Wednesday, August 31, 2022


This is going to be a short one. There are thunderstorms rolling through. They are predicted to last the next 12 hours or so. I thought I’d give a quick head’s up before the Internet connection goes down. 

We are in good shape right now. In the past we’ve lost trees to lightning and once it blew the ground wire to our land line. Overall we tend to weather thunderstorms in pretty good shape. 


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Quick payback

I recently got an electric bill and it took a pretty steep drop. First some background. I’ve a moderate sized solar electric system. Normally it doesn’t run the whole house. In a pinch I can transfer most of the grid circuits to the solar electric system. It’s all a matter of going down the basement and throwing a few switches. There are some items that don’t run all that great on my old school modified sine wave inverter. I’ve also an electric water tank. In the winter I can preheat the water going in using a coil on the woodstove, but it’s currently all electric. 

If my house batteries run low they can be topped off from the grid. I’m in the habit of doing that before major storms. In case the grid goes down I want to start with full batteries. 

We’ve had some hot weather so the fans have been going full blast. The refrigerator is working much harder than normal. In spite of all that my bill dropped about 30%. 

So what’s different? Over the years the trees around my solar panels have been growing. They were causing partial shade on the panels and that really hurts power production. One afternoon with ladders, pole saws, and a chain saw cleared all that growth. That’s all it took to increase output. It was a pretty good return for a few hours work. 


Monday, August 29, 2022

Survivability Rule of Thumb

Will your area survive a technological collapse? I’ve a quick and dirty rule of thumb for figuring it out. How much population did your area support long ago before the electronic age? 

Here’s what I did for my area: Coos County New Hampshire. According to the 1910 census there was a population of about 30,000 people. Today there’s about 31,000. The land should be able to support the current population at at 1910 technology level. 

It’s a very rough estimate but like all rules of thumb is a good place to start. There have been changes in the land since 1910. For example, there’s a lot more forest than there was in 1910. However, there’s also less farmland. On the bright side wood from that forest could keep us from freezing during the winter. We are blessed with abundant fresh water and that counts for a lot. 

Some places you know are going to be in deep trouble. Take Los Vegas for example. How many people could the desert support back in the day? It’s a tiny fraction of the number of people who live there now. Some places the only sensible thing will be to bug out. 

Big cities are pretty much screwed. Just hope technology does not take too hard a hit. There are a lot of rural areas that are less populated than they were 100 years ago. With modern farming methods it takes just a few percent of the farm population to feed people. Everyone else moved to the cities. 

There are areas in the country that once supported sizable indigenous populations. If you live in one of those areas it wouldn’t hurt to study how they did it. 

Another thing to take into account is the fact that a big part of the country has been in serious drought. During those times populations tend to crash and societies fall apart. Only technology and the vast resources and size of the country have keep those areas viable today. 

Old census data is readily available on-line. It might be revealing to see how and how many people survived. 

At any rate, it’s a good thought experiment.


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Property Values

House prices shot up in my area (northern NH) during the pandemic. They were pretty low before. We lost a lot of jobs over the years but if you have remote work it doesn’t matter where you live. 

I see in some areas that experienced the pandemic boom prices are coming down. A lot of that is city people finding out they aren’t country people. 

Of course, it looks like the housing bubble in general is starting to burst. I’m old enough to have seen this cycle numerous times. 

House prices only matter if you are buying or selling. If you have a home already and plan to stay it’s all good. If you don’t use your home value like an ATM and withdraw value you are ahead of the game. If you do have to sell it’s nice not be upside down on it. 

To me the value of my home is only partly monetary. It’s true value is that it’s where I want to live. How do put a dollar value on that joy? What you can put value on is things me having my own water supply and easy access to hunting and fishing. Firewood for heating is all around me. Just having a place to be able to work on my cars and fix other things is valuable. 

Right now the current property value means nothing compared to everything else. 


Saturday, August 27, 2022

Nice Folks from Montreal

I was having a good conversation with nice older couple from Montreal. I think the old guy was happy he could talk to someone who knew something about Canadian History. His wife was probably happy that I was there to engage her husband. 

I’m not going to bore you with the last 50 years of Quebec History. However, one big issue has always been Quebec threatening to leave Canada. The vote to leave Canada back in in the 90s was a close thing. The United States almost ended up with another country on its border. 

In the end Quebec got some concessions and special treatment from the rest of Canada. One funny thing is that the rest of Canada is officially bilingual. Quebec is not. It’s French. 

The old guy went to school in Canada. Their school system struggles to show the advantages of Canada over the United States. They used the US Civil War as an example. In Canada there’s a legal procedure for leaving the union. They have a peaceful solution. In the US, not so much. There are some technicalities, but basically the South could not leave peacefully. 

Personally, I’m thinking like a Canadian here. If a state wants to leave we should just let them go. Civil war is so horrific that a peaceful separation is a better option. There aren’t a lot of examples of countries peacefully splitting apart. We do have Czechoslovakia. Back in 1993 they split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. We know it can happen. We also know it’s rare. 

I’m not surprised the Canadians have a polite way of getting a political divorce. 


Friday, August 26, 2022

In God We Trust

Thank god the United States is a secular country. Not too sure about Texas. 

There’s this hilarious project to send “In God We Trust” signs to TX. The funny part is that they are written in Arabic.

That seems to offend certain Texas legislators. I wonder if they’d have been so upset if the signs were in Spanish? What do they have against Arabic? It’s a perfectly fine language. 

This is the sort of foolishness that you get when your politicians are more concerned about culture wars than actually running the state. I know they say “Don’t mess with Texas,” but damn, talk about an easy target. I guess fighting the culture war is more popular than keeping the lights on. 

I love that the United States has freedom of religion. I also love that we have freedom from religion. *may not apply to all states. 


Thursday, August 25, 2022

School Loan Relief

Imagine if I just paid off all my student loans and now people are getting loan forgiveness. Want to know how I’d feel about that? I’d feel just fine. I’m not a jerk. Just because I suffered it doesn’t mean other people have to suffer. That’s progress in my mind. 

This will be a good boost to the average working class American. It will help the economy overall as people will have more spending power. 

Will it be inflationary? Maybe, but it doesn’t have to be. The rich and major corporations get huge tax breaks and special assistance. If they have to get a bit less so the working poor get a bit more -well, I’m fine with that. 

Some people are upset with this deal because it will make Joe Biden look good. How petty can one get? 

For the record I dropped out of college after one semester because I was afraid of debt. I wasn’t sure that school was taking me where I wanted to go and didn’t want to go into debt while figuring that out. I went back to school at age 37 as a part of retraining program after being too injured to be a firefighter. Yep, I benefited from a government program and don’t feel bad about it at all. 

I’m happy for all those people are now getting some financial relief. Their joy fills me with joy -because I’m not a monster.


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

In search of the shelf stable egg

Anyone who’s spent time in the military knows the horror of powdered eggs. The military buys in huge quantities from the lowest bidder. It shows.

Recently 1500 marines got leave at a Greek port after months at sea. They ate all the eggs on the island, and all the meat too. They were really missing the fresh stuff and you can’t blame them for that.

So how about all those dehydrated survival meals you have stored up? How badly are you going to miss the fresh stuff? Unlike the poor military men and women, private individuals can shop around. So how do the shelf stable eggs stack up in the private market?

Personally, if I have to have a breakfast with eggs I think Mountain House makes the best options. Their eggs are mixed in with things like sasuage or bacon bits. That helps. The texture of the scrambled egg bits isn’t terrible and they only taste a bit like foam rubber. 

Augason Foods sells eggs in #10 cans. I haven’t tried their scrambled egg mix, but I have tried their plain dehydrated whole eggs. They aren’t that great by themselves. Using a lot of spices and other ingredients I made an omelet I could eat, but it was only so so. However, in things like recopies that require eggs an in ingredient they are terrific. They are really good in pancakes and waffles. The powder mixes well.

All in all, I’m basically not bothering with plain powered eggs for breakfast. Frankly, I’d rather have oatmeal, and that’s cheap and easy. 

On the bright side the Augason Foods butter powder is amazing. Mixed up with cold water it looks and tastes a lot like regular butter. You can even just sprinkle it right on foods like mashed potatoes or popcorn. I just added another can of the stuff to my food pile. It will go good on that toast I’m having for breakfast instead of dehydrated eggs.


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Flooding down in Texas

So I’m thinking of the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan playing “The Flood.” One heck of a Texas Bluesman. One of the best things to come out of Texas.

Of course the current Texas flooding is the reason I’m thinking of old Stevie. They’ve gone from drought to flash flooding. Texas is a big place, but a whole heck of a lot of it is dealing with some serious weather. In Stevie’s home town of Dallas there are streets that have turned into rivers. 

That’s the sort of thing that kills people -drowning in your car. People don’t realize how easy it is for water to sweep a car away. Water is heavy and when it’s moving it exerts tons of pressure. Your little car or even a sizable truck doesn’t stand a chance to serious flood water. 

Another thing most people don’t think of is the condition of the road under the water. It might look like just six inches of water, but whole road under the water could be gone. Do yourself a favor and avoid driving in those conditions. Also do the first responders a favor. Recovering drowned bodies was never one of my favorite jobs. 

Keep an eye on the weather and I hope you are all on high ground.


Monday, August 22, 2022

Worker Bees

We’ve been programmed to be worker bees. That’s supposed to be some kind of virtue. It’s not. You’ve been brainwashed. Do you what they call just doing the work you’ve been paid for? Lying flat. People are deciding to only do what they are paid for -and it’s considered radical. 

Those of us in the boomer generation took a long time to learn there is no company loyalty anymore. Some of us never learned it. Others learned the hard way. The younger generations have a clearer view of the real situation. They never saw company loyalty in action so probably think it never even existed. Can’t blame them for that.

The two week notice is petty much a thing of the past. It would take special circumstances for me to give notice before leaving a job. Perhaps if it was a small mom and pop place and we were on excellent terms and I might want to come back someday. A lot of employers, when they get a two notice, immediately fire the employee. The employee is stuck with two weeks without pay until the new job starts. 

Unions are making a comeback. Companies had been doing a pretty good job at discouraging them. They try and tell workers they don’t need one. Then they threaten workers who form or join a union. Maybe they should study their History. You can have unions or workers will rise up and show up at your house with guns and torches. 

There have been union abuses. Anything involving power will have that problem. Usually it’s still better than no union. 

I did a stint as the president of my local firefighter’s union. A public union doesn’t have a lot of power -on paper. Labor actions are illegal. However, they can’t throw the whole fire department in jail. What they do instead is to throw the union president in jail. When I took the gig I understood that was my job if push came to shove. I was prepared to go to jail and I wasn’t even getting paid to be the president. Sometimes you have to take a stand. While that never happened, it was threatened. Having already accepted that possibility I could laugh at the threats. 

Growing up nobody talked about work/life balance. It’s good that today people recognize you need a freaking life beyond work. All we have in life is time. Are we going to spend it on ourselves or sell our precious time too cheaply? 

Glad to see the younger folks are not as brain washed as my generation.


Sunday, August 21, 2022

Pack up and go

It can be hard to pick up your stakes, pack up, and leave your old life behind. There are some good solid reasons to do so. 

People look at the mismatch between where jobs and people are. The logical thing is for the unemployed to move where the jobs are. That’s not easy to do if you are already broke. Unless you have an in-demand job like a doctor or other medical professional getting a new job can be difficult. Even a lot of on-line jobs require physical interviews before you can be considered. That can be a pain if you are living in West Virginia and the job is based in California. For regular run of the mill low paying jobs it’s often not worth the move. 

Where are you going to live? Somehow you need to scrap up enough money in advance to get even a basic apartment. If you don’t have a job your potential landlord will probably decide to not be your landlord. Of course, getting a job while living in a refrigerator box down by the tracks is no mean feat. 

Getting a job is just one of the more common reasons for leaving. Sometimes people leave for their health. I knew someone who moved from Maine to Florida because her health issues were impossible in cold weather. Down south she could live a nearly normal life. 

Someone close to me almost moved due to a potential legal issue. This person had no resources to fight unfair charges against their kid. They were going to just disappear rather than face a day in court without a good lawyer. In the end the charges were dropped but they were ready to leave. 

A buddy of mine became friends with some Afghan refugees who escaped the country on one of the last flights out. The family had about a million dollars in jewels hidden away in their luggage. At the last second the US military made the decision to not allow luggage on the plane so more people could be squeezed in. 

Imagine having to leave a million dollars behind. While it’s tough to do, it beats getting killed by the Taliban. 

There’s an old Chinese saying that in a long life one can expect to abandon one’s worldly possessions at least three times. The man who said that lived in very turbulent time in China’s History with many warring kingdoms. Still, it’s something to keep in mind. In the end it’s just stuff.

Then again, sometimes people get rid of their stuff and hit the road just for the adventure. 


Saturday, August 20, 2022

Zaporizhzhia Nuke Plant

The Ukrainian nuclear plant at Zaporizhzhia is the largest in Europe. It’s also in the middle of a conflict zone. Currently Russia has physical control of the plant. Both side are accusing each other of shelling the plant. That’s a nuclear nightmare. Right now the best we could hope for is the plant to come under some sort of UN control. 

The problem with nuclear plants is that certain assumptions are made when they are constructed. One of those assumptions is that it won’t be in the middle of a war zone, hurricane, earthquake, flood or other disaster. It’s assumed that nothing will go wrong and the highly trained people will always be able to deal with any issues. Since Chernobyl we know better, but here we go again. 

If this power plant was a huge solar or wind farm it would barely make the news. As it is we are looking at another disaster that could poison a huge area of Europe with fallout. 

A friend’s brother is a nuclear engineer. He trained in the US Navy on nuclear powered subs. After his time in the military he went to work for the civilian world. One of his claims to fame is planning and shutting down a nuclear power station. He knows his stuff. He was asked what he thought would happen to the Zaporizhzhia plant if it was shelled. 

“I’ve no idea,” he said.

He couldn’t even guess how bad it could be. 

Got your potassium iodide? 


Friday, August 19, 2022

Well they ruined teaching

Teaching as a profession sucks right now. I’m not even talking about the low pay. So what’s the attraction of being a teacher in the first place? The chance to help children learn and develop to their full potential is a big one. 

Well that’s harder and harder to do. States are banning books from classrooms. Guess what? Knowledge can be uncomfortable. That’s called growing up. You can’t pretend that two plus two equals five. History is full of nasty stuff that people really need to know about if they don’t want to repeat the same mistakes. 

Parents are criticizing everything a teacher does. Heaven forbid you give a bad grade just because someone’s little precious didn’t do the work. 

Much of teaching has nothing to do with teaching. When I substitute taught I got out of those stupid jobs like lunch room monitor by pretending I didn’t know I was supposed to that crap. My pretend ignorance could only get me so far so I had to quit. 

I see some states are opening up teaching positions to retired military and Firefighters. I’m almost tempted to apply to one of those positions just to see what would happen. While I don’t have a teaching degree, I did double major in college after I retired. If they were desperate enough to hire me I wonder how long it would be before they fired me. I’m already retired so getting fired is not that big a deal. It might be fun while it lasted. Those kids might even learn something they wouldn’t otherwise.


Thursday, August 18, 2022


I’ve got issues with autocrats. Here’s an example on how bad my antiauthoritarianism is. I’ve a lot of friends who are in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms.) Basically they are Medieval renenactors. They dress up in period clothes, have interesting events and enjoy good food and drink. I’ve often joined them in archery practice. It’s all good fun, but I can’t join. They take their fake royalty too seriously. That’s a deal breaker for me.

I can’t even pretend to respect even fake royalty. Good thing I’m an American and not British. If the British want to keep pet royalty that’s their business. As for myself I’m glad we got rid of them. It was worth having a revolution to dump the silly gits. 

Forget about living under a dictatorship. I don’t care how benevolent they are, they are still dictators. Most are tyrants and I hate tyrants in general. 

Then there’s Theocracy: rule by a religious elite. If you want to ignore progress and science and claim all wisdom is in your holy book move to Iran. See how well that works for them. 

It’s been said that Democracy is the worse system, except for all the other systems. It’s messy and imperfect, but it mostly works. As long as we have public servants we’ll do okay. When we start to have people who only care to rule we are in trouble. I’m hoping those would be dictators are rejected by most voters. 

I don’t care of they come from the political right or the political left. Authoritarians are to be shunned for the evil that they are. 


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Direct hit from the sun

In the next day and a half to two days we are going to be hit with another big jolt from the sun. We had a near X class flare let loose right at earth. Actually, there’s we are getting hit by a series of blasts, not just one big one. They add up.

Expect issues with electronics, communications, health issues and earthquakes.

Health issues include aches and pain plus the possibility of serious cardiac problems. That makes sense as the heart is regulated by the body’s electrical system. I know I’m really over simplifying here. 

As for earthquakes -let’s just say all the energy being absorbed by the earth has to go somewhere.

The sun can be a harsh neighbor. 

By the way, you might have already been experiencing computer crashes a lot more lately. It makes sense as computer’s are very sensitive to that sort of thing. Same goes for cell phones.

Anyway, just a heads up.


Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Long line of survivors

I was looking back on my family history. My ancestors had a pretty good record of getting out of Dodge in time. They got out of the way of armies and dictators when it was still relatively easy to do so. Sometimes they went native and disappeared into the wilderness. They avoided a lot of nasty things -sometimes by planning and sometimes it was just plain luck. 

We also were lucky in that we were often either too young or too old for military service during major wars. My ancestors had a pretty record of not dying from childhood diseases. Many ancestors reached advanced ages in good condition. That’s a bonus as you don’t have to live to old age to pass on your genes. 

Of course, by the very fact you are here to read this, you have a long line of survivors too. Maybe they were clever and lucky. Maybe they just had huge families with the hope that some would survive. Whatever the strategy, it worked. 

Now don’t mess up your ancestors hard work by doing something stupid. There are a lot of bozos trying to get people to die for their causes. Don’t fall for it. Honor your ancestors. 


Monday, August 15, 2022

Moving States

Currently I like living in NH. All my stuff is here. Seriously though, there’s a lot to like. The lack of sales or an income tax is easy to take. If you like being able to conceal carry a firearm a permit isn’t even needed. 

I need a place where the air and water are clean. It certainly helps that we aren’t on freaking fire half the time like many of the western states. I don’t want to struggle to breath the air. NH doesn’t get as stifling hot as a lot of a places. My house doesn’t have an air conditioner and that’s not a big deal. 

We live on a nice little lake. Over the years I’ve worked to make this place safe and sustainable. Having access to clean drinking water is a huge plus, and I don’t even need anything more technologically advanced than a bucket to get it. A good source of clean water is essential to health. There’s plenty of access to the woods if you feel like disappearing for a while. Hunting and fishing is pretty good. 

Over the years we’ve developed many ties to the community. A lot of my relatives still live in the area. It’s good to have good people around you. 

With that being said, there’s a few things that would cause me to pack up my rags and put the house for  sale. A big one would be if any laws were passed to limit the rights of half the population. Reproductive freedom is a big deal. States that take away rights are going to be in deep trouble as the years go by. Companies will move out and others won’t move in. They know it will be much harder to recruit and keep good people. In five years or so the school systems will get an influx of poor kids who’s parents are struggling. 

Should NH get authoritarian like other states I’d get the heck out of here before the property values went down. I don’t mind politicians who want to server and govern. I’ve got issues with those who just want to rule.


Sunday, August 14, 2022

Don’t get excited

You’ve got to admit, the FBI serving a warrant at Mar-a-Largo is exciting stuff. Theoretically Mr. Trump could be facing 17 years in prison. Theoretically. Maybe you or I would be facing hard time. The rich, famous, and politically connected face a more lenient justice system.

Make no mistake, Trump is innocent until proven guilty. That’s how it works in our system. 

Frankly, the excitement is probably over. It’s going to take months for this to move forward. Lawyers will meet to see if any documents come under lawyer client privilege. There will plenty of back and forth. Don’t expect anything to happen until after the mid-terms. It’s a unwritten rule that they don’t move forward on high profile political cases near an election. We might see something happen before the end of the year. That’s a long time to stay fired up. 

What you don’t want to do is to physically attack the FBI. It’s no surprise that idiot in OH who attacked  the Cleveland headquarters ended up shot to death in a field. After all, blue lives matter -especially to other officers. 


Saturday, August 13, 2022

Adult Babies

There are a lot of adults these days that act like children. If something upsets they throw temper tantrums like poorly raised 4 year olds. It’s worse as they can do damage a toddler never could. I feel sad and a bit ashamed for them. 

Now I’m not saying people should be emotionless robots. There definitely are things to get upset about. However, when grown adults physically attack fast food workers for getting their order wrong that’s too much. 

Growing up I was about a head taller than the rest of my classmates. I knew at a young age that I had to control myself. Being so much bigger than most of my fellow students it would have been easy to hurt someone. 

Not only do we have adults that never learned self control we have people perfectly willing to exploit that weakness. Strong emotions shut down the logic centers of the brain. Fear and anger is much easier to induce than love and respect so that’s what they go with. Get someone fearful and/or angry, and you can make them do things they’d never do if in their right mind. Autocrats know the technique all to well. 


Friday, August 12, 2022

Kentucky Snow Days

This is one is too good not to share. Apparently in a county in western Kentucky they just experienced their second snow day and canceled school. No, you didn’t happen to miss some sort of weird meteorological phenomenon. The temperatures have been up in the 80s and 90s -where one would expect them to be. 

What happened is that there’s a glitch in the new computer program that runs bus schedules. They can’t dispatch the buses so they canceled school. For some reason they decided to use the snow day procedure. Perhaps there’s some actual logical reason to use snow days. That being said it sounds funny as heck. 

The snow thing is bad enough. The next thing that came to mind is how hard is it to schedule school buses? This isn’t rocket science. They’ve been successfully running buses since they’ve been invented -long before computers. Scheduling isn’t a new science. Given the parameters someone from the ancient Roman Empire could figure it it. 

Just goes to show how over reliance on computers is a bad thing. In this case, also silly.


Thursday, August 11, 2022

Multi-tier Legal System

We’d like to think that in the United States we are all equal under the law. Okay you can stop laughing now. In the real world we get the justice we can pay for. 

I’ve spent way too much time sitting in courtrooms. Not recently, thank god. Some of that time was while on jury duty. Other times it was in support of other people. Once it was because I was involved in a labor case that went to the State Supreme Court. 

You quickly learn from observation why prison is full of poor people. They are the ones without lawyers or really really bad lawyers. When you see a lawyer come into the room with his shirt half tucked in clutching a random pile of loose papers, you know his client doesn’t stand a chance. I’ve also seen elderly lawyers who appeared to be suffering from dementia. The opposing lawyer had to help with the paperwork so they could wrap up the case. 

The labor case concerned safety issues for firefighters. We were told, by inside connections, that while the court thought we were in the right, that they’d side with municipalities. If they sided with labor it would have cost cities some money. When we got in court that’s exactly how the case went. The fix was in before we even entered the room. About a dozen years those very same safety concerns bit me in the butt and I almost died in a fire. My injuries forced me into early retirement. 

One of those state judges, David Souter, was later appointed to the US Supreme Court. That did little for my respect for the court. 

Once when called to jury duty the judge asked if we had any problems with the case. I raised my hand and told the judge I disagreed with the law in question and wouldn’t convince anyone for violating it. 

The judge said, “The law is the law.”

I said, “I don’t care.”

He didn’t like that or me at all. Frankly, I think he would have loved to have a reason to throw me in jail. In the end I was removed from the case. 

In the legal system money talks. It’s almost comical when wealthy people do poorly in court. Recently we have the Alex Jones case where his lawyer gave the prosecution unfettered access to Jone’s phone records. That was a 45.2 million dollar mistake. Where the heck did he get that lawyer? The discount Walmart bin? 

Of course, then you have people who are so arrogant that they think they are above the law. They are the ones who ignore those high priced lawyers and get into trouble. 

In the end though, it’s poor people who suffer the most under our system. If we were all equal under the law, the prison population would look much like the general US population. It certainly does not. 

What we can do about it is a subject for another blog.


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Storm Watch

Well that was interesting. So Mr. Trump had visitors down to his place in Florida. Unfortunately he wasn’t there in person to greet his company. Instead he was in New York giving a deposition concerning a different legal matter. 

It’s a big deal to get a Federal warrant to search a place -especially for the rich and powerful. You have to convince a Federal judge that a crime has been committed and that the evidence is located in a certain place. They don’t hand them out like party treats. 

In a more perfect world politics would have nothing to do with it. Now if you don’t like Mr. Trump you can say that the reason this didn’t happen earlier was due to his political clout. If you are a fan of Mr. Trump you might think this was some sort of a witch hunt. 

It’s important to be aware that nobody has been charged with a crime -yet. That may change. Mr. Trump says he’s not worried. So now the thing to do is to wait for the legal system to slowly grind onward. 

Personally, I have hope and faith that justice will be done. We are still a nation of laws. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2022

On the edge of a storm

Lately we’ve had a lot of thunderstorms predicted. There have been all these pop up storm cells. Sometimes we get them, sometimes we don’t. Even when we don’t get the storms we feel the tension in the air.

That’s how it feels in general to be a prepper right now. It feels like there are storms coming. The signs are there. The signs could be political, environmental, economic -or something else entirely. It certainly feels like something is coming down. 

In conversation a lot of people are telling me it feels like they are waiting for the other shoe to drop. Most of these people aren’t preppers but they follow the news. 

While people are worried, there’s not a lot of consensus on what to worry about. In general they pick their favorite fear and concentrate on that. Of course, there’s a lot to choose from. Here’s the thing about disasters -you can easily get more than one at a time.

Of course, the disasters are already here, depending on where you live. Eastern Kentucky was flooded. Ukrainians are in the thick of it. Sri Lanka is an economic basket case. Cuba just lost a lot of their oil storage in a massive fire. On top of that their ancient power plants are all well past their due date. Heck, it even matters what US state you live in. Some places are doing a lot better than others. Even your rights and freedoms vary by state.

Just like those pop us storm cells: some places are going to get while others have near misses. 


Monday, August 8, 2022

More Retirement Myths

A lot of us boomers have some of the last old school retirement plans. Defined benefits that you can rely on are huge. Even smaller pensions, if you can rely on them, are extremely valuable. The good news is that those of us with such plans probably won’t starve. The bad news is that the retirement promoted in the brochures doesn’t fit the reality. 

The big issue is health. When people are socking away money, scrimping and saving, they think of those healthy looking older people walking on sunny beaches. That does happen. What happens more often is that instead of beaches you are more concerned about good doctors and hospital access. You aren’t taking a lot walks on the beach when in the middle of chemotherapy for cancer. Even some of my healthy looking friends are dealing with diabetes and other conditions. It’s not uncommon to be taking handfuls of medications every day. 

Another big issues is the age difference between spouses. I’ve buddies who’ve retired but their spouses still have another seven or eight years to work. By they time their partners retire they’ll be well into their 70s . . . or dead. Who knows? For some they have plenty of other things to do before their partner’s retire. Others just don’t know what to do with themselves. Many end up going back to work just to keep busy.

That’s another issue: some people have no lives outside of work. When they retire they lose their whole identity. No one in the retirement park cares that you were a big wheel in the Midget Widget Company. These people are lost. 

It’s funny the number of people who retire and think they have to either by an RV or go on a cruise -maybe both. They might not even be all that interested in doing it but because it’s someone else’s dream they think they should do those things. Once they do them they can feel kinda let down and then they have to figure out what’s next. 

Do what you actually want to do. A former classmate just took an early retirement. He’s doing something he’s wanted to do for some time. He bought a comfortable chair and put in a quite room far from electronics. That’s his place to read books in peace. That’s the big thing he never had time to do while working. 

There are young people today who know the boomer retirement won’t be there for them. With that in mind they are enjoying life now. If that involves a spotty work record and less savings, so what? You can do a lot more things at 30 than 70. Money does not buy youth and energy. Those people see that even the “good” boomer retirements have downsides. Often it’s working 40 years in a job you hate for people you don’t respect. 

In the end it’s not about retirement, jobs, or money  -it’s about life and living. 


Saturday, August 6, 2022

Career options

Could it be that high school guidance councilors are falling down on the job? Are they steering people away from good options?

Thursday my lovely wife and I drove over to Vermont to listen to the Patrick Ross Band. They are on all the streaming services. We’ve known Patrick and his wife Cindy for years. We went to their wedding.  One winter they house sat for us. He’s making a decent living as a full time musician.

In fact, we’ve a number of friends making a full time living as musicians. Guidance councilors never tell someone to follow that career path. They also don’t tell people they can be artists or writers. However, I’m friends with at least a dozen people who make all or significant parts of their income from those professions. 

We don’t live in a major arts city. Most of those creative people have backgrounds in blue collar towns.   None of them are pampered trust fund people. None of them were told by guidance councilors to follow artistic careers. Good thing they follow their own passions.


Friday, August 5, 2022

China Danger?

China is upset about the US Speaker of the House’s visit. Sabers are being rattled. Are we in danger of seeing another war break out?

Normally I’d say it was all posture, but these are not normal times. In my opinion the issues are less about Taiwan than they are about what’s happening internally in China. 

Chinese people have heavily invested in real estate to the point where there are whole “ghost cities” where nobody lives. It’s the most amazing real estate bubble in history. Now that bubble is bursting. The ruling party is doing all they can to suppress the news of investor protests. This bubble alone is enough to take down the government. 

That’s only part of the economic troubles. Manufacturing is fleeing the country. A lot of it is going back to North America. Low cost manufacturing is going to places like Vietnam. China is just not a good place to do business anymore. They’ve become a lot more hostile towards foreigners. 

Demographically the country is in trouble. They have a rapidly aging population and due to their one child policy a much smaller working class coming up to support them. The demographics are even worse when you consider the Chinese preference to having boys rather than girls. 

China can’t feed itself without imports. They import both food and fertilizers. If that stops a lot of people will starve to death. They also import a lot of their energy: coal, oil, and natural gas. 

To make the situation worse the Chinese leadership is basically just Xi. He has no checks and balances. He could make the calculation that losing hundreds of thousands of people to invade Taiwan is worth it if they are going to starve anyway. 

It would not turn out very well for China. Not only does the US have Taiwan’s back, Japan would be in the fight. It seems that China has gone out of its way to antagonize Japan. Who knows why? That’s a mistake as Japan’s military is highly underrated. They keep a low profile, but are actually modern, sizable, and capable. 

So how does this affect your average prepper? First of all, don’t panic. These are the sort of things we prep for. There would be a lot of economic disruptions. If we are lucky it would remain a regional conflict, but these things could always spin out of control. Unless you are high up in a major country’s power circles there’s not really much you can to about it. When the avalanche comes the best you can hope for is to be out of it’s way. You aren’t going to stop it.


Thursday, August 4, 2022

Vacation Land

Recently I was asked if we ever take living in a beautiful area for granted. My lovely wife and I do not. We still stop to watch the wildlife and sunsets. 

Today we decided to take the Sea Eagle 420 kayak out on the lake. It was a pleasant paddle with osprey overhead and loons checking us out. There’s a lot less motor traffic on the lake since the price of gas went up. 

After our paddle we went for a swim. The water was just cool enough to be refreshing but warm enough to be comfortable. 

In the evening I took the scooter on a long ride down back country roads. There was very little traffic. 

If you are going to live in a place that’s a vacation destination it only makes sense to stop and smell the roses. Otherwise, what’s the point? 


Wednesday, August 3, 2022

An electric vehicle that makes sense

No, it’s not a car or a truck. Right now the technology really doesn’t make sense for most people. You have to live in the Goldilocks Zone. That’s where it’s not too hot, too cold, too hilly and where electricity isn’t too expensive. 

What does make sense are electric bicycles. They come in a variety of styles, sizes, and capabilities so there’s something that’ll fit your needs. You can even get models designed to haul considerable cargo. A few types only work with pedal assist; you have to pedal all the time. Most others have a throstle that basically makes it a small electric motorcycle. Electric bikes are becoming really popular here in hill country. Even older people can now pedal up steep hills with ease. 

So will I get one? Not in the near term. A motor scooter makes more sense for me right now. Being able to travel with traffic on 50 – 55 mph roads makes sense. If I decided to go electric I’d probably just add a kit to my existing pedal bike. If you have a pedal bike you like that might be the way to go. 

Electric bikes have one huge advantage over electric cars. If the battery dies you can still pedal it home.


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Worse than the price of gas

There’s one thing worse than the high price of gasoline. That’s not being able to get gasoline at all. Most people in the US don’t think about that. It could happen and it has happened. 

We’ve come dangerously close to running out of gas in sizable parts of the country due to hurricanes. When pipelines are damaged the clock starts running. Local supplies don’t last that long. In fact, authorities have downplayed the damage to prevent panic buying. It worked too. If everyone decided to fill up at the same time the system couldn’t handle it -and that’s during normal times. Add in an actual supply issue and gas could easily run out. 

There are things that can affect local supplies. Areas have run out of gas for various reasons. Locally we once ran out of gas due to a blizzard. Just a few days delay and gas stations were closing right and left. 

During the Arab Oil Embargo supplies were spotty. It wasn’t impossible to get gas, but it wasn’t always easy. There were times when you could only gas up every other day depending on your license plate number. On a long trip it took some planning as gas stations did not stay open 24 hours. I remember being parked in front of a gas station early in the morning waiting for it to open. 

I don’t store a lot of gas at my house. The stuff is dangerous. I have a storage place that can be locked located outside. Even with stabilizer it doesn’t last too long. You have to keep rotating the stock. Rather than try and store a huge volume of gas it might serve you better to figure out how to get by without it. 


Monday, August 1, 2022

The way back home

How do you plan on getting back home in a massive disaster? 

Here’s a scenario: You live in the suburbs but work in the city. You are at work when all the power goes down. Traffic is not moving and public transportation is down. A giant bug out bag type kit is probably not something you’d have at your office. Even if you did walking through the city with a big bag of stuff might attract unwanted attention. 

You will want a few things. It’s important to have proper clothes for the walk. Too many people rely on their car’s air conditioning or heater to keep them comfortable. Your solution might be as simple as having a proper jacket and hat with you at all times. 

You are not going to be too comfortable walking ten miles in high heels or dress shoes. It’s not uncommon for people to keep work out clothes in a gym bag at the office. That could be your proper get home clothes option right there.

A folding knife, lighter, and small flashlight could fit right your pockets and not attract attention. Throw in a couple of energy bars and a water bottle and you are better off than the vast majority. Some cash could come in handy too. Even in an end of the world type disaster some people will still take cash for useful goods. 

It’s important to know the way home. It would be worthwhile to actually walk back one day to see how that works in the real world. Be aware of alternatives to major roads: bike paths, railroad tracks, wooded areas, dry canal beds -know your options. Be prepared to navigate without electronics. Map and compass skills are old school but work without a cell connection. 

We’d like to imagine that a disaster would hit while we are at home where our preps are. That only works if you never ever leave the house. Who can or wants to live like that? A few common and inexpensive items can do wonders to improve your chance of getting home.