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Past issues

Mindconnection eNL, 2009-06-07


In this issue:
Brainpower | Finances | Security | Health/Fitness | Factoid | Product Highlight | Thought for the Day


1. Brainpower tip

Here's an experiment, for those of you with a garden hose. If you have one of those 4-station or 5-station nozzles, set it to the widest possible spray pattern (usually, this is called "shower"). You'll notice this feels pretty mild. If you were to try to do any work with it, such as remove a hardened bird deposit, you'd be there all day.

Now, set it to the most focused spray pattern (usually, this is called "jet"). If you were to foolishly aim the stream onto your skin, you'd notice it feels pretty intense. Painful, actually. If you were to aim the stream onto that baked-on bird mess, you'd be able to remove it in short order.

What do garden hoses and bird crap have to do with brain power? Not much, really, except members of Congress appear to have the latter for brains.

What is relevant here is the concept of focus. Increasingly, the world is becoming an "ADD place." People don't focus, and the problem is accelerating the stupidity epidemic. You can't chat on the phone and drive at the same time, unless you think it's OK to do both jobs poorly. If you are dividing your brain between two tasks, how do you decide which task to be more stupid at doing? Why not, instead, focus on one task and do it well?

Here's an example that helps drive the point home (no pun intended).

Back in the late 1990s while working for a publishing company as an editor, I spent a day with someone many people (including me) admire greatly and consider top-notch. His name is David Miller, and at the time he was a sales rep. But he was no ordinary sales rep.

  • For some reason, David was consistently bringing in deals that had people asking, "How the heck did he come up with this and get them to bite?"
  • For some reason, advertisers spoke well of the other sales reps but spoke in glowing terms about David.
  • For some reason, David never got turned away and was never made to wait.
  • For some reason, David had access to top decision makers. Direct access.

On that morning, we were talking about one of his accounts and it's a very major company. I mentioned a question I had about this company, and David remarked, "I'm sure their CEO could answer that, but I can't. Would you like to ask him?"

I laughed and said sure, but the odds of having an audience with someone that high up were about zero. David disagreed. He told me that even if I wanted to talk with the Chairman of the Board he could arrange that.

Now, I'm thinking to myself there is no way an ad sales guy could get me in front of the Chairman of the Board. Jokingly, I said, "It'd be something if you could call him and make a lunch appointment."

David pulled over at the next stop and made a phone call (notice, he didn't call while driving). That day, we had lunch with the Chairman of the Board and later stopped by the corporate office for a chat with the CEO.

During these meetings, I noticed that these powerful people were completely relaxed with David and didn't once consult their watches. I also noticed that David was completely focused on them and didn't waste their time.

Notice again that David pulled over to make that call. During the call, he was able to tap his entire brain and concentrate on the call. The administrative assistant was happy to help him and the Chairman of the Board agreed to meet him for lunch. Just like that.

Now, I had been out with other sales reps. None of them ever pulled over to make a call. They thought it was smarter to "be efficient" and multi-task.

The harried salesman trying to meet his monthly quota makes use of "dead time at the windshield" to make a call. The person being called doesn't consciously pick up on the fact that this salesman isn't completely there, but the damage is done anyhow.

Suppose that, during meetings with the folks buying ad space, David is thinking about the next appointment. How effective is that meeting going to be? Or suppose David is thinking about how to pitch them a sale, rather than listening to what they are trying to accomplish? Think about that, as we continue this short story. Think about how it all ratchets up a few notches when you are talking with the most senior of the senior executives. This is a "stress test" for seeing just how well one philosophy stacks up against the other.

During the meeting with the Chairman of the Board, we talked about the company's new strategy and its new flagship product. This is what the Chairman of the Board wanted to talk about. This is what filled his days. This is what we focused on. No side issues, no talk about ad space, no talk about how great and wonderful we are. Only about the market and how the company's new flagship product fit. We talked about strengths and weaknesses of the product and we talked about what the customer is really looking for. We talked about what the Chairman of the Board cared about, and didn't try to diffuse things with our own agenda.

We did not ask to meet with the CEO. But as we were leaving the restaurant, the Chairman of the Board said, "You fellows seemed mighty interested in what we are doing. I'd like to have you meet with [Name of CEO] this afternoon if you can swing it."

David replied, "We'd love to. We can wait while you call him to see if he's available and when. Then we'll look at our schedule and see if we can do it."

He would be available in 20 minutes. But we had to be at another appointment in 30. David called that next appointment, and asked if we could reschedule. He didn't give any reason, just asked. They said no problem (they had already learned to love David because he solved a marketing problem for them--unrelated to ad sales). They became our last appointment of the day (rather than jamming them in between two other appts and causing us to rush).

We met with the CEO, got a "you can't tell anybody about this" tour, and then had plenty of time to make the next appt. We ended up working an extra hour that day due to the rescheduling, but who cares?

That major advertiser was already one of our top three accounts in terms of ad dollars spent. During that trip, David never once tried to sell them anything. He focused on his goal--listen to the customer. If that resulted in something we could get paid for, fine. If not, maybe next time.

David later asked me to write up some ideas, go over them with my boss, and send him a final draft. He then parlayed that into an additional advertising sale equal to all three of our annual salaries combined.

What if he had set his brain to "shower" instead of "jet?" Where do you set yours?

2. Finance tip

George Bernard Shaw, although an avowed Socialist, was bright enough to acknowledge “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”

Now, look at who makes the campaign contributions (you can find that with a Google search) and you begin to understand why the Spendbama misadministration ended up appointing one tax cheat after another to its cabinet. OK, maybe "tax cheat" isn't the right phrase. The Secretary of the Treasury committed Tax Evasion, which means he should be serving a prison sentence until about, oh, 2040. Instead, he's running our Treasury!

These people are robbers. Robbing you is what they get paid to do. They do it very well. And it's costing you far, far, more than anything else is costing you.

But this robbery problem conducted by people who get away with financial crimes they personally commit is nothing new. During the Bush misadministration, a similar thing happened--just not with seemingly every appointee. Look back into the Clinton misadministration, and you see the same pattern of criminals getting top posts.

It's not just the Presidency. The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Chuck Rangel, should be serving 30 to 50 years in prison on multiple counts of tax evasion. But he is still writing the tax laws instead!

Now, it seems pretty obvious that if the people who are making the laws have a bad habit of breaking the laws, it can't be good for the rest of us.

If those people have a history of stealing, by what logic can we not expect them to rob us blind when they are given authority over our financial system, tax system, federal spending, or anything else?

I keep saying in this eNL that your single largest cost is the federal government. If you state this to most people, they immediately disagree. That, my friends, is the power of television. Or perhaps serious drug abuse. Same thing, when it come to brain power.

You as an individual cannot do much about this pattern of blatant robbery, this ransacking of your finances that is so bad your share of the incurred debt now exceeds your lifetime earnings (unless you are in the top 5% of earners). But enough individuals doing something meaningful to stop the crime spree will have an effect. How can we organize? Well, "we" have already organized:

  • A group called the National Taxpayers Union,, monitors federal spending, individual spending records of senators (Spendbama had a grade of F--meaning failure--during his Senate career), and other key information. And, the NTU lobbies on behalf of those of us who aren't buying senators and Congressman with bribes and $10,000 campaign dinner tickets.
  • A group called the Libertarian Party,, was formed in the mid-1970s. The Demopublican Party has had a monopoly on the "elected" positions of the federal government since it reformed during Reconstruction and began pretending it was two parties. The LP is our best hope for a second political party in the USA. Many people do not "get" this, because they look at the red herrings rather than the issues. And we all pay dearly for that blindness.
  • Recently, we (in the USA) celebrated Memorial Day, in honor of the soldiers and sailors who gave their lives for this country so that presumably freedom would be defended. Yet, if we look at the track record of the IRS we see this particular group considers freedom something to be stomped out (the IRS record of malfeasance speaks for itself). This is a foot on the gas and foot on the brakes situation.

    The obvious solution is to eliminate the IRS. Since the IRS costs more than it produces in revenue, anyone with an IQ above 50 can see that eliminating it would leave everyone better off (including the folks on the IRS payroll--their lives could become useful instead of harmful). Yet, this pestilence is still with us. The single best hope for ridding us of it is the Fair Tax,

If you're not supporting one of these organizations, you aren't working on your single largest financial liability. Don't forget the recent betrayal of the American People, which cost us each $66,000. That was, of course, Spendbama's Porkulus Package. He got away with that, so you can expect more of the same wealth destruction before this is over.

We have to stop these criminals while we can. You have three organizations available to help you do your part to control your single largest cost.

3. Security tip

CONgress managed to rack up over $1 trillion in additional debt in the first three months of the new misadministration. They also managed, via the Porkulus Package, to create a permanent ongoing cash drain (the gift that keeps on giving) through new wealth transfer schemes (useless agencies and programs) that benefit the companies paying lobbyists but don't benefit you. But you pay for these anyhow.

If you look up a few dismal numbers and work a little math, you'll see how much your share of the federal debt has grown in each of the last 21 years (Bush, Clinton, Bush, Spendbama). It isn't pretty. Worse, the federal govt isn't even making the minimum payments on this particular credit card.

But there's more in store for you, my friend. Spendbama and many key members of CONgress are now working on a new plan, their OSHA for Criminals program.

Most Americans find this kind of program objectionable. I used to object to this, as it adversely affects my personal security in a very big way. But after some consideration, I'm all for it. Really. Here's why:

Think about the poor criminal who is just trying to make a living robbing people or the lonely rapist who just needs to beat some victim into a coma and then have his way with her. Presently, these people are discriminated against and forced to endure the embarrassment of being held at gunpoint until the police arrive. Oh, the humiliation.

Beyond the emotional pain, there's another issue. It's just too dangerous for folks in the violent crime industry.

In fact, we have an overwhelming body of evidence showing this single hazard (self-protecting citizen) causes many of our most promising violent criminals to quit and seek a different line of work. Overall employment in the violent crime industry has dropped since the ending of the 10-year long Clinton Firearms Fiasco, indicating that bit of legislation helped boost employment in the violent crime industry. Now that this criminal protection legislation has expired, and these people are having a tougher time working in their trade.

Can we really afford, as a nation, to see another industry die out? What will workers in this industry do for a living?

So Spendbama is actually helping our society by trying to provide these people with decent working conditions through aggressive promotion of OSHA for Criminals. We can all give him a round of applause.

But after further consideration, I don't think the recently proposed Criminal Protection bill goes far enough. It should also require homeowners to equip their homes with a burglar bathroom (with First Aid Station and snack bar) and to have on hand suitable equipment for transporting merchandise. If you lack an appliance dolly for your stereo or widescreen TV, you get a $10,000 fine for each infraction.

ADA compliance should be mandatory for homes, convenience stores, and other places that might be robbed. At the very least, every potential victim home should have a wheelchair ramp for disabled criminals to use. Two story homes should be required to have an electric elevator.

It's good that we have "activist judges" who ignore such petty things as basic civics and legislate from the bench. They are doing great work. For example, a court ruled that a man who was stealing projectors from a school and fell through a skylight should receive a lump sum payout of $100K and then $30K a year for life from the school district due to their carelessness in leaving a tripping hazard on the roof. It saddens me that they didn't have the principal flogged while they were at it.

But still, this leaves a gap. Why should any hard-working criminal have to rely on the courts for protection? Shouldn't criminal protection laws already be in place? Why should judges be forced to violate the Constitution by legislating from the bench? This is the change that Spendbama is bringing us. Ah, leadership at last and we don't have to be confined by "laws" and "statutes" and "common horse sense" anymore.

Speaking of leadership, I'm sure Spendbama will lead the way by example and do away with the Secret Service so that he isn't personally posing a threat to violent criminals. We all know how honest, sincere, and right-thinking he is.

He could help reduce the massive deficits he's run up by also doing away with police departments and criminal courts, which suck down taxpayer money while interfering with an industry that Dianne Feinstein has deemed vital to this country's future. So, save an entire industry and reduce federal debt--what's not to like?

Your personal security isn't important. Only violent criminals matter. Write to your misrepresentative in CONGress today that your personal security means nothing and you are all for the passage of OSHA for Criminals.

Somebody told me, "There is no law compelling anyone to rob, rape, or murder other people. So, they should do it at their own risk, not ours." What a curmudgeon!

4. Health tip/Fitness tips

Diane Villano isn't just good-looking. She's a goddess. She got that way by eating right and training hard. She didn't get that way by avoiding carbs.

A lot of folks are doing various carbohydrate-centric diets, right now. If you are one of those folks, stop. The diet you're on probably won't help you in the long run, and it probably won't produce the results you really want. It's probably dangerous.

Personally, I enjoy carbohydrates. I just get them from real foods, not from processed grains. Give me an apple or some strawberries, and I am not the least bit concerned about the carbs. It is simply not true that you can make up for poor dietary decisions by  avoiding one of the three macronutrients. That, itself, is a poor dietary decision.

Read what Diane has to say, here:

Fitness supplements for bodybuilders


As regular readers know, I'm 48 years old in the picture (above, right), taken in December. I don't diet down for summer. I don't have good genes for maintaining a lean body, I really have to be conscientious and disciplined about it. That doesn't mean I suffer, eat bland foods, or starve myself.

At, you'll find plenty of informative, authoritative articles on maintaining a lean, strong physique. It has nothing to do with long workouts or impossible to maintain diets. In fact:

  • The best workouts are short and intense.
  • A good diet contains far more flavors and satisfaction than the typical American diet.

Nor does it mean being hungry all the time (you are less hungry on six small meals a day than three large ones), being weak from hunger (on a proper dietary regimen, you will have much more energy than otherwise), or "giving up pleasures" (I have no idea where this concept comes from, unless a person considers being sick a "pleasure.").


5. Factoid

The first airline was established on October 16, 1909, to carry passengers between German cities by Zeppelin (unfortunately, with no music from Led Zeppelin during the trip).

By November 1913, over 34,000 people had used that airline. The name of the airline was "DELAG," an early indicator of how some day a midget on Fantasy Island would announce arrivals.

6. Product Highlight

Inexpensive Translators

The Ectaco 500-series electronic translators are inexpensive and user-friendly portable electronic translation devices. These allow you to look up words (large translation dictionaries) and phrases (14,000 per language pair).

Change languages with an inexpensive SD card. For example, let's say you buy the Spanish-English Talking Translator: Ectaco ESp500T. But now you find yourself in need of translating Vietnamese. No problem. You buy the Vietnamese Secure Digital (SD) card and you're all set.

Sold Out.


We don't run ads in our newsletter, despite getting inquiries from advertisers all the time. This eNL is supported by sales from Please shop there, as appropriate.

7. Thought for the Day

The Rocky series of movies spanned 30 years (1976 to 2006). If you saw Sly Stallone in the last one, you can't help but be amazed at his physical condition. Hint: it comes from hard work.

Sly provides the thought for this issue's Thought for the Day. "It's not about how hard you can hit, but about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."

The ability to keep moving forward comes from hard work and preparation. Think about how well (or not) you're preparing for the hits that are coming your way.


Please forward this eNL to others.


Wishing you the best,
Mark Lamendola
Mindconnection, LLC 

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