- Product Highlights
- Brainpower tip
- Time tip
- Finance tip
- Security tip
- Health tip/Fitness tip
- Thought for the day
1. Product Highlights
The right phrase|
Ectaco has an amazingly useful, yet inexpensive product: The
PB-series traveler phrasebook.
If you click on the one pictured at right, you'll
be taken to the product page for the German version.
The Ectaco English-German Audio PhraseBook B-3 instantly
translates 14,000 travel-oriented phrases (organized by activity) and speaks the
translation aloud. Featuring natural pronunciation as recorded by native
speakers, it is easily understood by your listeners. And its powerful search
functions allow you to quickly find what you need, when you need it.|
2. Brainpower tip
Have you ever found yourself totally livid, due to sheer
frustration? If so, you are not alone. Common situations include:|
- Interacting with a gov't bureaucracy.
- Computer quirks that keep coming back.
- Interacting with a gov't bureaucracy.
- Traffic jams.
- Interacting with a gov't bureaucracy.
- Normal computer situations, such as the default fonts
that keep forcing you to change to something legible.
- Interacting with a gov't bureaucracy.
- Being put on hold, yet again.
- Interacting with a gov't bureaucracy.
- Not being able to find your keys.
- Interacting with a gov't bureaucracy.
And, of course, there's the sheer frustration of
dealing with government agencies. Did I mention that?
The natural response to frustration is this. Your cerebral cortex
(center of thought) basically sends out a "does not compute" error message
to the rest of the brain. This is especially true when dealing with a
The brain responds by kicking the problem down to the
2nd-lowest level of the five evolutionary levels of the brain.
That would be your "reptilian brain," which is where your brain retreats to
when there's a high emotional state such as stress, fear, or frustration.
This response dramatically reduces the amount of brainpower at your
disposal. Which helps explain the incompetence of gov't agencies.
Today, it seems most people go to that stage by
default. As a merchant, I receive huge amounts of communication from
customers. Some are very articulate, and I can easily help them with
whatever problem they are writing about. But most who have a problem
substitute threats and indignation for reasoning. Consequently, I really
can't help them because I don't understand what their problem is. About 80%
of the time, there really is no problem--the customer, however, is in
reptilian brain mode and perceives a problem.
Example 1: "I have not received my order. I'm going to
contact the BBB and anyone else I can. This is outrageous." And it will
continue on for a few more lines of ranting. Normally, this is in all lower
case with run-on sentences. This tells me the person is not in thinking
mode. This is the kind of letter I get when a person orders something after
close of business on Friday and doesn't receive it on Monday. There is no
problem, here--the factory will ship the order on Monday. This person simply
Example 2: "My order arrived today, and there's a
problem. This was supposed to have a spare rechargeable battery with it. But
the battery was missing. Is this on backorder, or was it just an oversight?"
This second person is thinking. Now, which person do
you suppose is going to get something additional from the merchant? Which
one do you think is going through life being more productive, happier, and
less stressed out?
When you let a situation upset you, then you let the
situation control you. It's better for you to control the situation.
Going back to the font problem. Personally, I have no
idea why there is any font other than Arial. I've read interviews
with font designers, who claim a font communicates certain things. My
opinion is any font other than Arial (size12) simply makes things hard to read.
The default font in most programs is Times New Roman 10. This font "stops"
the eye, assuming a person can actually make out letters rendered at that
size (most people over 40 cannot).
It's stupid to have this as the default. The problem
is you can't change the default the program uses--you can only change the
"template" default or some such. Now, a person has a choice of cussing out
the morons who insist on implementing a "change it every time" font or
simply recognizing that stupid people need a reason to live and accepting
this as a cost of living in our society. Getting mad every time your time is
needlessly wasted due to the stupidity of others simply wastes more of your
Many things are that way. Government agencies, which
(in all cases that I know of) serve no purpose, are ubiquitous. The U.S. Federal government is
the largest buyer of products and services in the world. It's also the
single largest expense for 98% of Americans, and a major source of
frustration, stress, and needless hassle. Some people spend their days frothing over
this. But, there's nothing we can do about it. It's better to just recognize
that some things are part of life and just worry about the things you can
The other option is to go around in a constant state
of agitation and consequently render your brain inoperable (due to the
effect noted earlier).
I know some people who are constantly agitated by the
obesity epidemic in the USA. Yes, it's an annoyance and an unnecessary
expense for the non-obese. But let's not get all worked up about the results
of the various consumer-targeted brainwashing campaigns.
One of the comments coming out of the recent
Soccer World Cup was that the Americans were recognizable from a
distance--due to their obesity. How embarrassed we should be--but as a
nation, we didn't even bat an eye on this one.
Americans (in general) eat more than twice as much food per meal as
Europeans. Cutting meals down to human-sized portions is not something the
typical American is willing to do. Similarly, we have an infestation of
gas-guzzling SUVs--which get less than half the mileage the typical European
car does. This waste in the face of rising fuel prices, oil supply
shortages, etc., is not the product of a fully-functioning brain--but one
that is operating at the reptilian level.
There is nothing we can do about this. Stupidity is
normal, now, because being upset is normal. Being upset puts your brain in
reptilian mode. Reptiles are not smart, and people who limit their brains to
"reptile only" mode are similarly not smart.
People are immensely (no pun intended) vulnerable to
brainwashing campaigns when they function in the reptilian mode. Let's face
facts, here--it simply is not intelligent to overeat your way into a state
of disease. If you are overeating, put your higher mental powers back in
charge (you can do this) and you'll see that waistline shrink as if by
How can you prevent this common malady of brain-neutralization
from afflicting you? The key is to ensure you have the right perspective.
Stay calm. Don't let the constant barrage of stupidity upset
you. Just consider the cost to be part of the admission price to society--where
you enjoy the
many benefits of membership. This will allow your own brain to function at level 5, rather
than level 2. If you work for a gov't agency, you may realize it's time to
quit and get a real job. But you'll be better off for it.
If you need inspiration or guidance, you can find all
sorts of books, tapes, and other materials in the self-help area of your
library. Or, put into effect the Prayer of Serenity." That is, change what
you can change and just accept the rest.
3. Time Tip
Put technology in its proper place, and use it
purposefully. Most people do one of two things with technology:|
- Limit themselves by not taking advantage of it,
- Waste huge amounts of time treating technology as
an end in itself, rather than as a means to greater productivity.
Let's address that second issue, first. No matter
what technology tool you have, take the time to learn how to use it
properly. Learn how to maintain it efficiently. Learn its limitations.
Don't spend more time playing with the tool than it can save you.
For example, the Internet can provide huge
time-savings in finding information. But merely browsing Websites can
suck down hours. Using a cell phone to make and receive calls can
greatly improve your productivity. But totaling out your car because you
were trying to make a call in heavy traffic isn't a productive use of
Take care, also, not to waste time with the
"extras" of any given technology tool. For example, games on your
computer and phone may be entertaining--but they can quickly take over
your "spare" time.
Let's move on to that first point: not taking
advantage of the technology available. Examples abound, and nearly all
of them derive from either ignorance or fear.
Trying putting this on a job application, and see
if you get hired: "I am ignorant and fearful." Here's another
experiment. The next time you go to a social gathering of any sort,
introduce yourself by saying, "Hi, there. I'm ignorant and fearful." The
point here is that neither ignorance nor fear are desirable qualities.
So, make a point of not succumbing to either one.
Computer example: Many people assemble tabular
data in Microsoft Word. That's a misuse of the software. This kind of
task, however, is ideal for Excel. But an ignorant or fearful person
might say, "But I don't know how to use Excel." Well, if you can use
Word then you can use Excel. Your problem is not Excel. Your problem is
you are making yourself ignorant. Get over it and move on. Save enormous
amounts of time by using the correct tool for the job is just the first
of many benefits you will realize.
Phone example: Most phone features are a complete
waste. But some are well-worth learning and using on a regular basis.
Take the time to read through your phone manual and find the tools that
can save you time. These go beyond simply auto-redial and other standard
Camera example: Everybody, it seems, has a digital
camera these days. But what good is the camera if your photos are poorly
composed, poorly focused, and so on? Take a photography course--these
don't cost much. Or
buy a book on photography. If you are allergic to reading, then
get a video on photography.
To properly use technology, then, follow these
- Assess what's out there. This is an ongoing
process. Look past the hyperbole and at the specific things a device
or software can do or that you can do better or faster with it.
- Note where a device or software might save
- Evaluate the product to see what it actually
does, and to get a feel for how and where you might use it.
- Assess your own processes, and think about
whether the purchase is worth the time saved.
- Assess your other tools you already have. You
want to avoid technology clutter. Can you adapt, upgrade, or replace
something you already have? Factor this into the purchase decision.
Too many gadgets, and you spawn a whole new set of problems.
- If the purchase makes sense, go through with
- Read the manual. Cover to cover.
Twice. Then, read it again.
- Practice what you learned from the manual.
4. Finance tip
Long-term Care Policies, Part Two|
Which type of policy should you buy? The
correct answer depends on how much you can afford to spend. Don't put
yourself in the poorhouse today to avoid going there tomorrow.
For most people, the best choice will be a lifetime
coverage policy that has a short elimination period. Depending on your
personal finances and where you live, such a policy may cost too much
for you to afford it. In that case, you'll have to go with a policy that
covers less, has a shorter coverage period, or has a longer elimination
period. Those are the trade-offs.
Be careful when shopping for policies that you don't
give in to any claims that there's some kind of magic going on that
makes a policy a super-great bargain. All of these insurance companies
are in business to make money. So, you are going to give up something to
get a lower premium. That means giving up on the amount of coverage, the
coverage period, or the elimination period.
Yes, some nuances do come into play. For example,
companies vary in how they count the days of care. What they tell you
pre-sale may be deceptive, intentionally or otherwise. They may count
any single day of care as a full week, whether there are seven of those
days or just one. Have two days of care in two adjacent weeks, and that
may count as two weeks of care rather than two days. Make them spell it
Some will tell you they count seven calendar
days as one week. If that's the case, then things are more
straightforward. But even that can be misleading. Again, make them spell
If you are using an insurance agent who represents
several different policy providers, raise the day counting question. The
agent should understand what you are after and be able to identify which
policies and plans are generally more of a value for a given premium.
If you live in a country that abuses its citizens
with an income tax, the payments for this coverage may be (in full or in
part) deductible. Ask your tax preparer about this, but don't get too
excited. The strings attached to such a deduction put it out of reach of
In the USA, there is such animosity toward the IRS
because of the high crimes and treason rampantly committed by its
employees that many Congressional leaders are advocating not only
abolishing the IRS but replacing the income tax with a national sales
tax. Yes, there is a possibility that the USA could become a country
that extends basic rights to its citizens. And it's not as remote a
possibility as many people think. See
The point here is that it isn't prudent to buy something based on
whether you'll get back some of the funds extracted from you by a
hostile and incompetent agency of your government. Buy the policy based on
the value per premium dollar paid and the coverage.
http://www.supplecity.com for free articles on taking care of your
body so it can, in turn, take care of you and your finances in the
5. Security tip
Many people believe they are "protected" by anti-virus
programs. This isn't true. Basically, that's because these programs
detect and destroy viruses only after you are already infected, unless
you run their "shields" as well. But those "shields" are so detrimental
to performance that they are worse than actually having a virus.|
Using these programs is like instituting a policy of
closing the barn door after the horse gets out. Their answer to
preventing the horse from getting out is to tie its legs together. I've
never read anything that recommends tying a horse's legs together before
riding the horse. Don't employ this same strategy when running your
So, how can you protect yourself? Basically,
follow "safe computing practices." Doing so will prevent viruses from
making their way onto your computer. You may still have a trojan or some
spyware, but these practices will vastly reduce the likelihood of those
as well. If you still want to run an anti-virus program to detect and
remove viruses, that's great. Just don't rely on it to "protect you."
Also consider buying a registry cleaner and anti-spyware to keep the
junk off your machine.
Here are some safe computing practices--things you
should do, at a minimum:
- Don't open suspicious attachments. An
attachment is suspicious if it comes from someone you don't know and
you're not expecting it. Big red flags include all lower case,
whacky "from" addresses, and files that are zipped.
- Don't click on suspicious hyperlinks.
Anything that promises you something for nothing is an obvious scam.
The big thing now is mortgages. Last month, it was some drug--the
name of which escapes me.
- Don't run "freebie" spyware. Why anyone would
think that Alexa or Google is doing you a favor with their silly
toolbars is beyond me. If you like lots of other people to track
your every move online and load crap on your machine without your
even knowing about it, just keep using this junk.
- Stay off the junk sites. I'm not anti-p*rn.
If you enjoy these kinds of sites, fine. But there is no free lunch.
If you pay for a membership, the last thing the Webmaster wants is
for you to blame that site for viruses, etc., and cancel your
membership. But on a freebie site, the odds are very high that
Webmaster is making money not from the free content offered to you
and not from the rare sign-ups--but from the spyware, stealth
downloads, pop-ups, pop-unders, and other junk being done to your
computer as "fair" exchange for the free content you are getting.
Note: this same thing applies to gambling sites.
- Get your updates. Contrary to what the
ill-informed say, Microsoft does not make products that are inferior
and designed with high risk of security breaches. Microsoft products
are ubiquitous. Programmers develop useful applications to run on
Microsoft operation systems and to work with Microsoft products.
That's wonderful for us users. But at the same time, the folks who
write nasty programs target this "larger market" with their malware.
Does this mean you should avoid MS programs? Well, if you believe
that staying off our roads because that's where traffic accidents
happen then I guess it does. Me? I like to live in the real world.
The key to safely using MS products is to use the Microsoft update
tool religiously. The updates plug security holes and MS does a
great job of making those available. At no charge. People who don't
update are 99% of the problem regarding malware. If everyone stayed
current, most malware writers would simply give up. "No victims"
means their efforts are for naught.
This single tip is probably the most important of all.
6. Health tip/Fitness tips
Recently, I've read several pieces written by
different researchers. These pieces were about the safety of aspartame.
I'm not going to argue from my position of relative ignorance that these
people are wrong in saying that aspartame is safe. I'm going to take
their findings at face value, but with some caveats:|
- First caveat. These people who've been testing
aspartame have found that a rat would need to
consume the equivalent of 1,000 soft drinks (or whatever quantity)
to get a dose of aspartame that causes any kind of measurable
problems. But what they haven't been testing is the effects of the
compounds aspartame breaks down into after the body acts upon the
aspartame. One of those compounds is methane. You may wonder why
teens--who seem to try anything--aren't shooting methane into their
veins and then telling others how great it is. Well, it isn't great.
The body gets rid of methane as fast as it can
because of its toxicity. I think we're all familiar with how the
body does this and the fact that the body recognizes this effluence
as "stinky." You probably know a person or two who emits
very large quantities of methane, and you don't find that socially
- Second caveat. These researchers all are on
the dole of some organization that benefits from the use of
aspartame. So, there is an inherent conflict of interest here. This
means your interests as a consumer take a lower priority over the
interests of those who provide the researchers with their jobs.
- Third caveat. Aspartame is not natural. The
body isn't designed for it. We have a long list of unnatural "food
substances" that have turned out to be highly toxic instead of "good
for you." I don't know of any unnatural "food substances" that are
not on this list. Some examples include margarine, hydrogenated oil,
various artificial colorings, and various artificial preservatives.
It is my layperson's opinion that any time you introduce an
artificial food into the diet, you are asking for trouble.
Jack LaLanne says, "If it's made by man, I don't eat it." I believe
following his example is prudent.
I want to explore that third caveat a bit more,
here. That's really the purpose of this article. First, let's establish
a timeline. If you are in the "mankind is only 5,000 years old" camp,
I'm going to ask you to suspend that notion for a bit so we can get a
proper understanding of what's going on.
We have records (in fossils, drawings, genetic
markers, etc.) showing how people lived 10,000+ years ago and what they
ate. For example, we can look at the bone ends of hunters from that era
and see advanced arthritis. From other facts, we piece together this
scenario. These folks expended about 6,000 calories a day on a hunt,
mostly due to traveling long distances by foot and dragging their prey
all the way back.
That level of calorie burn exceeds the "design specs" of the human body.
That high calorie expenditure requires a
loading that the body simply cannot endure. This is interesting, when
you consider that the typical American is now consuming almost that many
calories per day and then farting around with machines in gyms or
exercise videos under the delusion that they can "exercise off" the gorging
and excess calories.
Simply put, that strategy does not work.
As a climber, I can tell you from
personal experience that expending 10,000 calories in a day is possible
but is also nearly debilitating. You spend several days of low calorie
expenditure and lots of pain just recovering from that. I've done some
4,000 calorie climbing days, and those also are followed by extensive
rest. You simply cannot expend 6,000 calories day after day without
permanently damaging your bones and your soft tissues. But, I digress.
The point I wanted to make about those folks is
their diet consisted of mostly fruits, vegetables, and meat. Grain
was conspicuously absent. This makes you wonder what "they" were
thinking when "they" came out with the "Food Pyramid" that shows you
should eat primarily grain. Well, they weren't thinking. That's why the
Food Pyramid looks the way it does and why you should ignore it.
Agriculture began to emerge about 10,000 years
ago, and grains began to enter the human diet. This amount of time is a
blink of an eye, in terms of evolutionary adaptation. This means the
human body has not had time to switch over to a grain-dominated diet.
Take a look around you, the next time you are in
the supermarket. Look at the shopping cart contents, and then look at
the folks pushing those carts. You will notice that folks with high
amounts of grain are fat and folks with low amounts of grain are not.
The reason for this should be obvious to you by now.
Today--especially in the USA where the "Food
Pyramid" has been teaching generations to poison themselves--we have
epidemic levels of:
- Attention deficit
- Bowel diseases
- Cardiovascular disease
- Discipline deficit
- Government agencies (think about it--this
actually fits on this list)
- Reasoning deficit
Notice that not all of these are simply "physical"
problems. Several are "mental" problems. That's because the brain is a
physical organ. Mistreat it, and you get mental problems.
You might want to read
The Paleo Diet or
The Paleo Diet for Athletes. The author is Dr. Loren
Cordain, PhD, an evolutionary biologist at Colorado State University in
Fort Collins. That's not where I got this information from--it's just
another source for those who don't yet "get it" about excessive grain in
You can find other references to confirm Dr.
Cordian's conclusions. He's not the only one who believes that
eating what we're not adapted to eating is why we (society at large) has
all of these illnesses at such high levels.
What was that grain-free diet like, 500
generations or so ago? First of all, it was all unprocessed food. There
were no large vats set aside for the purpose of turning food into
nutrient-deficient mush and then adding toxic chemicals to it.
Consequently, the diet was rich in the nutrients that are missing from
today's typical diet--things like lean protein, fiber, antioxidants,
and, yes, omega 3 fats.
Those omega 3 fats came from foraged greens (not
grains), and you can easily get them today simply by eating greens. This
is especially true if you eat greens from the brassica family.
Here's a multiple choice question: What should you
put in your car's gas tank?
- Raw sewage
- Sugar water
- Dish soap
- Sun tan lotion
Gosh, that's a tough one. My layman's opinion is
that "E" is the correct answer. Why would I think such a thing? Well,
gosh, I don't know. I guess I'm just considering what kind of fuel the
car is designed to run on. Maybe that's a good consideration when
deciding what kind of fuel to put into your body. Do ya think maybe so?
If the FDA--which is not known for their
brilliance--came out with a "Fuel Pyramid" that showed dish soap as
being good for your car, would you change your choice? Don't do it for
your body, either. After all, the FDA is a government agency. Instead of
trusting people who are essentially banned from using their brains, apply basic reasoning and make the right choice.
It cost the soft drink industry $100 million a year
for thefts committed involving vending machines. But it costs the
consumers of soft drinks billions of dollars a year in preventable
Help U.S. Marines:
It has some great offers that are worth following
up on--such asgasoline offers. I especially like this one: Free special offer for people who are tired of
QualityHealth to get your free special offer and get the sleep you
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8. Thought for the Day
The admonition, "Wake up and smell the coffee" has multiple
meanings to those of us who know the health benefits of this aromatic bean.
Wishing you the best,
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