Wed. Aug. 26, 2020 – well, better get ready

Hot and humid.  Sweaty like a fat guy’s thighs.

I did move some stuff from the house to storage yesterday.  Not enough.  Not nearly enough.  I’ve got so much loose stuff laying around that I can only hope we don’t actually get high winds, or whale oil beef hooked.

Both of my auction contacts pushed me off on taking them loads of stuff.  Jeez.  I can’t get rid of this stuff.

I did spend some time in meatspace chatting with my buddy and his wife at the gu–  toy store.   He’s gonna consign a couple of things for me.  He’s still doing a brisk business in transfers, but what happens when ALL the inventory is gone and no one can buy anything that needs transferring, and there is no new inventory?  Other people have commented elsewhere that in the short and medium run, gu— toy stores are in economic trouble, despite high demand and prices.

There was a steady stream of people looking for ammo, and not finding it.  I’ll drop a small box by today if I get a chance to sweeten the deal on one of my items.

School is cancelled for today and tomorrow, with Friday still up in the air.  It all depends on Laura, and what she leaves in her wake here in Texas.  I’m hoping for a non-event.  Prepping for a big one, but hoping for small.

And I’m watching the insurgency spread.

At some point in the not too distance past, the move toward ‘officer safety’ started.  Cops began training to avoid going ‘hands on’ to prevent them from being injured*.  At the same time, someone decided that it didn’t look good for cops to be hitting The Usual Suspects(tm) with their fists or ESPECIALLY with sticks.   So someone made a change to policy, and the end state of that is cops are trained to shoot rather than grapple or fight.  Guns are stand off weapons.  Nightsticks, batons, etc, are close in weapons.  The cops can now keep their distance, but changes in doctrine let to changes in tactics.   Policy changes led to us being where we are today.  The same people that don’t want to see a cop with a stick hitting a suspect now cry out when the cop uses the tools and tactics he’s been trained to use, and shoots instead of strikes.  How’s that working out?  Ripples turning into waves….

Speaking of that, John Wilder throws out a number in his recent post, saying ” the dollar losing 7% of its value in three months”.   Without knowing where he got it, I was caught off guard because it was the first time I saw it put so starkly.   It’s what you’d expect when .gov makes the money printers go “brrrrrrr”.  It’s what you see when you’re paying more for everything, especially metals like gold and silver.  But upon reflection 7% seems way too small.  TP is almost double.  Gold went from $1500/oz to almost $2000.  Silver went from $17 to 26 (with higher spots in the last week).  Ammo and gun prices are sky high.  Granted that a lot of the increase in consumer goods pricing is due to scarcity, the metal pricing is more purely inflation for monetary reasons.  Either way, it looks like the dollar is buying a LOT LESS than 93% of what it did in March or June.  Taking a step back, that ripple looks like it could be a really big wave if it gets going.   Ask yourself why it isn’t front page news.  And why no one is framing that decline in purchasing power in terms of inflation.  Venezuela here we come.  Everyone will be shocked when they realize we’re suddenly there “without warning”.  Consider this (and the last couple of years) your fair warning. **

Everything’s better with bacon.  And butter.  And a full pantry.  Keep stacking.



* also about the same time, physical fitness standards were relaxed, and the recruiting pool was broadened.  A whole lot of cops were produced that couldn’t go hands on if they wanted to.

**I’m no financial guru and nothing I say is “financial advice” but I’m certainly taking a hard look at what my condition would be if all my cash and cash equivalents bought me half as much stuff, or one quarter as much, next year.   It might be a good idea to turn some of that cash into something that holds value a bit better, especially if there are bargains to be had.  Assuming I had any cash tucked away…


Thur. June 18, 2020 – lying liars that lie

Hot and humid, although with the way my joints feel, we’re due for a change in the weather.

Yesterday was hot (104F in the sun in my driveway) but fairly comfortable if you just sat in the shade with the breeze.  Not so comfortable if you were working outdoors.

At swim practice I was chatting with a friend, one of the other dads, and the subject of security and sketchy neighbors came up.  I gave him some advice on cameras and we talked about his new neighbors.  Like mine, several unrelated or partially related groups living in the same house, making noise, disrupting the neighborhood.  Like mine, also finding that intimidation doesn’t work, and the cops do come when we call for ‘nuisance’ complaints.  And yes, we both plan to monitor and if necessary  harass the renters until they decide to leave.  Time for them to conform to and accommodate OUR cultural norms.

Other places, like Atlanta and Seattle, are going to get a lesson in what happens when you abandon the rule of law.  The good citizens will either leave, or they will take action.

I mentioned to my wife that I thought we’d have Republic of Texas passports within ten years.  She laughed and thought I was kidding.  I’m not.  I’ll even go so far as to say +5, -3 years as bounds.  Ten years is a long time.  Literally anything can happen.  We won’t be the only breakaway either.

We’re not going back to ‘normal’ either.

Dinner was leftovers.  Almost cleared the fridge.

Gotta make room for more.  More stuff, more skills, more connections.  If you don’t recognize your City Councilperson/Alderman/etc and Mayor on sight, and know your local state and federal Representatives by name, you need to do some homework.  Who is your Sheriff?  Who is your Chief of Police?  Do you have an opinion about their politics and competence in their jobs?  Do you know your State DA?  What about Attorney General?  All politics is local, so start there.  Vote in the mid term and off year elections.  Talk to someone and find out which Judges to vote for or against.  If you have kids, start paying attention to your school board.  These are the politicians that will have the most impact on your life, and over whom you have the most control.  Use it.

And keep stacking, this is far from over.


Fri. Feb. 15, 2019 – just like that, another week gone

62F and pretty damp this am…

Going on 60Minutes and talking about your conspiracy to remove the President from office is a pretty big deal….taking steps to do so is treason. Either we take this sort of thing seriously and start locking people up, or it’s a free pass for anyone to give it a try.

Or, expect a series of cancer deaths, single vehicle crashes, and unexplained assaults…..

Whatever happens, the rest of the world powers will know about the attempt and make decisions based on that.

File this one under “Decline and Fall.”


Fri. Feb. 16, 2018 -Pandemic flu preparedness

NB- after seeing how big this comment was, and recalling RBT’s instructions to me, I am promoting this comment to a Post.

On an entirely separate subject, pandemic preparedness….

I’m looking thru the CDC’s Flu Pandemic readiness checklist for health care providers and I see a whole bunch of stuff that’s worth thinking about.  So I’m highlighting some here:

3.11 Pre-identify strategies and resources to ensure behavioral health support for staff to mitigate adverse stress and grief and loss reactions.

[translation- EMS is gonna have family and friends that die from the pandemic- try to keep them working]

3.12 Determine virtual coordination mechanisms that will enable remote engagement of senior staff to prevent exposures and maximize ability to engage in both daily and incident operations”

[translation- senior staff need to be kept out of the treatment areas to keep them alive while everyone else risks dying.]

“3.21 Develop criteria for on-scene denial of transport by EMS personnel for influenza-like illness and other patients – with or without on-line medical control – ideally regional rather than agency-based criteria and process.

[trans- figure out at what point do you stop bringing flu cases into the hospital and effectively quarantine them at home, and when you let EMS make that decision on their own.]

3.22 Develop/provide patient information sheets on homecare for influenza-like illness
including usual clinical symptoms and course, infection prevention, treatment, and when to seek additional medical care.

[trans- people are on their own at some point, figure out what point, and give them some info about what to do]

3.23 Develop/provide patient information sheets for other conditions that may be left without transport if the service volume suggests a relevant need (e.g., minor injuries).

[trans- again, you’re gonna be on your own, with minimal guidance]

3.24 Determine alternate transport resources and triggers to utilize them, e.g., private
ambulance, wheelchair, contract/courier, for hire vehicles, military assets, buses

[trans- martial law at some point, and how many NG or regular Army units will want to deploy into a Flu zone? How many will be ABLE?]

Here’s a nice one:

4.5 Determine actions that the state emergency management or public health agency is likely to take that affect health care including:

• Suspension or modification of requirements for hospitals or clinics

[when will you be able to use tents, parking lots, warehouses]

• Specific emergency orders or actions that may limit liability or expand scope of
operations (for facilities and providers, including volunteers)

• Requests for 1135 waivers from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

• Crisis standards of care activation

[when will you drop normal operations and just do whatever you can without liability- ie at what point does S really HTF?]

• Issuance of clinical guidelines for care and resource allocation

[when do you start rationing and triage?]

‘Taking powers’ of the state relative to medical materials and staff (i.e., does the state have ability to commandeer resources under their emergency powers and does this include medical materials?)

[trans- when will they come for YOUR stuff, and do you need to give it to them. side question- where would ‘the state’ be TAKING the siezed materials????]

• Promulgation or enforcement of legal obligations of medical staff to provide care

[trans- when will they come for YOU, and what if anything can you do about it?? this is where preppers worry about ‘being on a list’ of EMS or First Aid trained, or CERT, etc, can they force you to provide medical aid? what if you are licensed?]

And these are grim:

4.38 Develop a plan for implementing a supplemental facility security/controlled access plan (which may be phased) particularly during the peak pandemic weeks to assure controlled campus ingress and egress and monitoring.

4.39 Provide patients and staff with information about stress responses, resilience, and available professional mental health resources. Develop staff monitoring for those exposed to high levels of cumulative stress or specific severe stressors (death of coworker, etc.).

4.40 Consider ways to maintain staff resilience and morale when congregate gatherings and close physical contact are discouraged. This may need to include memorial services for staff members.

4.41 Determine if the fatality management plan is sufficient for an increased volume of decedents at the facility



There’s lots more and it’s worth looking at. After all, this is what CDC thinks your local health care providers need to consider and plan for WRT flu pandemic.

-EMS not transporting sick people
-facilities and services shut down or reaching capacity and rationing of other treatment
-local authorities SEIZING medical supplies
-local authorities FORCING med staff to work
-deaths among EMS, facility staff, and care providers
-physically securing the treatment areas
-giving priority to staff family and pets
-using the military to provide transportation, reserve medical services, and security
-too many dead people to deal with normally


(the link came to me in the weekly newsletter I get for EM and first responders)

Sunday, 16 April 2017

09:41 – It was 53.7F (12C) when I took Colin out at 0715 this morning, sunny and with a slight breeze. It’s now up to about 72F (22C).

FedEx showed up yesterday with a bunch of boxes from an order I placed Thursday afternoon. As the guy was unloading the boxes, I told him I was glad they’d shipped FedEx instead of UPS. Maybe 50% of the boxes we receive via UPS appear undamaged, but the other half are invariably bashed up, ripped, crushed, and so on, sometimes so badly that items have actually leaked out through the gaps that UPS reseals. That isn’t unique to where we are now, either. It was the same in Winston. Basically, USPS almost never damages shipments, FedEx damages maybe 10% of them, and UPS damages them as often as not.

At any rate, we now have several hundred each of beakers, 10 mL and 100 mL graduated cylinders, red and black alligator clip leads, etc. etc. to get checked in, inventoried, and packed away. We’ll do that this afternoon, because there are three more even larger shipments due to arrive over the next few days.

And I see that things continue to heat up on the Korean peninsula. The Norks had yet another failed test missile launch yesterday, but if the world continues to allow them to test ballistic missiles, they’ll eventually get it right. The Chinese have already threatened to use force to bring NK back into line, with some rumors saying the Chinese are even considering using nukes. One way or another, the Kim regime needs to be toppled, even if that means China annexing NK. At least there’d be adults in charge if that happened. As things stand, the Norks are basically rabid dogs, and there’s ultimately only one solution for rabid dogs. You kill them before they attack someone. But this isn’t our problem. The Chinese, Sorks, and Japanese need to deal with it before it gets even further out of hand.


* * * * *

Friday, 24 March 2017

09:27 – It was 40.1F (4.5C) when I took Colin out around 0715 this morning, with a stiff breeze. Barbara got home about 1330 yesterday and we got all the Costco stuff unloaded and put away.

This site and Barbara’s site were down yesterday evening for at least an hour or so. I finally gave up and went to bed. The site claimed this site was up and available the whole time, but I couldn’t get to it. Several readers emailed me overnight to say they were having the same problem, so I’m not sure what was going on. There’s nothing at all on about connectivity or server issues, so something weird was going on.

I see that the big news overnight was about the Republican catfight about how much lipstick to put on the Obamacare pig. Other than Rand Paul and a couple of others, none of the GOP congressmen wants to flat-out repeal it. Trump says take or leave the current proposal, and that if Congress doesn’t accept it he’ll just drop the whole repeal thing and move along. Then we can just watch Obamacare collapse, as it’s already doing.

Roughly a third of the 3,000+ US counties have only one insurance company issuing ACA policies, and several have none at all. Our county has only one currently, BC/BS, and it seems likely that BC/BS will stop participating in ACA by the end of 2017, leaving us with nothing.

The problem is that about 99% of the congress insists on keeping the two adverse-selection features that doomed Obamacare. Allowing people up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ policies is bad enough because it dramatically reduces the number of young, healthy people who are paying into the system. The ban on refusing to cover pre-existing conditions is much, much worse. It’s adverse selection in a nutshell. The proposed GOP bandaid fixes do nothing to change that. Insurance companies can’t stay in business if they’re forced to insure people who are uninsurable. It’s like forcing a home insurance company to issue policies on homes that are already on fire.

So it’s going to be interesting to see what happens. My guess is Obamacare will be left pretty much as-is, allowed to collapse of its own weight and leaving us with nothing.

And people wonder why we continue prepping. What’s happening now just makes the slow slide into dystopia a lot faster, hastening the inevitable ultimate collapse. Stock up now, while you still can.

* * * * *

Sunday, 19 February 2017

09:32 – It was 45F (7C) again when I took Colin out this morning, but with a stiff breeze and gusts to 30+MPH (48+ KPH). Today I’ll be working on taxes and Barbara will be labeling bottles again. She labeled several hundred yesterday and will do the same today. She labels while she’s sitting watching videos using headphones, so it’s not really work. [Edit: I posted that last sentence in a fit of temporary insanity. Labeling bottles IS work, and Barbara works her ass off in the business. RBT]

One weird thing happened when I installed the Netgear router. Everything I’ve tried works normally on all our connected devices except that Google no longer works on my Fire HD7. It works fine on Barbara’s Fire HDX7, so I’m not sure what’s going on. The difference may be the ad blocker I have installed on my Fire, but Google worked with it before I replaced the router, so it must be related to the new router.

I see that Trump plans to get rid of PBS/NPR/NEA and other government boondoggles that are related to the arts. It’s about time. If there was ever any good reason for subsidizing these services with taxpayer money, it disappeared at least 20 years ago with the introduction of DVDs and the rise of Internet video, MP3 audio, and other content-delivery mechanisms. I’m sure the government news/entertainment services will be hauling out Big Bird again to convince ordinary citizens that they should be allowed to continue feeding at the taxpayer trough. But enough is enough, and too much. If they can’t compete in a free market, they deserve to be relegated to history.

* * * * *

Thursday, 16 February 2017

08:36 – It was 25F (-4C) when I took Colin out this morning, but a stiff breeze made it feel a lot colder. Barbara is due back from Winston sometime this afternoon. Colin and I never did manage to find any wild women, so we mostly read, played ball, and watched videos. Colin did get a chance to do some small-rodent pouncing in Bonnie’s back field when I took him out this morning.

Here’s the view from our back deck.

Well, actually, it’s the title card from the BBC series Cranford, but it’s the same view except that our cows are Black Angus and there are a lot more of them. Same rolling hills with cattle grazing, same trees, same mountains disappearing into the mist in the background. Have I mentioned that I really like where we live?

* * * * *

Email from Cassie, who has another canning session scheduled for this weekend. This time, she and her friend are doing it at Cassie’s house, using Cassie’s new Presto 23-quart canner and a second canner that her friend is bringing along. Cassie is supplying the canning jars for this round.

They’re not doing ground beef this time, because it wasn’t on sale yet. But the pork roast and sausage was on sale, so Cassie’s buying a bunch of it. She’s going to use her slow cooker overnight to make pulled pork using this recipe and then can it in her favorite homemade barbecue sauce (for which she didn’t cough up the recipe).

She really, really wants to do bacon, but like me she’s very concerned that the USDA recommends against it because they haven’t done the necessary testing to develop an authoritative, guaranteed-safe procedure for doing so. But, as Cassie says, they do have such a procedure for sausage, and she and her husband both like it, too.

* * * * *

 I’m still waiting for Trump and his Republican congress to do something about our ridiculous gun control laws. I signed an on-line White House petition the other day that calls for the repeal of the National Firearms Act, which would be a good start. Next, they can repeal GCA68, and we’d all be able to order guns on-line. But the really major thing they need to do is start issuing federal permits that allow concealed and open carry anywhere in the US for any adult citizen. As a first approximation, they should declare that any citizen who has a valid state-issued driver’s license is now authorized to carry open or concealed using only that license as proof of authorization. Those citizens who do not have driver’s licenses should be able to visit any US Post Office, present proof of identity and citizenship, and be issued a carry permit on the spot.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

09:39 – I see that Trump has some hesitation about living in the White House as President, and who could blame him? Just because he’s been elected President doesn’t mean he and his family should have to take such a big step down in living accommodations. There’d be some other advantages to him living in his NYC penthouse, including the fact that he’d be far away from DC. He could, of course, use the White House for ceremonial events like withdrawing the US from so-called climate-change accords.

Anti-Trump rioting continued for a fourth night, although the MSM, including FoxNews, describes it as “protests”. I hope that local authorities understand that with Obama and his justice department on the way out, their hands are no longer tied when dealing with rioters. Peaceful protests are fine, and in fact should be encouraged. But when protesters cross the line by blocking streets, assaulting cops and civilians, and burning things down, they are no longer protesters. They are rioters, and should be met with lethal force.

I expect things to get worse before they get better, if they ever do. I have a sneaking suspicion that the prog establishment is secretly happy that Trump was elected. That way, when things get worse, they can blame everything on Trump. And things are going to get worse. Decades of prog rule have literally bankrupted the country, and the crash, when it comes, is not going to be pretty.

We’re about as well-prepared here as we can be, although we continue to make minor adds and tweaks as I think of weaknesses that need to be shored up. As always, I want to make sure that we have water, food, heating/cooking, power and communications, sanitation, medical, and defense needs covered. We’re actually in pretty good shape now on most of those. I do plan to put in another Walmart order for bulk staples and some miscellaneous stuff, but that’ll be it for LTS food for at least a while.

For future reference: A 2-liter soft drink bottle holds 3 pounds 14 ounces of pinto beans, which are free-flowing through a suitable funnel into the 2-liter bottle mouth.

Friday, 11 November 2016

09:32 – Today is Veterans’ Day, a day to remember the service of our present and former veterans.

The last of our WWI veterans are no longer with us, and few enough of our WWII veterans. Time passes quickly. When I was about five years old, my parents took me and my younger brother to a veterans’ parade in downtown New Castle, PA, where I grew up. There were hundreds of veterans of my father’s generation. They were mostly young men in their 30’s and 40’s, and had served in WWII and Korea. There were fewer but still a large group of my grandfather’s generation, men mostly the age that I am now, who had served in WWI and/or WWII. There were also a few of my great-grandfathers’ generation, elderly men who had served in the Spanish-American War.

I’m sure that most of the veterans there had thought at the time that they were fighting so that their future children and grandchildren wouldn’t have to. Alas, that turned out not to be true, as each succeeding generation had its own wars to fight. So, I sit here thinking about veterans of earlier wars as kids young enough to be my own children and grandchildren fight their own overseas wars, probably thinking that they’re fighting so that their future children and grandchildren won’t have to fight. And realizing that a thousand years ago, ten thousand years ago, our young people were fighting for the same reason. And also realizing that people don’t start wars; governments do.

I ordered a gas cooktop yesterday, but it won’t arrive for a couple of weeks. That gives us time to arrange to have a propane tank and piping installed. In addition to running propane to the kitchen, I’m also going to have the installers stub out an exterior connection and quick disconnect for our generator. I talked to an electrician yesterday about giving us a quote on installing a cut-over switch for the generator. He’s also a Generac dealer, so I’ll have him install a propane kit and cutover on our 5KW Generac so that we can use either gasoline or propane to fuel it.

I’m still debating about tank size. The standard propane tank is 120 gallons, which is a bit smaller than I’d like. Unfortunately, the next size up, 330 gallons, has a lot more restrictions on it than the smaller tank, as far as required distance from the house, pad requirements, and so on.

The nominal 120-gallon tank actually holds 100 gallons when full, the equivalent of twenty 20-pound cannisters, which is about nine million BTU’s of heat content. The largest burner in our gas cooktop is 15,000 BTU’s, so we could run it for about 600 hours on a full tank. Call it an hour and 40 minutes a day for a year. So I guess that 120-gallon tank will suffice, but I’ll need to keep it at least 75% full at all times.