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Mindconnection eNL, 2007-02-18

Past issues

In this issue:

  1. Product Highlights
  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

Get good bars
Bars are generally the worst thing a person can eat. Most of these are just junk food dressed up in a "high protein" label. Then, there's Optimum Nutrition.  
Bars, by their nature, are not the best source of protein. The protein has to be hydrolyzed (not hydrogenated--that's something different) so it won't spoil. But when you're in a time pinch or are traveling, these bars are much better than what you can usually find available. I carry bars when I travel.

One problem with bars is they taste bland. So, many bar makers add various forms of sugar to improve the taste. But that defeats the whole idea of having a "nutrition bar" to begin with. Optimum Nutrition doesn't do this.

The Optimum Nutrition bars aren't as tasty as others you'll find (because they don't have the sugar), but they taste OK. The important thing is they are actually nutritious and don't contain the sugar and other garbage most bars have.

Click on the picture and try the chocolate ones. I think you'll be glad you did. Don't throw away the results of your hard training by eating candy bars when something like this is available.

2. Brainpower tip

People seem to be getting increasingly inarticulate. Try this experiment. Look through the next e-mail you receive and pick out five or six fairly long sentences. Analyze each one (one at a time) and see how many different meanings you can get out of each one.

Now, look at each sentence in relation to the whole. Did you notice a pattern? Generally, we are required to guess what other people mean. Clues to the right answer include the context and our own biases.

How much better things would be if we would all communicate clearly. Taking the time to say what you mean avoids the hard work of clearing things up later. It's the smart approach to communication. Invest a little extra brain power up front, and you reduce the brain power drain later.

3. Time Tip

4. Finance tip

In our last issue, we looked at how you save money by investing in quality clothing. Continuing with this theme of not "saving money at great cost," this week we apply it to home renovations.

Some years ago, I needed my roof replaced after a hailstorm. So, I visited a roofing supply center (where roofing contractors go for supplies), looked at what was available, and asked questions. I did some other research, and then decided on what materials would be in my new roof's design.

Having had a marvelous customer experience with the company that had replaced my windows, doors, and siding, I contacted them about doing the roof. I knew they used not just qualified workers but skilled craftsmen who worked to high standards. For example, they left my yard pristine--no wood chips, scrap, nails, etc.--at the end of each day. I had also tested their window installations with a thermal gun and found no leaks around the windows though such leaks are typical.

They gave me a quote, which I then submitted to my insurance company. The insurance company balked at the roof design, saying it was too expensive. I explained that this design would prevent further claims because it would not suffer hail damage. After months of haggling, I got them to agree to this.

The next hurdle was the labor cost. The insurance company said they had to use prevailing rates. Since mine was now among the last homes to seek payment for repair, they had an average price based on actual work completed. They said they could go a couple hundred dollars above that average, and that was it.

The problem was that other homes in the area had been repaired by illegal Mexicans working for cash and doing lousy work. These folks didn't use the OSHA-required safety gear, didn't clean up their messes, and didn't fasten the shingles properly. On this last item, I was able to show that the nails had been driven in off the strip and thus the shingles were not seated properly. This was on dozens of homes. Those homes all have roof leaks now, and the owners have either had the roofs redone or the roof boards are rotting.

Eventually, I got the insurance company to accept logic and deal in fact rather than fantasy. I got my roof repaired at the lowest cost of ownership by paying a premium to get the job done right.

This story illustrates the importance of paying the price for good labor, rather than hiring the cheapest contractor. If you get your facts right and are persistent, you can even get an insurance company to pay the correct amount.

5. Security tip

Most people know to install deadbolt locks on the doors of their homes. This is a basic security step. What many people fail to do is assess the strength of the doorjamb. This is an easily exploitable oversight, because an intruder can easily knock a deadbolt right through a weak jamb.

Typically, the bolt slides about an inch into a 2x4 that's been chiseled out to accommodate it. You're left with a thin piece of wood against which that bolt can be forced.

What you need to do is reinforce the jamb. One way is to make it thicker with an additional board, but this is not an option for most people. Another way is to add a brass plate made especially for this purpose. You can find these at a hardware store.

If you're not particularly handy or if you would like to just upgrade the entire lock from standard (and not so good) to a high-quality installation, contact a local locksmith about assessing your door and making the necessary upgrades. For most people, that should include replacing the builder-grade door with something that can actually keep somebody from breaking in.

6. Health tip/Fitness tips

7. Miscellany

  1. I mentioned CONgress in our last eNL. Here's something else to do with "con" An Indian discovered that nobody can create a computer file folder named "con". Even Microsoft can't say why this happens. Try it on your own computer. You can't create a folder by this name. Not only can you not create one, you can't even rename an existing one to "con." The letter case doesn't matter, either.
  2. See: Special Offers (expired link now removed). It has some great offers that are worth following up on.

  3. 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). In addition to our own products, we do have an Amazon box on the home page and your using it would be helpful!

  4. Please forward this eNL to others.


8. Thought for the Day

Even the best tool will produce poor results, if it's the wrong tool for the job.


Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola


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