Preparedness Pays: Places

It’s time to talk about the second thing that can get damaged in a disaster: places. That place can be your home, your business location, your work location, or other structure. Again, the list of disasters is near infinity, and can include fire, flood, earthquake, tornado, etc.

Let’s start with your home. Bad things can happen, but you can take steps to minimize damage fairly easily.

For example, a fire. Smoke detectors properly installed and maintained can and do make a difference as they give early warning of a fire. Fire extinguishers are inexpensive, and can be used to put out stove fires or even house fires if caught early. Otherwise, they can help you and yours make a safe exit. Invest in not just a number of extinguishers over time, but get different sizes and types so that you are prepared for different events. A small extinguisher designed to fight grease fires is a good thing to have in the kitchen.

Falling limbs (or trees), storms, and other delights can damage your home as well. One thing I like to have in almost every room is a small plastic container that has a tarp, tape of different types, tacks and nails, scissors and/or a utility knife, a hammer, and even basic first aid supplies in it. If a window gets busted in that room, the materials to cover it and prevent further damage are right there. If your roof is damaged, you have a tarp you can put up as soon as it is safe.

Which brings up another point: have the tools you need. A ladder is useful around the house for a variety of projects, including emergencies. Shovels of various types, a mattock, and a sledge hammer are also useful for general use as well as in emergencies. Right now, where I am living, there are window issues that would make it hard to use them in an emergency, so I have a sledge hammer tucked away near those windows that would make short work of them if needed for use as an emergency exit.

Also, have things like pry bars and a hand saw in the area where you would take shelter for a storm or other emergency. That way, even if your location takes damage severe enough to potentially trap you, you have the means to begin to extract yourself. That area is also where you should store at least some of your emergency resources such as food, water, and basic first aid supplies. In addition, I have battery-operated lanterns and flashlights, and even some camping gear so that I have the means to get by a while at need.

If your home has more than one story, it’s a good idea to have emergency fire ladders tucked away in each room. That way, in a fire or other emergency that requires you or yours to go out a window, there is a safe way to get down to ground level.

Keep up on your maintenance, and/or ensure your landlord does. Good maintenance tends to help minimize damage from minor disasters. Also, if you have trees or limbs that pose a threat to your home or business, get them cut and removed. There’s a lot more to discuss about landscaping, and using it to improve safety, prevent fire hazards, and other delights but time is limited this morning. Also, winterizing or otherwise insulating your home and sealing openings can save money on utilities as well as making it difficult for insects or other critters to get inside. You may even be able to get a grant or tax rebates for such. Again, much more to discuss later.

Finally this morning, have a plan for fire and plans for other likely emergencies and practice them. Make sure that if it is more than just you, everyone knows where to meet (rally point) so you can ensure all are out safely. Also, especially with children, make sure they know not to go back inside for any reason. Growing up, I remember a child and a parent dying in a house fire because the child ran back inside to try to save a pet, and upon realizing what had happened the parent ran back in to try to save the child. Make the practice as realistic as possible, because how you train/practice is how you will do when and if the plan really is needed.

The Death Of Pvt. Journalism

Many years ago, at my then blog and later on Blackfive, I wrote a series of posts about what it would take to save modern journalism. In that series, I went into a number of symptoms that had taken journalism from any semblance of fair and balanced into pure advocacy. While the Camelot-like myth of an unbiased media is just that, it used to be that real journalists would occasionally do real journalism.

The problem is, I was focused on the symptoms rather than the root cause of the symptoms. While I am not the first to say this, I have come to think that journalism died when it became a profession, rather than a trade. In days gone by, journalism was not a respectable profession. The portrayal of low-income, not socially acceptable to high society, hard working, hard drinking, and somewhat disreputable (to highly disreputable) portrayals of the media in film noir and beyond was in many ways more accurate than those in the field would have liked.

While there were always exceptions, they were just that. Even some of those exceptions were not as portrayed; rather, they were creations to give a veneer of respectability to both the trade and to the news being disseminated.

I was fortunate to have been trained by some of those who were legend in the days when it was a trade rather than a profession. My first journalism professor was representative of the movie caricature, down to a bottle of booze in a lower desk drawer. Some of the rules of writing still are drilled into me, such as the proper use of “over” versus “more-than” which he taught by the explanation of ‘I have a brick over your head, that weighs more than x pounds. When I drop it on your head for using over, it will hurt.’ Humorous then, likely to get him reprimanded or disciplined today because to snowflakes, it’s a threat.

Looking at things, I’m not sure that any like Mike Royko, Darryl Feldmeir, or Les Brownlee (who set a number of milestones as a black journalist) could find work in the field today. Today, you have to have a four year degree to get started as a “serious” journalist. To truly get ahead, at least a Master’s degree.

And there lies the problem. Our universities provide and demand lockstep indoctrination and obedience to a certain political thought. Increasingly, if you hold a different view, you are shunned. The net result is that while newsrooms might contain every color and multiple genders, they lack almost any ideological diversity outside a very narrow progressive spectrum. Don’t believe me? Take a look at what is going on inside the New York Times (where the spirit of Duranty lives!) right now with the battles between staff and management, or even within the publishing field where the lower level staffers are revolting over the publication of conservative (or even moderate) books.

Can Pvt. Journalism still be saved? Perhaps. I see real journalism happening, even at risk of life and reputation, in the independent media. People like Andy Ngo, Sharyl Attkisson, and organizations like Newsmax give me some hope. However, before they can be truly effective, what passes for the mainstream media will have to crash and burn and/or new media outlets dedicated to real journalism be created and flourish. I see the start of the latter, and am watching the growing fires and explosions within the “old” mainstream media growing. What comes of it remains to be seen, especially since Big Tech and establishment politicians are doing all they can to shore up the ‘right’ type of outlets despite the growing problems.

That said, until there are more organizations like Newsmax and they have real viewership, journalism is dead. Again, others have said it before, but if Trump and others are smart, they will start news organizations and means of distribution (like Parler and Rumble) to bypass the censorious Big Tech and get the word out to the broadest possible audience. Note that such efforts are being fought tooth and nail, and both Big Tech and the media devote a large amount of time to trying to paint such efforts as racist, allowing hate speech, and other double-plus-ungood things. Such efforts rightly terrify them (and those in the establishment political class), and they will stop at nothing to destroy them. Indeed, I expect to see actual physical means used as well to literally harm or kill those behind such efforts. Yes, I’m serious as political assassination was a tool in this last election, though the media did its best to not cover such things.

To save Pvt. Journalism, who — like the Republic — may be dead in many respects, means making use of the “golden hour” for revival. It will take funds and, frankly, more courage than I think many may have. It’s one thing to be fearless for yourself, but when family and friends are threatened and attacked (as has happened) in a variety of means physical, fiscal, and beyond… All we can do is do what we can as individuals to either create such efforts or support them as best we can. Oh, and it would be good to make journalism into an honest trade, rather than a dishonest profession.

Preparedness Pays: People Damage

No, this is not about how to damage people (something far too easy to do, sadly); rather, it is about how there are only three types of damage that can happen to a person. Within each group, you again can get into the almost infinite number of disasters large and small, but you also can begin making practical preparations to counter them all fairly easily.

First up is physical damage. From scraping a knee to traumatic damage, things happen that can harm our bodies. The counters to this range from having basic first aid supplies like bandages and ointment, to keeping a small trauma kit in the car or on you. I actually have one tourniquet in my work vest and the med kit I had in Iraq (updated as needed) in my carry bag that travels with me. Given the amount of travel I currently do, I’m ready to help if I’m one of the first on the scene of an accident.

Again, while we will get into more detail later, it is neither hard nor expensive to plan and prepare for physical damage. Having general first aid kits handy helps you deal easily with the normal day-to-day “ouches” that happen, while having the gear on hand for something more can not only help you or yours, but allow you to help others in the event of an emergency.

The second type of damage is a loss of resources. This could be the loss of power or water, or something more serious like loss of shelter or even the loss of immediate access to food. Look at the resources you use every day, list them out, and you can begin to plan for short- and long-term loss. If you begin to build up spare resources gradually, it is not expensive or time consuming.

Something else to keep in mind is how to make all of this work for you. I bring this up now because some of the things you might not think of immediately can be taken of taxes or earn credits. Thinks like additional insulation or winterization of your house, improving energy efficiency via new appliances, or even alternate power sources may have tax benefits and in some cases there are even programs to help you do this if you meet income requirements.

The final type of damage is financial, and it is the type of damage seldom covered in most works on preparedness. At best, most discuss keeping cash or other means of payment on hand. While I agree on the need to do this, what I would prefer you to look at is how you can prepare for anything from being out of work a week or three to a major recession or even depression. It’s not only about putting a little away, but also how to put some of that into forms that can ride out economic downturns that can come with a large-scale disaster. While it can be argued that financial is a resource, it is a specialized type of resource that deserves it’s own planning.

The Series In Order:

Preparedness Pays

Preparedness Pays: Diet Versus Lifestyle

Preparedness Pays: For Crying Out Loud!!!

Preparedness Pays: Expensive? No.

Preparedness Pays: It’s So Time Consuming — NOT

More To Come

Day life has been encroaching on my writing time, but I am working to get back to writing. I hope to have more on Preparedness Pays up soon, as I think some of the material may be needed soon, more than we might want. Just remember, make it part of your life and lifestyle, and it will pay for itself and save you from many of the hassles of real life, much less calamities.

Into The Light: Chuck Yeager

Many people have talked or written about the man over the years, but I’m not sure anyone has truly done him justice. What can you say about a man who enlisted in 1941 and rose to be one of the top fighter pilots in the war? Who then became a test pilot and at the age of 24 became the first pilot to break the sound barrier in level flight? Who did so despite being busted up from a riding accident, and with the help of a friend hid both the injury and the section of broom handle he used to close the door to the plane since his injury wouldn’t let him do it otherwise? Who then rose through various commands in the Air Force and was prepared to bomb Russia in planes who’s pilots knew they could reach the targets, but not have enough fuel to get home and so would have to “walk home” from behind enemy lines? A man who’s work helped create the technology that launched the space age?

I had the honor of meeting him at the premier of “The Right Stuff” movie in Atlanta. Somewhere in the small aerospace library I donated to Purdue is the booklet from that premier, that had his and other autographs. I was especially glad to meet him, and to get that autograph. I had the feeling he was both amused and bemused at the attention being paid to him; and, I also suspected from that meeting and his writings that he was not entirely pleased with how he was portrayed in the book. After all, all he had done was to do the job no matter what, which was his basic ethos. Why make such a big deal about it? It was clear that he was uncomfortable being a celebrity, and struck me as a man who would be much more comfortable talking anything else than his celebrity over a beer.

His contempt for a later generation of pilots that would not/were not willing to fly to a target knowing they could not get back was clearly stated in his works. I can only imagine what he thought of the spoiled, coddled, and ignorant generation today. His ethos, that mirrored many of his generation and background, was that you worked hard and did the job no matter what and to the best of your ability; and, that you played hard as well. You took care of your people, and if regulations got in the way, well, if not broken they could be bent for the right reasons. After all, if you (and they) couldn’t have fun, what was the point?

If you have only read “The Right Stuff” or seen the movie, you are only getting a fraction of the man. Read his own works, and mourn not that such a man has passed at the ripe age of 97. Instead, give thanks that he and others like him lived as without them we would not have the aerospace world of today.

Godspeed Charles Elwood Yeager

Ad Astra

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is a day to enjoy the bounty of nature, and to give thanks for that bounty. It is a day to enjoy family and friends, to make bonds, to reaffirm the bonds of family and friendship, and to give thanks for them. It is a day to reflect that together we can face hardship and more, and come out better than before if we stand and work together.

Take this day and do just that. Give thanks to God for all in our lives, not just the good; but, also that which is not but will in the end strengthen our Faith and our faith and solidarity with one another. If it means violating a mandate, well, too bad as the reasons of this day are far more important . Do not let tyrants petty or large dictate this day. Ignore them, and do take the time to count your blessings large and small, and to reach out to those family and friends and encourage them to do the same.

For me, I truly do give thanks this day. I still have a job, and while far from ideal it is work that is allowing me to get back on my feet in more ways than one. I give thanks that I have the opportunity now to seek new employment and to better myself on several levels in the process. I still have at least a few readers, and the opportunity to grow back to where things once stood, and hopefully do some good for others in the process. I give thanks that I have made mistakes, for I have learned from them and grown in positive ways in the process. I have food for my table, some food tucked away, and plan to enjoy it in the days and weeks ahead. I give thanks for the nightmare of the last six or so years in regards my health, for the worst never happened and while I have some issues and challenges to face with the arthritis and other related things, I also have the chance to fight it and get back to the life I want in physical terms. In fact, I give thanks that my last doctor visit showed that I am otherwise in good shape and we have plans to make that even better.

I even give thanks for what is happening politically. I hate some of what I fear is to come; but, this time has seen masks removed so that I can see who and what people really are and make better judgements and decisions in all of life. I give thanks that there are those who despite cancel culture, are willing to stand up for what they believe, and to fight regardless of affiliation for free and fair elections that are crucial to our Republic. I am thankful that yet others have made their intentions and desires clear, as again it allows us to make decisions based on facts and reality, not emotions. Most of all I give thanks for there is still time to deal with the issues if we keep the bonds of family and friendship and stand together. And, I give thanks for all those who stand for individual liberty and freedom.

I am glad for the friends in my life, for the acquaintances, and the chance to make new friends. I am glad for the chance to mingle and enjoy the company of others, and to have the chance to do more of that. I am glad and thankful for the many opportunities in my life, and that I have the chance to work harder at seizing more of them large and small.

Though it is hard, I give thanks for some horrible things in my past. I give thanks that in them I can see where Grace has saved me from worse paths and worse outcomes. I need look no further to see where that hand has guided me and kept me from far worse harm. Doing so reminds me to have Faith, and to trust that guidance and protection. While I have no faith in the institutions of Man, I give thanks that this year has helped me grow stronger in my Faith, for it remains.

I give thanks that I have a place to hang my hats, even though it not be my own. I give thanks for those in my life, and if I particularly give thanks for those that are a positive influence in my life, I trust that God will understand. I even give thanks for my stalker cat, for he reminds me that all deserve love and kindness (even if I occasionally wish for a restraining order on him). I give thanks for the chance to learn and grow, for we all too often choose not to do either. I give thanks for the lessons of life, for while they are often hard and unpleasant, they can not only help us learn and grow, they often require us to do so no matter what we may want.

I give thanks that God has not given me all I’ve wanted, as what has been given has been so much better. It is a reminder not to ask God for something in particular, but to put what is needed in my life in God’s hands.

I give thanks for knowing that I am not alone, and that individuals can still make a huge difference for the good in life.

So today, give true Thanks. Count the blessings large and small. Set aside fear, anger, uncertainty, and all the negatives in life and concentrate on the good. Concentrate of the love and fellowship with have with family, friends, and others we may not even yet know.

Eat, drink, and enjoy the bounty of food and fellowship that we have. Don’t let anyone or anything keep you from supping that greater meal this day.

Hold Fast; Prepare

Yes, these are desperate and challenging times. Arbitrary and ineffective lockdowns continue not based on science, but on power. See this article for a bit of the gaslighting in play. The class divide between those so-called elites who have yet to experience financial or other hardship versus the average worker who has been out of work or “underemployed” because of said lockdown is growing ever steeper. The rightful resentment of the average worker and small business owner with the “elites” who don’t follow their own rules is growing to a level that should frighten those elites. However, they lack the self-awareness, and consider all those not in their “class” as less than human, to realize what is brewing.

What is brewing is, in part, being seen in civil disobedience. Read this from Nina Bookout, and this from Instapundit. There is more, much more, if you go look.

The election is a travesty, and now the Quislings come out trying to cut deals with the new administration to avoid retribution and retain their positions in power. The legal challenges to the fraud in the election are being met with illegal attempts to go after those pursuing legal challenges for Trump with threats and threats of legal action to block any inquiry. The media is all in on pushing a false narrative to drag Biden into office, and stop objections or efforts to ensure the election was free and fair. Do NOT let them snow you. Meantime, efforts of The Great Silencing continues, with big tech going after anyone even remotely associated with those they want to silence. They are trying hard to take away the soap box and the ballot box, as this quote exemplifies, without thinking about what box that leaves those that don’t agree with them

Stand Fast!

The legal challenges and efforts to true the vote must go through. If we fail to do so, there will be no real elections down the road. Yes, it is that serious. So, don’t let the media and others try to force you to give up. Do not give up, and do not give up your support of those doing the right and legal things to ensure every legal vote is counted accurately.

Support them, and prepare for a rough ride. The next few months will not be easy, but do not despair. Instead, prepare. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Stock up on food and other supplies: remember that floods and other disasters hit farms and other food production even before the lockdowns threw further spanners into the food chain. Prices are already up, so freeze, can, and otherwise stock up what you can. Buy ammo (if you can find it) and guns, as the elites have already told you as plainly as they can that you are on your own. Then, hope that enough people that have sworn oaths to the Constitution are willing to keep them.

Ignore the media and their efforts. Move to other platforms and hosting providers to counter big tech. Give your business as much as possible to small and local businesses. Do not let the massive propaganda effort get to you. Also, make a note of the Quislings in the event we ever do have a free and fair election again. Start working against them now in any way you can.

Most of all, aim to misbehave. Civil disobedience to illegal and/or un-Constitutional orders is both legal and right. Find ways large and small to give those trying to seize powers not granted to them in the Constitution the middle finger. Turn the tables on them: flood the snitch lines with reports on them (at every level) when they don’t follow their rules.

Again, most of all: Stand Fast! All is not yet lost, if we fight the good fight. If the so-called leaders on the Republican side won’t find a spine and reproductive organs, there are better than 70 million voters out there who do have them. Stand up, and Stand Fast.

It is only lost if we give up.

Some music to get the blood going:

and I disagree with part of the lyrics: there can be victory