Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A definition of war
    The classic definition of war is politics by another means.
            Of course there are other ways to define war.
            Usually it involves people from different cultures not really understanding the other cultures, like they will think like them, and react like them. How naive, but that seems to be what usually happens.
            And then there are world wars, usually started by regional powers like Germany and Japan. That has happened, too.
            And of course, most wars involve casualties, sometimes in the millions.
            Now, I don't want to die because of somebody else's naive mistakes/good intentions. There are alternatives for the savvy leaders.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Bad People Factor
      Not too long ago I would have said the "bad guy factor", but now days where I live there are a bunch of female bad people, too, like I have to factor them in, too. Drugs and alcohol are often complicating factors, too.
            And I like movies, also. But it does seem more Hollywood movies in the recent past tend to glorify the bad people, kind of like glorifying the noble savage.
            Yet I live in the real world, and thus have to plan for the bad people that might adversely affect my life and property.
            Now I am pretty sure there have always been bad people around, so that is nothing new, like that is just a fact of life. What gains my attention is that it sure seems like the percentage has increased in the last decade or so. I offer as evidence two things: 1) the yard dog night activity where I live is way up;  2) the amount of condoms and empty beer cans on my property is noticeable (at least the boys and girls are practicing safe sex). Of course, in the case of the yard dogs, it could just be the local wild critters are moving in on the Compound. I don't know for sure.
            Now let me add a perspective, About a year ago I was bragging to my doctor's wife about my efforts to block access to this place. Well, she responded that that might be why couples were now "getting it on" behind "their" medical building like at 1400 local time, and that did upset a lot of the people in the building. All this in Monterey, Tennessee.
            So I do try live like a hermit on this wonderful land in east Tennessee, modern style in my case (I still watch some TV off of DISH satellite); but now fear more for my life and property than even ten years ago.
            So now I feel the need to take extra precautions, to include patrolling. And I sure am glad the USMC has a Basic School and made me attend for six months in my time, because decades later I am using many of the skills I was taught, to include first aid, and basic defense.
            And all this on my own land.
            I'll conclude this post on one more perspective.  Having lived around the world, where I now live in Putnam County, east Tennessee, things seem to be reasonably balanced between budget problems, local priorities, and the application of all this. While times may get even harder, this is probably not a bad place to live. I suspect much the same is happening elsewhere, too. So good on a lot of local leaders who help a person like me dealing with the bad person factor I have to deal with. I appreciate the work, pay taxes for it, and say thank you.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Growing a young person

       Now that is best done by a two parent Family.

            And it is a hard chore as I remember.

            First story:

                        The time would have been around five decades ago (I am age 64) and we boys and our Mom and Dad lived in a hard back tent in the Sierras during the summer time. We were on vacation.

                        Well during that time I learned a lot about trout fishing, and also how to play chess. Being around the 7th grade or so, that was a fun experience to me, like I thrived on it.  By the way, later (like in the 70's) I would play chess with my Afghan friend, and he pretty much kicked my tail.

            Second story:

                        It was the same timeframe, and somehow I got into a fight around the tether ball pole with a friend. Well he got his arm broken in the fight. By the time I got home, his Mom had already called my Mom, who basically chewed me out. Then my Dad came home, and he basically, said OK.  Lesson learned by me...boys and girls are different!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

       It's my country, too, and I don't like to see or believe my American culture is unraveling.  In my mind I have helped defend and build this culture, and am willing to say so.
            Now the title "sacrebleu" can connote many things. To me it connotes something like holy crap, or I don't quite believe it. Now I think the European connotation might be different, and the usual American connotation is also probably different for those that use the term. For many the term sacrebleu is probably archaic to them. Here's a wiki link for more on the term:
            At age 64, like most, I have seen a lifetime worth of experiences and observations. Now that implies change, which is fine with me, but some change may not be for the better, even if well intended at the outset.  So here's my stab at reinforcing the good stuff and changing from the bad stuff.  In military talk, it is often called reinforcing success, not failure.
            Cultural change comes from the people, not the government, though the government can have policies that help the people.  The best example I can think of is the two parent Family. Now governments can have programs that promote that idea, vice the present poverty programs that promote single mother families (with no male around for raising a family), all too often with multiple father's, and all who filch off the programs for the truly poor all too often.  Now the people have to do their part, too. For example the idea of shame must gain ascendency again, as regards out of wedlock births. Even a half century ago boys were often shamed as well as the pregnant unmarried girl.  But if our American culture gets back to two-parent Families raising children as the norm, a lot of things will improve, like education, the reduction of gangs and other destructive diversions for poorly supervised young people, and a respect for hard work, which is all too often kind of boring, but always necessary and also teaches discipline, an idea seemingly poorly practiced in today's American culture.
            Now is a good time to throw a rose at all the very hard working single parents, who do exist in vast numbers these days, but they have a hard row to hoe.  Two parent Families sure do help, like having someone at home when the kids get there, or having one do domestic stuff in the evening while the other checks on homework for the day.
            It bothers me how we treat our present day homeless. All too often they have impairments, be they mental (usually), or addiction type things. Now even in rural east Tennessee where I live we have a colorful homeless guy, who is obviously alcohol addicted. Well here locally, he used to get locked up for the winter to keep him warm and fed, but even that is gone now. Even further back we had asylums for people like this, and even orphanages for kids without parents, but now we have people living worse than dogs in a kennel, and too many kids suffering in foster care. My point is this, there has been change in our American culture, and some of it I don't like, like how we treat our poor and homeless and kids without alive or responsible parents.
            Now the aforementioned story is not a lament, but more a suggestion that we the people can change things if we want. Now hopefully in America it is through the vote, but by whatever means, we can change things, if we want to.  That includes priorities on how to spend our tax money.
            Let me continue. Where ever we live, we can choose how to educate our kids. Now education should focus on skills, vice propaganda, and this is an good idea at all levels, from kindergarten to college.  Locally, it often means electing a school board for public education. To me that is as important a choice as the federal president. As to private education, or even college education, that is often a pocket book issue, where private schools that educate will be rewarded by enhanced attendance, and those that don't will fall along the wayside.  And the result is a better prepared human for the workplace, which will enhance these young people's dignity and self-respect.
            Now along that education theme, is the idea of affirmative action, a popular idea a couple of decades ago, but still around. To me, while the intent is quite good, the practical application side sucks, like invoking a double standard all too often. Now this is not just a "diamond in the rough" idea, but rather a racial quota idea, often ending up with unqualified young people who simply can't compete with their better educated peers, and becoming frustrated and bitter as a result. I should add, I used to teach at Atlanta University, so I am more than familiar with all this. And as a Marine, I experienced it too in my past training, but now I am confident today for all Marines and their parents that all Marine leaders are equally qualified and trained to lead their Marines. Of course, and like always, some are better than others, but that is another story.

            And last, around four decades ago, the USA went to block tax grants from the Federal government to the State governments in a big way.  Well it bothered me then, and it bothers me now, that if we in States want to spend money, let's raise State taxes vice going to the Federal government's obviously excess taxes to even have this money for block grants. While this maneuver avoided raising State taxes, the Federal grants came with catches that, in my mind, reduced State's powers. Now that idea deserves a revisit, and probably the vote of the people to change it, if we want to.
            Well, I could go on, but "sacrebleu", I'll stop.
            The theme is that we can change our American culture for the better, and if we want to. And it truly is a people's decision, not a government's decision as to how to proceed. And if it took us decades to get where we are today, it will probably take us decades to change things for the better; again, like reinforce success. Of course, we are not trying to "go back" to some other form of American culture, but rather improve our future American culture.  So good ya for all those who will do their part! 
            Nothing like keeping an American culture "raveled".  No glory is involved, usually it's just hard work you can confidently sleep on, mostly for your American kids' future.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The unraveling of our American culture

            This total post is in two parts. This is part one.

            It's easy to complain about anything, but to me complaining also obligates me to take corrective action, or these days, just to offer up corrective action ideas. The aforementioned idea is for part two, or another post.

            Now one can argue our American culture has not unraveled.  But one can argue it is unraveling.  All this unraveling is also right in front of our eyes. Just who will say "the king has no clothes". And how many will now have to die early when our culture is unraveled.

            There are many examples of what I mean, like what I fear or worry about. Some examples are foreign policy, most are domestic. And having a problem is less important than what we do about a problem. It's in the "what do we do about a problem" that worries me most, like advances our culture towards unraveled, vice unraveling.

            Now some examples.

                        An elected local politician in Michigan does not know that Texas shares a border with Mexico, yet makes decisions. That suggests a dumbing down of both our leaders, and our voters; and it seems worse now than before.

                        Having children out of wedlock is not as shameful as it used to be as recently as half a century ago. We have had well intentioned government programs to pay for all this single motherhood, and now have the results, like a generation of kids growing up without two parents at home, with all the expected results; like poor education, gangs, and people dependent on free payments for food and shelter, and expecting it. Lord knows it's hard enough for two parents to raise their children. And the tax payer is paying for the free part, too, and so far.

                        Propaganda in the media and increased lying to rule in the various governments, and the populaces acceptance of all this, suggests a culture rot that will end up having a lot of people die early as mother nature kicks in. Now perhaps the lying is just plain ignorance of the rulers? Who knows, but it is happening, right in front of our eyes.  I offer up the Global Warming arguments as an example of propaganda and lying about the human effects being the main cause.

                        Is government there to serve the people, or are the people there to finance the government. Are we citizens, or serfs and vassals? Suppose one day people quit loaning the governments their money to pay for all these wonderful benefits, since our taxes no longer cover all the benefits. Recently I read an article that right now we work over six months a year to just pay the various governments their taxes due. What happens when we can't pay our way, just from our taxes?  What happens when we have to work the entire year just to pay our taxes, and my children then can't afford a house payment? Now that is conjecture, but suggests the fears I have. My example is the increasing bankruptcies of the various governments both in the USA and in Europe. To me, it comes across like band aiding the problems, and trying to muddle through.

                        Now in the old days, governments (really the elected leaders) tried to promote the common good as a priority. Infrastructure, like roads and bridges construction is a classic example. So was a common Postal Service, as was our common defense. Even where I live in rural east Tennessee we have had public electricity for over half a century.  Now there are alarmist TV shows about the crumbling of America. It appears too many of our elected leaders now have other priorities than something simple like maintenance, and the expense thereof.  My example is the collapse of so many bridges that have also killed so many people who counted on these bridges working.

                        Last, in this part one post comes the idea of human health care. Now the present debate about Obamacare seems to top the charts, but how about other things like clean water, waste water treatment to keep disease down, and trash collection and deposits away from where we live. My example is some governments can't even afford garbage collection, and one can expect things like disease to increase as a result. And disease usually brings sickness and death. Imagine Haitian cholera coming to your neighborhood. I can.

            Again, all this does not have to happen, but seems to be happening in our American culture.  How many people have to die early before someone says "the king has no clothes", and it takes hold of the populace.

            Like I suggested, American culture has not unraveled, but seems to be in the unraveling stage.

            Part two follows as another post. That post will be suggested constructive action ideas, since they abound. The intent is just to keep human deaths under like 80% of those of us alive today. Yep I expect to die, like 80% of us, worse case. Being cold and hungry, or having to grow my own food  is not an expectation I seek. So part two is for the 20% or more that survive, I hope. Now I am not very religious, but all this discussion is beginning to sound somewhat Biblical, to me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Nature of change
      Now one thing is in what we humans eat, and feed our Families.  Having lived in Japan, I ate a lot of the local food, which was often imported in styles, often with even displays of the imported food meals in windows outside the restaurant. Now I live in east Tennessee, and the local foods mixed are pretty healthy, too. Now I do use a Nipper Zojirushi rice cooker to brew up whatever local mood I am in. Basically, it is just an MRI on steroids, which bothers me, but the temp maintenance stuff works quite well for me, so I am happy.

            As an obvious example, a Super Bowl party in Okinawa might have local sushi and brew, vice something more like Pizza. Now that probably doesn't sound like something in Nebraska, for example, but that is what we Americans might eat as part of enjoying the game (delivered by satellite, by the way).

            Well, to summarize, all this can be a part of the nature of change, like what we eat and prefer has something to do with it, too.
Try to Remember - the song

Try to remember the kind of September
when life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
when grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
when you were a tender and callow fellow,
Try to remember and if you remember then follow.

Try to remember when life was so tender
that no one wept except the willow.
Try to remember when life was so tender that
dreams were kept beside your pillow.
Try to remember when life was so tender that
love was an ember about to billow.
Try to remember and if you remember then follow.

Deep in December it's nice to remember
altho you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December it's nice to remember
without the hurt the heart is hollow.
Deep in December it's nice to remember
the fire of September that made us mellow.
Deep in December our hearts should remember and follow.

Music: Harvey Schmidt
Lyrics: Tom Jones
Book: Tom Jones

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"Both Sides Now", an old song by Joni Mitchell

Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

Oh but now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From WIN and LOSE and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Paying the piper
    I always thought it would happen after I died, like I wouldn't care if I am dead. Ideas like USA social security and Medicare going bust was always someone else's problem, and in the "future".
            For the record, I was born in 1948, and am age 64, I think. I consider myself a common citizen.
            Now it seems "paying the piper" might now even be my problem these days. Yep, paying the piper may have arrived while I am alive. Bummer.
            Now some of this is human political, some financial, some even cultural, like educating our kids.
            Wonderful ideas that are not well financed seem to be coming home to roost, and now I have to deal with it since I am alive in east Tennessee. Said another way, this "paying the piper" where I live is now at the local level, not just the state and federal level. Partial layoffs are happening.
            Now politically I think of myself as progressive, but fiscally I think of myself as conservative. Said in simpler terms, I don't want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, which seems to be what is going on. So why don't we stretch out the paying the piper over time, like longer than what is happening right now?
            Now I am worried, and am planning that way, mostly because I think I have to, like common sense. Think kind of survivalist stuff, since I doubt  the outcome of what is going on right now, and especially doubt the ability of our present leaders to think about a common citizen like me, who just wants basic police and fire protection, with some pot hole maintenance and basic public school things, too. I can take care of charity on my own, and in my own way. And if we have some kind of common event that is adverse, I fear our present leaders will do a poor job in their response.
            Yep, even in hard times, I still think of myself as a citizen, not a serf or vassal.
            Now in fairness, some leaders are doing a good job, and should be reinforced.  None of this "throw the bums out" mentality from me, an old guy.
            Last, the past half century of our USA government's policies have promoted a lot of things that are now coming home to roost. Again, I was hoping I would be dead before it all hit, but time and circumstances haven't worked out like I hoped for and expected. Bummer, again.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Perfect Utopia
    We all have our vision of what is a "perfect world".  Examples abound, mostly based on sex, location where we live, hobbies, and even rural and urban. There are many more. Our present USA President is fond to say "that's just the right thing to do"...of course in his mind.
            This post is to say we do have alternatives to trying for "our" utopia.  And in the new world USA, we have a lot of alternatives, thank goodness.
            One obvious alternative is perpetuating the status quo, whatever that means.
            One can define that as the last century of progressive ideas, including the inability to pay for itself. Now practical results come to mind, like the homeless living worse than dogs in too many places, over 70% out of wedlock births in the Negro community in the USA, the slow unilateral reduction of the USA military to less than what it was at one time not too many decades ago, the demonization of all the hard workers who exist and pay the bills, the breakup of the two parent Family promoted by government programs for decades, and in too many places the dumbing down of our children.
            One can also define another alternative as simple leadership by smart and experienced people who promote the public good.  This has its own consequences, including recognizing we are not all created equal, though in the new world USA we all have equal opportunity in all facets of life. Yep, God, mother nature, or whatever, made us all differently, and some are better than others, like it or not.
            One other obvious alternative is some kind of new world USA dictatorship or royalty.  This alternative is usually something like one idea or personality imposing itself on all other ideas. Often it includes seizing assets of one group or more to help finance itself.  In this idea many people's savings like in 401K investments would be seized.  That's a big chunk of change in 2012, like 4.3 trillion USD's (USA dollars). Anyway, I think of Louis the 16th and Marie Antonette in France.
            So like the well of water going dry, we new world USA citizens do have choices has to alternatives, to include maintaining, or even enhancing our well of water...success if you will, for both ourselves and our children.
            Pursuit of a perfect utopia is universal, in my opinion.
            Just how we try get there has alternatives, and is a voter decision in the new world USA.
            Lord hopes, I hope it doesn't come down to fighting for our beliefs, like a revolution, or a civil war, and chopping off peoples heads. Now one can do it if need be (even as an old Marine I undersand my side will take casaulties), but hopefully better heads prevail in the new world USA. After all, I suspect all want just want to make things better for our children.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Just a local story
    The old time expression about old age and cunning overcomes youth and inexperience came to mind yesterday. In this story I am the old guy, and the subject was solar power. I picked up this expression from an Oklahoma guy while I was in Okinawa, by the way.
            What prompts this story is a visit by a 20 something year old friend who promoted solar power. In my version of his words, he told me about this because he believed in it because he had been taught that, or at least believed that.
            So good on him for saying that, and we do have an affable relationship. And he works for the local County government.
            When I asked him a couple of technical questions, he could not answer, so he  lost credibility with me, and right then.  There's no free lunch with any kind of energy production. All have pros and cons, and where one lives has a lot to do with their final decision, or even their bet these days.
             And right now I already do make my own electricity with water power, and we have a lot of that where I live. So I am OK, I think. I have even designed in adverse things like the Carrington Event from 1859, or more modern EMP and CME type possible events.
            Well, in this story, he then suggested I always need a fall back, since I do like my electricity, even with my low requirements, and his solution was solar. Well, it hurt my feelings because  I agree with that idea of a backup. Well, to continue the story, I told him I also do have backup, but it is low solar output.
            So do I need a better backup?
            Right now the story answer is "no".  Now if I lived in a better solar energy  area, the answer would be yes. Yep, some places are better than others, and I may have to go without electricity where I live, worse case.
And that is how this story goes.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Individual rights vice group rights

      It's coming to a boil, thank goodness. And after many decades of experience and observed good intentions, all in the new world USA.

            It's like we have changed from the idea of one can't cry fire in crowded theater, to criminals have individual rights as pirates off the east coast of Africa.  Said another way, I personally disagree with criminals that might harm me having individual rights that trump my group rights to be safe. This also applies to where I live in east Tennessee. I have a criminal problem here, too.

            This is also  a classical politician and legal decision, not a religious decision, in my opinion. And if I can't vote (or have it stolen), then I'll go with something like a Plan B, like revolt.  There are some things worth fighting for, mostly my Family's future in the new world USA.

            So why don't our cultures lock up these people who will harm me?

            And are the minority of our each and own cultures, like the anarchists and criminals,  going to rule our own future cultures?  Obviously, they should be suppressed or otherwise controlled (like locked up to protect me from them, like right now), but only time will tell how it all sorts out, including what our elected leaders do with the tax money we pay, like what are their priorities.  Their priorities are supposed to be ours (the citizens), at least not too long ago.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hemlocks Humor
     Yesterday was “interesting”.
     My 17 year old daughter and two friends discovered a trespasser camp site on the place (just under a square mile), and I verified it later.
     It was vicinity of the gate the McClure men put in 10 or so years ago near Hwy 70 and the TVA line. Said another way, it was around 80 yards from my water storage tank, and around 700 yards from the nearest outhouse. It was around 400 yards from where I live. Last, it was in the woods, but visible from the TVA power line, and Hwy 70 if one knew where to look.
     Well I even took a local County cop out there, and he agreed with it all. He said he would set up an ambush site to try catch the bad guy, or person. He also agreed with the idea of screwing with the trespasser.
     Yet I did have to clean up the campsite, in his opinion.
     So I “consulted” with the local Camp Monterey female Junior Counselor’s staying here during a short break, and their idea was to drop the tent, and even take off the roof to let it rain on the trespasser, which even the local County cop agreed with, and my USMC training agrees with, like mess with the mind of whoever the trespasser is. I even cut the bug netting to make it difficult to sleep in a wet sleeping bag with mosquitoes and nats biting you or buzzing around your ears.
     In the meantime, I brought back the tent top to wash, as I will now use it more to my benefit. That was not a popular decision, but so what?
     Anyway, just a report of life up in the Hemlocks yesterday.
     It’s all kind of humorous, to me.
     Last, the government forecast up here is for 60% percent chance of showers all week, which I hope works in my case.

     The tent was a commercial 4 man tent, but I suspect only one person was using it.  And the camp site was messy by my standards.
     The girls were on an ATV on the way to go swimming in a pond. To find this camp they had diverted off the regular path to the pond. Instead of swimming, they came back to the Compound. Bummer on my own land.
     There was no obvious bathroom area in the vicinity.
     I don't know if the trespasser was one or more, nor male or female, nor where they were from. Nobody was there around 1200 local time.
     The Hemlocks is on the Cumberland Plateau in east Tennessee.
     Camp Monterey is around 15 miles from here.
     My yard dogs were extra active last week during the dark, which probably means local critters were around the Compound, but I don't really know.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Random thinking

    Periodically, I choose to think about things, like make myself think and be honest to myself. This post is just such an effort, that I also choose to share with others. My main logic for sharing this post is that more people think this way, too, as I am coming to learn.

            The main water source here in east Tennessee where I live is four sandstone springs, which means they are mineral free. Water springs come from the land, filtered by the earth above them, so there is always a delay factor between the rain and snow, and the water coming out of the springs. The delay is usually seasonal.  Now there are more springs, but I choose to use these four because of convenience. I had the water checked about ten years ago, and it was better than city water. Now I have a GIS (Geographical Information System) here, and I think all the water originates on this forested land I own and control, but can't prove it. And while these springs have always put out between 3,000 and 7,500 gallons per hour for over a hundred years or more, there is no guarantee they will do the same for the next 100 years for a myriad of worse case reasons.

                        I assume many things. But in the old Marine talk, assume makes an "ass" out of "you" and "me". So I take heed of that idea.

                        I assume my present clean water system, and my present septic tank system, all gravity powered, will keep working for the next 50 years.

                        So I assume the weather will remain pretty much like the last 100 years, which means some wet times and some dry times, and I can plan around that. I also assume any ice age will certainly make things chilly here, but during the last ice age the ice line was north of here, so I don't expect any permanent ice down here, though it will affect my ability to grow food, to include there will be a lot of unhappy relatives resulting.

                        I assume the recent last 100 years which brought back forest land from previously cleared land will continue for the next 100 years. I also worry about wildfires effect on me and my relatives. In other words, I count on getting wood for heat and cooking. Generally speaking there are two ecosystems, one on top of the Plateau, and one below, and we should be able to get wood from below if the situation dictates.

                        I think the area I live in is as good as many other preferred lands (western redoubts) for "the prepper movement". Either way, it will be hard times, in all likelihood.

                        I think I have a security problem because I live within a mile or so of the local small town. So I am planning around that, to include security patrols, and even more "mental" things. Now security means, to me, protecting me and my Family, and our food.  Training is key, and I plan on doing that, to include safety.

                        I already make my own electricity  (using hydro power) with low objectives, to include not having to live like Abraham Lincoln, like I want some interior LED lights during the dark, or even being able to recharge eneloop batteries I like having. But I can go without it if I have to, like the weather or local riff raff or beavers shut me down in making electricity. This whole effort is still evolving, by the way.

                        Now I count on my local hired and otherwise friends to help me survive what I perceive as a coming hard time. At age 64, my objective is more helping my relatives than myself.  Yep, I've actually thought about this.

                        This includes the idea of "catharsis", like discovering what is "on the other side" by going through a hard time in the next decade or more.  I myself would rather avoid that, like influence things as best I can right now. Yep, change can be hard, but why do that with people suffering when there are clear alternatives that don't require suffering, and will probably have better results.
                        So, in my random thoughts, I still think we humans have choices to vote on, and, in the end, it is up to us.

                        Last, in the random thoughts idea, as the President of a small Company, I had a lot of PhD advice, which I did listen to.  But also, I chose to go to the old timers, to get their advice, too. Usually, it was the best advice.  And also, even if the PhD fellows had good advice, it was all too often the old timer on the tractor who really "made it happen in his way".

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Is derecho a new term to you?

      It is to me. It is also an example of the power of words, and the genius of somebody in the media to promote a word that takes off in use. It is also an example of the power of marketing and propaganda. That includes selling news for profit.

            And I have a better than average weather background and training.

            By the way, to me a derecho is a windstorm generated by a local line of thunderstorms, an event most everyone has gone through, though the term is new to me, and most I suspect. I had to "research" it.

            Maybe the Spanish origins of the word had something to do with the word's quick adoption by the general public?

            Here locally it was what I used to call a thunderstorm. There were many falling tree branches that even killed two people about 150 miles from here. To hear tree branches breaking and trees breaking is an attention gainer, and scary to boot.

            So whatever term you want to use, be careful when the branches are coming down around your head.

            In the meantime, I don't think I was being "superseded". Rather someone else was trying to exploit a lot of us, including me, by using a new word about a typical scary weather event.

            Even "experts" at global warming trying to exploit this latest weather event (again two people died that I know of), like politicians and bureaucrats, usually can't distinguish between the sources, like the sun, or humans.  Anybody heard of the Little Ice Age, for example.

            Meanwhile, I'll just cut up with a chain saw, and pick up, all the fallen debris. I figure I have about a two hour job where I live in east Tennessee.

Friday, July 06, 2012

A dilemma of humanity

    Boys and girls are different, thank goodness.

            Even I would rather, as a male, have an air rifle than a ring. Yet I have a 17 year old daughter at a summer rural camp (in east Tennessee) with her friends that have selected  a common ring style for them all to wear.

            I guess I am out of touch, and also learning, again, I imagine.

Monday, July 02, 2012

An interesting book series review

S.A.'s Book Review: Laura Ingalls, Revisited
Have you ever wondered how you will react if your children are starving and light-headed from malnutrition and you have no food left?
Have you questioned your resilience to life’s opportunities if you are continually beat down by nature and circumstances?
Want to know how to make a smokehouse out of a hollow tree? How to provide heat when there is no wood left to burn? Crop failure? Wild bees?
When I was a child, Laura Ingalls Wilder had already published her saga which included practical homesteading information wrapped inside a series of books. Her books for children were the story of her growing-up years in America 145 years ago. She began this autobiography when she was over 60 years old. She realized a pioneer and frontier way of life had ended, and she could tell the story. Laura’s life spanned the era from post-Civil War to the modern age. She serialized her story in the third person, told through the eyes of a little girl named Laura. As a child, it took me several books before I understood that the author was the Laura of the books. (My parents also had to tell me that Alice fell asleep and was only dreaming when she saw a rabbit run past her tree proclaiming that he was late, late for a very important date and then pop into the rabbit hole. I got smarter and more practical as the years passed.) Laura was a tiny bit naughty -- occasionally slapping mean children on the face -- and had, in her own mind, ugly brown hair instead of her sister’s lovely blond curls. My father would go to out-of-town conventions from time to time and my present, upon his return, was a new “Laura” book.
If you only know Laura through the television series, “Little House on the Prairie,” then you don’t know Laura. That family program only faintly resembles the Laura books by the use of the title of her second book, Little House on the Prairie . Eventually, people called the book series the “Little House on the Prairie” books. Characters were even invented for the television series. While television is entertaining, the book series and the television series are two different creatures.
Ma and Pa Ingalls had four daughters, and these girls worked! They were not entertained to keep out of mischief. A leaf, a stick, a hanky, a corncob, and plenty of imagination could provide hours of enjoyment on a tree stump. And they obeyed when given orders, which could make the difference between life and death (encounter with a bear, fording a flooding river, fighting a chimney fire or wildfire). The girls watched over each younger child everyday while the parents did farm work. Each daughter had daily jobs called chores and they were expected to be a part of the family and do her part to help the family survive during treacherous times. For us, "treacherous times" translate as their "daily life."
The family was responsible for their own food, and they had to work for almost every bite. Their diet included a lot of corn, using sacks of cornmeal traded for furs that Pa had trapped, but occasionally fresh ears and hulled corn. During The Long Winter, my favorite book, the family and the whole town is malnourished, out of food, and starving to death. No trains can get through in order to deliver needed food supplies to the prairie town due to an extremely harsh winter and snow that blocks the tracks. Particularly read this book if you are considering moving to the American Redoubt and have never lived in the northern tier, i.e. snow country.
Laura and her family worked hard and they were not afraid of work. Laura lived from 1867-1957, ninety years. The childhood privations made her into the survivor she became and did not destroy her spirit or health.
These books were written for children. I read them as a child, I read them to my children, my grandchildren have begun the series, and now I reread them often. I teach in an urban elementary public school and introduce my class to Laura by reading one of her books aloud each year. Laura’s lifestyle is completely foreign to my students. However, in light of the world situation now in 2012, the books are more relevant than ever. I encourage you to acquire the set of books and cherish it. The Laura books are written in the style of our mentor, Jim Rawles. His book Patriots has been described as a handbook encased in a novel. The Laura books are how-to books for living in a primitive world without our ready access to modern conveniences and Wal-Mart.
Laura’s life spanned the period from right after the Civil War when panthers roamed the northern Big Woods and her mother cooked over a campfire on the open prairie, through the Great Depression, both World Wars, construction of the Interstate Highway system, invention of the automobile, and atomic bombs. She lived long enough to experience modern life such as running water, indoor plumbing, rapid transportation, antibiotics, washing machines, clothes dryers, and air conditioning. Her life was the essence of adaptability.
How did the Ingalls family spend their days? They were almost completely independent of a monetary system; they bartered and traded their way along life. A single penny was almost a fortune. They simply lived and lived simply, existed, and thrived, finding happiness and contentment on the life road they chose with faith, among family and a few friends in virgin land. These true pioneers had itchy feet, yearning for new, less crowded horizons with neighbors miles apart and sufficient wild game to hunt. They stopped moving west when Ma finally put her foot down and said, “No more.”
Laura proved to be made with great resilience and the ability to adapt to a changing world. These books are an incredible resource for individuals with interest in prepping for a changing future. Laura survived malaria, scarlet fever, and starvation.
I’ve listed her books with some of the crucial information bulleted that can be found embedded in each book. When you read the series, your outlook will be changed. These books should be cherished and passed down. You will find the same themes running through each book: family as the basis for existence, importance of community and faith, simple recipes for simple foods, the joy that music brings to life, and an appreciation for the natural world.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to purchase the Laura series, read them to yourself, your family, and learn from the practical lessons. The descriptions of flora and fauna in the untamed Midwest take your breath away. Many, many people, both children and adults, have grown to love Laura and her writings. Vacationing families still visit her homesteads and home sites throughout the Midwest in Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri. She has had fan clubs since she began writing. Her inspiring story is classic and enduring.
There are dozens of other books written about Laura’s life and family by various authors, but they were not written by her, simply about her. The “Little House” books number only nine. Some other books about Laura and her growing up that round out her story that I have read and can recommend are: The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker; Young Pioneers by Rose Wilder Lane, Laura’s daughter; A Little House Sampler by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane; Laura’s Album compiled by William Anderson; and On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Enjoy!
Little House in the Big Woods
• · How to keep needles from rusting
• · Collecting maple sap
• · Making maple sugar
• · Gathering honey from wild bees
• · Making butter
• · Cheese-making with a calf’s stomach lining (rennet)
• · Pouring and molding lead bullets
• · Gun cleaning
• · Building a smokehouse from a hollow tree trunk
• · Harvesting and stacking oat sheaves
• · Making straw hats
• · Treating massive numbers of wasp stings
• · Gathering wild nuts
• · Nixtamalization of corn (preparing hulled corn)
• · Making a salt lick
• · Cooking varieties of squash and vegetables
• · Preserving various foods for cellar and attic
• · Insulating a house and barn with stones, dead leaves, and straw
• · Family and community entertainment and recreation
• · Personal hygiene and grooming
• · Housekeeping practices
• · Salting fish in barrels
• · Root cellaring
• · Braiding onions
• · Pig butchering
• · Making sausage and head cheese
• · Using a kerosene lamp

Little House on the Prairie
• · Fording a rising river with a team of horses
• · Outdoor cooking with cast iron cookware
• · Traveling cross-country in a covered wagon
• · Where to position a homestead in relation to a creek
• · Hand tools essential to homesteading
• · Building a notched-log cabin
• · Picket lines for horses
• · Importance of music for happiness and contentment
• · Importance of a good, faithful dog (watchdog/guard dog)
• · Why not to camp in creek bottoms (malaria)
• · Latch string to open/close a door
• · Importance of neighbors
• · Reusing bent nails
• · Chinking cracks in a log cabin wall
• · Building a stone fireplace with river rock
• · Constructing a stick and daub chimney
• · Log splitting for floors, roof, furniture
• · Preparing rabbit fur for clothing
• · Digging a well, testing for natural gas in the ground
• · Milking a wild cow
• · Drying wild blackberries
• · Recipes for various cornmeal dishes
• · Treating malaria
• · Chimney fire
• · Making a willow rocking chair
• · Fighting a prairie fire
• · When government makes rules

Farmer Boy
• · Abundance of food and simple recipes

On the Banks of Plum Creek
• · Grasshopper plague
• · When crops fail
• · Life cycle of a grasshopper
• · Minnesota blizzard
• · Getting caught out in a blizzard and surviving
• · Haying

By the Shores of Silver Lake
• · Effects of Scarlet Fever
• · Feeding livestock during a blizzard
• · Grading and scraping plowed land
• · Making a road cut
• · Mob psychology
• · Which water birds are fit to eat
• · Lyrics to many old-timey, long-lost songs
• · Making a homemade checkers game
• · Living on salt pork and wild game
• · Family working together to succeed at life
• · Taking in boarders to earn money
• · Fighting mosquitoes with smoking fires

The Long Winter
• · Saving seed for spring planting vs. eating the seed to survive
• · Braiding hay to burn for heat
• · Grinding wheat in a coffee mill daily to make bread
• · Surviving starvation
• · Isolation in winter
• · How starvation and malnutrition affects the body
• · Taking extreme life-threatening steps to survive

Little Town on the Prairie
• · Skimming cream
• · Teaching a calf to drink from a pail
• · Plowing prairie sod
• · Hand-feeding a tiny kitten
• · Sewing on a treadle machine
• · Hand-basting seams, buttonholes
• · Using a chicken tractor
• · Saving a corn crop from blackbirds
• · Entertainment in a small community
• · Public schools/education in the 1880’s
These Happy Golden Years
• · Severe winter in South Dakota
• · Breaking horses to buggy and wagon
• · Tornado season on the Great Plains
• · How to dress in bitter winter weather

The First Four Years
• · Pros and cons of farming as a career choice
• · When a homestead is invaded by thieves
• · Folksy sayings about the weather
• · Getting from house to barn in a blizzard to feed livestock
• · Stacking hay
• · Home birth
• · Diphtheria with complications
• · Prairie blizzard
• · Prairie fire
• · Prairie tornado
• · Youthful optimism

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Imagining a future
       The period is right now, like mid-2012.

            Like many human families, I am trying to anticipate, maybe even prepare where I live. After all even our ancestors prepared, like having a Naval Academy class of 1941 graduate early in February, since most anticipated a war was coming.

            And where I live, I would rather die of old age, rather than die from cold and hunger, or even being murdered by ravaging mobs.

            And then there is the stampede effect, like some precipitating event will set off many things that will probably adversely affect me where I live. Maybe it will be the recent storms in the new world USA, maybe it will be some event in Europe or China, maybe it will be some wild card mother nature event to include some kind of human plague.  Who knows?

            I guess I have lost trust, faith, and confidence in our various governments to help. Now we may be on our own much more than before.

            But for sure, we humans will have survivors.  Good on us. Whether the percentage is high or low, I choose not to predict, but I also still have to plan ahead from where I live.

            And what I hope for, and really expect will happen, is that the survivors will help establish a new world USA throughout the World. In this idea is also time, like all this will take about a century or more, but that is what I think.

            So many present forms of governments, like dictatorial, tribal, royal, and many other such governments, will fade as "we the people" assert ourselves.

            What a shame, since this was happening anyway, now much pain to humans will accelerate the process.

            So that is the hopeful future, in my imagination, for our human future.

By the way, wealth doesn't disappear, maybe be reduced, but it is still around. So keep working, and influence things from your end, as best you can.