A place to jot down my random thoughts of things that interest me, so I can find their links, and remind me of things I should be doing because, quite frankly, I can't remember squat and, of course, some rants and raves. If you happened to stumble upon this place, I hope you find it informative or entertaining. If not, well then . . . thanks for visiting.

INDEX

Do We Need Government? - May 10, 2020
How to Read UPC Bar Codes - May 7, 2020
How to Avoid Hurting Other People - April 6, 2020
Selling Baby Body Parts and People - December 14, 2019
People vs. Animal Charities - December 13, 2019
Obey the Police or Get Arrested - It's YOUR Call - November 22, 2019
Preparing Against Illegal Immigrants Sapping U.S. Resources - November 20, 2019
Too Thin Skinned - November 5, 2019
Bring Our Troops Home - October 22, 2019
Congress (House dems) is Subverting Voter Rights - September 27, 2019    [Flush Congress]
The Cycle of Poverty and the Relationships with Addiction and Incarceration - September 16, 2019
Outsourcing Our Family Values - August 28, 2019
Backup Your Backups - August 24, 2019
Automobiles: Boxes On Wheels; Waste of Money - August 23, 2019
Slaughtered "by Guns"? - August 12, 2019
Words Without Meaning - July 8, 2019
Fighting Food Waste. Feeding People. - May 18, 2019
Getting the "Maryland" Out of Me - December 12, 2018
My West Virginia Home; A Place Only I (and few others) Can Love - November 18, 2018
No Safe Place - July 11, 2018
Scratches In The Paint - July 8, 2018
I don't know where I am going, but I am on my way - June 24, 2018
My Foxhole Moments - May 24, 2018
Hooked on the World (Invasion of the Soul) - April 10, 2018
Why Should I Remember This? - March 21, 2018
Why Am I Here? - March 12, 2018
Why Doesn't the Little Voice in My Head Ever Say Nice Things? - March 11, 2018
Exceptional Souls - January 14, 2018
Downsizing - January 3, 2018
A New Year; For Myself or Others? - January 1, 2018
Exaggerating Value - October 29, 2017
Personal Pollution - Tobacco and Vaping - October 7, 2017
Purpose of Prepper Web Sites - October 2, 2017
Take a Knee - October 2, 2017
Fitbit Fits Negate Common Courtesy - September 27, 2017
AARP Roadside Assistance May Not be the "Deal" You Expect - August 24, 2017
Football vs. Baseball - April 3, 2017
My Special Homemade Concoction for Deodorant and Toothpaste (and Bug Repellent?) - April 2, 2017
Dear President Trump - March 27, 2017
Throw More Money At It, and It Will Work. NOT! - March 25, 2017
A New Political Era; Clear the Dead Wood - March 24, 2017
ALL Lives Matter - February 26, 2017
Justice vs. Hate - February 22, 2017
Maybe Trump is perceived as a failure by a public "conditioned" by decades of weak politicians and biased, manipulating media? - February 17, 2017
Stock Market Trading and Tax Preparation - February 15,2017
It used to be "quieter out there" before everything got amplified - February 10, 2017
Do We Really Need to Keep Hate Mongering Alive? Can We Finally Heal and Stop Picking at the Old Wounds? - February 8, 2017
Sometimes A Push Is Necessary to MAKE Dreams Come True - February 4, 2017
Old Senator Sticks Big Nose in Airline Business - February 1, 2017
Chronic Anxiety and Depression - January 28, 2017
Protest Something That Actually Matters - January 25, 2017
Climate Change vs. Global Warming - January 7, 2017
Give Me a Bigger Mute Button - November 30, 2016
Frequently Change Politicians and Diapers for the Same Reason - November 9, 2016
Betty - October 12, 2016
One thing; just one thing. - October 2, 2016
The Future of Social Security for Millennials and Beyond - September 30, 2016
Thinking Outside the Box for Emergencies and Survival - September 29, 2016
Seaview 180° Snorkel Mask as Pandemic or Gas Mask - September 28, 2016
Blame it on someone else, will ya! (the HPV STD) - September 7, 2016
The Dollar Store Is My Friend - September 4, 2016
Surviving the Urban Jungle - August 24, 2016
Survival Tips From The Great Depression - August 24, 2016
TMI leads to IDT - August 21, 2016
In Tune With Dangerous Times - August 21, 2016
The Camping Tent; Reimagined - July 30, 2016
There ARE more than 2 Political Parties in the USA - July 30, 2016
Bitter Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby could single-handedly start a riot - July 27, 2016
Make A Basic Emergency Plan and Kit - July 16, 2016
Venezuela Apocalypse - July 10, 2016
Isn't "Thank you" enough anymore? - May 21, 2016
Economic Concern and Preparation - May 1, 2016
My Impact on the Environment - May 1, 2016
Reducing My Sodium Intake - April 30, 2016
John Kasich for President 2016 - April 18, 2016
Bentonite Clay Warning - April 4, 2016
Long Term Food Review - Valley Food Storage - Irish Pub Cheddar Potato - April 2, 2016
Portable Sawmill - April 1, 2016
Solar Panels - Goal Zero Boulder 15 - New and old - March 30, 2016
Survival (Paracord) Bracelet
Credit Card Survival Tool
Long Term Food Review - A-Pack (Ameriqual) MREs
Generators (Gas - Propane - HHO)
Goal Zero Extreme (Solar Generator) Base Camp Kit
Goal Zero Products
Portable Solar Panels for Backpacking & Camping
Portable Refrigerator/Freezer
Water Bricks & Spigot
Long Term Food Review - Wise Food


Do We Need Government? - May 10, 2020
After my personal research and soul searching into this question, I have to answer "yes, we do need government". I also believe that the USA has the best form of government. Many who think they know me, believe that I am anti-government. I'm not. I am anti-stupid-government, anti-big-goverment and anti-control-me-goverment. I believe that government has to be reduced in size and control. We the people are the only ones to do this. We have let it become out of control by becoming apathetic toward it. Nearly half of the US citizens have given up their privilege to vote, which is the main reason why government has been allowed to run amok. And those who do vote, are not educated voters. They vote for the same incompetent boobs over and over again because it's a familiar name on the ballot. It's like parents who have left its upbringing to a substitute teacher. We have the power to put it in check but all of us must vote and communicate with our politicians to tell them what we expect of them. They cannot stay in office forever. We need to set term limits on all of them and watch what they do while they are in office. After everything we have observed, heard and experienced these past few months in 2020, We The People should be fed up with ALL governments and take back control of them. Their irresponsible, tyranical actions must stop now. Read more here.
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How to Read UPC Bar Codes - May 7, 2020
Resulting from the recent China Virus (COVID-19), comes hatred toward China and lots of misinformation. One false piece of information is that UPC (Universal Product Code) can identify the country of origin so that the Code can be used to avoid buying Chinese products. While there is an easier way to avoid buying products from a specific country (the "Made In _____" sticker) and the UPC is most useful to manufacturers and retailers to keep track of product inventory and information, it can be helpful to learn how to actually read the Code for Coupon Shopping and helping to match shelf price tags to products on the shelf. There are, of course, SmartPhone Apps to read UPCs.

By the way, spread the Truth, not Rumors. Research before passing along information to others.
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How to Avoid Hurting Other People - April 6, 2020
To make real concrete change in your life is to practice causing no harm to anyone - yourself or others. It’s harder than you think but here are some suggestions.
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Selling Baby Body Parts and People - December 14, 2019
How despicable we, as a society, have become to allow this kind of ghoulish horror! I guess this answers my question about why there is such a competition between People vs. Animal Charities. We sell babies on the black market, people as sex slaves, human body parts as food and the bodies and body parts of aborted babies (some still alive after the abortions). While there may be some legal and legitimate sales and uses for bodies and body parts (of deceased people or legal sales/donations), our callous disregard for human life may be the end of us as a "human" race. Without further comment, I'll just suggest that you read this story for yourself.
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People vs. Animal Charities - December 13, 2019
Why do people support the dignity of animals over the dignity of humans? Personally, I feel that humans are more important than animals and those that think animals understand human speech or that animals have the same thoughts and feeling as humans, need to get real. I understand that some humans could be considered less desirable to animals but, ultimately, a human life is more important. Therefore, all of my donations go to human concerns, mostly in terms of hunger, poverty and health but also other human conditions. When I hear of children dying because of hunger or disease, while whales and seals are being saved, I get a bit indignant. The thousands, tens of thousands, millions of dollars given in the name of saving animals could save many human lives and much human suffering. When it comes to charities for inanimate objects (like trees), well, I won't even go there.
I do not approve of animal cruelty or the senseless use and destruction of them or resources but animals and the environment exist for the purpose of human consumption and enjoyment. We need to take responsibility for their use but never make them a priority over humans.

Resource: Profiles provide a look at the characteristics of people on either side of the animal vs human charity divide
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Obey the Police or Get Arrested - It's YOUR Call - November 22, 2019
It used to be (when I was growing up and later became a Police Officer) that people obeyed, and respected, the Police. If the Officer told me to do something, I did it. I knew I would suffer the consequences if I didn't; if not from the Officer, my parents. Today, people have no respect for authority (Police or parents). "Question everything" is the slogan. Well, that's just dandy in the right context. It is NOT okay if you fail to obey the Police Officer in that moment. If you fail to obey, you have just created your own serious problem and you cannot win the immediate confrontation. If you feel that you have been wronged, that's what the courts are for. If you are intelligent enough to obey the Officer and walk away from the situation, go to court and state your case or contact the Officer's Supervisor.
As a former Police Officer I will share that a Police Officer will not single out a person to confront unless that person has brought attention to them self (read up on Probable Cause). The Police are not "out to get you". If confronted by Police, that person, then, sets the tone of the situation. I mentioned earlier that "you cannot win the immediate confrontation" if you decide to be uncooperative with the Officer. The Officer must control the situation and has the whole Police Department at their beck and call if needed. And as far as determining if the Officer's instructions are a "lawful order" or not, this is NOT the time to question that. That is for his supervisors, or a court, to decide.

Try to comprehend this; an approaching Police Officer has no idea who you are or what kind of person you are. Why should you think the Officer thinks you are a nice guy? The Officer puts their life at potential risk every time they approach someone. If you know a Police Officer, ask them about their training.

Bottom line: Don't be an ass when confronted by the Police. They have the authority to approach anyone if they suspect a crime (big or small) is being, or has been, committed. Obedience to the Officer's instructions is not an option. How you respond to the situation will determine its ultimate outcome.
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Preparing Against Illegal Immigrants Sapping U.S. Resources - November 20, 2019
In this post, I'm referring to 'givers' as Taxpayers and 'takers' as illegal immigrants and legal citizens (I also refer to as 'loads') who contribute nothing to society.

Every country has limited resources. When a country has more 'takers' than 'Givers', it's resources are depleted quickly and the 'Givers' suffer. Such is the case with illegal immigrants AND any children they gave birth to (read about DACA) after illegally entering the U.S.

We have a process for legal entry and citizenship. I personally know people who have gone through the process. They did not enter the country illegally. They followed the process. I'm proud of them and they are proud to be a [now] legal citizen.
OK, so we have politicians who want to let the world into this country and let those stay who have already illegally entered. We have employers who are purchasing illegal immigrants to work for them. We have the illegals (over 12 million) 'demanding' rights and sap the resources that Taxpayers provide. And, we have DACA kids 'demanding' citizenship. Here's what should be done:
1 - Vote against any politician who supports this "allow the world in" mindset; those who support subverting the immigration laws.
2 - Report (to ICE) any employers suspected of having illegals working for them.
3 - Report (to ICE) any suspected illegals.
4 - DACA kids should go through the formal citizenship process or be deported as illegals.
5 - Prepare your stockpiles for when resources run out and the 'takers' start hunting for more.
Resources:
Illegal immigrants sap our resources
Abuse and impact of anchor babies
What Rights Children of Illegal Immigrant Parents Have in the U.S.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers
Support Building the U.S./Mexican Border Wall
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Too Thin Skinned - November 5, 2019
It seems that every newscast includes some "story" of someone being upset about something someone else did or said or displayed; a symbol, picture, statue, a word, a gift, a gesture. They were "concerned", "outraged", "offended" or "incensed". Even our history is being torn down because of thin-skins (people who are easily offended). Society has created the Thin Skins; whimpering babies, throwing temper tantrums because the world is hurting their frail feelings or not following their rules. Remember the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"? Like society, this saying is breaking down. Not only are there more cry-babies but the rest of society is caving to them, like irresponsible parents who don't discipline their children. Example: The words "Ladies" and "Gentlemen" are taboo; gender-neutral is politically correct. Puke!

Once in a great while the thin-skins don't get their way. Like the Washington "Red Skins" football team responding "pound sand" to those demanding a name change, or the Sherriff who posted "don't stop here" signs on the lawns of convicted child sex offenders during halloween, or the Governor who displayed a "thin-blue-line" flag given as a gift to first-responders. Yeah, take that thin-skins! Boo hoo. Get over it kiddies. If there is any hope for you to survive the real world, grow up.
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Bring Our Troops Home - October 22, 2019
I'm thankful that our [U.S.] troops are being pulled out of Syria! I'm tired of losing U.S. lives over wars and conflicts in other countries; especially in those countries where civil wars and conflicts have existed for decades or centuries. I'm tired of the U.S. government acting as the "world's police"; sending our troops to die for the problems of other countries. The U.N. is supposed to handle these kinds of situations so let's build up the U.N. forces with more personnel from other countries; especially from those countries on the continent(s) where those conflicts are happening.

U.S.-assisted countries also blame the U.S. for getting involved and if they leave their conflict; putting the U.S. in a lose-lose position. Let these other countries fight their own wars and kill themselves off. Politicians make decisions and laws that benefit them and I do realize that most of our involvements are not for humanitarian reasons but to protect our own selfish interests. It's easy for politicians to send others (our loved ones) to do their dirty work. I would love for the politicians and their families to be personally drafted to fight in these conflicts.

The U.S. is spreading our defense troops thin and puts the U.S. at risk. Maybe we feel that if we help, others will help us when/if the time comes. I would bet that if the U.S. was invaded, other countries would not be so eager to come to our aide. Let's bring our troops home and shore up our borders and defenses and stop spending taxpayer money to "help" countries who really don't appreciate, want or deserve our help.
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Congress (House dems) is Subverting Voter Rights - September 27, 2019
May 6, 2019, Rep. Al Green ‘If We Don’t Impeach This President, He Will Get Re-Elected'

So that you do not have to endure my rants, let me say this first:
The President HAS NOT BEEN IMPEACHED until the SENATE says so (
The Constitution, Article I, Section 3). Research further before believing the media dog and pony shows. The house now delays this critical decision, knowing their case is weak and the Senate will not pass it.

I urge my friends and family and anyone reading this to, First, research the "facts" that proves the President guilty or innocent. You will need to search beyond what the mainstream media and house Jackasses are claiming. Try warroom.org. Then, Second, contact your congressional representatives (house and senate) and have them label the actions of the House, on this, to be phony, invalid and a waste of taxpayer money and loss of attention to addressing the real issues facing our country. Voters should be the ones to remove politicians from office, via the voting process, not congress. Finally, Third, vote against all of the politicians that have validated these impeachment activities.

These were my words that I sent to my congressional reps:

House: I feel the house is wasting time, and my money, on this mess and they need to get back to addressing real issues facing our country. This is proof that congressional Term Limits are necessary; too many in their positions for too long. They need to make up stuff. Are they actually listening to their constituents or is this their personal agenda? The People voted the President into office and the People should be the ones to vote him out if necessary, not a congressional impeachment on zero evidence. Followers of the President are only made more determined by this foolishness. I also want to encourage President Trump to continue focusing on his promises to get this country back on track to greatness and ignore this congressional circus. Thank you.

Senate: I consider the actions of the House, on this, to be phony and a waste of taxpayer money and loss of attention to addressing the real issues facing our country. Voters should be the ones to remove politicians from office, via the voting process, not congress. Because the house has passed the point of no return, they can't stop their actions so I hope for, and ask, you to be more intelligent than the House and quickly vote to acquit President Trump of these articles of impeachment to invalidate the House actions once this reaches the Senate. Thank you.

Now for my rants:

Dec. 19, 2019 Update: Now that the house Jackasses (calling the President a "threat" to the country and crucial to remove) have finally decided that their case of impeachment is ready for trial, they are delaying to send it to the senate for the trial. Wow! I guess the President isn't as much of a threat as they said or they know their case belongs in the crapper. This continues to look as if the house Jackasses are putting on a show to influence the 2020 election instead of having a real case against President Trump. This also leads many to believe that the house Jackasses are setting a dangerous precedent to use the impeachment process as a future weapon to remove a duly-elected President from office without actually committing an impeachable offense, thereby overturning the votes, and decision, of the people.

For nearly 3 years, the House of Representatives has been trying to reverse the decision of the American People to vote President Trump into office. In their desperate attempt to reverse the decision of the People, the House of Representatives has now taken to impeaching the President without any concrete evidence. With their top 3 candidates being a decrepit socialist, a Hillary wannabee (who dances like Elaine Benes on Seinfeld) and the third near dementia, it's no wonder they are threatened by President Trump's successes of his campaign promises to make the United States great again. They are trying this back-door approach (impeachment) to win the 2020 election by attempting to discredit the President even if there is no actual impeachment. They waste taxpayer dollars on this farce knowing it won't pass the Senate. Not to forget that the election is only 14 months away (and about 120 days from the official start of the 2020 campaigns), the House hasn't made any case of wrong-doing for over 2 and a half years. And, of course, the mainstream media are exacerbating the rhetoric, if not actually giving House bozos ideas, which simply feeds the circus clowns in Congress.

I've been watching this crap on TV and have yet to hear anything that even hints that President Trump committed a "crime" or risked the security of the country. Everything is hearsay, circumstantial, assumption, opinions and without substance; no facts. The only fact is that there are no facts. These videos ([video 1] [video 2] [video 3]) sum up the circus very well. There has been a scheme (for nearly 3 years of false accusations) to try and convince the general public that President Trump is dirty versus really proving that he committed any impeachable offense(s). Anyone with a [non-dense] brain can see what's going on. Further, I feel it strengthens the resolve of, and increases, President Trump supporters and diminishes support for the dem party. The House has wasted millions of taxpayer (my) dollars on their Trump Hunt. The House knows it doesn’t have time, before the 2020 election, to file impeachment proceedings and it will not get passed by the Senate, so this is simply a [3 year] smear campaign.

They have backed themselves into a corner they can't escape so they will continue this sham to their bitter end, in an attempt to save face, like an umpire that has made a bad call or a loogie that has no end.

In a way, I'm kinda glad they are wasting their time (and my money) on nothing (at which they excel) so they are distracted from making up stupid bills on made-up problems. It also gives the President time to press on with his agenda; though I do wish he would handle some things differently. Meanwhile, conservatives, whose support for the President is strengthened by this mess, sit back quietly observing the circus until November 2020 when it could start all over again.

February 5, 2020 - I feel that one of the main reasons why Congress can get away with so much unnecessary, and often, anti-citizen, citizen-invasive, crap is because We The People have given them the time to do that. It's time for The People to take control of the out-of-control, insane congress. GOVERNMENTS NEED TO BE FLUSHED REGULARLY, just like every other toilet. "Term Limits" has been discussed for many years. 82% of U.S. citizens support term limits on Congress. Citizens unite! Join Termlimits.com to BYPASS CONGRESS and go directly to the Supreme Court with an Amendment to the Constitution through a States Convention. With a combination of voting against all incumbents and State Legislations to amend the Constitution, We can do this! Details are available at Termlimits.com and www.5six7.com/flushgov/index-SpreadTheLove-NEW.htm.

Some members of Congress and Political Action Groups have failed to make any progress but, since 1991, Termlimits.com has progressed in making congressional Term Limits more likely. In 1995 they got 23 states to impose Term Limits on their U.S. Congressional Reps in DC but the Supreme Court overturned it. However, through that setback, they found the way to BYPASS CONGRESS and go directly to the Supreme Court with an Amendment to the Constitution; the very same way the U.S. Government was formed, through a Constitutional Convention of the States. Citizens unite! Let's work with Termlimits.com and your STATE Legislators to get congressional Term Limits enacted WITHOUT involving congress. In the meantime, continue to be an educated voter and always vote against politicians running for re-election to the same office. Many States have already committed to this action. Pros and Cons of Term Limits can be found at www.5six7.com/flushgov/index-SpreadTheLove-NEW.htm.

Help control congressional distraction, laziness, selfishness and insanity; support Term Limits by encouraging your 'State' to take steps to bypass congress to impose Term Limits on congress. Sign the Petition (www.termlimits.com/petition), contact your State Capital to support this action (www.termlimits.com/contact-state-legislator), contact your Congressional Representatives to support this action (www.termlimits.com/legislators), always vote against politicians running for re-election (www.5six7.com/flushgov) and share this information with your friends and family. Read more at and the Pros and Cons of Term Limits at www.5six7.com/flushgov/index-SpreadTheLove-NEW.htm. Thank you!

My position about politicians has always been to keep them on a conveyor belt; let them do one term and then move (vote) them out; burn the dead wood. Members of congress quickly begin to rot in their cozy little chairs once they get there, because there is no term limit. This is why we see such stupid actions as we have been witnessing these last few years. This is a perfect example of politicians fighting to keep their seats in Congress instead of working on the real concerns facing this country.

I've been asked how this relates to the Mission of this site. My response is that I believe the U.S. government is the single most dangerous threat (their actions too numerous to mention here) to the citizens of the United States and we must be prepared for its devastating effects on our peace and liberty. 'When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny' [Thomas Jefferson]. 'Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem' [Ronald Reagan]. We the people need to put an end to the abuse of power within the U.S. government, starting with the voting OUT of all current members of congress. That is our [only] weapon to end career politicians from abusing our peace and liberty. Presidents last a maximum of 8 years (2 terms). The influence of a member of Congress can last until they die. VOTE THEM OUT!

Because the house has passed the point of no return, they can't stop their actions so the Senate will have to be the voice of reason and be more intelligent than the House and quickly vote to acquit President Trump of these articles of impeachment to invalidate the House actions once this reaches the Senate.

Be forewarned; the house Jackasses have set a dangerous precedent. The serious action of impeachment will no longer be used only against impeachable offenses, but to remove [innocent] duly-elected officials, overturning the will of the voters simply because their political opponents want them out of office.
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The Cycle of Poverty and the Relationships with Addiction and Incarceration - September 16, 2019
I live in a financially depressed area. I hear about, and witness, high levels of poverty, addiction and incarceration. To me, it seems that there is a cycle that was inherited from the previous generation and proceeds to the next generation and a relationship between these three conditions (poverty, addiction and incarceration).

There is a long-standing belief that drug addiction and poverty go hand in hand. It is difficult to believe that someone who doesn’t have a job, or has little income, can afford the expense of addiction. In some cases, addiction causes poverty, rather than the other way around. But, the connection between drug addiction and poverty is more complicated than that.

Similarly, an analysis found that boys born into households in the bottom 10 percent of earners are 20 times more likely to be in prison in their early 30s than children born into the top 10 percent; a relationship between poverty and incarceration.

I cannot adequately explain these relationships nor provide solutions to climb out of them. But, I do believe that those who find themselves in these conditions can break these cycles and find victory over them. At times I have found myself in situations that I felt I would never escape. In my case, I would eventualy force my mind to think that I could escape and the process would begin to find the solution.

This blog entry is intended to bring more attention to these relationships and provide informational resources and encouragement for those facing these conditions directly or indirectly. If someone finds themselves in any of these conditions, I believe they can escape and I encourage them to focus their mind on finding the solution. Don't buy into the lie that this is permanent.

Some Resources to Consider:
Relationship Between Drug Addiction and Poverty
Breaking the Double Cycle of Poverty and Incarceration
Break the Cycle of Poverty
Break The Cycle Of Poverty.Org on Facebook
Search for Relationships Between Poverty, Addiction and Incarceration

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Outsourcing Our Family Values - August 28, 2019
Over the decades, there has been a steady decline of family values; going to church, patriotism and raising children. Former generations have become apathetic, giving up the responsibility to "educators", government, television and social media and "self" is the root cause of the younger generations. A decline in moral values leads to an increase in crime and devaluing human life (resulting in abortion and euthanasia) and an overall breakdown of family and country. The longer these trends continue, the harder it is to recover.

So, how can we reverse these trends? Like any bad habit, apathy and selfishness need to be admitted and then conscious efforts need to take place to reverse the tendencies. Like the smoker or alcoholic trying to quit, it's retraining the mind and automatic responses. We must, first, admit there is a problem and, second, determine we will change.

Related Links:
[Article 1]    [Article 2]    [Article 3]    [Video 1]    [Video 2]
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Backup Your Backups - August 24, 2019
To rely on a single source of anything is a prescription for disaster. To take it a step further; to rely on a single backup for your primary source is still a prescription for disaster.

Here's a personal example for heating my house: I use electric as my primary source of heat. If my grid-electric goes out, I have a hybrid generator that can run my electric heat. If my generator runs out of gas, I can switch it over to use propane. If the generator propane runs out, I have a propane heater in my house with a separate [large] propane tank. If my house propane runs out, I have a wood stove and plenty of chopped-up wood to heat my home. If the chopped wood runs out, I live on a wooded lot and can start taking down trees. It's doubtful that I would need to resort to emergency cutting down of trees but I hope I've made my point. I have 5 backups for heating my house if the grid-electric goes out. I also have [battery and electric] fans and a portable air conditioner if my central air conditioner goes down. And I'm working on a solar solution as an alternate power source.

The same goes for my income (2 sources of retirement, a part-time job and a hobby with the potential to make money) and investments (cash, bank accounts, precious metals, real estate). I frequently backup my computer on 2 devices and keep them in 2 separate places.

Food is another example by always having canned and dehydrated options/backups. How about bottled water and water filtering.

Never should it be assumed that things will always be as they are. Jobs are lost, vehicles break down, electric goes out, weather can stop us from getting to the store. It's the prudent thing to do to think of what I need to live and implement/purchase methods that will back that up and then come up with a 3rd [or 4th or 5th] backup option.
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Automobiles: Boxes On Wheels; Waste of Money - August 23, 2019
We drool over them; spend tens (sometime hundreds) of thousands of dollars for them and nearly as much on accessories for them. We have to insure them, fuel them, maintenance them on a regular basis and repair them even when we are kind to them. Automobiles; losing value as soon as we drive them off the dealer lots. They are mobile money pits. Let's look at its most basic form and function; it's a box on wheels that conveys us from point A to point B. Yet, in our throw-away, gotta-have-the-latest-and-greatest culture, we give up our hard-earned dollars to these boxes on wheels. A well-maintained vehicle can last well into hundreds of thousands of miles. Think of how much money we could save if we just do regular oil changes. So, when the new-car-bug bites, swat it; then think of ways to keep the old box-on-wheels going and the better ways the money can be spent.
Suggested Readings:
Basic Vehicle Maintenance & Preparing it for an Emergency
Should You Keep Your Old Car?
Stop Wasting Money on Your Car
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Slaughtered "by Guns"? - August 12, 2019
Today, Universal Studios postponed the release of a movie because they felt it was too soon after 2 recent mass shootings. The violent movie involved people using guns to kill others. While I can understand why Universal took this action, I can never understand why people view the "gun" as the bad guy instead of the "bad guy" using a gun. One talking-head, commenting on the Universal Studios action, said "It makes sense that Universal postponed the release of a movie where people are being slaughtered by guns". Excuse me; people are being slaughtered by people, with guns, not by guns.

In the 2004 [actual events] movie, Hotel Rwanda, a riotous group commits genocide with the use of machetes. Did the machetes hack off heads and limbs of people? No! People, using machetes, hacked off the heads and limbs.

We cannot stop guns or machetes or knives or blunt instruments from killing people by trying to eliminate the weapons of choice, but we can do things to stop the wrong people from committing these acts of violence.

Let's focus on the real culprit of violence; the person.
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Words Without Meaning - July 8, 2019
Most mornings I read a brief "devotional". After my reading this morning, I asked myself "ok, what was his point?". The words sounded great but what was he trying to convey? I concluded that he is a author who had to come up with something to write so that was the best he could do. I've watched some independent short films with the same result. They dazzled the eye with lots of action and CGI but what was the purpose? I've also listened to conversations like this. The people were talking for the sake of talking. Isn't there enough worthless chatter? Is it really necessary to add to it?
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Fighting Food Waste. Feeding People. - May 18, 2019
Roughly 50 percent of all fresh produce in the United States is thrown away — some 60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce annually. Mostly, food that is perfectly good to eat. Here are some organizations that are working to reduce this waste:
Food Recovery Network is the largest professional nonprofit college student movement against food waste and hunger in America. Leftover food, from college cafeterias across the nation, is repackaged and delivered to hungry people. Video: https://youtu.be/IJ1iX1KzFTA.
Imperfect Produce buys "unloved" fresh produce from farmers and delivers it in boxes to customers at a greatly reduced rate.
What can we do to reduce food waste?
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Getting the "Maryland" Out of Me - December 12, 2018
I'm not sure if it's a "maryland" trait of self-centeredness or just my selfish personality (most likely) but I have been frequently humbled by the citizens of my new-found home by their willingness to help.

Today I met Stan, my local UPS driver. This was my second encounter with him as I was working on outside home improvements. When he delivered my package today, he commented on the obvious activity on my property but assured me, as many have, that I made a good move. He said "I've had this route for 14 years and I love it." Then he told me of a recent situation he had experienced when his UPS truck broke down in the little town nearby. He said "I called my office and they told me it would be a few hours before they could get someone there to switch trucks. I'm supposed to deliver all of my cargo in the truck before I return to the warehouse so however long it takes determines when I get home. I know the people here. When I got the message from the office, I called one of my local customers [Fred] and asked if I could borrow his truck to finish delivering my freight. He was there in about 10 minutes and we were moving my load from my truck to his. A few minutes later, the resident of the house, where my truck broke down, came and told me that I could use her car if all of my packages couldn't fit in "Fred's" truck." Stan continued; "my warehouse is in Cumberland [Maryland]; you would never find that kind of help in Maryland; you are living in a true small-town neighborhood where people really care for others".

As I've written in one of my previous posts, in retrospect, after a personal interaction, I think of what I could have said or could have done. It rarely comes as a first response. I look forward to the day when I can look out my window and offer "you can use my car if all of your packages can't fit in "Fred's" truck."
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My West Virginia Home; A Place Only I (and few others) Can Love - November 18, 2018
Where do I begin? This is a place only a hunter and woodsman would love. I'm guessing that only about 10% of the world's population might appreciate it. Honestly, I was not very diligent in my inspection when I first looked at it; or the 2nd or 3rd times. I settled on November 7, 2018. Moved in immediately. I currently sleep on a cot with a foam mattress and a sleeping bag until I can get the place clean enough to feel like it is worthy of a real bed. The house was built by a hunter for hunters and the last thing on his/their mind(s) was cleanliness. The second to last thing on his mind was quality of workmanship. While he was a brick/block mason by trade and the house is built like Fort Knox, the internal components are sub-par by "code" and civility. The shower might be a bit larger than those on a cruise ship; if you turn around too fast, you can goose yourself. And the toilet faces the shower opening about one foot away. Don't even think about reading your favorite novel while on the can or your legs will cramp up unless you stretch them into the shower. Oh, the amenities are endless.

And then there's the West Virginia "culture"; ultra laid back. Hunting season is THE priority. Schools are closed for the Fall hunting season. No one seems to be interested in a person who wants to pay them money to get things done. How do these people make a living? I need to get stuff fixed. I want to support local businesses. I call and leave a message; no one calls back or they show up, look at the situation but they don't call back with an estimate (or anything!!!!).

When I called to have internet access installed, the scheduling person asked me "are you having severe weather in your area?" I said "No, why?" She said "because I don't have a date available until the end of November, that's unusual." I said, "Not for West Virginia; no one is in a hurry to get anything done."

I bought a refrigerator at Home Depot. I was outside, in my driveway, when the delivery truck arrived. It stopped about 50 feet short of reaching my driveway. I waved my arms to get the driver's attention. I'm fairly sure he and his passenger saw me. The truck then backed into the nearby cross street. I thought it was turning around to back up to my driveway for the delivery. It did not. After backing into the cross street, the driver pulled out of the cross street and kept on going - away from my house and out of the community. When I realized what was happening, I ran down the road yelling and flailing my arms like a madman as it drove out of sight. I was stunned by what I had just observed. When I regained my senses, I got in my truck to follow and stop him but he was so hasty in his departure that I couldn't catch up with the truck. I called the delivery company to complain. They said that the driver left the area because he said "the road was too hazardous". They rescheduled!? I said "The condition of the road is not going to change in a week from now!"

Roads here are like roller coasters; steep and curvy. I'm driving home during the first snow fall of the season on a main road. The roads are snow covered; it's been snowing all night and the roads have had, maybe, one pass of the snow plow. I'm following an 18-wheeler; doing about 10mph. Heading up this one hill, the 18-wheeler slows even more and then stops. For about 10 minutes, I see the truck shudder now and then. I figure that the truck is slipping on the snow; he's stuck. After observing this for a few more minutes, I drove around the truck, pulled up and stopped beside the driver door, dropped my passenger window and yelled "are you stuck?" He shook his head YES. "Can I do anything?" I asked. He just shrugged his shoulders with this blank look on his face as if to say, "Not really, I'll just wait until Spring".

I asked my neighbor (formerly from New Jersey, living in WV for 18 years), "is it me?" She said "Frustrating, isn't it? It's not you; it's the way people are around here. I call them turtles; they are so slow to get things done. You either learn to do for yourself or wait until they are ready to do it."

But what is the allure of this place? When I calm down from my frustration that no one wants to do any work (except on their terms), I look at the natural beauty of the area; the quietness; the kindness of the people (who don't want to work), and my anger, anxiety and irritability fade away. Beer helps too.

If you enjoy your city or suburban or sterile lifestyles, my West Virginia home is not for you. It is not "outsider" visitor friendly; which makes it the place I want to call home.

This is my list of projects in some priority. I will add completion dates and contractors as they happen:
Chimney cleaning and stainless steel insert from the wood stove fireplace insert: 12/13/2018 - Jim-N-I Chimney
Fujitsu HVAC Mini Split System Installation: 12/19/2018 - Twigg Heating and AC.
Propane gas line to stove, new connection to heater and bulk tank install: 12/19/2018 - Southern States
French Drain installed around house foundation (phase 1): 12/13/2018 - Twigg Heating and AC
Septic Cleaning and Tank Riser: 12/13/2018 - POWELLS PLUMBING
Refrigerator replacement: 11/26/2018 - Home Depot
Internet connection: 11/27/2018 - Frontier Communications
Painting of Living Room and Hallway walls: 11/27/2018 - Sowers Painting
Transfer Driver License and vehicle registration: 11/28-29/2018 - WV DMV
Electric update for new tankless hot water heater in Bathroom:
Water System update and enhancement:
Bathroom Renovation:
Kitchen Renovation:
Floor stripping and waxing:
Carpet replacement:
Deep house cleaning:
New porch roof:
New roof on house:
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No Safe Place - July 11, 2018
This Blog Post has been moved to the P4T Personal Defense Strategy page
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Scratches in the Paint - July 8, 2018
On my second visit to Alaska, I rented an SUV at the Fairbanks Airport to search for my "piece of Alaska". My intent was to buy property and move there. The car rental company told me that I wasn't to take the SUV off paved roads. Little did I know that most of the roads were un-paved. My search took me to places in "the bush" where the SUV suffered the ravages of trees and brush scraping along its body. When I finished my time there, the SUV looked like it had stretch marks of the belly of a pregnant woman. I knew that I would have to pay for the damage so I ran it through the car wash and then applied some compound to remove the scratches. It worked and, at a distance, the scratches weren't obvious and I didn't pay any penalties for damage.

My Bed & Breakfast Hostess, Kathy, was impressed with the results of my compounding efforts to remove the scratches from the rented SUV. I showed her what I did to remove the scratches and gave her the rest of the compounding product.

Sometimes, we can superficially remove the tell-tale signs of indiscretions but the effects are indelibly etched in the soul.
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I don't know where I am going, but I am on my way - June 24, 2018
What do you want to be when you grow up? After scores of years on this planet, I still can't answer that question. There were times along the way when I thought I knew and tried but didn't last.
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My Foxhole Moments - May 24, 2018
There is an old saying, "There are no atheists in foxholes". It is an aphorism used to argue that in times of extreme stress or fear, such as during war ("in foxholes"), all people will believe in, or hope for, a higher power (and there are therefore no atheists). Have you had a foxhole moment; a time when you felt your world was at a complete end with no possible relief in sight; a time when you cried so hard, your stomach hurt and you felt as if your brain was going to explode? I have. I can recall three such moments in my life. They were devestating, at the time. Know what? I'm still here. Know what else? I've learned, through those times and during the normal challenges of life, that there is a "higher power". A higher power that cares for me and listens to my prayers. During all of those moments, I have given in to the impulse to pray. I've learned, over many decades, to pray not only for my foxhole situations, but to express my thankfulness for the good things which has eased the darkness of loss I've felt and shed a little light to put things into perspective.
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Hooked on the World (Invasion of the Soul) - April 10, 2018
Having very secluded property with a shack I can live in, I enjoy nearly constant peace and quiet away from the rat race and noise of the world. I take quiet hikes in the woods, see and hear the wildlife, sit on my porch with a coffee or beer hearing nothing but the birds chirping and the woodpeckers hammering, look up in the night sky to see a carpet of endless stars and planets and hear the coyotes howl from the top of the mountain. Close friends who visit, inevitably say the same things like "very relaxing", "peaceful", "what, no internet, no HBO, no running water . . .?!" Oh, how the world's noisy, fast-paced, social media, money-grubbing, stuff-collecting, gourmet coffee lifestyles have invaded our souls. We always want more than we need and, no matter how much we have, we want more, thinking that our security is in money, stuff and others. I get it; I used to be hooked too and some things I still hold on to but quite aware that I need to, eventually, let go. Blessed, it's because of everyone else caught up in those things that I am allowed to be alone to enjoy my peaceful, quiet existence for which I am ever grateful to God. I do enjoy the company of my friends and family until the world begins to invade my soul; then I must retreat.
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Yes, why? Why Should I Remember This? - March 21, 2018
"Is it important? Does it affect me? Does it make any possible difference to my way of life? If not, then, it is useless information and I shall promptly, and will do my best, to forget it. I advise you to do the same." - Sherlock Holmes.

Useless information. The world is full of it. Is it useful for my practical, everyday use? If not, it should be forgotten and discarded like trash.
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Why Am I Here? - March 12, 2018
My understanding of life is that there is no guarantee of anything, except death. So, from birth until that guarantee kicks in, what purpose have I served? Has it all been to "spend it upon my own pleasures" or have I done anything to help others or make this world a nicer place to live? Is it all about getting as much as I can for myself within my [undetermined] allotted time, or is it about investing in others? My Introspective analysis to date indicates that I have spent my time and resources upon my own pleasures. It has been "all about me". As I look back on past opportunities to share, I feel failure. Even immediately after a personal encounter with someone, I think, "why didn't I do this or say that?". I didn't because I am so self-absorbed. This results in an empty and unfulfilled life. I so wish I could be one of the Exceptional Souls.

Do you have a fulfilled life or are you filling it with self-centered stuff? Is there a nagging feeling that something is missing? What might be missing are actions and thoughts of sharing and caring without expecting anything in return. If selfish fulfillment is the goal, it will, one day, result in an empty feeling in the soul begging for the answer to "have I done anything to help others or make this world a nicer place to live?" As I pray for change and continue to seek a less selfish attitude, I encourage you to break away from self and start sharing with others.
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Why Doesn't the Little Voice in My Head Ever Say Nice Things? - March 11, 2018
This is just a question out of curiosity; not necessarily one that can be effectively answered. My first thought on this is the "garbage in, garbage out" (GIGO) statement made about computers. What I input will affect the resulting output, good or bad, accurate or inaccurate. What I watch, read, listen to; the company that I keep, all affect my perception of the world and people around me. Most of my little voice content is self-loathing and self-judgmental. In part, I feel, because I have few positive personal relationships for encouragement. So why don't I build positive personal relationships? That's a constant dialog between me and my little voice; inappropriate for public disclosure.

So, do you hear a little voice? What's it saying? Does it emit positive encouragement or belittle you? Maybe it's time to change the inputs. [Suggested Reading]
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Exceptional Souls - January 14, 2018
I believe there are people in this world who are not pretentious, care for the interests of others above their own, give of their time and resources to help others and display a quiet strength and commitment to righteousness and modesty (a word that is foreign in today's world). They are not perfect. No one is. They have desires and plans like the rest of us. But there is some kind of undefinable "thing" about them that sets them apart from the rest of the humans on this planet. It happens when you meet those who feel your dreams. Maybe they are angels sent to us at just the time we need them. Maybe they leave without any warning for that same reason. Maybe they die too young so their exceptional attributes affect us in a different way then if they had stayed and been taken for granted. I have met and known a lot of people but only one of these Exceptional Souls. I am a little bit better toward others because of this Exceptional Soul.

The world needs more Exceptional Souls but I believe God leaves them here for only a short time to set an example for the rest of us to morally improve. Usually, I get irritated at those who throw my faults in my face as a stark reminder of just how much I need to improve. But, when this kind of person comes along that affects me in a very personal way, it's time to seriously consider altering my life's motives.

I believe these people are extremely rare (exceptional). But if you happened upon one, I encourage you to cultivate a relationship with them. You may become a better person for knowing them.
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Downsizing - January 3, 2018
Tomorrow I will be losing the last piece of furniture (my bumper-pool/game table) that has really held me back from being able to walk away from my current residence. It just didn't seem to be the kind of thing to give to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. But a buyer came through on Ebay and they will pick it up and take it away.

I still have a lot of stuff to get rid of but it's starting to look pretty bare here. I'm sure I can get rid of the remaining items much quicker than the pool table. If I think too much about it, I get a bit sad that this era in my life is ending. But that's been happening with so many things (and people) recently; especially in 2017. It is, however, the way life is. Things change. People come. People go.

I do wish the good people and things would remain the same and not change, or move away, or get older or pass away. But wishing does not make it so. I try to flow with life's tide but often find myself swimming against the current.

I've accumulated a lot of stuff in my lifetime. Most of it, I didn't need. I think of how stupid I've been to pursue the "american dream", commercial trappings and trying to make myself look "cool" in the eyes of people I couldn't care less about. My focus on attaining stuff, position, education and money were poor substitutes for building lasting relationships and a quiet, peaceful life.

Anyway, here's to the next era. Hopefully, a simpler one with less BS and anxiety and more friendships.

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A New Year; For Myself or Others? - January 1, 2018
I guess it's normal to look back on the previous year and ask "did I make a difference?". In asking that question, I also have to ask if what I did made things better for others or only myself. When I hear, read and watch the things going on in this world, there seems to be so much anger, injustice, cruelty and need. Am I making things better or worse for my fellow earthlings? I'm reminded of the song "Grown-Up Christmas List" by Amy Grant:
No more lives torn apart,
Then wars would never start
and time would heal the heart
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end

. . . and the Bible verse "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." (James 4:1-3)

Will this new year be focused on ME or others? With God's help, I pray NOT for myself but for others. Wishing (and will try to make) a Happy New Year for ALL I encounter!

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Exaggerating Value - October 29, 2017
Commercials are the epitome of insulting our intelligence and exaggerating the value of something. A tea commercial features this "tea master" guy that says "A cup of tea is not just something you drink. It's much more than a commodity; it's an experience." NOT! I understand the marketing weenies need to come up with anything that will sell their product but really, "A cup of tea really IS just something you drink". It's not some magical elixir. Add sugar, lemon or whatever else that will make it "special" for you but don't think it's going to be as special to me. It's a drink.

The same goes for our importance. Most of us want to make something of ourselves; be important, make our mark, be noticed, rub elbows with the "powerful" hoping a little will rub off on us to make us look important. But these things are fleeting and, in the end, empty. There is much more endurance and strength in virtue, modesty, steadfastness, humility and genuineness. These are things worth striving for and will enrich our lives. They will stand the test of time.

There is a saying (by Robert Elliot) "don't sweat the small stuff, it's all small stuff". So, let's step back and look at the big picture of a person, thing or situation and avoid sensationalizing its value, importance or impact. 99.9999999999% of the time, it's just regular ol' tea.
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Personal Pollution - Tobacco and Vaping - October 7, 2017
I love the outdoors, the fresh air. So I am all for banning the total and complete manufacture, sale and use of tobacco products and other air pollutants such as eCigarettes; at the very least, the use of them in public and anywhere non-smokers can be affected.

This topic became such a passion for me that I created its own page. Please go here to read further. Thank you.
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Purpose of Prepper Web Sites - October 2, 2017
There are many reasons why "prepper" web sites exist. Admittedly, some go a bit overboard and others instill fear. For me, it's a personal library of reference materials and a tool that encourages me to learn. If others find and benefit from it, so much the better. I believe that if everyone physically and mentally prepares for inevitable catastrophic events, there will be less shock and more calm when emergencies happen. I also believe most other similar web sites have the same hope. Of course, there are those that are strictly for selling stuff; that's the American way. And many monetize their site just to keep it online because nothing is free; there are costs associated with having a web site.

Unless your mind permanently lives in a fantasy world, it is impossible to deny the fact that bad things happen and, eventually, something bad will happen to you. You can't stop that but you can prepare to minimize the impact, just like insurance. There are things that insurance can't cover and, most likely, the insurance guy won't be standing next to you with cash or supplies when a covered event happens.

So, by taking advantage of the free resources offered by these web sites, gathering some basic supplies, and documenting a plan you can minimize the impact that a catastrophic event will have on you and your family.

See Also: [P4T Emergency Preps Checklist]    and    [List of Prepper Web Sites]

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Take a Knee - October 2, 2017
I feel that Ted Nugent's statement must be heard as a reminder of how the right to peaceful protests came about and continues to be protected by those who serve and those who have paid the ultimate price. Disrespect to our country, and to others, divides us. But, taking a knee has also been viewed as a symbol of submission to the acceptance of uncivilized, destructive actions which should never be permitted. Those actions are crimes which must be swiftly squelched and the criminals arrested to protect the lives and property of others. They are not the actions of respect for others. They are not the civil demonstrations that the Bill of Rights protects. Look different opinions and beliefs in the eye and work things out with civility and respect to this country and our fellow citizens of this planet.
As Ted Nugent writes:
If you really feel the need to take a knee, come with me to church on Sunday and we'll both kneel before Almighty God. We'll thank Him for preserving this country for as long as He has. We'll beg forgiveness for our ingratitude for all He has provided us. We'll appeal to Him for understanding and wisdom. We'll pray for liberty and justice for all...because He is the one who provided those things.

And there will be no protest. There will only be gratitude for His provision and a plea for His continued grace and mercy on the land of the free and the home of the brave. It goes like this...

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

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Fitbit Fits Negate Common Courtesy - September 27, 2017
A little less than a year ago (maybe around November '16) I noticed a marked increase in the "walking" noise and activity of my upstairs neighbors. One night, about midnight, I was awakend to, what sounded to me like, a treadmill. I got on my computer and emailed them about it asking that they observe the neighborhood rules on noise. The apologetic reply was "I just got a fitbit and am attempting to get extra steps." Didn't matter that they had to stomp around [my ceiling] for the bracelets to detect their steps and incessantly walk around their condo to get their "steps-in-for-the-day". Their pasty white skins show that a good outside walk would do them good; not to mention lessen the time they are stomping on my ceiling.

But, this isn't about fitbits or the inability to walk quiety, it's about being inconsiderate, the lack of common courtesy; thinking of others. This me me me selfish society will give time and millions of dollars to disaster relief but fail miserably in the day to day common courtesy to people around us.

This verse comes to mind: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." (Philippians 2:3-4) A very hard pill to swallow in today's self-centered society; including me.

As for the fitbit, go for regular walks outside in the fresh air and don't waste money on a fitbit to tell you how fit you are. You might also meet other people with similar interests and you won't be annoying your neighbors with the horse-like walking.

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AARP Roadside Assistance May Not be the "Deal" You Expect - August 24, 2017
I always encourage people to "do your own research" rather than rely on one or two sources of information about a topic or product or service. Even then, there is no guarantee that the "real" story is being told BUT we aren't being passive idiots taking things at face value; believing everything we hear or read. Take a look at this story on news and information intended to manipulate public opinion.

Case-in-point: As a "senior", I assume that AARP is giving me a "deal". It is interesting, and disappointing, that AARP charges $7 more per year than if I go directly to Allstate Motor Club (AARP's Roadside Service provider). Even with AARP's early renew $5 discount, AARP's cost is still $2 more than going directly to Allstate Motor Club. Yes, AARP's initial sign-up is $49 ($3 less than Allstate) but shouldn't a person receive some reward/incentive to stay with the program?

So, in the scheme of things, this is minor and I could be missing something here. But that's just the point; look into it yourself and not trust anyone except your heart and mind. Even the small, minor things can cost you that add up to a lot of money.

By the way, I did report my findings to AARP who responded as follows: "Thank you for contacting AARP with your concerns and suggestions about AARP's cost being more than going directly to Allstate Motor Club. We value feedback such as yours and have taken note of your comments. Your input helps us determine how to enhance our activities on behalf of the majority of our membership and we appreciate your involvement in our decision-making process. We are constantly exploring better ways to serve our members and it is our hope that you will continue to share your ideas, concerns, and opinions with us." And, while they may be blowing smoke up my butt, I encourage taking action to change wrongs instead of assuming nothing can be done.

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Football vs. Baseball - April 3, 2017
Watching baseball is like watching water boil.

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My Special Homemade Concoction for Deodorant and Toothpaste (and Bug Repellent?) - April 2, 2017
I have experimented with several homemade mixtures for natural alternatives to commercial personal care products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, shampoo and bug repellent. My most recent attempt for a single product that I intend to use for toothpaste and deodorant appears below:

One Part Coconut Oil
Two Parts Natural (without aluminum) Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate - not baking powder)
Essential Oil(s) [3-4 drops per ounce of the Coconut Oil/Baking Soda mixture]

Warm the coconut oil until it is soft enough (not completely liquid) to easily stir/mix in the baking soda. Stir until the mixture has the same consistency throughout. Add, and stir in, the Essential Oil(s) for your desired fragrance/taste. Occasionally stir to make sure the ingredients do not separate until the mixture becomes thicker as the coconut oil begins to harden. Let stand until the mixture hardens to a thick paste.

Use about a pea-size amount under each arm or (maybe a little more) on your toothbrush.

P.S.: With the right Essential Oil(s), this concoction can also act as a mosquito/bug repellent.

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Dear President Trump - March 27, 2017
Dear President Trump:
I believe you have the abilities to make positive changes to the U.S. government and improve this country and the lives of its legal citizens. To prove me, and the millions of others who believe in you, right, would you, please, consider the following suggestions?:
- Speaking to us, hearing your voice and seeing your face, instead of tweeting, helps us better understand your intentions and actions.
- Responding to critics only fuels their incessant chatter, flooding the news with more trash than usual.
- Working with the other political parties helps break down walls to tackle the challenges we face with cooperative and timely resolutions.
- I prefer to read the news instead of listening to the droning "talking heads" media. But, unfortunately, they have to pay their bills too and are here to stay. You have used them in the past, to further your agenda and you can also stop making you their agenda.
- Appointing someone to publically communicate your thoughts and ideas will allow for greater attention to your tasks at hand.
May God bless, and impart His wisdom to, you.
Yours Truly.

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Throw Money At It, and It Will Work. NOT! - March 25, 2017
A typical government approach to a problem is "fund it and it will get fixed or go away". Government is the expert at giving more money to enable citizens to stay in their rut and dependence on government instead of encouraging them to better themselves to get out of poverty, get a job or higher-paying jobs and other lifestyle conditions. Funding training programs to help people improve their life SKILLS is far more effective and better for citizens and the community than to just give them money to stay where they are in their stagnant lifestyle. Government entitlements also continue to take a toll on those citizens who are actually paying taxes. Finding effective alternative solutions is the way a business would respond to ineffective programs. Government needs to change its strategy; find effective alternatives to ineffective programs.
Suggested References:
Throwing Money At Problems Usually Is Not The Solution
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

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A New Political Era; Clear the Dead Wood - March 24, 2017
President Trump was elected, I believe, because the majority of Americans wanted a drastic change in government, the elimination of "politics" and the reduction of government control over their personal lives. They got what they wanted. He is not a politician. He is a mover and shaker. But "old-school" politicians in congress are desperately bucking him for fear of their "jobs" and their hurt feelings. They should fear their jobs and put on their "big-boy pants" to handle the delivery method. They want to control our lives because they think they know what's best for us instead of us thinking for ourselves. The people don't want the "old-school" politics to continue. The people want change but the politicians do not.

Unfortunately, President Trump doesn't seem to be the best communicator in this politically-correct world. However, my look into his past shows an in-your-face, make-it-happen man who, not only says what's on his mind with limited censorship, sparring with words and seeming to thrive on conflict. Nothing seems to "hurt" him. In spite of all the House accusations, he continues to move forward with his agenda and seeks another term when anyone else would give up. He does not "look back" which means he does not dwell on what has happened; he moves on with what's ahead. While that may hurt people's feelings and ruffle feathers, I like him.

Trump is moving forward with his campaign promises but removing the dead wood from politics is imperative if a new form of government is to move forward with him. Voting for the same "OLD" people must stop. Vote them out and "new-thinkers" in.

Ronald Reagan was purported to say "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem. ... Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them." [Video] and "Man is not free unless government is limited".

It is said that you cannot put new wine into old wine bottles because the old wine bottles will burst. We must get rid of the old wine bottles so that we can reap the benefits of this new wine. Burn the ships. Clean out the old, dead wood (politicians)! And, Frequently Change Politicians and Diapers for the Same Reason.

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ALL Lives Matter - February 26, 2017
Martin Richard: 2013 Boston Marathon Victim - VIDEO My parents religiously (no pun intended) took us kids to church with them. One song pops into my mind every time I hear the rhetoric or see a sign reading "________ lives matter"; Jesus loves the little children. When did one life start to mean more than any other life? Respect everyone until they prove they are unworthy of our respect and then, only those individuals who have earned our disrespect. Respect everyone. Don't "Take a Knee"; look different opinions and beliefs in the eye and work things out with civility and respect. Encourage Peace. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).

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Justice vs. Hate - February 22, 2017
Example: A Mexican (non-U.S.) citizen crosses the Mexican/U.S. border illegally: Is this a crime? Yes. Is it a hateful act to deport that person? No. They are a criminal, first for violating customs regulations and, second, to steal, from legitimate American citizens, a job and other resources afforded only to legitimate American citizens. Why is the so difficult to understand? Why is justice interpreted as hate?

I have many friends who were not born in the U.S. who, legally, took the correct path to enter the U.S. and followed the proper procedures to become legitimate U.S. citizens. I am very proud of them to do that and they are very proud to be called U.S. Citizens.

This is just one example of how people have twisted views about justice and hate. Hate has no good reason. Justice has a reason. Emotions confuse the facts. We can't function on emotions (boo hoo); they are too fickle. Get back to enforcing the facts and the laws.

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Maybe Trump is perceived as a failure by a public "conditioned" by decades of weak politicians and biased, manipulating media? - February 17, 2017
Could it be that the general public views President Donald Trump's actions, since taking office, as being radical and flops because the general public have been so conditioned by decades of shifty, but weak, politicians and a biased, manipulating media? Certainly, the President's methods of action are very poignant and lack finesse; something people are not used to from typical, smooth-talking politicians who have the ability to say absolutely nothing in an hour speech, making the general public seem like they are sincere and know what they're talking about. Maybe the media, blindly assumed by the public as being trustworthy, are not providing objective, disinterested, balanced reporting but are powerful and frequently have the upper-hand in defining the news to their benefit. Maybe they are an enemy worth scrutiny and distrust.

President Donald Trump's transparent directness and take-charge demeanor makes him look and sound like a scary man. He lacks "soft skills" (PUKE!). Thank God for people who actually say what they think instead of being "politically correct", afraid of hurting someone's feelings. But the pantie-wastes of the past have made the public pantie-wastes themselves. We have trouble grasping the kind of leadership this country so desperately needs to recover from its lethargic and apathetic political history and the media is eager to step in and use that weakness to manipulate "public" opinion. Decades of weak leadership, bowing to countries bent on our destruction, caving to immorality and perceived "entitlements", manipulative media; this country has become the metaphorical frog being boiled alive without even knowing it. Or, as someone so eloquently put it, we have become so accustomed to the flatulence of politicians and media, we no longer notice the stench. Our skin has become very thin and our backbone has turned to rubber.

By far, I am not saying that President Trump is our savior. He was not my first choice. But, maybe, our Savior is using President Trump to strengthen this country in a way people can't conceive and, certainly, not the way we would like it.

For just a few minutes, when unforeseen circumstances flip life on its end, change the normal thought process. Lose the stereotyping and the prejudice and look at it from another angle. Maybe it's a change for the better; inconceivable during life's normal routine.

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Stock Market Trading and Tax Preparation - February 15, 2017
After reporting my Stock Market gains/losses while doing my 2016 taxes, I discovered an option I love that some online stock brokers offer; automatic importing into my tax preparation software. If my broker didn't have it, I would have to manually enter the data which would be a pain. Etrade and Capital One (now defunct) worked great for me using H&R Block Tax software. Trading fees are also something to consider when choosing a broker. There are brokers with cheaper trade fees but they do not offer this tax software import feature.

If you are looking into trading in the stock market, inquire about the broker offering this "import" feature and if it works with the tax software being used. It will save lots of time, work and worry when tax season comes around.

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It used to be "quieter out there" before everything got amplified - February 10, 2017
I watched the TV series "Elementary" (Season 2, Episode 7) where Sherlock Holmes makes this statement in his addiction group. It clearly put into words how we are bombarded by noise; not just sounds but information noise and busyness noise. "Quiet" is not a word that can be applied in today's world. Referring to a good many of my posts on to topics of noise and a spastic world (One thing; just one thing, Give Me a Bigger Mute Button, Protest Something That Actually Matters and Chronic Anxiety and Depression), I have made many references that we do not know how to reach a state of quietness and really relax. I think this contributes to ever-increasing occurrences of terrorism and grand acts of violence.

While politicians, the military and law enforcement professionals work to control the implements of violence (guns and bombs), few, if any, seem to be focused on the root cause; the inability to find peace and quiet in our minds. And, while yoga and other forms of meditation may help, the rejection of society's noise-makers may be our best salvation from, eventually, going insane.

It's been said that people are afraid to be quiet because they do not know how to enjoy their own company or are afraid of what they may hear, or not hear, in their minds.

Turn off the TV, the computer, the smart phone. Get away from the senseless chatter, traffic noise and crowds. Hear what you've been missing.

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Do We Really Need to Keep Hate Mongering Alive? Can We Finally Heal and Stop Picking at the Old Wounds? - February 8, 2017
When public officials and celebrities propagate racial language, they do a disservice to their constituents/fans by keeping racial tensions alive. And assumptions, which can cause much misunderstanding, should not take precedence over facts. This particular (new) Baltimore City Councilman appears to be pulling a "Trump" by using social media, hiding behind his keyboard, to express his views rather than facing the public to make inflammatory statements that do not heal but hurt race relations. Maybe he's trying to make a name for himself. Maybe a less caustic presentation could express his concerns without inflaming racial tensions; providing alternate development solutions, not just lip service, instead of blasting those who are actually taking action.

Companies are in business to make money and grow, just as employees get a job to better their lives. So, when a company makes a business decision, it's usual intent is to make money, not to attack a particular group of people. In this case, the community development project will produce jobs for all people in the community, encouraging a multi-cultural environment, not segregating the community.

Racist remarks, by any race about any other race (including their own) only serves to keep racism alive. Let's stop this!

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Sometimes A Push Is Necessary to MAKE Dreams Come True - February 4, 2017
. . .
I cannot discount divine interventions. God is kind to me for no reason except that He loves me as I am. I believe He pushed me out, knowing it was the right time even though I did not think that and would have suffered through several more years. When I first got the news, for about a minute I thought, "Oh crap". But the plans I had made started coming to mind. I did not freak out. I could visualize how much of a good thing this could be. I am, actually, happy; a word that eluded me for a very long time. Don't get me wrong; I did not look at this through rose colored glasses, and I still have plans and changes to make, but I am more hopeful than I thought I would be.

Any unexpected life-changing event, need not be a time of confusion, doubt, fear or anxiety IF it is realized that this is a fickle and fragile world we live in. Realizing that, we should always be making alternate plans to prepare for what we don't see around the next bend in our lives. After all, that is the theme of this web site. So, Bye Bye, LM; I ain't a gonna miss ya. Hello life, welcome back!

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Old Senator Sticks Big Nose in Airline Business - February 1, 2017
Another Congressional boob, who's been in congress far too long (19 years), New York Senator Charles Schumer, sticks his nose where it doesn't belong; in the business of doing business. This isn't a law-worthy situation but, because he has nothing better to do, he will make something out of nothing. That's what old politicians do to make it look like they are actually worth the space they occupy in DC.

While there are actual serious humanitarian problems in this country, these congressional loads take aim at legitimate companies making legitimate company decisions like charging for the use of overhead bins on passenger jets. Quite frankly, it's none of government's business how a company does business as long as it is legal. And, it is legal for a company to implement ways to improve their income. This may not be the best way for an airline company to do that but their passengers will let them know by going to another airline. That's how companies compete; one company makes a bad business decision and another company steps in a does the opposite. It's a BUSINESS thing, not a GOVERNMENT thing.

And, who is the boob who went to other boob with this problem? This is how government squeezes in on our personal lives; the public thinking that government is their savior. This is why taxes get higher; because the public wants government to do everything for them.

Keep the government out of my personal life and out of business matters. And get rid of these old farts in congress.

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Chronic Anxiety and Depression - January 28, 2017
For those who have never experienced this, it must be very difficult to comprehend the affect it has on those who do. It's not as simple as "just get over it". Here is Andrew Solomon (Depression, the secret we share) with his very articulate explanation.

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Protest Something That Actually Matters - January 25, 2017
I'm always amazed how much drama people can manufacture from the least important things; making the proverbial mountain out of a mole hill (ant hill, more like it). I saw it at work, I hear it from friends, but the most obvious is during a presidential election. Many people seem to feel their world will come to an end because of who is in office. I have to say that, in the decades that I have voted for U.S. presidents, I am still here, the country is still here and life goes on. In 4-8 years it's all gonna happen again.

Frankly, when people start talking politics with me, I point them to CONGRESS, not the president. Generally, the president can't do anything without congress approval. The president can create and sign executive orders but CONGRESS can (if they choose) take steps to overturn any executive order or decision by the president and, even, go as far as to impeach the president if the president gets out of control. It's the people in congress that should be the ones to look out for. They can stay in office until they die drafting all kinds of meaningless and expensive bills that hit my wallet while the public pays no attention to them.

Anyway, my thought is that there are far more important problems in this world to protest and take action against like children starving in our own country, child trafficking, drug trafficking, killings on our streets and many more real issues. So, let's not invent problems and let’s protest, and take action on, things that have a real impact on the lives within this great country.

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Climate Change vs. Global Warming - January 7, 2017
I propose that "global warming" is a farce and that it's normal for earth's climate to transition. Just as the North and South Poles will, eventually, swap places and, eventually back again, I believe Alaska (cold) will become the new Florida (warm) then, they too, will revert back to their current state. But is this climate change/global warming thing as scary as is being presented to us? I say that feeding the poor and many other humanitarian issues are far more important. Never assume that people are experts on what they say and that what they say is fact. Do your own research. I believe that being "eco-friendly" is responsible but trying to force change to the earth's natural state of change is fanatical and may, actually, cause greater problems; like the movie "Snowpiercer". While the movie may be an allagory of feudalism, the root cause, of everyone ending up on the train, is a result of man's failed attempt to cool down the earth, resulting in a world-wide deep freeze.

Take a look at this "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming" trailer for a different perspective; a "clear-eyed and common sense-ical" (The Austin Chronicle) documentary that challenges the scare tactics of the "green movement" and why the Paris Climate Treaty doesn't solve Global Warming.

This earth will be around long after we are gone and it will continue to go through environmental changes as it has for billions of years. Like anything else, change is inevitable and cyclical. So, let's be as eco-friendly as possible but focus on the more important needs of humanity and let the earth do what it's going to do; change.

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Give Me a Bigger Mute Button - November 30, 2016
This past Thanksgiving, I went to the homes of family and friends. I came away feeling more anxious than ever before. I'm sure it's my age that accounts for most of my anxiety but I also feel the world is moving much faster every year. People seem to be in such a hurry to get things done, and want so much to be noticed, that relaxation seems to be a thing of the past. I also believe that most people would go mad if the noise stopped and they had to live with their own thoughts.

Noise! Television commercials have loud, annoying "music" and spastic motion to get attention. Real-life group conversations are loud, meaningless and everyone speaks fast so they can get a word in. Traffic, with intentionally loud, blaring music and noisy engines and mufflers to say "look at me" is nearly enough to make me want to turn in my driver license.

When a TV commercial starts playing, I grab my remote and hit the mute button. Unfortunately, the button isn't that obvious so I always have to look for it and hit it several times before it mutes. Most times, I just turn down the volume instead of hitting the mute button. As I travel this noisy world, I daydream of a giant mute button I could carry with me and press any time things get loud or spastic. I'm sure I would use it quite often.

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Frequently Change Politicians and Diapers for the Same Reason - November 9, 2016
Frequently Change Politicians and Diapers for the Same Reason Re-Elect NO ONE Friends don't let friends re-elect politicians
Governmental elections always encourage me to review and revise this posting. It used to be that I actually cared about whom I voted for, but over the last few decades, it's more about voting for the one I least despise. However, it's always been about keeping politicians on the move out of office once they have been there one term. This makes it easy for me to decide whom I will vote for, because I know whom I will not vote for (the incumbent).

I do believe that the majority of new politicians want to make positive changes. But, I am tired of career politicians making ridiculous laws trying to control people and giving my hard earned money away to those who don't work or pay taxes. My research finds that taxpayers are in the minority [Video Link 1] [Video Link 2]. That means most people (I refer to as 'loads') in the US are being supported by a fewer number of taxpayers. Why? because we have politicians who don't work; giving away taxpayer money to people who don't work.

Sometime back, I wrote a letter to my [30+ year veteran] U.S. Senator in Washington, DC asking her to support a bill (introduced by another Senator) that would place term limits on Congress. She replied by stating that she (not her constituents) did not agree with term limits and that if voters don't want her to remain in office, they can vote for someone else. True; it is the voters who are responsible for keeping or removing politicians via the election process; and if you don't vote, don't complain about the way government is being run. But this response from the Senator displays a self-protection mechanism to prevent a method (term limit) that could remove her from office.

By the way, the introduction of Term Limits by congressional members is not uncommon and I applaude those congressional members who introduce those bills. Unfortunately, the other members of congress won't vote for the bill because it, most likely, would remove them from office (a conflict of interest). So, in order for Term Limits to be applied, it should be done by a vote of the people (by a referendum on an election ballot), not the politicians who are affected and trying to protect themselves.

The founding fathers of this great country were, by and large, working people, not politicians. They rebelled against political tyranny. They did their political duties and then went back to work. Among other things, I am hoping for a major mindset change to even out the taxpayers-to-non-taxpayers ratio. But, the words "career" and "politician" should never appear together and I will continue to vote against the incumbents who need to get a real job. And for those who mourn over, or protest against, election results I say "get over it", the next election may work out better for you. With the decades of Presidents I've lived through, I have survived. Fortunately, the President position has a 2-term limit. So should every political office. So, until that day comes, I will enforce my own termination policy by voting against those running to stay in office.

But, what about you? Are you not voting? Are you voting for the same politicians only because you know their names on the ballot? Do you care so little for your country that you don't take the time to vote or don't attempt to put fresh thinking people into government to, possibly, improve society? Take responsibility for moving this country forward! Vote! Keep politicians on the treadmill by voting them out of the office they've been glued to for decades! Let me help simplify the voting process as it works for me; if they are being "re-elected", vote for their opponent. Next election, vote against the politician you voted for last election. That's it. And, if you're really interested, research all of the candidates to find those who might match your values. But, please, vote.

Please visit my web page specific to this topic. And, for a laugh on the topic view this video (contains adult language).

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Betty - October 12, 2016
I visited an old friend today whom I had not seen for a very long time (my fault, sad to say). Her name is Betty and she is over 90 years old. Betty's grandson called and told me she was not doing well and may not be alive much longer. When I arrived, I found this frail, little lady slumped over to one side of her bed. I called her name and her sunken eyes opened. I asked if she knew me and she said "no". I told her my name but she couldn't remember. I tried to describe some memories we had shared but nothing helped her remember me. I helped sit her up in bed so she wasn't slumped over and she said that was much better. I asked if she was hungry and she said "no". I asked if she was thirsty and she said "yes". I asked if she wanted a beer and she said "yes". So her daughter brought in a can of beer with a straw and Betty took a sip and said "that was good".

Betty is the strongest frail person I have ever met. Among many other sicknesses and injuries, she broke her neck at age 91 and recovered unscathed. Betty was always a quiet little lady (when I was around). To me, she lived life as it came without much fanfare or personal interaction, watching TV, reading her newspaper, putting jigsaw puzzles together and washing the dishes after every meal. She liked beer. When I would visit, she was always sitting in the living room reading or working on a puzzle. I don't ever recall her being anywhere else; not locked in her bedroom with the door shut but always where the action was even though she didn't actively participate. She rarely spoke unless spoken to. I took her and her grandson to my Thanksgiving Day dinner one year and I still have photos of her watching as the rest of us played games.

Some people in this world are not as social and interactive as others or as others think they should be. Some quietly watch and contribute their attention (which many others want). They are not the center of attention; they don't want it, like most, but they give it freely. They do not Tweet every step they make but they will listen about the activities of others. Most likely, we won't ever notice the Bettys in this world.

During my conversation with Betty, she told me she was lonely. I made a suggestion about being moved to the family area and she said "that would be nice". See, the Bettys of this world want to be a part of it; in a quiet way that contributes as much to this world as the most activity-filled person in it. They are as much a part of it, and necessary, to make up this big, diverse wonderful world we live in. Not wanting for much except watching and hearing others around them, reading a newspaper, working on a puzzle, watching Judge Judy, washing dishes and drinking beer.

On Sunday, October 23, 2016, Betty's soul departed this earth at the age of nearly 95 1/2.

I will miss you, Betty!

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One thing; just one thing. - October 2, 2016

This is a restless world and people are more whacked out than ever before. There are too many options and a mad rush to do everything, fearing we'll miss something. The media brainwashing overload says that we need it all and need to do it all. There are demands from others to do what they want. This ends in frustration, depression and emptiness because they couldn't be done. This concept is presented well in the movie "City Slickers" where the conversation goes something like this: "You know what the secret of life is? No, what? One thing; just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don't mean shit. What’s the one thing? That's what you gotta figure out." Then the argument comes that "I'm trying to figure it out so that's why I'm doing it all." And the topic of patience is presented. Because of the mad rush to find that one thing, adequate time and attention isn't given so that something will actually stick. Before giving it a real chance, boredom sets in too quickly and we're off to the next thing. Stop the pursuit of everything for a while, focus and give time to an interest, and find the "one thing" (your passion) that causes joy, peace and fulfillment.

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The Future of Social Security for Millennials and Beyond - September 30, 2016
What is the Future of Social Security? Whatever you might want to believe, it is strongly suggested that Millennials and Beyond start, as quickly as possible and stay diligent, to build their own personal retirement nest egg. First of all, Social Security, from the beginning, was never meant to be the only source of funding for retiring generations. It was meant to supplement it. Given the financial condition of the US government, trillions in debt, how can anyone say with a smile, "everything will be fine"? To say that is stupidity, ignorance or drugs talking.

Never, never, never, ever rely on anyone else, especially the government, to take care of you. If you don't take care of you, you are destined to forever grovel at the feet of someone else, IF anyone else.

Start doing your research into saving, now, for your financial future and having a "Plan B" if employment takes a nose dive. While there is some optimism for the future of Social Security, don't bet on it. The ONLY ones you can trust to take care of your future are GOD and YOU. To do nothing is to guarantee a bleak financial future. Save now with anything you can afford. Once started, you'll be encouraged to continue, diversify and do more research as you see your savings grow.

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Thinking Outside the Box for Emergencies and Survival - September 29, 2016
I spend a lot of time on the web reading blogs and other publications about survival and emergency planning; people sharing their own ideas and improvisations with the world. Honestly, some things I have read are just crazy to me. But, when I wrote my last posting about the Seaview 180° Snorkel Mask as Pandemic or Gas Mask, I realized that my imagination is expanding because of those who have published their crazy (and not-so-crazy) ideas. I don't see something only for what it actually is but what it could be. When I saw that mask, I saw it as an alternative to an air filtering mask, not just the underwater snorkel mask. When I see a vine in the woods, I now see cordage. When I see bugs, I now see a food source. When I see plants, I now see food or medicine.

No one can prepare for every variation of every situation. In an emergency or survival situation, I may not have stored the proper tools or supplies for that particular event. In that case, I will need to improvise with what is available to me. The best tool I can have in any situation is my brain; to recall what I have learned and use it in a way that will improvise a solution to the challenge I face.

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Full Face Snorkel Mask as Pandemic or Gas Mask - September 28, 2016
or build your own from a 2-liter bottle
Recently, while I was perusing the web, I ran across an advertisement for a Full Face Snorkel Mask used for underwater swimming/diving/snorkeling. Now, at the risk of having many think that I have gone "over the top", my prepper instincts kicked in when I first saw this thing. As a matter of fact, I did not even think of the water when I saw it; it seemed like the perfect make-shift gas or pandemic filter mask. It looked like a gas mask except that it had this thing (the snorkel) sticking out of the top.

Just like a conventional underwater snorkel, the mask's snorkel controls the intake and exhale of air, but the mask covers the entire face, protecting the eyes, nose and mouth and allowing unrestricted breathing from the nose and/or mouth. A rubber gasket, around the edge of the mask, seals the face inside, keeping water out, providing a water-free-eyes view of the diving experience.

Obviously, when I blocked the snorkel hole, I could not breathe; duh . . . just checking. In a hypothetical gas/pandemic mask scenario, the snorkel, or only the hole at the top of the mask where the snorkel attaches, could be covered with a surgical mask [material], or 2 surgical masks with activated carbon (charcoal) sandwiched between them, to provide a limited use full-face, air-filtering mask. When I tried this, airflow was slightly restricted but I was able to breathe. Someone with claustrophobia anxiety disorder could have more serious breathing problems. Sorry, I did not take it out for a test drive to see if it works as a gas mask. I do not have any tear gas and my fires, usually, produce little smoke, but I did confirm that it does what it is intended to do under water; a very cool experience.

I found these, used with very minor wear, on eBay for less $25 each (free shipping, of course). They can also be imported from Asia, new, for around $35 each. New, retail price is $45 and up depending on the retailer. There are at least two sizes so be mindful of that if you decide to purchase. Since they were marked as "used", I washed them with antibacterial soap and wipes, inside and out, before use but I would have done that even if they were new.

So, if a full-fledged gas mask is not in your budget, and you do not want to build one from a 2-liter soda bottle, consider a Full Face Snorkel Mask. In a true pandemic situation, all used protection equipment should be destroyed so this might not be a cost-effective use of the product but in a true emergency, safety is paramount to cost. Here are some YouTube videos on DIY masks from bottles.

Emergency planning is mostly about education and developing a think-outside-the-box view of what most would consider obvious. So, while you may not go rushing out to buy one of these for the purpose mentioned here, you now have a concept that an "obvious" snorkel mask might be a tool to consider for another purpose in an emergency situation. As with all tools and equipment, test before it is necessary to use them.

See video at: https://www.facebook.com/SurvivalLife/videos/1288694037849105/. Build Sheet at: http://www.5six7.com/survival/TearGasMask-Make-Shift.jpg

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Blame it on someone else, will ya! (the HPV STD) - September 7, 2016
I'm disgusted with the recent commercial, by Merck, on HPV. "Did you know, Mom?, Dad?". Let’s not overlook the fact that people are responsible for their own actions. If people don't share certain body parts and fluids with others, they won't contract STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases); "Did you know, Little Suzie?, Little Jimmy?". I feel that parents are responsible for educating their children on sexual abstinence and consequences but NOT to promote and encourage sexual promiscuity by handing out paraphernalia or drugs to protect their kids from being stupid after being warned. Now, if parents want to shirk this responsibility and allow their kids to act like uncontrollable animals, I guess Merck is an answer. But don't blame it on someone else.

Click Here to hear about the STD HPV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)

Merck drug company shouldn't be using parental guilt to sell more Gardasil shots; that's just bad business. Try educating parents instead of giving them the shaft (no pun intended).

My point is that people rarely accept the responsibilities for decisions they make or things they don't do. I am where I am in life, because of what I have done or not done. Yes, I have had some negative influences that affected my judgement but, in most cases, I have identified those things and tried to correct them. I didn't blame others. It's said that when I point my finger at someone, I point 3 fingers back at me.

So, I say, own up to where you are and quit blaming others or trying to make them feel guilty for one's own stupidity or omissions. If you want better, make it happen yourself.

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The Dollar Store Is My Friend - September 4, 2016
With my shift to a Conserver Lifestyle and "Needs vs. Wants" approach to buying, I have a new-found friend; the Dollar Store. These types of stores have different names, depending on where you live, but each item in the store is $1.00. These stores buy discontinued, B-rated or near-expired goods in mass quantities. Because of this, they get them cheap and can sell them cheap.

Now, it's doubtful that you will find your "favorite brand" and, if you do, it may be near its expiration, but part of being a Conserver is being a good shopper. Now and then I have found cheaper items in my regular grocery store or Walmart but, generally, this is my go-to place for cheap stuff that will go down the drain or in the trash anyway like shave cream, after shave, razor blades, toothpaste, cleaners, laundry detergent; you get the picture. And, chances are, the next time I visit, the brands that were there before, won't be there again. I don't recommend buying ingestibles (things you will eat, swallow or drink) unless, (1) they are not expired and, (2) you intend to use them before the expiration date.

Unless you have money-to-burn or need that expensive perfume or cologne, I highly recommend these types of stores to save money.

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Surviving the Urban Jungle - August 24, 2016
This Blog Post has been moved to the P4T Personal Defense Strategy page
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Survival Tips From The Great Depression - August 24, 2016
Growing up in such great hardship equips one with mental toughness and the skills to survive almost any situation.

Here are 13 survival skills we can learn from those who grew up in the Great Depression.

1. Reuse, Reuse, Reuse - Scraps of fabric, wrapping paper, containers such as pill bottles and tons of other items we might consider trash can actually be reused and re-purposed. If you think something might be of use later, don’t throw it out.

2. Use Meat Extenders to Make Meals Stretch Further - Use “fillers” such as oatmeal or lentils to bulk up meat dishes and make them go a little further. This is also a great way to make your meals a little healthier.

3. Make Your Own Toiletries - Toiletries such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste and mouthwash can be made at home for a fraction of the cost.

4. Don’t Pay for Anything You Could Do Yourself - The convenience of hiring someone to mow your lawn, change your oil or clean your house might be convenient, but you’re really just throwing money away. Save money by doing it yourself, and enlist the kids to help.

5. Grow Your Own Herbs and Vegetables - Growing your own food is not only a rewarding and healthy hobby; it will save you hundreds of dollars every year.

6. Buy Generic When You Can - From clothes to food to cleaners to medication, name brand doesn’t always mean better. Do your research, and buy generic.

7. Just a Dab Will Do - Believe it or not, most of us are using too much soap, shampoo and laundry detergent. Our grandparents learned that “just a dab will do” — any more is a waste.

8. Clean With Vinegar - Vinegar is an amazing natural household cleaner. Use it for everything from cleaning windows and mirrors to deodorizing drains.

9. Learn to Sew and Mend Your Own Clothes - Sewing your own clothes is fun and will save you tons of money, and knowing how to mend them yourself will allow you to get a lot more use out of your clothes.

10. Reuse Containers - Tubs like the ones butter or sour cream are sold in can be washed and reused for a multitude of purposes. You can even make your own “miracle safe” out of an old mayonnaise jar.

11. Raise Animals for Food - Even if you don’t have land for large livestock, smaller animals like rabbits and chickens can be raised in your backyard and killed for food.

12. Learn to Preserve and Store Food - Canning and storing food for long-term use will save you money and keep your food from going to waste.

13. Cherish the Time Spent with Family - Times of hardship have a way of bringing us together, and cherishing the time spent with your family will make the hard times seem just a little better. Even if SHTF, staying close to your family — physically and emotionally — will give you hope and comfort no matter what happens.

Excerpts from http://survivallife.com/great-depression-survival-tips

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TMI can lead to IDT
TMI (too much information) can lead to IDT (identity theft).

I recently visited a family member's genealogy web site and found my full name and birthdate out there! Fortunately, this error was corrected.

I'm amazed that people still think exposing this kind of information can't be used against them or the people whose information is put "out there". Companies spend millions of dollars protecting their customers while those same customers spill the beans about themselves and others on social media. A person can be robbed of all of their money, assets, and even their name by doing this. I'm blown away by those who share their full name, birthdate and photos on these Social sites, not to mention a blow-by-blow description of where they are and what they are doing so someone can break into their home while they are away. Seriously, are people that lonely and desperate for attention that they need to tell the world their business hoping that someone will actually care? Like the cell phone talker on a bus (or any public place) blabbing their business to the world; duh! I'm not sure if they are just rude, ignorant or need to have their business aired to sound important because of low self-esteem.

Those who actually care already know what's happening because, well, they care. Those who don't care, really don't care. So, blabbing to the world is a waste of time while improving the chance for ID theft.

Also, research the term Doxing (or "doxxing"). If your personally identifiable information has been placed on the internet, without your consent, or remains there after you have given notice to remove it, it may be illegal and subject to legal action under a federal, state or local Publication of Private Facts law.

Not keeping personal information and activities private can have dire consequences. Personally identifiable information (PII) on a web site or facenovel or twitbird or wherever else on the internet, should be removed. It is wise to research rights and liabilities before posting PII otherwise a major loss or legal action could be the result.

Suggested Readings: How Social Media Networks Facilitate Identity Theft and Fraud and 5 Ways Oversharing Can Lead to Identity Theft
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In Tune With Dangerous Times
This Blog Post has been moved to the P4T Personal Defense Strategy page
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The Camping Tent; Reimagined - July 30, 2016
With built-in fans, enhanced venting airflow, pre-entry vestibules, blocking of infrared heat, ultraviolet, and visible light, this is one "cool" tent.
See it at: http://outbacklogic.com/

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There ARE more than 2 Political Parties in the USA - July 30, 2016
If the choices from the "big 2" have finally made you give up your voting privilege, one or more of the other options may appeal to your way of thinking. See the 2016 Presidential Candidates List here http://www.politics1.com/p2016.htm.

Regardless of your opinion, consider the importance of never giving up your privilege to vote, whether it’s to vote against another candidate, vote as a die-hard party member, vote to keep things the way they have always been, vote for radical government change, vote the way of your conscience or vote for some other reason. Please be encouraged to always vote.

May God help this country in spite of us!

PS: Some parties may not be available to vote for in some states.

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Bitter Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby could single-handedly start a riot - July 27, 2016
I was blown away with the total lack of restraint this public official displayed during her news conference after charges were dropped against all of the Baltimore City Police Officers charged in the Freddie Gray death. Her irresponsible and unprofessional words and demeanor could insight civil unrest which, if happens, she should be held responsible. Watch this video and judge for yourself.
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Make A Basic Emergency Plan and Kit
In June, 2018, 12 teenaged boys & their coach went missing in a labyrinth of flooded caves in Thailand. Their backpacks were left outside the caves before they entered but, fortunately, some of them did take some supplies with them. They were found, alive, 9 days later.

I feel that I'm preaching to the choir most of the time when I start talking about emergency preparation. For those who do, we share ideas, for those who don't, we share opinions. I'm amazed how many actually believe that it won't happen, it won't happen to them or that someone else (like the government; yeah, right) will be there for them. I tell them; don't come knocking on my door expecting a handout when you have done absolutely nothing to prepare for an emergency. Taking basic steps to document a basic emergency plan and buy or build your own one person 3 day emergency kit style= is the responsible and mature thing to do for oneself, family, friends and community.

Keep it simple. It doesn't have to be elaborate or complicated. A little preparation now will save much grief later. Having the basic "10 Cs" with you at all times is a good start.
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Venezuela Apocalypse - July 10, 2016
Yes, unfortunately, there are countries where starvation is commonplace. But, until the last few years, Venezuela has not been one of those countries where riots erupt for lack of food? View this video of the real-life apocalypse Venezuela. Why would anyone think it can't happen elsewhere, anywhere, in the world? Given the "right" set of circumstances, it can. This is why this web site, and many others like it, exists to enlighten and educate on the topic of, and need for, personal preparation.
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Isn't "Thank you" enough anymore? - May 21, 2016
The phrase "Thank you so much" makes me ill. As one person describes it "Thank you so much is becoming way over used and doesn’t come off as genuine anymore. It’s almost as if everyone were hypnotized into saying Thank you so much instead of the good old Thanks a lot." Another writes "Saying Thank you so much seems to have become a cliché, and I personally refuse to say it. I am not one to follow verbal fads." What happened to just plain "Thank you"? This fad says a lot about the human tendency to follow and conform; a trait that can promote peace or be exploited for nefarious agendas.
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Economic Concern and Preparation - May 1, 2016
I am, by no means, rich or a financial guru. But I do monitor several that are; one of which is Warren Buffet. With bank interest rates at an all-time low for several years, investing in the stock market seems to be my current best option for a better ROI (Return On my Investment) so I regularly monitor Warren Buffett’s Best Dividend Stocks and see where my portfolio stacks up to his. When I have the funds (and other factors jibe), I try to match those companies he has invested in. But my money should be diversified (not keeping all of the eggs in one basket). Not only in the stock market and the bank, but in real estate, precious metals and other investments so if one or more take a hit, hopefully, the others will survive or thrive. You don't have to be rich to be wise with your money.

It is wise to diversify and to listen to reputable economists on the health, or lack thereof, of the economy. Two such persons are Jim Rogers and James Dale Davidson who warn of the coming of the most shattering financial event "we have ever seen in recorded history." I try not to make panic decisions when this kind of information comes along, but I don't hide my head in the sand and believe that rainbows and unicorns dominate the earth and sky. I do belive that no one on earth can accurately predict the future, so I do what I can to research and prepare for the worst during any economic condition.

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My Impact on the Environment - May 1, 2016
Can I help save the planet for future generations to enjoy? Can I improve the environment, NOW, for me to enjoy it while I am still here? I think yes and yes. I can't do it alone but, alone, I can help. I, probably, won't be as extreme as "No Impact Man" but I will make an effort to be more aware of the impact I have on the environment and the future of this planet.

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Reducing My Sodium Intake - April 30, 2016
I believe that part of preparing for an emergency is staying healthy. Good eating habits and exercise will help cope, in many ways (physically and emotionally), with an emergency situation. And while I believe this, I haven't been very good at practicing it. I don't "cook" and I "eat to live" and don't "live to eat" so, when it is time to eat, I don't want to spend much time preparing my meals. Unfortunatly, that leads to eating processed foods that are not nutritionally good for me and, usually, with lots of salt. Recently recognizing this, I have started making better choices of my bad foods. While fat and calories are important factors in a diet, my primary concern is sodium (salt) content. 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day should be the maximum intake, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Without regurgitating the information found at these two links, I encourage you to visit them, consider your health, do more research and ingest less sodium. I'm sure you will feel better as a result.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/474334-the-best-low-sodium-frozen-dinners/
http://lowsaltfoods.com/

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John Kasich for President 2016 - April 18, 2016
I've been very disappointed with the political atmosphere for decades and this year, I believe, has been the worst yet. The candidates seem to be more interested in back-biting than selling us on their "plan". Well, for me, this guy has a plan and aligns with my core values which includes supporting the 2nd amendment. While this is not my top priority of values, I believe it is one that best aligns with the goals of this web site. I invite you to take a look at his web site for his plan and position on issues. Whomever you choose, I encourage to you vote and never give up your responsibility to participate in selecting our goverment officials.

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Bentonite Clay Warning - April 4, 2016
Bentonite Clay is used by naturalists as a substitue for floride in dental care.

CAUTION: Some Bentonite Clay may contain lead which can be fatal due to the risk of lead poisoning. Strongly consult the manufacturer and the FDA to research before using. Stop using products containing Bentonite until you do further research for safety.

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Long Term Food Review - Valley Food Storage - Irish Pub Cheddar Potato - April 2, 2016
Good taste. Soup/stew consistancy. Enough for only 1 serving, (not 2) in my opinion, unless additional meal courses are added. Does not prepare in the bag but requires preparation in a saucepan.
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Portable Sawmill - April 1, 2016
During one of my favorite survival/homesteading TV shows, I was introduced to the "Portable Sawmill"; a chainsaw attachment used to cut planks of wood from a downed tree. Naturally, I bought one without any specific project in mind.

Well, during the major snow fall in February, a 40 feet tall tree uprooted and fell near my cabin. I took a few days to cut up the tree into firewood (and made a stool from the stump) but it wasn't until the last 7 feet of the 10-inch trunk that it dawned on me to make a "bench" from it. So, I assembled my Portable Sawmill, wrenched it on to my 14" chainsaw blade and tried this thing. I was impressed. Now there's nothing left of the downed tree except the memory, firewood, sawdust, a stool and a bench.

Granted, it used lots of gas and chain oil and a ripping chain is highly recommended, but it did the job. Not sure I would use this to build a house, but for small projects, I think it's pretty cool.
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Solar Panels - Goal Zero Boulder 15 - New and old - March 30, 2016
One day I got the bright idea to make my pickup truck a rolling solar power station. I purchased a Goal Zero Yeti 1250 and placed it in the bed of my truck, installed solar panels in the side windows of the aluminum camper cap, and connected the solar panels to the Yeti to charge any time the sun found its mark on the panels.

On this date, I got the hankerin' to test the panels for functionality. Know what? They weren't working; that is until I moved them so they were not in contact with the aluminum frame of the camper cap. When the aluminum frame of the panel was not in contact with the aluminum frame of the camper cap, the panels worked fine. Why? I don't know. But this I do know; the panels that did not work were the new version (SKU 12501) of the Goal Zero (GZ) Boulder 15.

Now, I have this policy that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" but, for some reason, electrical engineers and computer people can't leave well enough alone; maybe it's job security or boredom, inferiority complex or whatever. I feel that GZ broke a perfectly good product by "improving" it. I have several older Boulder 15s (SKU 32101) and I get a power signal through the windows of my 2nd floor condo. When I purchased the "improved version", not only did they not produce power through my windows, they stopped my older verions from producing power when I daisy-chained the 2 model together.

Now to resume my pickup truck rolling power station story . . . when I replaced the "improved" GZ Boulder 15 with the "old inferior" model, and I installed it on the camper cap, I got power from the panels. Now my plan is working the way I had intended.

Don't get me wrong, GZ has quality, innovative solar products. I have several thousands of dollars of their products. I just think they made a mistake trying to improve something that was already a qualtiy product.

What's the moral of this story? You figure it out. Mine is to stick with what works. If anyone wants to swap my "improved" panels for your "inferior" ones, please contact me.
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Survival (Paracord) Bracelet
Take Me To The Survival (Paracord) Bracelet

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Credit Card Survival Tool
Take Me To The Credit Card Survival Tool

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Long Term Food Review - A-Pack (Ameriqual) MREs
I was gifted with a case (12-pack) of A-Pack (Ameriqual) "low-sodium" MREs (Meal Ready To Eat). Each meal comes with the main meal in a pouch, a heating pouch, salt solution (to activate the heating pouch), 2 large crackers (like matzo), 2 large fig bars, pack of raisins, skittles candy pack, a plastic spork, seasoning packets and a pre-moist towelette. Quite honestly, this is a lot of food per meal and they do taste good with seasoning but kind of bland without. You do not need any external heat source to cook these meals; it's build-in, but follow the instructions carefully for using the heating pouch or the meal will not heat properly or the salt (heat activation) solution will drip out.

I have used these on my extended camping trips to avoid time-consuming grocery shopping but I am not a discriminating eater (I eat to live, not live to eat).

There is a 5-year shelf life and the "Assembly Date" is printed on the case and provided on-line prior to purchase.

To find your best price, you can Google A-Pack MREs or search on Amazon.com.

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Generators (Gas - Propane - HHO)


I have long been a fan of Honda and Yamaha products and when it comes to their portable generators, my fondness doesn't diminish. I have owned a Honda 3000 (sold in a packaged deal with a cabin) and now own the Yamaha 3000. Keep in mind that those generators less than 3000 watts, generally, will only have the "pull-start" capability while those 3k and above will, most likely, have both electronic-start (key) and pull-start (as a backup) but there are exception. If weight and portability are concerns, anything above 2k watts may require 2-people to move. The Yamaha comes with wheels but the Honda requires an optional wheel kit if you want better portability. On the rare occasions when I had problems with these products, it was my fault for not maintaining them properly (oil level, filter cleaning, etc.). To determine what appliances you can use, or use at the same time, use this calculation "amps x volts = watts". Like all products, "you get what you pay for". I've tried cheaper generators with similar features only to waste my money . . . a word to the wise. Both run on gasoline but can be modified to run on Propane with kits from US Carburetion. It's best to call these folks to ask your questions or discuss your needs. Their web site is a bit confusing but they make up for it in customer service. I have no preference between these 2 generator models and got the Yamaha because I didn't have to install a wheel kit. I've been told it seems quieter than the Honda.

Honda Generator Link
Yamaha Generator Link

Click here to Search for Other Electric Generator Products.

If you are adventurous and mechanically inclined, do some research on HHO generators for home and automobile use. Supposedly, hydrogen gas can be made from water to produce heat for many uses including combustion engines, home heat and tourches.

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Goal Zero Extreme (Solar Generator) Base Camp Kit

I have owned the kit (no longer available from Goal Zero) for about a year now and use it when camping and for emergency backup at home. So far it has done everything I've wanted it to do.

The kit comes with four 30 watt solar panels, two 33 Amp hr batteries, one 400 watt inverter (which has a 6.0mm female 12V plug and another female 12V cigarette lighter plug, a USB port, and a standard AC outlet). There are also four 3 watt LED Lite-a-Life lights.

The entire system is plug-N-play. The inverter attaches to one of the batteries. You then connect the two batteries together with the supplied cord. The lights are really good quality. You connect the first one to the 6.0mm plug on the inverter. The rest you can daisy chain to the first and spread throughout the camp site and each light has its own hook. The four solar panels connect together and then are connected to the inverter. I have, in the past, used sticks to prop the panels towards the sun and this has seemed to work well. I did just buy a tripod but have not had a chance to use it yet.

While camping I have run between one and four of the 3 watt lights, a CPAP (without the heating unit), a 50 qt ARB frig/freezer (described on another posting - draws less than an amp per hr), a two speed fan that Riverrider told us all about, and recharged my phone all with no problem. Even when it was cloudy the two 350 Power Packs recharged completely. The bad news. I am not an electrician but I don't believe the 400 watt inverter would be large enough to run a full size refrigerator/freezer which would be the primary reason for emergency backup power.

The system is too heavy and bulky to haul on foot. When one of the batteries fail (and eventually they will) you cannot open it and replace the battery inside. You must purchase an entirely new unit. Goal Zero customer service is difficult to deal with. They are not forthcoming with information. Such techniques as "water boarding" and the old plastic bag around the head routine came to mind during my first conversation. I was first told I could replace the battery in the 350 Power Pack only to learn later this wasn't true. Their products are also priced too high.

Now the good news. After I purchased the this Base Camp (of course), Goal Zero came out with the Yeti 1250 (below). Still too heavy. Still overpriced but the inverter is rated at 1200 watts continuous which should be enough to handle emergency situations. More good news, if you shop you can easily find lower prices on their products and usually free shipping. Now that I already have the four solar panels from the Extreme Base Camp Kit I am looking for a deal on just the Yeti. After about thirty minutes on the telephone with their Customer Service people I was told you could open the Yeti (1250) and replace the battery inside with another AGM battery.

New Models of Goal Zero Solar (Yeti) Generators:
Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Goal Zero Yeti 450Goal Zero Yeti 450 Goal Zero Yeti 150

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Goal Zero (August 2, 2015)
This is my first time reviewing a manufacturer. I do it because of the multitude of Goal Zero (GZ) products I own. They have developed a wide variety of solar products that can be applied to nearly any situation from camping to a full-home solar power solution. The products I own are targeted for camping and brief power outages. Overall, GZ products are innovative and very well made. My disappointments are that most of their cable connections are proprietary (so you have to buy their cables for their products) and, with one exception (the Yeti 1250) the rechargeable batteries, built into their products, cannot be replaced so, once those batteries die, you have a throw-away item. The good news is that the batteries will last for years (generally and based on many factors). If you are looking for solar solutions, include GZ in your search.

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Portable Solar Panels for Backpacking & Camping
Going camping? Take Solar Power with you to charge batteries, lights, cell phone, tablet and other appliances. I've owned portable Solar Panels for years. For me, the Goal Zero (GZ) products are high quality, durable and easily transportable. I have used less expensive competitor products with good results. Do your research to find the ones that suit your needs and wallet. While both of the following GZ models may be out of production by the time you've found this posting, the overall purpose of this posting is to enlighten on the availability of Solar Power wherever you go.

The Goal Zero Nomad 7M Solar Panel with Guide 10 Battery Pack was my first solar panel, given to me by a friend to pique my Solar interest. This panel is lightweight and can be attached to the outside of a backpack to charge stuff from the sun while walking. You can buy just the Nomad 7 panel without the Guide 10 Battery Pack but you are limiting your possibilities to basic cell phone charging using only the sun. With the Battery Pack you can charge an iPad. This includes the AAA batteries and a 12v adapter if you only have a car charger for your cell phone. There are multiple USB port-types and an LED "flashlight" which is useful in no-light situatiions. The YouTube video is helpful for more details. With only 7 watts of output, for charging small USB devices, this is a good recharging solution especially during camping away from other power sources. A 13 watts version is also available.


The Goal Zero 12201 Nomad 27M Solar Panel is a full-size transportable, folding up to about 11" x 15" and about 2" thick. Open, it's about 22" x 30" with and extending pouch to hold stuff and interconnecting poles to make it more rigid when fully open. It is a canvas/nylon material with 8 mini solar panels that are interconnected to produce 27 watts of DC power. Its very design makes it perfect for backpacking. I would, probably, not leave it out in the rain, though GZ claims it is weather proof, but, after all, solar panels are made to gather power from the "sun". This model has the capability of daisy-chaining together (plug in to one another) to increase solar wattage output and each has a USB port to charge a cell phone, laptop, and small USB devices. The GZ Nomad 27 was discontinued and replaced by the Nomad 20.


If you are not familiar with the use of solar panels, understand that the wattage output, claimed by manufacturers, is under optimal sun conditions (clear skies, no clouds, direct sunlight). But solar panels do not have to be in direct sunlight to produce power. Any ambient light, including artifical light, can, usually, produce some level of solar power. My personal setup is, usually, far from optimal, nevertheless, both of these models work well to keep my batteries and devices charged.

Recommended Resource: Camping Checklist
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Portable Refrigerator/Freezer

I have owned the 50 quart ARB refrigerator/freezer for over a year now and use primarily for camping. Don't confuse this with one of those boxes that cools stuff thirty degrees cooler than the ambient temperature. This is a real refrigerator/freezer. No more hauling ice. You can make ice if you want. You won't worry if you will have enough ice. No more soggy food because it fell down into the bottom of the chest were the ice melted. The ARB refrigerator/freezer 50 quart model weighs only 53 pounds and can operate on 12/24 VDC or 120 VAC. It comes with two power cords, one for AC and one for DC. It has a built in battery protection circuit so you won't run your vehicle battery too low.

Some of the other features I like:
All of the features make it great for camping and during power outages. No, you won't be able to put the entire contents of your home refrigerator in the 50 quart size (ARB does have a 82 qt size) but you will be able to put some food items inside and any medications that require refrigeration.

At approximately $800.00 (depending on capacity) they are not cheap but when compared to other brands, such as Engel and National Luna which offer some of the same features and operate in a similar fashion, they are a reasonable alternative.

Search for Other Electric Cooler/Warmer Products.

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Water Bricks & Spigot


Click Here for another informative YouTube video about Water Bricks

I have owned ten of the tan-colored water bricks for over a year. Each brick comes with its own carrying handle and holds 3.5 gallons. This allows me to store 35 gallons of water in case of emergency. They are designed to be stackable (similar to Legos) so they don't take up a lot of floor space. I also purchased one spigot which screws on the container in place of the lid. The openings are wide so you can store dry foodstuffs as well. When camping I take four of the bricks and strap them down in the back of my jeep. They seem to be very durable and so far no complaints.

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Long Term Food Review - Wise Food
I requested free Food Samples from Wise and here are my reviews:

PRODUCT TESTING:
Camping Product (2 servings - Teriyaki Chicken and Rice) - Tasty with rice and small bits of chicken and vegetables but nothing to write home about. More like a thick soup/gravy consistency than a normal rice dish. I would add less (than the 2 cups recommended) water, or let stand longer and open (for water to evaporate) next time. It may be enough for 2 servings in an emergency situation if it's the only thing to eat, food intake is minimized and a beverage (water, etc.) is included. I'm approaching this as a "single emergency meal" but it could, certainly, be a side dish to a larger meal.

Long-Term Storage Product (4 servings - Savory Stroganoff) - This was a tasty product with noodles, onions and freeze-dried beef bits. It might be a bit bland to some who might want to add more spices. In a real-time situation, I would, probably, eat dirt if it came down to filling my stomach, so, I can say it is much better than dirt. Again, I would use less water in the future and, actually, added about 1/3 cup of rice and about 1/3 cup of extra pasta from my storage to make it less runny to a consistency of thick oatmeal. Since I could never be mistaken as any kind of cook, it may be that, as-is, it is made to be a rice dish toping and I just threw it in all at the same time. I would also not be known for my cooking patience. With my 2/3rds cup of additives, it could feed 4 people. Again, trying to envision the conditions under which I would use this product, I consider it an tasty, energy-sustaining meal.

Click here for more information on Long-Term Foods and Storage

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