In this issue:
Product Highlight |
Brainpower | Finances | Security | Health/Fitness | Miscellany | Thought for the Day
1. Product Highlight
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Type and translate random sentences in both directions, in
2. Brainpower tip
“If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the
newspaper, you are misinformed.”|
-- Mark Twain
Here are some other good quotes from Mark Twain, worth thinking about:
- “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is
- “The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the
taxidermist leaves the skin.”
- “There is no distinctly Native American criminal class save
- “Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and
your dog would go in.”
3. Finance tip
In the last issue, we looked at the subject
of beating bank draft fees.|
kind of fee to also be aware of. You may have received a solicitation
for 0% APR checks you can write against your credit card. Hmm. Interest
free money. Sounds too good to be true. And it is.
Read the fine print, and you find such things as:
- 4% transfer fee. This means the bank will
charge you 4% of that loan. Not a bad price, if you need the money.
But that depends on how long you take to pay back the loan and when
the 0% offer ends. If you pay it back in 90 days, that's a 16% APR
- Normal interest rate and fees apply if you
miss a payment or are late on time. On the entire amount,
retroactively. So, that 0% becomes 21%. OK, so roll the dice
- Some other "Gotcha."
These offers are not quite what they seem to be.
If you're in a cash bind because people owe you
money, this is fairly cheap capital--provided you take a year to pay it
back. If you have a high-interest loan on something else, this may help
you reduce expenses if you are diligent about making those payments on
time (to do that, use Outlook and make appointments for payments).
If you're in financial trouble, for example, you
got laid off, then adding credit card debt to your woes isn't a smart
move. Instead, contact your bank for assistance.
For example, they may have a mortgage assistance
program that will suspend two months of mortgage payments. You still owe
interest for those months and your loan extends two months longer. But
banks do this to give people some breathing room. Don't count this as
free money, because it's not. Count it as a loan to help you make it
through a rough time.
4. Security tip
With an $11 trillion debt and an incoming president who seems impervious
to mathematics, logic, and a basic understanding of economics (therefore
not really changing anything over his predecessor who took his
predecessor's $5 trillion debt and more than doubled it), the old
"gasoline on the house fire" metaphor aptly describes current economic
So, while the economy struggles to get its legs under itself,
the govt is kicking it in the knees (or a little higher and to the
center, if you prefer). And what the American govt does to the American
economy, it does to the economies of the world. Yes, our readers in
Australia, New Zealand, and other countries are nodding their heads.
(Sorry, friends, it's nothing personal and it's the American CONgress,
not the American people doing this to you.)
Unless there's some huge change, we're going to see a slow recovery
from the shenanigans of 2008 and a weak response to the staggering debt
inflicted on us by the US federal govt. It's doubtful, but possible,
that one or more of the following will occur:
- We pull out of Iraq.
- There's a massive rollback of our stifling federal regulations.
- A new invention hits the market and it's something that has a
root effect on the economy.
The most likely thing that will happen is people will simply become
optimistic. One reason for speculating this as likely is that in
November, the American people chose yet again to give the Demopublicans
yet another run at things. This defies all logic, but it is what
happened. So, we do not need rhyme or reason for things to occur a
In fact, I predict the economy will be vibrant again soon, and for no
But until that happens, people are under financial stress and looking
for relief. This makes them easier prey for con artists, and I don't
mean only members of CONgress. I mean other crooks, as well.
Your first line of defense is this. Don't give out information,
simply because someone asks for it.
- The IRS does not call, mail, or e-mail people in an effort to
give them back overpaid taxes. IRS employees are too busy stealing
computers from their own offices (source, GAO), watching X-rated
movies on the office computers they haven't yet stolen (source,
GAO), and running scams like the Hoyt Fiasco. They aren't going to
take time out of their busy schedule to do something like send you
money. Besides, they have all the information about you already and
don't need to get more or "confirm" your SSN, name, address, or bank
- So you won a prize. Yippee! Now all you have to do to claim it
is provide information about yourself. Nine times out of ten, the
only "prize" you'll get is coming home to find all of your
belongings are gone.
- At the store, the clerk insists on having your SSN on your check
or c/c slip. Stop. The store has no need for this info. Don't give
it out. If the clerk insists, ask for the manager. It's more likely
that clerk is running a private scam than that the store is using
your SSN for any reason whatsoever. Help fight crime by reporting
such behavior. If the manager says it's store policy, cancel the
transaction and leave. Report the incident to corporate
headquarters. Report it also to your card-issuing bank, call the
service number on the back of the card to do this.
- Same as previous, except now they want your phone number. Making
this a condition of accepting the card is a violation of the c/c
policy. The store personnel may insist, and may point out that
online stores require this information. Well, yes, they do--but not
for c/c purposes. It's required for shipping purposes (UPS and FedEx
require a phone number) or to contact you if there's a problem with
your order. The key here is delivery. If you are buying something in
person, nobody needs your phone number or address. But of course, no
matter how you pay for it that information is needed for delivery.
Do things on a "need to know" basis. That's a primary principle of
5. Health tip/Fitness tips
After the last issue, several readers wrote in saying
that the "How Calories Become Fat" article was helpful but it doesn't
explain my physique.
As noted in the
previous issue, that's me off to the right, at age 48.
I started working out in 1977, and haven't missed
a workout, since. But for about 20 of those years I did a workout much
like what you see the typical gym rat doing. Circuit training, usually
low-intensity, full body three times a week. I also had the body of a
typical gym rat. Moderate musculature, high body fat (about 18%).
In 1996, I moved to my present location and met
Sandy Miller. Ms. Miller introduced me to an entirely different way of
training. The core principle is intensity. You can read about it here:
You can see the results off to the right.
I'd also like to note that I don't do carb-restrictive diets. I was
stunned the other day to learn that this kind of nonsense is still being
propagated. Don't do those diets. They aren't sustainable, and they
aren't healthy. I eat plenty of fruit, and you can see I'm not exactly
the Pillsbury Doughboy. If you want to lose fat, cut back on the size of
your meals just a little and over time that fat will come off. If you
want to gain muscle, train hard.|
- The quarter has 119 grooves around the edge.
CONgress has 119,000 ways to tax that quarter.
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7. Thought for the Day
Sometimes, making 10% more effort makes 100% more difference.|
Wishing you the best,
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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