Monday, May 18, 2015

Something worth blogging--DC police chief has another face palm moment

The US District Court for the District of Columbia has struck down the "good reason" clause of the current DC concealed carry statute.  The picture with the article is precious.

Dear DC Leaders,

How many times do you need to get hit in the face with a clue by 4 before you wise up and figure out the lay of the land re: the Second Amendment?

The Freeholder

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Twenty Rules To Live By as America Goes to Hell

(Prompted by a post on Frugal Squirrels)

When I started to write this post, it was going to be one of those "When you can't come up with anything of your own, steal something good from someone else" posts, and to some extent it's still that.  This has been one of those periods where nothing has moved me to write.  I've been to no gun shows, I've not had time to go to the range, and despite all the crap in the news, it's all the same old crap.

It has been more or less a typical spring.  At home, it's clean up from the winter and make some plans for the summer's efforts around the house.  Winter was hard on the landscaping; my landscaper says that it was more like a Zone 6 winter than Zone 7 (as I nod and wave hi to the Global Warming cultists).  There are things that died or were badly damaged, plus there are changes that we want to make.  May as well spend the money while it is worth something.

At work, my small, rural, private liberal arts university lurches on, just like all small rural, private liberal arts colleges and universities are, desperately working to find a new niche for itself, shedding old programs and adding new ones, hoping to find relevance before it becomes another Sweet Briar College.  I'm putting a lot of time and effort into my job as a part of the team making the transition, since I'm not all that confident of my ability to retire with my current resources.

Hell, I'm not sure that there will be such a thing as the traditional retirement when I get there.  I'm not betting on it.  My plan for retirement includes such things as large-scale gardening and a small business of some sort to generate some income.  I'm still trying to figure out what the business will be.  Since I work with computers and technology, you might think that would be my obvious choice, but by the time I hang up my keyboard and mouse I will have been doing that for over 30 years--I'd like to do something else.  Besides, there are a zillion one-man-band computer fix-it operations, and most of them are starving.

At any rate, I guess you could say I'm doing what we're all doing.  I'm here, watching the show that is going on around me, and wondering where it is all going to wind up.  I'm not so sure that the world in general or America in specific is "going to Hell".  Historically, there have been other periods of great change, and most of those caught up in them have been just as scared/bewildered/angry/lost/etc. as we are now.  The fact of it is that the world is not going to end.  It's just going to change, and change a lot.  The world our grandchildren live in is going to be very different from ours.  The question is "Different how?"  The problem is we don't know, and that scares us.  We hope for Star Trek and we're afraid it will be Mad Max.  Given that we don't have a crystal ball to tell us how things will come out, we're led to all those emotions I noted a few sentences ago.  It's human nature when confronted by change to feel that way, and when confronted by change on the epic scale we're facing, it's a wonder we all don't lose it and start running in circles, squalking like Chicken Little.

Well, there are a lot of people running in circles and squalking, and much to their detriment.  That is not how you get prepped.  Our job is to not become one of the squalkers.  How to do so?  One way is to develop some rules, guidelines to organize your life by.  Those of us who are preppers have been doing so for a long time.  It's kind of surprising no one has actually written them down.

The boys at The Deth Guild (and there is a web site I'm going to have to troll through later) apparently had some time and alcohol on there hands, did so and came up with Twenty Rules To Live By as America Goes to Hell.  Here they are:
    1. Be as self sufficient as possible without endangering folks or making life unnecessarily miserable.
    2. Avoid crowds. Crowds are magnets for all manner of trouble.
    3. Build a cushion – then one can choose when and where to interact with others.
    4. Plan first, consider carefully, adjust and only then do.
    5. Have a contingency plan.
    6. Create a backup for the contingency plan.
    7. Always have reserves in a different venue. Always.
    8. Practice regularly with everything you might one day depend on.
    9. A person can know a lot – but can’t master everything. They’ll need tribe to cover the gaps.
    10. Do not bring a knife to a gun fight.
    11. Never shoot a threat in the face when you can shoot it in the back. From 500 yards away.
    12. In a life or death struggle, never employ half measures.
    13. There is no shame in fleeing danger.
    14. Even in the worst of times, humans covet trinkets, toiletries, cosmetics and entertainment.
    15. The constabulary is not your friend. Never involve them in a situation willingly.
    16. Always have a reasonable lie and supporting evidence for anything you’re getting up to.
    17. Pay attention to your surroundings. Notice the little details.
    18. When in Rome, look, smell and act like the locals. Don’t stand out. Don’t gawk.
    19. Nothing you own is worth dying for. Get it back later, on your terms.
    20. One only calls the end of the world right once. Everything else costs credibility needed when the balloon really does go up.
    The folks at Frugal's have already came up with two more:
    1. Be humble and unassuming in a room of people unknown to you. But have a plan ( and enough ammo) to kill everyone in the room if things go wrong. (Gr8shot)
    2. Stack the deck in your favor as much as possible. (Seventh Fleet)
    And I'll add one of my own now:
    1. Be able to communicate over distances--the greater the better,  Knowledge is power and forewarned is forearmed. (The Freeholder)
    Sort of reminds you of Gibbs' Rules on NCIS, doesn't it?

    I think there are a lot more of these rules lurking about out there, waiting to be written down.  If you have a rule, feel free to toss it in the comments.  We get enough of them, I'm going to take advantage of the Blogger "Pages" feature and set up the first "Page" on this blog, just for the rules.  And everyone gets attribution for their contribution.

    Now don't that sound like all kinds of fun?

    Monday, May 04, 2015

    All that I have to say on the Texas Jihadis

    Looks like ya'll forgot that this country is heavily armed as a matter of course, unlike all those other ones, like France.  And trying it in Texas?  Geeze Louise....

    Sunday, May 03, 2015

    Time to think about next winter

    "What?  It's just now Spring!?!" (Northern Hemisphere only, your mileage may vary, see dealer for details.)

    Yes, it's time to start considering how you're going to keep warm next winter.  Time to get firewood cut for the winter after this, split this winter's wood, so on and so forth.

    "But my friend...have you ever considered...SOLAR?"

    I'm not talking about the traditional solar hot water collectors of yesteryear.  Yes, they work, but jeeze, old technology.  Ick.  How about something more...innovative?

    "How about...SOLARSHEATS!"

    The concept is simplicity itself.  A black collector heats air, not water.  The heated air is them moved by a solar powered fan to the interior of the building you want heated.  It will even work on an overcast day, though at reduced efficiency.

    The true joy of this is that you don't have to buy the over-priced Northern Tools version.  While I'm sure it's very nice, that price.  A handy person can build these on the cheap.  Allow me to tell you just how cheap.

    A few years ago, I happened across this concept.  I had an outbuilding that I wanted to heat, but no good way to heat except with kerosene heaters.  At one time I had used a wood stove, but the homeowners insurance agent had had a litter of kittens over it, even though it was using a lined chimney, sitting on a concrete slab and the wall it backed up to was cider block.  Yeah, go figure.

    I got tired of having to start the heater going 3-4 hours before I wanted to use the outbuilding.  I needed something that would keep it warm enough that it would warm up quickly when I fired up a heater.  But, cheap so-and-so that I am, I didn't want to spend money heating a space I wasn't using.

    As I said, I happened across this concept.  So, a bit of thought later, I took a couple of large cardboard boxes, a can of black spray paint, some acetate sheet, duct tape and a razor knife and set to work.  I cut the boxes down so that two would sit in a large window that faced west.  Trimmed to 4" deep, I painted the inside of the boxes black.  I cut a 1" slot in the bottom of the box at the back to draw in cool air.  I taped the acetate sheet on and left a 1" gap at the top.  I used scrap cardboard to rig up some stabilizing feet.

    I now had solar collectors that ran on convection only for the cost of a can of spray paint--everything else was salvaged.  Two of them filled a 4' x 4' west facing window.  I waited for sunny, cold day, which was a couple of  months out by the calendar.

    The first day I put them in the window I came home, checked the building and was shocked.  It wasn't warm, it was noticeably warm, as in "I don't need the heater" warm.  These two crappy little collectors had raised a 21' x 21' x 8' (that's 3528 cubic feet of air) up to 65 degrees on a day that was in the low 40s for a high.  The building was, for all intents and purposes, uninsulated.

    Obviously, these are not a solution for all your heating needs.  When the sun goes down, these things turn off, so you need something to get you through the night hours.  If it rains, they're pretty much useless, and while the do help on a cloudy day, you will probably still need some extra heat.  But if you can get the materials as salvage or for a minimal cost, a solar sheet (the spelling I prefer) is  a great low-cost way to supplement your other heating systems.  Being silent and not burning any fuel, they would also be a plus in any situation where you needed to maintain a low profile.

    Just another tool in your tool chest in case you need it some day.

    Tuesday, April 28, 2015

    For those of us in the free states who happen to own ARs

    This article offers some timely advice on improving the M4gery's accuracy and reliability, along with some fun news about the Big Army's latest weapons request.

    It's odd.  I had a few minutes at work today and decided to check the news.  Obviously, the first thing that is going to come up today is Baltimore.  The first thing that ran through my head is "Maybe I need another flat-top AR.  Might want to consider optics for all of them.  Probably more mags and ammo."  The second thing that went through my head is "I wonder how many people in Baltimore are cursing their politicians that they aren't allowed to have these things?"

    Monday, April 27, 2015


    (Via the Drudge Report)

    I'd say someone has plenty of space, and most of it is between their ears.

    What no one expected is what Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake admitted in a press conference on Sunday: that she asked the Baltimore Police Department to “give those who wished to destroy space to do that.”

    Yesterday, when discussing the lessons we could take from the Baltimore riots, I mentioned "de-assing the AO".  Yeah.  Residents of Baltimore, I believe your mayor has just served notice that it's time to start packing.  While the concept of sacrificing a small area to save a larger one is hardly new, do you want to run the risk of being in that smaller area when it's sacrificed?

    Sunday, April 26, 2015

    Lessons from the War Zone

    (Via the Drudge Report)

    Hats off to Matthew Boyle for his piece "WAR ZONE: BALTIMORE ERUPTS INTO VIOLENCE, CHAOS AS #BLACKLIVESMATTER RIOTS RAGE"  We don't get first hand reporting from the front very often any more, so it was good to see this.  There are several things in this piece that are worthy of note.
    • Note how quickly this turned from peaceful protest to riot.  You may not get a warning that the situation around you is about to go to hell in a handbasket.  When you're in a crowd, you always neeed to keep in mind which way is OUT.
    • Note that, being in Maryland, one of the less gun-friendly states in our benighted union, no one was armed.  Amazingly enough and for a change, apparently not even the bad guys.  However, this meant that people who had the need to defend themselves did not have the most effective tools at their disposal.
    • Note that the police, who were on the scene when the riot started, failed to lift a finger to do anything other than watch.  Was this caused by indifference?  By fear of further beatings in the press if something should happen because #blacklivesmatter?  Could have been racially motivated?  We don't know, but whatever it is, this is a critical data point to bear in mind.  Not only are the police not legally obligated to help you, but they may well leave you on your own even if they are in a position to help you--and there will be no sanctions against them if they do.
    • Note that the white family in the station wagon drove into the middle of a riot in progress.  People. you have to have some minimal awareness of your surroundings.  And for Ghu's sake, LOCK YOUR DOORS!  It also doesn't hurt to remember that you are driving a 2 ton guided weapon if it comes right down to it.
    • Note that if you are caught in a riot and you manage to disengage, DE-ASS THE AO IMMEDIATELY!  Mr. Boyle and his brother made the decision to stick around, next door to the riot, and watch the baseball game they had came to see.  Derp!  They should have caught the next train for home and watched it on TV.  What if this had worked it's way inside the ballpark, Matthew?  Didn't think about that, didya?
    It's easy for me to Sunday morning quarterback this from a safe remove.  Matthew Boyle and his brother are probably not "into" preparedness and the way we think is most probably pretty alien to them.  However, it seems that we are inevitably coming to a time where people will have to learn to think as we do, or they will become victims of the new reality in our declining nation.

    If you already "think like a prepper", congratulations.  Pat yourself on the back and get back to work.  If you are one of the people who stumble onto this blog because of some of the non-prepper things I post and just happen to have made it to this point, all I'm asking is that you please consider the things I've said.  That's it, just think on it.