Day: September 22, 2014

Monday, 22 September 2014

09:26 – Barbara has been gone for a bit more than 24 hours, and civilization has already started to break down around our household. Colin suggested yesterday that we go out and kill some food and then raid neighboring clans for their women.

Speaking of a breakdown of civilization, I started watching the National Geo series Doomsday Preppers on Netflix streaming last night. There are so many things wrong with this series that it’s difficult to know where to begin, but I think the worst of it is that the leftie/progressives at National Geo treat their subjects as objects of scorn and ridicule.

Not that some of the preppers they interview aren’t ridiculous. For example, a couple of them seem very concerned that the planet is about to shift physically on its axis, bringing widespread death and destruction. Scientifically, the probability of that happening is so low that it is indiscernible from zero. I’m not sure how that idea gained currency, unless it’s some sort of religious prophecy.

Another prepper couple lives in Alberta, Canada. Apparently, the wife has had a recurring nightmare for 20 years, and they’re prepping against the expectation that her nightmare is a prediction of events that are going to occur. How does one prepare against a nightmare? I did learn one thing from that episode, though. I was under the impression that handguns were very tightly controlled in Canada, essentially unavailable to civilians. Apparently not. That episode shows the couple visiting a gun store in Canada, passing over their credit card to the clerk, and receiving their new 9mm Glock pistols. Who knew it was that easy to buy pistols in Canada?

Although there are exceptions, many of the preppers featured in this series seem to fear very specific catastrophes, most of which are, to be polite, rather unlikely. For example, one woman focuses on a catastrophic earthquake on the New Madrid fault line that cuts the country in half, isolating the East Coast from midwest farms. A New York city fireman fears the Yellowstone supervolcano will erupt, burying NYC in ash. (That guy, having been a responder on 9/11 to the Twin Towers, has good reason to fear ash clouds.) Another fears a country-wide failure of GM crops. Some of the preppers have more general (and more realistic) concerns, such as widespread rioting and civil disorder, economic collapse, and so on. Not to worry, though. The show’s producers take great care to pooh-pooh all of these concerns, again holding all of the preppers up to ridicule. Tell that to the people who lived through (or didn’t live through) Katrina, which after all was a localized disaster, with 95% of the country available to help the 5% who were affected.

There’s also a focus on preppers as individuals, families, or very small groups, which simply isn’t workable. If things ever do get really bad and you’re on your own for an extended period, you need all the family, friends, and neighbors you can get in your group. The minimum practical size for such a group is 50 to 100 adults, with provisions to match, and more is better.

Each segment ends with the self-described “experts” at Practical Preppers, LLC critiquing the subjects’ preparations and suggesting improvements. These so-called experts appear clueless to me, and I suspect that the whole series is actually just one big commercial for this company, which sells over-priced gear and “consulting” services.

13:00 – I’m seriously thinking about dropping our Amazon Prime subscription when it comes up for renewal. We haven’t watched anything on Prime Instant Video for at least a couple of months now, and Prime so-called “free shipping” isn’t the deal it once was. In fact, Prime pricing in general isn’t the deal it once was. It used to be that Prime prices were nearly always competitive. Not so much any more. I just looked at an item that Home Depot sells for $2.50. Amazon’s Prime pricing for that exact item was $9.95 or two for $19.95. What a deal. Unfortunately, such outrageous pricing differentials are becoming commonplace on Amazon Prime. For example, “IdahoanĀ® REAL Premium Mashed Potatoes – 3.24 lbs.” are $5.98 at Sam’s Club, about the same at Costco, and $12.76 on Amazon Prime.

I’ll still buy stuff on Amazon when the price is right, but paying $99 a year for videos that we don’t watch and free shipping with no minimum order just doesn’t make sense.

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