Preparedness Pays: Some Food For Thought To Go With Yesterday’s Post

As you go through the thought experiments, here are a few things you may want to keep in mind.

First, keep in mind that what you are planning for is not a normal situation. You will use less of some things, and more of some others. For example, just before the joys of 2020 hit, I caught a sale and had bought what should have been a year’s supply of hand soap. With the lockdown and all else, it turned into a 6-8 month supply since I was home far more than normal. I also used more facial tissues, paper towels, and even some cleaners as I was home more.

Second, since it is not a normal situation, you might want to plan both on rationing food a bit (cut back on portions/amounts) as real emergencies don’t come with a time limit. Also, you are not doing as much if you are trapped at home and should cut back on things anyway. This way, you have food for an extra day or three if needed. On top of that, plan on having what is needed for a day or three of extra “normal” food above and beyond that three-day or week’s supply. This way, if you are doing work (cleaning up, repairing, digging out, etc.) you have the food for that as well as if the situation goes longer than a week.

Third, when making your list on equipment/things, look to see if what you already have on hand can do double duty. Also, the things you buy should also be useful every day and do more than just be there for emergencies. Alton Brown talks about kitchen utensils doing multiple things, and the same goes for the tools and equipment in our lives. The only items that should do just one thing are fire extinguishers. First aid kits should be useful for “everyday” disasters such as cuts, scrapes, stings, etc. Make the items you buy work for your situation in as many ways as possible.

Just some quick food for thought. Hopefully tomorrow we will embark on another thought experiment.

Preparedness Pays: Starting Planning

At this point, despite the ease of planning for just a few things rather than the infinite number of possible disasters, many people freeze up at the thought of planning. Maybe it’s because there is still a residual bit of fear of trying to figure out all that can go wrong. Maybe it’s because starting to plan seems like a word problem in math. Maybe it is a fear of starting the process and perhaps being labled a “prepper.” Who knows.

The thing is, if we borrow a technique from Sir Issac Newton, starting your core plan is easy. Sir Issac was known for what he called “thought experiments” where he postulated and extrapolated subjects in his mind. His “thought cannon” was really the start of the concept of orbits, microgravity, and more. Being intelligently lazy, let’s steal his page and engage in a thought experiment.

This one is easy: imagine you are trapped in your house for three days. For this experiment, we will keep it easy and assume that gas, water, power, etc. remain uninterrupted. The key is, you can’t go outside, run to the store, or anything else. Your doors are sealed.

Do you have enough food? Maybe not what you want at that moment, but do you have enough food to feed yourself, or all in the household? Do you have enough toothpaste, soap, floss, hygiene items, laundry and dish detergent, and other supplies? Do you have enough pleasure items (alcohol, snacks, other nice-to-haves) for the three days? If not, what of these do you not have in sufficient quantity? Write them down. That’s the start of your basic planning list. These are the things you need to get and keep in stock to be prepared for minor emergencies.

Now, take that out to a week. Adjust your list accordingly. You now have a basic list of the things you need to do, purchase, etc. to start tobe prepared for emergencies.

The next step in our thought experiment branches out a bit. Ask yourself what safety equipment you have on hand? Do you have a first aid kit that can handle minor cuts, burns, and other delights? If so, great — just remember to keep it up to date. Do you have a fire extinguisher that can handle a minor stove fire or other event? If not, put that on the list. Do you have enough of a supply of medicines, supplements, and other health maintenance/support supplies for a week? If not, again, add those to the list. Is there any other safety or support items or equipment you need that are unique to you and your situation? If so, add them to the list as well.

Yes, there are lists out there that can tell you all sorts of things to get and do; however, most of them are one-size-fits-all plans. You and your situation are unique, and your planning should be as well. You know what you need, how much room you have to store items, and other issues that are going to impact what you do, when, where, and how.

For example, where I lived before had very limited pantry space. It impacted how much I could store in the pantry itself. One solution to that was access to some other space (under the bed, garage, etc.) where I used plastic totes to store some of the items on my list, and not just canned goods. Your planning needs to revolve around your needs and what space or spaces of which you can make use.

Okay, you have a basic list of the items you need to get or get enough of to maintain a week’s supply. That’s a good place to start if you are not already into preparedness. It is, however, just a start and there are good reasons to work up to a longer timeframe as you can.

Now, let’s do a different thought experiment. Again, you are sealed in your house for three days. This time, the normal services are out: no water, no electricity, no internet, etc. For this one, the sewer is still working. Think things like this can’t happen? Just look at what happened in Texas recently.

First up, lighting. Do you have flashlights? If so, are the batteries still good? Do you have spares that are in date? What alternate forms of lighting do you have, if any? Candles, lanterns, and other delights come in handy. If nothing, you need to start your first equpment list.

Second, what alternate means do you have to heat or cook food? Any? We’ll relax the seal on the doors so that if you have a grill you can use it. Most gas grills today have at least one side burner, so in addition to cooking on the grill proper, you can cook on the side burner. A few years ago, where I lived had a gas issue, so for several days I cooked my breakfast on the side burner. You make do with what you’ve got. You can cook on a charcoal or wood grill, but be prepared to clean up. Do you camp? If so, bet you have some form of camp stove. Nothing? Again, time to put it on the equipment list.

Third, how much water do you have on hand? Do you have any water for flushing the toilet? Do you have a means to bathe without a shower or tub?

To aid your thinking on this, I have two five-gallon sealed buckets with non-portable water set aside just for flushing the toilet. Enough for a week? Not under normal circumstances, but it may be enough for my “mellow yellow” protocol. Stole the name from a line in one of John Ringo’s books where a character put over the toilet a sign saying ‘if it’s yellow it’s mellow, if it’s brown, it goes down.” Fill the cap of a bleach bottle with bleach, put it in with each pee, and you are good for a while. Still have a box of baby wipes around just for things like this.

I also have both bottled water and jugs of water on hand. I use both: bottled water for the day job and jugs of distilled water for making my coffee and other drinks. I have enough to get by for more than a week, and rotate my stock.

Now, to continue the thought experiment. Let’s add the wrinkle of it being winter and cold. How are you going to stay warm? There is no one answer to that. In the past, I’ve used kerosene heaters (not an option where I am currently), propane, and other alternate means — WITH ADEQUATE VENTILATION!!! I also have camping gear, and am not above setting up the tent indoors and having people huddle there for warmth. I also have cold weather gear to wear because I’ve spent time not only in the north, but outside in the north.

There is a lot more I could throw in, but I also consider them advanced planning. For now, I want to keep our thought experiment simple so that you get comfortable with the planning.

With this exercise, you have begun planning to have food and drinks, light so you can do things, and to stay warm at need. Those are the true essentials in an emergency. You have a list of what you do have on hand, and a list of the things you need to get.

With the two lists you now have (first exercise and this one) you know what you need to get, and even a good idea on quantity. Now, you need to sit down and prioritize what you get and when. The items on the first list should be your top priority, but unless you have the funds on hand to get them all at once, add them to your next few grocery lists and pick up a portion at a time. This is easier on the budget, and gives you time to set up your storage. As for the second list, work out a priority list based on your situation and begin making your purchases over time.

For this post, however, I will note that I am advising that people lay in a year’s supply of supplements and OTC medications. One reason is that with two-for-one sales going on at various stores, it is easy and less costly to get the larger amounts. I’ve also discovered that in going directly to company websites, I’m finding better deals on larger amounts that I could through a certain online retailer.

Also, as you look at your lists, see what’s available through yard sales, online sales venues, and other delights. As I noted earlier, the spring is a great time to find deals on winter items, from snowblowers on down, while fall is a good time to get deals on summer items (grills, etc.).

So, you made it through the basics of planning and now have good lists of what you need for your situation. Take the next step and act on those lists.

The Posts In Proper Order

Since I got guest poster River’s posting order wrong, I thought I should do a quick post to make it easy for you to read them in the proper order.

The proper first post is here.

The proper second post is here.

There is some good food for thought here, and I highly recommend you not only read River’s posts, but read them in the right order.

The Healthiest Cup Of Coffee?

Okay, I admit it: I am both a coffee addict and a bit of a coffee snob. So much so that I want to get back to roasting my own coffee again as soon as I can. FYI, I roast in a wok over a propane burner, which is easy and inexpensive. I then use a french press as I find it gives the best flavor overall. I drink for taste, and while most days I go just for that, there are days where I do consider the notes in the flavor.

Over at Instapundit, I came across this article, which led to this study. I found it interesting because I already know that some things do effect my lipid tests (and I avoid them before the draw so as to get an accurate reading). That something else might be causing some variations is something I’ve wondered about.

So, I found a pour-over system half off and bought it. For the last few days, I’ve been making my coffee as normal (fresh ground beans in the french press), then filtering through the pour-over. No idea on lipids yet, but I will say that I was surprised at all that the filter caught. I also was surprised to find that, to my palate, it improved the flavor of the coffee. It will be interesting to see how the next bag (different brand and flavor) does, and if it also has an improved flavor. In a couple of months, when I have the next test, we will see if there is any change in the cholesterol or other lipids.

Some food for thought that might affect your tasty drink…

The Happy Warrior

Today features another guest post by “River” and it really should have been the first one up. So, when you finish reading it, go read The Happy Warrior Lives in All of Us. Sorry about that River…

Whether you believe the American Republic died on January 6th or January 20th (and I believe a case can be made for the death date being when the Roberts court failed to strike down Obamacare as unconstitutional), the Republic as we knew it is gone.

All that remains is to see what we—you and I—are going to do about it.

We believe in American Exceptionalism. But we also believed it couldn’t happen here. Yet all around us we see our countryman content with grotesque erosions of our freedoms. So we see that yes, indeed, it can happen here. (I refer you to Dennis Prager’s excellent essay “The Good German.”)

But American Exceptionalism isn’t some magic force that’s going to save us. American Exceptionalism is how we respond to tyranny.

Trump proved he was not the despot he was made out to be. Oh, not because he couldn’t have been—because it was clear, he could have been a Caesar, returning the country to a republican form of government by decree. But for better or worse, he declined to be that guy. Did not want to be remembered as that person. Instead, he insisted that we citizens use the forms of government and law laid down by the Founding Fathers to restore the Republic. We failed.

So Donald Trump will be remembered as the last lawfully elected President of the Republic, Joe Biden its first Socialist “Beloved Leader,” propped up by all the force of a corrupt bureaucracy, and with the collusion of Big Tech and other large “private” industries that need the protection of a government enforced monopoly to exist.

So we failed to overthrow a blatantly stolen presidential (and then senatorial) election. That’s on us. It’s going to be that much harder now to succeed. They think they’ve run the table, that there’s not stopping their every country-destroying move. But the one good piece of news is that we now can see, without a doubt, exactly where the enemy of the Republic lies, how deep the corruption is. Not just a few crazy representatives and Senators, but the FBI, local district attorneys, secretaries of state, election boards, the Supreme Court, the rulers of Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, CNN, and beyond. All those calling for purges, for jail time for the exercise of free speech and assembly.

It’s a big task. And the cockroaches are all over the kitchen.  (Not an anti-Semitic metaphor—just and anti-Socialist one!)

How do we clean house?

Well, we won’t do it with despair in our hearts. We know—and Trump’s 4 years proved—that if you return to first principles, you win. You can place America’s interests first, have  a strong defense, peace from your enemies, a thriving economy, and freedom for your citizens. So we must go forward knowing that the only reason the other side was driven to cheating is because they’d lost the war of ideas. Oh, they won the war of rhetoric, big time. But they didn’t win the war of reality. And reality counts.

We must go forward knowing that if we hold true to the Christian principles this country was founded on—and I say this as a nonbeliever—we will win over those who only have hatred to carry them through. Hatred of human life, hatred of Trump, fear of freedom, fear of making their own choices. We must love our neighbor, even as he is willing to betray us and our cause. Not an easy task. But as my brother reminds me—we hate the sin, not the sinner. We have to help them to the light.

And each one of us will have a part in this. Some of us will be writing under our own names. Others using pseudonyms. We will take our business away from those who would hurt us, and create new networks of those who adhere to the principles of freedom of conscience. We will do without—sometimes, and that’s okay.

And we must reform the only political party we can influence. About which more, next time.

Preparedness Pays: Things

Again (and again and again and again), there are an almost infinite number of possible disasters. If you try to plan for individual disasters, you will not only be overwhelmed, but fail to take good precautions. Instead, focus on the fact that there are only three things that can be hit by a disaster: people, places, and things.

Today, we are going to touch briefly on things. I say briefly simply because this is the introduction to the topic, an overview. The proper term for things is infrastructure; however, that term makes most people think about roads, bridges, and such. While they are a part of preparedness, there is little you can do about truly major items other than plan to avoid or make use of if there is a major disaster. What I want to concentrate on are the parts of infrastructure that are within your control: the things you use every day.

In that context, infrastructure applies to the items that are a major part of your life. That ranges from smart phones to the sump pump in your basement. It is the power and hand tools you own, it is the machinery that keeps your house warm or cool, the water flowing, the water heated, etc. Things also applies to the food and other resources that are the logistics of your life. Yes, there is overlap with places, but that just makes planning easier.

The two major impaces of a disaster on things boil down to damage and/or loss-of-use, or the loss of resources. Recent events in Texas highlight what happens when a rare occurance results in a loss of the things we often take for granted.

For example, the loss of electricity removed the ability for many to heat their home, run appliances, cook, and maintain communications. The loss of water, which was apparently a combination of freezing and the loss of communications had impacts from being unable to have water for drinking to being able to bathe and flush the toilet. The loss of the two had a cascading effect, which was compounded by being unable to access groceries and other necessary logistics.

The number of people who were unprepared for any of this is hardly surprising, though I wish it were surprising. How many of you have spare water for drinking (bottled), spare water for cooking (jugs or larger), or spare water for flushing the toilets? How many of you have an alternate means for cooking, such as a camp stove, propane burner, or a butane chef’s stove? How many of you have an alternate means of heating the home at need? How many of you have lined up a place to go to in the event of such an emergency?

Thankfully, I do know some in Texas who were at least moderately prepared for what happened. One combined resources with a person in a location that maintained power, and they not only helped each other out, they were able to help some fellow members of the military by giving them a place they could hang out, relax, and warm up other than on base. I’m aware of others that used camping gear, such a tents, to set up an emergency shelter in their home that they could keep heated, while using camping and other supplies to get by until water and electricity were restored. Yet another, as did many, used their vehicle to warm up, recharge electronics, and otherwise get by.

The good thing is, preparing for that loss of, or damage to, things is fairly simple and involves some of the resources already discussed. One good thing about doing this series of posts is that I’m going to work on a chapter on tools, that is the things that are needed across the three types of damage. These range from flashlights to weapons, as all are needed and useful tools in an emergency.

A quick question for the reader: if you have flashlights and other tools that require batteries, have you checked them recently to be sure the batteries are still good and that there is no damage to the units in which they reside? Do you/did you have spare batteries that were in date? How about other dated resources? Were they/are they good?

We’ve covered the basics of Preaparedness Pays, now, let’s start getting serious about how to plan and how to prepare.

The Happy Warrior Lives in All of Us

Today I’m glad to host what I hope will be the first of many posts by “River.” Enjoy and share!

Despite the failure to convict Trump, the news has been relentlessly bad since January 6th. The powers of totalitarianism have run the table. They control all three branches of the Federal government, the Army, the cities, the Federal intelligence forces, Big Tech, Big Media, and your local school board.

Hard to keep up a smile in those circumstances. Things will only get worse. We know from history the next steps. First, the economic geniuses making our fiscal policy decisions have led us to a point where either runaway inflation or a simple economic collapse are inevitable. You can only keep writing checks against future income so long as your creditors believe you are good for it. No one thinks that anymore. (Hamiliton knew that; these are not new problems.)  My prediction is that this will start within the next 6-18 months.

What do totalitarians do when that happens? They confiscate resources. Henry the VIII took the monasteries, the French took the artistos’ land, Hitler took the Jews’ . Our Democracy ™ if I may use a term from Michael Anton’s piece here: https://amgreatness.com/2021/02/23/why-do-the-elections-defenders-require-my-agreement/, is already telling us who they will target: businesses that are “racist.” How do they know you are racist? If you didn’t vote for them, or donate to them, q.e.d, you are a racist. Or they may target health care deniers—people who refuse to get vaccinations, wear masks, whatever the latest decree is that is for the good of Our Democracy TM. Or both. Why think small?

With Big Tech’s help, you are easy to identify.

What this means for anyone who actually remembers freedom—and this is people over 40, by the way; most of the younger generation has no problem philosophically with any of these measures—is that we will be fighting a guerilla civil war. We will be the “Underground” in our own country. And we won’t be getting support from outside the borders, like the successful undergrounds did in WWII and like we provided for people of Eastern Europe under the Soviets.

It’s going to get ugly, and it’s going to get ugly fast. The freedom lovers are completely unprepared for this. We don’t have the parallel systems in place we need to organize. We don’t have the banks, the server farms, the shadow government ready to take over.

This is going to take generations. And our children’s children are going to curse us for not heading this off before it came to bloodshed.

Where does the happy part come in? Don’t judge your freedom lovers. Most of us are going to have to conform, or lose everything. Especially the young people, who are trying to build careers, trying to raise children, who do not have a nest egg or the means to retreat to a more free State. People who need access to what remaining health care there is. They will have to knuckle under.

If anyone is to fight back, we will need many within the system to provide cover for them, to be an Underground Railroad, to keep them supplied, to provide havens.

Max Morton goes into more detail here: https://amgreatness.com/2021/02/23/the-last-stop-before-thermopylae/  about what is needed.

But my happy warrior message: don’t beat up on the people who agree with you,but must stay legal. And for those of us who can’t, either because their previous work makes them anathema, or who just can’t stand the tyrant, cut them some slack, too. The purges are coming. Let’s try to connect with and support each other as much as possible before that happens.

Enemies Foreign And Domestic

Current events are, to be honest, overwhelming. From the rule of executive order to open efforts to censor anything non-progressive, there is so much going on that it is hard to keep up with all of it, even for dedicated political/informational junkies. I do find it interesting (and a few other terms) that the noted right wing (cough, cough) author and Obama advisor Naomi Wolf was on Tucker Carlson warning that America is becoming a “totalitarian state) under Biden. Hate linking to Fox, but necessary in this instance.

Indeed, I could go on and on about all that is going on, from cancel culture to full-out assaults on the Constitution. I will note my own observation to the testimony of FORMER U.S. Capitol Police Chief Sund that if what happened was a “military style coordinated assault” and that those who took part came “prepared for war” that he knows as much about war and combat as he does fornicating, to borrow from Patton. For all that we are watching a massive “big lie” event in operation, those statements are laughable.

It is easy to get focused on the domestic, but don’t get tunnel vision. While most of what is going on domestically is indeed domestic, some is being driven and encouraged by other actors who do not have the best interest of the Citizens of the United States, or the Constituion, at heart. Russia remains a threat and between its activities here and at home, bears (all puns intended) considerable watching. The semi-recent nuclear exercise is but one part of the threat to the region and the world, especially given Putin’s continuing lowering of the nuclear threshold.

China, however, remains the largest threat. Keep in mind that China continues to use Iran as a catspaw, especially against the U.S. Yet more Iranians have been caught coming across the border, and I highly recommend reading this post. Chinese on the West Coast, Iranians on the Gulf Coast into Central. This is long-term, both encouraged by China, and I still ask what else besides people has been smuggled across the border? Also, don’t forget the SCS, Taiwan, and everything else China is doing to go after us.

There were things afoot well before the election that still are lurking out there in the dark. To be honest, I’m surprised (and pleased) that some of them did not take place as expected. That, however, doesn’t mean that they won’t still take place.

For all of that, I need to get back to Preparedness Pays as I think good, solid preparation is something we all need to be thinking about, for both domestic and foreign events.

A List Of Lies

While I do wish he had not called it a riot (it was not, riots are what burned so many cities over the summer), Glenn Greenwald has done a great job of listing the major lies about what happened on January 6 at the Capitol. For all that I still wonder if I didn’t shift a reality or two because Glenn has been a voice of reason of late, it is a much needed post to counter the mainstream media narrative. Go read it.