Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Fragile Food Supply

August 26, 2014

-8e8e802f0968bddcEmpty shelves. In case you don’t know it, our food supply is very fragile. Deliveries to your local supermarket can stop at anytime for more reasons than you can imagine.  Supermarkets don’t carry too much inventory either.  They depend on deliveries to keep the shelves stocked with all of the pretty bows and peppermint sticks that we Americans demand. 

The owners of the Market Basket supermarket chain in my area are having some sort of family argument.  Because of that the employees have walked out.  Market Basket is a good size company with 71 locations.  I read that it’s losing $80Million a week. 

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Did you ever think that your supermarket would dry up like a puddle on summer pavement? Once the deliveries ceased it took maybe 2-3 days for the supermarket to get cleared out. The shelves look like this in spite of the fact that there are still many other places to buy food.  

Labor disputes, the whims of Capitalism, storms, spike in gas prices, earthquakes, devaluation of the $US, war, power failures, plague, floods, you name it.

Around here we have two other supermarkets we can frequent.  They both suck though.  The prices at Stop and Shop and Shaws seem much higher to me. It seems like everything costs a dollar more than at Market Basket.  For me it sucks because I’m spending probably $20-30 more a week because I have to go to either Stop and Suck Me Dry or Shaws Paws In My Pockets. 473178_29075-20140721_MarketBask3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m lucky though I still get to choose and see shelves stocked with pop guns, pampoogas, pantookas, and drums checkerboards, bizilbigs, popcorn, and plums.  Granted I have to pay a bit more.  My pain just reminds me how spoiled and lucky I am due to our wonderful supply chain.  But it’s a fragile thing with lots of moving parts that need to inter-mesh.  How about if you’re not as lucky as the folks in this area that have two fall back supermarkets, albeit sucky ones? How about if your next closest place to stock up is 20, 30 or 50 miles away? How about if there is no other place to stock up?

Meat, vegetables, toilet paper, oil, soap, toothpaste, salt, coffee, flour, sugar, water, eggs, bread, milk, batteries, chips and HoHos ain’t like electricity where you can take for granted that when you flick the switch that the lights are going to come on.  Electricity ain’t like electricity either.

Lesson to be learned, plan accordingly.  I try to keep enough extra of the essentials so if I had to hole up here for a spell I’d be okay. You can find the lists out there on the Internets.  It’s a good idea to keep a few hundred dollars in small bills around too.  And tell me where you have it hidden. 

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!

It’s summer time.  It’s always summer somewhere so here’s a shot of me wakeboarding at sunset.

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Bugs

July 31, 2009

Bugs can drive you nuts.  If you spend any amount of time out of doors than you know that bugs can drive you nuts.  I was out walking today.  It was 90 degrees and 100% humidity.  The bugs, skeeters, were so bad that I had to put on my rain jacket and hood.   Even if your plans don’t entail being outside for any period of time you need to prepare for it, because the one thing you can be certain of is that reality will differ from your plans.   You never know what may force you our of your home and into the great outdoors.   Anyone that has spent some time outside will tell you that the bugs are at their worst during dawn and dusk.  One time we were out afield and as the sun started to set the mosquitoes came out.  We had to stop set up our tent and nap and hideout for a few hours until dark.  By then the bug couldn’t fly and it was safe for us to come out of our Eurekas.   Slapping at bugs can be a draining experience too.  Bugs constantly at you, at you, at you can wear you down physically, and more importantly, psychologically.  Insects can spread disease.  They can give you infections.  You need to prepare to protect yourself against any insects in your neck of the woods.  Bees and such don’t bother me too much.  I’ve been stung more times than I can count.  At this point I kind of enjoy the pain.

Leeches and ticks are two more insects that one needs to be careful of.  You need to know enough to give yourself the once over and know how to remove them and treat the location of the bite.

Candles, lamps, Mosquito magnets, lights and bug zappers – I never thought that citronella worked.  It does smell kind of nice though.  it would be good to burn a citronella candle on a cold, snowy January day to remind me of the summer.  Not so good for chasing bugs away though.  The black bug lights don’t work either.  The mosquito magnets work well.   Mosquito magnets are like pools and boats though.  You’d rather have a neighbor with one than own one yourself.   Bug zappers attract bugs like moths that are attracted to light.  Bug zappers zap the wrong kind of bug.  Mosquitoes like carbon dioxide.  The drawback with all of these but the small citronella candles is that they’re too big to carry any distance.

Bug sprays and ointments – these work well, DEET is the best, but some folks are allergic to it.  You may try putting some of the stuff on your clothing, cap and shoes rather than skin.  There are some repellents made from natural ingredients.  I don’t think that these work as well as the DEET.

Ultrasonic – I don’t think these work either.  These are the ones about the size of a lighter and work off of battery power.  They generate some ultrasonic noise that is supposed to scare insects off.  I don’t think these work either.

Physical – bug nets, head nets, long sleeves and long pants – If you live in bug country you need to carry a bugnet in your bug out bag, get home bag or whatever bag it is for you.  These work great.  The drawback is if it’s hot out you’re wearing more clothing.

Sometimes when I’m out in the woods I’ll break off a small branch from a white pine and just use it like those Shite Iranians who practice self-flagellation.  It may not be the best method but swinging a little pine branch around my head sure does seem to work.

First aid supplies – just the basics here.  Some folks like to use tweezers for ticks.  Other use a blade of some type to force udner the tick.  Me, I just grab it by its body and yank.  You have to make sure that you removed the head of the tick too.  Otherwise you can end up with an abscess.  So you need the basics too like: antibiotic ointment, adhesive bandages, tweezers and alcohol.   People have told me that if you put vaseline on a tick that it will release its bite and back out.  It hasn’t worked for me.  Neither has the hot method though either.  Don’t forget instant cold/ice pads for bee stings.

Edit: I should have mentioned that diatomaceous earth is good for intestinal parasites.  It’s also good for water filtration and has some use in the garden too so you should make sure to get some and store it.

Don’t be afraid of the bugs.  You can’t swim without getting wet.  GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!! ©

q3This is a mulberry that’s just about ripe.  Kind of a bad year for berries of all types it has ocurred to me.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of knowing a mulberry tree you really are missing out on something.  I really like the taste of mulberries.  They do have a lot of teeny tiny seeds though like a cane berries.  The trees are pretty small and in a good year have so many berries that you can set a tarp up under the tree and shake the tree to make the mulberries fall into the tarp.   Eating the fruit is supposed to be good for a fever and a root tea can be made to combat weakness.  Notice the heart shhaped leaf.

And some blackberries.  This is really a beautiful time of year in New England.  I’m telling ya going for a ramble in the woods and seeing wild berries along the way, a nibble here and a nibble there.  It’s a beautiful thing, man.  You have to GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!

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Pee and Poo

June 18, 2009

No one likes talking about them……….. except for seven year old boys and me.  We had termites.  The termites liked our bathroom so we had to rip everything out.  When is the last time you’ve been without a bathroom for more than a week?  Using buckets and bags sucks. Think you could get your wife or SO to squat outside for a week or more?

You best start thinking about how to make life easier for the females in your life should the SHTF and you are having a tough time getting rid of your own.  Because if you don’t make life easy for the females in your life, they won’t make life easy for you.  What are your preps for the brown and yellow stuff?

When we used to go canoeing on the Saco River in Maine it was beautiful and we were able to drink the untreated river water.  Not so much any longer.  Last time I went, all along the river banks were piles of toilet paper in various stages of decomposition.  Don’t be like that.  It’s dirty, nasty and puts others at risk of illness.  Dig your own hole for your own crap.  Dispose of your waste responsibly.

It got me to thinking that my preps in the liquid and solid waste disposal areas has something to be desired.  How about you, what is your plan and backup plan for bathroom needs? You need to take this seriously as it can develop into a major problem.  Crapping outside in the winter isn’t a plan.  Your butt needs to be cleaned a lot more frequently then your firearms.  Plan accordingly.  If you are spending more time in the gun department of Wal-Mart then the toilet paper department, IMHO, your priorities are reversed.

You need to be careful where you go to the bathroom.   Pee and Poo attracts flies and insects and animals and vermin.  Then you got disease and have to be careful where to plant your garden.p009518vr03

You can use a bucket with a toilet seat attached to the top or make a seat out of some scrap lumber.  This is probably the cheapest solution next to a plain bucket and bags.

Then you need to dispose of your stuff there are generally two ways water or burying.  We’re fortunate in the Northeast.  We have so much water around here that even if the town’s pumping station is down we can pour water into the toilet tank and flush.  Water also keeps the smell drowned out.

There are different ways to burp013058hz08y it too.  Some composting toilets use sawdust.  You go to the bathroom in a fancy bucket and then cover it with a cup of sawdust.  The sawdust is carbon for the nitrogen in your stinky stuff and when Poo and Pee are mixed with sawdust the three are supposed to compost quickly.   So the theory is that you keep layering everything into some sort of disgusting lasagna and then you empty the bucket into a compost heap.  Layering some regular garden lime in there too would be a good idea too.

You can also dig a latrine far away from where your pad is.  Stay downstream from your source of water.  You basically dig a hole, cover it with some sort of bench/seat and you are in business to do your business.  When it gets kinda full, you top it off with soil and dig a new hole and move the bench/seat to the new spot.

You can buy a camping toilet too.  They’re obviously more comfortable than buckets and bags,but you still need a solution for where to dump the holding tank.

Coleman

This Coleman unit seems pretty good and Coleman usually makes a decent product. Amazon The Coleman unit pictured above also has a fresh water tank for flushing.

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People seem to love this one available at Amazon.  It holds five gallons of waste and around three gallons of fresh water for flushing!!  You still need somewhere safe to dump the holding tank once it’s full.

TP, chemicals, lime, sawdust, TP, TP, TP, bags, bags, bleach, shovels, sawdust, soil, so don’t be caught with your pants down.  Don’t run out of toilet paper.  As long as you protect TP from rodents and wet it will last a long time.  You also can’t have too many plastic bags in different sizes and shapes.  And no matter what the Big Gee Government says it ain’t getting any cheaper.  Deflation my Ass!

And this guy earns an honorable mention with his Bumper Dumper.  It connects to the trailer hitch.

Bumper Dumper

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Anytime you can sit outside, take a crap and shoot a bird is fine in my book.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!! Even if only to take a dump and shoot a turkey.

p1010011Some wild berries.  You can spot em by their thorns and strange colored branches.  They really stand out.  Make a mark in your memory where they are.  Then the race is on between you and the birds.  Try to come back for them when they are ripe, but wait too long and the wildlife will get them.  Mash some of them up with some red wine or Chambord and put it on pound cake.  Maybe add some fresh mint.  Make a cordial by soaking berries and vodka for a while.

P1010015This is a typical New England trail.  Narrow and overgrown.  You can see how thick the woods are around here.  No shortage of water.  You could probably dig a well ten feet deep and hit water.  You obviously aren’t taking any 200 or 300 yard shots at some mule deer or mountain goat.  When the woods are fresh this time of year you can feel all of the plants breathing.  The air is as clean as it is after a thunderstorm.  Come the fall all the leaves will be brown and down and the woods will be open, only separated by bare naked trees.

Termites

June 9, 2009

Well we wanted to redo the bathroom a bit so the other day my buddy came over to help.  We got going and discovered termites.  I’ll have a post soon about surviving termites.  Until then it’s twelve hour days, ripping, tearing, measuring, sawing, cementing, grouting, cutting, etc.

In A Texas Town

April 30, 2009

This is the story of race, law, constitutional rights and incompetence.  Have any of you heard of Regina Kelly?  The crimes against Ms. Kelly took place in Hearne, TX, but they could have occurred in any city in any state against any of us.  If what you have seen out of your own government over the poast 10, or 20 years isn’t enough to convince you that it could happen to you, then you haven’t been paying attention.

In 2000 Ms. Kelly was a young mother of four, who was swept up in an illegal police raid.  She was told to either plead guilty and get ten years probation or face possibly being found guilty and face 99 years in prison.

But as can be heard in any of our Halls of Justice across this fine land every single day, “But I didn’t do it.”  And the defense counsel can be heard everyday saying, “It doesn’t matter.  You choice is to plead guilty to a lesser charge or risk trial and get who knows how much time.”

Like most city, county and state governments in Hearne, TX there was a drug enforcement task force.   Although drugs were available in all the neighborhoods of Hearne, TX the authorities made a conscious decision to only concentrate their efforts on the housing projects and poor, black people.

The ACLU complaint alleged that the the City of Hearne and Limestone and Robertson Counties engaged in racially motivated and targeted drug sweeps.   “Each sweep results in the detention of virtually every member of an entire, neighborhood, as well as the warrantless searches of many residents’ property and person.”  Also, “the African American community is held in a state of lockdown, with officers of the Task Force, City and Counties as well as officers employed by neighboring counties and cities, searching and detaining innocent residents, often in handcuffs, for lengthy periods of time without warrant or cause.”

So because it’s such a compelling story a movie was made about the events, American Violet.

Who among us can’t relate to the fear of getting railroaded by The Man?

The other interesting thing is that when the movie studio was trying to promote the movie and placed posters in stores around Hearne what do you suppose happened…

The premiere was well attended, though getting the word out was not easy. Father Robert Herald, who hosted the event, said someone dressed in a SWAT uniform advised local merchants to take down the movie’s advertisements.  “They were told it might go better if their poster was removed,” Herald said.

I am SHOCKED, shocked that The Authorities would use our tax dollars and send around guys in uniform to suppress free speech. NOT!!

Is the scourge of drugs so bad as to warrant the destruction of civil rights?  Are you willing to trade your civil rights in return for the false promise of the elimination of illegal drugs?

The War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism are nothing but great schemes put in place by the PTB to desensitize Americans to government abuse.  Now we are accepting of road blocks, having to take our shoes off to fly and warrantless wiretaps.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!

p1010105This shot is taken from the top of one of the little humps that I sometimes walk.  It may be tough to see, but that mountain in the distance is Mount Wachusett.  You can ski there in teh winter if you don’t mind ponying up 50 bucks.  It’s a ways away.

Went to a friend’s friend’s farm to get a load of manure.  I love manure.

p1010110Some horses that they own.  Are you friends with any farmers so you can get manure from them?  If not make friends.

Don’t get the flu.

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FASB 157

April 7, 2009

You may be wondering what this FASB thing is.  It’s a rule that accountants have to abide by.  Which because of a change by the folks who administer all of the rules means more dirt is swept under the rug.

You’ve probably heard the term, “mark to market.”  What it basically means is that the assets on the books of the banks have to be based upon what they are actually worth.   If you’ve bought or sold a house then you know the realtors look at comparable sales to figure out how much your house should be priced at.  Because the rule was changed banks don’t have to mark the assets on their balance sheets to what they are worth, but to some sort of mythological value what the asset may be worth in a perfect marketplace.

As an accountant and as an investor I don’t like it.  The banks are in the same shape now as before the rule change, yet the bank stocks go up.  It’s paper, not some positive increase based upon efficiency or operations.

Make no mistake, cash makes Washington, DC turn.

The FASB approval comes after an effective lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill by the American Bankers Association and other interest groups. Roughly 800 bankers gathered in Washington earlier this week, in part, to meet and press lawmakers to send a message to FASB that the accounting rules needed to change.

Jeesh man, first the congress people give the banks TARP then the bankers give money back to the congress people as campaign donations.   Then the banks are being weighed down by toxic debt and the bankers and their proxies basically go protest on the Hill and lo n’ behold the FASB rules get changed so the banks can mark the left side of their balance sheets to unrealistic values.This is getting truly bizarre.

Anyways, what’s left to do but,

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!

p1010060Nice day, huh?  A week of rain is in the forecast now.  I planted Sunday to be sure to get the benefit of the rain.  I had black plastic down for a couple of weeks to warm the soil.  I planted radishes, mesclun mix, spinach, arugula and peas.  I’m a little later then I wanted.  The way I grow lettuce is to heavily plant a 3*3 square.  I can reach into it from all sides.  Then I cut the lettuce with a pair of scissors when its 3-4 inches tall.  I basically give it a haircut and eat the baby lettuce.  It’ll regrow.  A couple of weeks later I’ll plant another box.    My lettuce will bolt later in the season.  I’ll also work a little all purpose organic fertilizer into the top couple of inches of soil.  Happy growing.

First aid kit

April 1, 2009

I think that I have a pretty good first aid kit.  I bought a basic one for maybe $15 or $20.  Then  I added more equipment to it over time.  It’s more than just a first aid kit.  I actually put it together to address many different types of emergencies.  My first aid kit is 8″ * 6″ *3″.  It weighs about a pound.

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On one side – First aid guide, large gauze pad, medium butterfly, large butterfly, small, medium and large bandaids, fabric bandage for fingers, extra large and extra, extra large bandaids.

p10100072The other side-

  • Abdominal pad, more gauze, tegederm dressings, a pack of iodine swabsticks (for before you cut someone.) Assortment of sutures – vicryl 3-0, mono 3-0, ethilon 4-0 and monocryl 3-0

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  • packs of Advil, tube of Neosporin (I like the Neosporin because it’s a triple anti-biotic so more effective than a solo), the other small tube is Lidocaine 4%, some small packs of Bacitracin, in the green plastic rectangle are Orajel toothache swabs, the blue caplets are diphenhydramine HCL (benadryl – drowsy inducing anti-histamine) you can use the blue ones as a sleep aid too, the red tablets are pseudoephedrine HCL (non drowsy anti-histamine) and Tavist-D  which, in my opinion, is a very strong (drowsy inducing) anti-histamine.

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  • On the left are Nexcare disposable thermometers.  I highly recommend buying some of these if you ever find them, the purple thing is a travel toothbrush, a pair of scissors, a small pair of forceps, superglue, the small purple jar is a dental filling repair, the small blue one is for tooth caps or crowns, a small sliding razor, nail clippers, a sewing kit, dental floss and first aid tape

p10100102In the center pocket-

  • anti-septic wipes, castille soap towelettes, sting wipes (benzocaine), alcohol pads, some qtips in a baggie, a 1/2 dozen or so rubber bands, acetaminophen, neomycin, tongue depressor, moleskin, cotton applicator, burn gel, sppol of thread and needlep1010011
  • cold compress, two tubes of petroleum jelly, sterile scalpel blade, rubber gloves, bic lighter, oral analgesic (20% benzocaine), lousy pair of tweezers, safety pins, dental floss, roll of gauze, disposable razor, alcohol spray, tube of toothpastep1010012

One pill bottle contains Amox-Clav which is a good strong anti-biotic.  You can die of an infection in a day or two so it’s important to have some sort of anti-biotic

The other pill bottle has buffered aspirin (good for stroke and heart attack) as well as pain, fever and swelling, chlor trimetron anti-histamine and Immodium for diarrhea

Getting out pics.  True I was driving when I took these, but still they were too good to pass up.  You may have to click on the pic to expand it.

deer1The deer have a nicer house then me.  Can you count five does there? They must be eating landscaping.

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And the peepers are out. Spring has arrived.230px-h_crucifer_usgsThere is nothing like being in the woods at night and hearing thousands of these guys calling out.  It’s truly a caucophony.

Misc.

March 11, 2009

We got some snow last week so I went back to that abandoned ski area that is not too far away from my house.  I hiked up and skied down eight times.  I was beat.  One trail is through this awe inspiring birch forest.

sk2This place is like magic.  If I was to die here and be buried amongst these trees that would be ok.

It was most likely the last day it was possible to go out skiing for me so I wanted to be sure to take advantage of it.  Here is the trail through the birch.

skYou can see the huge office buildings in the background.  This a heavily populated area a couple of minutes off of a major highway. You wanna know what I don’t get?  I was hiking/skiing for maybe two hours and I didn’t see another soul.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, the first warm day since November and I didn’t see another person enjoying the out of doors.  People – you need to GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!

Here’s another trail I was skiing down.  I’m telling you that I was pushing it by squeezing out one more day skiing.

sk3You can see my tracks on the right hand side of the trail looking up.  If you aren’t familiar with snow you can see that you really don’t need very much in order to slide stuff (skis, sleds and goods) over it.  And sliding stuff is much better than carrying stuff.  You can see it was another beautiful day spent outside doing stuff and getting exercise.  You figure that exercise is a form of prepping?

The pussy willows are blooming.  sk7And I saw so many deer rubbings.

sk4How many deer rubbings do can you count in each of these pictures?

sk5Then not too far from my house is a local farm where they grow their own grass fed beef.  I don’t know about any of you, but grass fed beef in New England isn’t too common a sight.  This beef is so good.  It’s some of the best that I’ve ever had. Plus I’m able to shop locally.  You need to shop locally whenever it makes sense and you can.  Get to know the farm stands in your area. Believe me you don’t want the Super Walmart to be the only source of food in you area.  You need to give the little guy the business.  Join the local chapter of the organic farmer’s association in your area.

The beef is a bit more money, but it goes right into the hands of a family that lives near me and it is a great product.  These guys taste great.  Thank you cows.

sk11I get to see my food and watch it eat.  I like that.  No ugly feed lots or slaughter yards.  Doesn’t my food look content?  Thank you guys.  I really appreciate your sacrifice.  The family also sells maple syrup that they boil themselves.  I can’t stand fake maple syrup like Mrs. Butterworth’s.  That’s not maple syrup.   It’s corn syrup.    Don’t be a rube spring for the good stuff.  It lasts forever.

Things are breaking down in Russia.  I saw an article in Newsweek about it.

“Now serious unrest seems imminent despite those autocratic moves. “We are expecting mass unemployment and mass riots,” says Gennady Gudkov, a former KGB colonel and current chairman of the Duma’s Security Committee. “There will be not enough police to stop people’s protests by force.”  The Kremlin evidently sees worse trouble ahead. In December it shelved plans to retire 280,000 Army officers (part of a sweeping military reform). A long-expected reduction in the number of Interior Ministry troops was also abruptly canceled. At the same time, the Interior Ministry set up a special command center in Moscow, packed with surveillance equipment designed to deal with street unrest. The Duma, on Kremlin instructions, added seven new articles to the criminal code. One expands the definition of high treason and espionage to include advisory “and other” assistance to foreign and international organizations; another makes “participating in mass disorders” such as the one in Vladivostok a “crime against the state.” More sinister still, defendants accused of the new crimes can only be tried by a special court of three judges, not by a jury—a system reminiscent of the Stalin-era troika courts that sent millions to the Gulag.

And like the bailouts in the US that favor wealth holders more than wage earners, “major beneficiaries of both handouts include oligarchs like MMK’s owner, Victor Rashnikov, and Russia’s current No. 1 billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, owner of the AvtoVaz auto plant.”

The PTB better realize that using the poor and bail out the insanely wealthy is a recipe for social collapse.

Can openers

March 7, 2009

You gotta have your can openers.  If you are like me you have a fair amount of canned food set aside.  I have a few different can openers.  I bought one at Walmart not that long ago.  I think I paid maybe five bucks for it.  I should have checked it out more before I bought it.  Since day one it has never worked right.  It doesn’t grab the can.

ns10You can see it has plastic handles and the knob you turn is plastic too.  It feels cheap.  It comes from China.  Mayberry had an entry on Cheap Chinese Crap.

He was right about everything he wrote.  Cheap Chinese Crap sucks.  Worst of all is that you can’t depend on it.  The rivet in the center of the Chinese can opener isn’t even a real rivet.  It’s an after thought.  Nothing is lined up right and it shows.  This simple Chinese can opener won’t even do the simply job that it’s designed for.

I twisted it a bit and ….ns11and the handle snapped right off.   I’m telling you a clam could have snapped the handle off this thing.  It’s trash and that is where it now sleeps.

Here’s the can opener that has sat in the draw for years.

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This is the one that I’ve had for years.  It’s made in the United States.  It is heavier than the one in made in China.  The handles aren’t an after thought, the rivet is a real rivet that is hammered down, the knob is metal and it’s made in the US. It’s lasted quite a while so far and still works great.

Can openers are too important to worry about saving a few bucks.  You need to have at least a bunch of good ones.  Imagine having a whole bunker of canned goods and having way to open them.  You’d have to resort to using a knife, hatchet or hack saw.   Been there and done that camping.  Someone usually ends up cutting themselves.  A lot of people seem to like the P-38s and P-51s.  I don’t get it though.  Those things are so little.  They’re fine for camping, but I’d suggest having a few regular size ones around the house.  Make sure you try out any can openers that you have.  Next can open I buy I’m going to check out better before wasting even $5.   You can feel the difference between Cheap Chinese Crap and Made In USA quality.

Get Outside Every Night.

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Went out skiing at night.  This trail is actually downhill.  You can tell by the way Green Eyed Dog is running.  The full moon is next Tuesday.  Between the moon and the light reflecting off of the snow no headlight is needed.  We were actually casting moonshadows.   I’m being followed by a moonshadow.

ns2Here’s my buddy going down another trail.  The snow was soft.   Once again this trail is much steeper than it looks.  You can see that my buddy is snowplowing.  If you don’t ski, snowplowing is when you form a V with your skis.  It’a way of slowing down and steering.  Not only is the moon waxing, but Venus is also blazing in the west sky.  You can’t let a little night darkness keep you from getting out.

School bus

March 5, 2009

It seems like whenever I drive in the morning or the afternoon I get stuck behind a school bus.  You know that feeling when you’re in a hurry and you get stuck behind the bus for what seems like three miles and 20 stops?  Why don’t kids have to walk to school anymore?  When I was in elementary school I walked 1.25 miles each way to school.  I was 6 or 7 years old and I was walking both ways to school.  Even in the winter.  When is the last time one of your lazy ass kids walked a mile?  I remember we used to try and take an unauthorized shortcut.  Even back then I hated the System and still do to this day.   It even made no sense to a six year old kid to have to take the long way. If Katie the Crossing Guard caught us taking the shorter unauthorized way there was Hell to pay.

These days you never see kids walking to school, except kids in the city.  Now it seems like every kid gets to take the bus, has a car or get his parents to chauffeur him.  What’s the problem with young Americans?  No wonder kids are so fat these days.  Walking to school is good for kids.  Kids don’t get nearly enough fresh air either today.  And not only does each kid get to take the bus, but the bus stops at the end of every kid’s driveway too.  In middle school I got to take the bus.  I hated it the whole time.  We even had to walk to the bus stop.

Which reminds me, you don’t see kids playing outside anymore either.    Sure you may see kids if they’re playing some organized sport like baseball or soccer, but I never see kids playing street hockey or capture the flag.  This isn’t good either.  My parents couldn’t drag us in from outside.

We have lost our pioneer spirit.  What lazy ass, fat, dumb American now has the guts to head out on a trip like Lewis & Clark? I read we knew more about the moon prior to Armstrong setting foot on it than Lewis & Clark knew about there destination.

We deserve what we reap.

I don’t like the whole school choice thing either.  Stop wasting money on shuttling every kid from one end of town to the other and spend the money on teachers, books and technology.   All cities and towns are poor enough, end school choice.  Even beyond the transportation issue though I don’t like school choice.  Kids should go to schools in their neighborhood.  If the local school sucks than fix it.

Stop driving your kids and make them walk or ride their bikes.    In the long run you’ll be doing your spoiled little darlings a favor.

So Bernanke comes out a week or so ago and says that the economy should turn around later this year then the Fed releases a report saying that the economy is worsening and the recession is deepening. Bernanke obviously has no idea what he is doing.  He isn’t even cognizant of what his own team is doing.  Is he tripping?

The weekly unemployment claims figure just came out – initial claims are still over 600,000 and continued claims are still over 5,000,000.  We’re supposed to be happy because they both dropped by a little bit.  Santelli had an interesting comment that although claims are the highest since 1981 (or something like that) that the workforce is much larger now than it was then.  I feel like asking him is the way we calculate unemployment the same?  No it isn’t.  The government massages the numbers down.  The good folks at Shadow Stats calculate an unemployment rate of near 18%.

My wife works with maybe eight other women.  Over the past year the husband or boyfriend of every single one of them has lost his job at some point.  Ask your own friends, family and neighbors and than let me know if you believe the BS government pablum about unemployment being at 7%.

If you’ve been paying any attention at all, which mean more attention than our Fed chairman, you know things are bad and getting worse.  Act appropriately:

  • Cut your expenses where you can
  • Diversify your income
  • Buy extra non-perishables every week – food, water, candles, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, TP, etc.
  • Stock up a bit on imported things that you buy (which means just about everything) – nothing wrong with having an extra pair or two of jeans, sneakers, boots, BVDs and jackets.
  • Get a firearm and learn how to use it
  • Learn some new skills
  • Get some camping equipment – stove, sleeping bags, tent, cookware, lantern, knives, axe, sleeping pads
  • Have an escape plan – local, state and out of state – make sure your family is in on it and knows what to do.
  • Have battery powered radio/tv/walkie talkies/flashlights and a bunch of batteries
  • Do some Internet research on Get Home Bags and Bug Out Bags.
  • Buy some extra propane or charcoal if that’s what your grill uses.
  • Get Outside Everyday!

Get out everyday!  This is the good and the ugly.

m1Here is the good.  Beautiful sunny, blue sky day.  I was skiing down this trail.  It looks steep, but it is twice as steep as it looks.  I took a good face plant.  Oh well, no falls no balls.  Believe me it was a trudge skiing to the top of the hill.  Although it was maybe 28 degrees out because the high March sun was shining the snow was sticking to the bottom of my skis.  The trail going down is on the northside so it was still fast.

This is the ugly.

m4Had to go into the city yesterday and I saw this smokestack spewing death.  The plume was blowing towards a residential area where poorer people live.  There are many three families and small apartment buildings right downwind of this balck crap.  If you want to talk about survival and you live near where something like this spews poison on you 24/7 move, at least move someplace upwind.  Forget about your survival kit and move someplace safer.

Kali

March 4, 2009

A bunch of years ago I studied this martial art called Kali.  It was strange stuff so I figured I’d write an entry about it.  Martial arts are good ways to stay in shape and learn useful skills.  Some of the more traditional martial arts even have healing systems included in them.  Big problem with all of them is if you have to pay someone to teach you.   Anyways, this Kali system is from the Philipines.  I only took it fora year or so and if you ever studied any of the martial arts you know you could do it for two lifetimes and still be a beginner.

Kali is basically stick fighting.  There are also empty hands and edge weapons training included.  You work with a partner and you do flowing drills where you try to flow seamlessly from one move into the next.  Having only done it for a year I was always one step out of time like trying to do the electric slide at a wedding.  There are single stick and double stick drills.  Each stick is made from rattan and is about two feet long.  The butt of the stick can be used to grab limbs and the tip of the stick when swung can carry good force.  One drill you may stand across from your partner who also has two sticks.  Your partner swings at you and you block the swing with you own stick and maybe strike with the stick in your other hand.  Then they block and strike.  There is a lot of footwork in Kali.  There are no single moves.  Everything is a strike, block, trap, strike.  Then you can put the sticks down and do basically the same thing with empty hands.  Because of the flowing from one move into the next it translates into a good system for self-defense.  After a while it’s almost like a dance.  The sticks click clacking against each other also have a rhythm.   So the different drills become more natural.  Ever wonder why we sing our ABCs, because it’s natural.  I also find that when I’m doing something natural instead of mechanical it’s much easier to put weight and momentum into strikes.  I still keep my sticks in the trunk of my car.  Once in a while when I’m walking away from the public’s prying eyes I’ll practice as I’m walking or work out on a tree for a bit.

Hey all martial arts are good.  We can debate about this or that, but they all have strengths and weaknesses.   Although I studied Okinawan karate with an amazing teacher, I’m not a big fan of the real traditional arts.  If you want to learn how to fight in a phone booth and make the most of hip rotation Okinawan is the way to go.  The traditional arts just seem to move too slowly for me.  Like every other aspect of my life I focus on what works and discard the rest.  If you do Brazilian Ju Jitsu don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s the end all and be all.  Ditto for MMA.  They all have rules and if you practice fighting by rules then you’ll fight for real the same way.  You have to be careful when training because muscle has memory too.  If you train to never strike to the eyes, throat or balls, if you train to not bite a chunk out of your opponent, not fishhook or not pull hair, strike to the back of the head or spine or stomp a hand then when the fighting is for real you won’t be prepared to fishhook, bite, pull hair, grab nuts and twist or strike to the eyes, nose or throat.  Do you practice finger locks and breaks?  The way you practice is the way you’ll react.

You can’t really explain Kali though so I figured I’d just post a video from YouTube.  If you watch the video try and follow the footwork, the hip rotation to get strength into strikes and the flowing from one move to the next.

Did you check out the video? Pretty cool looking stuff, huh?  I also studied Systema which is a Russian marital art taught to the Russian special forces.  This stuff was really weird.  They could use the harmonic distortion of your body to actually rub you down to the ground.  You know harmonic distortion and how vibrations get larger and larger?  Well you throw a punch and these guys that study Systema take that motion and somehow multiply it and actually rub you right down to the ground.  It’s crazy stuff.    I really enjoyed studying Kali.  It was fun.  Because you don’t fight alone, working with a partner for most drills is a good way to do things.  So get out there and practice.  Practice makes perfect.  Buy a video or two and find a partner to practice with.

Here’s a good one.  I was Getting Out Everyday and I come down this path and you see that nice old stonewall and that nice old juniper right in the center of the picture?  Well there was a herd of deer standing there staring at us.  I’d say there were probably 5-6.  I think someone spooked them and they were moving and we inadvertently headed them off at the pass.  In my experience cows are curious.  I think deer are the same way.  The deer seemed to all be looking us over.   So I’m getting my camera out and of course Green Eyed Dog can’t control himself and splits.  He chases one deer one way and the other deer go the other way.

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You can see Green Eyed Dog taking off to the left like a banshee after the deer.  If you click on the picture to expand it or look real close at the oak tree farthest to the left you can see the deer running for it’s life.  You can see it’s head and it’s hind leg.  It’s body is hidden behind the tree.  I took some other pictures, but my camera has a delay so I missed all the other deer.  The air was thick with the smell of the deer.  Have you ever been in the woods and smelled wildlife?  I’m telling you the air was thick with the scent of deer. Man, we have so many deer around here that they’re like pests.  Not a lot of people hunt here and WTSHTF I think that our game will be more plentiful in the suburbs than in the more rural areas where everything large and small will be killed, cleaned and cooked in a week.

survival fantasy

February 26, 2009

So as is the case, I Get Outside Everyday.  I was out walking the woods the other day and one of the places I go to regularly to Get Outside Everyday is a little mountain not too far from my house.  If you’ve been following my blog then you know that this place is more or less my temple/church/sacred place.  This isn’t meant to disparage your holy, special place, this is just my special space.  I have a special connection to it.  It may sound odd to you but the spirits that came before us still inhabit the place. Please don’t listen to others and kill, inhibit, depress, keep down or deny all of your animal instincts.  Learn to listen to your instincts, nurture them and allow them to grow and get stronger.  The difference between a new cop and an old cop is experience, instinct and knowing enough to listen to instinct.

Survival isn’t something that is kept in the closet till TSHTF.  If you are prepping and waiting for that one big event so you can run into your magic survivalist phone booth and emerge as Super Survival Dude with your BDUs, molle gear, battle vest, main battle rifle and 30 30 round magazines strapped to yourself well you’re missing out.

My brand of Suburban Survival is something that is thought about every second of everyday. Walking in parking garages, being out late at night, walking the woods, paying bills, food shopping, doing repairs around the house, getting the garden in, caring for animals/livestock, cooking, camping and so on.  Survival isn’t something that you wait to do or look forward to doing in the future.  Survival is everyday and every aspect of your life, or it should be.  It is for the creatures of the woods and the dog laying at your feet or the cat in your lap.  What does Forest Gump say, “survival is as survival does.”

Anyways, at the top of this mountain is a fire tower.  There is usually a hole cut into the fence so people can crawl through the hole and climb the tower to take in the view, but the government workers wired all the holes shut.  In order to gain entrance I had to crawl, shimmy under the fence.  Here’s the hole I wriggled through.  It’s less than two feet tall I’d guess.

a16

You can see the mark that I made crawling under it.  No I don’t advocate trespassing, but the way I figure the companies and government that put up this tower and fenced it in are akin to the companies and governments that took over the land of the Native Americans.  Fencing me out won’t work.  This land is my land no matter what the Deed says on it.   Don’t fence me in. I will not be denied.  Which reminds me do you have wire cutters and bolt cutters as part of your preps? If push comes to shove the ability to get in or get out could save your life.

So it got me to thinking, how many of you are prepared to wriggle through a hole in a fence or crawl through the snow? Stop and think about that.  When is the last time you did it? My point is, that it’s fine to write/blog/talk about survival and guns and shooting zombies, but if you ain’t ready, willing or ABLE to hit the snowy ground and wriggle under a fence then you are delusional.  You will become a victim or fodder.   It’s fine to have fantasies though.  And if you are too fat to crawl over or under a barb wire fence then you got other issues that need to be addressed.  Remember what happened to Ned Beaty in Deliverance.  Don’t delude yourself into thinking about being Survivor Man if you get winded going up one flight of stairs. You ain’t gonna make it.  When’s the last time you carried 20 or 30 pounds on your back, walked a few miles or even got muddy?   Face reality and recognize that you’d be better off learning a valuable skill so that others want to keep you around.  Nursing, medicine, first aid, cooking, sewing, fixing, building, growing, crafting or smithie will all make you more valuable.  Survival and survivalism isn’t blogging or surfing the Internet.  It’s tough, hard dirty work.  Having cold feet for hours on end is physically and mentally draining.  When is the last time your feet have been cold for a whole entire day? Prepare yourself for that.  Just for kicks try not to use your cell phone, television, computer, car or electricity for one single stinking day and see how you like that.

That’s all I’m saying, survival isn’t about preparing for the balloon to go up.  It’s about taking care of yourself and being able to run a mile if you have to.  It’s about having some extra stuff in storage.  It’s about being able to garden, cook, hunt, fish or defend you or yours if need be.  It’s about growing your situational awareness and animal instincts and listening to both

So I wriggle under the hole in the fence and climb up the fire tower.  It was a really nice, but very windy day.  The steps were icy and the tower was a swaying.  And because it was near sunset I was blessed with a beautiful view.

a12Because this mountain is the highest point around all of the companies have put up antennas to allow us to use our electronics.  You can see that the summit now looks like an electronic porcupine.  It was a great day and a great sunset.

So Get Outside Everyday and get muddy, crawl through the leaves, smell the woods, learn to walk with pebbles in your boots, fall down and bounce up,  skip a meal once in a while, allow yourself to get thirsty, develop some callouses.  Prepare and you will be rewarded.  Although I’m a big fan of buying stuff, preparing is more than the sum of what you can purchase.  Toughen up.

Also, saw a story in the news about  a Break-in suspect held at gunpoint by neighbor.  I like stories like this.  Mind you if the conscientious armed citizen was not there the scumbag burglar would have gotten away with it.  Get armed, learn how to use the weapons and prepare yourself to use deadly force if necessary.

There are sheep, wolves and shepherds.  Choose your own fate or have someone hand fate to you.

And here’s a blog that covers armed citizens savings lives and saving property – http://www.claytoncramer.com/gundefenseblog/blogger.html.

Time is getting short

February 24, 2009

If you have been paying attention you know time is getting short.  The president takes to the airwaves tonight to reassure us and explain his plan to deliver us from this economic morass.

Things are getting worse.  The collapse is accelerating.  I still don’t think that we are anywhere near bottom.  I hope when Obama gives his speech tonight that he explains to the catatonic American public that our economy is going through fundamental changes.  That what we are experiencing is not a regular business cycle, but a total evolution of our economic system.  Most people don’t realize it yet.  Many of you may not even agree with me.

I have a friend (actually lots of friends) but I was discussing things with my non-believer friend and I said that I only think we are about 20% of the way into the collapse/crisis/evolution and he wanted asked me how bad I thought it would get so I asked him if he’s been affected yet.  He said no.  My answer is if you haven’t been personally affected by the collapse so far then you will be.  You will be.

I do expect that at some point something is going to have to give with our currency.  It’s a weird dynamic that is created through:

  • the unbridled creation of currency;
  • fractional reserve allowances and
  • the confidence game where other countries keep buying our bonds.

So at some point do they devalue our currency?  Will this get banks to loan again?  Do the Asians stop buying our debt or begin the wholesale selling it?

I don’t know.   What I do know though is that I look at Iceland and recognize that it can happen here too.    So even though most citizens are against another bailout we get another huge bailout jammed down our throats and the throats of the yet to be born.

I basically see three options – 1. the bailouts work, 2. the bailouts don’t work or 3. there is another terrorist attack/war to divert/entertain us.

1. If the bailout works great.  We have nothing but the bill to pay.  I don’t think we will ever be able to meet the debt load but so what our economy will be saved, the stores will stay open and we can continue to buy our SUVs, Hummers and vacation homes.   I assign maybe a 5% probability of this outcome.

2. If the bailout doesn’t work then each of us is going to have to learn how to live in our yet to be born ‘new economy.’  This will mean more local food production and more local manufacturing, reuse, recycle or repair.  More folks living together.  More part-time work.  Travel and driving may become luxuries.  I assign a 55% probability to this outcome.

3. Terror attack or war.  I see this as a likely outcome.  Either would prove a useful distraction from the economic collapse, allow our government to impose additional restrictions on our freedom, right to own firearms, right to travel and communicate and also at the same time jsutify more additional spending on the Military and Police State.

Outcomes 2 and 3 can occur concomitantly.  So what to do – prepare for scarcity of goods and the further implementation of a fascist state.  More to follow.

Get outside everyday!

w2Just a sweet white burch.  These trees were magic to the Native Americans.  They supplied everything.  The seeds can be dried and pounded into a flour.  The bark is oily and makes the best firestarter and poultices were made for skin cancers.

a1I like this picture the way that each pine needle on this white pine has a little drop of water at the end of it.  It’s kind of amazing.  Each drop is the basis of life.

Bits n’ pieces

February 21, 2009

I’m sure everyone has already heard that Obama throws $75 billion lifeline to homeowners with our tax dollars. I don’t like the bailout of homeowners.  I feel bad for them.   I really do.   If your house went down in value and now you owe more than the house is worth, well that’s the market trying to reach its equilibrium.  You bought at the wrong time or borrowed too much.  If you took out a home equity loan to buy toys and electronics and now can’t meet your obligation that’s not my problem . People need to be held accountable for bad decisions that they made so economic evolution can be allowed to run its course.  There shouldn’t be any general bailout for homeowners who got in over their heads. Homeowners should declare bankruptcy and try to get a workout.  Bankruptcy judges should be allowed to reduce the debt as I believe they can generally with any debt during a bankruptcy.  If some lenders broke the law or acted unfairly then punish the lender.  I don’t like the idea that people who bought houses they couldn’t afford may be able to keep them even though they still can’t afford them while I’ve done the right thing and bought a smaller house that I can afford.

And since we’re talking about tax dollars being spent how about some more corporate welfare for KBR so the can deliver poisoned food and water to our guys and gals overseas? WTF is wrong with our government. Is slopping the war profiteers more important than the safety of our own family members?    “Saying they want more answers, U.S. Sens. Birch Bayh, D-Ind., and Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., on Wednesday said Houston-based contractor KBR Inc. allowed soldiers to be exposed to the chemical for more than two months even though KBR knew the site was contaminated, according to The Associate Press.” Bastards all of them.  Is this the best we can do for our military? Piss me off.

I saw a good article in Newsweek that reflected what I’ve always said, ‘That the myth of upward mobility is just that, a myth.’  Mr. Kotkin writes a good opinion piece.

But from the 1940s to the 1970s, the American middle class enjoyed steadily increasing incomes that stayed on a par with those in the upper classes. Since then, wages for most workers have lagged behind. This disparity is strikingly evident in income data compiled by Citigroup, which shows that the top 1 percent of U.S. households now account for as much of the nation’s total wealth—7 percent—as they did in 1913, when monopolistic business practices were the order of the day.  Their net worth is now greater than that of the bottom 90 percent of the nation’s households combined. The top 20 percent of taxpayers realized nearly three quarters of all income gains from 1979 to 2000.Even getting a college degree no longer guarantees upward mobility. The implicit American contract has always been that with education and hard work, anyone can get ahead. But since 2000, young people with college educations—except those who go to elite colleges and graduate schools—have seen their wages decline.

And why when I point out the fact that government policies have lead to these disparities am I accused of waging class warfare?  I’d say the 1% of the folks who have 90% of the income are the ones waging class warfare, not the folks losing their jobs, homes, cars and health insurance.   WAKE UP PEOPLE!

Smart little kid developed a survival shelter made from packing peanuts, plastic sheeting, tubes and special connectors.  It snaps togethere like an erector set.  This kid won $10,000 for his design.  He wants to grow up to be a biomechanical engineer or a geriatric psychiatrist.  Me too.

iglooObviously shaped like a geodesic dome.  Here’s the link to the newspaper article survival shelter.

Not sure if you heard, but there are some economic related riots in Russia.  It seems that used car salemen import used Japanese cars.  Well the Kremlin didn’t like this so they slapped down some steep tariffs on therussia3_190 imports.   The Russian used car salesmen, seeing how their livelihoods were threatened organized protests.  The Kremlin responded with force.  This picture is the shape of things to come in the US. Prepare yourself to lay low and become anonymous.  Don’t be a big mouth or the government will push you to the ground and drive your face into the pavement with its knee.

BTW the 7.62 * 39 ammo that I was paying $4.99 a box for has jumped up to $6.95.  That’s a 20% increase!!

What do you folks think of this cartoon?

deadmonkeyI don’t think it’s racist.  Just me though and I’m not black.  If anything I think that I’m more sensitive than most about diversity and what not.  When I saw this cartoon I thought the artist was saying that the stimulus bill is so bad it was written by a monkey(s).  I thought that the tshirt with a monkey on it that said Obama 08′ was in terrible taste and was racist.  This cartoon, nope.  What do you think?

And an interesting op-ed on unchecked military spending.  We are all now reaping the rewards of the confluence of the mlitary, private industry, government and Big M Media.  Big M Media gets you right where they want you with shows like: The Unit, 24 and now Homeland Security.  It’s all BS.  It all boils down to getting money out of our pockets and abrogate our constitutional rights.  We have too many foreign bases.  Our fingers are in too many cookie jars.  Our military is too large.  Being the biggest on the block makes us a target, makes us more likely to resort to military force and drains our coffers.

And  what’s up with Republicans who voted 100% against the stimulus bill now touting the $’s that will be delivered to their home districts.  This is just degenerate politics.

Went skiing.  It was a beautiful day.  It usually is when you get to ski.

w4Ski trail.  Nice huh?  It was a warm day so the snow was soft and squishy like mashed potatoes.  The trail in the top picture is actually really steep, could be a 30+ degree grade.  When the snow is soft though it’s real slow so you have to ski the steepest trails going.  I had so much fun going down this trail I think I skied back up another one or two times.

w5This is looking up another nice hill that’s great to ski down.  It was the same warm day so it’s possible to steer around the trees.  Both of these slopes face more or less north or northeast so they tend to have snow on them more consistently.

Unemployment

February 19, 2009

Okay, let’s say the Boss came into your office or asks you to come into hers and she says, ‘Well, times have been real bad.  We’ve all had to make cutbacks.’   BTW if the Boss ever shows up with someone from Human Resources don’t even wait for them to speak.  Just start packing up.

What do you do next?

I’ve been laid off a number of times.  I hate to say you get used to it.  You don’t.  It’s never easy, but there is something to be said for not being too vested in your job.   There’s also something to be said to burning bridges sometimes.  I mean who would want the bastard to have a way to get over to you.  Some bridges are best burned.  That’s just me though.  And I know it’s bad advice.

I can really feel for people, getting laid off is as shocking to a family as a death or divorce.   If you’ve been working the same job for 15, 20 or 30 years what else do you know.  You’d be like a prisoner who spent his entire adult life in prison and then upon his release steals a pack of gum to get sent back.  If you’ve been somewhere for 15+ years what else do you know?  Then if you have kids and get laid off…

Well what do you do now that you’re driving home and wondering how to tell your husband, wife, parents, girlfriend, boyfriend or roommates? Well in no particular order: collect unemployment, stay positive, assess the situation, network, budget/debt management, look for jobsdevelop a cash business, keep a schedule and exercise.

1. Collect unemployment – first things first.  Get in touch with your state’s department of employment assistance or transitional assistance or whatever government name they have for it and open a file.  if you can do it on-line then do it on-line.  If you need to do it by phone then make sure that your portable phone is fully charged before you call.  Use a speakerphone so that you can do other stuff while you wait on hold for an hour.  If they call, return their phone calls.   If you need to fill out a form or take a class then do it as fast as possible.  Keep track of who you speak with and what was said. You have time now.  If you need to keep a log of your job search then do it.   You’ll need to update your claim every week.  Make sure that you do it.  Otherwise your claim will be closed and you’ll have to start from scratch again.   Don’t ever lie to the unemployment people.  It’s a serious offense and even with everything they got going on now they like nothing better than to screw with you.  Don’t lie to them.  They have secret Government ways of finding out.  So treat collecting unemployment as a job.  You’re lucky to be getting it so make sure you do what they ask of you.  Check out what option you have for health insurance.  Maybe it’s COBRA or some state policy.

2. Stay positive – Tough to do when you’re worrying about your next meal, paying the rent or getting necessary medicine, but you have to do your best.  Maybe it’s going to church, temple or the mosque.  For me it’s walking my dog and spending time outside.  I’ve found over my short life that some people, places, events and things are energy vacuums.  You need to avoid energy vacuums.  If you know a particular person is going to give you hard time about something then avoid them.  If your mother or your ex always dumps on you then don’t give them the opportunity.  You don’t want to be sitting around all day with other unemployed people who are negative.  If they are positive and doing and going and making things happy or happening then that’s another story.  Avoid the energy sucks in your life.  You know who or what they are.

3. Assess the situation – Spend some time just figuring out where you are at and how you got there.    Where did you think you would be at this point in your life and where you are at.  What’s changed and what hasn’t.  Should you consider moving someplace different to increase your chance of finding work?  Go to school?  The state may pay.  Get some retraining or learn a new skill maybe.  Maybe you need to change your living arrangements or sell the boat and jet skis.  Don’t become an unwitting observer of your own life.

4. Network – Now is time to get out there.  Have any favors that people owe you or friends in position to hire you?  You need to speak with everyone you meet.  You never know where one simple hello may lead.  The more you do the more people you meet, so do more.  Just because you are unemployed it doesn’t mean that you should sit at home.  Volunteer at the town kennel or the senior center.  The Internet, Facebook and Myspace are great to network.    If you belong to any organizations or associations like the VFW, AmVets, Italian American Club, Masons or Order of the Arrow than work it.  Check on your fraternity brothers or sorority sisters.  Now isn’t the time to be hiding out in your mountain top bunker by yourself.

5. Budget/debt management – You have to try and get your finances in as best shape as possible.  If you have the where with all to write out a budget then do it.  Get an understanding of how much income you are taking in every month and what your monthly expenses are.  If you need to, for a week keep track of every cent you spend and write it down in a little notebook.  Set priorities for your bills and debts.  Make sure you put unsecured creditors last.  That’d be like credit card companies.  Try and figure out where you can cut back.  Forget about the coffee out everyday.   It’s bad for the environment anyways.  Forget about the lottery or going out to eat.  Only you know where you can cut back. Don’t ever go shopping without a listUse coupons if you have the patience.  Make shopping lists.  Sell your junk that is in your shed or closet.    Have a yard sale or post crap on E-Bay.

6. Look for jobs – Personally, I never like job fairs.  It’s like ants at a picnic.  Use the Internet and sites like Craigslist.org.  If you went to college check with the alumni folks at your alma mater.  Check USAjobs.gov.  Most states and municipalities are hurting, but they’re still hiring who they need.  Consider part-time work or a few part-time jobs.  I like the idea of having a number of part-time jobs, diversification of your income is good.    Looking for a job is a job.    You really should try and spend an two or three hours at least five days a week looking for a job.  It takes a lot of time and it sucks.

7. Develop cash business – If you’ve always wanted to “follow your heart” or try something different and never had the balls to actually do it, now may be the time.   I believe just about anyone can accomplish just about anything they set their mind to.  You can too.  If you’ve always wanted to write a book, become a taxidermist or whatever else it is, then think about turning it into a business.  Turn your hobbies into a business.  In our New Economy v.2 having an independent income stream will be a very good thing indeed.   Don’t get all crazy though and start spending a bunch of money you don’t have to make money.  If you plan on “investing” in tools, equipment or such for a new business, don’t do it without first developing a detailed business plan.  That said though, look around your house, you already have the tools for your hobbies, sports and recreational activities.  Teach people to tie flies.  Put in vegetable gardens for people.   Fix bicycles.  Tutor someone’s kids.   Babysit or take care of someone’s elderly parents.  Maybe run errands or clean houses.  Fix cars for folks.  Cook meals for working people so when they get home from work dinner is already made.  Specialize in small engine repair.  Catch fish and sell em to your neighbors.  Set up your own little farm stand or sell bouquets of flowers.  Maybe learn how to homebrew beer and wine.  Mow lawns or trim hedges.  Your imagination and other people’s doubts are your only limitations.  If you’ve had a desk job your whole adult life you’ll be pleasantly surprised how nice it is to do something different and maybe move around for a change.

8. Keep a schedule – You can’t be sleeping all day.  You may not have a paying job, but you can still be useful and contribute.  Try to wake up and go to bed the same times each day.  Don’t stay up all night playing video games.  Make Mondays be a drag and look forward to Fridays.  Clean the house.  Cook meals.  Go to the library.  Get out.    Keep busy and make your unemployment be like a job.  Make a schedule so you get out of the house everyday to get the newspaper, look for jobs or walk the neighborhood.  Make a list of things that need to be done around your home – filing, painting, cleaning, snaking the drains.   Have meals at regular times.  Set your alarm clock, wake up, shower and shave.  You too ladies.  You can’t start living like a pirate now, no matter how nice it sounds.  Unless of course it’s a pirate you want to be then be the best damn pirate you can, be the captain of other pirates and be a pirate’s pirate.  Anyways…

9. Exercise – This is a biggie.  You have to get some exercise everyday.  You have the time now so there is no excuse.  Exercise will relieve stress, help you sleep better and keep you healthy.  Ideally, You Get Outside Every Day so you get some fresh air and sunshine.  Walking is great exercise.  Explore trails near your house.  Do stuff around your yard.  If you are lying awake in bed at night worrying you aren’t exercising enough.

If you are not laid off yet: don’t get your personal identity from your job, arrive early, don’t surf the Net at work.  Start saving a little cash every pay period.  Pay down your secured debt as much as possible.  Whatever your job is, keep current on new trends or breakthroughs.  Take classes.  Start buying some extra food and other non-perishables like toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent and so on to store.  If you are working and having a tough time meeting your bills then make some changes while you still have steady income.  I’m not telling you what to do, but if you are still contributing to a 401k or 403b really think about what you are doing.  Especially if you are like me and don’t know what you are doing.  The days of buying and holding are behind us.

Get outside everyday!

I was out skiing.  There really isn’t much snow left but I know the last places that melt.

v3

Look how blue that sky is and the way the blue changes from kind of white near the horizon to bright blue of the heavens.  Crazy.  Anyways, this big field is actually sort of a bowl.  It doesn’t look very steep, but I guarantee if you aren’t a good cross country skier you will fall.  So when I ski this area I kind of follow the tree line on the left down to the bottom of the little slope.  At the bottom of this little hill is a good size pond.  It’s out of the picture to the right.  Then I ski back up and ski down again a bunch of times.

So at the bottom of the hill lo n’ behold what do I see………………but a………………

v5Chicken of the Woods! I don’t eat the stuff, but it is a good find nonetheless.  Believe me, what I eat is directly related to my level of hunger.  No offense, but I would eat you too if I was hungry enough.  And I would expect no less from you.  Anyways, Chicken of the Woods is pretty unique looking as far as wild edible mushrooms go.  I’m not one to collect mushrooms, but there really isn’t anything else that looks like this that is poisonous.   They grow on trees, even dead trees.  They’re orange and yellow.  They don’t have gills.  They’re best to eat when young.  You can cut the edges off of them.  That’s where the best taste is.  I read that you should avoid the ones that grow on conifers.  As with all wild edibles, test them first before eating in quantities.

YOU GOTTA DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH though until you are comfortable with what you know.  Don’t Eff around with mushrooms.  You have to put in the research time or you could die, and then what good will all those high capacity magazines do for you? Just kidding.  You  can keep them ………..for now.

v7Here’s another picture.  You’ve seen these haven’t you?  Google Chicken of the Woods and then commit it to memory.

Lists

February 15, 2009

All good preppers need lists.  You shouldn’t go to the supermarket without a list.  Lists will help you to minimize or eliminate impulse purchases.  Food gets eaten.  Bandaids get used.  Ammo gets shot.  You need a way to keep track of what you’ve used and what you need.  If you go through your equipment, gear or supplies you may find out what else you need.  Add it to your list.   I hate shopping so to eliminate wasteful trips to the store I’ll keep a list so when I go to the sporting goods store, the gun store or Walmart I know exactly what I need to buy.  A list will save you money and time.

I organize my food shopping list in the same order as the store.  That way when I get to the frozen food aisle I don’t have to go back to the produce aisle.  You should organize all your stuff by date so the oldest stuff gets used first.  When you are organizing you may find that you have less shells or oil than you thought you did.  Add it to the list.

I also like the idea of a Bug Out List.  I don’t have unlimited resources so it’s impossible for me to have seconds and thirds of every item in my shop, another set in the car, another set in the Bug Out Bag and another set in my camping gear.  My tools are spread all over the place.   Then I got my sheds and the garage too.  My big first aid kit is in the bathroom closet.  Coleman fuel is in the shed.  I got stuff everywhere.

The point is, if you need to split because of some natural disaster or because your home/neighborhood becomes dangerous you need to be able to grab what you need, pack it in your car and hit the road before everyone else does.   When you are under stress and rushing it is not the time that you want to be running around wondering what you need to grab.  If I had to bug out there is no way that I could grab everything that I wanted to bring with me without leaving something behind.

So the solution is to keep a Bug Out List. I keep mine near my bug out Rubbermaids.  I keep it thumb tacked to the wall with a pen nearby so that I can add stuff to the list right when I think of it.

Anything that you keep somewhere other than your bug out equipment needs to be added to your Bug Out List.  I don’t care if you know what you need to grab.  Stress and adrenaline plays games with our monkey brains and you will forget something.

Things on my Bug Out List:

  • first aid kit
  • sharpening stones
  • Coleman fuel and cans of propane
  • prescriptions, extra glasses, vitamins (you have vitamins as part of your preps, right?)
  • bow saw, axe, maul
  • food – don’t forget veggie oil – keep empty milk crates or Rubbermaids or whatever so that you can throw some cans/boxes/bags right in the containers.
  • pots/pans
  • kitchen knives, cutting boards, spices/herbs/salt/pepper
  • stored water
  • gasoline jugs
  • extra clothing
  • extra blankets, sleeping bags
  • cooler
  • camping chairs
  • turkey fryer
  • Coleman stove
  • walkie talkies
  • gun accessories – holsters, cleaning equipment
  • toilet paper
  • precious metals and stored cash that you may have hidden around your home
  • laptop and charger
  • cell phone chargers
  • your jump drive that has copies of all your important documents
  • your important documents – passport, birth certificate, insurance policies out of state gun or hunting licenses
  • tent(s)
  • address book – so if you’re away from home you can still call friends and family.  You might even have to call someone out of state or the country to arrange a place you can bug out to.
  • stored water
  • your GPS
  • extra batteries
  • pet stuff – unless you already have dog food, dog bowls, leashes and your dog’s Valium already in your Bug Out Bag.

Then you need to practice loading everything at least once or twice so you know for sure what you can and can’t fit in your car.  Then based on your actual Bug Out practice you can prioritize things.  If you’ve been prepping any amount of time you know that lists are never finished.  They just keep changing.  That’s like the Prepper’s Prayer, “May my list never be completed.  May my list always need work.  May my lsit drive me to strive to work towards the things that will save us.”

News of the day-

Are you guys familiar with Mike Morgan’s Blog?  Mike is one smart cookie and he understands finance and commerce like few others.  Mr. Morgan called the collapse and he is still able to make a buck trading.

“It is time to start pushing more money into short positions and gold. When the weather breaks this summer, I believe we will see riots. I have said that before, and each day I see things like this, I grow more certain of what I see coming. Please brace yourselves, because it is just now beginning. Look around the world. More than 100 dead in economic riots in Madagascar. How about Latvia, Greece, Connecticut, France, Russia, Chicago, China, Spain protests. When it comes down to food for your children or killing someone that stole from you, so you can feed your children . . . what do you think is going to happen?”

A Salam Alaikum.

Get outside everyday.

Some days are sunny and warm your body and soul.

min13

If you look real close way at the back of this field towards the right you can see an real old farmhouse.  It’s probably 300 years old.  People much richer than the original farmer who lived there now live there.

p1010004Other days are cloudy and warm your body and soul.   Really though the more you get out the less the weather will bother you.  You’ll learn how to dress the right way and even rainy cold days will be good days to get outside.

Revolving doors

February 14, 2009
lynn

Deputy Defense Secretary Lynn

This one makes me puke.  Really.  The more things change the more they stay the same.  “In yet another violation of Barack Obama’s “strict ethics rules banning lobbyists from his administration, the U.S. Senate has confirmed a major defense industry lobbyist to be second in command at the Pentagon. The nation’s new Deputy Secretary of Defense, William Lynn, comes directly from the lucrative world of big time lobbying for the world’s largest missile manufacturer, Maryland-based Raytheon Co. Incidentally, Raytheon happens to be one of the Pentagon’s biggest missile suppliers thanks greatly to Lynn’s efforts.

Prior to registering as a lobbyist Lynn worked as the Comptroller at the Pentagon under President Clinton.  So he’s in government, then lobbying for private interests and now back in government.  That’s just not right.  There needs to be some sort of time exclusion that prevents people from dancing between public and private interests.

WTF! WTF! WTF! Business has such a stranglehold on our government that We The People are being chokedBusiness as usual in DC for those whom we elect to represent US.  WTF!?!

changePutting a former lobbyist in charge of which defense contractors get what plum contract is one thing that both Republicans and Democrats agreed on, “was confirmed by a vote of 93 to 4 on Wednesday.”

They can’t agree on ANYTHING else, but when it comes time to putting a fox in charge of the chickens at least 93% of them agree it’s a good idea.  Of course, because it’s all about the money.  Money talks and BS walks.

At least one senator wasn’t happy, “Grassley, who voted against confirmation, called into question Lynn’s work as Pentagon comptroller during the Clinton administration. As chief financial officer, Lynn “advocated very questionable accounting practices that were obviously not in the public interest,” Grassley told his colleagues on the Senate floor.

Don’t be fooled by the differences between the two major American political parties.  There is no difference in the things that really matter.  Everything else is a wedge issue for those driven by their own ideology.  Don’t vote for ANY Dems or any Repubs.

And Carl Levin on the subject says that, “Lynn’s situation “is not unique,numerous nominees to senior positions in prior administrations, including nominees as secretary of defense, have served in similar industry positions.”  Yeah, that’s comforting.  How about a little oversight Mr. Levin.

And President’s Eisenhower’s Military Industrial Complex Speech, which I would argue is actually now the military/industrial/media/government complex.  There is a revolving door from government to business to media to government to media to business.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Stimulus

February 12, 2009

This is unreal, “Officials estimated it would mean about $13 a week more in people’s paychecks this year when withholding tables are adjusted in late spring. Next year, the measure could yield workers about $8 a week.

As usual congress would be better off not doing anything at all then bestowing this grand and luminous generosity upon us workers.  The bankers seemed to get their Billions in bailouts forthwith.  The bill that is supposed to be a bailout for, as they say, The Real Economy, on the other hand languishes, get cut back and when they finally come up with something it’s a (pardon the profanity) freaking poke in the eye.

The bankers and money changers get Billions from The People and AIG spends the money on some fancy junket and the bankers give out Billions of The People’s money in bonuses to the very same ones that got us in this mess and CitiBank spends $50 Million of The People’s money on a fancy jet plane.

Talk about a poke in the eye.

As is   ALWAYS the case, the top of the pyramid gets steak and We The People get tubesteak.  You know what, the government can keep my $8 or $13.  They can keep it in rolls of pennies so that they can shove it up their ass.   I hope the rolls of pennies get shoved so far up their asses that it chokes them.

And why is that scumbag Bernie Madoff able to sit home comfortable in his penthouse and have his wife withdraw millions in stolen funds instead of being in jail?

And poor people or people of color hit up against the Three Strikes and you’re out law and:

As a result, some defendants have been given sentences of 25 years to life in prison for such crimes as shoplifting golf clubs (Gary Ewing, previous strikes for burglary and robbery with a knife), nine videotapes (Leandro Andrade, received double sentence of 25 year-to-life for 2 counts of shoplifting), or, along with a violent assault, a slice of pepperoni pizza from a group of children (Jerry Dewayne Williams, four previous non-violent felonies, sentence later reduced to six years). In one particularly notorious case, Kevin Weber was sentenced to 26 years to life for the crime of stealing four chocolate chip cookies (previous strikes of burglary and assault with a deadly weapon).[9] However, prosecutors said the six-time parole violator broke into the restaurant to rob the safe after a busy Mother’s Day holiday, but he triggered the alarm system before he could do it. When arrested, his pockets were full of cookies he had taken from the restaurant.

I’ll tell you why, and it may sound communosocialist, because as long as there have been haves and havenots the former have always waged war against the latter.  There are two systems in America and depending upon your tax bracket it places you in one system or the other.  They talk about a cast system in India or a lack of upward economic mobility in Great Britain, well in the US don’t let the occasional Horatio Alger story fool you.  It is damn near impossible to move ahead.

By international standards, the United States has an unusually low level of intergenerational mobility: our parents’ income is highly predictive of our incomes as adults. Intergenerational mobility in the United States is lower than in France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Among high-income countries for which comparable estimates are available, only the United Kingdom had a lower rate of mobility than the United States.

Did you see the market close today?  Did you see the last 1/2 hour of trading?  The market opens down 100 points then falls another 100 points over the course of the day.  Than magically somehow 1/2 hour before close we get a 200+ point spike.

fileReally an unbelievable spike seeing how no special big earnings news was released.  What caused the market to fly up like that.  I’d guess that the President’s Working Group (“The Plunge Protection Team”) was at it again trading in the markets to prop up the corpse that is the US economy.   Lord knows that there needs to be support at the 7800-7850 range.  Or else….


I don’t buy it.  Trade at your own risk

Now in terms of survival, we all know that the collapse is accelerating.  There was a good post on Bison’s blog the other day about shopping on as if there may not be a tomorrow to shop.  This makes sense to me.  I expect scarcity of goods and scarcity of value in the American $ to both increase.  Buy now while US$’s are still accepted and the shelves are stocked.

q6So beautiful that it looks fake, but it’s not.  Just get outside everyday.  If I don’t so something outside everyday, within two days I’m jonesing like a crack addict.

q1Frozen lake through the woods.

City or country?

February 7, 2009

Bits n’ pieces -

Good piece on the Preparing for Tyranny blog about universal health coverage or single payer health care.  I am in favor of a single payer system.  Insurance companies are leeches standing between providers and consumers of services, sucking off resources that should be going to health care.  Anyways, read his thoughtful entry.  Here in the northeast we take freedom and liberty seriously.

Also, interesting article on the death/murder of 84 infants due to poisonous teething formula.  Imagine losing a baby because the teething formula was poisoned.

Okay then City or Country?

There was a letter on the Rawles’ website the other day from the owner of the the blog Surviving the Day After that basically chastised people for living in urban or suburban areas.  In other words if you didn’t live in the middle of nowhere than you were doomed. And if you didn’t head for the hills, leave the cities was the cry, then you’d be swept up in disaster and death.

Now seeing how this blog is Suburban Survival for the Simple I figured that I’d try to engage in some analysis.  Maybe we can look at some weaknesses and strengths of both.

I figure there’s maybe a handful of things that can happen that will cause total breakdown of society.  You got ya nuclear, biologic and chemical attacks.   I figure this would be over a limited area.  One, two, three cities?  Then you got ya plagues and flu epidemics, maybe throw in the Black Plague because those naughty boys have been playing with it.  Maybe fly in 5, 10 or 15 infected terrorists on different planes.  I guess that could spread and cause widespread panic, maybe martial law too. Than you got your EMP attacks.

All in all though I don’t see a complete breakdown.  Stores will be open, maybe with less selection, and definitely fewer stores.   I think mail will still be delivered.  Banks will still process payments.  The police, courts and jails will all be functioning.  Gas stations will be pumping gas.  What we do to put food on the table may change, but life will go on.  The medium of exchange we use may change, but the result will be the same.  Lawyers will definitely still be billing.  Carpenters building and teachers teaching.  World Keep On Turning.

Work > Earn > Build/Make > Buy/Barter

Most likely outcome is a continued slow economic slide lasting for years.  Maybe a decade before everything shakes out into our New Grand Economy.  More people living together.  More people working in agriculture and food production.  More local manufacturing.  Less driving and deliveries.  That’s all a different post though.

Like I said though if the mushroom cloud goes up, who knows.   Or if some pandemic spreads you wouldn’t want to be in population centers.  You can’t live your life in fear though.  Be prudent at all times, but we can’t make decisions based on fear.  Otherwise, if you jump in over your head too soon you could end up like those two in Montana.  They ran out of food.  She froze to death.  He was rescued by the sheriff.  He had lots of guns, but no food!!

Rule: if a nuclear bomb goes off in your city, town or village you don’t want to be there.

Rule: if there is a pandemic you want to avoid other people.

If you already live in the city or the burbs you already have a circle of friends and maybe family.  Having a support system is critical.  No way would you want to leave your friends and family during a time of crisis unless that location was dangerous.  In the city/burbs you have many more neighbors than you would in the country.   So you know your neighbors.  Hopefully they’re friends of yours.  Maybe you borrow tools from each other or can look out for each others stuff.   I think you’re better off staying where you know folks than running to a place full of untrusting strangers that probably won’t be too happy to see another refugee arrive to town.  No matter where you are knowing your neighbors is critical.  I know when I see strangers on my street I pay attention and am watching out for my neighbors’ houses, kids, cars and stuff.  I saw a neighbor’s car get hit and then the driver drove away.  I got the license plate and gave it to my neighbor who then called the cops.

Rule: It’s good to be where you know people.

Ditto for the neighborhood.  I’ve lived in this town for the better part of 45 years.   I know the streets, roads, sidewalks and deadends.  I know the hills and hollows.  I know the rivers and streams.  I could bug out of town and know how to avoid roads.  I know what rivers to float down  and where the falls are.

Rule: It’s good to know the terrain and geography.

I know the parks, libraries, hospitals, schools, stores and mechanics.  Better yet I know what merchants/doctors/restaurants/mechanics/stores/gas stations are good to go to and who to avoid.   You wanna run somewhere strange and not know where to get stitches, the best burger and beer, find town hall and police or get ripped off by some strange mechanic/dentist/lawyer/tradesperson that you don’t know?  Called the mechanic today, ‘you’ve been here before right?’ ‘yup, like 20 years.’

Rule: It’s good to know the people that you do business with.

Rule: It’s good to know where critical services are located.

Now let’s figure that you live in the middle of nowhere.  I’m not sure that the libraries will stay open.  How about that fire department, cops and schools.  Sure in the cities and burbs we’ll see a reduction in municipal services, but we won’t see the total disappearance of services.   The trash will still get picked up, maybe not as often, but it will get picked up.  How about snow plowing city v. country.   Then you got your medical services.  In the burbs and cities there is a large choice of providers.  Chances are they all aren’t going to fold up and close.  Out in the hinterlands if you only have one MD for 40 square miles then you ain’t too well diversified.  You don’t want your healthcare to get Madoff’ed.  The hospital here is close by and will stay open.

If the power lines go down, the telephone lines fall, the gas main break, the water pipes break which area will be fixed first?  I think you know the answer.

I can also see the delivery of food and other products breaking down the farther you move away from population centers.  I’m not sure if the tractor trailers are going to keep rolling quite as often anywhere.  So how often is that little country store that only 10 miles up from you going to get restocked, or the tanker trucks coming.  You can be certain the the majority of goods will be delivered to the more populated places more consistently.  It makes good economic sense doesn’t it?  That’s what I would do if I was in charge of logistics.

Rule: centers of population will get restocked more frequently, more resources will be allocated to them and municipal services may be more dependable than in rural areas

Boy if the price of gas ever goes up again… and I’d say the chance of that is a near perfect 100%, the further away that you live from where you need to go whether it’s the grocer, banker, USPS or your jay-oh-bee then the more the price of gas hurts.  When the cost of transportation is high then it’s good to live in close proximity to what you need.   Think where you’d rather live when gas hits $4, $5, $8 a gallon.  And it will.

I can walk to a hardware store, big grocery, church, a few small convenient stores, drug store, liquor store, sporting good store, USPS and so on.  I can ride my bike to just about anything you can imagine.

Rule: oil still has a world of upward potential as oil becomes more scarce driving may become a luxury for only the very rich.  Driving 30, 40 or 50 miles to the store, the job or the movies will be a rare event indeed.  I agree with Kunstler that the days of happy motoring are approaching an end.

If you don’t read Kunstler he is a must read.

My little town has its own bus that runs around.  Many urban/sub-urban places have buses, trains and subways that you can get around on.  Maybe even a cab service.  In the Hinterlands?  Not so much.

Then I imagine for the few jobs that do remain most of them will still be where most of the people are.  Lose you job out in the wild blue yonder and it make take a while longer to find a new one than in a more populated area.

Rule: the availability of public transportation is a large consideration.

Rule: the majority of jobs will continue to be where the majority of people are

Rule: if you want to develop your own business showing folks how to tie flies, plant gardens, repair bikes, watch/teach their kids or handy man business you will have a greater chance of success with a larger available market.

If you’re familiar with Ferfal’s blog then you know he writes with a first hand experience of what the decade long economic collapse of Argentina has been like.  A point he always makes is that there are home invasions in the city and in the country.  The difference is that in the country no one hears your yells so the criminals have more time to do the worst things imaginable to your family and you.  The city and country both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Rule: learn from the experiences of those who went before you and follow in their footsteps.  Learn from their mistakes.

Rule: the actual collapse of an advanced economy like Iceland or Argentina haven’t yet digressed in a Rabid Biker Zombie shoot em up.  Who knows about the future though.

Rule: due to concealability handguns seem much more useful during an economic collapse than rifles

It takes quite a few people to set up 24/7 guards and/or patrols.   The more you have and the more it’s spread out the tougher it is to protect.  If you own a large ranch or farm with equipment spread out over a wide area you may have a tough time protecting your crops, livestock, equipment and even metal pipes and fences from looters and thieves.

Rule: the more spread out you are the more difficult to defend

Rule: to defend a large homestead you would need a large number of people.

Rule: one or two families in a cabin in the woods can be waited out or burned out

Now ideally I think you’d have a number of places that you could bug out to if need be.  I live in the suburbs, but maybe it would be good to have some land, friends or family in a more rural area.  Ideally a few locations to run to in different parts of the country.  Be even better if you know some people in a foreign country that you could run to if need be.  That’s why I tell folks to Get Your Passport even if you don’t plan on going anywhere.  Better to have it and not use it then not being able to leave as quick as possible if the gates start slamming down.  You know how slow the folks at the USPS can move so get that paperwork moving along.  The regulations are changing in four months so get your passport now.

Rule: wherever you live be prepared to run to a few other locations

I don’t mean to rag on country places.  Having some land in the country and building a cabin is the dream of just about everyone isn’t it?  Although I have access to a trailer and some land in the North Country.  It’s not just to bug out too.  It’s a vacation place too.  I would like to buy some acreage and build my own low impact woodland home on it.  Check out the link there are plans.

Here is a pic of the front and the inside of what I’d like to eventually build.

front

wide2
I just want to point out that one setting may not be right for everyone.

Rule: And it doesn’t matter where you live as long as you Get Outside Everyday.

News and rants post

February 6, 2009

Just a general post of different news and thoughts.

720c4e6d5a_020409mccant1

The Perp

Follow up to the no torture blog from a few days back.  Hey I’m in favor of the death penalty and vigilante justice if you can be 100% certain that you have the right guy.  Yesterday there was a story on the news about some jerk that started hassling and groping some young woman on a bus. Then when she got off the bus the jerk followed her.  Luckily the bus driver helped the woman and prevented anything worse from happening.  I am a strong supporter of the rule of law and due process, but here we know we got the right guy.  I say beat the hell out of him so he never will consider committing the same transgression again.  It saves time and money and will get the job done.  I know I would have liked to put my heels to his head.

Fortunately, if someone isn’t caught red-handed in the act we have to let the wheels of justice slowly spin and hope that the courts, judges, jury, lawyers and witnesses all coalesce correctly so that the guilty are punished and the innocent are freed.

Which gets me back to the torture policy of the last administration and some Americans too.  There’s the sorry story of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen that was picked up in New York by the US government.  Because we can’t even manufacture paperclips any longer in the US, we also outsource torture, so We the People sent Mr. Arar to Syria where he was held incommunicado and was tortured for a year.  We The People illegally kidnapped some guy, sent him to a foreign land and had him tortured.

Or another legal resident of the US, Ali Saleh al-Marri who has been detained since 2001 AS A WITNESS.  Maybe he’s guilty of something and should be put to death, but we just don’t know because the government refuses to charge him or present any evidence.

Then there’s the case of another Muslim, Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen on vacation who was taken off of a tour bus, sent to Afghanistan and then beaten by CIA interrogators for a year.

That’s not the end of it, “In recent years, well over 100 people have disappeared or been “rendered” all around the world. Witnesses tell the same story: masked men in an unmarked jet seize their target, cut off his clothes, put him in a blindfold and jumpsuit, tranquilize him and fly him away.

And another, the CIA kidnapping a guy right off the streets in Italy.

No American should be pleased by these actions of our government.  How hard is it to imagine our government doing the same to any of us?  Believe me it’s a small step.  Today it’s Them.  Tomorrow it’s US. Trust me on this.

Don’t become desensitized to Our Government grabbing people, drugging them, sending them to some weird outpost and torturing them.  Today it’s Them.  Tomorrow it’s US.  Trust me on this.

Tomorrow it’s US.

Speaking of fascist Republicans, “Under a series of secret orders, Bush authorized the NSA for the first time to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mails between the United States and a foreign country without any court review.  The law creating the court, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, made it a federal crime—punishable by up to five years in prison—for any official to engage in such surveillance without following strict rules, including court approval.”  Here is a good story how a fascist government reacts to whistle blowers, “18 FBI agents—some of them wearing black flak jackets and carrying guns—showed up unannounced at Tamm’s redbrick colonial home in Potomac, Md., with a search warrant.

And since I’m on our country’s rapid slide into fascism, let’s not forget the treatment of Jose Padilla.  Not doubt Mr. Padilla is a despicable character, but he was held without being charged and then administered mind altering drugs.  Free countries don’t hold suspects indefinitely without being charged or administer  psychotropic or hallucinogenic drugs to prisoners or accidentally (of course) destroy tapes of the interrogation.

Read this, “Fascist America, in 10 easy steps.”

Are you worried yet, or do you defend these intrusions in exchange for an ethereal breath of fleeting safety?

Then I’m liking this Obama thing restricting the pay of the executives whose organizations receive taxpayer bailout funds.  “President Barack Obama on Wednesday imposed a $500,000 cap on senior executive pay for the most distressed financial institutions receiving taxpayer bailout money…”  I like that.  I don’t expect it to make a difference, but it feels good.  Ska-rew the banks.  If people that get welfare or food stamps lose their rights, told how to spend their money or give up their privacy rights, then inanimate corporations should be held to the same freaking standard.

I screwed up.”President Obama speaking about his nomination of that feckless and feeble Tom Daschle.  It’s nice to hear someone admit to a mistake so frankly.   Remember when a reporter asked President Bush to cop to a mistake that he made and Bush replied, I wish you’d have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it,” Bush chuckled. After assuring the reporter that “something will pop into my head,” he finally gave up, admitting, “I’m not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.”

My thought has always been that you need to be able to recognize mistakes in order to take corrective action.  If it makes sense, someone that is never wrong can never be right.  Anyways, I like having a president that can say, “I screwed up.”  Talk about the buck stopping there.  It’s about time.

And then on the other hand I can’t tolerate the revolving door between the government/military/industry and media.  Raytheon lobbyist picked for deputy Defense post. WTF!?!?!  The guy who was Raytheon’s top lobbyist is nominated by President Obama to decide what military contractors will win the bids.  Doesn’t that just reek of corruption?  It’s wrong.  It’s thievery.  It’s piracy.

Add why does it seem like everyone Obama appoints has tax problems? WTF.  First there was Daschle or Dickless as I like to call him.  Now it’s his labor secretary. Why isn’t anyone doing any kind of due diligence and vetting on Obama’s appointees?  It doesn’t give me much confidence in the runnings of the new administration.  It’s just two weeks yester.

A few reasons why I believe in a graduated tax are because those who make more can afford more, sorry folks that’s the way it is.  Trying to pay 10% of $1,000,000 and live on the $900,000 is a helluva lot different than making $10,000 and trying to live on $9,000.  Also, those who benefit the most from our system should pay the most.  You’re free to disagree,

Now why does it seem that those who make the most are able to pay the least and cheat on their taxes the most?

Have you heard Billionaire Buffet lament that he pays a lower effective rate than his secretary and his cleaner.  Is that fair? NO! NO! NO!  He benefited more.  He should pay more.

Why should unearned income be taxed at a lower rate than wages?  Why should FICA have a cap at $80,000?

I’ll tell you why………….because the millionaires and billionaires can afford lobbyists, lawyers and tax accountants.  Why do you think Billionaire Steve Forbes is pushing the flat tax?  Do you think it’s because he loves the welfare recipient or the factory line worker?

The next time you listen to Rush and he’s pushing some tax cut or change to the system please call him and ask him how much $ he stands to gain then ask how much $ your family stands to gain.   Rush received MILLIONS in tax cuts while getting his hourly wage slave listeners to support them.  You’re a bunch of rubes.  More below.

The collapse accelerates.  Weekly jobless claims were released, 626,000 Americans were laid off last week. That’s ain’t just a number.  That’s 626,000 families whose lives were overturned last week.  Think about that.  People worried about paying rent/mortgage, putting gas in their tank, food in their bellies or shoes on their kids feet.  This is serious, serious stuff. Economics is more often the cause of revolution than politics and liberty.

Wasn’t the American Revolution v.1 fomented more by taxation and unfair market protection for the East India Trading Company then any grand experiment in democracy?  Thoughts?

Concerning the acceleration, The US president Barack Obama says more American banks will collapse as a result of the global financial crisis.”

Inflation/Deflation blah, blah, blah.  At some point inflation is going to come back worse then ever.   You can’t run the printing presses and sell bonds like the US has without a future inflation.  I liked this video that explains a good metric to use to track trends.  It’s a short video and worth watching. Got silver?  Got gold? I’m not saying to buy PM’s because they do seem historically high to me right now.  I wish I bought 10 years ago, but I do think there is a lot of eventual upside to them.

The market is currently up over 100 points and why not weekly jobless claims jumped and retailers are biting the dust. (sarcasm) If you have any money in equities I hope it’s gambling money or you know something the rest of us don’t.  Oh sure, it’s bumping up due to the wish of more federal bailout monies for the banks that now need a bailout after Years and Years and Years of record profits.  I’d say it’s time for the shareholders to take it on the chin not the taxpayers.   The stock market is irrational.

We have not hit bottom yet.  The Elliot Wave gang is saying that we may fall to 5,000.  I’m not sure how much stock (pun intended) I put into Wave analysis, but I don’t think we’re near bottom.  Still an interesting tool to use for analysis.

Cheney is back doing what he does best, and enjoys most, building fear up in the American people.  Boo! the bad guys are trying to kill us.  Be very afraid.

Doesn’t Cheney have anyone else to shoot in the face?  BTW I do hold Cheney accountable for shooting his hunting companion.  I don’t care if his victim forgave him.  When you shoot you have to know what’s behind your target.

Why doesn’t Cheney go back to what he does best and lay some people off.  Although the Republicans have done a great marketing job of painting the Dems as being responsible for defense cutbacks, as SecDef, “Over Cheney’s four years as secretary of defense, encompassing budgets for fiscal years 1990-93, DoD’s total obligational authority in current dollars declined from $291.3 billion to $269.9 billion. Except for FY 1991, when the TOA budget increased by 1.7 percent, the Cheney budgets showed negative real growth: -2.9 percent in 1990, -9.8 percent in 1992, and -8.1 percent in 1993. During this same period total military personnel declined by 19.4 percent, from 2.202 million in FY 1989 to 1.776 million in FY 1993. The Army took the largest cut, from 770,000 to 572,000-25.8 percent of its strength. The Air Force declined by 22.3 percent, the Navy by 14 percent, and the Marines by 9.7 percent.

Slowly now – under Bush 41 and Cheney the Marines were cut 10%, the Navy 14%, the Air Force 22% and the Army 26%.  Got that!?!

And Clinton got blamed!! And you believed the Republican Media!! Hahaha!! Marketing con jobs don’t equate with the truth.  Does the truth hurt you? The other side is that Clinton got credit for the peace dividend and the budget surplus that came about partly due to Cheney’s cuts as Secdef.  BTW I was in favor of the cutbacks and base closings.  I still think our military is at least 50% larger then it should be.

Yup, the military is too big.  It’s corporate welfare with hardly any return or multiplier effect to the common cause. There was a reason that the framers were against standing armies because, “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.

It’s my sincere belief that if the military is too large we will be too anxious to use it.

And of course the bailout of the banks got screwed up.  “The Bush administration received assets that were worth $78 billion less than the amount it invested as part of the massive infusion of capital into the country’s banks, congressional investigators have found.”

Let’s blame it on Obama and his Soo-shall-ism.

Let’s just give the richest 1% of Americans more of our hard earned money and call it a day.  We don’t need our government to do it.  “Not since the ’20s has income inequality been this great.”  It’s not a mistake.  This is what tax cuts do.  The richest 1% get filet mignon and you get tube steak.  And you bought it!

Glen Beck is a weird creature.  I don’t have an opinion on him.  I like some of the crap he spouts and dislike some of his spew.    I don’t think that Glen Beck is a great or deep thinker.  He’s more an opinion man and shoots from the hip.  I saw a transcript from his show the other night saying that Obama is fear mongering.  Maybe so, but I’ve yet to hear the vision of mushroom clouds or UAV’s spraying bugs over American cities used to lead us into the wrong war at the wrong time.  I’ll just rebut a few things that Mr. Beck spoke about.  To quote Dick Armey, ‘a jackass can bring down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to put one up.’  BTW I don’t like Armey.  He’s wrong about almost everything.  I wrote him a letter one time telling him that he was wrong about everything.  He actually responded with a thoughful, well-reasoned personal letter back to me.  For that I admire and respect the man, in spite of my disagreements with him.

1. The recession will last for years.  We may face a decade like the Japanese did or worse we may face an Argentinian or Icelandic style breakdown.  Fear mongering to point that out?  Would you rather have a president that tells you to go shopping and act as if nothing has changed?  Remember two weeks after 9/11 Bushie told us to go to Disney World and visit the malls?

Which do you want to be told to go shopping or that the country is facing big problems?

2. Beck complained about the cancellation of oil leases.   Good.  I would have canceled them years ago or charge the companies what they should be paying.    What lies on the people’s common land is for the common good.  It’s not to be sold or leased to private concerns at below market rates in order to enrich private ownership.  And don’t forget that the government overseers were doing coke and were actually in bed (having sex) with those they were supposed to oversee.  Cut the oil companies off from the leases is my opinion. Ska-rew them too!

3. I don’t begrudge the money for the WIC program.  This is money for hungry woman and little kids.  It’s better than bonuses for the guys that drove the banks into the ground.  More people need help now than a year ago.  These monies make a difference on the poorest streets of America.  Why do Republicans hate food, medicine and shelter for the hungry, sick and cold?

4. Money for jobs for people is okay with me.

5.  Money for university building projects is okay with me.  Educational facilities have a big payback to a society.

6. $500 Mill for the NIH is reasonable.  Think if some flu bug got going and the NIH wasn’t funded, do you think Beck would complain?

7. $1Bill for the Census seems good.  They Census hires lots of people and this money will be injected right back into the economy.  Seems like a better bet considering how we gave the banks much more than that and the banks aren’t making loans or even telling us what they did with the money.

8. $89 Bill for Medicaid.  I don’t begrudge money spent on healthcare.  Medicaid helps millions of people.  We need to remove healthcare from employment.  If you don’t agree with me now, you will when your wife or you loses your job.  And at least one of you will!

9. $36 Bill for COBRA coverage.  COBRA helps people who got laid off.  I know people that are making use of COBRA.  With unemployment spiking the way it it this seems like a good use of funds.  Any of you know someone making use of COBRA?  Money for kids’ healthcare is good too.  Look at number 8 again.

10.  $20 Bill for more food stamps seems good to me to when so many people are hurting.  Once again this is money that will be injected right into the corner store or bodega.  Twice again why do Republicans hate giving food to the hungry?

11.  Begrudge more money spent on Amtrak?  This is what I mean, is Beck just stupid?  Ahhh, due to Peak Oil we need to spend much, much more money on mass transit.   Why does Beck throw darts at more money being spent on mass transit?

12. Money spent on ice breakers.  Beck is like a six year old.  The ice doesn’t just disappear overnight.  Because the ice is melting many more ships are taking the short route through the poles.  There is a big race on to also claim resources under the ice. An icebreaker will help commerce to keep moving.  Just last week a ship was rescued by an icebreaker.

13.  $150 Mill for producers of livestock, fish and bees seems like a good investment to me.  What’s more important than securing our supply of food?  How fast do you think Beck would blame the government when the food supply dries up or the food chain breaks down?

14. Beck goes on to deride money spent on alternative energies, green technologies and conservation measures.  Sensible investments and the manufacture of high tech batteries  could employ thousands in the coming years.

He closes by asking if anyone else is insulted.  Yeah I’m insulted by Beck’s stupidity and shortsightedness.  It’s easy to throw stones and not so easy to come up with ideas to fix problems.  Beck is a moron.  Might be fun for entertainment, but it’s a good thing he’s not setting policy.  His thoughts are an inch deep and as wide as the Mississippi.

In the end we get the government that we deserve. Some good Mencken quotes on government.

Get outside everyday.  A healthy heart will do more for you than thirty 30 round mags.  You live how you want.  You polish your guns.  Hold them close like a 14 year old with his Playboys.  Meanwhile I’ll do my pullups, walk everyday or ski, eat well, sleep well because of exercise and not be a fat tub o lard sitting on the couch watching the tube.

i5Last Sunday we went back to that abandoned ski area again for a few runs.  Six times up and six times down.  Here is Running Bear skiing being chased by Green Eyed Dog through the beautiful birch forest.  Tough to see, but those gators that Running Bear is wearing were made at one of those stores that existed in the 70’s where you could sew your own outside and camping gear.  Anyone remember those stores?  You’d buy the kit and then use the stores sewing machines to make your own backpack, tent, sleeping bag or gators.  Running Bear still has his hand crafted gators that are 30 years old.  Notice those big office buildings in the background.  You can find nature anywhere if you open your eyes.

Another snowy day the other …

i9

Snowy woods on a snowy day.  Mmmm, mmmm, good.



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