Category: news

Tues. Sept. 3, 2019 – hurricanes are no joke

Slightly cooler, but humid. [76F and 83%RH at 6am]

Spent yesterday at the beach, which was surreal considering what was going on east of us.  The beaches were mostly empty too, to my surprise.

The pictures and video that are coming out of the Bahamas are shocking.   It’s been a while since we had good video of such a devastating storm.  Waves washing the second story windows should convince anyone that evacuation is the better part of valor, if that’s what you might be facing.

There are reports of “price gouging” coming out of Fla.  I’m of the opinion that laws prohibiting charging more than the usual rate when un-usual events are happening are un-American and counter productive.   Let the business earn the opprobrium if that’s what people decide is fair.  Otherwise, let those without the ability to plan pay those who have the ability for the privilege of their ignorance and lack of self control.

Complaining about expensive bottled water WHEN IT’S COMING OUT OF YOUR TAP is about as stupid as stupid gets.  Gas is a <i>bit</i> different, as it can be difficult to store safely, but if you are motivated you can do so.  I did, and do.  If it’s a priority, you will find a way to do it.  If it’s not, then you will pay the tax.

If there are any new readers, let me point out that I live in a hurricane zone, have been through several, and THAT’S WHY I PREP.

Read through anything tagged with prepping related tags.  Read the comments.  Learn it for next time, as there will surely be a next time.

Also, accept that there are some things that are out of your control and you will just have to deal with them as best you can.  That’s another good reason to have resources set aside, so you can adapt.

Speaking of which… my mom decided that the best thing to do was fly into Florida EARLY this year.  She’s in Sarasota as of YESTERDAY, so should be ok unless things go very wrong with the storm track.   However, I’m reaching out to MY resources, with a ‘heads up’ that I might need some sort of help in that regard if things go pear shaped.  She doesn’t “believe” in preparedness of any sort and so I find myself in the (not completely unusual) position of having a loved one firmly in my darwin column, and yet I can’t actually leave her there if push comes to shove.  I hope to convince her to do her shopping today, and to pick up some extra, if it’s even available.  (FWIW, I was under the impression that her flight would be canceled and she’d stay safely in Chicago, I was shocked to get her text that she had landed in Sarasota.  No idea what she was thinking.)

If you are in the threatened area, please take what time you have and do what is needed to ensure you have the best chance at safety.  If you are not directly threatened by this storm, take it as a warning- there will be other storms, quakes, floods, tornadoes, riots, pipeline explosions, derailments, plagues, and pestilence.   Get prepped.



added-  looks like Dorian has started to turn north.  That is good news for Florida but it’s still gonna be a mess up the coast and central regions.  Freaking thing sat for 40 hours on the Bahamas.  That is nuts.

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Sat. July 20, 2019 – nice day, but kinda hot

85F and 81%RH at 830. National forecast calls for rain in the area, but the local forecast is overcast and clouds, high of 98F. THAT should be stifling.

Speaking of stifling, you guys should be well aware of my ongoing issues with heat, and the current heat wave sweeping across the country. Heat injuries are no joke and take a long time to recover completely.

Do Not push it in the heat. All joking about the media overreaction to ‘summer’ aside. People will die this weekend. There are resources for you to use. OSHA has a heat danger app which will help you determine rest periods and dangerous conditions. Know the signs of heat injury-

Heat stroke is a life threatening emergency that needs immediate treatment. Look at that chart, review the symptoms and the first aid. Heat stroke victims may appear drunk, shuffling feet and confused. Hot dry skin is an indicator- they need to be cooled and treated immediately. I can tell you from personal experience, knowing the signs can save lives. There are at least two people alive today because of the heat illness awareness briefing I gave before an event in Dane County WI.

Speaking of Dane County, WI, they made front page of the DailyMail…. this was the view out my wife’s hotel window in Madison WI.

Take advantage of Mr. Carrier’s invention and stay inside and cool. Go to a movie, a store, or the hardware store and hang out in their AC. Just be aware, hot grumpy people are easily angered. If the advice “don’t be there” can’t work, keep your head up, and your eyes moving. While you’re looking for threats, look for people in distress too. It feels really good to save a life.


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Monday, 2 October 2017

09:00 – It was 42.6F (6C) when I took Colin out at 0645, partly cloudy. Barbara is off to the gym this morning and has a meeting in town after lunch.

Even a 64-year-old guy with an AK-47 can do a lot of damage very quickly, particularly if he’s firing from an elevated position and has a densely-packed crowd of people to fire into. This bastard hosed down a crowd of people attending a country music festival, killing 50+ people and wounding 200+. From partial reports so far, it sounds like he did this in less than a minute of actual shooting.

No word yet on his motivation. All we know right now is his name, his age, and the fact that he was “known to the police”. He may have been a jihadi, a BLM or Antifa activist, or simply a non-political lunatic. Not that it matters to his victims and their families. Had the police not responded quickly and decisively, the body count might have been much, much higher.

This is just one more example of our nation coming apart at the seams. The next time, and there will be a next time, instead of the victims being Deplorables, they might be a group of BLM or Antifa or muslim “protesters”, and instead of a rifle the weapon may be a bomb or bombs, toxic gas, or simply a dump truck driven by a maniac.

As always, the best way to ensure that you and your family survive such an outrage is simply not to be there. Avoid political rallies and protests, sporting events, concerts, amusement parks, and any other venue that draws large crowds.

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Friday, 15 September 2017

09:10 – It was 53.7F (12C) when I took Colin out at 0700, partly cloudy.

The Equifax breach just keeps getting worse and worse. First it was revealed that they’d waited almost six weeks after discovering the breach to make it public. Then it comes out that high executives with the company sold lots of their stock soon after the breach, supposedly not being aware of it. Yeah, right. Now it’s revealed that they were aware of the vulnerability for months, that there was a patch for it, and that they didn’t bother to apply the patch. Jesus.

And their response is pathetic. One year of free credit-monitoring service? How about lifetime free credit-monitoring service? And how about a significant payment to anyone affected by the breach? Say an amount equal to the combined credit line of each person. We have only two or three credit cards, with combined limits of maybe $50,000, but other people may have much more. Say the average is only $10,000. If 143 million people were affected, that would cost Equifax $1,430 billion, so it might put a crimp in their stock value.

But all of the credit agencies are in the wrong here. The default should be to freeze credit on everyone unless they specifically ask that it be unlocked temporarily if they want to apply for credit. It’s inexcusable that this is not the default, and even worse that they charge to freeze an account. At least North Carolina requires them to freeze an account without charging.

Email from a guy who’s pretty well prepared on the basics—water, food, shelter, cooking/heating, communications, etc.—but lacks antibiotics for his beloved decorative pet fish. He’s uncomfortable with the idea of buying antibiotics from Mexican or Canadian pharmacies, eBay, or other random Internet sources, but is comfortable storing Thomas Labs fish antibiotics, available from and many local pet supply stores. Interestingly, it appears that has stopped offering Thomas Labs fish antibiotics. I hope that’s not a sign of things to come. I’ll include only retail list prices below, but third-party vendors generally sell these products at a 15% or 20% discount.

He wanted to know that if I limited myself to these products, which one or ones would I stock, and how much of each per fish. With the usual disclaimer that I am neither a physician or a pharmacist (nor a veterinarian), and assuming that his fish have no drug allergies, I recommended the following, roughly in order of priority:

Note: All of these dosages assume that we’re treating a 160-pound (72 kilo) adult fish that is not pregnant.

1. Doxycycline, 100 mg tablets or capsules – This would be my top priority, as it is broad-spectrum and is generally tolerated well except by pregnant and juvenile fish. A typical course of treatment is one 100 mg dose every 12 hours for 7 to 10 days, so for one fish I’d want to have 14 to 20 tablets on hand. Thomas Labs sells a bottle of thirty 100 mg doxycycline tablets for $50 or 100 tablets for $150.

2. Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (SMZ/TMP), 400/80 mg or 800/160 mg tablets – This would be my second priority, assuming your fish have no sulfa allergies. A typical course of treatment is one 400/80 mg tablet every 12 hours for 7 to 10 days, so for one fish I’d want to have 14 to 20 of the smaller tablets (or 7 to 10 of the larger tablets) on hand. Thomas Labs sells SMZ/TMP as 800/160 mg tablets, which are scored and can easily be split into two 400/80 mg tablets. A bottle of thirty 800/160 SMZ/TMP tablets (equivalent to sixty 400/80 mg tablets) sells for $15 or 100 tablets (equivalent to two hundred 400/80 mg tablets) for $35. This stuff is cheap and is effective against many common serious infections, so there’s no reason not to have it on hand.

3. Metronidazole, 500 mg tablets or capsules – This drug was introduced as Flagyl in the 1950’s as an anti-protozoal and it was only discovered by chance in 1962 that it’s also effective against anaerobic bacteria. The other antibiotics listed here have little or no effect on either protozoal infections or anaerobic bacterial infections, so metronidazole is definitely something I want in my arsenal. A typical course of treatment varies, depending on the particular disease and its severity, but ranges from 2000 mg/day for five days up to 4,000 mg/day for ten days, so to be safe I’d assume one course is a total of 40,000 mg. Thomas Labs sells Fish Zole Forte as 500 mg tablets, at $45, $65, and $100 for 30, 60, or 100 tablets, respectively. A daily 2,000 mg dosage is therefore four tablets, and a 4,000 mg dosage eight tablets. You’ll want to continue this for up to ten days, so for the maximum 4,000 mg/day for ten days, you’ll need 80 of the 500 mg tablets. Go with a bottle of 100 to be safe.

4. An antihelminthic drug – This is not a Thomas Labs product, but it’s important just the same. Parasitic worms are probably responsible for more morbidity and mortality in fish than any other parasite, so you’ll want something on hand to treat them. My first choice here would be mebendazole, with albendazole a close second. Unfortunately, both of those are extraordinarily expensive in the US. (About $.01 to $0.10 per dose outside the US, but $200 to $400 per dose in the US. See the Wikipedia entries on those drugs to find out why.) My next choice would be pyrantel (50 mg pyrantel per mL as the pamoate salt), which is over-the-counter in the US, and sells for $0.50 to $4.00 per dose. It’s not effective against all types of helminthic parasites, but works for the most common ones–pin worm, hookworm, and roundworm. As far as I know, pyrantel is sold only as a suspension. Typical dosages of the 50 mg/mL concentration are 1 mL per 10 pounds of body weight, so you’d give your 160-pound fish 16 mL. Call it one tablespoon. A 16-ounce bottle—roughly 32 adult doses—sells for $15 or so, and a 32-ounce bottle for twice that. A course of treatment for any of these antihelminthics is usually just one dose, so a little goes a long way. The best-known version of this drug is Reese’s Pinworm Medicine, which sells for $7 or $8 per ounce ($3.50 to $4 per dose), but it’s also available as a generic OTC medication in pint and quart bottles for about $0.50/ounce.

If you’re stocking for a family or group of fish rather than just one fish, you won’t necessarily need to multiply the quantities per fish by the number of fish in the group. For example, for 25 adult fish, we’d keep 200 grams of metronidazole on hand, which is only five maximum to twenty minimum courses.

Keep these drugs unopened in their sealed bottles, and stick them in your freezer, where they’ll remain safe and potent for literally decades. The only exception is the one liquid drug on this list, pyrantel pamoate suspension, which should be refrigerated, where it’ll remain safe and potent for many years.

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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

08:37 – It was 65.3F (18.5C) when I took Colin out at 0650, clear and sunny.

Barbara is heading for the gym this morning and then making a quick run down to Winston to have lunch with her friend Bonnie and then making a stop at Home Depot to pick up another platform ladder for downstairs and a gallon of VM&P naphtha for me. She’ll be back late this afternoon. Tomorrow and through the weekend, we’ll be doing kit stuff.

The recent events in Charlottesville remind me of a similar incident that occurred back in November, 1979. My parents had moved to Winston-Salem a couple of years previously, and I was visiting them when the incident occurred. It was the shootout in Greensboro between the KKK/Nazis and the Communists. I remember thinking at the time that it couldn’t have happened to more deserving people, and that it was a shame they hadn’t all shot each other.

Although one wouldn’t know it from reading the news reports, it seems that in Charlottesville the KKK/Nazis did everything by the book. They applied for a permit, which was duly granted, and then began a peaceful protest. Then the radical racist black vice-mayor withdrew the permit and ordered the white protesters out of town. They dispersed as ordered, individually and in small groups, and were set upon by roving bands of BLM/Antifa protesters, who had not even applied for a permit. Apparently, the young man who drove the car into a crowd of commie protesters had already been assaulted and battered more than once by groups of BLM/Antifa terrorists.

So it appears to me that the only way the KKK/Neo-Nazi group contributed to the violence was by being there. The actual violence was instigated and committed by the BLM/Antifa side, with the active support of the city government and the passive support of law enforcement, who stood by and did nothing to stop it. In other words, that woman’s death was entirely attributable to actions taken by the left, supported by city government and law enforcement.

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Friday, 11 August 2017

08:43 – It was 64.3F (18C) when I took Colin out at 0625, partly cloudy and calm.

More work on kit stuff all day today. We had seven orders from different customers yesterday, so things are starting to ramp up. Our busiest time is generally mid-August through mid-September, when we’ll be fully occupied just building kits from stockpiled sub-assemblies and getting those kits shipped. So we’ll spend the day building chemical bags for various kits.

We really need to spend some time getting the food room organized. I had a horrible dream the other night. I was about to transfer a bunch of canned meat to the downstairs refrigerator. When I opened the door, it was already packed full to overflowing with these #10 cans.

More than 60 cans of bamboo shoots? I knew immediately who was responsible, so I ran upstairs to the bedroom, where I found Mandy, Barbara’s small stuffed panda, looking innocent. When pressed, she said that if TSHTF small stuffed pandas have to eat, too.

The little Malamute has now officially been adopted. Barbara’s friend Joanne and her family went over to visit her at the shelter yesterday and decided to adopt her. Barbara offered them our crate, which Joanne and her son stopped over yesterday to pick up. They were out buying supplies for her: a leash and harness, a name/address tag for her collar, presumably toys, food, treats, and so on.

Joanne said they’re thinking of naming her Jaimie. The vet asked Barbara when she dropped her off if we’d named her. Barbara said we’d leave that up to whoever adopted her. They’re picking her up at 1000 this morning to take her home.

They have to take her back to be spayed in a couple of weeks. Joanne’s husband and son, Jeff and Colin, wanted to keep her intact in case they decided to breed Malamute puppies, but that’s a non-starter. Like all animal rescue organizations, this one insists on pets being neutered before they’ll adopt them out.

I keep reading articles from the left and right saying that North Korea is going to nuke us. There’s just no way that’s going to happen. The Norks have nuclear fission DEVICES. There’s a big difference between a device and a bomb, and an even bigger difference between a bomb and a warhead. In my estimation, the Norks are at least years and probably decades away from having a deliverable warhead, let alone the thermonuclear warhead that various news organizations who should know better are claiming that North Korea has.

The danger, and it is real, is not the the Norks will nuke us. It’s that we’ll nuke them, and thereby open a can of worms. China has already announced that in the event of conflict between the US and NK they’ll remain neutral UNLESS the US attacks first. In that case, all bets are off.

It’s not that I think there would be a nuclear war between the US and China. Saner heads in both the US and China would prevail, as they always have. The real danger is a localized war on the Korean peninsula that gets us into a real hot war, even a conventional one. If that happens and China, say, sinks a US carrier, things could rapidly spiral into the toilet. And there’s no doubt in my mind that China could sink a US carrier if they wanted to. China could easily overwhelm the defenses of even a carrier battle group. They’re on their home ground. And that would turn into a real mess very quickly.

The danger is not so much mushroom clouds and radiation as it is shutting down commerce. The US economy depends heavily on a continuing flow of cheap consumer and industrial goods from China and South Korea. Anything that interrupts that flow could be catastrophic for our economy.

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

08:30 – It was 58.9F (15C) when I took Colin out at 0715, sunny and breezy. Half an hour later, it was already up to 68.0F (20C). Barbara is volunteering at the Friends of the Library bookstore this afternoon. This morning, we’re doing science kit stuff.

There was a disturbing article in the Winston paper yesterday morning, with a followup article this morning. There was a home invasion in Lewisville, an exurban area not far from where we used to live. It occurred in the wee small hours. The outcome was better than might be expected. None of the home’s residents were injured, thanks largely to a neighbor with an “assault rifle” who shot and killed one of the would-be invaders. Details are still lacking, but it appears that because of North Carolina’s Castle Doctrine the neighbor won’t be charged. The police are withholding the names of the would-be victims because the rest of the home invaders are still at large.

Barbara’s made it about halfway through season eight of CSI:NY, and should be able to finish watching it over the next couple of days. I browsed around the current offerings of BritBox yesterday, and it looks to be worth the $7/month subscription. There’s a lot of stuff there that’s never made it to US television or streaming. Some of it is probably mediocre, but the Brits on average do pretty good TV series.

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Friday, 28 April 2017

08:47 – It was 51.7F (11C) when I took Colin out at 0645 this morning, sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and no wind. Oddly, when I looked out the door 15 minutes later, the south tree line was almost invisible because of heavy, very brightly-lit fog. By the time Barbara came out to the den at 0730 the fog had pretty much dissipated.

Barbara came back with most of what I put on the Costco list. One exception was the vanilla extract. She said Costco was out-of-stock on it and had a sign posted that it might be quite a while before they were back in stock.

I’m tempted just to pick up a bottle of the artificial stuff. The real stuff at Costco costs $15 or $18 for a one pint (473 mL) bottle. The artificial stuff from McCormick costs more like $5 for a one quart (946 mL) bottle. I’ve taste-tested real versus artificial, and there isn’t much difference tasting them directly. Once they’re mixed in a cake or cookies or whatever, I defy anyone to reliably pick which one’s which.

I’m increasingly running across truly disgusting news articles. Here’s one from the morning paper. FTA:

A Winston-Salem woman was convicted Thursday of forcing a 12-year-old girl into prostitution, resulting in the girl being raped by adult men over two years, getting pregnant and contracting a sexually-transmitted disease.

Twelve Forsyth County jurors found Flora Riano Gonzalez, 39, of the 1800 block of East 25th Street, guilty of sexual servitude, felony child abuse involving prostitution and felony child abuse involving sexual acts. Judge Richard Gottlieb of Forsyth Superior Court has scheduled a sentencing hearing for 10 a.m. today.

In any rational society, this woman would be dangling on the end of a rope by now.

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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.

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Friday, 17 February 2017

09:32 – It was 35.5F (2C) when I took Colin out this morning, without much wind. Barbara arrived back from Winston about 3:00 yesterday afternoon. Colin and I are both delighted.

On her way out of Winston, she made a small Costco run. It was only $57.16 total, of which more than half was Dentastix treats for Colin. The only other things she picked up were cases of 12 cans each of 14.5-oz. green beans ($7.79), 6-oz. tomato paste ($6.79), and 15-oz. tomato sauce ($7.99). The latter two were “organic”. Both of us would prefer inorganic tomato products, but Costco doesn’t carry them.

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I see that there was a national “Day without Immigrants” protest yesterday. What they obviously hoped to prove was that we’d be SOL without immigrants; what they actually proved was that almost no one noticed.

Early next month, there’s to be a general strike of women. Presumably all the prog women will be marching around wearing pink pussy hats and proclaiming how important they are. I predict the actual result will be that no one notices, because the women who actually ARE important won’t be participating in this bullshit. They mostly voted for Trump anyway. As to the strikers, I hope their employers fire all their asses and replace them with good women.

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