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Past issues

Mindconnection eNL, 2007-05-20


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 Highlight

Learn by Immersion and Master a Language
No habla Espanol? Ne parlez-vous Francais? Sprechen kein Duetch? Non parlo Italiano? In today's global world, Americans are increasingly in need of communicating with people who don't speak English.

While there's no help when this problem arises with doctors, lawyers, and members of Congress, there is help when it arises with people who speak Spanish, French, German, or Italian.

If you haven't learned one of these languages yet but are still finding yourself groping for the right words or phrases when dealing with these non-English speakers, why are you in that situation?

For most of us, the problem harkens back to high school. We remember those endless drills that often left us feeling lost and, at the end of the semester, left us with hardly any new language skill to show for it. So when faced with the prospect of taking a language course, we tend to grimace and say no.

It doesn't have to be that way. While you're learning, you can translate Spanish immediately ane electronic device.

Click here to see the electronic translators.

(Page edited in 2009 to remove outdated information and broken links).

2. Brainpower tip

How's your BS detector? If you haven't tuned it up for awhile, now might be a good time to do that. After all, we have a Presidential election next year. Well, OK. It's a pseudo-election with only one party (Demopublicans), and will predictably result in the same pattern of overtax, overspend, and over-regulate we've always had. But that's fodder for a whole different article.

This article is about BS. What many people don't realize is that BS is potent enough to neutralize the highest of IQs. We're going to look at how it does that and how you can avoid being neutralized, yourself.

See the pattern

The following joke illustrates the downward spiral that is common when bullsh-- is being spread:

Some old cattlemen were bragging about some of the long cattle drives they had been involved in during their lives. Each tale bettered the others until finally came the best of them all.

One old timer bragged, "Well, I took part in a drive that took 400 head right from Texas to London, England!"

There was a brief silence before one of the others asked, "How did you get across the Atlantic?"

Quick as lightning came the reply, "We didn't go that way!"

When someone first starts spreading bullsh--, the original assertion may seem plausible. Then comes a challenge and more bullsh-- to defend the assertion. This continues, as that person has to pile it higher and deeper to defend the original misconception. Eventually, this reaches a farcical level and all hope is lost.

This pattern of piling it higher and deeper to defend an incorrect position is a behavior pattern that behavioral scientists call "justification." A good book to read on this topic is Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts.

A sign that someone is engaging in justification (and thereby conceding to being wrong) is that person becomes argumentative when confronted with facts that don't fit his/her assertion. That is, s/he keeps arguing (lamely) once the assertion is proven wrong. When someone's goal is to  "be right" no matter how wrong the assertion is, this behavior emerges.

It's ironic that this behavior merely proves the point in an attempt not to. That point being, of course, that the original assertion is wrong. You may have heard the expression, "You are really reaching." It's in reference to this behavior. If the assertion were valid, the person supporting it would not need to resort to fuzzy logic, invalid data, irrelevant facts, irrelevant arguments, or other desperate "proof."

People who know their assertion was wrong but fear admitting that will keep piling on the bullsh-- in an attempt to "be right" by being even more wrong than before. They often try to shift the discussion so that they can claim "victory" on a side issue and parlay that into "being right" about the original issue.

For them, it's not about respecting the other person or the truth. It's all about finding some way to "win" the losing argument they started. The more they do this, the more convinced they make themselves that they are "right." Now that they have so much psychologically invested in the string of bullsh--, they feel obliged to spew more of the same and dig themselves in even deeper.

Why they do it

The idea of cutting their losses and emerging with an enhanced intellect doesn't even occur to them. The idea that they actually win by being intellectually honest doesn't occur them.

What drives them is fear. They are afraid of "being wrong," as though life will end if they have to admit they aren't all-knowing and can't make mistakes. This unrealistic worldview is a self-imposed set of mental handcuffs.

They would rather be wrong than simply acknowledge that nobody expects them to know everything or be right all the time. This attitude prevents any real discussion on the issue this person is pushing. And it prevents that person from understanding what is really going on.

To paraphrase a line that is circulating at this time, "Feeling right doesn't make you right." Actually, it tends to make you wrong, due to the effects of the justification process. If you let those effects gain momentum, you will be wrong more often that you will be right. On any issue.

Sorting it out

Suppose you are about to walk out into a road. The act itself is not stupid. If you notice cars coming in both directions, what should you do?

You would probably agree that the smart thing to do is step back, and, based on new information, decide the course you were on was wrong. But what if "being wrong" is unthinkable to you? Will you insist on pushing forward even though doing so makes no sense?

A person who insists on "being right" refuses to accept new information that doesn't support the original assertion. We can see the stupidity of this behavior when it's physical, as in stepping out into traffic. But it is so hard to see it when stepping out intellectually. That's why it's easy to push forward and get flattened.

Most people just aren't very good at sorting fact from fiction. So, don't feel bad if you mistakenly see a bit of fiction as fact. This happens all the time. It doesn't make you a lesser person when you do this. It does make you a lesser person if you refuse to change course, and then compound the original error by insisting it's correct in the face of overwhelming evidence it's not.

Self-examination rarely leads to the emergence of truth on this issue, because if you're in this position truth is not your goal--being right is. And so it's nigh impossible for you to do a correct evaluation. Some people go to a therapist to work this out. Most people just pat themselves on the back and stay in this alternate world they've created. I suggest reading on the subject and comparing what you say and do throughout the day to what you're learning.

Here are some books I recommend.

If you really want to make rapid progress in this area, this book would be the best one to start with: Self-Deception by Herbert Fingarette (Paperback - Jan 15, 2000).

Wisely choose your information sources

To avoid being programmed with disinformation, avoid disinformation sources such as newspapers and television. These sources rarely get their facts right, and are more concerned with making the news rather than reporting it.

Good sources of information include the following:

  • Professional and trade publications. If you want to know something in a particular area, look at what the people who live in that sphere are reading. They rely on these publications to do their jobs, and are quick to correct editorial errors.
  • Authoritative articles. Look for the author's credentials. Why is this person qualified to write this article?
  • Authoritative books. Again, look at the author's credentials. But also look at the backnotes, footnotes, bibliography, and so forth to see if this author is drawing on established research or just making things up.


Another source of information is the Internet. Unfortunately, too many people forget the axiom, "You can't believe everything you read." So when they encounter some Website that bolsters the wrong view they are so desperate to support, they automatically toss aside all tools of information filtering and give that site a credence it does not deserve.

For too many people, the Web has become a forum for legitimizing bullsh--. People who believe what they want to believe are empowering bullsh-- artists to spread their nonsense online.

Conspiracy theory Websites abound, as do sites selling concoctions of dubious value for weight loss and whatever else people are seeking a quick fix for. Fortunately, these sites nearly always bear telltale marks of bearing false information. Look for these red flags:

  • Spelling errors. Why: People who read quality works naturally learn spelling by osmosis. People who read garbage or read very little in the way of real literature don't "pick up" how words are spelled. Thus, an abundance of spelling errors is evidence of mental malnutrition. Can you really expect a person who fails to grasp the proper spelling of common words to somehow grasp more complex matters?
  • Punctuation errors. Why: Partially for the same reason as the previous point. The most common punctuation error is the misplaced comma. An example is misusing the comma to indicate where a person "should pause when speaking." This is akin to using an automobile tire as a dinner plate--that's not what a comma does. It's ridiculous to think that someone who hasn't yet been able to figure out how to use a comma can self-study into expertise superior to that of people who have spent their entire lives training and working in a given discipline.
  • Grammatical errors. Why: Partially for the same reason as the previous point. But also, learning grammar requires learning the logic of our language. People who can't write in a grammatically correct way also unable to correctly understand what they read, because the meaning is carried out in the syntax and other grammatical manifestations. Of course, they don't know this. They frequently read what's not there, because they lack the grammatical logic skills to understand what the author meant. Where grammatical errors are rife, don't bother reading further.
  • Double spaces. Why: If you look at any book or magazine since the US Civil War (and back even further than that), you will notice that there is only one space between sentences. This has been the typographical standard since before any of our grandparents were born, and a person who hasn't noticed this either isn't very observant or hasn't read much that's of any substance. How much credibility should such a person have?
  • Amateur site construction. Why: People whose arguments lack substance try to make up for it in other ways. We all know people who shout, rather than persuade, to get their way. The same thing happens on many sites that have little or no substance. They'll use a dazzling array of colors, underlines, exclamation points, large fonts, and other distractions under the assumption this will make up for the lack of substance in their arguments, their lack of facts, how much they have stretched the truth, or the false information they have introduced.
  • Wrong colors. Why: Light text on a dark background is the opposite of what well-read people are accustomed to. Low contrast between colors is common on disinformation sites, also. If someone can't understand this simple idea of legibility, what does that say about that person's ability to digest a complex issue?
  • Large blocks of uninterrupted text. Why: People who read much in the way of authoritative materials simply do not write this way. It is foreign to their experience. This kind of cluttered expression also shows a cluttered process of information assessment and analysis. It's basically shouting, "I am ignorant!"
  • Long, run-on sentences: Why: This is an example of poor composition. This shows that the author doesn't have the ability to properly formulate and assemble ideas. When you see this, you know this person also cannot analyze information (same skill set required).
  • Style inconsistencies. Why: This shows the author either doesn't notice details or doesn't care about them. And as we know, the devil is in the details.
  • Lack of authoritative references. Why: What are you getting? Probably just the opinion of someone who hasn't reviewed the literature. This isn't always the case. The author, for example, may be a recognized expert in the field being discussed.
  • Uncredentialed author claiming to be a subject matter expert. Why: If the author doesn't have any training, certifications, degrees, significant experience, etc, relevant to the subject, do you really want to believe this person rather than the people who do have those creds? A classic counterpoint to this is to argue that Galileo or some other historic figure was considered wrong by the "experts," so creds don't matter. That argument ignores the fact that the circumstances were entirely different, and apples to oranges comparisons are without merit. Don't fall for the "I'm no expert, which makes me more expert than the experts" argument. When a person makes this logic-defying argument, s/he is a mere BS artist.
  • Irrelevant claims of expertise. Why: After being confronted enough times with the fact that they don't have any expertise in their area of bullsh--, the practiced bulls-- artist will inflate a few claims about his/her intelligence, irrelevant training, and irrelevant experience. Don't buy it. When this occurs, you know you have a desperate liar on your hands. Note: One of the most common examples would be the diet books authored by medical doctors. Medical doctors get about zero training in nutrition. I have yet to see an MD-authored nutrition book that isn't full of BS. If one exists, it's not because the doctor learned anything relevant in medical school. Similarly, I haven't seen such a book authored by an auto mechanic. Either person may be stellar in his/her field.
  • One-sided view. Why: When all of the "evidence" and "arguments" seem to justify a given viewpoint, beware. Any whacko can close his/her eyes to all facts that don't support his/her view and accept only those that do. In the case of conspiracy sites, that is exactly what is going on. This is how whackos try to show how smart or knowledgeable they are, and they believe their own weak, fact-defying arguments. What they are showing to the astute, informed observer is merely that they are bullheaded and mired in bullsh--.
  • Fuzzy photos. Why: Isn't it amazing how the UFO photos and other "startling evidence" are never in focus? How are you supposed to draw reliable conclusions from something that is so open to interpretation? Why is it so impossible to get a clear photo?
  • Fuzzy logic. Why: This is rampant among the bullsh-- artists. They frequently posit cause and effect relationships that don't exist, A-B arguments that don't necessarily follow, and "subset applied to set" arguments that violate the basic rules of reasoning. This is how they assemble their fantasy world. Unfortunately, a surface reading of their claims can seem believable to people who have out of tune BS detectors.
  • Fuzzy facts. Why: The authors of these sites take an old trick from print hucksterism. They cherry pick the data they want to support whatever view they're espousing. Try this experiment. Flip a coin 20 times, and note every time it comes up heads. Does ignoring the times it comes up tails prove that it's a two-headed coin?
I'd like to polish off this article by discussing one of the most staggeringly transparent examples of absurdity and bullsh-- floating around today. That would be the WTC "official story isn't true" line of bullsh--. The red flags mentioned earlier abound on the sites that peddle it. A central theme is that "the fires weren't hot enough to melt steel and therefore the planes weren't the cause of the collapse." Let's briefly debunk that grossly incorrect conclusion, which is based on an irrelevant statement.

I didn't need a BS detector personally for this one, because I saw the second event in real time. If you look closely enough at the wall erected at the edge of ground zero, you will see my name written there. A minor point, but still....

This WTC conspiracy theory is a classic case of delusion, fact-shifting, and bullsh--. A person with good fact assessment abilities would not fall prey to this.

At right is one photo of a WTC impact. Notice the height of that fireball as it emerges. What is that, 20 stories? Think of how large that is in all three dimensions and how much heat there must be.

The conspiracy sites tell you the melting point of steel and then go into a bizarre analysis of conditions during the WTC fires (getting many facts wrong in the process).

What they overlook is that this whole line of bullsh-- is irrelevant. It is not necessary to melt steel to reduce its strength or cause a steel structure to fail. You learn this in Mechanical Physics 101. Oh, and that's another thing--these folks demonstrate a profound ignorance of physics yet claim "the official story defies the laws of physics."

They also ignore the fact that rivets aren't melted during construction. They are merely heated. Anyone who has worked in steel construction, or even merely observed it, would know this. So this line of bullsh-- is another way these people demonstrate they are ignorant about the very subject they are expounding upon.

Forensic expertise

These conspiracy folks conveniently ignore the fact that the engineering forensics were conducted not by "the government" but by private individuals from the relevant fields. These are people who did the hard work of:

  • Getting an advanced degree in their field (e.g., by graduating from an advanced engineering program)
  • Studying for and passing a Professional Engineer License exam (very difficult to pass)
  • Maintaining their P.E. through continued education
  • Spending their career engaged in applying their expertise to projects in their field of expertise.
  • Actually designing and building the kinds of complex multimillion dollar structures being discussed, or the components of same.
  • Conducting ongoing activity related to upgrades, retrofits, and other technical activities related to these buildings.
  • Working as a volunteer in the technical standards committees, which involves reaching consensus so those standards can be written or updated, then sent out for comment by others in the industry before being finalized and approved.

Yet, we are supposed to believe that a person who hasn't done any of this--who has little or no training or experience in those fields--has expertise superior to that of a person who has spent a lifetime learning and doing in those fields. We can either accept that line of "thinking" (or lack thereof), or notice that our bullsh-- detectors are ringing off the hook.

The government did it?

What strikes me as particularly hilarious is these folks claim the same government that has honed incompetence to a fine art somehow managed to pull off secretly hiding bombs inside the WTC and timing the detonations to coincide with the attacks on that September morning while also paying $900 for toilet seats.

Yeah, and they placed those bombs at exactly the height where the planes entered, thus explaining how those massive fireballs were created by bombs planted by our own people rather than by jets laden with high octane jet fuel hitting the buildings at 300 MPH+.

This is a government that is so mired in incompetence that it is 180 times as large as it was a century ago for a nation whose population has less than tripled in that time. Meanwhile in the private sector, one person now does a job that it took 10 or 20 people to do a century ago. Yet, we're supposed to believe that these same morons who can't get a job done right while using 20 times the necessary manpower somehow had the competence to blow up two towers without leaving a trace.

Here's a brief history of incompetence. First, there was government. Then, there was more government. End of story.

How hot?

Back to the steel thing. Just how hot does it need to be before steel fails? Not very. A case in point is the recent highway connector collapse on the Oakland Expressway. A gasoline tanker lost 8,000 gallons of fuel on a highway connector in Oakland, CA and the structure subsequently collapsed. You can read about it here:

Yet, we are supposed to believe that the WTC towers, which were never designed to support vehicular traffic, did not collapse due to being doused with far more fuel--enough to produce 20 story fireballs--after being hit by an enormously heavy jet traveling at over 300 MPH.

We are further supposed to believe that the steel girders of those towers should have been able to support several tons of aircraft while their rivets were heated well beyond the temperature needed to install those rivets.

It amazes me is that people can keep a straight face while peddling this particularly inane line of bullsh--. However, the self-delusion is just a natural result from the kinds of behaviors discussed in the Mistakes Were Made book referenced above. When people decide that defending their incorrectness is more important than having their eyes open to the obvious, this is the kind of thing you get. Nevermind the proverbial elephant in the living room.

The classic response to people who aren't deluded and refuse to take the trip into fantasy land is to pile on even more bullsh--. When that fails, the deluded resort to vitriol and ad hominem attacks. Rather than admit they started off on the wrong path, they will continue blundering forever down it, descending deeper and deeper into the cesspool of bullsh-- until they can't see the light of day.

We all take the wrong path at times. No shame there. Just make sure you keep your eyes open and that you don't let BS neutralize your brain.

3. Time Tip

4. Finance tip

Do you clip coupons to save money? If so, this practice is probably costing you money. Yes, you may see several dollars taken off your total at checkout, but don't fall into the trap of interpreting this to mean you actually saved money. Most people lose money with coupons.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Coupons are designed to entice you to buy something you normally would not buy. You aren't saving money by getting 30 cents off a $5 purchase you would not have otherwise made.
  • I have yet to see a food item coupon that isn't for junk food. Assuming you care about your health, healthcare costs, and the suffering caused by disease, such coupons are no bargain.
  • The companies that started the coupon method of promotion are stuck in it. This includes cereal companies (which make sugary, hydrogenated oil products so don't pity them) and many others. As we all know, money does not grow on trees (well, OK, Congress doesn't know this). This means that the cost of those coupons must be covered by corresponding price increases.

    Consequently, there is an artificial cost added to the cost of each product. The actual cost of a 30 cent coupon is probably a couple of dollars when all is said and done. If coupons were eliminated, costs would drop far more than the face value of the coupons. This means if you participate in the coupon game, you are helping jack up everyone's prices including your own. This is a classic "prisoner's dilemma" situation. Do you make the ethical choice, or do you go for the choice that benefits you only a little bit?

Now, there is a caveat here. One type of coupon is worth using. That would be a general promotion coupon issued by the merchant. These take the form of, "Spend $100 or more, and get 10% off." Merchants issue these for any of several reasons, and the coupons have a very low cost of administration. The trap here is you'll think up "needs" to justify the $100 so you can save the 10%. The way out of that trap is to make a list of things you need. If the total doesn't meet the minimum on the coupon, then shred the coupon.

Finally, consider that the labor cost of cutting coupons is high. First, you have to obtain a coupon source. This is traditionally, the newspaper--which is full of highly-biased articles (consider them to be brain toxins). Next, you have to wade through and read coupons to select the ones you want. Then you have to organize your coupons and search for the items that correspond to them.

Go ahead and time yourself, to see how much you are earning per hour in the whole product coupon process. Add up the coupons for items you would buy anyhow and subtract the dollar cost of items that you would not normally buy. Most people discover they are paying for the privilege of using coupons. Do you pay your employer to let you work?

How much time do you spend? An hour a week? What service(s) do you pay for that you could do yourself? Time has opportunity costs.

I've been asked to expand on the energy savings discussion of a previous eNL. I hear you, and will address that request in a future edition.

5. Security tip

I read recently that the Citadel is finally putting locks on the doors of it male dormitories. Doesn't this seem like something they should have done a long time ago? Like for sure on September 12, 2001? Or perhaps in 1993 when the WTC was first bombed? Or perhaps decades earlier?

How smug we are, even with the constant threats around us. When is the last time you did a security evaluation for yourself? Most people have never done one. One way to do it is to "trace out" the path you travel each day.

Here are some questions to help you along the way:

  1. Do you look before walking out your front door to get the paper in the morning? Two possible problems, here. First, you are getting the paper and that means you are exposing your mind to garbage. Second, how do you know someone isn't lurking just outside your door?
  2. If you have an attached garage, do you back out with your window down or door unlocked? The problem here is someone can wait, after having determined that you leave at the same time every day.
  3. If you walk to your car, do you peer into the backseat before opening the door? The possible danger is someone is in your backseat. Could be under your car or behind a tree, too. Have your keys ready and rehearse (at least mentally, but preferably as a physical simulation) how to counter an assault.
  4. If you take mass transit, are you advertising that you are worth mugging? That fancy watch or those fancy rings may advertise to other people that you think you are successful. To a mugger, it advertises that you have something he wants. Dress down. Check your accessories. Also, if you have a fancy gizmo (e.g., Blackberry, PocketPC), untether yourself. This not only good for your mental health but it allows you to stay alert while not also giving out strong "mug me" clues.
  5. At your office (or other place of employment), do you know where the fire extinguishers are? Fire exits? Stairwells? Do you know the emergency number? Have you looked over you work area to determine what weapons are there, and which are the best for your self defense? Most workplaces don't allow you to carry a firearm, so look for something else--such as a heavy stapler or other item you can quickly and lethally brandish. If a coworker goes Postal, how will you handle that so you can take him down?
  6. Do you take the same route to work each day? Try varying this route, at least on a random basis. Maybe you ride the same bus route, drive the same roads, take the same subway route. Maybe you have such a long commute that the very idea of an alternate route that will take even longer is nuts. OK, then, this tip won't work for you.
  7. Analyze your route for dangers. This helps you stay alert, and it may just save your life.
  8. At home, review every point of entry. Are these secure? If you lost your keys, what might you do to get in? Imagine you are outside and your child is inside and the place is burning.
  9. Take a very close look at your windows. The typical window is installed poorly, with a minimum of materials and a maximum of sloppy workmanship. One problem this creates is an energy leak. Another problem, however, is an easily broached window. If your home has the original windows, there is almost no chance they are either safe or energy-efficient. Simply replacing with an energy-efficient window doesn't solve the problem--the key is competent installation and that means hiring a qualified installer rather than Billy Bob's Cutrate Mexican Laborer Window Shop to install them.
  10. At home, review every method of defense. Note that calling 911 is not a method of defense--it's a method of reporting. The courts have repeatedly ruled that the police are not under an obligation to protect private citizens. That is your job.
  11. Check all of your firearms, not just the main one closest to where you sleep. Are these ready for you to use in an emergency? Are they secure against unauthorized use, for example by a child? If there are children in your home, have you taught them "don't touch" in regard to firearms (if you are unfamiliar with this principle, a formal program of this goes back for more than 100 years and you can find it by searching online for "Eddie Eagle."? Do you check your firearms daily to ensure kids have not been violating this rule?
  12. Check your grounds for footprints. Burglars will often check out a place before robbing it, by visiting it in person and checking various things. They will look for trip wires, alarm switches, location of the phone line, type of window locks, and so forth. They may do this at night, or they may do so in broad daylight when nobody is at home (and they might not even bother to dress up as a utility guy).
  13. Check your vegetation, especially if you have a single-family residence. Builders are noted for "landscaping" with plants placed far too close to the building. As the plants grow, they occlude entryways and facilitate criminal entry. The best approach is to remove these plants and redo the landscaping so it is at least somewhat intelligently planned. An interim, but ultimately futile, measure is to trim these back.
  14. Pay attention to vehicular traffic in your area. If you see the same car driving slowly by, it could just be some IRS field agent collecting information to support false allegations for a report designed to destroy an innocent person. You can't do anything about that, other than get the license number and file a complaint. But it could be some creep who is casing the area.

These are just a few points to consider. The best thing you can do is divide your daily path into discrete components (e.g., morning time at home, commute to work, work location, commute home, evening at home, going out to dinner, etc.) and analyze each one for safety and security issues. You may be surprised at what a little attention and thought can uncover.

The most common security breaches that lead to tragic consequences are not things that only a security expert would think of. They are common-sense things that people overlook due to apathy, ignorance, or negligence. I don't mean to use those words in a pejorative sense--they just happen to describe the situation very well when obvious dangers go unnoticed.

6. Health tip/Fitness tips

7. Miscellany

  1. Humphrey Bogart was related to Princess Diana. They were 7th cousins. Amazingly, no evidence has emerged that they were related to Bill Clinton.
  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.

8. Thought for the Day

How people perceive you as a person depends more on how you treat them than on anything you can possibly say about yourself.


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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