Saturday, December 29, 2018

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The rest of the story

About 6 weeks ago I posted about the most difficult duty any pet owner has-when is it time to let go and send one on. On Christmas Eve, we had to send Thing on ahead.

It was a harder decision than I had feared, because at the end, despite the fact that her little body had mostly deserted her, despite the fact that she wouldn't drink or eat, despite the obviousness of what needed to be done, she didn't want to die. I've seen pets who were ready to leave, and she wasn't.

I held her as the vet gave her two injections, one to sedate her and one to stop her heart. It didn't take much or long. She was really hanging onto life by a thread at that point. She passed on at roughly sunset and on Christmas Day at sunset we buried her close to Ethyl and the rest.

Thing in better times.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

As if there isn't enough to worry about

Of course, that's if one is inclined to worrying. I do my best to not worry. I think the time is better spent getting a good night's rest, so you'll be better able to think clearly and handle whatever problem that needs handling.

Yes, I've discovered that a good 8 hours sleep may be the solution to many of humanity's big problem. But I digress.

It's been really busy in the real world, and I haven't made even a partial round of my blogroll in about forever. I'm not sure if I shouldn't have held off. While the mainstream media seems to be ignoring the story for the most part, apparently the Congo has gotten itself in the early stages of rapid depopulation by means of Ebola.

Granted, this seems to happen in Africa with depressing regularity, but this time may be different. It seems that nasty little virus has managed to get a foothold in a city of 1 million people. The Raconteur Report has a number of articles on the subject-just keep rolling from that post toward the latest posts.

Some will say, "Hey, it's in Africa, shy should we worry about it?" Because rapid international travel, for just one thing. If this thing gets loose we may all be auditioning for Survivors: The Road Show. Assuming we aren't busy turning into a marginally contained puddle of human slime.

This is one to keep a close eye on.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Hellbent but Heaven bound?

(Via the Woodpile Report)

As a former motorcyclist (as opposed to a biker, who would say that I rode a rice burner and therefore wasn't a biker, probably among other things), I'm aware of the reputation that the so-called "1%" has. Basically, it's not a good one, although in some part the reputation isn't deserved. More on that in a sec.

In something that may be a preview of things to come sooner than later, a big group of the 1% is proving that more than a little of their reputation isn't deserved, and that some of it is. These guys, who most people, including the ones at the church, would probably avoid in other times, are providing a level of safety and security for victims of California's Camp Fire that their benevolent local and state governments have failed to provide. They're also dispelling some of the poor image they've accumulated over the years.

Bikers are, in my opinion, a misunderstood subculture in the US. Sure, there are some that are basically organized crime on Harleys, but most of them aren't. That's not to say they aren't hardasses, because they are. You do not screw around with these folks. Many of them have no qualms about physical violence.

When I was going through Army basic and AIT, there was a guy in my squad from Illinois. He was a biker, although you wouldn't have known it to see him. Unlike the mental picture of the big, burly biker, he was a small guy, even smaller than me. Unlike me, he was all muscle and attitude.

Except with his squad mates. I have known no more loyal friend, no one with who I'd rather find myself in a fight with (as long as he was on my side). The guy elevated loyalty to a near art-form.

Over the years since then, I've had the opportunity to meet other bikers. They have been, for the most part, cut from the same fabric as my old squaddie. Hardass to the core, but possessing both loyalty to those they associate with as well as a caring streak a mile wide but seemingly carefully hidden. In our area, there is always a memorial ride, a poker run for this or that charity or some organized event in which they play a major role. At this time of year one of the biggest is a ride that ends up at a local children's home, where they drop off thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars worth of toys for the kids. I remember one year where on guy showed up with his "old lady" on the back of his bike, with a sidecar full of stuffed animals.

Wouldn't it one of the universe's great ironies if these folks became one of the groups you most want to have around if TSHTF?

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Nailed it

(Via the Woodpile Report)

I'll admit that I like Larry Corriea's Monster Hunter series a lot, and his take on The Gun Thing even more, so I'm probably a bit inclined to pump my fist when he decides it's time to educate the heathens on the other side. But man, this one is just great.

If any of the SJWs manage to read and understand it, they will shut up all their friends NOW. Otherwise, if that revolution they want happens, there's going to be a shortage of ropes, lampposts and SJWs.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Are you OK? Are you alright? HELP, MEDIC!

Aesop at the Raconteur Report has put up what I believe will be the most important thing I've read this month-medical kit advice from someone in the medical field. Go, read, learn, apply the knowledge.

In other news, water is wet

A UC Davis study examining the first ten years after California adopted universal background checks shows that those checks did not reduce homicides.

Not that this will make any difference in the shrill calls for "universal background checks", because the goal isn't a reduction of crime, but the eventual registration and confiscation of all firearms.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A new improved tourniquet

(Via SurvivalBlog)

It looks like there is another tourniquet out there that hopes to dethrone the CAT. I can't say if it's a superior product or not. Time will answer that question.

Water, water, not here, not there, not anywhere

On SurvivalBlog there is an excellent article about the world nearly ending for Cape Town, South Africa. Drought, coupled with the general African inability to govern in anything short of a kleptocratic manner just about did in one of the great cities of the world.

Don't bet against seeing this story again in the same place.

For us, the lesson to be learned is that it's great to have x different ways to purify your water, but when there's no water to purify things get festive in a hurry. Got blue barrels?

You got your knife on you?

(Via Kim DuToit)

As the son of West "By God" Virginia hillbillies, this sounds so familiar I could be sitting there on the stool beside the author.

The Kind of Men Who Carry Pocketknives. Because real men carry a knife or three, every day.

And in a OMG moment, I went to their home page to see if the site was worth bookmarking, and the lead Article is "Remembering the Days of CB Radios"-and I just bought a President Washington base, because sometimes unlicensed communication just suits me.

Mine's the third version, discernible by the 5 pin mike jack.

Facing down Hell

(Via the Drudge Report)

“I’m not a survivalist, I’m a survivor.”

Even in the People's Republic of California there are hearty individuals-and those who support them-who are willing to risk their lives for what they believe in. Those of us who value individual rights, a strong work ethic and simply the right to live our lives by our own lights need to recognize and salute these people.

The hearty few who refused to give up their homes, in the midst of a fire that consumed their home town of Paradise, CA, might be thought of as reckless and foolish by many. Indeed, I'm not sure I'd have stayed in the midst of that hell. But they did and God and the dice were on their side. Good on ya.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Happy Thanksgiving to you

 Jean Leon Gerome Ferris - 'The First Thanksgiving'
I like to wish everyone who happens by a Happy Thanksgiving. Even in what I think of as trying times, we all need to find those things we can be thankful for and acknowledge them on this day.

I'm thankful that my Daughter's wedding is successfully complete and that her and Son-In-Law have the resources to buy a home and start out their married life in such stellar fashion.

I'm thankful for my Son, who is being equally successful with his chosen trade and is out on his own, a productive member of society.

I'm thankful that both my children still live within a 15 minute drive of home.

I'm thankful for Mrs. Freeholder, who for reasons unknown still puts up with me after all these years.

I thankful that I'm still on the right side of the dirt and in relative health.

Last but hardly least, I'm thankful for those who continue to drop by and read my musings. Thank you all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The hardest part of being a pet owner

I'm a cat person; have been for 35-ish years. I seem to have a knack for getting most of mine to some seriously ripe old ages. We had to have Ethyl, a little spitfire of a cat, euthanized about 14 months ago at the age of 19 because of kidney failure.

Ethyl was pretty obvious-she stopped eating and couldn't move about, even to get to a litter box in the same room. We knew she was suffering from the disease, but we were doing as much as she would allow to support her. And then she just crashed, and the blood test said "Time, please". As we always do, we brought her home and she's buried with 2 others (Ricky and Fred) off to one side of the back yard.

We're facing this again with our 15 year old Thing. Thing has always been small, particular and a picky eater. She is also a train wreck, one that started in 2012 with a diagnoses of Idiopathic Vestibular Disease. With the help of good veterinary care, we got her past that, but it has poked its head up a time or three since.

For the last 3-4 years, blood tests showed her liver under heavy stress. Some expensive diagnostic tests could find no reason. Then her kidney numbers went up, pointing toward kidney failure. Her white blood count spiked to half again what it should be, pointing to an infection or maybe cancer. This all happened in quick succession. We only caught it early because she was having a pre-anesthesia blood workup so we could have her teeth cleaned and a bad one removed.

Catching it early, we've been able to provide supportive care and give her a good quality of life, despite never having a firm diagnoses of what was wrong. But as time has passed she's gotten frail, and the goal of a quality life has been harder to maintain. Now we're nearing the end of the road, and I've been struggling with trying to work out "When do we take that last ride?" It's complicated by Thing herself, because she's been such a game fighter. She isn't going to go easy.

One resource that my vets suggested was the "Feline Quality of Life Index". While it sounds kind of cold and clinical, it's meant to help cat owners reach the hardest decision they have to make about a pet-when is it time to let go? Even though I can be a cold, clinical bastard, about my animals I'm anything but.

Hopefully, this resource will help someone else make this hard, shitty decision with less guilt than they might otherwise have.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veterans Day

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, an armistice was declared, ending active fighting in WW I.

For some families, the war never truly ended.

While Memorial Day is generally the day where we memorialize our losses in war, we must always remember the price paid in blood by our ancestors for the freedom we enjoy and the freedom of others they never knew.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Time to clean up the browser tabs. Again.

This is a bad habit of mine-collecting a bunch of browser tabs that I want to make note of on the blog and then never getting around to it. Some of these have been hanging around for weeks, so I don't even remember where they came from.

The Master of Disguise

First, a former CIA Chief of Disguise (Who knew?) gives a brief overview if how spies uses disguises. Since we live in an increasingly surveillance-heavy world, this could be the starting point for learning a useful skill.

Bike Stuff

A bike is quiet transportation that burns no fuel other than what you eat. In a situation where things went bad, it could enable you to move faster, thereby expanding your range of operations considerably. Bicycles, properly equipped, will also allow you to carry more weight than you can carry alone.

Eventually we need to talk about small engine bicycle conversions. They're very fuel efficient and can turn a couple of gallons of gas into a couple of hundred miles traveled.

Angle Firing

Shooting a rifle accurately is relatively simple as long as everything is on the same level. If we shoot a rifle over a long enough level area, wind resistance and gravity will eventually make the bullet curve down and impact the ground. Throw in some up- or downhill and thing get more complicated. The Rifleman’s Rule (Angle Firing) gives you the tools to understand how to hit your target firing up- or downhill.


8 over-the-counter items that you should have on hand. Yes, they could conceivably save your life, or the life of someone under your care. I just don't care for click-bait titles.

Well, that's allowed me to reduce the tabs by a decent amount. Until I need to do it again.

Friday, November 09, 2018

If you're going to bug out, bug out early

Some California residents are learning a lesson that we in the preparedness community have know for a long time--If you're going to evacuate, you have to do it early. Unfortunately some of them learned this lesson at the cost of their lives.

So far, 5 have lost that race. I expect more will be found.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Who-wee, it's Fall, ya'll

It's 5 weeks or so since I heralded the arrival of what was going to pass for Fall, at least for a while. That weather, I guess something like an Indian Summer, hung on and kept beating back the occasional Fall day that managed to sneak in.

Boy howdy, that's over. It's Fall, the leaves are turning and falling and it's cooled off to more or less what it should be at this time of year. It was 70, give or take, today, and that's the warmest it's going to be, as far as the 10 day forecast is concerned. They've even got the little snowflake icon out for next Tuesday night.

We did get to enjoy the likely last Fall weekend by pulling the RV up toward the Virginia border. I was able to enjoy setting it up Friday afternoon in a driving rain, but the rest of the weekend was actually quite nice. Now the RV is sitting in the driveway and I'm frantically trying to complete the Fall project list for it before stuffing it under the cover and calling it a season. Some projects may just get skipped if their fellows on the list don't start going better.

I have gotten some fall projects around the house under way, but rain has been a constant delaying factor. Well, the long range forecast for my area did say wetter than usual. There's still a lot to do, and things get added all the time. At least I can always put on more clothes. This summer I would have needed to carry an air conditioner strapped to my back to work outside during the hot part of the day.

Some of the new project items are nothing more than necessary maintenance caused by using various pieces of equipment. Those are boring by and large, so I won't bore you with them. Use your imagination.

Some of them, though, are more fun-for various values of fun. I obtained a good deal on a Bearcat TrunkTracker V scanner. Too many local government agencies, the NC Highway Patrol, the state Department of Transportation and a number of  local utilities have moved to digital trunked radio systems, and my old Radio Shack gear wasn't able to deal with that during our hurricanes. When there are trees down, power outages and floods, I like to listen in on what's going on.

Of course, this means another antenna if you want to drag in the best signal. Fortunately I have the antenna and all the parts except for cable (now remedied) , and I just have to hurry up and get it up. The antenna-you people have dirty minds.

Then there's that mast for the weather station. That's going to wind up needing a bucket lift, so I want to combine that with some other high work. I'll need an extra pair of experienced hands, and that's where the hold up is. Mountain Man is willing, but currently swamped with his own issues. I may get to experience a bit of what the linemen get during the winter by the time he frees up.

Then there's the pickup truck that followed me home. Well, it followed me after I tracked it down on Crag's List. I've wanted one for years, and I'm not getting any younger. It's a 2001 GMC Sierra 1500, rather gently used for it's age. I'm pretty sure I bought Granddad's pickup. It has 140,000 miles on the clock; is in excellent shape mechanically and very good condition cosmetically. I am making some changes, including undoing a rather unfortunate chrome fetish. Most of them are reasonably low cost. The three big things will be replacing the headlamp housings and lighting with new housings and LED lighting, getting a bedliner shot in and putting a modern stereo into it. The stereo will wait for a while due to cost.

I'll be selling my Subaru to pay for all this, and I really don't feel bad about stepping back 10 years on the age of my vehicle-I think of it as "Back to the Future". While the Subie's been an OK car, I have learned to detest CVT transmissions, smart keys and all the rest of the techno idiocy that has been crammed into recent vehicles. The very few things I may want can be retrofitted for a reasonable price should I decide to do so.

Mrs. Freeholder is convinced I've slipped a gear or two, but she is being quite accommodating. As I live in large part on her suffrage, that's a good thing.

Lastly, Fall has brought the inevitable infestation of politics. I'm watching the post mortem with interest. I think the Democrats are convinced they won bigger than they did, while Republicans don't seem to understand why they lost the House. (Hint, Paul Ryan and his posse of assclowns.) I figure the next year or so is going to be very entertaining as the Dems find out they haven't won all that much and the Republicans in the Senate flounder about trying to figure out how to lose that majority in 2020. My belief is that if the Republicans listened to their President, 2020 will be a run away victory in the Senate and they will be able to take back the House, but politicians oddly don't listen to me.

So enough of all this. I still have some things to do before I can settle in for the evening. Laundry, here I come!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Like winter, Christmas is coming

One of the local papers linked this. Enjoy.

Always a class act

Audrey Hepburn was a class act, even before she was an actress.

"The father is not expected to face charges, police said."

I should certainly hope so. They ought to pin a medal on this guy.

A brave dad armed with a pistol stopped what could have been a mass shooting Saturday inside an Alabama McDonald's when he took down a masked gunman who had stormed in and opened fire.

This is another episode in a long list that gun banners would love to memory hole. An armed citizen breaks everyone of their talking points and by doing so saves an unknown number of people.

I'm betting the Werther Effect was in action here. As Michael Bane has said many times, "Violence is a virus." Science backs him up. This means that we need to up our situational awareness for a time.

Let's be careful out there.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Variety is the spice of life

(Via the Woodpile Report)

Variety is the spice of life, be it in relationships or food. Cue R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

I can't argue a thing that was said, save I wouldn't consider a variety in stored foods, even to the point of keeping freeze-dried ice creme (guilty) and freezing half-off bags of Easter and Halloween candy (also guilty), as "luxuries". Based on her take on the subject, I'm guessing she doesn't either. So who's guilty of that headline?

This bit leads me to a story from my late Dad, who was in the ETO in WW II. The setup from the article:

"We can also research the lunch-dinner breaks of pioneers, old-time (and modern, poverty-stricken) farmhands, and soldiers of manly-man eras for pacing of meals and foods that give us continual boosts through the day, that can be consumed easily regardless of weather, and options that don’t require extra preparation or heating."

Sometime in 1945 and somewhere in Germany, Dad's unit was attacking. Dad and a buddy had went across a harvested beet field, scouting the way ahead. As far as anyone could tell, there was going to be no resistance to this movement. Right up until the artillery shells started dropping.

Dad and his buddy took shelter behind a beet bed. (He described this construction as being made of harvested beets.) So, you're in the middle of a field, under fire and hunkering down until the rest of the unit call in some counter-fire and gets you out of your predicament. What to do, what to do?

They decided that it was time for a snack. Dad pulled a can of something or other out of his field jacket and started to open it up. About that time the German observer called in a fire correction, and the next rounds dropped on the other side of this beet bed.

Dad says they were both tossed some distance and couldn't hear a thing. They did decide to call off snack time and rescue themselves, sprinting back across the field in apparently record time, uninjured.

Decades later, he seemed more miffed that they hadn't gotten to eat than that they were nearly killed. I suppose when you've been nearly killed often enough, you get a bit blase about it.

At least my Dad did.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Taking it up a notch

A bunch of Democrat elected types an one Hollywood star have received, or had intercepted by law enforcement, pipe bombs. One side claims that it's President Trump's fault, another side either calls for restraint and a third side believes that this is a "false flag", organized to distract attention from Democrats' slipping polls and the illegal immigrant march in Central America and Mexico just prior to the mid-term election.

I don't care about all that in anything more than an academic way. What I do care about is the fact that someone is mailing bombs to people. No matter who is involved in mailing the bombs, their motivations or their politics, this is a distinct ratcheting up of action as we slip further and further toward a shooting civil war.

If you haven't been concerned before, now would be a great time to get concerned. If you been concerned, this should be a motivator to go over your preparations for bad times, filling in the gaps.

Because if we don't make a screeching U-turn soon, we're going to have bad times in plenty.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

A tiny step into renewable energy

No, I'm not going to go all "green" on you, even though I was turning off lights and changing out bulbs before it was cool. I'm cheap, and saving energy saves me money. Not running 125' of electrical circuit also saves me money; a rather substantial amount when you consider the cost of trenching, conduit and so on.

Let's set the scene: About 125' from my back door sits a 12'x14' extruded plastic outbuilding. I love the thing--no painting, just hit it with a pressure washer occasionally. We use it for storing the lawn tractor, various flammable liquid fuels, lawn tools and the like. It was put in the second year after we moved.

I didn't have any electricity ran to it, because dollar$. I can't see spending a weekend of my time and several $hundred just to have power out there on demand. The demand isn't there. It's a storage building. If I need power for a short-term project, I have many extension cords and a generator.

However, it would be handy on the odd occasion to have a little light, basically just enough to find things without holding a flashlight in my teeth. A while back I bought a solar shed light at Harbor Freight, similar to this one. It's sat on a shelf for some time, waiting for me to do something with it.

I finally did, after needing to put things up one night after dark and being annoyed about holding my flashlight in my teeth. To whit:

The "solar panel"

Light off

Light on. Note disconnected plug. Click to embiggen if necessary.
 Yes, I need to hit the building with a pressure washer. After Hurricane Michael passes, maybe.

Installation was simple, some screws and a 1/4" hole to pass the power cable through the building wall, which was sealed with silicone caulk. The panel doesn't get much direct sun, but it gets enough sun to keep things charged.

It isn't the brightest light in the world, and it won't run forever on a 600 mah AA ni-cad battery, but that's cool. It doesn't need to. But I do wish it would work without having to unplug the panel before switching it on. That's a bit annoying. Some other time when that annoys me enough I'll take it down and take a look into it. Given the building is Plan C in case a real need for a place to sleep shows up and the house (Plan A) and the camper (Plan B) are both out of commission for some reason, I'd probably better do that sooner than later.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Sorry, but politics must intrude for a bit

(Via the Woodpile Report and the Conservative Treehouse)

I hope everyone reading this is well and truly sick and tired of the fiasco that has been the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.

I hope your sick of watching the show trial of Judge Kavanaugh and tired of listening to the sanctimonious lecturing from the thrones of the powerful which have been built of their own misdeeds.

I hope your tired of being told what you should think rather than being encouraged to think for yourselves.

Here are two links to let you know that there are people who are noticing and others like you who think as you do.

Prepare yourselves. It's coming, and it may arrive sooner than anyone thinks. Or it may arrive later. In the end, it won't matter the timing.

Because it will arrive, you may be certain of that.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Summer turns to fall

Falling behind, that is.

It's been a long, miserable summer here at the Freehold. While the temperatures have been warm, it's been the tropical levels of humidity that have caused trouble here at the Freehold and around my area. I really can't recall another summer that was as consistently humid as this one. It's been bad enough that I've had to limit my work hours outside. It got to the point that, no matter how much replacement fluid I poured into myself, my body couldn't process it as fast as I was sweating.

I suppose that at some age, you get the message you aren't 25 any more. Message received.

But we finally seem to be on the down side. Not that we're seeing fall weather; we aren't. But the conditions of the last week have been far less oppressive than they have been. This means that it's time to get to it and catch up on the outside work. There are bushes and trees to trim and all that will have to be burned. There is lawn to be created by a methodology that is yet uncertain. Firewood must be processed and next year's wood obtained. I really ought to wash the outside of the house and do the windows as well.

The list goes on. I have ham antennas that I still haven't put up. Not only will that cross a big item off my list, but it will allow me to finish the long dormant series of blog posts I was doing on the process. I need to put preservative on exposed wood around the house. I want to put some sort of gutter guards on the gutters that lack them. My utility trailer needs some love. The RV wants washed and waxed. The list seems endless, but it all has to get done.

Yeah, I'm whining a bit. But enough of that, time to get moving. As they say, winter is coming.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Feed the machine

There are a number of people who wonder why the "police action" in Korea wasn't prosecuted with more vigor, why the Vietnam "conflict" was fought in a way that nearly guaranteed failure and why the the Gulf War/Global War on Terror is still going on at all.

There are also people who wonder why we put up with the joke we call "public education" and the contaminated industrial products we call "food".

Other people continue to wonder why medical costs are so high in the US, why perscription drugs are so costly and why modern medicine seems less interested in curing diseases than in offering expensive treatments that don't cure but do prolong suffering.

Color me cynical, but it appears to me that the group we call "the Deep State" views "the masses", which have more lately been  known collectively as "deplorables", as fodder for their cash cows.

Edit, 9/25/2018: Corrected an error in the final paragraph that made it clear as mud.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Outside the box thinking personified

(Via Says Uncle)

The most cogent reason for carrying a pistol chambered in .45 ACP I've seen recently.

AR-15 Wear and Failure Points

(Via Says Uncle)

15 wear and failure points on the AR series of firearms, but a list of good spares to keep.

I note they diplomatically mention the shooter as a failure point.

Upstairs, Downstairs

Eric S. Raymond posits that we are genetically selecting for intelligence at the top of the income scale and muses on the possible consequences. e sure to read the comments as well.

He points out that this would make an interesting SF book. Personally, I think it could be a series.

Hurricane Florence AAR

Hurricane Florence has came and went. Here at Ft. Freehold, Florence wasn't as serious a problem as it was for the residents of coastal NC. We received a measured 6.9" of rain and had wind gusts that topped 30 MPH. No trees down and no power outage, although it did the "on-off-on-off-on" dance a few times.

In the local area, there are a few trees, mostly dead or diseased, that have come down, along with minor flooding and a number of power outages. I imagine there is also some roof damage here and there.

I'm grateful for my blessings, and pray for the safety and well-being of those who have been grievously affected by the storm.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Keepin' on and keepin' up with Florence

Another day of being sure we're ready for Florence. As far as major items go, we were in pretty good shape beforehand and now we're as good as we're likely to get. Kudos to Amazon, UPS and the USPS for getting the order for extra batteries and a couple of battery-powered fans here on schedule. If the power goes out for a while, at least we have some means of relief.

Where forecasts are concerned, there seems to be some difference of opinion between our local TV weather droids and the National Hurricane Center. I'm going by the information from the NWC. Right now we're still in the 4+ days out category in terms of the storm's arrival at our location, which means the forecast could change significantly, so I'm checking at most update times to see what's changed.

Given the size of the storm, we'll see winds and rain well before the center of circulation gets here. At the moment, we'll see winds of tropical storm force or better (over 39 MPH) and rain of 6-15". We're near a break point for the forecast, so the rainfall range is large just yet.

I have gotten the WeatherFlow weather station up, although I need to guy it. This is the wind and rain sensors, mounted on an aluminum push up pole. At this height, it's around 5' over the peak of the roof and about 21' off the ground. There is another section I can take it up, and I'll probably do that once I have the guys in tomorrow. This is a temporary setup. The good thing about it is that I can drop the who thing down to about 6' tall in 60 seconds. If things start getting particularly dicey, down it comes.

As there isn't going to be anything of real interest until the storm gets here, I'll stop this series of posts here. I doubt that anyone wants the details of charging batteries, getting things up off the basement and garage floors and making sure all the outdoor stuff is tied down or stored.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Hurricane party? I don't think so.

So the morning weather report from one of the TV local stations is just full of good news. Florence's track is still aimed at Wilmington, but given the error rate in the forecast it could hit anywhere from Myrtle Beach, SC to Nags Head, NC. Me, I'm still betting on Wilmington or relatively close.

To make matters even more fun, the rain we're getting today through Wednesday is due to a stalled front. That's a double whammy. First, it's soaking ground that is already on the wet side. That's bad for flooding potential when the big weather gets here, but it's also bad because tree root systems don't hold as well in wet ground. Add a lot of wind from the storm and you have trees falling. Bye-bye power, hello impassible roads and trees on houses. Been there, done that, wasn't fun.

Second, that front is going to slow the inland progress of what is predicted now to be a Category 4 storm to a crawl. That means all that rain falls over a longer period of time in any given location and the wind has longer to work on those trees. Great.

Progress on the storm preps is being made. The gas supply has been totally cycled and new fresh gas is in storage. Replacements for the battery supply will be here tomorrow, along with a few items, such as battery-powered fans, that will be good to have in an extended power outage. My generator won't pull the HVAC system, so we'll retreat to the basement and use the fans if an outage goes on for long.

Today I'm going to get to the grocery store. I also hope to change the oil in the generator and begin putting up the weather station. I'll have to temp up some of it, but it should work for the time being. I just hope it holds up to the storm.

Tune in tomorrow for another thrilling episode. :-)

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Hurricane's a' comin'

Ah, it's the time of year in the South when the weather is cooling a bit, college football is underway and hurricanes come barging in, screwing up everything.

It's been quite a few years since the coast of the two Carolinas took a hard, head-on hit from a hurricane, but barring some help from above, it appears Florence is going to be a direct hit on the coast. Currently, forecasts are targeting Wilmington, NC as ground zero for a hit next weekend. Of course, this is a week out, and a lot of weather can happen in a week.

I'm going to use this as a motivator to get some items off my list, such as cycling and refilling gas cans after a long summer of making hay mowing grass. I'll also make the obligatory trip to the grocery store to top off on consumables and another trip, probably to Amazon, to refill on batteries, which I found noticed yesterday we are a little light on.

While this storm has the potential to visit our home, we are a few hundred miles inland, so we won't get the worst of it. However, we have had more than a few hurricanes pass through, and they can still cause havoc. Downed trees, electrical outages and flooding are just a few of the things that happen around here when a hurricane comes to town.

My biggest concerns are our roof, which has a few years on it, and my beam amateur radio antenna (which is still unconnected and yes, I need to finish that and the series of posts I was writing on the process), which is subject to wind damage in very high winds. I'd also like to get my new WeatherFlow weather station installed, but that is subject to time, material availability and weather, the last of those being forecast to be stormy throughout the week.

More to come...

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Good advice

A acquaintence sent me some excellent advice today. It was a link to a YouTube video--this one:

Just shy of two years ago, I found myself in the position John Goodman discusses. My employer was being a complete dick, not only to me but to my entire staff. My house was paid for, I had money in the bank, no bills and income they apparently were unaware of. There was nothing I could do for my staff except tell them that it was all going to crap and the best thing they could do is find new position elsewhere. Then I told my employer "Fuck you" and walked. I did put it nicer than that, but I'm sure they got the message.

I haven't seen this movie, but my acquaintance has and thought I'd get a laugh out of it. And I did. I didn't realize at the time that I was doing exactly this, but I was. Art mirrors life.

The last two years have been two of the most excellent years in my life. Yes, there have been changes I don't care for, but on balance, it's worth the trade.

If you can do it, the most liberating thing you can do is put yourself in the position to say "Fuck you" to the whole, wide world.

Monday, August 27, 2018

So...I went to a gun show

Sunday my buddy Hort Guy and I went to the Greensboro Gun Show. I went for three reasons:
  1. I wanted some .300 Blackout subsonic ammo and my favorite local vendor was going to be there with their new ammo loaded on Hornady brass.
  2. I decided to try selling a pistol I no longer wanted to keep.
  3. I wanted to see what the prices were like, especially for the guns I want to part with.
Number 2 turned out to be easy enough--I sold it before I got into the show. I may have had it priced a little low, but I based it on what the same gun wasn't drawing bids for on GunBroker. At any rate, we were both happy, so I'm calling it a good deal.

Number 1 wasn't much harder, except carrying it around after the purchase. However, they were down to the last few boxes and I didn't want to miss out.

Number 3. There is a tale. I wasn't looking for ARs, but I can't help but look at them, and the prices were actually up just a bit from the last time I looked. Still, you can buy a nice AR, or even a really nice AR, for a song compared to when the Gun Salesman of the Decade was in office. I didn't see any "cheap" ARs, but there were plenty of receivers and parts to build up one if you would like.

The guns I want to sell, on the other hand, were a more difficult. For example, I could find only one post-64 Winchester Model 70 in any caliber. While it turned out to be the same caliber as mine, it was a beautiful Super Grade, which doesn't help me out much when trying to price my more pedestrian firearm. I suppose I'm going to have to do it the same way as I did the pistol I sold. I might miss out on a few bucks, but at least there will be room created in the safe.

The big surprise was what I found at the show that I wasn't expecting:

Judging from the number videos I can find, I may be the last person to find out about this, but that doesn't detract from the cool factor. The guy that was selling them had the perfect marketing pitch, at least for me--try out archery on the cheap. I took him up on it and bought a 54" recurve bow with a 22# pull. It's nothing fancy. Still the white PVC pipe color and a string made from paracord. The gentleman making them was kind enough to tell me that you simply spray paint them for the color you want, how to wrap the paracord for a grip and how to get a good starting length for arrows, which he suggested I buy at Walmart. He's serious about testing out archery on the cheap. He also had some nicer examples, but the $25 one will do me fine for now.

I've been interested in the subject of traditional archery for a good while. When I was a kid, I had a bow that my Dad made from a hickory branch and fishing line. I've even went as far as buying the 4 volumes of "The Traditional Bowyer's Bible", but a lack of good available wood plus some trepidation at trying my had at bow making kept me on the sidelines.

I'm sure a lot of purists would sniff and tell me "This isn't traditional archery." I'm OK with that. This is something where I can get the materials cheap and I have all the tools at hand. If you're brave enough and have the upper body strength, you can build an 80# longbow.

What d'ya want for nuthin---r-r-rubber biscuit?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Some budget cutting is a bad idea

Cutting the budget to fund the WWV family of radio time service stations is definitely a bad idea. These services are used by many consumers for such mundane tasks as setting clocks, but they fill a much larger national security need. The US military has finally figured out that satellite communications are a target of hostile foreign powers, and are rebuilding/expanding the old HF radio network that many thought were just "useless old tech".

There are two petitions active at the moment. If you want to keep these stations going, your signature on them will help send that message. You can access them here and here. Don't forget that after you sign, you'll get an email asking you to verify your signature. It won't hurt if you write your Congresscritters and the President, too.

What the hell happened to my home?

Last night, self-righteous Leftist brats pulled down the century-old statue of "Silent Sam", who honored the sacrifice of UNC students during the War Between the States, on the campus of UNC-CH. They were allowed to cover the statue and work behind that cover to bring it down. Police apparently sat on their hands until after the statue was on the ground. After that they moved in and covered the fallen statue with a tarp. They managed to make one arrest.

Based on the reactions by the chancellor and the governor, as well as the lack of action by the police, this smells like a planned action by the students and university leadership. The law said the statue could not be removed because of its historical significance, so the university simply stood back while a group of rioters tore it down. Now they can clean up the mess and hope it all goes away, and that their Leftist paradise, paid for by the taxpayers, can move forward into whatever glorious future they think is their due.

There are plenty of videos and photos circulating that can be used to identify many of those at the site. I believe there are also security cameras that were placed to monitor the statue. If the police want to find the miscreants, they can. I predict they won't unless forced to. The guilty will get off scot-free.
There should be a formal investigation of the leadership of the university and whether or not they played any part in this event. The university police should also face this investigation. If guilty parties are found, they should suffer the full legal consequences of their actions. Again, I predict this will not occur unless forced.

I was born and raised in North Carolina. I lived in Chapel Hill for a couple of years and in the area for nearly 4. I've always said it was like living in a different state. Apparently it's now like a different country.

I no longer recognize my home state, and unlike the old NC advertising jingle, I don't like calling North Carolina home anymore. I won't until the guilty are brought to justice.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Prepping for a civil war

Yes, we're going to talk about getting ready for a civil war. Not how to fight it, but how to survive it.

Let me make clear my reasoning. In the American Revolution, a Wikipedia article estimates are that a maximum of 65% of the population supported one side or the other. Other modern sources support those numbers. That means that roughly 1/3 of the population in the 13 Colonies wanted to just be left out of it altogether.

In the War Between the States, I can't find widely agreed on numbers in terms of support for either side. My own reading of history points to a substantial number of people who wanted to be left out of the war, although the reasons in this war were very different. I'm going to make an assumption that the percentage was probably similar to the Revolutionary War.

Despite all the talk in the media about how polarized the US is at this point in time, anecdotal evidence suggest that there is a large portion of the population who think both sides are full of it and would rather be left out of it. I'm going to assume that the number is going to be that 1/3 of the population.

Even if you would side with one side or another, leaving fighting out of it still means you need to survive the war in terms of day-to day needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. None of that goes away in a war, indeed, history shows that all of these become harder to obtain and protect when there's a war on.

So let's consider the things you might want to consider if things come down to actual fighting. I think we're far closer to it than many like to believe, so you need to get down to it.

If you're a prepper, I hope it's a safe guess that you have already stocked up on the "beans, bullets and bandages" part of the list. If you haven't, then you need to tend to those first, and there are a crapload of web sites and books to help you out. I'm not going into those things. You do your own homework there.

Civil war--not something that the average prepper has included in their plans, I'd wager. Let's look at a few things that you may have not considered.


Community is my top item. This isn't the "You need to have plenty of like-minded folks around if you expect to survive!" thing. Rather, this is a need for detailed knowledge of your community, both in terms of geographic layers ranging from your neighborhood, your town/city up to the level of your local area as well as some level of knowledge about the people who live there. In the War Between the States there are plenty of historical accounts of how the war split families and communities. Another such war will do the same. The last thing you want is to be living in a area where you don't know, at least in general terms, the political proclivities of your neighbors.

On the Internet, it seems everyone wears their politics on their sleeve. It isn't like that in the real world. For many reasons, many people understandably simply don't care to discuss their politics with anyone, or they limit it to family and close friends. There are too many examples of people losing their livelihood because of a poorly considered Facebook post, for example, for thinking people to ignore the dangers of publicly speaking out. This could cause some issues if it turns out your entire neighborhood has a very different set opinions than you when things get bad.

So how can you get a handle on what the wider community is thinking? You look for clues. It can be as simple as who flies a flag and what flag they are flying. During election seasons, what candidates yard signs blossom and in what yards/areas do you see them. Read the "letters to the editor" section of your local newspaper and see what people are saying. What sorts of things happen locally that really stir people'sfeelings? Research voting patterns and political contributions in your area. There are a lot of ways to get a feel for this kind of knowledge.

Also look at your community in terms of what stresses it's facing. This can range from exploding growth to exploding unemployment and the financial issues that brings. Both of these can lead to large changes in the nature of the area in a short time. Is a large employer closing, or are you one of the fortunate places where one is opening?

Look at the population distribution figures. What's the age makeup? How many single family households? Racial demographics? Income distribution? All of these things should be data points for your personal calculation of what you'll face if the balloon goes up.

Bugging Out

There are a lot of people who plan to bug out in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse. I'm not a big fan of it; seeing a lot of issues for most people in terms of practicality as well as in the logistics of the thing..These concerns will double or triple in the event of civil war.

That said, it could well come down to not having a choice. You may have to live in an area where your views don't fit due to job or family considerations, but it's where the jobs are. It could be that you're stuck somewhere because you can't get a decent price for the house you own now. Maybe you stay for family reasons, such as aging parents. But when the bullets and Molotov Cocktails start flying, your instinct is to say "Oh crap, we are so outta here!" But how and to where? How much of your stuff can you carry in a single load? Will you be welcome if and when you arrive?

While there are ways, cheap ways, to bug out with enough stuff to be pretty self-sufficient for a couple of months, the average refugee isn't going to be able to go home in a month or two--maybe not even in a year or two. You can't carry enough stuff for that situation with a 53' box trailer and a Kenworth.

"Oh, it's cool--we'll go to Uncle Harry and Aunt Flo's place! They live way out in the middle of nowhere so it'll be safe there. And we're family! They have to take us in!"

Is this the same Uncle Harry and Aunt Flo who blew a gasket when they saw the wrong politician's bumper sticker on your car? Or what if Uncle Harry and Aunt Flo have been forced to bug out themselves? How about the famous "We can only take care of ourselves," delivered over the barrel of a gun? Blood isn't necessarily thicker than water when the feces impact the air handler.

In short, anyone who don't have a remote location(s) really need to work on that. Bear in mind things like "I'll go to this little campground I know about" isn't going to work. It'll be you and a few hundred or thousand of your closest friends. Don't even go there.

Supplies, Care and Storage of

Let's say your ahead of me, and you have gotten the first two under control. You've looked over your supplies, and you feel you have plenty of beans, bullets and band-aids. Heck, you'll even be big enough to take in Uncle Harry and Aunt Flo if they show up.

But there's a flaw in your cunning plan. Let me throw out a couple of historical incidents that occurred here in the South during the War Between the States: Sherman's March to the Sea and Stoneman's Raid. There's a reason a lot of folks around here still bear a grudge toward the Union over 150 years after the fact. If you think things will be different this time, you're wrong. They'll likely be worse.

Our ancestors buried their food and valuables when they knew either of these two jackals were on the way. Of course, that didn't save things like houses and barns, or railroads and cities), but at least they had something to try and start over with, and something to eat while they did it.

Have you split up your supplies? Cached some away from your home? For that matter, do you have a few nearby places in mind where you could hide out for a few days, even if it was uncomfortable? No? Time to get moving.


I'm going to stop beating the horse here. Hopefully you see the kinds of questions you need to be asking yourself to ensure you can face this new problem..  You're still going to be doing the same sorts of prepping activities, but working to adapt to a new threat. You may also be doing some things you never planned on and working from a perspective you never considered.  Use your head, and use history as a guide. Ask questions and find the answers. Get out there and find those people who you'll be able to trust. Time may or may not be short, but all of this is doable.

Good luck. To all of us.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

In case you need a reminder

Yesterday there was a "Liberty or Death" rally in Seattle, organized by Washington 3 Percenters and Patriot Prayer. During this rally those groups were attacked by Leftist protesters and a number of folks were left injured.

Fortunately, this wasn't in Portland and the Seattle PD moved quickly to stop the fighting.

Arguments about the wisdom, or lack thereof. in attending these events aside, I hope you can see past the irony here and realize that the Left has made their choice when it comes to "Liberty or Death", at least when it comes to the Right/Conservatives/label of your choice.

They've chosen "Death".

This shouldn't surprise you, given the track record of leftist movements and governments throughout history.

If you haven't getting ready for a civil war, you're behind the curve. Time to catch up.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018


Just checking in. While there is much going on, both in the world, our country and my life, there isn't a thing that I honestly care to talk much about. I'm working on things around the house and watching entirely too many history, tool and how-to videos on YouTube. I don't know if it's the summer heat of the monotonous drumbeat of a society that seems hell-bent for destruction, but I feel nothing really merits much discussion at this point.

Mark my words, either later this even or tomorrow something will happen that prompts a post. It always does when I put up one of these "Not dead yet!" posts.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

This merits some celebration!

I'm not sure why, but I was moved to click on the link to the Home On the Range blog, which has resided in the "Absent Friends" section for quite a while after it was taken private. Guess what--it isn't private any longer! Good news, because Brigid has always been one of the best voices blogging.

The lies about lard

(Via the Woodpile Report)

Growing up, I remember both of my grandmothers cooking with lard. Biscuits, pie crusts, fried chicken--all of these things required lard. You know something I don't remember as a young kid? People with memory diseases like Alzheimer's. I remember one person out of all the ones I knew. He was a nice old guy, who could remember the first World War but not where he lived. Folks in my grandmother's very small town always made sure he got home safely.

It seems that lard, along with a lot of the other fats many of us of a certain age grew up with, got an undeservedly bad rep that is now being reviewed.

About damn time. Biscuits haven't tasted right in years.

Central Nervous System stop

(Via Gab)

Could you deliver a head shot, cold, under maximum stress, on demand? A Texas husband could and did. There is a reasonable chance his wife is alive because he could.

Texas: Intruders Hold Man's Wife at Gunpoint - Man Takes One Out With Headshot, Accomplice Flees

As Freedom Outpost points out, the recidivism rate of dead bad guys is zero. Hard wisdom there.

I was talking with someone over Facebook (when I still did Facebook) some time back, and we were talking about firearms practice. I pointed out that for years, my family has been shooting at 8" round steel plates at our range. When the discussion of Central Nervous System stops came up in relation to shooting terrorists came up, I made the comment that little did we know we had been practicing for just that scenario for years, never realizing that we were doing it.

Time to go practice it some more.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Saving a DeWalt lithium battery

Something that's guaranteed to jerk my chain is going to grab a battery powered tool and finding out that not only does it need charging, but that the battery won't take a charge. Tools with lithium batteries are the absolute worst for "Hey, you've only charged the battery 5 times, but it won't charge now and you need to spend $50 for a new battery."

I didn't like that particular BS when I was working and now that I've retired, I really don't like it. I'm not a piggy bank for DeWalt or aftermarket battery manufacturers. While a number of my tools are corded, I'm like everyone else--I prefer to work without the cords. Especially when you only need to drill one hole, it's just a lot less hassle in you life.

A project I've been putting off, because I knew it wasn't going to be even a little fun, was replacing the throttle cable on our 4 wheeler. It had been allowed to sit for longer than it's a good idea to let such things sit, and the throttle cable had seized. A basic inspection a while back had shown that the thing was routed by way of Albuquerque to get from the handlebars and the throttle body, so I had let it wait until I had no more excuses. Well, I'm now fresh out, so it was time to deal with it.

After considerable disassembly, much speculation on the intelligence of the designers and engineers and some swearing, I determined it wasn't the cable, but something in the throttle body itself that was the problem. After backing off the cable adjuster, I could get things to move, but it felt very...sticky. Some research on the Intertubz brought to light that the throttle plate can get gummed up and cause the problem.

OK, off to the auto parts store for throttle body cleaner. After I got home, I disassembled even more of the 4 wheeler, and found out that a double-jointed monkey couldn't get to a point where he could peer down the opening into the throttle body. Consulting my handy shop manual (You don't think I went into this blind, do you?) on the process for removing the throttle body, I decided that a root canal performed with a jackhammer and hot tongs would be preferable. So I went to get my DeWalt inspection camera.

An inspection camera is one of those tools you don't need a lot, but when you need it there is no substitute. This one has saved my bacon several times since I bought it. I expected the battery to be in need of charge, because I couldn't guess when it was last used. Sure enough it was dead, and when I slapped it in the charger, rather than the blinking red light, I got...

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Well crap, this is the only thing I have out of all my DeWalt tools that uses a 12v lithium battery. After this one and a 20v lithium DeWalt drill, I've sworn off the things, and started buying NiMh rebuild kits (and a couple of compatible DeWalt chargers) and rebuilding my old NiCad battery packs. The Li-ions are just too damn picky--especially if you work them hard and they are discharging fast. They'll turn themselves off and refuse to run. Thanks, but no.

Now the swearing started in earnest. I tried an inspection mirror, but no joy. There is no way to get the angle needed to see down the throat of the throttle body. Nothing for it but to price a replacement on Amazon and wait two days for Prime to drop it on my doorstep.

After a mild case of sticker shock for the DeWalt-branded battery, and briefly considering the no-names, I had this hair-brained idea--Is there was some way to fix this dead battery, even temprorarily?

Once again, the Intertubz provideth:

Of course, my situation was different, but as Gunny Highway said, "Improvise, overcome, adapt." I took a 12v NiMh and jumpered it to the dead Li-ion and waited a bit. When the jumpers were warm to the touch, I figured that we had transferred enough juice to give it a try. Guess what?

The little sucker is sitting on my workbench now, charging it's little heart out. I suppose I'm going to have to develop a habit of charging batteries on a semi-regular basis. Bloody inconvenient.

Edit, 7/25/2018: Just for the sake of completeness, the ATV problem was indeed a sticking throttle plate. It took 2 hours of disassembly to get to it and 4 tiny spritzes of cleaner to cure the problem. I don't know whether to laugh or set the thing on fire. I'll probably laugh.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Internet Censorship--Brother, can you spare a mimeo machine?

(Via SurvivalBlog)

As you may guess, I"m catching up on reading some of my blogroll. Rawles, it seems, has been on something of a roll of late. Then again, there's always a fair bit of interesting stuff on his blog.

I want to bring this piece of original content to your attention, where he writes about Internet censorship. You've read me bitching about Google, with who I have a grumble/hate relationship. Rawles goes considerably further in "The Internet Gulag: Demonetization, Demonization, and Deletion", covering a number of disturbing trends that have been going on for some time now--the demonitization of blogs and YouTube channels, the ongoing demonization of anyone who dares contradict Leftist orthodoxy and the outright deletion of content that offends the liberal and self-appointed keepers of the Intertubz.

The important information he provides is, in essence a call to be ready to respond to their overreach with a modern samizdat. I know I've brought this up, maybe here, definitely in other places, by urging people to rebuild the old FidoNet BBS system. While it's still around, it's nothing like it's old self, and it would be a great thing for it to begin rebuilding. There is also amateur packet radio, which is also still around but also not as big as it once was. These alternatives to the big, corporate-controlled avenues of communication could be vital alternatives if things go sideways.

Something more to think about as we wait for whatever it is slinking toward us.

Edit, 7/24/2018: Change to the title to make it flow better and sound more familiar.

Well this could be a little...chilling

(Via SurvivalBlog)

Not everyone donates to political candidates, but some of us do, at least from time to time. While this my by law be public record, did you ever expect that your name might show up on a web site for any nutjob with an ax to grind to see? Yes, in the holy name of "openness" we're going to let fruitcakes like Antifa, Mothers Against Whatever Michael Bloomberg Dislikes This Week or whatever gather intelligence and paint targets on people they don't approve of.

Something to consider before you write that check. Perhaps a good reason to have a legal trust that can do such things for you.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Wise words

The Woodpile Report #536 is out; has been sine July 3. As usual, Ol' Remus says it far better than I can. Please go read the opening portion of #536. You really should read it all, but the opening is incredibly important.

While the winds of change can still decide to blow in another direction, it doesn't seem like that is going to happen. We're due for Bad Times. If you aren't ready, you need to take as much advantage of the time we have left and get ready now.


Sunday, July 01, 2018

The Higher Education Racket

(Via the Drudge Report)

The headline of the Boston Globe article reads "Lawrence Bacow promises a more outward-looking Harvard". For those of you who have never been involved in higher ed, and a lot of us who have been, the the first thing that occurs to us is "Who the hell is Lawrence Bacow?"

He's the new president of Harvard. As such, he is at the top of the higher ed food chain. Harvard is one of the largest universities in the US in pretty much any category that actually matters--prestige, endowment, quality of students and so on. No, their football team never wins the Rose Bowl. Heck, they never even smell the roses. But in higher ed, while athletics may often be the tail that wags the academic dog, no academic thinks it actually matters. In reality, I agree with them. Any kid who goes to college to play a sport with the hopes of a further career as a pro athlete is a fool. Look up the stats.

Bacow isn't a fool. Sure, he's been in higher ed most of his career, but you don't get to be president of Harvard if you're a fool. He realizes that higher ed is facing challenges unlike any time in its history in the United States. The cost of attendance to any school past high school has been increasing at a rate far past inflation for years. Too many students are getting degrees that, after graduation, qualify them for work at Starbucks. Colleges and universities are seen as cesspools of far left politics. All in all, higher ed has a big image problem, and it's getting worse by the semester. The public's perception of of higher ed as a whole is only somewhat ahead of Congress and the media.

Having worked in higher ed, I can tell you a lot of this is absolutely true. While I miss my old job, there are a lot of things about it I don't miss.

  • I don't miss trying to explain to parents why their kid ought to come to college when I didn't send both of my kids to college and firmly believe that not all kids need to go to a four year school.
  • I don't miss watching the cost of attendance ratchet up at a stupefying rate as schools try to outdo each other with facilities that look more like luxury vacation get-aways rather than college campuses. My house isn't as nice as some residence halls I've seen. 
  • I don't miss watching students signing away years of their lives on the dotted lines of student loan forms. Most of them barely understand the concept of borrowing money, let alone the scale of what they're borrowing. Add to that the methodology of calculating how much they're allowed to borrow, which is too complex to go into here, and they wind up with far more than they really should be allowed to borrow. At the beginning of every semester, the new tats, smart phones, TVs, laptops and so one, paid for by that excess borrowed money, boggle the mind.
  • I don't miss watching majors such as sports medicine, art, sports management, religion, communications, religious music and so on being filled up with students attending on borrowed money. The majority of these kids will face three employment futures. They will either A) Never work in the field they're educated in; B) Work in it and face a life of being chronically under-paid and under-employed or C) Both A and B. The world only needs so many of these folks, and the bitty school I worked at graduated enough by itself for the entire eastern half of the US. But they all still have to pay back those student loans, so penury becomes a way of life.
  • That "cesspool of liberalism" thing. Great Bleeding Ghu. Scratch an academic and 97-98 times out of 100, you'll find a socialist or a communist. As a staff member, I got pretty good at biting my tongue. It was that or get fired.
As a college grad, I can tell you that my college experience has paid off for me tremendously. My degree and what I learned lifted me from my blue collar beginnings into the middle class, white collar world. Having lived in both, trust me when I tell you the middle class one is much more pleasant. Mrs. Freeholder has a less dramatic experience, but she tends to agree with the basic sentiment.

As the parent of two recent college age kids, the experience is far different. Higher ed and it's BA/BS degree is becoming the equivalent of the high school diploma of my youth. I feel a large part of that is because our education system, from elementary to college, is not teaching as much at any given level. There were too many times that I saw papers written by students--and I mean juniors and seniors--at my former employer that would have earned a big fat red F in one of my high school English classes. I will guarantee these kids got a C and pushed along toward graduation.

My kids also demonstrate something else I've noticed. Daughter graduated from a well-thought of university with a BA in business. She struggled for 4 years to find a job in her field, went back for a masters degree and still really hasn't found one that's up to her skills and abilities, though she has found something that pays well enough for her to move out of the house. (Yay!)

Son went to the local community college and got an AAS in welding, along with 8 certificates in various aspects of the trade. He had a job lined up when he graduated. He's been working there about 18 months. He moved out before his sister, and on the average week makes at least 25% more than she does. Obviously it's hot, dirty work, but he likes it. His total education cost somewhat less than one year of Daughter's.

You tell me--which kid benefited more from their education, especially in terms of bang for the buck?

I'm not the only parent noticing this sort of thing. Parents across the country are demanding that colleges and universities prove the value proposition of their product. Even Daughter's university made a big point in 2009 when she started that they realized that it was expensive to send a child to school there and their goal was to see their students graduate in 4 years, and they were serious about it. Daughter did it in 4 years and two summer sessions, the summer session caused by a change in major.

The Globe article notes that many smaller schools are "struggling to remain open." That's putting it mildly. Unless they're blessed with a large endowment (say mid-hundreds of $millions) small schools are fighting for their lives. My former employer has been one disaster away from closing for years, and remains one disaster away from closing. In the higher ed press, it's an acknowledged fact that within 10 years, at least 15% of small, rural, private liberal arts schools will be closed. I suspect it will be worse than that.

This will not be confined to small schools, rural schools, private schools or liberal arts schools. The Globe article also notes that "Public universities also saw their second straight year of declining revenue growth...." I know that in the University of North Carolina system, there are at least 2 campuses that are in danger of failing for lack of students. I imagine other large public university systems face similar circumstances. Public university and community college systems are also facing declining taxpayer support at the state level in many states. Several NC community colleges have successfully turned to their local governments and gotten 1/4 cent sales tax levies passed to help with funding issues.

Finally, there is, what from the point of view of many, is the political indoctrination aspect of higher education. From Harvard and UC-Berkeley to Evergreen State, our colleges and universities seem to have become more institutions where our young are taught what to think rather than how to think. Again, from personal experience as both a university staff member and a parent who had kids in higher ed, I can attest that, in my experience, this is true. Only the strong teachings we bestowed on our children before sending them off into these dens of vipers allowed them to emerge without being assimilated by the Academic Borg.

President Bacow may have his heart in the right place, but I have to wonder if he is compromised from the outset. He may also be simply biting off more than he can chew. Time will tell--and given the current state of things in this country, time is the one resource he may not have much of.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Unwanted guests

If you've ever made the mistake of trying to explain to people why they should be ready for emergencies, especially long duration emergencies, you've gotten what I think of as "The Line":

"Oh, I'll just come stay with you!"

To which my answer has often been "Looters are going to be shot on sight," delivered utterly deadpan. That tends to shut the conversation down rather quickly, which at that point is my intention, because I figure they're not taking it seriously anyway.

There are those who are a bit more charitable by nature, or who find themselves in a position where they can be more charitable. On SurvivalBlog, one such has written a well thought-out piece on how they plan on handling the situation.

Personally, I doubt they'll ever need to put it into action, other than sending their messages. The people they're aiming it at will be stuck in the outbound traffic, so it will all be moot.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Something that isn't politics

(Via Gab)

It's simply made of awesome.

Since we told cable TV to take a hike, I've been watching all sorts of things (at the moment, I'm binge watching McHale's Navy) and one of my favorites has become YouTube. Yeah, it's an arm of Google. Can't help that, it's where all the videos are.

The video below has turned me on to a whole subculture (correct term?) of Russian craft/maker videos. These folks are doing some amazing work, and this was the gateway project for me. I get this feeling that my whole downsizing concept may be screwed. This looks like too much fun to ignore.

Data points...we've got data points

(Links from Drudge and elsewhere)

Dammit, politics again.

Democrats encourage violence against supporters of President Trump.

SCOTUS upholds the travel ban that named several majority Muslim countries, the New York Times has a major temper tantrum.

Public sector unions lose the ability to force non-member employees to pay them partial dues, American democracy ends.

SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement, Leftists lose their minds.

Are you seeing a pattern here? For every setback suffered, the Left goes into paroxysms of hate and threatens to take action. Look back to Inauguration Day, and they've steadily been getting worse in terms of threats of violence and threats of violence, especially from elected officials.

"We shall protest in DC, we shall demonstrate on the streets and the boulevards, we shall fling poo with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our safe spaces, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the park benches, we shall fight on the concert stages, we shall fight in the parks and in the streets, we shall fight in the restaurants; we shall never surrender..."

Yeah, if we could on snark at them until they gave up and went back to their parents' basements. Unfortunately, that doesn't look like it's going to happen. This time, they want a real fight, and this time, our side seems more than willing to oblige them.

Watch for the data points. They're pointing to something that can't be defined with certainty just yet. But don't wait too long to do what you need to do to be ready for the worst.  I'm not a big believer in polls, but I don't disbelieve in them either. A lot of our fellows are worried. Scared comes after that, and scared people can do stupid things. Stupid things can cause all sorts of unexpected problems.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Home invasions get worse

I'm sure some of you are thinking "Someone or a group of people has just busted through the door--how is this going to get worse?" Well, how about when the invaders torture you for information on where you've stashed your goodies, and when you don't have information that mollifies them, they torture your kid.

Up next on the ladder of escalation: family murdered when they don't have enough goodies to satisfy the invaders.

Items for you to consider: Firearms and training (obviously), driveway alarms, burglar alarms with panic buttons/central monitoring/voice response, hardened doors and door frames, shatter-resistant film for easily accessible windows, external and internal camera systems with smart phone apps and recording capabilities and safe rooms. You can do an Internet search on any of these terms and get yourself started.

Don't think that you live in a safe neighborhood or that living in the country is going to protect you from this sort of thing. It won't. If it isn't crooks, it might be political opponents, or some random idiot from the Intertubz.

We used to discuss why you would want to be armed at home. Now the discussion is rapidly becoming where and how many guns and magazines to stage around your home.

Monday, June 25, 2018

SPLC, thy name is LOSE

It seems the Southern Poverty Law Center (which is none of those things) has lost a court case to a former Islamic radical that it slandered--to the tune of $3.375 million.

That ought to put at least a little ding in their operations. I just hope it encourages others to sue them as well.

"They're coming for you next."

(Via Breitbart)

Once again, even though I'm trying not to do a lot of politics on the blog, I have to go there. The weekend's events involving Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Maxine Waters and a cast of Leftist Loons has brought us to the intersection of a number of things that are of concern to me and I believe of those of you who stop by here from time to time.

I've referenced talk about a brewing civil war in our country more than once, and I remain amazed that we didn't have a big outbreak of rioting last summer in light of the election of Donald Trump and the overwrought theatrics of the Resistance crowd and the more dangerous actions of the so-called Antifa. Given the events of this weekend, I have to wonder if we'll manage to skate through this summer without major problems. We'll just have to wait and see.

But this weekend's worth of calls that seek to cast supporters of Donald Trump as "the other" ought to scare the crap out of anyone with enough intelligence to come inside out of the rain. This is the same thing that was done in, dare I say it, Nazi Germany against the Jews. A group needs to be made the focus of all the anger and the hate--they need to be made "the other". The Left has tried it with little success against gun owners over the last several decades. Since that hasn't worked, but more importantly, since their utter rage has left them not in control of their limited faculties, they are now trying it with a larger and more diverse group, supporters of Donald Trump. The popular name for this is "Trump Derangement Syndrome", but I think that cute name really misses the true danger of the situation.

If they keep this up, or Lord help us, if they ratchet up not only the screaming but start taking actual physical actions against Trump supporters, THIS WILL NOT END WELL. It can't, not this time. Face it, a lot of Trump supporters happen to be Second Amendment advocates, and I'd wager a lot of them have concealed carry permits and go armed. Put some of them into situations where they are in fear for their lives or the lives of those under their care, and there will probably be gunfire. Somewhere in that vicinity, the feces will impact the air impeller and It Will Be On. The 24 Hour News Machine will blow any incident totally out of proportion within 30 minutes and as one of my favorite movie lines goes, "This business will get out of control. This business will get out of control  and we'll be lucky to live through it."

I believe the diversity of Trump supporters also brings an element of danger to this that is underappreciated. While there are certain large groups that are mostly behind Trump, you can find his supporters spread across every demographic you'd care to name. There are Trump supporters in double digits in every minority, age group, labor skill and locality. While it may only be in the teens or it may be 90%+, they're out there. The same goes for those who oppose Trump. With this sort of divide, neither side can safely assume that they can act with impunity anywhere, but both sides will be foolish enough to do so. This will cause further problems.

Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) has a long but good video on this subject. As someone who is generally apolitical, I find his take on the subject highly interesting. I have to wonder if the fence sitters are beginning to decide that they are going to have to join one side or the other. This is a behavior often seen before large social dislocations begin in earnest, and would be another sign of Bad Things to come.

No one can say for certain what is coming. I think the signs aren't promising, but they haven't been promising before and things have quieted down and worked out more or less OK. I'm really going to be watching this carefully and staying alert for signs of airborne feces. I suggest that you do the same.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Blogger strikes again

Yes, I know, I really ought to get off Blogger. I'm guilty of taking the path of least resistance here, but I suppose I'm going to have to give it more consideration, and sooner rather than later. Because this place just keeps getting better and better. Every. Time. I. Turn. Around.

Normally, Blogger will send me an email when I have a comment awaiting moderation. At some point, something fritzed, and by sheer accident I just found 7 comments, some over 30 days old, awaiting moderation. Merde.

They're all now moderated and posted. On behalf of the Google behemoth, you have a sincere "We don't care, we don't have to; you're the product and we give you this crap for free, so what do you want?" On my part, sorry about that.

As for me, I'm going to see if a setting got untwiddled. If that isn't it, I'll simply have to remember to look every couple of days for comments.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Home invasions

I don't want to belabor this subject too much; I know we've gone over it before. However, this one happened in a nearby small city, so it has perked up my situational awareness antennae just a tad.

High Point man charged with attempted murder in connection with home invasion

The fact that there was a home invasion in that particular small city doesn't surprise me; the place has been know for violence since before World War II. My Dad was stationed for a short time in another nearby city and they weren't allowed to go there as it was "off limits". The common name for the place? "Little Chicago".

Here's the part that I want to draw your attention to, good and hard:

"Witnesses told police that five armed men forced their way into the home and began shooting."

Five dudes came crashing in and started shooting. No warning and no "Give us the money" or "Give us the drugs." Sure, there is obviously more than they decided they wanted to shoot someone, but here's the thing--are you ready for 5 guys, or 5 women, or 5 irate raccoons for that matter, to come busting through your door, shooting or not? What gun do you have handy right now? How many rounds does it have in it? Got a spare mag or three? Better yet, got an AR handy?

How about the doors? Have you hardened them, even a little, so they won't open at the first kick? Do you keep your cell phone handy? Got a plan in place with the wife and any kids for this situation? Or do you plan on winging it? Feel free to groan, but "Failing to plan is planing to fail."

Yeah, so much for not belaboring the subject. Sorry, but it's starting to get weirder by the day out there, and we're going to have to be ready to deal with it.