Friday, 30 January 2015

09:29 – Barbara’s out running a half-Marathon this morning. Well, not really, but my guess is that she’ll be out walking the neighborhood in the next day or two. She reminds me of that ad that a cable comedy channel ran 25 years or so ago. Ellen DeGeneres was not yet well known, and they featured a clip of her talking about how the doctor had told her grandmother to walk five miles a day, “and now we don’t know where the hell she is.”

I’m building science kits today.

Several people had recommended James Wesley Rawles, so I picked up the fifth in his series, Liberators. I wanted to like it, but I hated it. I finally bagged it about 50 pages in. The fundie Christian focus was just too much for me to bear. I mean, this is actually a religious tract, full of scripture quotes and religious references. I don’t think there was a single page that didn’t have some kind of religious reference, literally. People hum or sing hymns while they’re walking down the halls at work. Gay marriage is evil. Only Good Christian Men are worth associating with. And on and on. And, to top it all of, this guy can’t write his way out of a paper bag. I couldn’t help but compare it to Lucifer’s Hammer. Jerry Pournelle is also a conservative Christian. The difference is that he doesn’t keep hammering the reader constantly with fundie Christian propaganda. Well, that and the fact that Pournelle can actually write, which Rawles can’t.

Another prepping book arrived from Amazon yesterday, Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family, 3rd Edition by Dr. Arthur T. Bradley. At first, I assumed the “Dr.” was a bogus Ph.D. in psychology or social work or education or some similarly non-rigorous “discipline”. As it turns out, not. Dr. Bradley actually has a Ph.D. in engineering and is employed by NASA. I expected that, as an engineer, he’d be writing with an engineering focus and actually have something useful to say.

So far, not. I flipped at random to 15 or 20 different pages and found nothing helpful and a lot that’s just flat-out wrong. I didn’t know, for example, that’s it’s not practical to store a year’s supply of food because the average American eats a ton of food per year–five and a half pounds a day–and there’s simply no practical way to store four tons of food to feed a family of four. I also didn’t know that water filters cannot remove viruses. I guess this Sawyer Point ZeroTwo filter I have, which filters to 0.02 micron absolute doesn’t actually exist. And so on.

21 thoughts on “Friday, 30 January 2015”

  1. I knew Rawles was a fundie Xtian and is into one of the strange versions of it, as is North, but you can navigate North’s stuff without running into very much of it; he’s smart enough to know it turns a lotta people off.

    “The difference is that he doesn’t keep hammering the reader constantly with fundie Christian propaganda.”

    I had an amusing little fantasy just then of how it would be if I wrote a niche prepper piece, on some aspect of the field, and laced it heavily with traditionalist Roman Catholic stuff. Latin phrases, references to medieval arcana, various quotes from the Apostolic Fathers, etc.

    Light snow continuously falling all night and day here; Mrs. OFD was supposed to drive herself and colleague up to the airport from Concord, NH but I dunno. Colleague has to fly back to Kalifornia and Mrs. OFD to Mordor for a day but she doesn’t wanna go and may use the weather as an excuse. We hope so.

    Ahead is our usual deep freeze after a snowfall; the regular temps tomorrow night and Sunday night below zero with chill factors down around 25 below.

  2. A couple of authors I highly recommend for post apocalyptic stories.
    Alan Hagan is a prep and food storage guru, and an outstanding amateur author.
    One of his best stories can be found at:
    Alan Hagan

    Thomas Sherry earns a living writing. I don’t know whether that’s all he does, but his works are available through Lulu and Amazon. They are also available, less conveniently but for free, at:
    Tom Sherry

    I read a lot of on-line fiction, including prepper stuff as one element of it. I’m used to a lot of VERY ordinary quality, but the two guys above are GOOD by any standard.

  3. Yeah, Rawles is a religious nutcase. The last part I read had one of the major characters whose marriage had failed because her husband while stationed in the Middle East had passed the time by watching reruns of Friends, Seinfeld, Desperate Housewives, and other ungodly TV shows. It’s people like Rawles who give prepping a bad name.

  4. I don’t have a lotta time to read through a pile of dystopian novels and suchlike with my current reading load and other capers here recently, so I’ll hang on until Dr. Bob gets his first book out on it, which I’m greatly looking forward to.

    My recreational reading tends to actual history and serious “literary” fiction, ’cause I’m hyper-literate, haha, and have really grown to appreciate the good writing that’s out there; gotta say again the Brits and Irish have it all over us in that regard, ditto with serious poetry.

    I’m also hoping Witch Doctor Bob includes a recommended reading list and/or bibliography.

  5. Good to know, Mr. jim`.

    We will probably employ both types of backup systems here. I don’t think most peeps realize how critical wottuh is to survival, even in their own homes; I asked one of my brothers how they get their wottuh down in MA and he just said, ‘oh it’s town wottuh.’ Well, Grasshopper, where does the town wottuh come from and how does the town get it to youse? Could that process be disrupted somehow?? Ya think?

    Along with heat (AC in Sugarland and Lost Wages), light, food, shelter and defense.

  6. Several people had recommended James Wesley Rawles, so I picked up the fifth in his series, Liberators. I wanted to like it, but I hated it.

    Pournelle used to have a catch phrase, “I do these crazy things so you don’t have to”. Perhaps you can pan bad books, both fiction and non-, saying “I read these lousy things so you don’t have to”.

  7. Ok, you told a joke so here is one back at you.

    An old, blind cowboy wanders into an all-female biker bar by mistake. He finds his way to a bar stool and orders some coffee. After sitting there for a while, he yells to the waitress; ‘Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?’

    The bar immediately falls absolutely silent.

    In a very deep, husky voice, the woman next to him says; ‘Before you tell that joke, Cowboy, I think it is only fair, given that you are blind, that you should know five things:
    1. The bartender is a blonde woman with a baseball bat.
    2. The bouncer is blonde woman with a taser.
    3. I’m a 6-foot tall, 175-pound blonde woman with a black belt in karate.
    4. The woman sitting next to me is a blonde and a professional weightlifter.
    5. The lady to your right is blonde and a professional wrestler.

    ‘Now, think about it seriously, Mister. Do you still wanna tell that joke?’

    The blind cowboy thinks for a second, shakes his head, and mutters; ‘No… not if I’m gonna have to explain it five times.’

  8. Heard dat joke a few times.

    I do not recommend getting into it with biker chicks at a biker chick bah.

    Current events and history interest me more than the apparent plethora of dystopian/prepper/survivalist fiction that’s out there. None of them have any idea how things will shake out here; we’re on new historical territory in the event of any kind of major collapse. If things get bad enough, most folks will BEG on their KNEES for martial law, rigorously applied.

  9. If things get bad enough, most folks will BEG on their KNEES for martial law, rigorously applied.

    To quote you, there it is. That’s the reason I don’t support anarchism in any political sense. The great majority of men and the overwhelming majority of women will gladly turn their lives and their freedom over to any man on a white horse who promises them security. Much, much worse than that, they’ll turn my life and freedom over to the man on a white horse for their security. Dystopic though it may be, what we have now is better than the wretched tyranny the pathetic masses would embrace.

  10. Agreed.

    Historical narratives illustrate this scenario profusely, and many times over.

    We’ll have a very long period of tyranny worse than what we have now, a joke, really, contrary to what a lot of whiners are proclaiming, before we ever see anything remotely approaching libertarianism or anarchy, other than in small, isolated enclaves.

    These are the good old days…

    Carly, about three weeks before OFD went to work for Uncle. OFD was busy cruising the streets of greater Framingham, MA, smoking doobies, drinking, carousing, trying to do nasty things with grrls, going to rock concerts, etc., and got a very rude awakening in the great Lone Star State.

  11. ‘Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?’

    Q: What’s the difference between a blonde and a shopping trolly?

    A: A shopping trolly has a mind of its own.

    Q: How do you know when a blonde is having a bad day?

    A: She’s got a tampon behind one ear and can’t remember what she did with her pencil.

    (No, I don’t intend to visit any of OFD’s favourite bars…)

  12. Speaking of post-apocalptic novels, prepping and such, there’s a great (and I mean 5 star) novel called _Malevil_ by Robert Merle.

    Hard to find, but eventually found a torrent for it and it was as good as I remember when I read it back in the 70s. You know, back when we were all about to be engulfed by giant glaciers?

  13. Yeah, I read “Malevil” and “No Blade of Grass” and “Lucifer’s Hammer” all around the same time; there was also a guy named Howard Ruff, IIRC, who did nonfiction survival stuff, Kurt Saxon’s books, and a bunch of others, including the late, great Mel Tappan.

    And now it ain’t glaciers; they’re all melting, of course, and soon the planet will have extremely high temperatures everywhere, the coasts will be inundated and survivors will only barely hang on by retreating deep into caves.

    Or a huge EMP will shut off the Grid and we’ll have “Revolution.”

    Terrorists will light off half a dozen dirty nukes in major cities and we’ll get “Jericho.”

    But I tend to think it will be financial, and as the mass civil unrest turns violent, the State will clamp down full force with martial law.

    “Your papers, citizen?”

    They may also tighten up control on the net and there is always the possibility anyway of Grid outages. That, and an updated version of the former East Germany’s Stasi networks of informers, snitches and spies. “Das Leben der Anderen.”

  14. I’ll recommend the Bracken trilogy, if you are looking for current prepper fiction, with a couple of caveats.

    The trilogy follows a couple of people thru the collapse of our Republic and rise of the new police state.

    Enemies Foreign and Domestic

    Foreign Enemies And Traitors

    Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista

    by Matthew Bracken

    The first one is a bit of a slog. It is typical prepper fiction in that it is mostly massive and wooden info dumps. HOWEVER, when you look at the publishing date, you will think the guy is a genuine oracle. There are several technologies and practices that must have seemed farfetched when written that we now know to be absolutely plausible and many of them are IN USE. Some of the social conditions have become everyday too. He is capable of writing nice action scenes and he has a couple of good characters in this book too.

    Mainly I suggest reading the first one, so that you can appreciate the next two. His characters and world come alive in the 2nd and third novels, and his writing skill and technique have improved immensely. He periodically offers the trilogy for free or seriously reduced cost, so if you wait, you can save the bucks. Given the relatively low cost, I’d just buy them.

    You have to commit to getting thru the first one though, to really enjoy the second and third.

    I won’t recommend his 4th effort, Castigo Cay, as it is straight action/adventure and his writing is not as good when he doesn’t have an overarching message or driving idea.

    His collection of essays and shorts are also worth a quick look.


  15. Enemies Foreign and Domestic

    Foreign Enemies And Traitors

    Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista

    by Matthew Bracken

    The first book URL is:

    Looks good, I added it to my Amazon cart.

    I also have “The High Security Shelter – How to Implement a Multi-Purpose Safe Room in the Home” and intend to read that before I build a new game room onto the house late this year or next.

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