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.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

07:25 – I have a bone to pick with the US federal government. Why are they wasting the time of SEAL Team Six, Delta Force, and so on by sending them out to track down and kill minor annoyances like Osama bin Laden, when they could instead be sending them out to track down and kill phone and email spammers? I’m completely serious here. I get a dozen or more spam phone calls and thousands of spam emails every day, and I’m sure I’m not alone. (Yes, our phone number is on the DNC list; makes no difference as far as I can tell. What we need is a C/EMAD Call/Email Me And Die list.) We should be relentlessly hunting down and killing telemarketers and email spammers, wherever in the world they may be. And it’s a self-limiting problem. We’d probably have to blow away only 10,000 or 100,000 of them before the rest got the message. What do you call 10,000 dead phone/email spammers? A good start.

Email from Jen. She and her husband are considering improving their alternative electric power situation. They currently have a generator and a limited supply of fuel as well as a 14W portable solar charger. The former is fine until the fuel runs out, and latter is fine if all you need to do is keep a few AA and AAA cells charged. They’re thinking about a low-end off-grid solar installation. They don’t expect to run their AC or even their freezer or furnace, but they would like a bit more solar capacity.

Jen mentioned that they were thinking about buying and installing a Renogy 400W off grid kit and had a lot of questions about whether to go with the MPPT or PWM charge controller, what other items they’d need to buy, how much actual electric power they could expect a small system like this to produce, and so on.

I told her that I’m not an expert on solar power, but I’d be inclined to go with the MPPT charge controller. If they’re concerned about EMP or a solar flare they can stick everything in a Faraday cage and perhaps buy a spare PWM charge controller. Those cost only $35 or so. Under ideal conditions, which conditions never are in the real world, they could expect those four 100W panels to produce maybe 2 kW-hours per day. Real world, I wouldn’t count on much more than 1 to 1.25 KW-hour per day, or about as much as their generator will produce in ten minutes. Still, that’s roughly 25 times as much as their little 14W portable panel produces, and enough to keep all of their rechargeable cells and small devices charged.

They would also need several deep-cycle batteries (like golf-cart batteries), along with the cables to connect their solar charging system to their battery bank and a decent inverter to output 120VAC, ideally a true sine-wave model. A 35 amp-hour 12V deep-cycle battery runs about $75, so they could expect to spend $300+ on those batteries. In a pinch, I told Jen they could recharge standard 12V automobile batteries, although their plates are designed for very high current draws for short periods of time (running a car starter motor) rather than low current draw for long periods, and using car batteries to substitute for deep-cycle batteries would greatly reduce their useful lifetimes. The price of an inverter is determined by its output waveform–square-wave inverters are cheaper than sawtooth or modified sine-wave inverters, which in turn are cheaper than true sine-wave inverters–and its peak/sustained amp rating.

Although I didn’t suggest doing so, I told Jen that they could also get by with buying only the panels themselves and some batteries, doing without both the charge controller and the inverter. These panels output about 18V under ideal conditions, which means they actually output considerably less voltage under real world conditions. They could hook up panels in parallel to provide that same less-than-18V output and run it directly to their battery bank to charge the batteries. They’d have to keep a close eye on things to avoid over-charging or self-discharging but it could be done, although I’d recommend spending the $35 on a basic charge controller. Either way, they could keep a significant amount of energy stored in their battery bank, which they could use with a battery charger intended to operate on normal 12V vehicle power. They’d be able to keep a boatload of 1.2V NiMH cells charged, as well as small portable electronics like emergency lighting, radios, tablets, or notebooks.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

08:14 – One of the interesting aspects of offering a free sample chapter of the prepping book is all the emails I get from people whose names I don’t recognize because they never post comments here, including a disproportionate number of women. Maybe 1% of my male readers ever post a comment here; for female readers, it’s probably more like 0.1%. Given that my readership is probably 10:1 male:female, that means we see very, very few comments from women. Perhaps I’ve made this journal unfriendly to women. If so, it’s not intentional and I regret that I seem to attract mostly you crotchety old bastards who are always commenting.

Yesterday’s stock market crash seems to be leveling out, although a significant minority of observers believe much worse things are imminent and even most of the optimists appear to be badly shaken. If one thing is clear, it’s that China is out of control. Yesterday wasn’t the big crash that a lot of people are expecting, but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. The big crash is coming, maybe not today or next month or even this year, but it is coming. And when it comes it seems likely that it will start in China and quickly flood over the EU like a tsunami. The US and Canada are the only real havens. They’ll both take severe hits, but nothing like the rest of the world.

Barbara’s first day back at work yesterday was uneventful. She’s turning things over to the several people who will replace her, teaching them what she does. It sounds like her final five weeks at work will be relatively calm, which is a good thing.

If you’d like a PDF copy of Chapter 1 of the prepping book, email me at thompson (at) ttgnet (dot) com with the subject line “book sample”. I’ll send you the PDF.

10:34 – At Lynn’s suggestion, I just added the following text as a sidebar in Chapter 1.

What About Cooling?

Cold can kill, but so can heat, particularly the elderly, infants, and others who are less able than most people to tolerate high temperatures and humidity. With power down, the lack of air conditioning can be a lethal threat to these vulnerable people.

Unfortunately, it takes a lot of power to run a whole-house air conditioning system, much more than is practical for most people to make provision for. Keeping whole-house air conditioning running during a power outage requires a very large generator and the fuel to run it.

If you must have cooling, there are two practical options:

First, you can buy a high-efficiency, inverter-based generator1, store enough fuel to run it for the expected duration of the power outage, and use it to power a small portable or window air conditioner to cool one room.

Second, you can do what our ancestors did before there was air conditioning. If you still have running water, use cool water for frequent cooling baths or showers. Utility water usually comes from the tap at about the average year-round temperature for your location. For example, the annual average temperature in Dallas, Texas is about 67 °F and that of Boston, Massachusetts is about 52 °F, so utility water temperatures in those cities are normally within ±5 or 10 °F of those temperatures. (Oddly, the water temperature is usually somewhat higher in cold months and somewhat lower in warm months because it takes six months or so for air temperature changes to penetrate the soil to the depth at which water pipes are usually buried.) Utility water at 65 or 70 °F is far enough below body temperature that bathing or showering in it will cool you down quickly. In fact, spending too long in cool water can produce hypothermia.

If you don’t have running water, use whatever water you do have. Other than shallow ponds, the temperature of natural water sources like streams, rivers, and lakes is usually much lower than the ambient air temperature.