot baths and massages feel good, and they can relax you. That alone has medicinal benefits. But there is no mechanism in the actual treatment--other than releasing "feel good" hormones, it's medically ineffective.

Many colon cleansing "treatments" for "detoxification" can actually make you quite sick. Putting coffee up your butt ranks up there with putting gerbils in your butt, as far as I am concerned. It's just weird. There's an entire branch of "medicine" devoted to enemas. I know, because I used to work with a guy who talked about enemas all the time. One day, another coworkers got tired of his enema monologues and said, "For someone who does so many enemas, you sure are full of sh--." Quit an accurate observation. We already have the AT inserting things up our butts (metaphorically, for most of us)--isn't that enough?

Sea salt is another thing that's supposed to have magical powers. It doesn't.

The magnet thing is just hilarious. So is the copper bracelet thing. I don't know why people fall for this stuff. I suppose if someone came out and said wearing a brick around your neck would "correct energy imbalances," we'd see a bunch of people in California start a brick-wearing fad. Tell people they can lose weight doing this, rather than just doing the simple thing of eating less--and it'll be a national obsession.

The pseudoscience behind these "treatments" can make for a compelling case, if you are willing to suspend the laws of physics and ignore a vast body of science. You also have to believe that things happen in a vacuum. For example, the fact we are bathed in energy from many sources should tell you the "energy work" nonsense is, well, nonsense. Yes, there is anecdotal evidence it works--but there is also anecdotal evidence that government works. Or that space aliens are making long trips to earth just to sneak around inserting anal probes into humans.

It's quite easy to draw cause and effect where there isn't one. Many things happen by coincidence. For example, you start some whacky "cure" and you get better. Was the "cure" responsible? If you think so, then do this. Every time someone in your family gets a cold or fever, send me $100 a day. I promise to cure you.

Chiropractors are especially vulnerable to believing in whacky things like "energy work" and various herbal potions. That's because their area of expertise is outside the normal bounds of our allopathic (allopathetic!) medical system. Chiropractors and acupuncturists work wonders, and so they are naturally inclined to accept "alternative medicine." But not all "alternative medicine" has medical value. Much of it is hocus pocus. Learn to discriminate between actual practices. Go past the "sound bite mentality" of treating all "alternative medicine" as the same. It's not the same. Nor are all herbal treatments, nutritional supplements, etc, equally valid.

People who waste their time and money on these far-out "cures" would be much happier, healthier, and wealthier, if they would just eat right, exercise right, and get the proper amount of sleep. Those are the things I like to write about, because those are the things that work.

Special thanks to reader Ray for bringing this whole topic to my attention.


7. Miscellany

  1. Sit down today and write your Congressman a letter demanding that Congress abolish the American Taliban (Infernal Rotten Scoundrels). We spend billions fighting a war on terrorism overseas, but lack the will to abolish terrorism within our own borders. And we all know there is no organization more terrifying than the AT.

  2. We don't run ads in our newsletter. We do get inquiries from advertisers, all the time. To keep this eNL coming, go to and do your shopping from there (as appropriate).

  3. Please forward this eNL to others.

  4. See: It has some great offers that are worth following up on. I especially like this one: Free special offer for people who aretired of not sleeping. Visit QualityHealth to get your free special offer and get the sleep you need.


8. Thought for the Day

Sometimes, it's not what you say but how you say it that conveys the message. The next time you feel misunderstood, think about your delivery. Form often trumps substance.


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!).

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