Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you out there.

2008 has been a rough year for most folks, and 2009 promises to be even more challenging. I don't know what to offer except for my prayers that all of you and yours are kept safe, warm and fed as the winds of "change" buffet all of us in this storm.

I'm going to try and get some productive posts going such as salvaging LED brake lights from wrecked cars and using them to construct emergency lighting here in the coming year.

In the mean time, the Jukebox is going to be filled for today with different versions of Auld Lang Syne.

BB King for you blues lovers. DJ Tool for you Techno/House fans. Glenn Miller for the Big Band crowd. A bootleg Jimi Hendrix from the Filmore in 1970. Manheim Steamroller. Country Chorale for the country people. A kind of a Bluegrass piece from The Lonesome Travelers (kinda reminds me of the pickers that traveled with Jerry Reed). Nicky Spence for the traditionalists. Celtic Lore's rendition, and finally a metal version from Christmas At The Devil's House.

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year.

Bury A Gun For 15 Years

Backwoods Home Magazine has an article posted on long term storage of a firearm and supplies complete with photos. HERE

IDF launches YouTube Channel

The Israeli Military launched its own YouTube channel showing action in the Gaza Strip.

Some pretty nifty clips here:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Totally Unrelated, but good news

From New Scientist: Beer Marinade Cuts Steak Cancer Risk

Next time you feel like Bar-B-Queing up a storm, don't forget the beer! It's healthy!

Are we on the list?

USA Today reports "The Homeland Security Department may soon start scouring the Internet to find blogs and message boards that terrorists use to plan attacks in the USA."

Let me take a moment to wish all the folks at Homeland Security a Happy IED Free New Year!

Another warning for us

The New York Times had an article this morning, "Those Lost in Wilderness May Find Bill for Rescue".

The article detailed how New Hampshire lowered the threshold on a law allowing the state to recoup the costs of rescue operations. The state is beginning to bill "negligent" hikers who needed to be rescued, and also nursing homes and hospitals who have patients that wander off.

There were tales within the news story that set alarm bells off for me.

Most of us take our safety and our family's safety very seriously. We don't go out unprepared even for a trip to the local grocery store.

However, in the story, two women went for a hike and became lost. They could hear the highway, and rather than make their way towards the highway, they sat on a log and waited to be rescued.

Two cross country skiers were going out without packing any food as they talked with the reporter doing the story.

This is another story to reinforce what we suspect about the public at large and how seriously they take the idea of preparation for any eventuality.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Three Blogs To Recommend

I've taken the week off and so I'll be doing stuff around the house and spending way too much time on here.

I've run across three blogs that I thought you might be interested in. Some of you probably already know of them, but in case you don't.....

Radio's Preparedness Subculture. What's it about? Guns. Very nice documentation.

Frugal Cuisine. What's it about? Cheap, easy to prepare, tasty vittles!

Now this one probably isn't for everyone, but it has a couple of thought provoking posts.

Left Of The Looking Glass What's it about? The author says politics, sports, history, etc. So far it reads like social activism.

Pravda Story on Second 9/11 in US

Pravda had a piece today that kinda rehashed some of what many of us were talking about just before the election. Those not so cryptic words from Joe Biden and others basically saying, yep, we're gonna get smacked again just like during 9/11, and we won't be behind it this time.

What caught my attention is that what we've all been contemplating is appearing in PRAVDA of all places.

Not the New York Times. Not the Los Angeles Times. Not The Washington Post. Pravda.

It is scary when one of the people who used to be less free than we here in the Land of Freedom, actually have more freedom than we do.

USA needs nuclear explosion to turn the world into dictatorship -

Escalation In The Mideast

Iranians, who already have strained ties with Israel, are gathering volunteers to fight in the Gaza strip. A few hundred Iranian kids dying at the hand of the Israeli military will be a propaganda boon to those seeking to escalate the conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors, as well as between Muslims and us Kafirs.

Associated Press, Dec 29, 2008

Thousands protest Gaza assault in Lebanon

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) — Tens of thousands of Lebanese Hezbollah supporters stood under pouring rain Monday to protest Israel's air assault on the Gaza Strip, which entered its third day.

The demonstrators thronged a huge square and nearby streets in the militant group's stronghold south of Beirut, carrying Palestinian, Lebanese and yellow Hezbollah flags and banners supporting the Palestinian people.

The rally was by far the largest protest in the Arab world, where outrage over Israel's air strikes has been strong since Israel first launched the assault Saturday.

The massive rally was called for by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who in a speech on Sunday urged crowds in the Arab and Islamic world to rise up in support of Gaza and declared Monday a day of mourning and solidarity with Gaza.

Addressing the crowds on Monday through a large screen from an unknown location, Nasrallah urged Palestinians to unite.

"Israel's air force will fail to destroy the will of the (Palestinian) fighters firing rockets ... and the residents of (Israeli) settlements 20 and 40 kilometers away from Gaza will remain either outside their settlements or in shelters," he said.

"Death to Israel," and "At your service, Gaza!" many in the crowd shouted.

Nasrallah warned Israel that any ground offensive into Gaza would result in many losses for the Israelis. He also warned Israel that it would fail as it did when it fought Hezbollah guerrillas in a monthlong air and ground offensive in 2006.

The overwhelming Israeli bombing campaign, the deadliest against Palestinians in decades, had killed more than 300 people.

In the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon, around 3,000 people also staged a demonstration, many of them chanting slogans insulting the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia for perceived complicity with Israel.

In Egypt, which has been criticized for joining Israel in closing its borders with Gaza, thousands of people rallied, calling for the intervention of Arab armies to protect the Palestinians. Demonstrations were held near the parliament building and in downtown Cairo as black-clad riot police stood by.

In the largest protest, which was organized by the Muslim Brotherhood, about 3,000 people gathered outside Cairo's journalist union building. In rare public appearance, the Islamists organization's Supreme Guide Mohammed Mahdi Akef urged the crowd to make "their declaration of anger through peaceful means."

In Iran, a prominent conservative group of clerics announced it began registering volunteers on its Web site to fight against Israel in response to the attacks on Gaza.

The group, the Combatant Clergy Society, gave volunteers three options to fight Israel: military, financial and propaganda. About 3,550 signed up during the first day of the weeklong campaign, according to the group's Web site.

In neighboring Iraq, About 1,000 backers of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr also staged a protest in eastern Baghdad. "No, no to Israel," they shouted as they burned Israeli and American flags.

Separately, the political party of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a statement condemning the attacks and calling on Islamic countries to cut relations with Israel and end all "secret and public talks" with it.

Jordan's King Abdullah II also donated blood Monday for Gaza victims, telling reporters he was "upset" by the scale of the Israeli offensive in the coastal strip.

In Sudan, thousands rallied in Khartoum for a second day Monday over the Gaza attack, marching to the Egyptian embassy to call for an opening of the Egyptian-Gaza border for supplies and aid to the Palestinians. The protesters also marched to the U.N. headquarters where they handed in a protest note.

And in Greece, a mixed group of about 300 Arab and Greek protesters threw rocks at the Israeli embassy in Athens and scuffled with riot police during a demonstration organized by the Greek communist party.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Domestic Attacks

Douglas Hagmann of appeared on Israel National Radio back on December 8/9 (depending on time zone) and addressed the attacks on Mumbai and what he believes is in store for us in the United States.

You can download the two segments from the show at a link on his page. The link is here also.

I missed the fact that he was going to be on the air, and just became aware of his appearance as a result of digging around looking for background info for my Milgram Experiment, Psyops and You piece. I normally listen to Douglas Hagmann with half an ear when he appears on Coast To Coast AM because he seems to be evasive and tends to speak in generalities. However, he did say a couple of things during the Israel National Radio interview that got me thinking.

I invite you to take a listen and see what you get out of the interview.

The clips have commercials in them and they're pretty big (over 16 megs each file) so I have clipped the commercials out and resampled them so they're just over 5 megs each. I've placed them for download here:

First Hour Second Hour

POW Tap Code

Something for all of us to learn just in case. I suspect that if we are rounded up, it will be foreign troops engaged in the task they will probably be unfamiliar with the technique.
First, you drop the letter K. It's redundant
and that makes a nice simple 25 letters
to work with. Then you set up a matrix,
to help your memory. The matrix goes like

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
1| A | B | C | D | E |
2| F | G | H | I | J |
3| L | M | N | O | P |
4| Q | R | S | T | U |
5| V | W | X | Y | Z |

... .  . .  ... ...  .... .....
.... ...  ..... ....  ... ..  . .
... ...  .... .  . ...  ..... .
.... ....  . .  ..... ...
... .  .... ...  .... .  ..... .   ?

Decoded: C-A-N-Y-O-U-H-A-N-D-L-E-T-A-P-C-O-D-E?

Indian / Pakistani Nuclear Tensions

If you haven't added to your daily read, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to do so.

George Ure does a good job in breaking down relative strengths between the two countries and what may be coming as Pakistan continues to move troops towards the border with India.

Back in 2002, Natural Resources Defense Council calculated the potential effects of a nuclear conflict between the neighbors. You can see what they had to say here about the consequences of a nuclear exchange.

We could see fallout reach the United States within 48 hours.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Must Read

There's no easy way to write a summary of this article. The author makes several excellent points on what may be coming down the road for all of us.


Evolution of American Currency

This came to me by way of e-mail. Not sure who the creative genius is.....

Food for thought, or just food

I'll post the second half of my Milgram Experiment, Pysops and You hopefully later today.

In the meantime, I was at work yesterday, and the nature of my work takes me all over the place. Here in the The Great Central Valley of California, shops were empty. The "new" Black Friday that retailers had hoped for apparently did not materialize. Even Walmart's lot off of 205 in Tracy was only about a quarter full (no different from a regular day) when I cruised past it at about noon.

Food gift baskets that contain jams, jellies, canned hams and such are radically marked down in stores everywhere. The same goes for gift packs of your favorite adult beverages.

Buy them and break them down. Eat the foods that do not have a long shelf life such as Summer Sausage (the delicacies you may have been denying yourself), and squirrel away the rest for consumption in lean times, or for trade, or for making gifts.

Holiday themed cake mix and frosting, such as Pillsbury's Funfetti, are also on sale. It's a white cake mix, and judicious alterations using food colorings and suitable decorations, the mix can be used to bake a cake for any occasion. Last year my wife picked up several boxes for fifty cents each. A year later after proper storage, they were just as good as fresh.

Some grocery stores in the area are also selling canned yams and sweet potatoes in number 2.5 cans for fifty cents each. We've found that the cans keep well with no detectable change in flavor or consistency for two years. We haven't kept them longer than that, my wife donates them to the local food drives before I can carry the experiment out another year.

Watch for specialty vinnegars (raspberry, etc.), and oils (truffle, walnut, hazelnut, etc.) to be on sale. It's still expensive, but not nearly as bad as having to pay full price. If you like to cook like I do, then it is always nice to have a supply of quality ingredients. I've read quite a few pieces about how oils go bad, and some vinnegars as well. I've found that if you keep them unopened in the original container, in a dry, cool, dark place, that doesn't seem to be true. Some of my stuff is already three years old and just as good as the fresh stuff.

Happy eating!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Milgram Experiment, Psyops, and you. PT 1

Film of the Milgram Experiment. Above is part one of five.

Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five

This article appeared in the San Jose Mercury News on Dec 21, 2008. It detailed the repeat of the famous or infamous Milgram Experiment. It was apparently a followup piece to a story that ran on Reuters dated Dec 19, 2008. The Reuters piece can be viewed here. The article has spread throughout the US via various news agencies and can be found on many websites.

What I found disturbing in reading both stories is that the authors seemingly tried to avoid making the people who administered the shocks culpable for their actions. Instead the blame seemed to be shifted to, as the Mercury News piece said, "situational forces".

That sounds an awful lot like, "Befehl ist Befehl". "I was just following orders".

Those of us who have been watching situational changes in American public affairs have also noted FEMAs attempt to enter America's churches and co-opt them as propaganda organs. Click here for a link to documentation.

Lew Rockwell recently has an article entitled, "Question 46, Revisited". "The Survivalist Blog" also had a piece on the subject recently. If you are not familiar with the extremely controversial combat arms survey where US Marines were questioned on whether or not they would be willing to fire on US Citizens in a gun confiscation effort, you can read the background information and view the actual survey here at Col. Metcalf is one stand up American Patriot.

I find the timing curious with the coincidental militarization of Homeland Security. NORTHCOM has been attached to Homeland Security and will be staffed currently with he 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team. “Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.” That is a quote from a piece that USED to be found at It is missing at this point, but a copy of The Army Times article can be located here.

The Army Times points out that active duty units were engaged in assisting in the aftermath of Katrina. What The Army Times does not point out is that Katrina was an emergency, and that the units were not assigned as a domestic operational force, which would have been in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. They may have been tasked with police duties when activated during an emergency, but it was not their mission. Homeland Security, essentially a civillian federal police agency, will have an active combat unit assigned to them. Again, from The Army Times, “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.” That sounds an awful lot like a direct contravention of the Posse Comitatus Act and a conscious effort to break down any resistance from tradition and older staff to domestic operations.

The Posse Comitatus Act is defined by the Department of Defense as:

The Posse Comitatus Act - Prohibits search, seizure, or arrest powers to US military personnel. Amended in 1981 under Public Law 97-86 to permit increased Department of Defense support of drug interdiction and other law enforcement activities. (Title 18, "Use of Army and Air Force as Posse Comitatus" - United States Code, Section 1385)
DoD Dictionary of Military Terms, 200

The 1981 amendment ( which essentially nullified the law) was to permit the use of the military in the so called "war on drugs".

Recently Homeland Security has gone on the offensive against the Posse Comitatus Act. Homeland Security refers to the act as a "myth". The entire piece entitled "The Myth of Posse Comitatus" is available here. The article attempts to essentially weasel around the restrictions in the same manner as used by our politicians in restricting our rights as affirmed by the Bill Of Rights.

Recently, a study entitled "Known Unknowns: Unconventional "Strategic Shocks"in Defense Strategy Development" hit the news. The entire study can be downloaded here. The synopsis on the before referenced page states:

"The author provides the defense policy team a clear warning against excessive adherence to past defense and national security convention. Including the insights of a number of noted scholars on the subjects of “wild cards” and “strategic surprise,” he argues that future disruptive, unconventional shocks are inevitable. Through strategic impact and potential for disruption and violence, such shocks, in spite of their nonmilitary character, will demand the focused attention of defense leadership, as well as the decisive employment of defense capabilities in response. As a consequence, the author makes a solid case for continued commitment by the Department of Defense to prudent strategic hedging against their potential occurrence."

The overwhelming animosity generated here in The United States when the $700 Billion Bailout was proposed tipped the people who run the show off to the fact that Americans are getting pretty well fed up with all their antics. Several politicians who voted for the bailout had their homes vandalized and allegedly even more received threats. The recent riots in Greece and the sympathetic outbreaks of violence in other European nations, the growing unrest in China and Russia, the growing problems in the Middle East, and even the protests that have occurred in Iceland, all point to a growing threat to the existing political and financial power structure.

The people who run the show believe that the threat against the existing system is not just confined to the mindless, angry mob in the street, it is all of us who have done what we can to isolate ourselves from the system as it currently exists.

I think the Strategic Shocks document is designed to address the threat against today's "Corporatocracy".

Something to think about

I hope all of you had a very safe, and wonderful Christmas with those you care about. There are a few days left before the world ushers in a new year, 2009. I remember being 10 years old and discussing the future with several of my friends.

I was convinced that I would be dead by now, consumed by the nuclear fires exchanged between us and the Soviet Union. Yet, here I am. Here we all are. The question is, where do we, as Americans, go from here?

I realize that as the world seemingly continues to spin its way towards economic oblivion, it is difficult to look for the opportunities that lie among the wreckage of a collapsing paradigm.

However, taking a peek at this video may start you on your way.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Drug Dealing For Fun And Profit

I can hear my wife screaming at me, and she hasn't even read this post yet.

Hi honey! It's okay, I'm just sharing some knowledge and I'm not advocating anything illegal, and I'm not encouraging or advising anyone to do anything illegal or unlawful. I take no responsibility for the use or misuse of this information.

Local police, state authorities, the DEA and other federal agencies really take a dim view of manufacturing, distributing and using illicit pharmaceuticals as well as the misuse of prescription meds. So, again, I'm not advocating that anyone do anything with what I'm about to say except enjoy it as a piece of factually based fiction.

If you, or someone you know, has been negatively impacted by the drug trade or use or misuse of drugs, I am truly sorry. This post isn't meant for you, and I do not mean to upset you, and I will strongly encourage you to stop reading now.

I personally do not use drugs (I'd lose my job if I did), but I have this unnatural appetite to learn about a wide variety of esoteric subjects. One of the subjects that has fascinated me is traditional medicinal plants. More than just using aloe for treating burns. Eventually, the path led me down to hallucinogenics and their uses by native peoples in their traditions.

This isn't going to be a "how to" type of post. I'll post a couple of links at the bottom if people are more interested in the "how to". This is just something to pack away as a just in case bit of knowledge.

Those of us who have been around long enough remember the periodic downturns in the American economy and the coincidental rise in drug use.

The 70's, rampant inflation, oil shortages, high unemployment and the explosion of cocaine and heroin use.

In the early 1980's. Same thing.

In the early 1990's. Cocaine, methamphetamines, Ecstacy (E), and other designer drugs as well as a huge increase in the abuse of prescription drugs such as Oxycontin.

I've never been able to locate any real numbers for drug use/abuse during The Great Depression. My dad (born in 1921) told me that when he was eight, he was still able to purchase cocaine from a local apothecary even though it was banned from sale in the US in 1914.

People love to escape. During The Great Depression, Prohibition was also in force, yet this did not end the production and consumption of alcohol (a drug, by the way). Speakeasies were the rage. Not only did liquor flow, but entertainment was to be found.

Movie houses still drew crowds. In fact, "The Golden Age Of Hollywood" began during The Great Depression.

As we slide into what many are starting to call "The Second Great Depression", it is obvious to many of us that in addition to many perils, we are presented with a great many opportunities. This is the time when fortunes can be created, and empires built.

Joseph P. Kennedy is said to have been involved in the smuggling of liquor and guns. NASCAR was built on moonshine. Check out Mayberry Moonshine (don't know if it is our Mayberry or not but if it is, why isn't he sharing? Just kidding.). The mob amassed a vast fortune that financed the creation of Las Vegas.

Government agencies have always been playing catch up when it comes to the drug culture. One of the newer plants to become targeted by the establishment is called "Salvia Divinorum" It is illegal in a handful of states, but is still legal in the remaining states. Take a peek at how much cuttings of the plants cost on the web. Just put "Buy Live Salvia Divinorum" into Google. I suspect that when they finally manage to get Salvia on the prohibited list, they will begin the same war on "Painted Nettle". Painted Nettle is used as a substitute by native peoples when they are unable to obtain Salvia. It apparently isn't quite as potent as Salvia, so a larger quantity must be used.

The funny thing is, Painted Nettle can be found in many back yards around the country. I've seen it in the garden center of a famous national chain of home improvement centers. It is rumored that Salvia Divinorum was used by some southern states as a ground cover along newly constructed roadways because it grew so aggressively and covered the exposed terrain quickly. So, if you're in a southern state traveling a roadway bordered by trees, and the area you're in is humid and the ground is always damp, look at the photos of Salvia Divinorum closely, and pay attention when you drive around. You may just score.

You all know Peyote. But do you know the San Pedro Cactus? Peyote = illegal. San Pedro Cactus = legal. Peyote has a concentration of 3% mescaline dried. San Pedro has 2% mescaline dried. So what's the difference? San Pedro Cactus is found in landscaping all over the place, and Peyote is found in the desert and you'll go to jail for even picking up the plant.

While you're looking at the San Pedro Cactus, take a look at its cousin, the more rare Peruvian Torch. The Peruvian Torch is supposed to have the highest concentration of mescaline. Yes, you are quite right, it is perfectly legal.

I'm going to stop here, but I think you all get the idea.

If you want a really excellent book on psychoactive plants, I recommend "Plants Of The Gods" by Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hoffman, and Christian Ratsch.


The Vaults Of Erowid


Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas.

Two simple words. They mean a lot to me. They meant a lot to me even before I became a Christian. Home. Family. Warmth. Inclement weather. Good food. Good friends. A celebration of the value of our relationships. A season for forgiving. A time to start anew.

As I am now a "mere Christian", they signify the celebration of the birth of our Savior and Lord.

In my journey from childhood to adulthood, I've watched the phrase "Merry Christmas" all but disappear from the world around me. It's been replaced by "Happy Holidays". I've heard all the reasons given by various erudite personages who claim that "Happy Holidays" isn't offensive to those who aren't Christian by faith.

I wasn't always a Christian, and as a non-Christian, and even at one point an atheist, I wasn't offended by those words. They didn't have the meaning "birth of Christ" attached to them in my mind. I fail to understand what is so offensive about offering someone wishes for the best for home, family and future.

I come from an odd family. Maybe I'll write about it one day here and tell you about my uncles who served in the Japanese Imperial Forces during World War II (one a Kamikaze), and how I had an uncle who was a Nazi major, and my father who landed at Normandy with the goal to end the Nazi regime.

Marriage creates such magnificent opportunities!

My mother is Japanese. She still practices the ancient religion of Japan. It is called Shinto. My father was a Methodist. Both agreed when they married that they would leave the choice of religion up to the children. My mother still celebrates Christmas even though my dad left this world over twenty years ago.

I asked her about it one time and why she, unlike so many others of different faiths, did not take offense to Christmas.

She looked at me as only a mother can look at her child when she's convinced that she's given birth to a moron.

"I pity the people who can not enjoy Christmas", she said. "If someone is so mean of spirit and small of mind that they can not celebrate the birth of a child, ANY child, then the meaning of Christmas has escaped them. No matter the number of holy days in their faiths, or the meanings behind them will erase the fact that they are hollow people with hollow faiths. We can argue the merits and faults of Christ, Christianity, and Christiandom until we are all blue in the face, but it doesn't eliminate the fact that a child was born that day."

Amen, mom. Amen.

WOOT! I have a follower!

I have my first follower! THANKS, Ken!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Patriotism isn't dead

I received this in my e-mail today from a woman I have known since we were both kids. Definitely worth a visit to this site to view the video and listen to the kids. God Bless Them all.

"Get a load of these high school kids. At the conclusion listen to the high notes on the trumpet . . . played by a high school kid? One of the fathers recorded it, added some graphic enhancements to the recording, and posted it on the web.

The song, of course, is the "Battle Hymn Of The Republic." Be prepared . . . it will definitely send a few shivers up your spine."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Refrigerated Beach?

Uh okay....

You know, if the once again climbing price of gasoline (here locally, last week $1.54 gal this week $1.69 gal) isn't enough to get you conserve fuel, then look at this.

The American people have always been held up to the world as a people to scorn due to our "conspicuous consumption".

I think the title belongs to the Arab states.

Who the hell builds a refrigerated beach?

Just had to throw this in, and now I have to bail and get to work.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Victory Gardens and Micro Farming

During World War I, the late stages of The Great Depression and World War II, the small family plots containing fresh vegetables, herbs, and other foodstuffs were called "Victory Gardens"

The Victory Garden on a slightly larger scale (2 -5 acres) is called a Micro Farm.

Victory Gardens and Micro Farming are an excellent way to offset high food prices, and insulate oneself and one's family against possible shortages as the economy continues to contract. There are also health benefits to be realized. One knows exactly how the produce was raised, and what (if any) chemicals were used on it. The food is straight from your garden to your table which means it is fresher and has a higher nutrient content.

If one has purchased heirloom seeds, the garden is self regenerating, as some seed from the current crop is set aside for the next cycle. Heirloom seeds are open pollinated, non-hybrid seeds that reproduce true from cycle to cycle.

Currently it is the middle of December here in California, but I have 72 Green Bell Pepper Plants along with about 16 Capsicum Pepper plants started. There are also a couple of Portuguese Hot Peppers, a couple of Jalapenos, and a couple of Italian Sweet Peppers. There's also a few "mystery" plants.

The "mystery" plants are from a bag of seed I found in my seed stash that either I forgot to label, or the label fell off somewhere. As they have continued to grow, I'm thinking that they may be a Honeydew Melon.

All of these are growing, in of all places, the master bedroom of my home. The master bedroom has three large south facing windows that provide an ample amount of light, even if the days are short.

The bedroom garden started as an experiment to see how early I could start a crop of plants and maintain them indoors, and how well they would perform. My wife and I planted the seeds back at the end of October just as the last of the harvests for this area were being brought in.

I am not providing the plants with anything other than natural light, organic fertilizer, and water. They are not in a greenhouse, and do not have heated beds. Yes, there are heated beds for starting plants. They're basically a heating pad placed below the flats. There are some excellent suggestions here for starting plants with exterior heat sources other than expensive commercial flat heaters.

I'm not using the winter sowing method, as many peppers require warm, dry environments.

So far, the plants seem to be strong and healthy, but are growing slowly. This is to be expected as the temperature in the room doesn't exceed 68 degrees F. There's only about 6 hours of good, fairly strong daylight at this time of year. Sunrise 0717 Sunset 1651 today.

Many herbs lend themselves to use as landscaping. I have an abundance of Rosemary that has taken over an entire plot and must be thinned regularly. One of the nicest sites that I have found with good photos is Malaysia Gardening and Landscaping Blog. The photos illustrate that the landscaping around your home can look magnificent and be edible too. Gardens Ablaze has some recommendations on which herb to use where for effective landscaping. If you decide to use herbs in your landscaping, this book is recommended. Landscaping with Herbs, James Adams. Google allows you to view selected pages here.

There's a blog called Tiny Farm Blog that chronicles the daily life of a two acre micro farm. I also enjoy visiting the website of The Laughing Dog Farm which was started by a former teacher.

To get an idea of how productive a Victory Garden, or Micro farm can be, check out this site. It is the site of an urban micro farm located in Pasadena, California. Look to the left side of the page down to Urban Homestead Facts. Impressive, isn't it? 6,000 pounds of food annually. They even produce their own bio fuel off of less than 1/5 of an acre along with everything else!

Walking Across Britain

I ran across this article and thought some of you might find it interesting. These guys just decided to take off without cell phones, money, or food and just walk around Britain.

It is a novel way to survive.

There's a link to their myspace page in the article.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Diversification and Secession

"Don't Blame Me. I voted for Jefferson Davis." reads one bumper sticker.

I understand that many will have visceral reactions to the name and his connection to the South, slavery, and The War Of Secession (often referred to as The American Civil War). Too often complex issues are simplified in such a manner as to appeal strictly to raw emotion rather than strict intellect. Intellectual arguments require more effort on the part of those attempting to influence the population. Often those intellectual attempts at persuasion have the opposite effect as even the most somnambulant members of the population often awaken to the fact that they are being manipulated.

The very name, "American Civil War" is one such example. The entire episode is often distilled down in many circles (ex. many public schools) as being a war waged against slavery. It is infinitely more complex. It wasn't even a "civil war" if one looks at the definition of a "civil war".

It is much more simple to appeal to the emotional side of a person. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is a master of this technique. Jim Brady, who was wounded in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, is now confined to a wheelchair. His wife, Sarah, seems to use him as a prop. Jim is paraded around for all to see what terrible things guns can do. Larry Flint, who was also similarly wounded in an assassination attempt and is also confined to a wheelchair, is (to my knowledge) never seen accompanying Sarah or Jim Brady as they attempt to strip Americans of their Rights as guaranteed by the US Constitution.

I wonder why.

Could it be that Larry Flint just doesn't seem to generate the same emotional response as Jim Brady?

Please be careful when people start throwing stuff in front of you trying to garner your support. If it generates an emotional reaction in you before an intellectual one, take a real good look at it and take time to look behind the curtain.

That includes what I pen here in this blog.

But, back to the topic at hand.

Jefferson Davis was a strong proponent of States Rights, and opposed centralization of power. Discussions regarding the issue of a strong central, federal, government and the dangers thereof go back to the founding of this nation. If one has not availed themselves of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist writings, it would serve one well to read them.

It is interesting to note that some of what was warned against in the Anti-Federalist papers is now coming to pass here in the United States.

The Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers serve to expand on the positions of The Founding Fathers. Many times we see the talking heads on various news programs drag some expert in front of the camera only to have that "expert" say something like "well, we really don't know what The Founding Fathers meant when they wrote "x"." Then the experts go on to making specious arguments supporting a position designed to further consolidate power into a few federal government hands, and removing that same power from the people's hands, where it should reside. After all, if those experts don't know what the Founding Fathers meant, how can they then justify centralizing that power? Perhaps, by the expert's own admission, the meaning was entirely opposite of that which the experts have chosen. Perhaps they should just read the 10th Amendment.

All those "experts" can go wash used toilet paper for a living as far as I'm concerned. All of the documents written by our Founding Fathers were written in plain English. There is no difficulty in understanding exactly what was meant when they wrote them.

The centralization of power in the Federal Government has helped send our fellow citizens off to needless wars and has helped create the current economic mess we find ourselves in. Our Founding Fathers warned and advised against becoming involved in foreign adventures and wars, and warned against having a central bank (now known as The Federal Reserve).

It seems some folks have just gotten fed up with all the nonsense from the fools and idiots we have running the show and have seceded from The Union.

That's right. They seceded.

One more time, yes, you read it correctly. They have seceded.

It happened back in 2007, and not much has been written about it, but as more secessionist movements gain steam around the country, I'm sure that will change.

The Lakota have nullified all treaties with the US government, and have declared themselves independent. You can read the story here. A more in depth article may be found here.

If you follow the "DailyPaul", then you've seen this article where the Lakota have established their own, non-reserve, non-fractional reserve bank. This bank only issues real money. Gold and silver. Visit the website of the bank here.

Now may be the time for you to diversify your funds and put some away in hard precious metals.

Make sure you check out the privacy page. They do not want your name and social security number.

How often does that happen when you go to any other bank?

When European refugees first arrived here in the New World, they were greeted and welcomed by the those who came to be known as Native Americans, or First Nations. Without the assistance of the Native Americans showing the early arrivals the way to survive in this New World, many communities would have perished.

Native Americans are once again extending their hand in friendship to those of us who once again find ourselves refugees. Refugees in our own country. The steps taken by the Lakota to once again set all of us free deserve our recognition and support.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bettie Page

Betty Mae Page
April 22, 1923 - December 11, 2008

There are so many things that are so uniquely American. Corvettes, '55 and '56 Chevys, Sock Hops, and the make out spots along many country roads. Betty Mae Page, who latter became "Bettie Page" to the world, was one of them. May you rest in peace, Bettie. I'm sure I'm not the only man out here who thanks you for making adolescence an interesting experience.

How to prepare for earthquakes

The nice thing about preparing for a disaster, is that you're prepared for many different kinds of disasters.

I hope you have stored food, water, extra clothes, and items for sanitary needs. The problem with earthquakes is that many times your home may be damaged, or destroyed which will make retrieving your preparedness items tricky at best, or impossible at worst.

Always store non-perishable backup supplies in your vehicles. Have spare tools for shutting off gas and water supplies in your vehicle if possible. Have extra gloves and eye protection too. A bump cap or hard hat is nice to have if you have to navigate a damaged structure. A nail or screw in the old noggin isn't fun.

Dust masks should be stored too. If you live or work in an area of older homes or buildings, keep in mind that asbestos may be released into the air when a building is damaged. Then there's the really fun stuff like bat guano (depending on where you are) which can lead to other issues other than mesothelioma.

If you have to wear dress or business casual clothes to work, pack a set of durable clothes (or a heavy coverall) and heavy shoes or boots. There will be broken glass and metal debris to contend with. Make sure the footwear is comfortable enough to walk long distances in. You may have to hoof it home.

One thing that many preparedness lists overlook are reflective safety vests. They're inexpensive at places like Home Depot and Lowes. You may find yourself outside at dark with out any electrical power. People attempting to drive will need help seeing you in the dark.

Pack your home supplies in large plastic totes, or durable surplus military footlockers. The footlockers will survive much better than plastic if there is a collapse. However, the footlockers tend to be more expensive, heavier, and not as roomy as the plastic totes. If possible, store your preparedness supplies in an area close to an exterior wall. A small closet adjacent to an exterior wall tends to be more structurally sound, and may survive a quake better than other areas. If you do experience a complete collapse of your dwelling, it will tend to be easier to retrieve as well.

One of the best guides that I have read for earthquake preparedness is published by the Los Angeles Fire Department. It doesn't treat the reader like a complete newbie. It can be downloaded and printed from here.

The CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) also have an excellent online resource for contending with quakes. Unlike the LA Fire Department's guide, it isn't in a easily printed format, but it should be read as it links to related issues which may occur post quake. You can view it here.

The US Geological Survey has a comprehensive set of links to help nearly everyone, including business owners, cope with the aftermath of a quake. They can be viewed here.

I've looked at many of the earthquake preparedness kits offered for sale on line, and I'd advise you to avoid them. They tend to be generic (not specific to your individual needs), contain items of dubious quantity or quality, or are over priced. You would be well served if you invested the time in assembling your own kits.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Back to Earthquakes

I posted back in November ( dang how time flies) my experience in the Loma Prieta Quake of 1989.

I'm targeting these quake posts for all of you in the mid section of this country who may not have had experiences with quakes. There has been some speculation of the New Madrid fault line letting go again.

The New Madrid quake of December, 1811 was the largest recorded earthquake experienced to date in the United States. There are estimates being made that it was at least 10 on today's Richter Scale. The quake was centered in New Madrid, Missouri. It destroyed the town (some reports state that houses and occupants were swallowed by the earth), caused the Mississipi River to run BACKWARDS, and rang church bells as far away as Boston.

The link for an explanation of the Richter Scale has some math associated with it, but don't let it put you off. The important thing to walk away with is that the scale is logarithmic and not linear. There is a section toward the bottom of the page that equates earthquake magnitudes to explosives (for those of you who love explosives as much as I do). When you look at that, keep in mind the Loma Prieta Quake was estimated at anywhere between a 7.0 and 7.2. The New Madrid is guestimated at being a 10. See how much more TNT you would need? That's the magic of log functions!

You can read an eyewitness account of what transpired in New Madrid here.

There is also an account of a Kentucky resident. You can read it here.

I admit that I found the Kentucky account somewhat humorous when I read it. My father was originally a farm boy from Pennsylvania and sometimes he would lapse into speaking in a similar manner.

The US Geological Survey maintains a web page that shows earthquake activity across the country and around the world. You can view it here.

Looking at it? Good.

See the map of the US? See all the activity around California, Alaska and Hawaii? And the rest of the country is bare....except for..... yes, click on those dots on the border of Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. The dots will tell you where, when, and the magnitude of the quakes.

There is a geologist named James Berkland who runs a website that predicts earthquakes. He was suspended by the state of California for predicting, accurately, the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. His other predictions have been similarly successful. Take a peek at his site and look at his track record.

He has stated publicly that we are now in a window for earthquake activity based on the fact that the moon is at perigee tomorrow, December 12, 2008. The close proximity of the moon to the Earth will increase tidal forces which seem to influence quake activity.