Entries for September, 2010

Censorship on a grand scale

I’am willing to bet that King George, Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and Hu Jintao are proud of President Obama and his current band of Stormtroopers.

In case you have not heard, certain people at the White House (lets call it the Red House, Red for shame and communism) wants to block access to certain internet sites – White House Asking Registrars To Voluntarily Censor ‘Infringing’ Sites.

Under the disguise of protecting people, the government wants to gain more power.  Didn’t we hear this once before, like when the government asked people to approve the income tax.

Lets say that internet service providers start blocking sites, whats next?  If the owner of the ISP votes democrat, will he/she be block access to pro-Libertarian sites?  If the owner of the ISP is Catholic, will he/she block religious sites that are not Catholic?  What about Muslim sites, Jewish sites, Baptist sites,,,,,.  Once the ball starts rolling, where does it stop?

Just say no to censorship, its just a bad deal all the way around.

The best survival crop

radish survival gardenThere is a discussion on the forum about the best survival crop.  In other words, if you were going to stockpile seeds, what type of seed would you focus on. Or if you were going to grow 1 crop, what would it be?  Some of the suggestions in the thread were – corn, beans, peas, greens, peppers, bell peppers, potatoes,,,,,,.

In my opinion, one of the best seeds to stock up on are greens:

Turnip greens
Rutabaga
Mustard Greens
Radishes
Onions
Spinach

Reasons:
The whole plant is edible – roots and tops, so nothing goes to waste, except for spinach.
The plant does not need to be cooked – but it helps.
The leafy green top and the root provides different nutrients.

The problem is, people with heart conditions should not eat a lot of greens. The plants contain a lot of Vitamin K, which thickens blood. For people on blood thinners, this could pose a problem.

Greens can grow in just about any climate – but they prefer cool weather. In warm weather, bugs might eat the greens up before you get a chance to.

Greens are also good to feed to livestock. One Roman historian noted that greens prevent famine in both man and livestock.  On a county road just south of Jasper, Texas, there is a certain person that raises greens and sells them out of his field.  Towards the end of the growing season, he will turn his cows loose in the fields, so they can feast on any unsold greens.  There is an added benefit, as the cows refine the greens and drop fertilizer back on the soil in the shape of manure.  The manure is then tilled into the soil for next seasons crop of whatever he grows.

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Rabies post shtf

bug out wildernessThe other day I saw one of those “life after mankind” shows, in which they were talking about dogs, and the role that rabies will play. The show said that rabies was going to run rampant if some kind of SHTF situation happened.  There was talk that rabies was going to take its toll on domesticated dogs shortly after the event.  I think its going to take a few years for rabies to make a rebound.  The reason being, rabies is not near as widespread as it used to be.  That does not mean it can not make a comeback.  Rabies is still out there, there is no doubt about that.  But its like anything else, the infection is going to have to slowly spread back into the community.

Lets take Texas as an example:

DSHS does rabies vaccine air drops in parts of Texas where rabies has been reported. A rabies vaccine pill is wrapped in meat, and then dropped across a given area. Source – Texas DSHS rabies air drop

Most responsible pet owners have their dogs vaccinated against rabies.

The Texas DSHS recommends:

Quote:

Impoundment and elimination of all stray dogs: This program requires suitable impoundment quarters, and facilities for the humane destruction of unwanted animals. Trained animal control personnel are also necessary.

Source – Texas DSHS Rabies Facts

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Cyberwarfare has stepped up a notch

Usually wars are fought man-to-man, with some kind of weapon like a rifle, knife, plane, ship, club,,,,,.  But now, it seems that warfare has stepped up a notch.  What would happen if a foreign country could take control of a computer system, and then use that computer system to launch attacks?  It seems that we are just a couple of steps from that very situation.

Its been announced that computer systems in Iran have been infected with the Stuxnet malworm.

Instead of terrorist having to plant bombs, or highjack planes, why can’t they just infect some computer systems – like the systems that monitor nuclear reactors – and cause some real world damage.  Could we just imagine 2 or 3 nuclear reactors going down across the USA at the same time?  Or how about a US warship launching its missiles against Washington DC?

At the very least, its something to consider.

Our throw away society

It was about 2 and a half weeks ago that I was cleaning out my truck – it needed to be washed, the inside vacuumed, and the storage compartments of the doors cleaned out. While I was cleaning out the compartments in my trucks doors, I noticed I had collected several throw away items:

Some stickers – when I see the local volunteer fire departments collecting money I will stop and throw some money in the boot. The amount of money is usually just the change out of the door, but its better then nothing. In return for the donation, the fire fighters will usually give you a little sticker of some kind. Why do I need a sticker at all, its just going to be thrown away. The fire departments could have saved a lot of money be not handing out stickers – that were just going to be thrown away.

A calculator – it seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turned out to be a waste of money. One of those door-to-door sales guys came to my job a few years ago. He had this really neat looking calculator, and it was only like $3 or $5. So I said “sure, why not.” The calculator was bought, put in my truck, and might have been used 2 or 3 times.

Receipts – it was like the compartment in the door of my truck was  receipt magnet.  I had more receipts then you could shake a stick at.

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Asian Stink bug invades North America

stink bug on tomatoNot only do we have to worry about drought, the lack of honey bees, global warming, global cooling, hurricanes, earthquakes,,,,, but now the asian stink bug has invaded the northern states.  The Baltimore Sun posted an article about the Asian stink bug invading the northern states.  Here in Texas we have the native stink bugs.  If you have a home garden and try to grown tomatoes, expect the stinkbugs to flock to your backyard by the truckload.  They use a tube to suck the juices out of the tomatoes.  As a result, the tomatoes will have a bruise on them.  Maybe there is a difference between the Asian Stinkbug and the Texas stinkbug, but I bet they do the same thing – they destroy crops.

There have been times when I went outside to water my tomatoes, sprayed the plants down with a water hose, and stinks bugs went flying everywhere.

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Our nations schools

With the release of “Waiting for ‘Superman’ “, attention has once again turned to our failing education system. In case people did not know, our education system has been in trouble for a long, long, long time.

I finished high school in 1986 – There were some good teachers, mostly the older ones that taught because they wanted to, and not because they had to. I had a good 8th grade science teacher, and a good 12th grade english teacher, my drafting teacher was very cool, so was the woodshop teacher.

On the other hand, there were the teachers that either pushed some kind of social agenda (like my biology teacher showing anti-abortion films), and the ones that had some kind of chip on their shoulder – like the gym coach that threw a basketball at my face because I did not understand what he was saying. Or the teachers that took their frustrations out on the kids with a paddle.

I think it was my 4th grade teacher that handed out a couple of assignments, I did the wrong one first, so she took me to the office and paddled me. That was sometime around 1979, and to this day (September 28, 2010) I still do not understand “why” I received that paddling. If anything, I think the teacher was having a bad day, I made a mistake and did the wrong assignment, and she took her anger out on me – that was not fair. Sometimes I wish I remembered her name, so if I ever ran into her in around town I could tell her how much of a witch she is. But she would probably take it as a compliment. But on the other hand, I’am kinda glad I do not remember her name.

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Motorcyclist wins wire taping case

Strike one up for the people of the Republic.  Awhile back a motorcycle driver was pulled over and the police officer was recorded on a video camera.  Well, the police officer decided to arrest the motorcyclist on wire tapping charges.

On September 27, 2010 the charges against the motorcyclist were thrown out of court – motorcyclist wins taping case against state police.

I dont know if statements by public officals are copyright protected, but I’am going to quote the judges statement:

The judge wrote:  “Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public. When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation.”

America is truly a great nation, where the rights of the people are greater then the rights of the government.  Remember that the next time you vote.

Sedentary lifestyle in the southern states

One of the keys to weight lose – or at the very least, weight management – is not living a sedentary lifestyle. This means you do not sit around all day. Most health experts tell us to keep moving, do not spend too much time sitting in front of the TV or playing video games. This seems like pretty good logic, until the summer months arrive and its 100 degrees outside for most of the day. Any kind of outdoor physical activity could mean heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

So “where” do you draw the line between being active and not dieing of heat stroke on a 5 mile run in the middle of July.

As far back as I can remember (back in the mid 1990s), my workouts would begin in the early spring,,,, say around March. Due to the extreme heat and humidity in east Texas, my outdoors workouts would have to stop by the end of June. Between March and June I was averaging about 6 – 9 miles on the bike, 3 – 4 miles running, and 20 – 30 minutes of weights. This equaled out to workouts that lasted about 1 hour and 30 minutes. But during July, August, and maybe part of September all of that had to stop. When riding the bike in July, it felt like I was riding in an oven. The hot air off the the road felt like it was heating my body up, instead of the breeze helping to keep me cool. Due to having to stop my workouts, I felt that I was never able to reach a good level of physical fitness. I could have joined a gym, but I don’t like being around other people in that setting. One thing about a good workout is the peace and quit – its “my” time.

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The drop in HIV awareness

deer standOver the past weekend my wife and I were talking about how times have changed since the 1980s. In the late 1980s and into the 1990s, news on HIV/AIDS was everywhere you turned. The news was talking about the latest stars that died from the disease (like Freddy Mercury), scientist were still trying to figure out how the disease was spread and how easily it was spread,,,,,. Fast forward 20 years, and almost nobody is talking about HIV/AIDS – unless your in a high risk group, know someone with HIV, or you grew up in the 1980s.

Add to that Foxnews posted an article about 1 in 5 urban gay and bisexual men have HIV.

Neither my wife or I are bisexual or gay, but the changing of the times does make for an interesting conversation. I guess the public interest in HIV/AIDS is a good example.

My opinion on the HIV/AIDS topic, the people are tired of talking about it, and have just accepted the fact that HIV is here to stay. You can only talk about a subject so much before people start to get bored, and I think that is what has happened with the HIV topic – 25 years of talking is more then enough.

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Are you saving enough of your money

One of the keys to marketing, is to convince people that they “have” to buy your product. That somehow, the life of the consumer will improve if they buy a certain product. Then there is the mindset that we “have” to have the latest and greatest products on the market.

I know this certain guy who is big into computer games. When a new processor or video card is released, he has to buy it just to have the best. I’am sorry, but I can not afford to buy the newest video card, memory, processor or even the newest games. My last computer was a single core AMD3200 with 1.5 gigs of memory – and it lasted about 3 years. While stores like Best Buy were selling dual and quad core computers, I was still using a single core system.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I went to Frys in North Houston. While we were there I picked up a 1 gig chip of 800mhz memory. The guy helping me asked how old the system was “is this a 3 or 4 year old system?” I was kinda set back by his question,,, I do not have the money to spend on the latest and greatest computer parts. I simply replied, “I built this system in December 2009, I buy what I can afford.” The guy that was printing out the slip to get the memory just rolled his eyes a little bit. Lets see, I have a house note, house insurance, auto insurance, electric bill, children, child support, gas bill for my SUV and truck, cable tv bill, internet bill, cell phone bill, vonage,,,,,,,, and somewhere in there I’am “supposed” to fork out hundreds of dollars on just memory for my computer? Maybe when the guy stops living at mommy and daddies house, and has to pay his own bills, he might be a little more conservative with his money.

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Recommended survival manuals

If you were going to buy 5 books to prepare for a disaster – any disaster – which books would you buy? These books should be considered resource material, so that excludes works of fiction.

Here are some of the books I would consider:

1. The Bible – during times of stress, people often turn to their faith. Having a holy book around, can provide people with guidance and wisdom needed in stressful times. When an important decision comes up, just ask yourself, what would Jesus do? I feel that the teaching of Jesus and to love your neighbor is a reflection of mankind. Regardless of how some of us act, the majority of us feel love and compassion for our fellow man.

2. Squarefoot Gardening – few things makes us as independent as growing our own food. I’am willing to bet that most people are totally dependent on the grocery stores and fast food places for their meals. Take away those places, and most people would be like a dog at an empty food bowl – standing there whining that they do not have any food. Learning how to grow your own food breaks those bonds and sets you free.

3.  The Black Death: A Chronicle of the Plague – a powerful and riveting book that chronicles mankind during some of our darkest times. In all of recorded history, few disasters killed as many people as the Black Death, and few disasters made mankind stoop so low to survive. Stop and think for a minute, what would it be like to drive to the next town, and one a handful of people still be alive? However many people are in the town next to you, just think about all of them being dead – except for a few children that were next to the dead bodies of their parents. Well, stuff like that is what happened during the Black Death. Entire towns and families died off. Through their example, we can learn what to expect if another plague happens.

4. Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose – is the story of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and the journey through the American west. There are some interesting points in this book, like the party coming across Indian villages where everyone was dead – assumed killed by small pox,,,, or some other disease. Its the story of how a few men mad their way through frontier white men had never seen before.

5. Some kind of medical and first aid book – there are a lot of medical and first aid books out there, so I can not recommend and exact book. But when it comes time to treat a wound or illness, having some kind of resource material is a good asset.

Post your comments in this forum thread about good survival manuals.

The examples set by others

Have you ever wondered how the examples set by others play a role in our lives?  In other words, what kind of role models did you have in your life?

After my wife and I divorced, I married a woman that had 4 kids – and already had a couple of grandkids.  As these step-grandkids get older, I have to think about 2 role models – my step-grandmother and my step-great grandfather.

After my grandmother died (sometime around 1969 or 1970 I dont remember the exact date), my grandfather met a wonderful lady that took my mom and my uncles as her own.  I was only about 3 years old when my grandfather met my new grandmother.   But I have memories my picking strawberries with my grandparents when I was only about 5 years old.  They had about 9 acres of land where they had small gardens, and plenty of room to run and play.

My grandmother never forgot my birthday, she would always send a card and $10.  But for the life of me, I can not remember her birthday, and that makes me sad.  She did so much for me, and I never re-paid her for that kindness.

If there was one example my grandmother set for me, it was how you treat your step kids and your step-grandchildren.  There is something she told me years ago that rings in my ears – “There is no such thing as step”.  When you enter into a relationship, you have to accept the other family as your own.

My great-grandfather (really my step-great grandfather) taught me how to build a fire and cook bacon, and he took me out checking his trot lines on the Neches river.

My great-grandfather and my great-grandmother lived a very simple life.  When the retired, they bought a bought a small camp house on the Neches river between Kirbyville and Jasper, Texas.  Their house might have been closer to Spurger then Kirbyville.  My great-grandfather had a small aluminum boat he would use to get up and down the river.  The trot lines he set kept my great-grandparents with a steady supply of catfish.  I remember riding in the little aluminum boat to go check the trot lines – he made me wear a life jacket of course.

So when my little grand kids are making a mess and really getting on my nerves, I remind myself of the kindness that my step-grandmother and my step-great grandfather showed me.  I’am pretty sure I was not the best kid in the world.  In fact, I was probably just as bad as the rest of them.

This is not just about how we treat we treat our kids and our step-kids, this is also about how we treat people in our everyday lives.  Treat the people in your everyday life with kindness and love.  If you are going to sew something for people to remember years later, do you want them to remember the good, or the bad?  When you die, do you want people to miss you, or be glad that your gone?  I can think of examples of both.

Wasting food

There are few things that chap me worse then wasting food. Food is life – we have to have food to live. To waste food is to waste life.

September 19, 2010 my wife and I get up early that Sunday morning and go to wal-mart. As we are walking around the store, we turn down an isle that is mostly canned foods. Sitting on top of a stack of cans is a pizza. What is a pizza doing in a canned good isle? Its supposed to be in the frozen section. Anyway, I pick up the pizza, bring it to one of the meat displays at the end of the isle and set it on a stack of cold lunch meat. The pizza was still cold, so it should not have been spoiled.

Is this what our society has come to? That we can just waste food with little regard to where our next meal is coming from?

Another example – several months ago my family and I were having a birthday party. My wife and I decided to spend the money and buy some baby-back ribs, which are not cheap. I fired up the pit and smoked something like 4 racks of ribs. When it came time to serve the ribs, I divided them up to 1 rib per slice. We probably had 12 – 15 people over to share in the celebration.

After everyone had left, I was walking around the yard cleaning up and found a couple of ribs that had one small bite taken out of it, and then thrown on the ground. Lets just say I was not a happy camper. From the size of the bite mark, it looked like one of the kids had gotten the rib off the platter, took one bite, and then thrown it down. So who do you blame? The kid is not old enough to know how much food cost, so where is the parent?

During the same bar-be-que I saw several plates in the garbage half full of food. Some of the people there had gotten a sausage, might have taken 1 bite, and then threw it away. A couple of the plates in the garbage were loaded down with beans or potato salad.

I wonder if the guest had to pay for their food, would they still have wasted it? Or was it because the food was free to them that they were less inclined not to waste?

There have been times when my family and I have gone to Ci-Ci’s pizza, only to see other people leave plates full of food on the table.

I have been guilty of wasting food. There have been times when my family and I go to a buffet bar, and I got more then I can eat. And I feel bad about wasting that food. But for some people, wasting food does not seem to be an issue.

Where your at right now

Why are you where your at right now? What are you doing there? What course of events drove you to be at your present location?

As I get older, I think about my life, and the course it has taken. There is some regret, there is some happiness and some sadness.

A couple of weekends ago my family and I were up at the camp having a relaxing weekend. One of the people there was a long time friend of mine – we have been knowing each other since around 1977 or 1978,,, somewhere in there. At the day turned to night, we built a camp fire, grabbed the lawn chairs and talked about past times.

One of the times my buddy brought up was a trip down the Bayou close to Bridge City, Texas. A fog had set in, and they could not see where they were going. The guys in the boat spotted a fish camp where they stopped and spent the night. My buddy thought I had gone on that trip. Regrettably I had not gone. I had probably missed that experience and spent that trip and spent that time with my girlfriend at the time – who would later become my wife, and ex-wife.

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